Message Magazine logo
Return to the Deep title
January/February 2021
Message Logo
QR Code icon
 Get More
Snap this code with your smartphone.
Finding Purpose and Connecting with History in the Atlantic Ocean

by Ruthven Phillip/Emergency fund? How about a 100-Year-Pandemic-Fund?


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

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

by Paul Anderson/Once again black preaching is called to task for its challenge to the powers that be.

by Carl McRoy/What can we learn from two influential men working together to chip away at segregation and racism.

by Carmela Monk Crawford/Misread, and misappropriated, one scholar reclaims the Word of God for justice.

by Omar Miranda/Our world tied together.


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

Illustration of financial items
Raphael Warnock
Man with mask holding sign



by Carmela Monk Crawford/VALUATION


by Donna Green Goodman/HEALTHY AT LAST

by Willie and Elaine Oliver/THE TIME OF DEPARTURE


by Carlton P. Byrd/TAKE A STAND



Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter as we study and explore God’s Word. Start at page 26 and take the challenge in the only global, interactive Bible study in which the Bible reads you!
Vintage Vault
When All You Can Do Is Pray
Message Magazine November/December 2010 cover
“Prayer is inviting God, who happens to be the most powerful force in the universe, to intervene in the affairs of my life, knowing that He has my best interest at heart.”

If I truly believe that whenever I pray I am granting the most powerful force in the universe permission to intervene in every aspect of my life, knowing that He will do only what’s in my best interest, then why in the world would I ever use prayer merely as a last resort?

—Charles A. Tapp, “When All You Can Do Is Pray”
Message November December 2010

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.
Media That Takes You Higher
Thank God for a new year! Last year we witnessed how the COVID-19 pandemic changed life around. However, throughout the craze of quarantine and social distancing, artists, writers, and producers have still remained creative! Be encouraged today as we go through a journey of music, good reads, and apps that will help elevate you through these uncertain times.
Kelontae Gavin on stage at Orleans Ballroom in Las Vegas
Kelontae Gavin

When Kelontae Gavin introduced his powerful voice to the world, he sang a praise and worship song, “This Ain’t No Ordinary Worship.” Today he has come back with a powerful praise song claiming “Victory” on his new EP experience, “Hold Me Close.” After 2020, we need to focus on victory in our minds. In this new project, Kelontae shares the incredible and candid testimony of what happened to him when he was younger and the struggles of his journey as a new artist. Check out the video “Hold Me Close” on YouTube. His music is available on all digital platforms.
Message Logo
Carmela Monk Crawford
[email protected]

Graphic Design

Seventh-Day Adventist Church logo
Subscriber Services
Pacific Press Publishing Assoc.,
Virginia Ramsey 1-800-456-3991

Samuel Archer
[email protected]

Consulting Editors
G. Alexander Bryant
Roger Bernard
Virgil Childs
William Cox
Henry Fordham
Daniel Honore
Alva James-Johnson
Benjamin Jones
Clifford Jones
Gregory Mack
Kenneth Manders
Byron Dulan
Calvin Watkins
William Winston
Call 1-800-456-3991 Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time for subscription information or address changes. MESSAGE (ISSN 0026-0231) is published bimonthly Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec.

© 2018 by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, Maryland, 21046, U.S.A. Address editorial correspondence to MESSAGE MAGAZINE, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046-1565 U.S.A. All subscriptions are prepaid. If you did not order MESSAGE, it is being sent as a gift from a friend. You will not be billed. To subscribe, mail payment to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. or call 1-800-456-3991. Subscription price: one year, $19.95 U.S. currency; single copy, $4.00; overseas, add $10.00 per year for postage. Prices subject to change without notice. Periodicals Postage paid at Nampa, Idaho and additional offices. Vol. 87 No. 1 January/February 2021 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. Printed in the U.S.A.

Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Statements in this issue attributed by an author to other speakers/writers are included for the value of the individual statements only. No endorsement of those speakers’/writers’ other works or statements is intended or implied.

My message

fter 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.

eye on the times
Person standing in front of large clock in clock tower
Renewal of Conscience
Art work of human profile with braining transitioning into a heart

his month, the United States will witness the Inauguration and swearing-in ceremonies for the 46th Presdident. According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) website, the purpose for the long-standing tradition is two-fold: “national renewal and continuity of leadership.” Considering the twists and turns in the 2020 Presidential Election process, we need to identify the American values for national renewal and continuity of leadership.

The Declaration of Independence serves as the founding document of America. It states,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This became a reality for the white and male signers of the Declaration. It served as an ideal for everyone else, otherwise, we would not have needed the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, or even now the message of Black Lives Matter, nearly 250 years later. Is this the type of national renewal and continuity of leadership everyone is seeking?
optimal health
The Plant-Based Lifestyle
Tips for Living Your Healthiest Life
By donna green goodman

ome 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.
Willie and Elaine Oliver
relationship rx

The Time of Departure

Time truly does fly

ho 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.

What 2020 and COVID-19
Taught Us Financially
Paycheck Protection Program graphic
By Ruthven R. Phillip

think some of the most important financial lessons from the year 2020 are in the following areas.

Pandemic Fund

Did anybody think of establishing an emergency fund for a global pandemic? Really, most people thought of having extra funds available for a recession, maybe depression or moments of unemployment, not through the lens of a global pandemic! Let’s reset and re-frame our thinking: we need a global, catastrophic, generational change fund, if not, our once-in-a-100-years-human-disaster-survival-fund.

Article title
Two African American doctors explore the history of “Slave Food” to answer the questions: Why do black people in America live sicker and die sooner than other ethnic groups? And what, if anything, can be done about it?
By Columbus Batiste and Eric Walsh

ronically, the Slave Food journey began at a meal among old college friends. The conversation was filled with laughter and stories from the past, when out of the blue, one friend asked an honest yet probing question: “What’s the deal with black people?”

As the words left his mouth, the table conversation quieted, and all eyes darted in his direction. “Why are we sicker?”

Our friend explained that he was urged to have a prostate check and a colon cancer screening at an earlier age than his white colleagues and when he asked his doctor the reason for the recommendation, the doctor said it was “because he was black.”

Article title
Ocean Underwater Diving
Finding Purpose and Connecting with History in the Atlantic Ocean
by Anthony A. Medley, II

ore than twenty years ago, my beginner’s swimming class just finished learning how to glide in the water using a technique known as “the superman”– where you put your head underwater, stretch out your hands, and push off the wall of the pool. Sitting on the poolside at six years old, there was one problem. I was too afraid to put my head in the water. Unfortunately for me, that was not the scariest lesson of the day.

The thought of jumping off the diving board gave me great stress, anxiety, and fear. As my toes inched toward the edge of the board, I froze. One of the lifeguards told me there is only one way off the board and that’s jumping into the water. When I refused the lifeguard gently tossed me in. That was one of the worst, most embarrassing days of my life.

Serve God, Serve Country typography
Rev. Raphael Warnock headshot
Once again, political opponents try to make hay with black preaching. Raphael Warnock, however, lines up biblically.

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.

Black History
Leadership Lessons from Marshall & Houston

hurgood Marshall liked to clown around in the classroom when he was a boy. Although he never lost his sense of humor, Marshall grew up to be a serious civil rights champion in the courtroom. Marshall argued a record setting 32 Supreme Court cases and won 29 of them. He later became the first African American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thurgood Marshall couldn’t have risen to the nation’s highest court without some help. One person who provided a big boost to Marshall’s career was Charles Houston. Born in 1895, Houston suffered severe prejudice while serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. He vowed that if he lived through the war, he would become a lawyer and fight for equal rights.

Message Magazine: The Civil Rights Work of the Apostle Paul?
Civil Rights work of Apostle Paul
How resistors and activist believers claimed the Bible’s most prolific writer for themselves.
By Carmela Monk Crawford
Letter L
isa Bowens, PhD, is an associate professor in the Princeton Theological Seminary. Her book, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance & Transformation, released in 2020 attacks the notion that the biblical writings of Paul were intended to oppress and subjugate people groups and women. Though certain passages of Paul’s writings have been misappropriated and corrupted, Bowens argues that many African Americans have effectively embraced Paul’s writings as a means of spiritual reckoning, and to protest any form of oppression.

Bowens’ research discovered citations of Paul’s work in early American legal pleadings where enslaved Africans appealed to colonial courts for relief and freedom from bondage. Literacy, at that point however, was a serious bar to the use of the scripture for enslaved African Americans who were new to the language and the land, prohibited from learning to read and write. Illiteracy, of the scriptures in particular, enabled enslavers to teach and preach a gospel corrupted by their self-interest. Their teachings included everything from racial differences, superiority or inferiority, whether they had souls, and even different origin stories—as though black people were not created by God. It was a common motif to persuade the enslaved that they had no god but their enslaver. Or, they asserted that enslavement was somehow uplifting.

man reading the bible
Our World, Tied Together
BY Omar Miranda
The Bible is the definitive authorized biography of the human race, inspired by the One who knows us all best—our Creator God. Jesus, Himself, testified to the veracity of the Bible, when He declared: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17, NKJV).

God asserts that all the words of the Bible are His words, when he asserts: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . .” (2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV), and that they are entirely sufficient to give us everything we need to live our best life—both now and for eternity:

Future Cast
Take a Stand typography
by carlton p. byrd
large red letter R
acism 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:

The Experience Logo
The Experience Logo
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
From Ellen G. White’s The Desire of Ages*
white dots

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.

 Rashad burden
The Experience Logo
The Experience Logo
For Those Who Don’t Have Enough

imes 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.

Sunset Landscape
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?
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.
What's the message? with Carmelta & Claudia
 Message Daily Devotional
and Bible Study, ask your smart speaker to play “Message Daily,” and find us on Anchor, and Spotify.
Social Media Icons
Message Daily with L. David Harris
Message Podcast Network logo

 Tune in to the
Message Podcast Network

 Tune in to the
Message Podcast Network

 What’s The Message?

 What’s The Message?

Where we find hope in the headlines. Message Magazine Facebook Live every Thursday at 11 a.m. (Eastern).
 Your Liberation Library,
your reading list for issues of faith, freedom, and heritage. YouTube messagemagazine.
Creating Message Daily Devotion Podcast
 Follow us on Twitter (message1898), and Instagram (message1898), and sign up for our weekly newsletter at so you can catch the inspiration.
By Pamela Pinder
Pamela Pinder Author

hile many lost loved ones, this year I found myself as one of over 30 million unemployed due to COVID-19. After some time I was thankful for the job I found, but the truth is it did not cover all my expenses.

You know what I did? I turned it over to God. You heard me right. I got to the point where I had exerted all of my strength, all of my resources, all of my connections. I had nothing left. So, I said “God, I have done all You asked of me and I cannot do any more. Please take this.”

While I focused on ministering to others, God focused on ministering to me.

Whatever you are going through during these unprecedented times of fear, loss, grief, loneliness, sickness, instability, and hopelessness, give it to God.

He is not quarantined from us. He hears our cries, sees our needs, and already has the answer. All we need to do is come to him believing that He is who he says he is, “for without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Bless and Be Blessed
My inspiration for being engaged in community Ministry comes from the example that Jesus left us, says Jerome Hurst, Pastor of the Wilkinson S.D.A. Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“The righteous care for the poor, the unrighteousness have no such concern” Proverbs 29:7.
And, he adds “Christ method alone will give true success in reaching the people,” Ministry of Healing, p. 143.3)
L. David Harris
Best of DC Readers' Choice award
The Washington City Paper recently recognized Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church as runner up for the “Best House of Worship” in it’s annual “Best of DC” edition for 2020. The recognition was based on votes from the paper’s readers as well as constituents from the community. The criteria for selection was based on each house of worship’s impact within the District of Columbia, their commitment to service, as well as the overall excellence of ministry endeavors. Dr. Emil D. Peeler, senior pastor of the church states, “We are both surprised and humbled by the recognition. We are truly blessed to have so many of our members who are quietly committed to being good neighbors in order to reflect the image of God even during this pandemic… we just did not realize that people were watching.”
Atlanta, GA
Berean Outreach Ministry Center
291 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive
Atlanta, GA 30318
 [email protected]
West End Seventh-day Adventist Church
845 Lawton Street, SW
Atlanta GA 30310
Ashton, MD
Emmanuel Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church
18800 New Hampshire Ave
P.O. Box 519
Ashton, MD 20861-0519
 [email protected]
Baltimore, MD
Berea Temple SDA Church
1901 Madison Ave
Baltimore, MD 21217-3803
 [email protected]
3301 Milford Mill Rd
Windsor Mill, MD 21244-2042
 [email protected]
Is it time to “self-quarantine” in mountains?
by Nathaniel Lyles, Jr.

here’s one thing we can all agree on about 2020––it certainly will be remembered as one of the most challenging and grief-stricken years in the history of our nation. With more than 300,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 at the time of this writing, and new infections daily, millions ravaged by huge waves of financial problems from the impact of the pandemic recession (which is disproportionately high for families of color), and the nightmare of racial injustice and police use of deadly force against Black people and other minorities, is it time to “flee to the mountains” as instructed in Matthew 24:16?

This question was posed to me shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began. As governments and business abruptly close around the world due to the unknowns of this deadly invisible disease, many people, especially believers, recognized this crisis from Jesus’ list of signs indicating that the Second Coming is near. This connection between COVID-19 and the end of the world is certainly reasonable. After all, Jesus Himself did include “pestilences” or “diseases” along with the other warnings of religious, political, and environmental turmoil in Matthew 24:6. So does the Lord Jesus want us now, in a global health pandemic, literally looking for lodges in mountains? Well, let’s briefly examine the context of Matthew 25:15-20 to understand what Jesus was saying to His original audience and what it means for our lives today.

Message Magazine logo
Thanks for reading our January/ February 2021 issue!