2017 September / October

Finding God In The Crisis

God’s watertight and fireproof promises.

A Letter to Survivors with Six Watertight, Earthquake and Fireproof Promises in God’s Word

Preview the magazine below

by Marlena Lewis /
We all fall down, but the key is to get back up.

by Audrey Ann Moses /
Know yourself and how to maintain balance.

by Ruthven Philip /
Biblically-guided fourth-quarter ways to protect your funds.

As told by Daniel Xisto and Nathaniel Drew /
Protestors, parishioners become living sanctuaries for peace, love and action.

by Myla McCoy /
How my father taught me to hope in God’s providence.

by Keith Goodman /
God’s Footprints are already where you are going.

by Paula Blackwell /
My hurricane experience taught me a few lessons.

by Michael Polite /
God’s watertight and fireproof promises.

by Oliver Archer /
One neglect in planning could cost you your life.

by L. David Harris /
God’s care for you cannot be interrupted by earthly crises.


by Phillip McGuire Wesley /

by Carmela Monk Crawford /

by Donna Green Goodman /

by Willie and Elaine Oliver /

by Kim Login-Nolan /

by Donald L. McPhaull /

by Carlton Byrd /

by Ellen G. White /

by Rashad Burden /

by Samuel Thomas, Jr. /


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Crisis Overload, Cunning Overlord

Like an 18-car pileup on the interstate, crises of terror, political brinkmanship, natural and man-made disasters give us no space to brace. You see them coming, but all you can do is to cry out in prayer. Sometimes you don’t even see them coming, and your heart is so numb, all you can say is “God, you know.”

Our unmissable vulnerability binds us in times like these. We may be able to track a storm, but remain powerless to shift its course. We can measure the force behind an earthquake, but can only learn of its imminence within seconds of its arrival. The floods of life are but a metaphor. While we think we can ride them out, placing our valuables further and further out of reach, the slow seepage reaches our property and our very lives sometimes. We, like all the rest around us, make a break for survival.

Extremity exposes us all. Naked, bereft of outward beauty and elegance in the trenches of a crisis, the real us emerges. It is either the heart of gold or the spirit of selfishness. I’ve heard many describe the human will to survive and the banding together in times of crisis. On the other hand, we’ve all seen the spirit of selfishness in the price gouging and profiteering from necessities such as food and gasoline.

You can find all the crisis management and resilience training you may ever want in the hundreds of book titles that have the word crisis in them. That’s if you have time to read a book while your life is turned upside down. My bug-out bag only has two tools, for real-time resilience, and I’ll share them with you.

Hang on while you stick together.

Your survival now and your mental well-being will pivot upon the support of those close to you. Remember how Moses raised his famed staff to heaven, a stance that signified strength, faith, and pointed to the Source of all? As he did this, team Israel, in real-time, fought back its enemy and advanced in the battle at hand. When Moses got tired, rested and lowered his hands, his people lost ground, and the enemy advanced. Finally, someone understood that helping Moses, powerful in faith as he was, would save them all.

“Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle” Exodus 17:12,13.*

Social scientists studied this effect when they explored the personal, inner core of survivors from the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” the wretched Vietnamese prisoner of war camp at which Senator John McCain was held for more than five years. Faith, humor, optimism, willingness to help others in need, having a role model, and maintaining physical fitness comprised his formula for endurance even in the face of torture. But, it was their “tap code,” writes Lucy Hone in her book Resilient Grieving, that made a difference. Their tap code was a way to communicate when they couldn’t see each other, a way to signal hope and encouragement, that gave them the strength needed to survive.

Our relationships with our close friends and loved ones—when we still have them—especially in times like these, emerge as the studs around which we have built our lives. Everything around us may fail, but these pillars of strength allow us to rebuild in the face of threat and waste. Get through this crisis by helping someone else endure, and you may find yourselves walking out together.

Grab Onto God

“When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.” The verse to the old hymn not only details on what and on whom to hold, but under what circumstance: when darkness veils His lovely face.

You may not have the benefit of human companionship when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It is there, however, that you find that inexplicable golden strand glimmering in the lightning, and in the firestorm, in the darkness.

Though you may wonder where He is, why He’s allowed this crisis to creep into your life, ask Him for clarity, Psalm 34:4. Your cries can’t escape His notice. Psalm 34:17. And, He is there, in your desperation, Psalm 34:18. And your displacement does not surprise or confuse God, Psalm 139:7-10

* Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

He is Not Done with Me Yet

How much happens in a day? How much happened in your life over the last year? How much have you experienced in your life? What if I told you that there is not one detail about which God is not unaware? He is able to have everyone in the whole world in His hands, and still focus on the specifics of your life. Join me in this experience that shows us how focused a Lord and Savior we have.

1) Read John 6:1-4
Jesus is popular. He has done things people had never seen and it caused them to want to go wherever He went. You would think that this would be a completely positive thing, and it mostly is, but what if Jesus was looking for some time alone? Have you ever seen in your life that responsibility is a byproduct of blessing? Tell us about a time that you received favor but also took on duty using the #MessageMag on social media.

2) Read John 6:5-7
It’s easy to be hard on Philip. All he was doing was what many of us do on a regular basis. He was focusing on the tangible. He was crunching the numbers and counting the cost. The only thing was that Jesus “already had in mind what He was going to do.” Has this ever been the case for you? You thought you knew best, but God had other plans? Tell us about it here at Message using the #MessageMag on social media.

3) Read John 6:8, 9
Take some time today to slow down and meditate on the words of this refrain and allow God to show you times in your life where He has shown them to be true.
“Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.”
(Kittie L. Suffield, 1924)

4) Read John 6:10, 11
I personally appreciate the details given here by John. He says that after Jesus had His disciples sit down, “he took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed…” Isn’t it curious that He gave thanks before the multiplication of the food? Jesus gave appreciation before the manifestation of what was hoped for. How challenging is it to truly be thankful before you get what you desire? Take some time to consider James 1:2; Philippians 4:4, and Philippians 4:19, and tell us why Jesus would give thanks at the time He did. Share it with us on social media using #MessageMag.

5) Read John 6:12, 13
There are a lot of things for which we can be thankful. More than I can list, and more than would come to someone’s mind. If you are reading these words, more than likely you are in a situation where you have been shown favor to have some level of comfort. It may not be what you want, but at least you have something. There are people in this world who don’t have a roof over their head, and barely any food to eat; yet, God has allowed others to have more than enough. Take time to pray about having God open your eyes to see what you do have and how you can help others, rather than what you don’t have.

6) Read John 6:14, 15
The people were so in awe of what they saw and had experienced that they began to plot the next move without consulting Jesus. After literally tasting and seeing how good the Lord had been, they wanted to put Him in the place they thought He should be. There was only one problem; Jesus was nowhere to be found. It may seem like a crude question, but has it ever seemed like God has walked out on you when you were expecting Him to be there? Tell us about it here at Message using the #MessageMag.

7) Read John 6:15
The Bible tells us that the reason Jesus was missing was because He knew that they were going to attempt to make Him king. Wasn’t He supposed to be king? Wasn’t He already King? I want to encourage you in times when it seems like God isn’t doing what you want Him to do, just know He is simply on a different schedule. It doesn’t mean He’s not loving, compassionate, or able. It could be that He is tending to something that will maximize the moment when everything comes together. It wasn’t time for Him to be crowned King because He wasn’t done yet.

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

Baptized In The Name of…

“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins….” (Acts 2:38). Within the Christian community, it is well understood that Jesus is Lord. And, generally, believers agree that God calls for the redeemed to be baptized. However, one question regarding baptism has produced a split in the practices of the faithful: in whose name should believers be baptized?
Do the words of the apostle Peter suggest a mandate from God that the sole, valid form of baptism is one in Jesus name, only?
Based on what we know from Scripture, it is understandable how some might believe that “Jesus only” baptism would be the only method of baptism validated by heaven.

Baptism in the name of Jesus, alone. What’s wrong with that?
Scripture declares “…for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). And, Paul writes: “Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…” (Philippians 2:9,10). But, does this suggest that baptism should occur in the name of Jesus, only? Furthermore, apart from Peter’s Acts 2:38 counsel, does the Bible offer other passages that support “Jesus only” baptism? We indeed hear it from Peter again in Acts 10:48, chapter 19, and Acts 22:16.
Taken as a whole, each of these passages would seem to establish Biblical authority for “Jesus only” baptism. Except Jesus’ own words in Matthew 28:19 say “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
For Christians, this is a simple process of deciding whether to obey the apostles or Jesus. The commands of God will ever outweigh the commandments of men. Because Jesus is God, His imperatives are to be obeyed. And, that’s how we can know that baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit remains the valid approach to baptism. The words of Jesus are never nullified by His servants.

Early tension in the practice of baptism rise again.

Controversial Name of Jesus
So, what was taking place as Peter offered words of admonition in the Book of Acts?
Throughout Acts, we find great tension surrounding the name of Jesus. Acts 4:7 tells of Peter and John being challenged with the words, “…By what name have you done this?” In Acts 4:17,18 the disciples were commanded not to “speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” Peter and John were rebuked by the high priest in Acts 5:28, who demanded, “…did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?” Then, in Acts 5:40, the disciples are beaten and released with orders “that they should not speak in the name of Jesus…”
For the religious leaders in Jerusalem, the name of Jesus was a disturbing, disruptive name. Yet, as Peter preached the gospel he rehearsed the events of Calvary, all while establishing the identity of the One who had been nailed to the cross. He removed all doubt in Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Don’t miss the prophetic irony in the exchanges between Peter and the former spiritual leaders in Israel. He preached that Jesus, whom they had crucified was the Lord, and Messiah promised by God. Coming under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, the Jews cried out for instructions. Peter’s response in Acts 2:38 is the key to the “Jesus only” baptism misunderstanding. He admonished the Jews to repent, and to be baptized. Then came the shocking news that they must be baptized in the name of the very Jesus they had rejected and murdered.

Writing in the book, Growing in Christ, J.I. Packer observed that Peter’s words represented a “…total renunciation of independence as a way of living and total submission to the rule of the risen Lord.”
Peter reminded the Jews that restoration to the Kingdom of God came at the cost of the life of the Son of God. However, the validation of baptism remained in the words of the great commission, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Salvation through the Son, but, baptism in the fullness of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

DONALD L. MCPHAULL, M.S.W., has enjoyed 30 years of ministry and is currently the senior pastor of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles, California.

Feeding the Five Thousand

Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13

Christ never worked a miracle except to supply a genuine necessity, and every miracle was of a character to lead the people to the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. The simple food passed round by the hands of the disciples contained a whole treasure of lessons.

It was humble fare that had been provided; the fishes and barley loaves were the daily food of the fisher folk about the Sea of Galilee. Christ could have spread before the people a rich repast, but food prepared merely for the gratification of appetite would have conveyed no lesson for their good. Christ taught them in this lesson that the natural provisions of God for man had been perverted. And never did people enjoy the luxurious feasts prepared for the gratification of perverted taste as this people enjoyed the rest and the simple food which Christ provided so far from human habitations.

In the production of earth’s harvests God is working a miracle every day.

If men today were simple in their habits, living in harmony with nature’s laws, as did Adam and Eve in the beginning, there would be an abundant supply for the needs of the human family. There would be fewer imaginary wants, and more opportunities to work in God’s ways. But selfishness and the indulgence of unnatural taste have brought sin and misery into the world, from excess on the one hand, and from want on the other.
Jesus did not seek to attract the people to Him by gratifying the desire for luxury. To that great throng, weary and hungry after the long, exciting day, the simple fare was an assurance not only of His power, but of His tender care for them in the common needs of life. The Savior has not promised His followers the luxuries of the world; their fare may be plain, and even scanty; their lot may be shut in by poverty; but His word is pledged that their need shall be supplied, and He has promised that which is far better than worldly good—the abiding comfort of His own presence.

In feeding the five thousand, Jesus lifts the veil from the world of nature, and reveals the power that is constantly exercised for our good. In the production of earth’s harvests God is working a miracle every day. Through natural agencies the same work is accomplished that was wrought in the feeding of the multitude. Men prepare the soil and sow the seed, but it is the life from God that causes the seed to germinate. It is God’s rain and air and sunshine that cause it to put forth, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” Mark 4:28. It is God who is every day feeding millions from earth’s harvest fields. Men are called upon to co-operate with God in the care of the grain and the preparation of the loaf, and because of this they lose sight of the divine agency. They do not give God the glory due unto His holy name. The working of His power is ascribed to natural causes or to human instrumentality. Man is glorified in place of God, and His gracious gifts are perverted to selfish uses, and made a curse instead of a blessing. God is seeking to change all this. He desires that our dull senses shall be quickened to discern His merciful kindness and to glorify Him for the working of His power. He desires us to recognize Him in His gifts, that they may be, as He intended, a blessing to us. It was to accomplish this purpose that the miracles of Christ were performed.


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.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

Love Letter #7 says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”1 Adultery comes from the Hebrew word, ne’ifa, and the standard interpretation is “intercourse between a married woman and a man not her husband.”2 Yet, this word, ne’ifa, by definition, extends to both men and women. Hence, any sexual relationship outside of God’s Edenic marital covenant between a man and a woman is adultery, and this love letter applies with equal force to both men and women alike.3
Unfortunately, however, “current thinking and practice make light of lasting commitments in which both spouses are sexually faithful to each other until death. But Scripture regards any sexual relationship outside of marriage as sin.4

Despite this biblical admonition, the proliferation of pre-marital and extramarital sexual relations has skyrocketed as expressed in the countless storylines and themes of popular television sitcoms and movies viewed on conventional television, the internet, and in theaters. Moreover, the global teen pregnancy rates, and the steady rise of unwed mothers, sexually transmitted diseases, and divorce attests to the increase in adulterous relationships.

Recreational sex is the norm today. Three in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before the age of 20, which constitutes nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies per year.5 Additionally, 40% of all births in the United States are to unwed mothers, with 72% of all births to Black women occurring outside of marriage.6 Furthermore, 20 million new sexually transmitted disease cases are reported globally each year,7 and 50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.8
Our Creator, knowing these devastating effects of adultery, shared this love letter for our own good. He knew that a standard to protect the marital bond was necessary, given His knowledge that adulterous relationships would have negatively enduring effects on His children.
“Such liaisons defraud the legitimate sexual partner, and may harm him or her physically, emotionally, financially, legally, and socially. They hurt the extended family, and if children are involved, they particularly injure them. The cloud of lies and dishonesty that hovers over such affairs so destroys trust that it may never be restored.”9

God has good news, however; He still restores! For those who have fallen prey to adultery and have disregarded Love Letter #7, there remains hope! God’s word conveys this hope in the words of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”10 After God forgives, His restoration process goes into effect!
This restoration process is illustrated through the life cycle of a water bottle. When we look at an unused water bottle, the bottle is clean, pure, and spotless. The water inside the bottle looks fresh and wholesome. When we get ready to drink, we’re happy because we know the water is going to pour into us and help us restore what we lost. Yet, before we drink from the water bottle, there’s a small sign on the bottle that says, “recycled product,” which implies that before we saw the clean, pure, and spotless water bottle, it was dirty. It had been used before. It had been thrown into the garbage. It was in the trash. But then one day, someone picked the water bottle up, dusted it off, and took it to a recycling plant. The water bottle went through the recycling process, and was then filled up again with fresh, clean water to be poured into someone else’s life.

For the individual who has been a participant in adultery and dishonored Love Letter #7, God has a recycling process. You may have been used, abused, and thrown in the trash, but Jesus loves you! He can pick you up again! He can dust you off again! He can fill you up again so that you will be able to pour into someone else’s life again! Remember, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”11
CARLTON P. BYRD, D.MIN., is Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama and the speaker and director for Breath of Life Television Ministries.

  1. *All scriptural texts are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
  2. Exodus 20:14.
  3. http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11021/what-does-adultery-mean-in-the-7th-commandment
  4. Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8.
  5. Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Ministerial Association, Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1988, 300-301. Leviticus 20:10-12; Proverbs 6:24-32; 7:6-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 13, 18; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
  6. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm
  7. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm
  8. http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/20/health/std-statistics-record-high/index.html
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States
  10. Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, 301. First John 1:9.
  11.  Second Corinthians 5:17.

Elevation 2017 September/October

Media That Takes You Higher

Friends, we want to elevate your thinking and relationship with God by recommending a resource that will inspire you. Let us rise together! 


The Fierce Urgency of Prophetic Hope
By Wendell L. GriffinGriffin offers a refreshing perspective of
last day events in the context of social
justice. He challenges churches or organizations
to discipleship, and to making
the gospel practical to those who really need it.
The Crooked Christmas Tree
By Damien Chandler
Damien Chandler is a pastor, songwriter,
and now an author. As I read his description
of his children picking out the worst tree and
dressing it up, it reminded me of “A Charlie Brown
Christmas”. Chandler addresses the unexpected,
while exploring family values, sharing his testimony,
and the glorious and inspired solutions to odd
circumstances. God truly sees us as that


Tracey Neal has released her EP
for Restored Ministries. Her songs
“Jesus,” “Excellent,” and “Awesome” are spiritual,
catchy, and will have you claiming the power of
Jesus by the end. Her music has a contemporary gospel
feel to it while appealing to audiences across the
board. Her personality and passion in ministry drives
Jermaine Dolly has hit the scene
with a creative tune from the theme
song of “Three’s Company”, and
makes it work for those of us opting
to sit church out. You’ve got to hear how his eclectic
style drives this message in music. “Come and knock
on this door, He’s been waiting for you…”

Send your information for review to: info@mcguireent.com

The greatest thing you can do every day is to seek elevation in your relationship with Christ. The Holy Bible, will help lift you closer to Jesus. Whether you use an app, a music player, or a paperback book to draw closer to God, know that He is waiting to meet you.