Latest Issue

RETURN TO THE  DEEP


 – Finding Purpose and Connecting with History in the Atlantic Ocean – 

FEATURES:

11 Financial Lessons the Pandemic Taught Us
by Ruthven Phillip
/ Emergency fund? How about a 100-Year-Pandemic-Fund?

12 Slave Food
by Columbus Batiste and Eric Walsh
/ How still eating the diet of the enslaved shackles potential.

16 Return to the Deep
by Anthony Medley
/ He overcame his fear of the water, and now plumbs its depths for history and healing.

18 Raphael Warnock: Can you serve God and Country?
by Paul Anderson
/ Once again black preaching is called to task for its challenge to the powers that be.

19 Leadership lessons from Marshall & Houston
by Carl McRoy
/ What can we learn from two influential men working together to chip away at segregation and racism.

20 The civil rights work of apostle Paul?
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Misread, and misappropriated, one scholar reclaims the Word of God for justice.

22 Belief systems
by Omar Miranda
/ Our world tied together.

30 FLEE
by Nathaniel Lyles, Jr.
/ Is it time to “self-quarantine” in the mountains?

FAVORITES

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

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford
/ Valuation

6 Eye on the times
by Edward Woods, III
/ Renewal of conscience

8 Optimal health
by Donna Green Goodman
/ Healthy at last

10 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver
/ The time of departure

24 Futurecast
by Carlton P. Byrd
/ take a stand

26 The experience
by Ellen G. White
/ the kingdom of god & heaven

27 The experience study
by Rashad Burden
/ for those who don’t have enough

28 Message resources

29 Bless & be blessed




For Those Who Don’t Have Enough

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


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


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

Matthew 5:1-3

 

The Kingdom of God and Heaven

A Reflection

Right On Time for Those Who Needed 

and Wanted Him Most 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

…......…………………………………………..

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

_________________

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





The Kingdom of God and Heaven

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

Matthew 5:1-3


A Reflection

Right On Time for Those Who Needed and Wanted Him Most

As

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

…......…………………………………………..


For Those Who Don’t Have Enough

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


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





Take a Stand

Racism isn’t new. In our nation, people of color have been fighting for their lives for over 400 years; fighting for basic human rights; fighting against racism, prejudice, and bigotry. Many people—especially Christians—will say, “I’m not racist. I don’t care about color! I don’t even see color!” If only eliminating racial inequality were that simple. But we live in a fallen world. 

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they brought sin into God’s perfect creation. And humanity isn’t the only part of creation affected by the fall. The Apostle Paul says: 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand, (Ephesians 6:12, 13, NIV).

Racism is spiritual wickedness in high places. It’s a power, a principality, and a darkness—not flesh and blood. Or not merely flesh and blood, for there are true racists in our country. But the most insidious racism is the systemic, invisible, hatred that ensures racial inequality will continue. You and I must take a stand against those rulers of the darkness of this world. This spiritual battle requires the whole armor of God:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:14-17).

We stand with the belt of truth buckled around our waist. We raise our voices and speak truth, even when it’s difficult. Even when it’s scary. Even when we’re so tired of speaking up, of explaining our issues with inequality, of enduring the ugly rhetoric that comes in response. In this battle, we must stand firm.

We stand with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Often, we have to work twice as hard to be respected half as much. Do we need to be twice as righteous, too? In our own power, we cannot. We know it. But through faith, Jesus’ righteousness is ours! We stand in Christ’s power. 

Our feet are fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. We seek to live in “shalom,” in life’s full abundance, at peace with all. When we denounce racist structures, we don’t use violence. We don’t use weapons. But we don’t dodge the responsibility to call out racism wherever we find it. We stand in readiness. 

We take up the shield of faith that can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. When I think of this shield, I can’t help but think of the bullets that too many of our black brothers and sisters have taken without cause. I can’t help but recall the video of a knee on a neck that took away the life of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. The shield of faith is more important now than ever. God is our Rock and our Fortress. We stand in His protection.

We put on the helmet of salvation. We are not just saved from our sin. We are saved for a purpose! We are saved to be the church—and, together, to help usher in God’s kingdom. This is our salvation. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:10). And we do more than pray, as Christ’s body on earth, we become the answer to that prayer. We stand in the knowledge that we are saved by His grace.

We brandish the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. This brings us full circle, back to the belt of truth. As Jesus prays, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth,” (John 17:17). We must speak the truth, learn the truth, and live the truth of Scripture. The Word of God is full of reminders that we are to love our neighbor, love the stranger, love the Samaritan, love those of other ethnicities and skin colors. We stand bearing the sword of the Spirit that teaches us love. 

From the beginning, our story says that each one of us bears the image of God. Male and female. Jew and Gentile. Slave and free. Black, Brown, and White. That’s truth—biblical truth. You and I need to acknowledge this truth, repent of our sin, confess it, and receive God’s forgiveness. Repentance, of course, requires change. Until we root out and stand up against the practices, policies, and structures that enable and perpetuate racism, our confession is empty. 

Let us work toward righting wrongs, making amends, and restoring relationships. Let us not ignore hard truths. Let us not be silent in the face of discrimination. Let us speak up for justice. Let us stand up for righteousness! Let’s take a stand! 

…......………………………………………………………………………

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.

_________________


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




What 2020 and COVID-19 Taught Us Financially

This is not a notice or warning coming from your local police department or neighborhood watch group. Some of you may surmise that since the community in which you live is gated or filled with educated professionals that this notice is simply not applicable to you. But this kind of bank robbery only requires you to posses a bank account or a credit union account. With 40 million and counting individuals unemployed, stimulus checks being handed out of $1,200.00 or more, and the United States Treasury pouring trillions of dollars into the economy, how do you know your money is safe? Here’s the skinny! Or as some would say, here are some facts!

Financial Institution Coverage

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures most consumer funds deposited into the bank, while the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures most funds deposited into a credit union. In general your deposits are covered up to two hundred and fifty-thousand dollars ($250,000.00). What you should know is that not all banks are FDIC insured or covered dollar for dollar on your account.

Some banks may have FDIC insurance coverage for only a percentage of your money deposited. For example, a bank may have FDIC insurance coverage of only fifty cents on each dollar. Which means that if you have $100,000.00 dollars in your account you will only be insured or covered for up to $50,000.00 dollars of your total balance. Can you afford to lose fifty percent or any amount of your hard earned funds during a pandemic? Or, can you afford to lose fifty percent of your earnings when most Americans have less than three months of emergency savings in their deposit accounts? Bank robbery! Check to see if your bank is FDIC insured dollar for dollar.

Which Accounts are Covered

FDIC insurance covers all types of deposits received at an insured bank, including checking accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts (MMDAs), certificates of deposit (CD) and other time deposits, and official items issued by a bank (such as cashier’s checks or money orders). Keep your deposits within these type of accounts.

Which Accounts are Not Covered

FDIC does not insure non deposit investment products, even if they were purchased from an insured bank, including annuities, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, government securities, municipal securities and US Treasury securities. Here is an interesting point: the contents of a safety deposit box are not insured by the FDIC. (Make sure you read the contract you signed with the bank when you rented the safety deposit box in the event that some other type of insurance is provided. Some banks may make a very limited payment if the box or contents are damaged or destroyed, depending on the circumstances.) Go in and speak with your banker immediately!

Check Your Coverage

FDIC and NCUSIF insure accounts under different categories at each financial institution. For example, one category is single ownership of deposit accounts while another is joint ownership deposit accounts. For accounts which are only in your name the sum of all your deposits at a single institution are insured up to $250,000.00. If you and your spouse have a joint checking and savings account at a bank your total coverage for the joint account is $500,000.00. This would also be in addition to the coverage you each have for any single owned accounts at the bank. Check on all your bank accounts to avoid being a victim of the next bank robbery.

Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2020. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

 


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




The Time of Departure

Time truly does fly

Who would have thunk it that when we began to write this column under the caption LifeTalk—with the January/February 2000 issue of Message—we would do so for 21 uninterrupted years? We didn’t!

What started as a conversation over lunch—in the fall of 1999 with Dwain Neilson Esmond at that time the associate editor of Message—has led us to this point. Dozens of columns, three editors—Ron Smith, Washington Johnson, and Carmela Monk Crawford—thousands of interactions with interested, captivating and gratified readers of questions posed, have filled our lives with blessings beyond measure. 

“Then why are you leaving?” Glad you asked. Because we thought it prudent to choose a time of departure while there was still a degree of interest in what we have to say about relationships in general and intimate relationships in particular. We also consider that we have enjoyed the privilege of sharing through this modality in the public square long enough, and the time has come for other voices to be given an opportunity to be heard as they grapple with the weighty concerns of your lives. 

Truth be told, at some level we feel like the Apostle Paul when he expressed his straightforward, sober and sincere sentiments about the reality of his circumstances when he announced in 2 Timothy 4:7; “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” As he writes to Timothy, his younger missionary associate, Paul is in prison in Rome and can read the proverbial handwriting on the wall. While Paul knew his time of departure was just around the corner and looked forward to his heavenly reward as final vindication for his work on earth, we are more in tune—at this juncture—with his declaration of keeping the faith. 

Keeping the faith in writing this column has meant churning out our 500-to-600-word essay on time regardless of circumstances. It has meant sharing with you the unvarnished truth about the questions you posed on specific relationship issues, when it would have been so much easier to tell you what you wanted to hear. Keeping the faith for these many years has meant leading you to the sanctified source of the best relationship skills content ever, the word of God, and the Word—Jesus Christ Himself. 

To be sure, what better advice can anyone give or get about navigating difficult relationships in marriage, parenting, grandparenting, in addition to relationships with siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and in-laws, girlfriends and boyfriends, not to mention neighbors and co-workers, than what James 1:19 says: “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV). This is the gospel in workclothes right here. If you can practice and hone these incredibly exceptional relational skills with everyone in your circles of relationships, you will be of all humans amazingly delightful and delighted. 

So, we are getting off here, as we pen our last piece for Relationship Rx. We do so with hearts filled with gratitude for the privilege afforded us which has been a superb blessing to our own marriage relationship. For in being honest with you about your relationships, it pushed us to be true with ourselves about ours. By employing the skills and attitudes we implored you to put into practice, we are still standing in our marriage after 36 plus years. For this reason, we are thankful to God for the distinct favor of occupying this time and space, which have been our relationship gym for these 21 years. 

In parting we say God bless you. Remember to be patient, kind and forgiving in all of your relationships every day. And if we don’t ever run into each other anywhere down here, let’s plan to meet on the sea of glass where all of God’s children will wear magnificent robes and mighty good shoes. 

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

WILLIE OLIVER, Ph.D., C.F.L.E., an ordained minister, pastoral counselor and family sociologist, is director of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters. family.adventist.org; hopetv.org/realfamilytalk oliverw@gc.adventist.org 

ELAINE OLIVER, M.A., L.G.P.C., C.F.L.E., a counseling psychologist and educator, is associate director of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters. family.adventist.org; hopetv.org/realfamilytalk olivere@gc.adventist.org

 


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




Tips for Living Your Healthiest Life

Some of the best things to do to manage these times involve making choices that support a healthy immune system and healthier outcomes:

1. Create a regular habit of prayer, meditation and Bible Study.

Science confirms the value of prayer and meditation on the brain and the body. Whether you are on the train, or your car, or in your closet at home, talking to the Creator God is life-changing. And, according to scripture the original Hebrew meaning for meditate means to “moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, mediate, devise, plot, imagine or speak.” Sounds like a great time in conversation with Jesus, pouring out your soul. What relief! Couple that with study of His word that will lead and guide you into all truth.

2. Stay physically active.

Keep moving. Activity improves circulation which helps blood cells do their jobs to keep you healthy. It also improves excretion of harmful substances. Don’t worry about the cold, just bundle up. You’ll even breathe more deeply as you walk which means your lungs get a better workout too.

3. Get as much sun as you can.

Try to get 15-30 minutes of sunlight every day that you can see it. It’s the best source of Vitamin D which is critical in immune health. And, it’s also good for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

4. Eat a plant powered diet.

Plant foods, especially garlic, cruciferous vegetables and citrus fruits are full of immune boosting properties. And, the cruciferous foods – kale, collards, cabbage, brussels sprouts are excellent for detox.

5. Talk to a professional.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, find a professional that you can talk to. Therapy works. Here are links for great therapy resources https://blackmentalhealthmatters.carrd.co 

I Once Was Blind…

Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, NY

Well, if you are looking for inspiration this year as you make choices to improve your health, we are convinced that you will be motivated by Eric Adams’ story. As President of the Brooklyn Borough, he is one very busy person. And, that has been the story of his life. He previously served as a police officer and then in the state senate. He’s very honest about his old lifestyle habits, stating that staff at his favorite fast food places knew exactly what he wanted to order.

One morning in 2016, Eric woke up and could not see the clock. In addition, he’d had a pain in his stomach that would not go away. He went to the doctor and was told that he had an ulcer and was in the final stages of diabetes. His hemoglobin A1c was 17. He was told to turn in his driver’s license, take a slew of medications and prepare to lose some toes, and maybe fingers due to the effect of neuropathy.

Disappointed at the prognosis, he went home and decided to do some research. He had a family history of diabetes, cancer, hypertension and many of his family members were on multiple medications. 

Adams remembers being at a family reunion with his mom when she realized that she had forgotten her diabetes medication. Though he was willing to go get them, his mother asked if anyone had any diabetes meds that she could take. Nearly everyone in the room pulled out a plastic case and showed their pillboxes. They were packing a pharmacy: metformin, sulfonylureas, statins, blood pressure medications and many others. 

Adams determined to discontinue that legacy. So, he opened his computer and instead of typing “managing diabetes” he typed in “reversing diabetes,” and, boy was his life outlook changed. He discovered that diabetes did not have to mean all the things that he had been told. He found out that he would have to make some significant changes. But, if it meant he wouldn’t be blind or lose limbs, he was game. So, he got busy changing his diet and making other healthier choices.

In three weeks, Adams’ vision was totally restored. In three months he no longer had symptoms of diabetes and was off all his medication. And, somewhere along the way, his stomach stopped hurting and the ulcer went away. Four years later, he is still healthy and is on a mission to help as many people as he can. And, he’s convinced that diseases that we suffer from are not in your DNA, but in your Dinner. 

Eric shares his amazing story in his new book Healthy At Last. And, it has some delicious plant powered recipes to help you on your journey. The Power Red Smoothie and Sweet Potato Cornbread are delicious. I’ve partnered with him in a national faith-based health initiative called The Healthy At Last Initiative: Health Promotion for Communities of Faith in the African American Tradition. 

Our editor, Carmela Monk-Crawford and our online content editor Claudia Allen interviewed him on the Message podcast. You will thoroughly enjoy that too. 

 
Kale Soup

•Small amount of olive oil or coconut oil

1 cup veggie ham, cut into strips OR veggie sausage, sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

½
head small, green cabbage, shredded/cut into thin strips

1 small bunch kale, shredded/cut into thin strips

1 large tomato, diced

2 large red potatoes, washed well and diced

2 quarts of water, more if necessary

2 tablespoons McKays Chicken Style Seasoning, 

•Pepper-Like Seasoning, savory, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes to taste

In a large pot, place a small amount of olive or coconut oil. Heat and add veggie meat, stir-frying till brown. Add onions and garlic. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add cabbage, kale, tomato and potatoes. Stir-fry till cabbage and greens are limp. Stir in seasonings. Add 1 quart of water, then more to allow for ingredients to float around. Bring to boil, then turn down and let simmer till potatoes are tender. Add more water if necessary. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serves 4-6

 

 
Garlic Spinach Pasta

•Olive oil

½ cup your favorite veggie burger

1 onion

1 bell pepper – 1/2 green, 1/2 yellow

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 cups fresh spinach

2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

½ cup chopped, fresh basil

1 teaspoon oregano

½ cup non-dairy mozzarella cheese

½ cup green onion, sliced

1 box whole grain spaghetti, boiled and drained

•Non-dairy Parmesan cheese

•Season to taste with McKay’s or other Vegan Chicken Bouillon and Nutritional Yeast Flakes.

Brown veggie burger in a small amount of olive oil. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add spinach and steam till wilted. Stir in pasta, green onions, basil and seasonings. Adjust to taste. Top with vegan Parmesan Cheese. Serves 6-8.

 
Day-Starter Smoothies

½ cup pineapple, diced

1 peach, seeded

1 mango, seeded

1 cup strawberries, frozen

2 large kale leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon your favorite grain or seed (flax, almond, oats)

Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. If processed slowly, you should not have to add any liquid. Frozen fruit makes it creamier. Yield: About 4 cups

VARIATION:

1 banana

1 cup pineapple

1 cup mango

1 avocado

½ – 1 cup shredded kale

1 piece ginger

1 cup coconut milk

You can also make up your own smoothie bags and freeze until ready to use. 

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.  Cook Up Good Health with her on Donna’s YouTube Cooking Channel.


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




Serve God. Serve Country.

S

ome of the polemics from the Senate race in the state of Georgia included the, resurrected and misappropriated statement that the Reverend Doctor Raphael Warnock made in a sermon 10 years ago. 

At the crescendo of his sermon, Warnock said “You can’t serve God and the military…” . That statement has been used as the catapult to launch assertions that he is not patriotic and should not be elected to represent the state of Georgia as a Senator. 

He did say those words, but, context still matters. The larger point that he was making in that sermon was that divided loyalty is idolatry. Misplaced priorities displace integrity. When principles and policy conflict, the principle should take precedence.

If his sentiments, 10 years ago were, indeed, antithetical to patriotism, his body of work as a committed community activist and as an advocate for justice, equality, equanimity, health care and a living wage would be non sequiturs. 

Civil Servants in the Bible

The argument is a ruse and a straw man. The Biblical example of Joseph comes to mind first. Clearly disadvantaged by his imprisonment, he providentially rose to the highest ranks of Egyptian government. He served with the same honest discernment in the courts of Pharaoh as he did in Potiphar’s house, or even the home of his own father.

What about Saul and David? Both warriors and kings. Both men whom God selected to serve Him by leading the nation of their birth. Curiously, while serving in defense of their nation, both failed. Both were punished, not because of their military service, but, because of their personal folly. Saul did not recover. David was redeemed.

Then, remember Naaman, the leper. He was a decorated soldier and advisor to his king, prior to his conversion. As he is leaving the prophet Elisha, he asks for an indulgence because he served at the pleasure of his king, who was an idolater. Rather than condemn, excoriate or counsel him to quit his job, Elisha simply says to Him “Go in peace!”

Clearly, in Elisha’s mind, it is possible to serve God and serve patriotically, simultaneously. To be a civil servant, soldier, police officer, fireman or other first responder is not a sin. In fact, performing civic duty is really where the rubber on the wheels of Christian faith meet the roads of practical spirituality. 

We Will All Be Judged for Integrity and Body of Work

Deeds done in the course of civil service, or, a thought passionately expressed during a sermon, are not the only things that God uses to judge a person’s body of work and character. We should similarly seek to balance the body of someone’s work against 30 seconds of rhetoric, detached from its original context. 

Whoever wins the election in Georgia, like the other 99 U. S. Senators, will take a patriotic oath similar to the one that all military people take. It says: 

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Whatever the bent, heretofore, those who win elections to serve the people of a community make a commitment to protect the interest of their constituents and to serve with the best interest of the least among them in mind. The pivotal question to consider is whether the weight of rhetoric is heavier than the laborie corpus. Does a sentence weigh more than a lifestyle and a lifetime of committed and visible service? Patriotism is found when we act in support of the common good to advance the process of creating a more perfect union. That is a goal in harmony with the will of God.  




Valuation

After a painstaking search in the dusty records of an Kentucky recorder’s office, my friend Jacqueline Palmer found her ancestor Franklin Dale. Palmer and her cousins scanned large volumes to find clues and signs of life. All that remains are the legal entries in a book, and that’s where they discovered a ledger that indicated the portion of shares investors held on each enslaved soul. She tells the story in a Dayton Tedx video due out this month. Palmer’s great-grandfather and other family members had been reduced to commodities, with investors holding shares of their black bodies. Astonishingly, the portfolio of one self-styled entrepreneur included a 1/144th share of a human being.

Disgusted, but not surprised, Palmer remembered the prevailing thinking at that time caused a nation to apportion congressional representation by recognizing and counting African Americans, but only 3/5ths of each of them. 

That’s a big discount. That’s the term that William “Sandy” Darity uses to determine the quality and value of the lived experience of black life and financial worth in the U.S., when measured against that of white lives and net worth. Darity, a professor of Public Policy at Duke University and his wife, folklorist Kristen Mullen, co-authored the book From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century, published last April. 

“The discount rate on black humanity has been enormous” Darity and Mullen wrote in From Here. “A variety of metrics indicate that even after the end of Jim Crow black lives are routinely assigned a worth approximately 30 percent that of white lives.”

Ancient moral wisdom found in the Bible rebukes this history, and the system that birthed and perpetuates it. How do we know this? I point you to the Bible’s repeated declaration that “God hates dishonest scales.” The Bible explains that false balances are an abomination to the Lord. They represent the criminal tools used to steal and cheat. They are the infrastructure that furthers the aims of those who lack scruples, to the benefit of their progeny and prosperity. The scales, hold the appearance of integrity, equity, and due process. One may not be able to detect the faulty calibration with the naked eye, yet it’s there. One cannot always trace the human actor that set the scales askew in the first place, but God assures us that He sees the actor and the system. “Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?” (Micah 6:11, NLT*). 

One needs no forensic accounting to see the current evidence of this illegitimate value system, Darity said during a Brookings Institute session “Reparations: Whether, Why and How?” The disparate impact of the Coronavirus on black lives now takes center stage, leading other areas in which blacks take a greater hit, like health and environmental justice, food and housing insecurity. 

Last year we watched this value differential at work, illustrated in Kenosha, Wisconsin in stark relief. There Jacob Blake a black, 29 year-old, father suffered a police-involved shooting in front of three of his children while unarmed. As a result of the shooting, Blake was paralyzed from the waist down, and handcuffed to a hospital bed. When protestors converged upon the small city to demand justice of police officers, Kyle Rittenhouse, a white, 17 year-old showed up with an automatic weapon. Rittenhouse walked, undetected and un-arrested, until he was confronted by protesters, at which point (or points), he is alleged to have shot three people, killing two of them. What makes this story evergreen is the surprising, and disgusting overwhelming financial support for him. His $2 million bond was paid by interested donors, including presumed believers who visited the Christian crowdfunding site “Give Send Go.” We don’t have space to cover the nearly $200 million raised, post-election, to support recounts, and runoffs to support a status quo with which more than half of the country’s white voters agree.

I’m so glad we live in a universe where the Creator God values us all individually so much that He has logged the number of hairs on our heads. This God gave all to have us in His life. In His hands and feet Jesus bears the marks of His Divine stake in us. “How can I give you up?” Jesus said, and where can we go from Him? the Psalmist asks. He has assessed our future, and immeasurable inheritance as a son and daughter of God. Until then, He has given us the distinct privilege to call out the lingering imbalances that attempt to legitimize faulty human valuation, particularly because of race and ethnicity.