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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Michael Youssef » Michael Youssef - Eternal Benefits

Michael Youssef - Eternal Benefits

Michael Youssef - Eternal Benefits
Michael Youssef - Eternal Benefits
TOPICS: Empowered By Praise

The problem with the word "praise," as soon as you mentioned it, people always think of a praise band, or they think of church music, or they think of a praise concert, but the life of praise is far, far, far greater than just singing a song. Singing can be part of it, but the praise-filled life, which I'll be talking about in the coming weeks, goes much deeper. The praise-filled life is a daily, even moment-by-moment exercise that is designed by God to lift us up above our circumstances, to raise us up above life's challenges that throws at us every day, to empower us to live on a higher terrain, to give us true joy in the middle of sorrow, to breathe life in us in the middle of death, and to bring healing in the middle of pain.

Many of you are familiar with my testimony, but I will testify until the Lord takes me home whenever that might be. In the early days of the birthing of this church, I was running haggard. I was having early appointments, to late appointments, and my time with the Lord got less and less and less until God put me on my back for two solid weeks, and during that time, the Lord so graciously got my attention and began to minister to me. The Lord began to teach me that I'm missing out on the life of victory and triumph. Oh, I was preaching. I was studying the Scripture.

Now, I was faithful to exposition of the Word of God. I was ministering. I was counseling. I was serving, but the Lord showed me very, very clearly and continues to (I thank God for that) that I cannot minister effectively for him until I've spent adequate time with him. From that day on, until today, every morning, the moment my feet hit the floor, I begin my time of praise and worship and adoration of my Lord and Savior. And that, what ministering to the Lord is all about, I remember the first time with this double pneumonia on my back and saying, "Lord..." When the Holy Spirit began to say, "You can't minister to people until you minister to me," and I said, "Lord, how do I minister to you"? And I spent 11 years in seminary, and I was asking the Lord, "what it means to minister to you"?

And then, graciously he began to teach me how to minister to the Lord before I can minister to others. Now, if you think worship only takes place in the church, if you think worship is only through music, if you think worship is only a public activities, you are missing out on the real, daily, powerful living, and I pray, God, that he will open our spiritual ears today. I am praying, in fact, that this series of messages will ignite the power of God in many a life, in many a home, and in many communities around, ministries in this place. Why do I say this? Because, when you become a praised-filled person, you will experience transformation in life.

When you experience the strength of the will, only then will you experience a higher level of faith. Only then will you begin to experience a deeper level of victory like you have never experienced before. Continuous praise of the character of God and the attributes of God and the graciousness of God, it's not something that we do for God. No, no, no. You see, it is not bribing God so he can do for us what we want him to do for us. It is not just something we do so we can get on God's good side. That's the wrong understanding, but rather, praise places us in the very presence of God. And you say, "Well, Michael, but isn't God everywhere? Doesn't the Bible say that God is omnipresent"?

Yes, and that is why Psalm 22, verse 3... Psalm 22 is a messianic psalm. Here's what it says in verse 3: "You", talking to God, "You inhabit". Another translation says, "indwells". Another translation said, "You tabernacle". Another translation said, "You're enthroned in the praises of your people". Hear me right, please. How do you begin your prayer time? Do you start with praise and adoration and worship, just in gratitude for salvation, or do you jump into that list? You've got to begin, not with a petition but with praise, worship, and adoration. And if you do not do that, you're missing out on the great power that can come to you from that special presence of God during the time of praise.

So today, I want to show you four things the Lord has taught me about the praise-filled life those many years ago. First of all, praise reveals my true spiritual condition, not what I want to think but my true spiritual condition. Secondly, praise refocuses my personal destiny. And, thirdly, praise reestablishes the rule of God in my life. And fourthly, finally, praise reinforces my true relationship with the Lord. Let's look at this very quickly, very quickly. I'm not gonna dwell too long on them.

First of all, praise reveals to me my true spiritual condition. In Matthew 12:34, the Lord Jesus Christ said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". We say it in the colloquial, "What's in the well comes out in the bucket," right? Eh, it's the same. That's where we got it from. We got it from the Lord. The Lord is telling us that we cannot separate what we think from what we say. We can claim all we want, "Oh, I did not really mean that". Yes, you did. Just say, "I meant it, and I'm sorry about it". That's better.

So if your heart is filled with praise and thanksgiving, worship, and adoration, then that's exactly what emanates out of your mouth. Imagine that there is a fan belt between your thoughts and your mouth. I know occasionally, in my case, that fan belt gets a little looser every now and again and needs tightening. Don't get uppity. I know you do too, heh, heh-heh. But that does not, does not, does not negate the intrinsic connection between what's inside of us and what comes out in words. And Jesus is saying that our words expresses what we believe deep down, and so praise reveal to us our true spiritual condition.

Secondly, praise refocuses my personal destiny. Now, I began by saying how much this world hassles us, how much the world's problem overwhelms us, how much the world's difficulty continuously harassing us. Now, I'm just talkin' about everyday struggles, but if you focus on these problem 24/7, you will soon forget your destiny in Christ. Your destiny will become foggy and misty and unreal. Very soon, you're gonna lose sight of that destiny that you destined for the throne. You very soon will slide into fear and pessimism and depression. Very soon, your life will lose luster and joy and excitement. You don't think I know what I'm talkin' about? This is not theory for me. I know it. I know it experientially.

Listen to me: I am testifying to you. I am pleading with you. I am imploring you to do this today: Make a permanent change. Don't get temporarily affected. Make it a daily habit for one week, and then make it another week, and then make it another week. You will be pleased of how blessed you are as you're doing this. You would form a daily habit to bless the Lord first thing in the morning. Don't wait till late at night when you're tired. Start the morning blessing the Lord, blessing the Lord, lifting up the name of the Lord. That is gonna help you overcome the fog. That daily exercise of praising the names of Jesus, the attributes of God, the character of God, the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins, the grace and the mercy of God, if you do that, every morning is gonna carry you on the wings of praise all day long. All day long.

When I miss a day, I know, for whatever reason, it's seldom I do, but when I miss, I know my life is a mess all day. All day, I'm messed up until I repent. Please try it every day this week. Just try it every day. You'll never regret it. When my feet hit the floor, I begin, as soon as I wake up, by praising the name of Jesus. No matter what difficulty I face that day, that comes my way, no matter what challenges that I experience, no matter how painful the news I may receive, I find that my eyes begin to lift away from my current situation, my current condition, into my heavenly position. My eyes immediately recognizes the smallness of my problem in relationship to the bigness of my God. My eyes immediately refocuses from the temporary to the permanent. My eyes immediately begin to see with clarity my eternal destiny. My eyes open to the heavenly realm.

Then and only then, the presence of God fills me to overflowing when the praises of God dominate my thoughts. When God's perspective on my situation becomes my perspective, I'm lifted up. I'm lifted up. Praise reveals my true spiritual condition. Praise refocuses my personal destiny. Thirdly, praise reestablishes God's reign on my heart. I said in the beginning that God is everywhere, yes? But then we established from Psalm 22, verse 3, that God is present in a very special way, in a unique way, in a way it's indescribable, a supernatural way in the praises of his people. Here's a fact. I pray to God that you'll never forget it. When God indwells or inhabits, he rules.

See, that's why we say, "God is everywhere," yes, but God doesn't rule everywhere. He does not rule in the hearts of those who have rejected him. That's why the Bible in Romans 1, says, "He gave them up". He doesn't rule in their hearts, but he rules in the heart of those who invite him to come and to rule. And so, when the Bible says, "God indwells," or literally pitches his tent in the praises of his people, it means that God is ready to take over. God doesn't take sides. If you ever get in a fight, God doesn't take sides. He takes over. And that's why the Bible said, "The Holy Spirit of God can be grieved, and he can be quenched until you un-grieve him through repentance, and that is why the praising of his name, the praising of his character, the praising of his attributes, first thing in the morning, is your invitation to him to come and rule in your life".

Listen to me: You're spending time in praising him. You are saying to him, "You are my authority. You are my sovereign. You are my King. You are my ruler". God cannot be everywhere, where he's invited, without taking over. He has to take over. God does not take sides. I said, "He takes over". And when you invite him into your marriage, he's gonna take over your marriage. When you invite him to come to your home, he will take over your home. When you invite him to come to your family, he takes over your family. When you invite him in your business, he will take over your business. When you invite him to come to your church, he will come and take over your church. And that is why praise is our explicit invitation for him to come and reign and rule in our lives. And when he takes up residence, indwells, inhabits, he rules, and that is why praise is our clear invitation for God to come and rule over our situations, and that is why praise is the foremost means by which you invite God to establish his authority over you.

And, beloved, forgive me being blunt, as if it's something new, but that's why there's some believers, don't spend time praising God. God does not share his authority, his rule, his power, or his glory, with anyone. Either he takes over, or he's grieved and quenched in a corner in your life. Finally, praise reinforces my relationship with him. My relationship with him. Think how easy it is and how quickly we fall in love with ourselves. How quickly and how easy we fall in love with our ideas, how quickly and how easy we fall in love with our talents and our abilities, how easy it is to fall in love with our knowledge and what we know and what we think.

How easy it is to think so highly of ourselves, who we are, who we know, and whom we know, and what we've accomplished. And that is why daily we must begin our day by continuously, unhurriedly, did you get that? Unhurried. You have to get up early? Get up early. Begin with praising the name of God. Why? Because praise reminds me of my sinfulness and my failures, but then immediately reminds me of the awesomeness of the grace of God. Praise reminds me of my limitation, but then immediately it humbles me to think of how unmerited, unworthy I am of receiving the grace of God. Praise reminds me of what a tiny fraction of God's love and God's wisdom and God's power I really comprehend.

Praise makes me say with Job, "I know that you can do all things. No plan of yours can be thwarted. My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes". I'm getting close to the end, so I don't want you to misunderstand the remaining part that I wanna tell you. It's very important. The reason we recognize that we are not, we are not, we are not worthy is not because that we go around life moping and sulking, "Oh, poor me". No, no, no, no, no, no. It's not going around with long face, head down, "Oh, I'm sinful, I'm sinful, I'm sinful," "I'm unworthy," "I'm a terrible person," "I can't do anything..." No. Read my lips: "No". Say, "No," with me.

If you do that, you have not really learned the triumph that comes through praise. You have not learned to minister and to serve in God's power and strength and not yours. What praise does is continuously, while we are realistic about our sinfulness, yes, we are realistic about our shortcomings, yes, but it's continuously leading us to repentance and restitution and, therefore, victory and able to minister with power and strength, not ours but his. Praise gives us deep, deep, deep appreciation for the grace of God, and that motivates you for life.

And the more you are realistic about our failures and inadequacies, the more you can comprehend the depth of God's graciousness toward you, and the more you comprehend God's graciousness toward you, the more delight in yourself you are in the strength of God, and the more you delight yourself in Christ's strength, the more effective you are for Christ, and that is why the Word of God exhorts us to focus on praising the character of God, the attributes of God. And I'll be unpacking that in the next many weeks. Look at the samples of the men of God in the Scripture. If you ask Isaiah, "What is your life's purpose"? In 43:20, he would say, "That I might proclaim his praises".

If you ask Peter, after being restored and repentant of his denial of his Savior, and you ask him, "What is the life's purpose, Peter"? After restoration, he would say in 1 Peter chapter 1, verses 6 and 7, "That I may bring praise, glory, and honor to Christ Jesus my Lord". If you ask the Apostle Paul, "What is your life's purpose"? In Ephesians 1, he would say, "To the praise of his glory," praising his character. See that's what glory means. "Glory" doesn't mean fireworks and all kinds of stuff. "Glory" is the character of God, and when you praise of his glory, it's you praising his character. If you ask our Lord Jesus Christ, "What would happen if your people do not praise you"? He would've said to us in Luke 19:38-40, "If you don't praise me, the stones will. The stones will".
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