For Those Who Don’t Have Enough

Times can be hard and then seem to get even harder. Sometimes it seems the deck is stacked against you. No one wants to complain, but have you ever felt that life wasn’t fair? Maybe the challenges have impacted your spiritual life? You don’t feel like you’ve been on point with your relationship. You wonder about your standing with God. What if I told you that you are actually in one of the best places possible? Join us as we journey through the benefits of feeling like you don’t have enough.


1 Read Matthew 5:1; Luke 4:18; Isaiah 7:14 

Imagine being born to be God. This is the reality of Jesus. For about thirty years Jesus has been living day-to-day in order to be life for the universe. He has worked some miracles before His sermon in Matthew 5 but has yet to preach a sermon. Some scholars characterize this portion of His ministry His year of popularity. Can you imagine the electricity as this hometown miracle worker goes up on a mountain to preach his first sermon? 

2 Read Matthew 5:1-2; Luke 2:11; Matthew 2:1-2

There had to be rumors of Jesus being the Messiah circulating. The one that the Jews had waited for and hoped would deliver them from Roman opposition. The stories about Him turning water into wine and healing the sick had brought excitement to a fever pitch. I can only imagine that those in attendance were sure that His words would galvanize them to overthrow their tormentors. Have you ever expected something of God that may not have been what He had in mind? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

3 Read Matthew 5:3; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 12:9 

With the momentous buildup of the moment, the words that first escape Jesus’ mouth are “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” How do think the people reacted? What do you think was their first thought after hearing these words? Let us know on social media using #MessageMag 

4 “As something strange and new, these words fall upon the ears of the wondering multitude. Such teaching is contrary to all they have ever heard from priest or rabbi. They see in it nothing to flatter their pride or to feed their ambitious hopes. But there is about this new Teacher a power that holds them spellbound.” These are the words from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. Even in 2021 these words should hit us like a ton of bricks. Take some time to put yourself in the shoes of the hearers of these words. 

5 Read Matthew 5:3; Matthew 15:24; James 4:10 

The first words out of the mouth of Jesus in Matthew 5 turn upside-down what many feel about their spirituality. The implication is that the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who don’t feel they are spiritual enough. This was contrary to what the rabbis taught and very different from what many of us have gotten from church. What does it really mean to be poor in spirit? We’d love to hear your definition on social media using #MessageMag. 

6 Read Matthew 5:3; Psalm 34:18; Revelation 14:6

The everlasting Gospel that is to be shared is not one for those who are completely stable in their spirituality, but instead for those who wonder about their standing with the Lord. If you’ve ever wondered if your devotional life is where it is supposed to be, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you. If you’ve ever prayed and wondered if God heard your prayer, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you. If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t enough or had enough, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you! 

7 You are in a better place than it feels like. You may be dealing with unfair situations, exhausting circumstances, and seemingly insurmountable odds, but we want you to not give up. When you come to the end of yourself and say that “I don’t have enough” it is at that moment that you will realize that Jesus has all you need. Sometimes He allows you to become empty of yourself so that He can fill you with more than you can imagine. 

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
Subscribe –>


“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-3

 

The Kingdom of God and Heaven

A Reflection

Right On Time for Those Who Needed 

and Wanted Him Most 

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages*

As the people sat upon the green hillside, awaiting the words of the divine Teacher, their hearts were filled with thoughts of future glory. There were scribes and Pharisees who looked forward to the day when they should have dominion over the hated Romans, and possess the riches and splendor of the world’s great empire. 

The poor peasants and fishermen hoped to hear the assurance that their wretched hovels, the scanty food, the life of toil, and fear of want were to be exchanged for mansions of plenty and days of ease. In place of the one coarse garment which was their covering by day, and their blanket at night, they hoped that Christ would give them the rich and costly robes of their conquerors. All hearts thrilled with the proud hope that Israel was soon to be honored before the nations as the chosen of the Lord, and Jerusalem exalted as the head of a universal kingdom. 

Christ disappointed the hope of worldly greatness. In the Sermon on the Mount He sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education, and to give His hearers a right conception of His kingdom and of His own character. Yet He did not make a direct attack on the errors of the people. He saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known. Without combating their ideas of the kingdom of God, He told them the conditions of entrance therein, leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to its nature. The truths He taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed Him. We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God.

Christ’s first words to the people on the mount were words of blessing. Happy are they, He said, who recognize their spiritual poverty, and feel their need of redemption. The gospel is to be preached to the poor. Not to the spiritually proud, those who claim to be rich and in need of nothing, is it revealed, but to those who are humble and contrite. One fountain only has been opened for sin, a fountain for the poor in spirit. 

The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15). 

…......……………………………………………………………………………….


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

_________________

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.





The Kingdom of God and Heaven

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-3


A Reflection

Right On Time for Those Who Needed and Wanted Him Most

As

 
the people sat upon the green hillside, awaiting the words of the divine Teacher, their hearts were filled with thoughts of future glory. There were scribes and Pharisees who looked forward to the day when they should have dominion over the hated Romans, and possess the riches and splendor of the world’s great empire. 

The poor peasants and fishermen hoped to hear the assurance that their wretched hovels, the scanty food, the life of toil, and fear of want were to be exchanged for mansions of plenty and days of ease. In place of the one coarse garment which was their covering by day, and their blanket at night, they hoped that Christ would give them the rich and costly robes of their conquerors. All hearts thrilled with the proud hope that Israel was soon to be honored before the nations as the chosen of the Lord, and Jerusalem exalted as the head of a universal kingdom. 

Christ disappointed the hope of worldly greatness. In the Sermon on the Mount He sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education, and to give His hearers a right conception of His kingdom and of His own character. Yet He did not make a direct attack on the errors of the people. He saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known. Without combating their ideas of the kingdom of God, He told them the conditions of entrance therein, leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to its nature. The truths He taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed Him. We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God.

Christ’s first words to the people on the mount were words of blessing. Happy are they, He said, who recognize their spiritual poverty, and feel their need of redemption. The gospel is to be preached to the poor. Not to the spiritually proud, those who claim to be rich and in need of nothing, is it revealed, but to those who are humble and contrite. One fountain only has been opened for sin, a fountain for the poor in spirit. 

The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

…......………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..


For Those Who Don’t Have Enough

Times can be hard and then seem to get even harder. Sometimes it seems the deck is stacked against you. No one wants to complain, but have you ever felt that life wasn’t fair? Maybe the challenges have impacted your spiritual life? You don’t feel like you’ve been on point with your relationship. You wonder about your standing with God. What if I told you that you are actually in one of the best places possible? Join us as we journey through the benefits of feeling like you don’t have enough.

 

 1 Read Matthew 5:1; Luke 4:18; Isaiah 7:14 

Imagine being born to be God. This is the reality of Jesus. For about thirty years Jesus has been living day-to-day in order to be life for the universe. He has worked some miracles before His sermon in Matthew 5 but has yet to preach a sermon. Some scholars characterize this portion of His ministry His year of popularity. Can you imagine the electricity as this hometown miracle worker goes up on a mountain to preach his first sermon? 

 2 Read Matthew 5:1-2; Luke 2:11; Matthew 2:1-2

There had to be rumors of Jesus being the Messiah circulating. The one that the Jews had waited for and hoped would deliver them from Roman opposition. The stories about Him turning water into wine and healing the sick had brought excitement to a fever pitch. I can only imagine that those in attendance were sure that His words would galvanize them to overthrow their tormentors. Have you ever expected something of God that may not have been what He had in mind? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

 3 Read Matthew 5:3; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 2 Corinthians 12:9 

With the momentous buildup of the moment, the words that first escape Jesus’ mouth are “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” How do think the people reacted? What do you think was their first thought after hearing these words? Let us know on social media using #MessageMag 

 4 “As something strange and new, these words fall upon the ears of the wondering multitude. Such teaching is contrary to all they have ever heard from priest or rabbi. They see in it nothing to flatter their pride or to feed their ambitious hopes. But there is about this new Teacher a power that holds them spellbound.” These are the words from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. Even in 2021 these words should hit us like a ton of bricks. Take some time to put yourself in the shoes of the hearers of these words. 

  5 Read Matthew 5:3; Matthew 15:24; James 4:10 

The first words out of the mouth of Jesus in Matthew 5 turn upside-down what many feel about their spirituality. The implication is that the Kingdom of Heaven is for those who don’t feel they are spiritual enough. This was contrary to what the rabbis taught and very different from what many of us have gotten from church. What does it really mean to be poor in spirit? We’d love to hear your definition on social media using #MessageMag. 

 6 Read Matthew 5:3; Psalm 34:18; Revelation 14:6

The everlasting Gospel that is to be shared is not one for those who are completely stable in their spirituality, but instead for those who wonder about their standing with the Lord. If you’ve ever wondered if your devotional life is where it is supposed to be, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you. If you’ve ever prayed and wondered if God heard your prayer, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you. If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t enough or had enough, the Kingdom of Heaven is for you!

 7 You are in a better place than it feels like. You may be dealing with unfair situations, exhausting circumstances, and seemingly insurmountable odds, but we want you to not give up. When you come to the end of yourself and say that “I don’t have enough” it is at that moment that you will realize that Jesus has all you need. Sometimes He allows you to become empty of yourself so that He can fill you with more than you can imagine.  

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2021 January / February Issue
Subscribe –>





Saving Life

What is Love? Who is love? How do you love? Maybe you’ve asked one of those questions. At least, you have heard them asked at some point or another. What if I told you that justice and love in the Bible are the same? Would you believe me? Let us journey through this experience as we find out how God’s love in you can bring justice and save life.


(1) Read Mark 3:1; Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8

We are introduced to a man in Mark 3 who has a visible difference that alienates and marginalizes him in society. In his time, he had no business being in the synagogue, and his exclusion stemmed not from his actions, but because of something over which he had no control. Can you imagine being pushed to the sidelines of society because of some outward thing that you can’t help? Talk to us about it on Social Media using  #MessageMag.

(2) Read Mark 3:2; Mark 2:23-27; Psalm 37:27-29

While this man with a withered hand stands there, others in the synagogue are wondering if Jesus will heal him on the Sabbath. What they don’t realize is that Jesus uses the Sabbath to give people who are weary, rest. Who is more weary than individuals like this marginalized man? Do you know of any? How do they fall into this category?

(3) Read Mark 3:3; Prov. 28:5; Psalm 33:5

Jesus then does the unthinkable. He asks the man who isn’t even supposed to be in the room to stand up, front and center. How loving it is to give attention to the ignored, a voice to the silenced, and a platform to the underserved. Jesus empowering someone to stand in a place he should be, but policy forbids, is justice.

(4)

I must say that it intrigues me to no end that this man had his life changed by following the simple directions of Jesus. It wasn’t a series of positive actions. It wasn’t a history of good behavior. It wasn’t credit for some good deed. It was simply doing what Jesus told him to do. Be like this man. Don’t let your condition dictate your actions. Jesus is a professional at looking beyond our faults and seeing our needs. #RighteousnessByFaith

(5) Read Mark 3:4; Deuteronomy 27:19; Jeremiah 22:3

Jesus then asks them about justice. They have no reply. If Jesus asked you about justice would you have a response? What would it be? Share what you would tell Jesus about love on Social Media using #MessageMag. We’d love to hear from you!

(6) Read Mark 3:5; Job 12:22; Psalm 140:12

The passion of Christ reaches a fever pitch, and the Bible describes Him as distressed and angry! Why? Because these church people refuse to acknowledge that this alienated and marginalized individual is the one who has been excluded from the privilege of accessing a good life like everyone else. There is no way this still happens in 2020, is there? If so, how? Share your thoughts with us on Social Media using #MessageMag

(7) Read Mark 3:5-6; Isaiah 61:8-9; Zechariah 7:9-10

Jesus empowers this man to lift his hand and be healed. The saving of this man’s life put Jesus’ life in danger. The same can happen for those who wish to love as Jesus did. When your love steps out in public and is exposed as justice, know that you need not worry about your life because Jesus is saving for you.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

2020 July August cover
This article is part of our 2020 July / August Issue
Subscribe –>


“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying:

“There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying,  ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” 

Luke 18:1-8

Get Justice for Me – When Heaven Has Enough

A Reflection

Selected from Christ’s Object Lessons, by Ellen G. White, “Shall Not God Avenge His Own?”

The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s second coming. James the apostle pictures the greed and oppression that will prevail. He says, “Go to now, ye rich men, . . . ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton. Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you” James 5:1-6. This is a picture of what exists today. By every species of oppression and extortion, men are piling up colossal fortunes, while the cries of starving humanity are coming up before God” (p. 170).

The world has become bold in transgression of God’s law. Because of His long forbearance, men have trampled upon His authority. They have strengthened one another in oppression and cruelty toward His heritage, saying, “How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?” Psalm 73:11. But there is a line beyond which they cannot pass. The time is near when they will have reached the prescribed limit. Even now they have almost exceeded the bounds of the long-suffering of God, the limits of His grace, the limits of His mercy. The Lord will interpose to vindicate His own honor, to deliver His people, and to repress the swellings of unrighteousness” (p. 177).

They “shall have judgment without mercy” that have “showed no mercy” (James 2:13.) Not long hence they will stand before the Judge of all the earth, to render an account for the pain they have caused to the bodies and souls of His heritage. They may now indulge in false accusations, they may deride those whom God has appointed to do His work, they may consign His believing ones to prison, to the chain gang, to banishment, to death; but for every pang of anguish, every tear shed, they must answer. God will reward them double for their sins” ( p. 179).

From India, from Africa, from China, from the islands of the sea, from the downtrodden millions of so-called Christian lands, the cry of human woe is ascending to God. That cry will not long be unanswered. God will cleanse the earth from it moral corruption, not by a sea of water as in Noah’s day, but by a sea of fire that cannot be quenched by any human devising”  (p. 179).

…......……………………………………………………………………………….

2020 July August cover
This article is part of our 2020 July / August Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

_________________

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.





Get Justice for Me – When Heaven Has Enough

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying:

“There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying,  ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’

Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” 

Luke 18:1-8


A Reflection

Selected from Christ’s Object Lessons, by Ellen G. White, “Shall Not God Avenge His Own?”

The Scriptures describe the condition of the world just before Christ’s second coming. James the apostle pictures the greed and oppression that will prevail. He says, “Go to now, ye rich men, . . . ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton. Ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you” James 5:1-6. This is a picture of what exists today. By every species of oppression and extortion, men are piling up colossal fortunes, while the cries of starving humanity are coming up before God” (p. 170).

The world has become bold in transgression of God’s law. Because of His long forbearance, men have trampled upon His authority. They have strengthened one another in oppression and cruelty toward His heritage, saying, “How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?” Psalm 73:11. But there is a line beyond which they cannot pass. The time is near when they will have reached the prescribed limit. Even now they have almost exceeded the bounds of the long-suffering of God, the limits of His grace, the limits of His mercy. The Lord will interpose to vindicate His own honor, to deliver His people, and to repress the swellings of unrighteousness” (p. 177).

They “shall have judgment without mercy” that have “showed no mercy” (James 2:13.) Not long hence they will stand before the Judge of all the earth, to render an account for the pain they have caused to the bodies and souls of His heritage. They may now indulge in false accusations; they may deride those whom God has appointed to do His work; they may consign His believing ones to prison, to the chain gang, to banishment, to death; but for every pang of anguish, every tear shed, they must answer. God will reward them double for their sins” ( p. 179).

From India, from Africa, from China, from the islands of the sea, from the downtrodden millions of so-called Christian lands, the cry of human woe is ascending to God. That cry will not long be unanswered. God will cleanse the earth from it moral corruption, not by a sea of water as in Noah’s day, but by a sea of fire that cannot be quenched by any human devising”  (p. 179).

…......………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.

2020 July August cover
This article is part of our 2020 July / August Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..


What is Love? Who is love? How do you love? Maybe you’ve asked one of those questions. At least, you have heard them asked at some point or another. What if I told you that justice and love in the Bible are the same? Would you believe me? Let us journey through this experience as we find out how God’s love in you can bring justice and save life.

 

(1) Read Mark 3:1; Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8

We are introduced to a man in Mark 3 who has a visible difference that alienates and marginalizes him in society. In his time, he had no business being in the synagogue, and his exclusion stemmed not from his actions, but because of something over which he had no control. Can you imagine being pushed to the sidelines of society because of some outward thing that you can’t help? Talk to us about it on Social Media using  #MessageMag.

(2) Read Mark 3:2; Mark 2:23-27; Psalm 37:27-29

While this man with a withered hand stands there, others in the synagogue are wondering if Jesus will heal him on the Sabbath. What they don’t realize is that Jesus uses the Sabbath to give people who are weary, rest. Who is more weary than individuals like this marginalized man? Do you know of any? How do they fall into this category?

(3) Read Mark 3:3; Prov. 28:5; Psalm 33:5

Jesus then does the unthinkable. He asks the man who isn’t even supposed to be in the room to stand up, front and center. How loving it is to give attention to the ignored, a voice to the silenced, and a platform to the underserved. Jesus empowering someone to stand in a place he should be, but policy forbids, is justice.

(4)

I must say that it intrigues me to no end that this man had his life changed by following the simple directions of Jesus. It wasn’t a series of positive actions. It wasn’t a history of good behavior. It wasn’t credit for some good deed. It was simply doing what Jesus told him to do. Be like this man. Don’t let your condition dictate your actions. Jesus is a professional at looking beyond our faults and seeing our needs. #RighteousnessByFaith

(5) Read Mark 3:4; Deuteronomy 27:19; Jeremiah 22:3

Jesus then asks them about justice. They have no reply. If Jesus asked you about justice would you have a response? What would it be? Share what you would tell Jesus about love on Social Media using #MessageMag. We’d love to hear from you!

(6) Read Mark 3:5; Job 12:22; Psalm 140:12

The passion of Christ reaches a fever pitch, and the Bible describes Him as distressed and angry! Why? Because these church people refuse to acknowledge that this alienated and marginalized individual is the one who has been excluded from the privilege of accessing a good life like everyone else. There is no way this still happens in 2020, is there? If so, how? Share your thoughts with us on Social Media using #MessageMag

(7) Read Mark 3:5-6; Isaiah 61:8-9; Zechariah 7:9-10

Jesus empowers this man to lift his hand and be healed. The saving of this man’s life put Jesus’ life in danger. The same can happen for those who wish to love as Jesus did. When your love steps out in public and is exposed as justice, know that you need not worry about your life because Jesus is saving for you.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

2020 July August cover
This article is part of our 2020 July / August Issue
Subscribe –>





Social Distance – Who dares to cross the line?

“Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” 

Matthew 8:1-4 (NLT)


A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages, the chapter entitled “Thou Canst Make Me Clean”, p. 262*

Away from his friends and his kindred, the leper must bear the curse of his malady. He was obliged to publish his own calamity, to rend his garments, and sound the alarm, warning all to flee from his contaminating presence. The cry, “Unclean! unclean!” coming in mournful tones from the lonely exile, was a signal heard with fear and abhorrence.

In the region of Christ’s ministry, there were many of these sufferers, and the news of His work reached them, kindling a gleam of hope. But since the days of Elisha the prophet, such a thing had never been known as the cleansing of one upon whom this disease had fastened. They dared not expect Jesus to do for them what He had never done for any man. There was one, however, in whose heart faith began to spring up. Yet the man knew not how to reach Jesus. Debarred as he was from contact with his fellow men, how could he present himself to the Healer?

And he questioned if Christ would heal him. Would He stoop to notice one believed to be suffering under the judgment of God? Would He not, like the Pharisees, and even the physicians, pronounce a curse upon him, and warn him to flee from the haunts of men?

He thought of all that had been told him of Jesus. Not one who had sought His help had been turned away. The wretched man determined to find the Saviour. Though shut out from the cities, it might be that he could cross His path in some byway along the mountain roads, or find Him as He was teaching outside the towns. The difficulties were great, but this was his only hope.”

…......………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.

2020 May June cover
This article is part of our 2020 May / June Issue
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…......…………………………………………..


When you finally decide to give your life to Jesus it is a beautiful thing: the hope of things finally changing for the good. It’s an opportunity to become a new creature; the ability to say goodbye to the old you, and hello to the new you. What a wonderful experience, and what if Jesus wants to do more than clean up your life? Does making us “white as snow” mean what we think it means to God?

 

1) Read Matthew 8:1; James 1:22;
James 2:26

In Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus recaps in practical terms what the law is about and how to live a godly life. Some consider it the greatest sermon ever recorded. After He concludes His sermon Jesus then comes down from the mountain and encounters someone in need. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve done or experienced something amazing about God that a test challenges? If so, share your experience with us on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read Matthew 8:1-2; James 1:3-4

The person that Jesus encounters isn’t given a name. His condition names him and frames him. As a leper, his condition weighed on his life like death sentence. Leprosy relegated people to the outskirts of society. Hypothetically speaking, Jesus left church and runs into someone whose physical problems distance him—emotionally and socially—from society. Often, following Jesus puts His followers in community with people whose lives are in shambles. Is this your experience? Is your life in shambles and surrounded by people just like you? Share if you would on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read Matthew 8:2-3

The request the man has is to be made clean. He is also wondering if Jesus is willing. Why is he questioning Jesus’ willingness? Maybe he thinks that what is wrong with him somehow affects Jesus’ willingness. Do you find it difficult to believe that God will do good things for you when there is still bad in your life? Take some time to pray and meditate on this.

4) Read Matthew 8:2-3

What the man with leprosy asked for is worth looking at also. Notice that he didn’t ask to be healed. He asked to be made clean. This suggests that he was Jewish and wasn’t just looking for just the leprosy to be removed, but he wanted to return to society. He was tired of his outward challenges affecting his inward desires. Can you relate to this? Have you ever wanted to get back to who you once were? What is it that you desire to get back to? Share with us here on social media using #MessageMag.

5) Read Matthew 8:3; Psalm 34:1

Jesus is willing. Take a moment and get a pen and paper. At the top of the paper write “What God was willing to do.” Then write a list of experiences where you now know that God was willing to do something on your behalf. Mine would start off with something like “God was willing to protect my family when I wasn’t around.” This is a list praises of what God was willing to do.

6) Read Matthew 8:3-4; Philippians 4:6

Jesus doesn’t ask for the Father to heal this man. Instead He commands the man to “be clean.” The Bible says that the man was cleansed at that moment. We live in world of people that often don’t allow for others to grow beyond their challenges or mistakes of yesterday. Jesus on the other hand, specializes in instantaneous transformation. The struggle is often accepting the change that He has promised in His word.

7) Read Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9;
Psalm 103:12

The man is able to go and be declared clean. All because he ran into Jesus. People can talk about what he once was, but when they look at him, he is his own testimony of change. When Jesus washes you white as snow you can live a life where you don’t have to defend your past because God has mapped out your future.   

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

2020 May June cover
This article is part of our 2020 May / June Issue
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White as Snow

When you finally decide to give your life to Jesus it is a beautiful thing: the hope of things finally changing for the good. It’s an opportunity to become a new creature; the ability to say goodbye to the old you, and hello to the new you. What a wonderful experience, and what if Jesus wants to do more than clean up your life? Does making us “white as snow” mean what we think it means to God?


1) Read Matthew 8:1; James 1:22; James 2:26

In Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus recaps in practical terms what the law is about and how to live a godly life. Some consider it the greatest sermon ever recorded. After He concludes His sermon Jesus then comes down from the mountain and encounters someone in need. Have you ever noticed that after you’ve done or experienced something amazing about God that a test challenges? If so, share your experience with us on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read Matthew 8:1-2; James 1:3-4

The person that Jesus encounters isn’t given a name. His condition names him and frames him. As a leper, his condition weighed on his life like death sentence. Leprosy relegated people to the outskirts of society. Hypothetically speaking, Jesus left church and runs into someone whose physical problems distance him—emotionally and socially—from society. Often, following Jesus puts His followers in community with people whose lives are in shambles. Is this your experience? Is your life in shambles and surrounded by people just like you? Share if you would on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read Matthew 8:2-3

The request the man has is to be made clean. He is also wondering if Jesus is willing. Why is he questioning Jesus’ willingness? Maybe he thinks that what is wrong with him somehow affects Jesus’ willingness. Do you find it difficult to believe that God will do good things for you when there is still bad in your life? Take some time to pray and meditate on this.

4) Read Matthew 8:2-3

What the man with leprosy asked for is worth looking at also. Notice that he didn’t ask to be healed. He asked to be made clean. This suggests that he was Jewish and wasn’t just looking for just the leprosy to be removed, but he wanted to return to society. He was tired of his outward challenges affecting his inward desires. Can you relate to this? Have you ever wanted to get back to who you once were? What is it that you desire to get back to? Share with us here on social media using #MessageMag.

5) Read Matthew 8:3; Psalm 34:1

Jesus is willing. Take a moment and get a pen and paper. At the top of the paper write “What God was willing to do.” Then write a list of experiences where you now know that God was willing to do something on your behalf. Mine would start off with something like “God was willing to protect my family when I wasn’t around.” This is a list praises of what God was willing to do.

6) Read Matthew 8:3-4; Philippians 4:6

Jesus doesn’t ask for the Father to heal this man. Instead He commands the man to “be clean.” The Bible says that the man was cleansed at that moment. We live in world of people that often don’t allow for others to grow beyond their challenges or mistakes of yesterday. Jesus on the other hand, specializes in instantaneous transformation. The struggle is often accepting the change that He has promised in His word.

7) Read Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12

The man is able to go and be declared clean. All because he ran into Jesus. People can talk about what he once was, but when they look at him, he is his own testimony of change. When Jesus washes you white as snow you can live a life where you don’t have to defend your past because God has mapped out your future.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.

2020 May June cover
This article is part of our 2020 May / June Issue
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“Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” 

Matthew 8:1-4 (NLT)

Social Distance – Who dares to cross the line?

A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages, the chapter entitled “Thou Canst Make Me Clean”, p. 262*

Away from his friends and his kindred, the leper must bear the curse of his malady. He was obliged to publish his own calamity, to rend his garments, and sound the alarm, warning all to flee from his contaminating presence. The cry, “Unclean! unclean!” coming in mournful tones from the lonely exile, was a signal heard with fear and abhorrence.

In the region of Christ’s ministry, there were many of these sufferers, and the news of His work reached them, kindling a gleam of hope. But since the days of Elisha the prophet, such a thing had never been known as the cleansing of one upon whom this disease had fastened. They dared not expect Jesus to do for them what He had never done for any man. There was one, however, in whose heart faith began to spring up. Yet the man knew not how to reach Jesus. Debarred as he was from contact with his fellow men, how could he present himself to the Healer?

And he questioned if Christ would heal him. Would He stoop to notice one believed to be suffering under the judgment of God? Would He not, like the Pharisees, and even the physicians, pronounce a curse upon him, and warn him to flee from the haunts of men?

He thought of all that had been told him of Jesus. Not one who had sought His help had been turned away. The wretched man determined to find the Saviour. Though shut out from the cities, it might be that he could cross His path in some byway along the mountain roads, or find Him as He was teaching outside the towns. The difficulties were great, but this was his only hope.”

…......……………………………………………………………………………….

2020 May June cover
This article is part of our 2020 May / June Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

_________________

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.





Watching and Waiting

Have you ever felt that you were distant from God? You knew better but you did not do better? Maybe you believe that because you grew up in church but don’t go that you slipped out of God’s good graces. It is time to stop thinking like that. Join us as we get some clarity about a God who is watching and waiting.


1) Read John 21:1-2; John 1:35-51;
John 19:28-37

The disciples had walked side by side with Jesus for three years. Can you imagine the emotional trauma they must have experienced watching the One who had done so much to save people’s lives do nothing to save His own? How hard it must have been to follow Jesus after you felt like He was gone forever. Have you ever found it difficult to continue to believe in God or keep the faith? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read John 21:1-2

The disciples have seen that Jesus is alive and has risen from the dead, but they cannot seem to find it in themselves to get back to ministering and loving the masses as Jesus had shown them. Instead they are sitting at the beach doing nothing. How is it possible to know Jesus is alive, yet not want to show the love He’s shown you? Give us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read John 21:3; Matthew 4:19

As the disciples are sitting there an idea comes to Peter’s mind. As a former fisherman, the idea came naturally to him. The problem is that Jesus had told him to be a “fisher of men.” Sometimes when people deal with disappointment it causes them to resort to unproductive options. Have you ever dealt with disappointment? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with overwhelming disappointment? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

4) Read John 21:3; Luke 9:62;
Galatians 6:9

The Bible gives an interesting detail about how the disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Remembering that a few of them were fishermen by profession makes this interesting. They had returned to a life that Jesus called them out of, but got nothing out of it. Have you ever tried to go back to doing the things you did before you met Jesus but only felt empty? You are not alone. Take some time to remember in prayer the place, the choices, the status from where Jesus brought you. We’ll be praying with you!

5) John 21:4-5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:58

See it with me. The disciples busy themselves doing exactly what Jesus took them away from.  We tend to think God pushes away those who do this, but here, Jesus shows otherwise. While the disciples are wasting their time doing what God told them not to do, He is watching over them! Do you know someone who has put some distance between themselves and God? Make a phone call or send a text letting them know that God is still watching them with a heart full of love.   

6) Read John 21:6-8

Not only does Jesus keep His eyes on them while they are being disobedient, He speaks to them. He asks about what they’ve been doing, and then gives them direction that addresses their disappointment. As they pull on the net and it is too heavy for them to handle, John realizes who is giving them directions. Isn’t it funny how it is often as we try to handle things too heavy for us that we see Jesus more clearly? Is that your experience? Have you dealt with something that you could not handle on your own and it was during that time that you realized more about who Jesus is? Share with us your experience on Social Media using #MessageMag.

7) Read John 21:9

The irony of this story is that while the disciples were out trying to catch fish, Jesus already had some. We don’t realize that what we think we desire most, God already has. He is simply watching and waiting for us to realize that He loves us from afar and hopes to draw us back to Himself.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
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“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.  Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.  He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

John 21:1-6 (NLT)

Throw In the Net, Not the Towel

A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Ministry of Healing, the chapter entitled “By The Sea Once More,” p. 810.*

All the while a lone watcher upon the shore followed them with His eye, while He Himself was unseen. At length the morning dawned. The boat was but a little way from the shore, and the disciples saw a stranger standing upon the beach, who accosted them with the question, “Children, have ye any meat?” When they answered, ‘No,’ He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” . . .

     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him—His divine power combining with their human effort—they could not fail of success.

…......……………………………………………………………………………….


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

_________________

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.





Throw In the Net, Not the Towel

“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.  Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.  He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

John 21:1-6 (NLT)


A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Ministry of Healing, the chapter entitled “By The Sea Once More,” p. 810.*

All the while a lone watcher upon the shore followed them with His eye, while He Himself was unseen. At length the morning dawned. The boat was but a little way from the shore, and the disciples saw a stranger standing upon the beach, who accosted them with the question, “Children, have ye any meat?” When they answered, ‘No,’ He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” . . .

     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him—His divine power combining with their human effort—they could not fail of success.

…......………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..


Have you ever felt that you were distant from God? You knew better but you did not do better? Maybe you believe that because you grew up in church but don’t go that you slipped out of God’s good graces. It is time to stop thinking like that. Join us as we get some clarity about a God who is watching and waiting.

 

1) Read John 21:1-2; John 1:35-51;
John 19:28-37

The disciples had walked side by side with Jesus for three years. Can you imagine the emotional trauma they must have experienced watching the One who had done so much to save people’s lives do nothing to save His own? How hard it must have been to follow Jesus after you felt like He was gone forever. Have you ever found it difficult to continue to believe in God or keep the faith? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read John 21:1-2

The disciples have seen that Jesus is alive and has risen from the dead, but they cannot seem to find it in themselves to get back to ministering and loving the masses as Jesus had shown them. Instead they are sitting at the beach doing nothing. How is it possible to know Jesus is alive, yet not want to show the love He’s shown you? Give us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read John 21:3; Matthew 4:19

As the disciples are sitting there an idea comes to Peter’s mind. As a former fisherman, the idea came naturally to him. The problem is that Jesus had told him to be a “fisher of men.” Sometimes when people deal with disappointment it causes them to resort to unproductive options. Have you ever dealt with disappointment? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with overwhelming disappointment? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

4) Read John 21:3; Luke 9:62;
Galatians 6:9

The Bible gives an interesting detail about how the disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Remembering that a few of them were fishermen by profession makes this interesting. They had returned to a life that Jesus called them out of, but got nothing out of it. Have you ever tried to go back to doing the things you did before you met Jesus but only felt empty? You are not alone. Take some time to remember in prayer the place, the choices, the status from where Jesus brought you. We’ll be praying with you!

5) John 21:4-5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:58

See it with me. The disciples busy themselves doing exactly what Jesus took them away from.  We tend to think God pushes away those who do this, but here, Jesus shows otherwise. While the disciples are wasting their time doing what God told them not to do; He is watching over them! Do you know someone who has put some distance between themselves and God? Make a phone call or send a text letting them know that God is still watching them with a heart full of love.   

6) Read John 21:6-8

Not only does Jesus keep His eyes on them while they are being disobedient, He speaks to them. He asks about what they’ve been doing, and then gives them direction that addresses their disappointment. As they pull on the net and it is too heavy for them to handle, John realizes who is giving them directions. Isn’t it funny how it is often as we try to handle things too heavy for us that we see Jesus more clearly? Is that your experience? Have you dealt with something that you could not handle on your own and it was during that time that you realized more about who Jesus is? Share with us your experience on Social Media using #MessageMag.

7) Read John 21:9

The irony of this story is that while the disciples were out trying to catch fish, Jesus already had some. We don’t realize that what we think we desire most, God already has. He is simply watching and waiting for us to realize that He loves us from afar and hopes to draw us back to Himself.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>





The closer I get to You

If you are reading this there is a good chance that you want to get closer to God. The question is how do you do that? Should you wake up before the sun comes up everyday? Maybe going to the book store to buy the latest devotional will kick start your spiritual life? No matter what you’ve tried, you have tried to get closer to God. What if I told you that the way you get closer to God has been right in front your face. Join us as we seek to redefine our devotional lives and see what happens the closer we get to God.


1 Read Exodus 3:1-3

Moses has run away to the desert so that Pharaoh wouldn’t kill him. He has gone from the palace to the prairie. He has no human companion with him as he watches the flock of his father in-law Jethro. Little did he know that where he is currently is the exact place that he would spend a significant portion of his life. I don’t believe it was coincidence that Moses spent time in the place that God would eventually use him. Are you in a place in your life where you’re not sure if God is with you? Read Deuteronomy 31:1-6 and see what God said to the man who would take over after Moses.

2 Read 1 Samuel 16:7-11

David is watching his father’s sheep and has no idea that the prophet Samuel is in his home. David is a writer, musician, and warrior. For some reason when we are first introduced to him, he is simply watching sheep. This doesn’t seem like the place that a writer, musician, and warrior should be. Have you ever felt that you are not in a place that is utilizing what you are gifted to do? Have you considered there is a reason you are there that is beyond your understanding? Read about Joseph in Genesis 39:20-23 and let us know what you think about his situation on social media using #MessageMag

3 Read Luke 5:14-16

Jesus has called his disciples to follow him and change the world. He is healing people left and right. His ministry is growing in popularity so much so that crowds of people show up wherever He goes. Why then, did Jesus intentionally withdraw to lonely places? Isn’t lonely one of the things that everyone tries to avoid? There must have been a reason that Jesus would try to get alone. Do you ever try to get alone? Why? Do you hate being alone? Why? Take some time to think and maybe even write down your thoughts.

4

Moses found himself in a desert before he led the people of God through the wilderness. David tended to sheep before he put the crown on his head as king of Israel. Jesus who is the king of the universe that calls His creation to loving relationship, secluded himself purposely on a regular basis. These people got something special from their time of seclusion that you can learn from. Take some time to contemplate this question: In your youth, where were you when God did the most life changing work on you?

5

I wish to challenge you to change how you think about having devotional time with God. Have you tried a Bible reading plan and struggled to stick to it? Have you tried to pray at a certain time each day, and found it more of a burden than a blessing? There is nothing wrong with either of these things but maybe they are not for you. Maybe the way everyone else does devotion isn’t the way God has cultivated you to experience Him to the fullest. How did you grow in God when no one told you how?

6 Read Exodus 33:7; Psalm 124

It isn’t random that Moses decided to walk away from the camp where all the people were to set up his own tent to meet with God. God had forged the core of who Moses was in a place where he was often alone. Moses was conditioned to meet God in a far-off place. When David became king, he continued writing, singing, and dancing as he had done when he watched sheep. Many of us may be trying to meet with God in a way that has worked for someone else but isn’t authentic to our experience with Him. Are you meeting with God in the best way possible? Is your devotional life thriving? Tell us about it on Social Media using #MessageMag

7 Read Matthew 7:7

Meeting God in a way that is authentic to your experience with him will make devotion natural. There may be those who meet with God alone on a basketball court. Others may have their most edifying times with God while they are helping or serving people. There may be those who need to read to get their minds pointed towards the Most High. Don’t allow what has worked for someone else be the barrier between you and God getting closer. Remember where and how He’s worked on you and be authentic with yourself, so that you can be authentic in His presence. I believe it is then that we will be able to be changed as we get closer to Him.

…......……………………………………………………………….

Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
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“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.”

Mark 6:30-32*

Believe: He Will Come Back

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages, the chapter entitled “To My Father, and Your Father.”*

Christ’s words of compassion are spoken to His workers today just as surely as they were spoken to His disciples. “Come ye yourselves apart, … and rest awhile,” He says to those who are worn and weary. It is not wise to be always under the strain of work and excitement, even in ministering to men’s spiritual needs; for in this way personal piety is neglected, and the powers of mind and soul and body are overtaxed. Self-denial is required of the disciples of Christ, and sacrifices must be made; but care must also be exercised lest through their overzeal Satan take advantage of the weakness of humanity, and the work of God be marred.

In the estimation of the rabbis it was the sum of religion to be always in a bustle of activity. They depended upon some outward performance to show their superior piety. Thus they separated their souls from God, and built themselves up in self-sufficiency. The same dangers still exist. As activity increases and men become successful in doing any work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods. There is a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. Like the disciples, we are in danger of losing sight of our dependence on God, and seeking to make a savior of our activity. We need to look constantly to Jesus, realizing that it is His power which does the work. While we are to labor earnestly for the salvation of the lost, we must also take time for meditation, for prayer, and for the study of the word of God. Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good.

In a life wholly devoted to the good of others, the Saviour found it necessary to withdraw from the thoroughfares of travel and from the throng that followed Him day after day. He must turn aside from a life of ceaseless activity and contact with human needs, to seek retirement and unbroken communion with His Father. As one with us, a sharer in our needs and weaknesses, He was wholly dependent upon God, and in the secret place of prayer He sought divine strength, that He might go forth braced for duty and trial. In a world of sin Jesus endured struggles and torture of soul. In communion with God He could unburden the sorrows that were crushing Him. Here He found comfort and joy.

…......……………………………………………………………………………….


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..

ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

_________________

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.





Come Away with Me

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.”

Mark 6:30-32*


From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages, the chapter entitled “To My Father, and Your Father.”*

Christ’s words of compassion are spoken to His workers today just as surely as they were spoken to His disciples. “Come ye yourselves apart, … and rest awhile,” He says to those who are worn and weary. It is not wise to be always under the strain of work and excitement, even in ministering to men’s spiritual needs; for in this way personal piety is neglected, and the powers of mind and soul and body are overtaxed. Self-denial is required of the disciples of Christ, and sacrifices must be made; but care must also be exercised lest through their overzeal Satan take advantage of the weakness of humanity, and the work of God be marred.

In the estimation of the rabbis it was the sum of religion to be always in a bustle of activity. They depended upon some outward performance to show their superior piety. Thus they separated their souls from God, and built themselves up in self-sufficiency. The same dangers still exist. As activity increases and men become successful in doing any work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods. There is a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. Like the disciples, we are in danger of losing sight of our dependence on God, and seeking to make a savior of our activity. We need to look constantly to Jesus, realizing that it is His power which does the work. While we are to labor earnestly for the salvation of the lost, we must also take time for meditation, for prayer, and for the study of the word of God. Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good.

 In a life wholly devoted to the good of others, the Saviour found it necessary to withdraw from the thoroughfares of travel and from the throng that followed Him day after day. He must turn aside from a life of ceaseless activity and contact with human needs, to seek retirement and unbroken communion with His Father. As one with us, a sharer in our needs and weaknesses, He was wholly dependent upon God, and in the secret place of prayer He sought divine strength, that He might go forth braced for duty and trial. In a world of sin Jesus endured struggles and torture of soul. In communion with God He could unburden the sorrows that were crushing Him. Here He found comfort and joy.

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ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
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1 Read Exodus 3:1-3

Moses has run away to the desert so that Pharaoh wouldn’t kill him. He has gone from the palace to the prairie. He has no human companion with him as he watches the flock of his father in-law Jethro. Little did he know that where he is currently is the exact place that he would spend a significant portion of his life. I don’t believe it was coincidence that Moses spent time in the place that God would eventually use him. Are you in a place in your life where you’re not sure if God is with you? Read Deuteronomy 31:1-6 and see what God said to the man who would take over after Moses.

2 Read 1 Samuel 16:7-11

David is watching his father’s sheep and has no idea that the prophet Samuel is in his home. David is a writer, musician, and warrior. For some reason when we are first introduced to him, he is simply watching sheep. This doesn’t seem like the place that a writer, musician, and warrior should be. Have you ever felt that you are not in a place that is utilizing what you are gifted to do? Have you considered there is a reason you are there that is beyond your understanding? Read about Joseph in Genesis 39:20-23 and let us know what you think about his situation on social media using #MessageMag

3 Read Luke 5:14-16

Jesus has called his disciples to follow him and change the world. He is healing people left and right. His ministry is growing in popularity so much so that crowds of people show up wherever He goes. Why then, did Jesus intentionally withdraw to lonely places? Isn’t lonely one of the things that everyone tries to avoid? There must have been a reason that Jesus would try to get alone. Do you ever try to get alone? Why? Do you hate being alone? Why? Take some time to think and maybe even write down your thoughts.

4

Moses found himself in a desert before he led the people of God through the wilderness. David tended to sheep before he put the crown on his head as king of Israel. Jesus who is the king of the universe that calls His creation to loving relationship, secluded himself purposely on a regular basis. These people got something special from their time of seclusion that you can learn from. Take some time to contemplate this question: In your youth, where were you when God did the most life changing work on you?

5

I wish to challenge you to change how you think about having devotional time with God. Have you tried a Bible reading plan and struggled to stick to it? Have you tried to pray at a certain time each day, and found it more of a burden than a blessing? There is nothing wrong with either of these things but maybe they are not for you. Maybe the way everyone else does devotion isn’t the way God has cultivated you to experience Him to the fullest. How did you grow in God when no one told you how?

6 Read Exodus 33:7; Psalm 124

It isn’t random that Moses decided to walk away from the camp where all the people were to set up his own tent to meet with God. God had forged the core of who Moses was in a place where he was often alone. Moses was conditioned to meet God in a far-off place. When David became king, he continued writing, singing, and dancing as he had done when he watched sheep. Many of us may be trying to meet with God in a way that has worked for someone else but isn’t authentic to our experience with Him. Are you meeting with God in the best way possible? Is your devotional life thriving? Tell us about it on Social Media using #MessageMag

5 Read Matthew 7:7

Meeting God in a way that is authentic to your experience with him will make devotion natural. There may be those who meet with God alone on a basketball court. Others may have their most edifying times with God while they are helping or serving people. There may be those who need to read to get their minds pointed towards the Most High. Don’t allow what has worked for someone else be the barrier between you and God getting closer. Remember where and how He’s worked on you and be authentic with yourself, so that you can be authentic in His presence. I believe it is then that we will be able to be changed as we get closer to Him.

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Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Mount Olive and Shiloh Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Southern Alabama.


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
Subscribe –>