But, Unto You I have Given…

The Bible story of nutrition and diet

Dietitians and nutritionists, doctors and health educators, health coaches and even the self-made experts share a lot of information to help you decide what’s best to eat. So many opinions easily cause confusion, to say the least.

At Message, we believe in a Biblical worldview. Whether it’s about your faith, money, relationships, health, or diet, there is always an answer in the word of God. And, that’s how I sift through all of the “evolving information” that continues to come from the world of nutrition experts. My choices follow this analysis: how does what they are saying about what I eat compare to the Word of God?

In Genesis 1:29, the Creator explained to Adam and Eve what to eat. “And, God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” That verse describes what we now know as fruits, nuts or seeds and grains.

Cranberry Bread

  • 3¼ cups unbleached flour or 2 cups unbleached flour and 1¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup soy margarine, room temperature
  • 1¼ cups natural cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons alcohol free vanilla flavoring
  • 1 8-ounce carton soy cream cheese
  • ¾ cup soy or nut milk
  • 1 16-ounce can whole cranberry sauce or 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Spray and flour bread baking pan—regular size or several small ones which are excellent for gift giving.

In a bowl combine flour, and baking powder. In another large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix in vanilla extract and cream cheese. Add milk, cranberry sauce and lemon juice. Beating on low speed of mixer, beat in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into pan(s). Bake at 350o for 45-50 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool, cut, serve. b Yield: 1 large loaf or 3-4 small loaves.

Red Pepper Hummus

  • 2 cups cooked or canned garbanzos, with liquid
  • cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small red pepper (roast if desired)
  • ¼ cup tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin or to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic

McKay’s NO MSG Chicken Style Seasoning to taste, optional

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add the roasted red bell pepper by stirring in diced pieces or by blending in the whole red pepper. Delicious on pita bread with lettuce, tomato, bean sprouts. b Yield: 3 cups

After Adam and Eve sinned, the Creator revisited their diet saying in Genesis 3:17, 18 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and has eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”

Barley Vegetable Soup

Olive Oil

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced or diced
  • 2 cups fresh, coarsely chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 1  cup each – barley, corn, lima beans, green beans
  • Water
  • McKay’s Chicken Style Seasoning, Basil, Thyme, Parsley to taste
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Pour a small amount of oil into a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, garlic, bell pepper and carrots. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add other ingredients stirring well. Add 4 cups of water. Season to taste with Chicken style seasoning and herbs. Let simmer a few minutes. Add 2-4 cups more water, bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer about 30 minutes until ingredients are tender. Add more water if necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve. b Yield: 6 servings


♥ Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon natural sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger, oregano, thyme, cinnamon or Jamaican allspice or coriander
  • Dash of salt

Place diced sweet potatoes into an oven proof dish. Mix seasonings into melted margarine or coconut oil. Stir into sweet potatoes, coating them well. Roast in 400o oven until desired tenderness. Serve. b Serves: 4-6

For 2000 years, humanity ate a plant-based, or “vegan” diet. And, scripture lists the longest person to live as 969 years. When God began to grieve that He had made man on the earth, He said He was going to destroy it through a flood and give all who wanted to live through it a chance to join Noah and his family on the ark. No one took his offer.

When the flood was over and all the vegetation was gone, God told Noah and his family, the only ones who went on the ark, that “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as I have given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Genesis 9:3,4).

It was then that dramatic loss in life span occurred. About 300 years were lost between Noah and his sons. And, today the average life span in America is close to 70 or 80 years.

Years later, as Abraham’s descendants, the Children of Israel exited Egypt (the Exodus), the Creator fed them daily with manna from heaven. The Bible says that the manna was like coriander/cilantro. He told them in Exodus 15:26 that if they did what He said, He wouldn’t put any of the disease on them that he put on the Egyptians. At their demand for “meat” He sent them quail—and, they ate it until it came out of their noses and many died.

God also repeated the details of His diet for them. In Leviticus 11, He clearly lists the animals that they could eat – the animals that were “clean” or vegetarian. He also clearly listed the animals they should not eat, animals that were “unclean” or the carnivorous scavengers. In addition, He states that “It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations through all your dwellings that ye eat neither fat nor blood” (Leviticus 3:18). That would include milk and cheese and dairy products, which in their unprocessed state are full of animal fat.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder, blend all ingredients together into a powder.

Store in the fridge for up to three weeks. Modified from karissasvegankitchen.com


♥ Almond Milk

  • 1 cup raw almonds, rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • Sweetener of choice – honey, agave, stevia
  • Salt, optional

Place almonds and one cup of water in blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining water and blend again until smooth. Add sweetener and optional salt to taste. Strain to remove any remaining nut solids. Serve as is. Serve with fruit or carob added. Use in any recipe that calls for milk. Variation: Use cashews in place of almonds. Make with flax seed using ½ cup flax seed and 4-6 cups water. b Yield: 1 quart

All through the Bible, God mentions honey. The Promised Land was flowing with it. And, in Proverbs (24, 25) He tells us to eat it, but not so much that it makes you vomit.

And, we see through the prophets Isaiah (11, 62, 65) and John the Revelator (22) that when He comes again to rescue us from this world of sin, the animals won’t die anymore to be served up on our plates. As a matter of fact, the lion and the lamb will play together. And, the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Avocado Salad Dressing

  • 1 medium, ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Juice of one lemon and/or lime (depending on your preference, I use both)
  • ⅓ 1 cup water or more to desired consistency
  • Honey and salt to taste, optional

In a blender, place the peeled and sliced avocado. Add lemon and lime juices and water to make it thick but pourable. Add optional honey and salt to taste. Serve immediately. (Color darkens, longer it sits). b Yield: 16 servings.

Variation: Add ½ small cucumber, 1 handful fresh basil, 1 small container plain, non-dairy yogurt, 2-3 cloves garlic, water to desired consistency.

♥  Momma’s Rice

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup your favorite veggie beef chunks, diced
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 cups Instant Brown Rice
  • 3¼ cups water
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Garlic powder, Mckay’s Chicken Style Seasoning to taste

Pour a small amount of olive oil in a large pot. Saute’/stir fry veggie beef chunks and onion for about 3 minutes. Add carrots, peas and rice. Stir until mixed well. Add cilantro, some garlic powder and McKay’s Chicken Style Seasoning. Add water and bring to boil. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until rice is done. Serve. b Yield: 6-8 servings

Echinacea/Golden Seal Tea

Often used in the winter months to fight colds/flu. Echinacea improves immune system, by increasing the white blood cell count. Golden seal helps upper respiratory tract infections, fights coughs and colds, and benefits stomach pain, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, and intestinal gas. The powder can be made into a salve and used on rashes.

Boil 4 cups of water. Add 2 echinacea teabags and 2 goldenseal teabags. Remove from heat source and let steep for about 5 minutes. Add lemon and honey to taste. Enjoy!
b Yield: 4 cups.

I’m so happy that the Creator makes it so easy to figure out how to eat. He made us! He knows what’s best for us! He can give you power to overcome appetite

DONNA GREEN GOODMAN, M.P.H., writes from Huntsville, Alabama where she and her husband operate Lifestyle Therapeutix, A Lifestyle For Better Health Center.  www.lifestyletherapeutix.com She is a health educator who has been a college professor, National Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure “Circle of Promise” Campaign, and is  author of Somethin’ to Shout About!, (Orion Enterprises, 1999), Cookin’ Up Good Health, (Still Shoutin’, 2008) and executive producer of her own cooking show “Cookin’ Up Good Health!” which aired on HOPETV.  Tune in to Donna’s YouTube Cooking Channel and visit her  at www.stillshoutin.com




Crisis Care and Support from Everyday People

Friends, family and the faith community learn to be first responders for people in need of mental healing

It was subtle at first–expressing “odd ideas” during casual conversations, ideas that did not fit within the discussion. Then Jennifer noticed her friend Rafael displaying emotions that were inappropriate to the situation: laughing while discussing something sad, or, showing no emotion when she shared news that would usually be followed by his uproarious laughter.

Jennifer was unsure of what was going on with her friend. He started missing work, and when he did show up he was not appropriately dressed, often looked disheveled, and appeared not to have taken a shower in some time. He was not himself. Yet, it was not immediately obvious to family and friends exactly what was wrong.

Both 24, Jennifer and Rafael became friends when they met at their historically black college three years ago. They immersed themselves in the fun and culture in their school, famous for soulful marching bands and exquisite drumlines. The became “besties” from day one.

Over the years the pair spent a lot of time together. They attended the same church, went to the movies every Saturday evening, and shared Sunday dinners. They supported each other through tough times and celebrated one another’s successes. So, Jennifer knew her friend well enough to know that he was in some sort of emotional pain, but could not get him to open up about it. He also began to isolate himself.

Spiral of Realization

Jennifer realized that something more serious was happening to Rafael than him just feeling tired or overwhelmed. He was usually intelligent, thoughtful, and energetic, and an especially stylish dresser. Lately, though, he grew distant, suspicious, unusually sullen, uninterested in social activities he once found fun and exciting, and paid little to no attention to his personal hygiene. The easy-going, fun-loving exchanges Jennifer once enjoyed with Rafael seemed to disappear suddenly and without warning.

Rafael’s family noticed the change in their son as well, and was scared and confused. They did not know what to do so they asked their pastor to come over and pray for Rafael. The pastor prayed for him and his family, but also suggested professional counseling. While he was grateful for the prayers and support, Rafael refused to go to counseling. Jennifer was heart-broken as she watched her friend slowly deteriorate into someone she no longer recognized.

A Different World Now

Rafael was in the throes of psychosis and deep depression. At first he denied anything was wrong. He later confided that he was “not sure what was happening” to him. “The world is different now” he simply said.

Rafael’s world truly was different now. However, it was not so uncommon, as the following data from 2015 National Prevalence Rates of Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Diagnoses indicate:

  • Anxiety: 18.1% (42 million people)
  • Depression: 6.9% (16 million people)
  • Bipolar: 2.6% (6.1 million people)
  • Substance Use Disorder: 20.8 million people

Sources: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration (SAMSHA)

As the data above indicate, behavioral health challenges (mental illness and substance use disorders) are far more common than most people realize. Experiencing mental illness, and or, substance use disorder is also no respecter of persons, as it impacts all races and ethnicities, gender, age, social economic status.

Research shows (and as you can see on the graph above) that mental illness affects young people at an alarming rate. NAMI research indicates that “one half of all lifetime cases begin by age 14 and 75 percent begin by age 24”. Even more astounding is that even after an onset of symptoms, “the average young person does not get treatment until 8-10 years after onset of symptoms.”

Community of First Responders

Several health seminars teach everyday citizens how to support those suffering from mental illness or substance use disorders, and those experiencing behavioral health crises. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is one such resource that my city (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and many other cities, countries, states, and local communities have adopted to support people in crisis or experiencing behavioral health challenges until professionals can step in.

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH): “One in five Americans has a mental illness or substance use disorder, yet many are reluctant to seek help or simply don’t know where to turn for care. Recognizing mental health and substance use challenges can be difficult, which is why it’s so important for everyone to understand the warning signs and risk factors.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

“Mental Health First Aid teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The 8-hour course introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, builds understanding of their impact and provides an overview of common treatments. Through role-playing and simulations, it demonstrates how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions; provide initial help; and connect people to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources.” Mental Health First Aid USA is operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Read more about the program in their special 5th Anniversary edition of National Council Magazine. In Philadelphia and other places around the country MHFA has been taught in faith-based organizations, churches, masjids, and synagogues to add behavioral health supports as a ministry in those communities.

“I was able to use what I learned to help my mother in a crisis situation,” said one participant. “My mother was expressing thoughts of suicide and I was able to use the right words to assess the situation and convince her to seek treatment. I saved my mother’s life!”

Fortunately for Rafael, Jennifer took the MHFA course a few weeks after she noticed her friend experiencing difficulties. Even more fortunately, Rafael trusted Jennifer as she put to work the “ALGEE” acronym she learned in the course:

  • A – Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • L – Listen non-judgmentally
  • G – Give reassurance and information
  • E – Encourage appropriate professional help
  • E – Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Rafael trusted his friend’s support, which encouraged him to seek professional help. Because of Jennifer’s compassion, support, and training, Rafael received the help he needed, was diagnosed with a mental health condition, and is responding well to treatment.

This situation could have resulted in a negative outcome like in so many cases with similar challenges. However, there was an additional, unanticipated positive result in that Rafael and Jennifer received permission from their pastor and church leadership to start a behavioral health support group for young people ages 14-24. Their church also signed up to receive training to become a “trauma-informed” congregation, thereby embracing behavioral health support as a legitimate and much needed ministry for their community.

The positive outcome for Rafael and others in the community was the result of a domino effect that all began with Jennifer putting her faith and friendship into practice. She is a great example of what the scripture says in Ephesians 4:32, of how we should treat one another: “Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding] …” (AMP).

Because mental illness and substance use disorder are becoming more prevalent in our communities, in our faith-communities, and in our families, we must be prepared. Showing kindness, love, and support to people in need is what being “Christ-like” is all about (Matthew 25:40).

Jean Wright II, PsyD, is a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist for the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.       


This article is part of our 2019 March / April
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The Extra Mile


The Extra Mile

Helping people the way they need to be helped can be challenging. Many know what it feels like to try to help someone and realize later on that you were only enabling them. Some have put effort into assisting others only to end up feeling used and abused. How did Jesus do so much for so many when He knew there would be those who wouldn’t do for others? Join us as we are challenged like Jesus to go The Extra Mile.

Read Luke 18:35, Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1

Jesus is walking with a group toward Jericho and there was blind man begging. Have you ever asked the question as to why the blind man was sitting there?  Someone, more than likely, had to bring him to that place. Have you ever wondered who it was? Do you ever look around and wonder about the stories of the people around you? Take some time today to say a short prayer for those that catch your attention. 

Read Luke 18:35-38

This man obviously needs help. Good thing for him that on this day that Jesus was walking by. But what about all the other days that he was dropped off in this spot to beg? How many weeks, months, or years had he been brought to the same spot with little progress in his life? What if the people who brought him could have done more? Can we do more? Do we have to do more? Let us know what you think about these questions on social media using  #MessageMag.

Read Luke 18:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19

Can you imagine being this man? He’s dropped off daily by people who, though they are doing him a service, could do more. Do we do the same? Maybe we have weakened what it means to be a servant. Maybe we’re more like the people who try to silence those who could use a little more assistance. Have we gotten to the point like Paul that we are willing to sacrifice our freedom for the lives of others? I haven’t. What about you? Talk to us using #MessageMag on Social Media.

Read Luke 18:39-40; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 34:19

The Bible promises that God will deliver. When I survey the stories and happenings of Biblical History I see that, more often than not, God uses people to carry out His deliverance. Jesus has the same people who were hushing the man to carry him over. The grace in this is that even if you haven’t been bringing people to Jesus, it’s never too late to start. Maybe God wants you to carry someone to Him. It’s a big responsibility, but I know that if God asked you, He’ll empower you to do so. Is there someone for whom God wants you to be responsible? If so I’d love to personally call their name out with you in prayer. You can call and pray with me at 614-266-9568.

Read Luke 18:41-42; Isaiah 59:1-2

This man could have asked for anything. He wasn’t going to waste being in the presence of Jesus with a misguided request. I expect he had been through enough for him to realize that his problem had nothing to do with anyone other than himself. That is the challenge of serving people—being able to stick with them until they realize their issues, and we see ours. When problems arise, do you check yourself before assigning blame on others? Is that hard or easy? Why? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

Luke 18:43; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 1 Corinthains 3:6-9

When the blind man receives his sight he immediately follows Jesus. Shouldn’t our servanthood cause us to lead people to the place where they no longer need our service, but are able to stop worrying about themselves and focus on others? It takes time, patience, and sacrifice for many. Some don’t get to that point in our time with them. The cost doesn’t exempt us.

Luke 18:31-43

Jesus had just told His disciples for the third time that He must die for the world to be saved. Immediately, He goes towards Jerusalem by way of Jericho. He did’t have to go this way because there was an alternate route, but He did because there was someone that God wanted for Him to serve. In other words, Jesus went the extra mile for one person. Are we willing to do the same?  

…......……………………………………………………………….

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 March / April
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Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God, Luke 18:35-39.

Think and Grow

“Go Teach All Nations,” p. 823, 824, The Desire of Ages,* by Ellen G. White

Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony. And He is just as willing to heal the sick now as when He was personally on earth. Christ’s servants are His representatives, the channels for His working. He desires through them to exercise His healing power.

These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul.

And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer. We should lay hold on His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength.

The power of love was in all Christ’s healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people. There were places where the Saviour Himself could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. So now unbelief separates the church from her divine Helper. Her hold upon eternal realities is weak. By her lack of faith, God is disappointed, and robbed of His glory.

It is in doing Christ’s work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all nations, He said; “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.

 

…......………………………….


This article is part of our 2019 March / April
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/onlineboks.





Our Part in The Healing


Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God, Luke 18:35-39.

Think and Grow

“Go Teach All Nations,” p. 823, 824, The Desire of Ages,* by Ellen G. White

Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony. And He is just as willing to heal the sick now as when He was personally on earth. Christ’s servants are His representatives, the channels for His working. He desires through them to exercise His healing power.

These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul.

And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer. We should lay hold on His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength.

The power of love was in all Christ’s healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people. There were places where the Saviour Himself could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. So now unbelief separates the church from her divine Helper. Her hold upon eternal realities is weak. By her lack of faith, God is disappointed, and robbed of His glory.

It is in doing Christ’s work that the church has the promise of His presence. Go teach all nations, He said; “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” To take His yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving His power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.

 

…......………………………….


This article is part of our 2019 March / April
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/onlineboks.


The Extra Mile

Helping people the way they need to be helped can be challenging. Many know what it feels like to try to help someone and realize later on that you were only enabling them. Some have put effort into assisting others only to end up feeling used and abused. How did Jesus do so much for so many when He knew there would be those who wouldn’t do for others? Join us as we are challenged like Jesus to go The Extra Mile.

Read Luke 18:35, Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1

Jesus is walking with a group toward Jericho and there was blind man begging. Have you ever asked the question as to why the blind man was sitting there?  Someone, more than likely, had to bring him to that place. Have you ever wondered who it was? Do you ever look around and wonder about the stories of the people around you? Take some time today to say a short prayer for those that catch your attention. 

Read Luke 18:35-38

This man obviously needs help. Good thing for him that on this day that Jesus was walking by. But what about all the other days that he was dropped off in this spot to beg? How many weeks, months, or years had he been brought to the same spot with little progress in his life? What if the people who brought him could have done more? Can we do more? Do we have to do more? Let us know what you think about these questions on social media using  #MessageMag.

Read Luke 18:39; 1 Corinthians 9:19

Can you imagine being this man? He’s dropped off daily by people who, though they are doing him a service, could do more. Do we do the same? Maybe we have weakened what it means to be a servant. Maybe we’re more like the people who try to silence those who could use a little more assistance. Have we gotten to the point like Paul that we are willing to sacrifice our freedom for the lives of others? I haven’t. What about you? Talk to us using #MessageMag on Social Media.

Read Luke 18:39-40; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 34:19

The Bible promises that God will deliver. When I survey the stories and happenings of Biblical History I see that, more often than not, God uses people to carry out His deliverance. Jesus has the same people who were hushing the man to carry him over. The grace in this is that even if you haven’t been bringing people to Jesus, it’s never too late to start. Maybe God wants you to carry someone to Him. It’s a big responsibility, but I know that if God asked you, He’ll empower you to do so. Is there someone for whom God wants you to be responsible? If so I’d love to personally call their name out with you in prayer. You can call and pray with me at 614-266-9568.

Read Luke 18:41-42; Isaiah 59:1-2

This man could have asked for anything. He wasn’t going to waste being in the presence of Jesus with a misguided request. I expect he had been through enough for him to realize that his problem had nothing to do with anyone other than himself. That is the challenge of serving people—being able to stick with them until they realize their issues, and we see ours. When problems arise, do you check yourself before assigning blame on others? Is that hard or easy? Why? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

Luke 18:43; 2 Corinthians 4:8-10; 1 Corinthains 3:6-9

When the blind man receives his sight he immediately follows Jesus. Shouldn’t our servanthood cause us to lead people to the place where they no longer need our service, but are able to stop worrying about themselves and focus on others? It takes time, patience, and sacrifice for many. Some don’t get to that point in our time with them. The cost doesn’t exempt us.

Luke 18:31-43

Jesus had just told His disciples for the third time that He must die for the world to be saved. Immediately, He goes towards Jerusalem by way of Jericho. He did’t have to go this way because there was an alternate route, but He did because there was someone that God wanted for Him to serve. In other words, Jesus went the extra mile for one person. Are we willing to do the same?  

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


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Very Superstitious? Consider yourself enlightened?

Ten Modern Day Religious Superstitions that Stump the True Bible Scholar

In our hi-tech age, one might believe that there is no room in our thinking to support superstitions. However, such a belief would be stone cold wrong. Although, beneficiaries of the Age of Reason philosophies that flourished in Europe, then America, following the Middle Ages, 21st century citizens are nonetheless, subscribers to superstitions. Think not? Let’s see.

Superstition is defined by Merrian-Websters Dictionary as: “a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” Writing in Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke called superstition, “the religion of feeble minds.” According to Burke, medieval inhabitants of the earth trying to find ways to explain perplexing natural phenomenon, developed pre-scientific rationales that basically became superstitions.

Perhaps, it’s not surprising to learn that superstitions made their way into the thinking of Christians. No? Here are ten superstitions that have found lodging in the hearts of believers.

How many of them are familiar to you?

1. “The Lord helps those who help themselves”

This often-repeated adage suggests that we are capable of meeting our own needs. Never mind that this superstition rejects the sovereignty of God. In truth, if we could help ourselves, we would have no need for God. Never, are we called to be self-dependent. Heaven calls for us to be God-dependent. The Psalmist reminds us in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” Paul adds his testimony in Philippians 4:19 “… my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

2. “We’re all God’s Children”

If only that were so. We are all God’s creation. However, the Bible is clear on this point; the children of God have distinctive traits of character:

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13) and 2.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons (children) of God” (Romans 8:14).

3. “To be absent from the body is to be with the Lord”

Paul’s statements in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 have been the source of countless misrepresentations of Scripture. We often hear this saying at funerals, the intention being to convey the idea that at death a believer goes straight to heaven. However, Paul’s words asserted no fact, nor the expression of a Biblical doctrine.

He did say, in 2 Corinthians 5:6 and 8: “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord,” and “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Paul’s meaning is readily apparent. Verse six simply states that as long as we are alive, in these earthly bodies, we are not present with the Lord in heaven. Paul uses verse eight to emphasize his preference. He would much rather be absent from his physical body, and be present with the Lord.

4. The rich man and Lazarus

The parable of the rich man some call Dives (maybe Latin for “rich”) and Lazarus has been spun into a very interesting superstition. Christian communities around the globe teach this story as if it is evidence that upon death, Christians and non-Christians alike go directly to their reward.

However, this parable has nothing to do with the wheareabouts of the dead or their general state. For starters, Lazarus dies, but doesn’t go to heaven. Instead, he goes to Abraham’s bosom. That is the first clue that this is not a factual story, but a figurative story.

The key to the passage is found in the words of Jesus in Luke 16:31. “Dives” begs Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn Dives’ brothers of the perils of being lost.

Jesus, finishing the story for the listeners gives Abraham’s response, and the parable’s dramatic point: “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

Jesus was not talking about the death of the rich man or Lazarus. His parable foretold of the Jewish unbelief that would greet His resurrection.

5. The Bible guarantees that children raised in a Christian home will keep the faith.

The primary text to support this is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child…” Maybe superstition is a little strong here, however, this passage should not be taken as a blanket promise regarding the salvation of our children. What the Bible offers is this truth: train the child in the ways of the Lord, and as they grow up they will not depart from the knowledge that has been instilled in them through the training they received.

6. “Once saved, always saved”

Perhaps no superstition is as deadly to our salvation than one that promises once saved, always saved. This superstition promises the salvation even of those who don’t want to be saved. This teaching is contrary to the Bible. Matthew 24:13 admonishes us to “endure to the end.” Hebrews 10:23 counsels us to “hold fast the confession of our hope.” And, Revelations 3:16 cautions that if we should become lukewarm, Jesus will spit us out of His mouth.

7. We have never-dying souls to save

This superstition mis-educates the living about the state of the dead. The Bible explains that we don’t have souls, we are living souls (Genesis 2:7). Furthermore, we’re informed by Ezekiel 18:20 that “the soul that sins shall die.” And, how many have sinned? Romans 3:23, “…All have sinned…”

8. “Moderation in all things”

Imagine moderation in drug use, alcohol intake, and promiscuous intimacy. Moderation in all things is a concept borrowed from the Greek philosopher Aristotle. While it is true that Philippians 4:5 says “Let your moderation be known…,” the actual meaning of the Greek word translated moderation is gentleness or mildness. The believer’s rule of faith for living is better expressed by 1 Corinthians 10:31, “…whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

9. “To thine own self be true”

Some mistakenly believe these words are from Scripture. They are in fact, taken from Shakespeare. We are not called to be true to ourselves. The redeemed answer to a higher authority. We have been made for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7). In Malachi 2:6, God proclaims that Levi had truth in his mouth and no iniquity on his lips.

10. Dead ancestors speaking to the living

This superstition is significant, if only because it leaves the hearts of God’s people open to the false narrative that psychics, tarot card readers, and practitioners of the occult are able to carry messages between the dead and the living. Absolutely false. There is no dialogue between the living and the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:5 teaches that the “dead know nothing.” Then, Psalm 115:17 instructs us that “the dead praise not the Lord.”

Ten superstitions that 21st century believers have been deceived into accepting as “thus says the Lord.” Have we no protection from these superstitions infecting our faith? We do indeed. The answer is simple. We must study to show ourselves approved. Our only safety is found in God’s Word.


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Tyrants, Terrorism, and the End of Time

There are many signs from Bible prophecy that suggest we’re nearing the end of time. One of these is the increase in earthly, tyrannical leadership. This type of leadership is rooted and founded in the behavior of Satan, as he is what I term, “chief tyrant.” Consider the following three characteristics of Satan’s tyrannical behavior.

Profile of The Original Tyrant

1. “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”1

2. “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.’”2

3. “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”3

Telltale Signs of Evil Influences

Based on the Biblical passages above, Satan is: (1) the deceiver of the world who deals in the pervasiveness of lies and falsehoods; (2) the accuser of the brethren who loves to play the blame game; and (3) having great wrath, throws temper tantrums, and fits of rage. These characteristics have led him to become a terrorist. He is a warmonger who seeks to harm and destroy innocent people. And when these tyrannical and terroristic traits manifest themselves in world leaders, we must remember that given the vast numbers of innocent individuals who are under their authority and control, these leaders, too, are capable of doing great harm.

From the moment Satan was forced out of the heavenly kingdom, he has sought to establish his own kingdom to overthrow God’s government. The father of lies,4 Satan is the main rumor mill that pits nation against nation, breaks treaties, and declares war on the hearts and minds of humanity. He is at the very root of all terrorism and every terrorist attack. His anger against God’s people has seethed for thousands of years, and he is determined to have dominion over the universe.

End Notes

The good news, however, is that God has the last word! Satan’s defeat in the courts of the kingdom of heaven prefigures his final defeat on the day of judgment! Satan is a tyrant, and when you see his tyrannical fingerprint in the lives of world leaders, be assured of two things: you know where it comes from and you know where it’s going.

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”5

Tyrants and terrorism may be on the rise, but in the end, Jesus will win! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”6

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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  Revelation 12:7-9, NASB.

2  Revelation 12:10, NASB.

3  Revelation 12:12, NASB.

4  John 8:44, KJV.

5  Revelation 20:10, NASB.

6  Revelation 22:20, KJV.


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Hands-on Mental Health

You may have seen the story on your social media feed: “Schoolboys grabbed suicidal man and refused to let him jump” blared the UK Daily Mail. That headline accompanied a picture of a serious Shawn Young, Davonte Cafferkey, and Sammy Farah, ages 12, 13, and 14 respectively, at the time.

The boys had been “loitering” on the way home from school, recalled Young’s mother, and as they were about to cross an overpass in Hertfordshire—about 30 miles North of London—a passing adult told them to go another way because a disturbed man was on the bridge.

Their sense of mischief and curiosity aroused, they proceeded across anyway. There they found a distraught 21-year old man with a rope. His face was red and he was crying quietly, but sweating and breathing heavily. He tied the rope around part of the bridge, tossed his keys and phone to the boys and told them not to answer if anyone called. He put the rope around his neck and climbed over the railing.

This pressed the boys into smart and aggressive “textbook” action,” said Carol Young. Cafferkey and Farah clutched the man for dear life while Shawn ran for help. The young man became dead weight there on top of that bridge, over the busy highway. He slipped in and out of consciousness while the boys yelled at him: “Don’t do this! Think of your family! You’re too young to die!”

Grateful Family

Ultimately, two other passerby assisted the boys in bringing the man to safety and averting the loss of life.

“A few weeks after,” Shawn told Message recently, “he came to Devontae’s house to meet us. He brought us flowers and cards. He said he was grateful; he wasn’t really thinking properly.”

The kernel of truth buried in this story with a happy ending is what support for people living with mental illness is all about. That’s because when you rewind, you realize that it was an adult who told the boys to avoid crossing the bridge where a “crazy man” was up there doing some strange things. Instead, like the Bible’s “Good Samaritan” who risked his life to come to the aid of a person in need—all while other, qualified and seemingly spiritual people passed by—the boys stepped in anyway.

“Shawn was brought up as a child to attend church. His belief is there. He’s had training,” said his mother who took her children to work in the community “religiously,” and taught them to look after people who need looking after.

Wholistic Health

As a Seventh-day Adventist, for whom belief in the wholistic health message of the Bible is critical, I was taught early to “Trust in Divine Power,” a helpful, hopeful approach to well-being that most certainly includes mental wellness.

“Trust in divine power boosts positive emotions and helps neutralize negative emotions, serving both to enhance life and increase coping skills as negative life events are put into proper context,” writes Lillian Kent, in an article “The Adventist “Health Message” Unpacked, www.ministrymagazine.org. “Individuals with these beliefs have greater well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, and gratefulness and are less likely to experience depression, suicide, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, delinquency, crime, and marital instability.”

Yet, traditionally communities of faith and the faithful struggle with incorporating psychological and psychiatric support with religious or spiritual belief and practice. Longstanding suspicions widened the gulf between science and faith. That left many to struggle alone in stigma, or in anonymity, or in abuse.

“Most services of worship are silent about the mental and emotional problems among those present,” according to an article by Clark Aist, Ph.D, a former director of Chaplain Services and Rehabilitation Services Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education, for Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. “They are not lifted in prayer or sermons, nor mentioned in social hour conversations. This conspiracy of silence serves to perpetuate the stigma associated with mental health conditions.”

With mental illness affecting “tens of millions” of people in the United States, and only an estimated half of the people affected getting treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is room for more discussion, education, and intervention. In our houses of worship, cited Aist, it is estimated that one in four families has someone living with a mental illness. At that rate, we can no longer afford to stigmatize mental illness, or simply pray it away, but actually use a hands-on effort to look after people who need looking after.


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