2019 May/June Issue

By The Word of Their Testimony


How everyday people can protect and promote the mental wellness we need.

FEATURES

12  Bounce Back
by Kim Nowlin Logan /
Staying The Course: Mastering the art of bouncing back.

13  Can you trust yourself?
by Ruthven Phillip /
Five Ways to Keep Your Credit in Check.

14  Won’t He Do It?
Electrifying Evidences That God Is Still on The Throne!

• Overcomers by The Blood of Jesus –
William Cox
• The Closer -Sim Fryson
• God of The Magnet – Lori Diaz
• Last Woman Standing – Denise Frazer
• There Is No God, Said The Fool – Luis
Castillo
• God’s Deliverance – Billy Mirander
• God’s Protection – Jyremy Reid
• God’s Mercy – Gianna Snell
• God’s Comfort – Sharon Jamison
• God’s Plan – Tyler Brown
• Home Away From Hell – Shay Price
• Surrendered Heart – Milton Coronado
• God’s Leading – Patti Conwell

28  Sin is Sin
by Donald L. McPhaull /
No such thing as a misdemeanor or a felony in God’s book.

FAVORITES

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
Experiential Evidence

6 Eye on the times
by Edward Woods, III /
The Fall of Civility

8 Optimal health
by Donna Green Goodman /
The Doctor Is In! Special Guest, Milton Mills, M.D.

11 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
Kids of Divorce

24 Futurecast
by Carlton P. Byrd /
Celestial Struggle

26 The Experience
by Ellen G. White / What Does It Take for You to Believe?

27 The Experience Bible study
by Rashad Burden /
Better Than God?




Want to See God Move in Your Life?

As a child, I would bring my dime to church for tithe (10 percent on my whopping occasional increase of a whole dollar). The words that followed from the front each week were so predictable that the enormous power of the promise has faded.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” Malachi 3:10.

This promise of God—way better than any contract in good faith among mere mortals—raises our expectations. It purposely gets our hopes up. It intentionally invites us to go out on a limb and believe for what He has said. “Prove,” meaning “test,” “try,” or “investigate,” also implies God’s hope. He hopes that in the proving process, when we glimpse who He is, and trace a small part of what He wants for us, we would discern between the choices in front of us and choose Him.

Proving Position

While the promise in Malachi is so ubiquitous in service, the architecture of it is worth noting for those of us who want to see God move in our lives. It requires us to first get in position. Position? Yes, proving position means we align ourselves with what we know to be true, the things we know He has asked of us, things already clearly revealed in His Word, the Bible.

In Malachi, the prophet indicated that the proving position was returning the tithes. For Joshua and the children of Israel—wearied, jaded, and weak in faith after wandering 40 years in the wilderness—the proving position was dipping the toes into the river Jordan. It was then that God parted the water for them to cross to the other side (Joshua 3:9-17). In the prophet Elijah’s day, during a widespread famine, the proving position for a poor starving widow and her son who had so little, was to share of her last little homemade cake. It was then that her supply, and her Supply, never ran out (1 Kings 17:10-16). For a man whose hopeless, helpless case meant he lay at a poolside impotent and paralyzed for 38 years, proving position meant immediately acting on the call of Jesus (John 5:2-10).

Testimony to Come

Want to see what happens? Position yourself to get a glimpse of God, and His plan for your life:

Trust and Believe, even in the face of skeptics, doubters and haters.  You’ve got evidence—just that calm inkling that things will work out is evidence itself (Hebrews 11:1).

Trust and Obey, even when we don’t understand (and we may often fail to understand) (1 John 3:22).

Trust and Listen—through His Spirit and through His Word—to gain an understanding (John 16:13, 14).

Trust and Pray while you wait, letting the Spirit do the talking (Romans 8:26).

Trust and Speak and “act in harmony with your prayers,” wrote Ellen G. White in the book Christ’s Object Lessons. We are, after all, working on the same team, as “co-workers” with God, (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Tell what you know, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve heard of Him in your life to others.  “We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).


This article is part of our 2019 May / June Issue
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Sin is Sin is Sin is Sin

Who Told Us That We Could Assign Degrees to Infractions of God’s Law?

Society assigns gradations to criminal behavior, and that is probably the source of feelings and beliefs of many in the “household of faith” which likewise assign degrees of seriousness to sin. Legaldictionary.net explains that many states subdivide felony and misdemeanor criminal violations into one of four degrees: first degree through fourth degree. Some in the church also think that they can prioritize violations of God’s laws.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain seems far less serious than bearing false witness. While, for another believer, a moderate case of coveting their neighbor’s stuff is certainly more of a “cupcake” sin than committing adultery. And, violation of the “Remember the Sabbath day…” commandment is not something to lose sleep over like committing murder would be. In other words, it’s not unusual to hear God’s people downplay their commission of “minor violations” of God’s law. They think they are minor. And, they do this even as they rail against the perceived, or exposed, sinful behavior of others.

Calling People Out

For example, when did same sex relationships become heaven’s “public sin number one?” No, this is not a back-door attempt to justify a lifestyle that some find a viable alternative, and others view as abhorrent. Nor, is it a diatribe against the LGBTQ community. What it is, is an effort to understand by whose authority we apply degrees of seriousness to violations of God’s revealed will and His holy law. Furthermore, just how do we discern heaven’s acceptability of one sin over another, when both are sins?

Nothing in Scripture places those involved in gay/lesbian/bi relationships at the apex in our world of sin. Now, the Bible does reference the enemies of God’s Kingdom in several places. For example, Matthew 13’s parable of the sower, tells of tares being sown among the wheat. Verse 39 tells us, “the enemy who has sowed them (the tares) is the devil.” Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” And, James 4:4 admonishes that “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Curiously, even if we wanted to proclaim members of the gay community enemies of the church, that pesky Matthew 5:43 reminds us that we are to love our enemies. So, we’re still not safe. God calls for us to love, even as we love our neighbors and ourselves.

Each Will Account for Their Sins

Let’s be clear on this fact, with God, sin is sin. Romans 14:12 says, each of us will have to give a personal account for our actions—good and bad—to God. One reminder, in 2 Corinthians 5:10, is that we must all come before the throne of Christ to account for what we’ve done, to reap what we’ve sown. And, the counsel of Ecclesiastes 12:14 keeps it real: even the “secret” things will be brought into judgment. To ensure that we understand for whom these passages apply, Paul wrote in Romans 2:11, 12: “For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law…”

Yes, there are revisionists, who attempt to assuage any guilt felt by those in same-sex relationships by declaring the Bible is empty of any condemnation for homosexual deeds. However, that is wishful thinking. Does the Bible declare homosexuality a sin? Yes. But, it also declares fornication a sin. Not surprisingly, adultery is also a sin. In fact, the Bible declares that any sexual intimacy outside of the sacredness of marriage (based on God’s original design: one man, one woman) is a sin.

This begs the question, why are we not so quick to condemn our family members, friends, and co-workers who we suspect, or know, to be engaged in relationships of intimacy outside of marriage? Victory over all forms of sexual improprieties is available through Jesus.

God’s Word contains abundant evidence. The Old Testament offers Genesis chapter 19, along with Leviticus chapters 18 and 20. While, in the New Testament, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:9, 10 all provide clarity on where God stands with sexual sins. However, please note, at no time does God suggest that He has no love for those engaged in sexual sins. His love for us is evident in that “…while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Called to Befriend, Not Condemn

So, what is our obligation? God declares in Ezekiel chapter three that He has placed us as watchmen, and watchwomen, upon the walls to warn those in sin. The Great Commission contains our marching orders, “Go, therefore, and teach…” In Luke chapter 14, Jesus instructs that we are to go into the highways and byways, compelling them to join us at Prince Immanuel’s table. Lastly, Paul’s admonition of Galatians 5:6 is that nothing else matters except faith that works by love. We are called, not to condemn, but to befriend for Jesus, in love.

 

 


This article is part of our 2019 May / June Issue
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Zoom in to Discover How Our Story Ends

The book of Revelation in the Bible tells the story of salvation and the history of God’s people from multiple, different perspectives. It’s very similar to using the “zoom” feature on a camera. You “zoom in” to see things close up, and you “zoom out” to see the bigger picture. Revelation zooms in and zooms out several times as it focuses on various parts of the salvation narrative. At the very beginning of the book, Revelation zooms out to survey the history of the church. Then in Revelation 12, it zooms all the way out enabling readers to see the full celestial picture of the history of God’s people and the plan of salvation.

Often when people refer to Revelation 12, they assert that it’s the chapter which highlights the continued struggle between Christ and Satan. Because this conflict spans many ages and veritably all of the history of our world, it’s called the “Great Controversy” as it’s displayed in countless small spiritual battles and encapsulates every manifestation of spiritual warfare. Ultimately, Satan desires to have dominion over our souls and the entire universe, and he will stop at nothing to realize this nefarious ambition. Through the Great Controversy, we have insight into his attempt at a celestial coup d’état.

The Woman

This cosmic clash begins with a vision of a woman, “clothed with the sun…and a crown of twelve stars on her head.”1 She is pregnant and cries out in pain as she is about to give birth.2 Then enters the villain, an “enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.”3 But it’s the next line that is very significant. It says, “His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.”4

It’s important to know that scholars believe that the woman represents God’s people who are often referred to in the Bible as a beautiful bride.5 Additionally, we know that the child symbolizes Jesus Christ because verse five says that the child “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”6

Pause, Rewind

We need to pause here to point out that the story utilizes an ancient Hebrew storytelling device that scholars like to call recapitulation. You’ve probably heard a friend unwittingly doing the same thing. Your friend told you what happened, but then said, “Let me backup a little bit.” Your friend then regressed in order to give you important details for understanding how things turned out. Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in Revelation 12.

At the beginning of chapter twelve, the woman is standing there in her most vulnerable moment and that’s when the dragon appears. The Bible then says in verse four that the dragon has come to devour the woman’s newborn baby.7 God, however, whisks the woman away in a sort of spiritual witness protection program and the child is spared. Yet, the dragon never gives up, and at the end of the chapter, he “goes to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” This is a major moment because this means that this Great Controversy is about to meet its apex.

Rescue of God’s People

Revelation 13 begins with the culmination of Satan’s attempts to destroy God’s people and usurp God’s throne. Nevertheless, shortly thereafter in subsequent chapters of Revelation, we see the judgments of God poured out, followed by the implementation of the ultimate final judgment and eternal peace that ensues with the execution of the evil one.

The Scriptures state, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”8

Victorious Family

It’s this message that should give us all courage and hope! At the end of this celestial power struggle, God wins! And not only does God win, but He establishes victory for all those who put their trust in Him! Praise God! God has adopted us into His family and has called us by His own name! “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”9

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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.

___________

All scriptural texts are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.

1 Revelation 12:1

2 Revelation 12:2

3 Revelation 12:3

4 Revelation 12:4

5 Revelation 19:7, 21:2

6 Revelation 12:5

7 Revelation 12:4

8 Revelation 21:3-4

9 Revelation 8:37


This article is part of our 2019 May / JuneIssue
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Better Than God


How good is good? How great is great? How much better is better? Many people strive to be the best version of their selves? For some, going to church or reading the Bible is a way they try to do so. In the Bible Jesus says a lot about what believing in Him and His Father can do for people. In 2019, what do people really believe God is capable of? Do you still believe in Jesus and the Father? Join us as we explore the challenge of belief in this study entitled “Better Than God.”

Read John 14:5-8

The disciples have some questions for Jesus. I believe one of the best ways to study is to ask questions. I believe your belief can be strengthened by strong questions. Write out some questions you want to ask Jesus. 

Read John 14:8; Read John 6:5-7

One of the disciples that is asking questions is Philip. Philip seems to be very concerned about the tangible. Philip was the one who—upon facing more than five thousand hungry people—basically said:  “we don’t have enough money.” It is hard to believe when you cannot see how something can be done. Have you ever been in a situation where you could not see how it would work out? Tell us about it here at Message using #MessageMag on social media.

Read John 14:9, and 1 Peter 5:7

Jesus seems to be a little taken aback by Philip’s question. You would think that walking side by side with Jesus would be enough for anyone to believe and know God. By the same token, people go to churches week after week, read their Bible’s, and say their prayers, and still want to see proof. Are there any people’s lives you want to see proof of God in? Write out the list and pray for them as you continue this study. 

Read John 14:10-11

When we look at other people throughout the day do we ever consider that God could be living inside of them? It’s so easy to get stuck on the physical that we become ignorant of the spiritual. Isn’t that part of what makes believing in Jesus so challenging? He’s out of sight and therefore out of mind. What would happen if we looked and dealt with everyone as if they had God  living in them? How do you think that would play out in real life? Tell us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

Read John 14:12; Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:28

These words of Jesus may drill to the root of why believing is so daunting. He says that if we believe in Him we will be doing the things He’s been doing. For the record, Jesus had already done numerous miracles, yet He says we are able to do what He did. To up that ante, He then proclaims that we “will do greater things.” Does it sometimes seem the promises and words of the Bible are too good to be true? Has there been times when your experience didn’t seem to match up with what you read?

Read John 14:12-14

There is a difference between being better, and doing better. Jesus does not suggest here that you will be better in behavior and character, but rather that you are enabled to do more miraculous things than He did. Sometimes we downplay our potential because of things in our past. God wants you to know He still desires to use you if you are willing to believe in Him. I challenge you to write out a prayer that thanks God for power that supersedes your personality and His benevolence that outshines your behavior. Honestly, write it out and pray it out loud. 

Read John 15:1-4

Believing can be challenging when you don’t see results. That is why I’m thankful that right after John tells about Jesus saying we can do better than He, he tells us about how the results of our actions are not our responsibility. Our focus as believers is to stay connected to the true vine, and I know that as we see the fruit our belief will show that there is none better than God.  

…......……………………………………………………………….

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 May / June
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Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8,9.

Think and Grow

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of The Ages, the chapter entitled “He Ordained Twelve.”

At the head of one of the groups into which the apostles are divided stands the name of Philip. He was the first disciple to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist, and had heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God.

Philip was a sincere seeker for truth, but he was slow of heart to believe. Although he had joined himself to Christ, yet his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” John 1:45.

Again, when the five thousand were fed, Philip’s lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip’s answer was on the side of unbelief: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” John 6:5, 7.

Jesus was grieved. Although Philip had seen His works and felt His power, yet he had not faith. When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize upon the opportunity of introducing them to the Savior, but he went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” the Savior answered, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” John 14:5-8. So slow of heart, so weak in faith, was that disciple who for three years had been with Jesus.

As

His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through cooperation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good.

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


This article is part of our 2019 May / June
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.





What Does It Take for You to Believe?


Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” John 14:8,9.

Think and Grow

From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of The Ages, the chapter entitled “He Ordained Twelve.”

At the head of one of the groups into which the apostles are divided stands the name of Philip. He was the first disciple to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. He had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist, and had heard his announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God.

Philip was a sincere seeker for truth, but he was slow of heart to believe. Although he had joined himself to Christ, yet his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows that he was not fully convinced of the divinity of Jesus. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” John 1:45.

Again, when the five thousand were fed, Philip’s lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip’s answer was on the side of unbelief: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” John 6:5, 7.

Jesus was grieved. Although Philip had seen His works and felt His power, yet he had not faith. When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize upon the opportunity of introducing them to the Savior, but he went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” the Savior answered, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” John 14:5-8. So slow of heart, so weak in faith, was that disciple who for three years had been with Jesus.

As

His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through cooperation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good.

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

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.

 

…......………………………….


This article is part of our 2019 May / June
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.


How good is good? How great is great? How much better is better? Many people strive to be the best version of their selves? For some, going to church or reading the Bible is a way they try to do so. In the Bible Jesus says a lot about what believing in Him and His Father can do for people. In 2019, what do people really believe God is capable of? Do you still believe in Jesus and the Father? Join us as we explore the challenge of belief in this study entitled “Better Than God.”

Read John 14:5-8

The disciples have some questions for Jesus. I believe one of the best ways to study is to ask questions. I believe your belief can be strengthened by strong questions. Write out some questions you want to ask Jesus. 

Read John 14:8; Read John 6:5-7

One of the disciples that is asking questions is Philip. Philip seems to be very concerned about the tangible. Philip was the one who—upon facing more than five thousand hungry people—basically said:  “we don’t have enough money.” It is hard to believe when you cannot see how something can be done. Have you ever been in a situation where you could not see how it would work out? Tell us about it here at Message using #MessageMag on social media.

Read John 14:9, and 1 Peter 5:7

Jesus seems to be a little taken aback by Philip’s question. You would think that walking side by side with Jesus would be enough for anyone to believe and know God. By the same token, people go to churches week after week, read their Bible’s, and say their prayers, and still want to see proof. Are there any people’s lives you want to see proof of God in? Write out the list and pray for them as you continue this study. 

Read John 14:10-11

When we look at other people throughout the day do we ever consider that God could be living inside of them? It’s so easy to get stuck on the physical that we become ignorant of the spiritual. Isn’t that part of what makes believing in Jesus so challenging? He’s out of sight and therefore out of mind. What would happen if we looked and dealt with everyone as if they had God  living in them? How do you think that would play out in real life? Tell us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

Read John 14:12; Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:28

These words of Jesus may drill to the root of why believing is so daunting. He says that if we believe in Him we will be doing the things He’s been doing. For the record, Jesus had already done numerous miracles, yet He says we are able to do what He did. To up that ante, He then proclaims that we “will do greater things.” Does it sometimes seem the promises and words of the Bible are too good to be true? Has there been times when your experience didn’t seem to match up with what you read?

Read John 14:12-14

There is a difference between being better, and doing better. Jesus does not suggest here that you will be better in behavior and character, but rather that you are enabled to do more miraculous things than He did. Sometimes we downplay our potential because of things in our past. God wants you to know He still desires to use you if you are willing to believe in Him. I challenge you to write out a prayer that thanks God for power that supersedes your personality and His benevolence that outshines your behavior. Honestly, write it out and pray it out loud. 

Read John 15:1-4

Believing can be challenging when you don’t see results. That is why I’m thankful that right after John tells about Jesus saying we can do better than He, he tells us about how the results of our actions are not our responsibility. Our focus as believers is to stay connected to the true vine, and I know that as we see the fruit our belief will show that there is none better than God.  

…......……………………………………………………………….

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 May / June
Subscribe –>