2019 November / December Issue

REVOLUTION STARTS HERE


Yusef Salaam Survived through Anger, Love, and the Reality of God’s Presence.

FEATURES

11 I was in prison
by Ruthven Phillip /
Bad bail economics produce financial strain for the “least of these.”

12 Revolution starts here
by Carmel Monk Crawford /
An Interview with Yusef Salaam, of The Exonerated Five.

16 Uncomfortable
by Nick Taliaferro /
An interview with Reverend Dr. William Barber.

18 The two-Faced Beast
by Dedrick Blue /
How the experience of black and brown people in the United States factors into the prophectic timeline.

20 2019 Conscience Calendar
by Malcolm Luther /
Historical headlines that remind us that freedom is hard-fought and hard-won.

22 Packing
by Faith Crumbly /
Should you carry a concealed weapon?

28 Fascination with evil
by Donald L. McPhaull /
We’re about to see evil invited (again) into homes across America.

FAVORITES

4 ELEVATION
by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
Media That Takes You Higher

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford /
How to Play The Conscience Card

6 EYE ON THE TIMES
by Edward Woods III /
CONSCIOUSNESS OF CHRIST
by Eric Mason / 10 Laments for the Church

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman /
My holiday faves

10 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
A piece of my mind

24 FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd /
Finally free

26 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White /
Come away with me

27 THE EXPERIENCE BIBLE STUDY
by Rashad Burden /
The closer I get to you

30 POWER PLAY
by Patricia Thongs Smith /
the peace that only jesus gives




The closer I get to You

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


1 Read Exodus 3:1-3

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

2 Read 1 Samuel 16:7-11

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

3 Read Luke 5:14-16

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

4

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

5

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

6 Read Exodus 33:7; Psalm 124

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

7 Read Matthew 7:7

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

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


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

Mark 6:30-32*

Believe: He Will Come Back

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

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

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

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

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


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
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…......…………………………………………..

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

_________________

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





Come Away with Me

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

Mark 6:30-32*


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

…......…………………………………………..


1 Read Exodus 3:1-3

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

2 Read 1 Samuel 16:7-11

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

3 Read Luke 5:14-16

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

4

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

5

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

6 Read Exodus 33:7; Psalm 124

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

5 Read Matthew 7:7

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

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


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





Finally Free

From the moment that the deceptive scheme began to form in his mind, Satan has sought to defraud and enslave all of God’s creation. Since the fall of our fore parents, Adam and Eve, Satan has laid claim to Earth as the base of his kingdom.

When talking to God in the book of Job, Satan spoke as though it was his prerogative to roam the Earth as he pleased (Job 2:1, 2). Even Jesus referred to Satan as the “prince of this world”; but in the same breath, Jesus pronounced that Satan had no power over Him (John 14:30). Just think, Satan must really have a stranglehold on planet Earth if even God in the flesh acknowledged Satan’s authority. And although Revelation 12 teaches that his authority could never eclipse that of the Son of God, the fact is, Satan gained dominion over the earth when Adam and Eve fell under his lies.

After Adam and Eve sinned, each subsequent generation has borne the burden of a sinful nature and a mortal soul. Disobedience to God made the human race susceptible to Satan’s schemes, sickness, disease, and ultimately death. No matter how hard we fight, we have the limiting force and denigrating influence of thousands of years of sin and death. Death and sin is the way of all mankind. We need to be made free.

Enter Jesus, our Freedom Fighter. He would be raised from the earth to die on the cross. And, He would be raised in the resurrection from the dead. So not only would humanity be attracted to His matchless love, but also His matchless power. In His resurrection, He wields the keys to hell and the grave. Jesus, is our Freedom Fighter.

In every generation, humanity has sought to defy aging, cheat death, and lengthen their days on earth. The good news is that Christ’s resurrection was evidence that death and the grave are no match for His limitless power! But that’s not all.

Christ would be raised up from the earth on Calvary’s cross. This signaled His matchless love for humanity. He would then be raised from the dead, and this would signal His matchless power over death and the grave. Then He would be raised and ascend to heaven to intercede for us in the heavenly sanctuary and to reign with His Father in heaven. (See Hebrews 8:1-2, 6 and Revelation 5:5-8.) With this, the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ is the catalyst to liberate us from the clutches of Satan.

Death and sin is the way of all mankind. We need to be made free.

John spoke assuredly saying, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God,” (John 1:12). Now, in a cursory glance we risk missing the deeper meaning of this verse. John promises that God gives power to all who believe to become children of God. And although the word power could refer to ability or strength, Satan wants to use this definition as a trap. Specifically, Satan wants us to believe that by our own strength we can live according to the mandates of God. Satan well knows this will only result in our frustration and failure. Power, here, actually suggests legal authority. This means God gives us strength, and He also gives us rights. These rights are a legal claim that will hold up in the heavenly court of law.

You can rest assured that if you stand in the courtroom of the Almighty God, with the proper legal documentation—signed by the precious blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—you have your freedom!

Friend, you don’t simply want physical or even spiritual strength. You also want legal rights that provide evidence that you belong to God. In Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection, God gave us heavenly freedom papers! That’s what you call freedom! And one day soon, God will say, “Enter into the joy of thy Lord!”

On that great and wonderful day, we will enter into the limitless joy of eternity!

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful,” (Revelation 21:3-5).

…......………………………………………………………………………

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 John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1746 – 1763.


This article is part of our 2019 November / December Issue
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How to Play The Conscience Card

I totally get it. Faithful and God-fearing means one has to stand up for the cause of God in the face of encroaching evil. Students of the Bible do more than wait as human conflicts increase and environmental breakdown intensifies. In the unseen clash between rulers of darkness and angels of light and right, we are participants.

Participant may be too lazy a word here. When it comes to the influence now being waged by some of America’s evangelical groups, they’re working with a vengeance to bring Christian values to the forefront of world morality. It is vengeance because, as one conservative author and commentator writes, when they helped elect Donald Trump as president, they vowed to “hit back twice as hard” because they believe they had to take a backseat in the era of Barack Obama.

Obama, a professed Christian, increasingly sought to uphold the Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. The White House began to neutralize the language that traditionally recognized Christians. Federal agencies and funding recipients were expected to offer their services with neutral and thus inclusive treatment. Further, Obama created an atmosphere that was inclusive of a diversity of people, religious beliefs and practices. He included Muslims and members of LGBTQ+ communities into official White House ceremony and tradition.

With Trump’s election, largely credited to the support of Evangelical Christians, the power of the church, at the invitation of the state, is just warming up. From a cabinet with eight active and vocal Christians, to the quick and unobstructed appointment of pro-life judges on the federal bench, Make America Great Again, means Christians are back in style.

The Netflix documentary “The Family” traced the underground influence Christian leaders leveraged among elected leaders in the U.S. and globally. The National Prayer Breakfast, according to the film, has been more than a time for prayer, reflection, and direction. Rather, it is a chance for well-connected, yet religious activists to gain access to world leaders in order to influence their policy and governance. So much for the separation of church and state.

Evangelicals, so sure that they are on the right side of the Bible and history, claim Trump is the most “biblically friendly” president the U.S. has ever seen. They are so sure on this that when Trump surprised his own cabinet and intelligence personnel with an abrupt change in Syria, Evangelical pundit and pastor Pat Robertson said Trump was in danger of “losing the mandate of heaven.”

Whether you consider yourself Christian and care about the unborn or the incarcerated, the rule of law or police abuse, there has to be a balancing analysis and maybe synthesis. Matthew 25’s mandate to reach the poor, the oppressed, and the incarcerated in mercy for Christ is clear. It is clear, also, that the Bible invites each believer to cast his or her whole being squarely on the Lord’s side—believing and doing the work of the kingdom (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:32, 33; Matthew 12:50; James 2:17, as just some example texts). For Christians who cherish liberty of conscience, there is a critical question: how much of God’s kingdom comes to this world, when Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”?

If there were a playbook, I would think some of these ideas would be central operating principles for the Christian seeking to affect her world:

The end does not justify the means. Consider the tragic story of Judas, who for 30 pieces of silver, sold away the Messiah to be crucified. This illustrates the idea that even though the plan of God to redeem the world meant His son would shed His blood and die, God didn’t endorse the betrayal, the conspiracy, the blood money. “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” Judas cried, on his way to a guilt-ridden suicide.

Hollow participation to gain position and power likewise damages the unity, commitment and the witness of the body of Christ. The Spirit exposed the hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira, and their final, lying words condemned them.

Love covers a multitude of sins, but don’t use love as your cover-up. Maybe David, a man after God’s own heart, was too secure in his prosperity, power and poetry. He completely blanked when tempted to wield his power to get what he wanted, and again, to what end? The shedding of innocent blood.

Finally, we can never fool ourselves into thinking whatever fundamentalist mission and vision we’re on need not pass the test of the light of scripture, and wise counsel. God sees all. (Revisit the scenes in Ezekiel 8 in which spiritual leaders betrayed God’s trust behind closed doors.) Sure, there will come a time when the masses will not endure sound doctrine, and true believers will suffer. In the meantime, the prospect of public scrutiny should lead us to act with transparency and accountability before God and people.


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