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HARMONY: Earth Love, Health, and Environmental Justice


Environmental justice is concerned with the fair treatment of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income when it comes to enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

FEATURES

7 POWER PLAY
by Michell Cook Hall /
Progress

11 Entrepreneurship Calling?
by Ruthven Phillip /
Planning to launch your ministry or business? Consider these questions.

13Harmony: Health, Earth Love, and Environmental Justice

14 Earth Love / by Lisa Moore, Ph.D
Creation’s Stewards / by Patrice Conwell

16 Veganism: An Act of Social Justice / by Kevin Jenkins
Eating Green / by Patrice Conwell

17 Rethink How to Dress Yourself / by Patrice Conwell

19 Thinking Man’s Vegan / by Carmela Monk Crawford

27 The Divine Proposition
by Dedrick Blue /
Where systems and governments fail, God’s offer remains.

FAVORITES

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

5 EDITORIAL
by Carmela Monk Crawford / Anita Jenkins: Healing and Wholeness in Washington D.C.’s Historic Howard University Hospital

8 OPTIMAL HEALTH
by Donna Green Goodman / Make Mine with Ginger
by Christina Wells / Still Weeding Out Marijuana
by Neale Davis / Moves for Longevity

13 RELATIONSHIP Rx
by Willie and Elaine Oliver / DONE WITH DAD

20 Eye on the times
by Richard Berry / Truth About Coronavirus

23 NEED-TO-KNOW-BASIS:
by Chester Mack / HOW PROPHECY WORKS

24 DISAPOINTED BY OUR LEADER / by Omar Miranda

26 FUTURECAST
by Carlton P. Byrd / When The Planet Groanson

28 THE EXPERIENCE
by Ellen G. White / throw in the net, not the towel

29 THE EXPERIENCE STUDY
by Rashad Burden / Watching and Waiting

31 BLESS & BE BLESSED




Watching and Waiting

Have you ever felt that you were distant from God? You knew better but you did not do better? Maybe you believe that because you grew up in church but don’t go that you slipped out of God’s good graces. It is time to stop thinking like that. Join us as we get some clarity about a God who is watching and waiting.


1) Read John 21:1-2; John 1:35-51;
John 19:28-37

The disciples had walked side by side with Jesus for three years. Can you imagine the emotional trauma they must have experienced watching the One who had done so much to save people’s lives do nothing to save His own? How hard it must have been to follow Jesus after you felt like He was gone forever. Have you ever found it difficult to continue to believe in God or keep the faith? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read John 21:1-2

The disciples have seen that Jesus is alive and has risen from the dead, but they cannot seem to find it in themselves to get back to ministering and loving the masses as Jesus had shown them. Instead they are sitting at the beach doing nothing. How is it possible to know Jesus is alive, yet not want to show the love He’s shown you? Give us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read John 21:3; Matthew 4:19

As the disciples are sitting there an idea comes to Peter’s mind. As a former fisherman, the idea came naturally to him. The problem is that Jesus had told him to be a “fisher of men.” Sometimes when people deal with disappointment it causes them to resort to unproductive options. Have you ever dealt with disappointment? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with overwhelming disappointment? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

4) Read John 21:3; Luke 9:62;
Galatians 6:9

The Bible gives an interesting detail about how the disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Remembering that a few of them were fishermen by profession makes this interesting. They had returned to a life that Jesus called them out of, but got nothing out of it. Have you ever tried to go back to doing the things you did before you met Jesus but only felt empty? You are not alone. Take some time to remember in prayer the place, the choices, the status from where Jesus brought you. We’ll be praying with you!

5) John 21:4-5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:58

See it with me. The disciples busy themselves doing exactly what Jesus took them away from.  We tend to think God pushes away those who do this, but here, Jesus shows otherwise. While the disciples are wasting their time doing what God told them not to do, He is watching over them! Do you know someone who has put some distance between themselves and God? Make a phone call or send a text letting them know that God is still watching them with a heart full of love.   

6) Read John 21:6-8

Not only does Jesus keep His eyes on them while they are being disobedient, He speaks to them. He asks about what they’ve been doing, and then gives them direction that addresses their disappointment. As they pull on the net and it is too heavy for them to handle, John realizes who is giving them directions. Isn’t it funny how it is often as we try to handle things too heavy for us that we see Jesus more clearly? Is that your experience? Have you dealt with something that you could not handle on your own and it was during that time that you realized more about who Jesus is? Share with us your experience on Social Media using #MessageMag.

7) Read John 21:9

The irony of this story is that while the disciples were out trying to catch fish, Jesus already had some. We don’t realize that what we think we desire most, God already has. He is simply watching and waiting for us to realize that He loves us from afar and hopes to draw us back to Himself.

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>


“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.  Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.  He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

John 21:1-6 (NLT)

Throw In the Net, Not the Towel

A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Ministry of Healing, the chapter entitled “By The Sea Once More,” p. 810.*

All the while a lone watcher upon the shore followed them with His eye, while He Himself was unseen. At length the morning dawned. The boat was but a little way from the shore, and the disciples saw a stranger standing upon the beach, who accosted them with the question, “Children, have ye any meat?” When they answered, ‘No,’ He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” . . .

     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him—His divine power combining with their human effort—they could not fail of success.

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


This article is part of our 2020 March / April 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.





Throw In the Net, Not the Towel

“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened.  Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.  He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.”

John 21:1-6 (NLT)


A Reflection

From Ellen G. White’s The Ministry of Healing, the chapter entitled “By The Sea Once More,” p. 810.*

All the while a lone watcher upon the shore followed them with His eye, while He Himself was unseen. At length the morning dawned. The boat was but a little way from the shore, and the disciples saw a stranger standing upon the beach, who accosted them with the question, “Children, have ye any meat?” When they answered, ‘No,’ He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.” . . .

     Vividly they recalled the scene beside the sea when Jesus had bidden them follow Him. They remembered how, at His command, they had launched out into the deep, and had let down their net, and the catch had been so abundant as to fill the net, even to breaking. Then Jesus had called them to leave their fishing boats, and had promised to make them fishers of men. It was to bring this scene to their minds, and to deepen its impression, that He had again performed the miracle. His act was a renewal of the commission to the disciples. It showed them that the death of their Master had not lessened their obligation to do the work He had assigned them. Though they were to be deprived of His personal companionship, and of the means of support by their former employment, the risen Saviour would still have a care for them. While they were doing His work, He would provide for their needs. And Jesus had a purpose in bidding them cast their net on the right side of the ship. On that side He stood upon the shore. That was the side of faith. If they labored in connection with Him—His divine power combining with their human effort—they could not fail of success.

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

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 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>

…......…………………………………………..


Have you ever felt that you were distant from God? You knew better but you did not do better? Maybe you believe that because you grew up in church but don’t go that you slipped out of God’s good graces. It is time to stop thinking like that. Join us as we get some clarity about a God who is watching and waiting.

 

1) Read John 21:1-2; John 1:35-51;
John 19:28-37

The disciples had walked side by side with Jesus for three years. Can you imagine the emotional trauma they must have experienced watching the One who had done so much to save people’s lives do nothing to save His own? How hard it must have been to follow Jesus after you felt like He was gone forever. Have you ever found it difficult to continue to believe in God or keep the faith? Tell us about it on social media using #MessageMag.

2) Read John 21:1-2

The disciples have seen that Jesus is alive and has risen from the dead, but they cannot seem to find it in themselves to get back to ministering and loving the masses as Jesus had shown them. Instead they are sitting at the beach doing nothing. How is it possible to know Jesus is alive, yet not want to show the love He’s shown you? Give us your opinion on social media using #MessageMag.

3) Read John 21:3; Matthew 4:19

As the disciples are sitting there an idea comes to Peter’s mind. As a former fisherman, the idea came naturally to him. The problem is that Jesus had told him to be a “fisher of men.” Sometimes when people deal with disappointment it causes them to resort to unproductive options. Have you ever dealt with disappointment? What advice would you give to someone who struggles with overwhelming disappointment? Share on Social Media using #MessageMag.

4) Read John 21:3; Luke 9:62;
Galatians 6:9

The Bible gives an interesting detail about how the disciples fished all night and caught nothing. Remembering that a few of them were fishermen by profession makes this interesting. They had returned to a life that Jesus called them out of, but got nothing out of it. Have you ever tried to go back to doing the things you did before you met Jesus but only felt empty? You are not alone. Take some time to remember in prayer the place, the choices, the status from where Jesus brought you. We’ll be praying with you!

5) John 21:4-5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:58

See it with me. The disciples busy themselves doing exactly what Jesus took them away from.  We tend to think God pushes away those who do this, but here, Jesus shows otherwise. While the disciples are wasting their time doing what God told them not to do; He is watching over them! Do you know someone who has put some distance between themselves and God? Make a phone call or send a text letting them know that God is still watching them with a heart full of love.   

6) Read John 21:6-8

Not only does Jesus keep His eyes on them while they are being disobedient, He speaks to them. He asks about what they’ve been doing, and then gives them direction that addresses their disappointment. As they pull on the net and it is too heavy for them to handle, John realizes who is giving them directions. Isn’t it funny how it is often as we try to handle things too heavy for us that we see Jesus more clearly? Is that your experience? Have you dealt with something that you could not handle on your own and it was during that time that you realized more about who Jesus is? Share with us your experience on Social Media using #MessageMag.

7) Read John 21:9

The irony of this story is that while the disciples were out trying to catch fish, Jesus already had some. We don’t realize that what we think we desire most, God already has. He is simply watching and waiting for us to realize that He loves us from afar and hopes to draw us back to Himself.

…......……………………………………………………………….

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


This article is part of our 2020 March / April Issue
Subscribe –>





The Divine Proposition

Where systems and governments have failed us, God’s offer remains.

While this nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, we must admit, that those words remained merely a proposition. This nation held Africans in bondage, pillaged Native lands and kept women disenfranchised. For millions of people of color, America was indeed the beast of Revelation 13 that looks like a lamb and speaks like a dragon. And undoubtedly, millions under the oppressive yoke of racism wondered if there were a God who would listen to their prayers.

But just as this nation was birthing, wrapped in the placenta of racism, God was giving birth to another movement as depicted in Revelation 14:6, 7:

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

First, God sends a message.

“I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven with a message to give to those on the earth.” Oh! Good News church of the living God! There is a message from heaven. God hears the cries of His people in bondage. God is not far removed. God is not unconcerned. God is not deaf, speechless and blind. God sees. God knows. The Bible says that He is a High Priest touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He feels the lash of every whip and the sting of every tongue. And so, God intervenes. He breaks into time. He disrupts the status quo.

He is moved by our dilemma. The message comes from heaven, but it comes to the earth. It is a heavenly message, but it is relevant to people down here who cry out for justice.

Second, God Sends A Universal Message

Not only does God send a message but God sends a universal message which goes to every nation, kindred, language and people. Because His message is a heavenly message it is not bound by the constraints of human constructs. No chain can restrain it, no border can contain it. It is larger than governments, more powerful than presidents. God’s universal message cannot be owned by anyone or sold like a slave on the auction block. God freely gives it to all.

These days we live in what some social scientists call the “echo chamber.” An echo chamber is an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.

 So, conservatives only watch conservative news, and liberals only watch liberal news. We only will hear people who agree with us. That is the echo chamber. But God’s message from heaven will not be confined to an echo chamber. It will not be interpreted through reporters and think tanks and analysts. God’s message does not need a law from Congress or a ruling from the Supreme Court. God sends His own universal message to every nation, kindred tongue and people.

Systems Down

So, while America may have had a two-tiered system of social inclusion, one for land-holding, white males (the included) and another for Africans, Natives, the poor and women (the excluded), God has no such tiered system. There are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God. All is level at the foot of the cross. Whosoever will, may come. For both master and slave needed to be saved—saved from their personal sin and saved from the sin system that held both in bondage.

This message comes at a time when racism was normalized and legalized. The message of this angel challenges the legalized and codified bigotry of America. It confronts the narrowness of nationalism. And it affirms the sovereignty of God. Thus, while liberty is only a proposition in American jurisprudence, liberty is a divine proposition and a certain promise in the Kingdom of God.   

…......……………………………………….

Dedrick Blue, DMin, pastors a North Bronx Adventist church, is a consultant, and part-time professor for Oakwood University.


This article is part of our 2020 March / April  Issue
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When the Planet Groans

While there is increased conversation about the many aspects of justice, the one related area that seems to lag behind is environmental justice.

Our federal government recently announced plans to scale back the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, which, among other things, mandates environmental reviews for federal projects. These revised policies suggest that it will be easier for corporations to drill, mine, pipe, etc., despite the potential threats these processes have on our environment.

Remember the well-publicized standoff at the Standing Rock Reservation? The Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile-long (1,886 km) underground oil pipeline beginning in North Dakota and ending in Illinois, was completed in April, 2017 and its first oil was delivered on May 14, 2017. Yet, the pipeline was the center of a national debate just months before when pipeline construction crews attempted to stretch pipe across indigenous territory threatening to disrupt multiple water sources and cultural sites.

To date, the Keystone XL Pipeline has leaked over 500,000 gallons of oil. Opponents of these pipelines point to this oil leakage as proof that the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines pose an imminent threat to the environment.

The government’s unfavorable response to the cries of indigenous victims, betrays its unwillingness to provide the vulnerable while beneath the banner of “liberty and justice for all.” Rather, it signals a willingness to sacrifice the health of the environment for economic benefits.

The history of our country, yea the entire planet, is replete with horrific accounts of devastating abuse to the environment for economic gain. Worse yet, these environmental atrocities consistently impact marginalized and impoverished people groups and communities. The Environmental Justice Atlas collects data on every environmental conflict that is ongoing, and as of 2018, it estimated that there are nearly 2,500 ongoing environmental conflicts or ecological distribution conflicts. Whether it is “land grabbing,” excessive fishing, mega-mining, or nuclear power proliferation, these issues represent bloody and lucrative conflicts all around the globe with no apparent end in sight.

Whenever I review these disturbing conflicts, I am forced to reflect on multiple biblical principles that I believe are at work. Please allow me to illustrate them using a few Bible texts.

  • Psalm 24:1-2 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
  • Genesis 2:15 “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
  • Romans 8:22 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
  • Revelation 11:18 “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

The aforementioned texts highlight for us two very important principles. First, the earth belongs to God and we are commissioned to care for, protect, and preserve it. Secondly, the incessant environmental conflicts underscore the failings of humanity to preserve the earth, and God has promised to punish those who abuse and destroy the planet.

The indigenous tribes of the Standing Rock Reservation are still fighting for their land. And while it might pose a geographical challenge to go protest in North Dakota, with 2,500 present-day conflicts worldwide, you don’t have to go far to find an issue that is close to home. Drinkable water is still an issue in my state, Alabama, as well as in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maybe you’re aware of the need to protect the coastline and wetlands as is the case in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Or maybe you’ve seen the toxic impact of coal ash as they have in Indiana and North Carolina. No matter where you live, environmental issues are impacting you. Maybe it’s time that you start making an impact. Our planet is groaning. Let’s console its cries.

…......………………………………………………………………………

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 2020 MArch / April  Issue
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Healing and Wholeness in Washington D.C.’s Historic Howard University Hospital

Howard University Hospital, in Washington, D.C., was formerly the first Freedman’s Hospital, established in 1862 for the treatment of African Americans, particularly those who were formerly

Image from HowardsHeritage.wordpress.com 

enslaved.

Since 1967 Howard has operated the hospital, placing it at its current location. This February, Adventist HealthCare assumed management of the hospital with an eye toward strengthening its financial standing, continuing its legacy of graduating black medical students, providing more training outlets, and building a new hospital in the rapidly changing neighborhood. The fusion of fortunes for Howard and Adventist is worth noting here.

Howard graduates more black medical students than Harvard, Yale and MIT combined. Dr. Charles Drew was one of its famous practitioners, known for his research and advancements in blood transfusions. As it did at its inception Howard cares for patients who lack means, and according to the Washington Post, 85% of its patients are public pay. 

In a parallel universe, the four-hospital network Adventist HealthCare sprouted in the region from one hospital—the Washington Sanitarium established in 1907, and later called Washington Adventist Hospital. With a firm belief that one’s good health fosters one’s relationship with God and service to humanity, it incorporated modern health technique with a wholistic approach to healing.

One unfortunate link in the history of these two institutions makes this story fascinating and transformative. Washington Sanitarium received a very ill Lucy Byard one September day in 1943. A Seventh-day Adventist, known for her hospitality and vegetarian cooking, Byard and her husband sought treatment from the Sanitarium. However, when the couple arrived and the hospital staff realized the Byards were black, they turned them away. Ill as she was with liver cancer, and wasting away, the Byards left by taxi, straight to Freedman’s, the hospital that treated everybody. Unfortunately, however, Lucy died there a month later.

Seventh-day Adventists felt this loss, sorely. This faithful grandmother and church musician had been a devoted sister in the church. She entertained great and small, including leaders such as the former editor of Message, Louis B. Reynolds. Hence, in large part, her death pushed the call for equity in the denomination into a different sphere. Black leaders rightfully demanded fairness and access, immediately. White leaders—publicly chagrined and spiritually indicted—placated the request by “allowing” black leaders to govern their own affairs under the banner of Adventism. While the decision to do so may have lacked the sincere change many hoped for, the legacy has been exponential growth of the denomination among African Americans, and all people of color all over the world.

Now separated by seven decades, Anita Adams-Jenkins a black, female, Adventist hospital executive presents on the campus of the Howard University Hospital. She, and the hospital system want to redefine the relationship.

“I toured Howard University Hospital, and the workers didn’t know who we were. I was with some of the leadership at Howard. It was great,” said Adams-Jenkins, who started her profession as a respiratory therapist. She advanced into leadership, acquired her MBA, and managed virtually every hospital function until she became President of the A-rated Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg, Ohio. Howard, though, is in a different neighborhood.

“What I really saw was Wakanda,” said Adams-Jenkins referencing Ta-Nehisi Coates’ culture-changing inspiration of “Black Panther” and its fictional,  technologically-advanced African kingdom. “I saw clinicians and nurses who knew their stuff, and I could help them go to that next level. I know this can be a very special place filled with people who take care of everybody with excellence and that they are the best of the best.”

I tell this tale of two institutions for two simple reasons. Observe, the intersection of race, need, and medical care 158 years ago. It understandably required specialized institutions to address the overwhelming need of formerly enslaved people. Yet the great advancements in medical treatments of our time still fail under bias in practice and lack of access for the underserved. Read in the right light, the Byard story painfully checks the heart of every practitioner.

I tell this tale, also, for the beauty of what can be. Imagine the health of our people when “Wakanda” embraces anew the community-healing, soul-nourishing and transformational practices that extend health, life, and knowledge of the Creator’s care and concern. That truly is next level.


This article is part of our 2020 March / April
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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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