• Impact

    The God of the Impossible!

    Genesis 17:15-17; 18:9-15; 21:1-7 Time: 2067–2066 b.c. Place: Canaan   Lesson Aim: To learn that God can do what we consider impossible.   Introduction   Promises have fallen on hard times. Once, a person’s word was as certain a guarantee as you could get. Then spoken words became suspect, and the written contract was born. Now we’ve spurned even that symbol of trust. Today it seems there is no contract that can’t be broken in the name of more money, better business, or newer priorities. As it is commonly said, nothing’s ever an absolute guarantee—that is, except God’s Word. When the Lord made His promise to Abraham that Sarah would…

  • Engage

    How to Maintain Hope Amidst Closed Doors

    When you’re navigating a season of closed doors, it’s hard to have hope. Every door of opportunity that closes feels like yet another letdown. If you’re really honest, every closed door feels like a letdown from the Lord.  The year 2016 was such a season for us. My husband and I were pursuing the possibility of having children, both biological and adoptive. Given our marrying later in life, we had our ages working against us. But we tried to have a biological child anyway. What happened, as a result, was a difficult season of infertility and loss. The door of having a biological child had closed. Concurrently, we pursued domestic…

  • Impact

    Paul’s Damascus Road Experience and Its Consequences

    The Lord’s mission of reaching the lost through Paul (Saul) began with his conversion from Christian-hater to devout disciple. The account, which forms a significant part of the apostle’s life and legacy, is described in three places in Acts (9:1–19; 22:2–21; 26:9–18). The basic narrative is the same in each case, but there are slight differences in the details in each telling of the account.   After persecuting the believers in Jerusalem, Saul decided to go after those Christians who had fled the city, to bring them back to face trial before the Sanhedrin and possible execution (9:1–2; 22:4–5; 26:9–11). On the road near Damascus (9:3), about noon one day…

  • Impact

    Jacob’s dream at Bethel

    Title: Jacob’s dream at Bethel Aim: To recognize that God is always with us, even in life’s seemingly darkest, fear-inducing moments. Scripture: Genesis 28:10–22   Jacob’s remarkable dream: Genesis 28:10-15   We learned last week how Esau bartered away his inheritance rights to Jacob (Gen. 25:29-34). Sometime later, Jacob used blackmail and deceit to take Esau’s blessing from him (27:1-40).    Officially, Jacob was now the more prominent of the two brothers, and Esau detested Jacob for it. Esau’s grudge was so intense that he wanted to kill Jacob.    Esau knew he could never profit from murdering his fraternal twin while their father still lived. Esau guessed that Isaac…

  • Impact

    Abraham, characterized by unwavering obedience

    Title: Abraham, characterized by unwavering obedience Aim: To encourage trusting God through life’s tests. Scripture: Genesis 22:1–19   God’s stark command to Abraham, Genesis 22:1–2   In Genesis 20, we see Abraham repeating a sin he had committed earlier (12:10-20). Specifically, after moving into the Negev, Abraham again identified Sarah as his sister in order to protect himself.   Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah into his harem. Before long, God warned Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham.   For a second time, Abraham found himself reprimanded by a pagan king for lying. Yet, then Abimelech gave Abraham such material benefits as sheep, cattle, and slaves, along with clearing…

  • Impact

    Abraham, characterized by unwavering obedience

    Title: Abraham, characterized by unwavering obedience Aim: To encourage trusting God through life’s tests. Scripture: Genesis 22:1–19   God’s stark command to Abraham, Genesis 22:1–2   In Genesis 20, we see Abraham repeating a sin he had committed earlier (12:10-20). Specifically, after moving into the Negev, Abraham again identified Sarah as his sister in order to protect himself.   Abimelech, the king of Gerar, took Sarah into his harem. Before long, God warned Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham.   For a second time, Abraham found himself reprimanded by a pagan king for lying. Yet, then Abimelech gave Abraham such material benefits as sheep, cattle, and slaves, along with clearing…

  • Heartprints

    The Process is the Point

    I am a “cut to the chase” kind of girl. I like to take the shortest route and find the end as quickly and efficiently as possible. If I can skip a step or two and come to a viable conclusion—perfect! Done.   But, last year, at a writer’s conference, I was challenged with these words by Lysa TerKeurst, “The process is the point.” These are the kind of words that keep popping back into frame as I rush through life and bemoan my circumstances. They echo in my mind as though God Himself fashioned those words just for me.  The process is the point. The trials are relevant. Our…

  • Engage

    Maundy Thursday: A Covenant of Hope

    The room was dark, somber, even gloomy. Heaviness clung to the air and caught in their throat. The disciples didn’t understand what would transpire in the following hours. But they sensed a growing somberness about Jesus and growing uncertainty within themselves.  For the past several days, Jesus increasingly talked about his death. And now, as the gathered round the Passover table, the theme emerged again.  Jesus picked up the bread and broke it—his body, he said. Then he passed the cup, telling them to each take a drink. This wasn't like the other Passovers that the disciples had celebrated since youth. There was something new and different about this one.…

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    Why Peter Would NOT Want a Wife Today to Call Her Husband “Lord”

    In Peter’s instruction to wives with disobedient husbands, Sarah, one of the godly woman of old who hoped in God, is singled out as modeling virtue. Her “adornment,” as was true of that of the other holy women, manifested itself in submission to her husband. And according to Peter, in her submission Sarah goes so far as to call Abraham “lord.”   But strangely, the only time the Old Testament describes Sarah calling Abraham “lord” is in the context of an off-hand comment she makes in response to the revelation that she will become pregnant by him when they are quite old (Gen. 18:12). She scoffs and asks if she…