Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inspirational Message

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.

Before the break of daylight, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came running and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord! What a joyful event that must have been even though it was still dark. How did Mary Magdalene react to seeing an empty tomb? As shocked as she must been at that time, she ran quickly to meet Him! She first noticed how the stone had been taken away from the sepulcher, and wondered where her Lord had been laid. What did the empty tomb mean to Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter and to all others who were gathered? What does it mean to us today?

All who saw the linen cloths and the napkin on His head believed. They still did not understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. To us today as our faith is ever increasing, we can join in with the words of the prophet Isaiah who said we have been redeemed by the Lord, called by name and that we are His! What will He do for us in trying times? He is with us at all times. Some startling examples from Isaiah may include passing through waters (deep troubles), through rivers (more troubles) and through fire (hopeless situations).

Isaiah 43 tells us to fear not for the Lord is with us and that He will not let high waters (troubles) overflow us nor let us be burned by flames (more troubles) that might kindle upon us! But Mary Magdalene stood nearby weeping as she saw two angels who had been placed there by God just as He does so many times for us today as we too hear His voice and need angelic help. Jesus later said “… blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John tells us that Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not recorded in the Bible. These however are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that we may have eternal life through Him.

Everyone who saw Jesus after the Resurrection believed, including Thomas who needed specific physical evidence. Today we see proof of Jesus’ presence daily in all phases of our lives. From joyous occasions to times of tearful weeping, we must see Jesus as the answer to our prayers. The empty tomb is definitely not the end of the story. Mary Magdalene told the disciples what she had seen and heard and was willing to share with believers. Let us continue to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.

Can we imagine being in a locked room and Jesus appearing anyway? Thomas and other disciples met and Jesus appeared and stood among them. Jesus can be anywhere we need Him. Let us strive to be ready to receive His commission as disciples to do His will and receive His salvation!

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.

A centurion was a Roman soldier who maintained the hardened battle weary hearts of others. As a high ranking army officer, he might have been a commander over a company of 100 men. When Jesus entered Capernaum, an army officer came up to Him and asked that his servant be healed. This story extends our belief in the powerful resource of faith in Jesus Christ. Can our faith be hindered? What can cause doubts? Thinking about the goodness of Jesus Christ can create such a long list of positive events in our lives. Satan could have put doubts in the centurion’s mind and made him not confess the need of Jesus Christ in his life! He could have felt self-sufficient and thought of himself as being in control of his servant’s situation.

How and why was Jesus impressed with the centurion’s faith? Was his request made with humility? As an eyewitness, the Roman centurion assisted at the cruel crucifixion itself. As we try to imagine what he saw and felt, may the grace and mercy of Christ grasp our hearts frequently in ways that transform us deeply just as it did that centurion! With the gift of faith ever before us, let us consider the life of a career soldier, the centurion at the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior.

In the Roman army the centurion held the highest rank a soldier could have achieved. The Roman centurion who witnessed the trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ saw more than words can ever explain. Perhaps he heard things that we cannot imagine. We know what he saw through Scriptures and we have been amazed!

With an unusual confession to Jesus Christ, the centurion told us that this was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. Only God could have given him, a Roman soldier, this foresight. In our time, we too can kneel and embrace the Christ who died for us. God can make this possible. In these short four verses we get a vivid picture. Is seeing believing? This Roman soldier and leader of 100 men saw that his servant needed help.

Here we see humility and trust in Jesus Christ. In humility, the centurion asked Jesus to speak healing words to his servant (Matthew 8:8-10). Jesus praised the centurion’s faith. He would not call Jesus into his home because that would have made Him ceremonially unclean. The servant was healed immediately! It is wonderful when we can trust the Savior just like the centurion. What Jesus Christ said, he believed. No matter how great our position is on earth, it is no match to the divine power of our Master!

Jesus is the only One whom all of us can depend on for incredible healings and other miracles; meanwhile let us continue to praise His holy name. Tell others about the goodness of Jesus, the healer, because He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. The New Testament centurion learned to believe and trust 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.

The book of Jeremiah contains much about his emotionally tortured life as a prophet. Through his predictions, Jeremiah pointed to the sensitivity of the Lord and the care of His people. God let Jeremiah know early in life that he was set apart for His service. Jeremiah was definitely a prophet who endured hardships to do the will of God. He was willing to stick with a task against all odds. Forty years were spent by Jeremiah delivering messages for God.

Idolatry caused many problems. The people of Israel and Judah had done evil deeds from their youth and provoked God’s wrath by burning incense and pouring drink offerings to their idol gods! The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 33:3). The NIV or KJV may say it with more understanding, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” (KJV of Jeremiah 33:3).

When King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Babylon, life must have been almost unbearable for the prophet Jeremiah as the king, the officers of the priests and other people were extremely unfaithful to God. Some leaders considered Jeremiah a traitor and had him imprisoned!

Let us view the special calling God had on Jeremiah. The word of the Lord came to the prophet saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5-7). This was when Jeremiah used the excuse of being a child and therefore explained his inability to speak and also explained his inexperience to serve God. Does God ask us for age or experience? Does he put any limits on our activities in His name? The power of God’s presence and His provisions allowed Jeremiah to have been used. God even put words in Jeremiah’s mouth (Jeremiah 1:9). Because He is all-knowing, God can arrange the directions for our lives before we are born. What a mighty God we serve!

Jeremiah’s obedience to God included not marrying so he would not have to see his children suffer. He sent a message of hope and future return to those living in exile. Jeremiah had to depend on God’s love as he developed endurance. His people were probably antagonistic or apathetic to his messages. He saw spiritual awakening and the sorrow of a return to idolatry. King after king ignored Jeremiah’s warnings. People were led away from God. How does this information relate to us today? Do we have problems persevering? Most people have felt like giving up at one time or another in a relationship, at work, during a task at home or during an illness. We must continue to ask God for help with all problems and trials of today. God knows what is best for us.

Finally what Jeremiah predicted happened. Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed by Babylon, and the people were taken as captives. Jeremiah’s contemporaries refused to change. He was called the weeping prophet because he was so sad over what happened to his country. Is it ever too late to change? Sometimes it is too late to avoid the consequences! If we refuse to change, there may be more trouble ahead.

God gave Jeremiah promises of restoration that may also give us hope for some of today’s problems. We must continue to call on God and trust Him for His love endures forever as He continues to be called the Lord of our righteousness!

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.

She was Aaron’s wife and sister-in-law to Moses and Miriam. Comments are limited about Elisheba in the Bible, but she was probably well known to the Israelites as wife of Aaron; the high priest. She was the mother of four sons after marrying Aaron. Leviticus 10:1-2 describes the death of her first two sons. Instead of following God’s instructions in worship, they made an unauthorized incense offering. God punished them and they were consumed by fire. It is a known fact that soon after the incident, God warned Aaron and his sons not to drink before worship (Leviticus 10:8-11). Scholars of biblical studies wonder if they were drunk at that time when worship rituals were really taken seriously by all Israelites.

The women of the Bible studied in several categories. We know about named, unnamed, wives, daughters, daughters-in-law, mothers, widows and other women. We are all very important to God. Whether we as women are mentioned in books, have been award winners or have been known worldwide, God cares, His son died for us and therefore we have not been forgotten by Him! Since we are guided by our Creator to do His will because we have a special connection to Him. We are to reach out to others and to help them understand God’s role in their lives.

In our time, we as Christian mothers may faithfully witness to our children. Sometimes we can help them and often we are unable to get their attention. With this family, God provided for us a positive role model in Elisheba, as a believing mother, with great blessings. Eleazar, Elisheba’s third son, honored his parents’ faith by following in their footsteps. He became the head of the Levites and then became a high priest in Aaron’s place. What is the value of godly role models? God may have put certain people in places of authority to have helped Moses and Aaron as well as the assistance we need today. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor. Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there” (Numbers 20:23-26). With childhood to adult observations of Moses and Aaron before helping Joshua with whom he was paired to lead the Israelites into the promised land. As a trusted advisor, Eleazar, probably supervised everything in the tabernacle. We, as modern-day believers, can continue to ask God to point out helpers, advisors and valuable role-models to help us fulfill His will in our lives. God puts people in our lives to help prepare us for His work. We can also ask God to help us persevere. Thank Him for His compassion and everlasting love, forgiveness and patience with wisdom to share helpful information with others.

All women of God want to be proud mothers, but if that is not possible we can be role models to children in the family and in our communities and add on foreign mission sponsorships. Since we continue to look to God, who is always in control, we can follow Elisheba’s example and be proud of His unexpected positive blessings of parenthood!

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.

Abraham’s life was filled with many examples of a man who saw God as his protector. Are there risks in not putting our faith in God? Was our faith more important in the ancient world than it is presently? “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went” (Hebrews 11:8). God can give us security with all moves that we make. Faith gave Abraham his security.

Abraham’s faith pleased God who made him the founder of the Jewish nation. His name was originally Abram and God changed his name to Abraham to indicate a clear separation from the pagan world (Genesis 17:5). The new name, according to biblical history means “father of multitudes” which was part of God’s promise to Abraham that he would have many descendants. He saw a significant test of faith in God with the birth of Isaac, his promised son. He was 99 years old at the time (Genesis 11:30; 17:1-14).

Abraham’s story begins in Genesis 11, where his family’s relationships are recorded. How did God describe Abraham? Verse 6 in Genesis 15 tells us that Abraham believed the Lord who counted him as being righteous because of his faith. He was undoubtedly respected by others and became more successful after his faith increased. This fact is a major important message to us as we seek ways to follow God’s rules.

In this story we also learn that God desires dependence with faith increasing in Him and certainly faith in our ability to please Him. We must continue to ask Him for wisdom and strength as often as possible. God’s plan has always been to make Himself known to all of us.

His biographical sketch is mostly told from the book of Genesis, but Abraham is also mentioned in Exodus 2:24; Luke 3:34; Acts 7:2-8 and in other known references. Was Abraham young at the time he followed God’s plan? NO, he was 74 years old! We know that God can use us at any age or time that we make ourselves available. How was Abraham’s faith best recognized? How about his being a blessing to all families of the earth as stated in Genesis 12:3? With God’s promise of an heir who was not Abraham’s servant, (Genesis 15:4), a covenant was created insuring all that he needed to fulfill this well-known promise. Also in Genesis 15 God promised to be Abraham’s shield and reward while being asked not to be fearful.

At age 99 the Lord appeared to Abraham as written in Genesis 17 and reaffirmed His covenant promise of a son from him and his aged wife. How did Abraham respond? He laughed in disbelief! Scientific information would render the promise comical, but with God all things are possible at any time.

Because of the many fascinating and important events in Abraham’s life, when some of Abraham’s trials and victories are read, they may speak to our own situations. We can learn so much about this man whose life has inspired many. May we be challenged to grow in faith as we continue reading Scriptures!

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.