A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

God had assured Abraham that his promised offspring would come from his own body (see Genesis 15:4), but Abraham and Sarah were old enough to be heading for the nursing home, not setting up a nursery. How could God accomplish such a miracle?

Read Genesis 16. In Abraham's day, it was a shameful thing to be childless. Children provided an extra set of hands in the field and could care for their parents in their old age. And one could leave their accumulated possessions to a son and have a legacy long after they were gone. But Abraham had no children to show for all his many years.

Abraham’s importance in his society—in fact, his manhood—was at stake, and Sarah felt deeply for what would have been perceived as her husband’s disgrace. So Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child through her servant Hagar (see Genesis 16:2). Sarah wanted the world to know that the reason they were not able to have children was her fault and not her husband’s. In that sense, it was a seemingly selfless act. But it was also a sinful act.

God's miracles don't require help from us. If He makes a promise, He will keep it without any assistance from you or me. Sarah and Abraham thought they needed to lend God a hand, but all they did was create a deeply dysfunctional family situation. In fact, when Hagar's pregnancy began to show, Sarah began to resent her servant. And Hagar returned the favor! Soon, Hagar fled from Sarah's cruelty.

But God is able to bring good from anything—even sin. The angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in the desert and urged her to return to Sarah. Then He made her this promise: "I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count" (Genesis 16:10). Even when we are faithless, God is faithful. Whenever you are tempted to think that He has forgotten you, that He is not aware of your pain, I want you to remember Hagar here. Remember what she said: “You are the God who sees me” (Genesis 16:13).

Prayer: Father, help me to trust Your promises and be obedient to Your Word without taking matters into my own hands. I praise You that no one escapes Your notice, and You are faithful even when we are not. May I remember Your deep love and care for me and in turn share that with others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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