Friday, June 23, 2017

Inspirational Message

In the time of Jesus, Jews were not to associate with Gentiles. Scripture tells us that Cornelius’ prayers and gifts to the poor had come up as a memorial offering before God. In a vision God had told Cornelius to send for Peter. God had also told Peter profoundly in a vision to go with the messengers. How was God obeyed by these early first century Christians? Those men followed God’s commands and took fellow believers with them. Jews were supposed to avoid non-Jews who were considered spiritually impure and unfit for worshipping God until they converted to Judaism. Peter’s vision explained otherwise. Peter said, “God has shown me that I should never think of anyone as impure or unclean (Acts 10:28).”

How did God’s word spread among the believers? When Peter told Cornelius about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the soldier and his family became active followers. Was there a language barrier? How did everyone understand? Suddenly all who heard the message began speaking in a strange language! Peter and the followers of Jesus Christ recognized this as God’s work and baptized everyone!

A military commander was chosen by God as a Gentile convert to Christianity. Was it because of his respectfulness? Did God see potential in Cornelius for Christian growth? For all his authority, note the respect Cornelius showed Peter. How can we learn from this story of Cornelius and Peter’s examples to be better messengers for God today? Does Satan cause doubts and disobedience to God’s word?

God allowed Cornelius to use several titles such as a centurion of the Italian Regiment along with being a devout and fearful servant working with his whole household. He always prayed to God. In a clear vision from God, he saw an angel who told him how his prayers and acts of charity had come up as a memorial offering before God. God directed Peter to visit Cornelius just as He puts people in our lives to help us understand our mission in this world. God’s message was revealed to Peter in verses 17-23 and he followed the commands of the Holy Spirit through three men who had been looking for him. He went downstairs and accompanied them with no doubts at all because he saw their godliness. Peter ministered to Cornelius and other followers.

Can we too be divinely directed to fulfill a mission for God? Are we sometimes appointed by God through His holy angels to do good work? God knows what we need even before we ask Him. In a visionary state, Cornelius and Peter saw God making a way out of no way to solve their problems in Acts 10. Today’s events can also be controlled by the power of God. Let us continue to trust Him and not lean on our own understanding. Read and learn how Cornelius was blessed after he sent for Peter when the message arrived from God’s angel! God’s power prevailed in the lives and works of Cornelius and Peter. Our charitable deeds and prayer requests for the benefits of others will always be multiplied and expanded by God, our Creator!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

In the second book of Moses called Exodus, God gave many commandments. God listened to Moses’ excuses and continued to impress upon him the assignments already ordained. Moses was made a leader under God who provided everything needed for the solving of problems endured in Hebrew slavery under Egyptian rules (Exodus 6:5-8). God made Himself known to Moses.

Like us, Moses made excuses for his inability to follow God’s requests. How did God help Moses? He commanded Aaron, his brother, to function as a prophet and a spokesman. Miracles of signs and wonders are listed in chapter 7. Moses was called at age 80 and died at age 120. Most importantly, God promised freedom, but Moses feared unbelief of God’s people. As humans, we too have experienced periods of doubt at various times. How did God make Himself known to us? How is God real in our lives today? Even when we know God’s word, we stray away and lean too much on our own understanding when we should be trusting God completely. Realizing the limitations of our wisdom, let us continue asking for God’s help!

The Bible is meant to be our guidebook for human behavior with the Ten Commandments serving as broadly encompassing principals throughout the book (Exodus 20). Through repentance and when we cease to transgress God’s laws, can we be freed from consequences of sins? We can let God’s word be a light or lamp to our feet and a path of enlightenment. Without reservations, we must continue to thank God for each opportunity to obey Him.

What is God like? How do we explain Him to ourselves and to others? Our Creator is a living God and we are made in His image. The second commandment, like the first, reminds us of the protection and our special relationship with God. We know He is greater than anything we can ever see or imagine! We must never let that knowledge be pushed aside by any technology or the use of some image or likeness in our worship of God.

Other commandments require respecting God and His name, honoring the Sabbath, honoring parents, respecting human life, protecting marriage vows, forbidding thefts, being truthful and not conveting what others have. Exodus 20 and other chapters we read or listen to in our journey to eternal life, allow us to strive for profitable relationships, spiritual growth and the creation of treasures that please God! The choice is ours as we read Deuteronomy 5:29 and Psalm 1:1-3 which summarize how everything can be well with us now and in the world to come.

God can and will empower us to stand for Him, to submit to Him and to resist the temptations of Satan that stop us from serving Him. Moses was by no means perfect, but wanted to please God in many ways. When a crisis occurred, Moses simply submitted to God, His Creator. We also can continue to ask him to fix us, to give us that same bold faith and to thank Him in our prayers. Remember true happiness comes as we obey the commandments and trust in the goodness of God!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

At times when life may seem unfair to us, we can think of our commitment to God’s will. It is easy to get frustrated as we watch others who don’t care about Him, but seem to do well in life. This can make us feel cheated. Have we been good for nothing? Will there ever be a reward for our efforts?

This psalm shows us the results of allowing self-pity to engulf us. The psalmist evidently became depressed when he compared the seemingly prosperity of the wicked with the difficulties of trying to live a righteous life. In the first 10 verses he speaks boastfully about the known prosperity of the ungodly. Asaph also questioned God’s wisdom. In verses 2 and 3, Asaph lost faith by envying the foolish and worrying about the prosperity of the wicked. Doubt in God is seen in verse 11 when Asaph said, “Is there knowledge in the MOST HIGH?” In the end God creates slippery places for the ungodly and allows them to travel down destructive paths. They can be consumed with terrors (verse 19)!

So Asaph became spiritually alert after realizing how wrong he was to have questioned God’s goodness and mercy. With faith Asaph said, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my potion forever (verses 25-26).” Is God only in one place? “Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and the earth?” (Jeremiah 23: 23-24). “Can anyone hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth?” God is everywhere and sees everything. Believing this allows us to live according to God’s Word without doubting his existence. He never grows faint or weary. No person can measure His understanding. He gives power to those who are tired; he offers strength to the weak as told in Isaiah 40:27-31. God is absolutely a full-time worker for all of us!

At one time, Asaph felt that it was worthless to be faithful to God when he said, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean.” Asaph, to his own surprise, found the answer in the sanctuary! The key may be to contemplate the end or the outcome of the lives of the arrogant and the faithful. How does God enlighten our understanding about the destiny of man? Always know that God has set the arrogant in slippery places so that they are destroyed in a moment (verses 18-19). When we are tempted to harbor bitter thoughts, we, like Asaph, can ask God to keep us near Him. Even when Asaph felt like a beast, God still had a firm hold on his faithful servant continually. The godly people can be satisfied because they are near God and have Him as the strength of their hearts.

By verse 11, Asaph realized that God was his strength and potion forever. He revealed his inside turmoil when he envied the wicked who seemed to have been arrogant or boastful in their time of prosperity. Finally, he realized that God guides us with his word and will receive us into glory where heavenly honors await the faithful.

As humans we may find ourselves not understanding the justice of God, His goodness, and feel that He will not know about our shortcomings. How wonderful it is to be near God, to find protection with the Lord and to proclaim all that He has done!

This Psalm of Asaph outlines the tragedy of the wicked, and the blessedness of our trust in God. It is good for us to draw near to God and to put our trust in Him so that we can continue to testify about His works locally and abroad. Like the psalmist, let us praise God for His presence in this life and His promise of the life to come (verses 25-28). He is all we need, even when life seems unfair!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

David was known extensively throughout the Middle East as a warrior King. He defeated all of Israel’s enemies! Only thirty years of age when he began reigning as king, he completed a forty year term. As we read Samuel 1 and 2 we can easily conclude that God helped David establish Israel as a strong nation capable of securing its borders against enemies. 2 Samuel 22 expresses David’s praises to God for His deliverance from enemies in a song of praise which also is repeated in Psalm 18. This Psalm of David describes his feelings on the day that the Lord delivered him from all of his enemies. 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 are quite similar in recognition of God’s help for the Israelites and for us today in our stressful situations. None of us can ever thank God enough for all He has done for us or for all He will do in the future!

According to 2 Samuel 7: 1-13, was there a transition by God in David’s life? This was somewhat of a peaceful period of time from David’s enemies. David wanted to house the ark of God. Nathan used a parable to show David his weaknesses and their consequences of sin against God (2 Samuel 7: 2-13). What had God promised David in a covenant? Some possible answers may include securing a permanent dwelling place for the Israelites, to establish David’s house (family/dynasty) forever, allowing Solomon, David’s son, to build the temple after his death, and that this son’s throne and kingdom would last throughout eternity! These promises were later known through Solomon, David’s son and successor.

We learn of a partial glimpse of the new covenant that Jesus Christ later established. How is God’s covenant with David fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the new covenant? First and foremost, Jesus is a son of David and His kingdom is forever! Jesus’ blood sealed the new covenant. He is the key provider for the forgiveness of sins. David saw himself as a warrior-king, a flawed family man with several wives, a father, King of Israel and he much later became an ancestor to Jesus Christ. David was Israel’s greatest king, but with major flaws. 2 Samuel 7 describes how God reminded King David of how far He had brought him from being a shepherd to the throne of Israel. God knows when and how to exalt all of us.

Is it worthwhile to give God the honor and glory for our progress? God has allowed us to enhance our talents, our productive services to others, and to edify fellow human beings in our Christian endeavors. God has brought us from selfish purposeless lives into dynamic service for Him. We could never have done for ourselves what God has done for us! We must, in all fairness, give God unlimited praise and honor often. Just thinking of the goodness of God should inspire us to want to give back to God as we have been blessed.

When we read 2 Samuel 7: 18-29, we should be impressed with David’s sense of amazement towards God’s past blessings and hints of more awesome blessings that will be coming in the future. Of course it is impossible for us to visualize the concept of eternal life. We are painfully aware of our short comings like David was in Psalm 18, but we try to remain faithful to God.

From one time to another we must confess to occasions when our faith has grown weak and our obedience has been imperfect. God never wavers in His faithfulness to His covenant promises. How can we grow stronger spiritually? We can spend more time studying God’s word with other like-minded believers wherever we are situated. Let us continue to be careful not to despise the commandments of God and not to do evil in His sight (2 Samuel 12:9).

It may be helpful to remember that faithful people may still sin. Repentance does bring forgiveness from God, but it does not eliminate the consequences of sin. Our consequences may come in the form of physical, mental, financial, or otherwise. Only God determines our punishments.

We should frequently remind ourselves that earth’s death-shadowed existence will become a glorious life of endless hopes and joys in Jesus Christ. Meditate on many Biblical assurances of God’s faithfulness, knowing that we can prevail over doubts and follow God through His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

Paul urged the Romans in the first century AD, to become a living sacrifice by presenting their bodies holy and acceptable unto God. His message is advising us today to live in the same manner. Paul continued by letting us know that this is true and proper worship.

Can Christ, our Savior, bring new life to us? Are we affected by people around us? Paul has asked us not to conform to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to let God change our thinking. With this wisdom, we will know how to do good and how to please God! Choosing to love Jesus Christ more than self can be a continual lifetime decision.

How does God want us to evaluate ourselves? How are we to think? Jesus Christ brings new life when we think of His kindness. In this passage of scripture, we learn to not think more highly of ourselves in comparison to others. Let us measure ourselves by the amount of faith that God has given us. As a body of believers, we are made of many parts and each of them has its own use. The same principle applies to us today. There are many of us, but we are a part of the body of Christ as well as a part of one another.

How have we been blessed in special ways? God has given us different gifts to use. Being good to others should be done in a cheerful pleasant manner. Let us rejoice that we can help others. It may be well to learn to use the power inside us to believe that all things are possible with God’s help. Jesus Christ came to us on a mission for God. His sacrifice is an offer of salvation for all of us. By His word we are thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Is it possible for us to humble ourselves and act in faith on what He has spoken? What can be done to rid our minds of selfish thoughts? We can always humble ourselves before God, ask for forgiveness for all sins and ask to become more conscious of His presence which can flood us with unconditional love for all mankind!

During an absolute worst time in our lives, God’s love can consume us and help us overcome our many weaknesses. Why not pray to receive Jesus as our savior and to rejoice with others when spiritual growth is observed in a new relationship with the Lord? It is never too late ask, believe and to receive God’s love? What an awesome display of unconditional concern! God is an extravagant giver! He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation. Christ generously sacrificed Himself for us the helpless pathetic sinners.

Let us continue asking God for help in expressing our love to Him. We can humbly use our own words to praise and exalt Him daily. Consider His goodness and thank Him for changes in our lives. We can acknowledge His presence throughout the day. With God’s love and help, we can pass through life’s adversities alive and prospering in Him!

Life in God’s service includes using our gifts for His glory. Our love for others must be sincere. We undoubtedly must hate evil and hold onto what is good while being patient and prayerful at all times. Imagine yourself asking God to bless those who persecute us! Is it possible to show the same concern for everyone? We are also asked to live peacefully with others and not to repay evil for bad deeds. Evil must not conquer us, but we are to overcome evil with good. Let us live as closely as possible by God’s word. With inner strength and courage, we can defy all storms of life. Jesus Christ makes us strong and most assuredly undefeatable!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

The word of God let Haggai know that blessings existed for a defiled people! God continued with a Messianic promise when He spoke in verse 9: “In a little while I will once more shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory of the former house – and in this house I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty.” Here Jesus Christ was promised hundreds of years before. His actual birth!

Haggai was sometimes called the one year prophet because God gave him a specific mission that required the deliverance of four known messages during a simple year. By 520 BC Haggai spoke to the Jews who had been home from their Babylonian exile for several years. They were severely criticized for securing their own comfort while leaving the rebuilding of the temple unfinished. Haggai wanted them to put God first.

Spiritual conditions were compared to the incomplete temple. Their relationship with God was in shambles and needed restoration. Haggai assured the people that a healed relationship with God would result in outstanding benefits that had been forgotten during the time of neglect. What does this information tell us? What may be the benefit(s) of obeying God (Haggai 2)? According to Haggai 1:13, this message was given to the people: “I am with you” declares the Lord. A whole remnant of people obeyed God. Their spirits were stirred and they began to work immediately on the house of the Lord!

With God’s help, great and mighty things can be done through His people. This temple would have more glory because Jesus Christ would preach in it Himself! The people believed the truth of the prophetic message of Haggai from God.

There is no doubt that God saw their problems vanish after He said, “From this day on I will bless you” (Haggai 2:18-19). How did Haggai describe a defiled people? Verses 13-17 tell us how consideration can be given to previous conditions before stones were laid, all hand work was met with disasters of blight and mildew and other problems, but they did not turn to God. Now, there is no guarantee that if you make a habit of responding to what God says all your problems will disappear. There is one thing promised, if we put our belief in God’s word and reposition ourselves so that He can bless us and it will happen. Let us turn to God and His plans for our everlasting blessings!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

Jochebed, Moses’ mother, evidently possessed faith in the promises of God. We find it interesting to note how her children also served God, their creator. It is difficult to trace her life’s activities, but we must agree that she was an outstanding mother and a prime example of great faith. Though she has never been vividly described in the Bible, she nevertheless became an unforgettable mother to her son Moses, her daughter Miriam and to her older son Aaron. How wisely did she serve as a mother? This story focuses on a mother’s love. Before Moses was born, the Pharaoh had issued a royal order to midwives to unflinchingly kill all Hebrew boys at birth. She did not let the Pharaoh determine the fate of her baby! This was somewhat similar to King Herod who, centuries later, made the same demand in Bethlehem to destroy all males 2 years or less at the time of Jesus’ birth.

We will probably never know how Moses’ life was spared during the first three months. In spite of all man-made laws, God saved some Hebrew people so that Israel’s deliverance would be accomplished. We can honestly imagine that she used all measures of security to have hidden her baby son three months. Surely she leaned on God’s wisdom during such a time as that! Jochebed anxiously saved Moses by creating a watertight ark and with faith in God’s compassion, left her baby to float close to the dangerous current of the Nile River. What a muscle-tightened experience! Can we describe the courage of this desperate mother? She must have thought that God would protect her child! Of course, along with faith, there was much careful rescue planning and work involved by that mother. Her faith was rewarded because no harm came to her child as he floated in reeds.

With the help of his sister Miriam, Jochebed the mother laid her baby near the Nile River’s bank. What could have calmed that mother’s heart but prayer? As customary as it was, surely God had Pharaoh’s daughter to come down and bathe at the right time that day! Patience allowed Jochebed, a motherly genius, who has been widely admired for her quest to save her son with God’s help. In Exodus 2:6, the baby Moses was identified by Pharaoh’s daughter as a Hebrew child. God had his sister, Miriam, to stay on stand-by and she asked that a Hebrew woman nurse the baby (Exodus 2:7-8). How much joy Jochebed must have felt when she was asked to care for her own child whose life was saved by God? Never forget that God can create an undeniable escape plan for any of us when man says nothing is possible. Call on Him and He will answer (Jeremiah 33:3). Can we trace in Moses the gentle and humble character of his devout mother? That mother had opportunities to teach him as he romped and played to trust God. No doubt she also taught him the sacred traditions of Israel and the divine promises of God.

Can we imagine the inward joy of such motherhood? Without robo-calls, let us mentally view these unsettling moments in Israel and hear God’s word. Because of the early training by Jochebed, a Levite mother, Moses resisted the temptations of idolatry with the Egyptians. He remembered his mother’s faith in God and remained a Hebrew all of his life. Certainly his mother’s teachings enabled Moses to leave the palace and accept God’s calling to lift the burden of oppression off his own race. We do not have biblical information to verify Jochebed’s witness of Moses’ greatness, but we do know that she had the satisfaction as a mother of promoting great spiritual truths in his mind during those most formative years of his development. As a mother she also instilled faith in her other children. Thank God for motherhood. Being modern mothers, let us continue to provide opportunities for spiritual enrichment with all children in our presence. Let God provide happiness in our Mother’s Day celebrations!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

As Christians, we are often shaped by faithful followers of Christ in our lives. Paul reminded Timothy of the teachings he received from his mother Eunice and from his grandmother Lois to let the faith and love of Jesus Christ be his models for life. Timothy was charged by Paul to oppose false teachers. Old Testament prophecies helped Timothy to hold on to faith and good conscience which some have rejected. This story lets us know how the parental roles of mother and grandmother can impact younger generations in our families. Their lives powerfully influenced Timothy as he later became a surrogate son of Paul and a partner in spreading the Gospel.

Paul encouraged Timothy to be true to his Christian heritage by boldly declaring the sound doctrine he learned from family. Timothy recognized the source of his spiritual heritage. It may be wise for us to share our faith with others in younger and older generations. Timothy later reminded followers of Christ not be ashamed to testify about our Lord and Savior. He also tells us how the power of God has saved us and called us to a holy life, not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace. To Timothy, Christianity was a family affair as they used sincere faith. Undoubtedly Paul never hesitated to point out family strength and influence.

In 2 Timothy 1:12-14, there is no doubt a testimony of Paul’s willingness to trust God completely. This is a powerful passage of Scripture about the way God works through those of us whom the world tends to overlook. It was most profoundly made known that Timothy’s faith grew from his household. We can experience faith as it is nurtured in many ways. The dramatic experience of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9) was far different from Timothy’s witness of God using family to bring such faith into being.

We continue to rely on God and His power, not the power of materialism or privileges. God provides opportunities for birth and growth for new generations of faith-filled people.
What about us and the new people we encounter? Much has been entrusted to us by God. When we use places of worship and missions in which we engage in our communities, our faith is certainly the key to seize great opportunities to encourage those who depend upon their examples as Christians. For all God does, let us continue to be grateful and faithful that we will always be in His care. How can we prepare a fruitful journey with faith?

1. We can pray that our Christian heritage remains true to God’s will for our lives.
2. Continue Bible study on a regular basis.
3. Try to develop Christian character traits.
4. Seek and be alert for opportunities to bear witness to our faith peacefully.
5. Remember how happy our home can be with God’s love and protection.

With the strength of God, we can go forth as servants in whom the Lord delights by the power of His Spirit! Lois and Eunice never knew that their faith legacy would have lasted more than 2,000 years. How can young people be more influenced by our positive examples of faith? Paul’s letters to Timothy still guide Christians young and old today!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

This story begins with the power of God being made known without the help of man! When God set up plans of action for Daniel, they were never destroyed. No king such as Nebuchadnezzar or Darius could have overpowered God’s work through Daniel. At one point in the history of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar worshipped Daniel as the messenger of God. Eventually Daniel was promoted to being ruler of the entire province of Babylon. Did he accept this honor alone? Did Daniel forget his friends and their support in their earlier captivity? He definitely requested the promotion of Shadrach, Meshach and also Abed-nego, his special friends. Their faith was certainly tried and they refused to fall down at the King’s command and worship a golden image which he had set up (Daniel 3). Even in the fiery furnace they were not injured because the Son of God walked with them and prevented all harm. Remember what happened to the king’s helpers who tried to destroy them? They were killed by the same flames! With great faith in God, we have nothing to fear. God is all powerful. He is an awesome promise-keeper and a heavenly Father who watches over us every day. What affect did the fiery furnace deliverance have on Nebuchadnezzar? He was humbled by what he saw of the power of God. He learned to trust God eventually and demanded others to do the same.

God can warn us in many ways of dangers and possible downfalls. Daniel saw a vision of a flourishing tree cut down in a dream with a stump left for seven years surrounded by grass and beasts of the field (Daniel 4). Nebuchadnezzar called on all the great thinkers of his time, but they could not interpret this dream of a tree. These were men of every language. The king described God’s great signs and wonders. He continued by telling about his comforts and prosperity with contentment. God gave Daniel this gift to explain to the king, to make him see himself as great to people, but helpless before God to whom he must acknowledge that the MOST HIGH is sovereign over men and their kingdoms and gives them to anyone He wishes! Daniel continued by telling the king how the vision of the command to leave the stump of the tree with roots meant that his kingdom would be restored to him when God was recognized and that heaven rules! He was also asked to admit his sins and to do what was right that his prosperity would continue…

The king probably had no idea that the answers he needed could have come from Daniel who was only interested in pleasing God. Daniel was a teenager, a hostage in Babylon when he had to decide to stand up for what he believed or join in pagan ways. His obedience to God paid off. Did Daniel forsake the prayers three times each day or the worship of his God? He knew the consequences but still trusted God at all times.

Daniel never asked for wealth of prestige. As we read of the loyalty of Daniel to God, does this cause us to walk so close to God that unbelievers recognize it? Our convictions can be hard to follow at times. We can witness or say no when asked to join in questionable activities. How can we earn respect and honor from others? What did Daniel’s three friends say when they were threatened with death? “The God we serve is able to save us – even if He does not – we will not serve your gods.” When we face tough situations, we know that God is able to create most needed miracles. We must continue to remember that God delivers and rescues us according to His will. Let us forever praise His holy name!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

The temporary pleasure we get with some experiences and new things cannot fill the spiritual void in all of us. Only Jesus can do that! He even told us “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Throughout the life of Jesus, we know of no arrogance or self-importance in His behavior patterns. He walked humbly before God and man.

What do we learn from the crucifixion scars on the body of Jesus Christ? We know He could have had any desired resurrected body, but our study of His life would be incomplete without those nail scars on his hands and feet. His pierced side reminds us of the doubts of Thomas when Jesus asked him to stop doubting and believe (John 20:24-31).

Let us continue to thank God for the hope that the resurrection of Jesus brings for now and later for eternity. We find comfort in knowing that Jesus sacrificed His life for us. We are eternally grateful for the price Jesus paid to make salvation possible! Each day Jesus is inviting us to be a part of His story and to celebrate the new life He brings!

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has made a complete payment on a debt we could not pay. The most wonderful news ever known became alive when Mary Magdalene went to Jesus’ tomb and saw the stone had been rolled away (John 20; Mark 16; and Luke 24). No body was found. At that time, Peter and another disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life. Was Jesus seen on earth again? John 20:14 tells us that Mary Magdalene was weeping and complaining about not seeing the body of Jesus. Just as she turned around, Jesus was standing nearby! In John 20, Jesus was seen several times. He was seen by His disciples and by Thomas. Let us ask God for wisdom to understand how His punishment brought us peace and by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53). With much gratitude we accept these Scriptures. In Romans 8:28-39, Paul wrote that Christ who died and was raised to life is at the right hand of God!

Let us ask God to help us see His love through Jesus Christ, the risen Christ at work in all circumstances of our lives today. We pray that Jesus Christ will continue to be seen in good and evil times; let us recognize Him always. As we celebrate the empty tomb of Christ, we know that it guarantees victory over every sin and death. There can be a new life of great happiness knowing beyond a doubt that sin will not and cannot win!

Readings from the Gospels will help us in our spiritual journey. The readings will help us understand more about God’s love for us from these Easter stories. We will find words of encouragement and comfort and true peace throughout the year! He is risen indeed!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.