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How to achieve Christlikeness in the midst of conflicting convictions
2021 Conscience Calendar
Faces of Protest
Dragonspeak Series, Part 5
How to achieve Christlikeness in the midst of conflicting convictions
November/December 2021
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COVID, Conscience, and the Vax
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compiled by Patrice T. Conwell/In vindication, or provocation, these voices charge on in our collective conscience.

by Carl McRoy/Destined to repeat itself, injustice is evergreen.

by Jackson Doggette/Where and how you take your final stand pivots on the truth.

by Omar Miranda/A real-time warfare rages on.

How America’s Original Sin Stemmed from the Forgotten Sabbath.

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!
Faces of Protest 2021
Christian Conscience
Page 24
Belief System
Page 20



by Carmela Monk Crawford/FOR THE LAST TIME


by Carl and Malachi McRoy/FREE FRANK McWORTER








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December, 1961 issue of Message magazine
“Held in the vicelike grip of human weakness, man is unable to lift himself above the low motives and fleshly desires of his unregenerated carnal mind. A power from above and outside of himself must take control. Nearly two thousand years ago God invaded human history in the person of His only begotten Son. In so doing, God not only supplied the perfect example but also made available the power which is needed to lift man from the pit of ruin.”

Message, December, 1961, “He is Our Peace,”
by James E. Dykes

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.
Media That Takes You Higher
I pray that you are totally blessed and the best part of you will shine for the world to see.
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It’s Not Your Turn
Heather Thompson Day

“What do you do when it seems like everyone else is getting their dreams and you’re not?” Heather Thompson Day answers this question in her new book It’s Not Your Turn. Her book brings encouragement to individuals who are getting discouraged in the waiting time, and helps us celebrate others in their time of triumph. “God isn’t as worried about changing your circumstances as He is about changing you.”
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© 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. 5 Sep/Oct 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.

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For the Last Time

stood in line at Macy’s in October and made conversation with a woman purchasing a simple outfit to accommodate her COVID figure. I could relate. She was going to a funeral. I could relate. And while COVID death has encroached upon our lives, I could not relate to the travesty with which she was dealing.

As we talked about her co-worker who died, I remembered The New York Times story—now buried in the trending news. Just two weeks earlier, Jeffrey Burnham of Cumberland, Maryland shot and killed a family friend, stole her car and drove to Ellicott City, Maryland, about 130 miles away. There he found his own brother and sister-in-law in their own home where he shot them fatally.

What prompted such a violent rampage? According to court filings, Burnham apparently thought his brother and sister plotted with the government to poison people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Obviously, Burnham’s mental health is in question. However, given the misinformation, volatility of discourse, and religious undertones with which many have approached this discussion, I’m not sure he’s the only one struggling out here. One county health department tried to allay fears in a COVID factsheet with this important bullet point:

eye on the times
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White-Washing American History

The perils of the attack on Critical Race Theory, and what we can do about it.

By Jordan Smart

hen Texas Senate Bill 3 passed last summer, removing the potential for racial equity in its K-12 curriculum, America’s black and brown communities braced for yet another bitter rejection in a season of historical reckoning and awakening.

This season has brought with it some pleasant discoveries. The documentary, “Summer of Soul,” directed by Questlove tells the story of the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. This little-known event featured seminal acts such as the Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight, to name a few. Performed and filmed over the course of six weeks, the documentary uncovered one small slice of rich history previously overlooked. Conversely, the “Amber Ruffin Show” uncovered the history of black towns forcibly cleared and then quickly filled with water, creating lakes where black folk previously thrived. Oscarville, Georgia and Kowaliga, Alabama had proven quite prosperous. They provided opportunities for the building of black legacies. Yet, they were literally washed away. That is history that America is not eager to remember and is easily hidden.

Black from the Past
Free Frank McWorter
Entrepreneurial Emancipator
Born enslaved in the embryonic land of the free
By Carl and Malachi McRoy
a statue of Frank McWorter

hile America was fighting for freedom in 1777, Frank McWorter was born enslaved on a South Carolina plantation. His mother, Juda, had been abducted from West Africa. His father was his mother’s enslaver, a man by the name of George McWorter.

The elder McWorter purchased additional land in Kentucky in 1795 and moved Frank and his other enslaved people there to develop the new plantation. The enslaver later worked out a deal to lease Frank’s labor for a cheap price to other settlers in the area. This gave McWorter additional income on top of the free labor he still required Frank to do for him. Fortunately, Frank was allowed to earn and save some of the money he received. It was during these years that Frank married an enslaved woman, named Lucy, from another plantation in 1799. They had several children and desired freedom for their family.

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The Plant-Based Lifestyle
Good Gifts for the Holidays
Photo provided by Chef Mommy
By donna green goodman

officially the 2021 holiday season. We have come through an awful lot. I personally celebrated my partnership with Message and 25 years of being free from breast cancer!

(See Black Women, Breast Cancer and Chronic Disease: Beating the Odds on YouTube) Over the last 25 years, we’ve learned that health is something that cannot be taken for granted. And this year, I’m sure many of us are thinking differently about how to guard our health during the holidays. Nothing can take the place of good choices to impact your own health and the health of those you love.

So to celebrate the season, here are a few of my favorite things that you should add to your gift-giving list or put in your own stocking.

John and April Nixon
relationship rx

How To Enjoy Your In-laws During the Holidays


hether you live close to your in-laws or not, the likelihood that you will at least see them during the holidays is high. And for some, the prospect of having to face the in-laws makes the holiday season more stressful than it should be. Instead of a welcome table full of laughter and laid-back conversations, you anticipate wry smiles, fake laughs and tense conversations. Rather than an exciting gift exchange, holiday carols, and kissing under the mistletoe, you predict thoughtless gifts and silent treatment nights.

We often underestimate the power of our chosen mindset, not realizing that our anticipation of a negative experience will often manufacture that outcome. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (KJV). It’s a self-fulling prophecy. We think it’s going to be a terrible time so it ends up being so.

Plain and simple, most of us don’t have nightmare in-laws. But even for those that do, following these simple tips could make your holiday season more bearable.

Faces of Protest 2021 typography
Darnella Frazier
number 1 typography
“Even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself. If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that. My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets.” May 25, 2021, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
—Taken from, George Floyd’s Murder: One Year Later,, May 26, 2021
image from a police body camera showing bystanders including Darnella Frazier
This image from a police body camera shows bystanders including Darnella Frazier (center) as Derek Chauvin, who was a police officer at the time, pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis.
Nicole Hannah-Jones with a microphone speaking
Nicole Hannah-Jones
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“At some point when you have proven yourself and fought your way into institutions that were not built for you, when you’ve proven you can compete and excel at the highest level, you have to decide that you are done forcing yourself in. I fought this battle because I know that all across this country black faculty, and faculty from other marginalized groups, are having their opportunities stifled, and that if political appointees could successfully stop my tenure, then they would only be emboldened to do it to others who do not have my platform. I had to stand up. And, I won the battle for tenure.” June 30, 2021, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
—Taken from,, June 30, 2021
Nicole Hannah-Jones
Nicole Hannah-Jones with a microphone speaking
number 2 typography
“At some point when you have proven yourself and fought your way into institutions that were not built for you, when you’ve proven you can compete and excel at the highest level, you have to decide that you are done forcing yourself in. I fought this battle because I know that all across this country black faculty, and faculty from other marginalized groups, are having their opportunities stifled, and that if political appointees could successfully stop my tenure, then they would only be emboldened to do it to others who do not have my platform. I had to stand up. And, I won the battle for tenure.” June 30, 2021, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
—Taken from,, June 30, 2021
2021 Conscience Calendar

Count by 21 to trace a historical thread of freedom and the compromise of conscience.


Athenian leader, Draco (Greek root for dragon and draconian), introduced a written system of laws. Draco’s Code was said to have been written in blood rather than ink. Many crimes, small and large, were punishable by death. Revelation, Chapters 12 and 13, tell us about a dragon and two beasts combining their powers to force people to choose false worship or death at the end of time. Their draconian reign will be cut down when Jesus, the dragon slayer, returns in Revelation 19.

Al-H.ākim bi-Amr Allāh

Disappearance of Al-H.ākim bi-Amr Allāh. Al-H.ākim was a Caliph over Egypt during the Fatimid Dynasty, who severely persecuted the Jews, Coptic Christians, and even other Muslims. Before and after Al-H.ākim’s reign, there was harmony between the three Abrahamic religions. When news spread that the only trace of Al-H.ākim was his bloodstained clothes, we can imagine people from all three religions recited, “When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy” (Proverbs 11:10, NIV).

Covid, Conscience, and the Vax typography
By Jackson Doggette
letter C drop cap
hristians believe freedom of conscience is God-given. Made in the image of God (Genesis 1: 26, 27), humans are able to develop a personal, trusting relationship with God that compels them to obey God rather than man whenever there is conflict between human authority and God’s authority (1 Timothy 1:5-19; Acts 5:19). And it is truth that sets all free (John 8:32).
man getting vaccine shot by a female doctor in coat
The concept of freedom grows from a foundation of truth! So, any decision around whether to take the COVID-19 vaccine, or not, must be grounded in what is true. For a Christian, a response to whether to take the vaccine cannot justifiably be grounded, merely, in what one believes.
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Submitting Your Objection at Work

itle VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act gives you the right to request an exemption to a workplace requirement when it conflicts with your religious beliefs or practices. However, if accommodating your request creates an undue hardship for your employer, your request doesn’t have to be granted.

Feeling Stigmatized?
“[N]o religious persons or religious community should be stigmatized by public authorities as scapegoats for a public health crisis . . . As vaccines become more widely available, such scapegoating can extend to either groups that are willing to take the vaccine, or more often, those that refuse to take it. Respect should be extended to both groups, although those refusing the vaccine may be subject to more stringent public health restrictions and limitations; but these restrictions should not be punitive or coercive, but rather protective and care-focused, as justified by scientific public health risk assessment.”

—from Religious Freedom During Public Health Emergencies Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic Policy Brief, March 2021, updated September 21.

Our World, Tied Together
The Great Controversy
Real-Time Warfare Staging in the Battle Theater of Your Mind
looking at the globe with half regular, half on fire with hand playing tug and pull with each side
BY Omar Miranda
Stylized letter "A" - bold

lthough I don’t watch sports, a lot of people do, so I couldn’t resist using a game as a metaphor for the universal spiritual battle between God and Satan.

God and Satan Duking it Out!

The Super Bowl is about the two best teams in pro football going at it, head-to-head. You expect there to be a showdown of epic proportions as each team gives its all to win. This brings to mind the fact that there are two cosmic “teams” currently battling to the death. What they’re fighting for is far more monumental than the Super Bowl trophy; it’s nothing less than the hearts and minds of every human being on planet Earth. God and His followers are locked in mortal combat with Satan and his followers—good versus evil.

Dragonspeak: The Race Crisis in America
Part Five
By Ivor Myers
he stated ideals of America seem to fall in line with the very heart of the Sabbath commandment. The principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence are noble, setting America aside as a truly great nation. Among those who flocked to America were those who escaped religious and monarchical tyranny and oppression. Just as ancient Israel had been delivered from bondage and oppression to a land of promise, so America was to be a beacon of light for those fleeing persecution. Above all nations, young America professed Christian roots and a recognition of God’s commandments. It would seem that our nation would have embraced, particularly, the fourth commandment in celebration of deliverance from former persecution.

Instead, just as church in Europe had done before us, we too neglected this commandment and opted for the man-made version of it. The commandment, designed to remind us of liberty for all, according to Deuteronomy 5, was neglected. The neglect of this commandment allowed this nation that professed to be founded on Judeo-Christian values to actively engage in the buying and selling of human souls in the slave trade.

Future Cast
Christian Conscience
by DR. carlton p. byrd
hile many may have thought that the racial tensions of the 1960s were behind us, and that we entered a post racial era with the election of President Barack Obama 13 years ago as the first black President of the United States, please think again. Racism is alive and well and still runs rampant in America’s workforce, schools, communities, and society at large. In recent history, we’ve witnessed vestiges of this racial injustice with the unmerited, unwarranted, unfair, and unjustified deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd among others.

As a result of these deaths, demonstrations, marches, and protests emerged across cities in the United States and abroad. Chants of “black Lives Matter.” “No Justice. No Peace.” “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” And “I can’t breathe,” were and are still heard daily.

Yet, in many faith circles there are some who choose to remain silent on such issues of racial injustice. Nevertheless, the faith community is in danger of death when it is silent on the reckless racism that exists in our world, where a man can be killed while jogging, a woman can be shot eight times while sleeping, and a man can lose his life because of a knee to his neck.

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You’re fam here.
Message is the oldest, black, Christian magazine in North America whose longevity is owing to its critical function of sharing the message of redemption, relationship, and readiness.
Redemption in slab font
We believe that God, recognizing how irretrievably broken our lives and world would be following the influence of the enemy’s lies, sent His Son Jesus in whom we are created anew. He has promised the total righting of everything that is wrong in this world. Seek Him. Reach for Him, and He will in no way cast you aside. He wants you to know Him, and assures that He will be there when you look for Him. No matter who you are, this opportunity is for you.
Relationship in. slab font
We’re here to operate as a set of His hands and feet, to come alongside all who preach, teach, and work with this good news. We fight against the destructive effects sin has had on us, the personal, systemic and perpetual division that plagues this world. In particular, we target and counter the false narrative of who God is. Together we affirm His image found in the black mind and body that has so often borne the brunt of brutality and untruth. Together we seek to align with God’s Kingdom at work in the here and now.
Readiness in a slab font
Finally, we prepare for that day when all of God’s people reunite with Him in person. That preparation includes a complete opening of our minds and hearts to Him, allowing Him to do the work of getting us ready. We’re reading His word with an open mind, seeking the special blessing of the Spirit especially on His Sabbath, and we eagerly watch for His return!
Let’s walk together, fam.
To receive personal Bible studies, pray with someone, talk with a chaplain or find a church, reach the Message Resource line: 1-855-God-Cares (1-855-463-2273).
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“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”
John 1:9 (KJV)
A Reflection
A Missed Messiah
From Ellen G, White’s The Desire of Ages, “The Chosen People,” p. 29 and 30

he Jews in a great degree lost sight of the teaching of the ritual service. That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. They trusted to the sacrifices and ordinances themselves, instead of resting upon Him to whom they pointed. In order to supply the place of that which they had lost, the priests and rabbis multiplied requirements of their own; and the more rigid they grew, the less of the love of God was manifested. They measured their holiness by the multitude of their ceremonies, while their hearts were filled with pride and hypocrisy.

Rashad burden
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Still Looking for That Gift?

ommercialism, consumerism, shallow spirituality, and sometimes painful family encounters certainly challenge the season of Advent. Christmas leaves many looking for that elusive “reason for the season.” What is it? Or, Who is it? While as many as 79% of African Americans identify as Christian, some think Christianity was hijacked by a white supremacist agenda. Does this season have a word from the ancient text that truly means peace and good will, to all?

Sunset Landscape
Read John 1:10, 11
The Bible, when speaking of Jesus, tells us He was in the world, and specifically, that “He came to His own, and His own received Him not.” By “His own” John refers to the special relationship Jesus had with His people. He was looking for them, but they missed Him. What stood in their way? What stands in ours?
Mountain sunset landscape
Read Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 22:17
How much does Jesus want you in His kingdom? Do you ever feel, based on the conditions in the world around us, that you, or people like you—race, age, gender, nationality, etc.—miss the promises of the kingdom? How do you separate what Jesus wants for you, and what the enemy has crafted as an evil substitute or distraction?
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Did you catch this?
The Rest of Your Story with Nick Taliaferro
The Art of Letting Go
Art of letting go

“God made time for you.”

He didn’t need a seventh day for himself. He crafted it, shaped it, and tailored it for you. This is specially made for you and for me. And then God extends it to us. And what do we say to God?

“I don’t want that stupid thing; I don’t have time for it. I didn’t ask for it. Plus, it doesn’t fit in my schedule—it doesn’t work with what I do. Just put it . . .”

It seems we have a lot of reasons why we don’t have time for the time that God made for us. I’ve always wondered about that commandment where God says, “Remember the Sabbath day.” Who needs to remember to take a break? Why do we have to be told that we need to rest? Why is it so hard to accept the gift of Sabbath?

“Now, really, who doesn’t want a day off of work?” [asks] Reverend Kathy Zappa of St Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta, Georgia, talking about why Sabbath keeping is so difficult of an idea today.

“Why is it so hard for us to accept the Sabbath gift of rest and freedom?”

That’s a great question, followed by some even better answers.

“Well, there’s fear that plays a pretty big part, fear of that emptiness that Frankel talks about. There’s also fear of missing out, or falling behind, or losing your competitive edge. There’s fear of what you might hear or feel if you slow down long enough to pay attention. And there’s fear.”

“Fear of what you may find or not find beneath all of those activities, and all of those masks that you wear.”

Listen Friday evenings,
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(Above) Dr. Ronald Williams, pastor of the Macedonia Seventh-day Adventist Church leads the effort to infuse grace into the community.

Chester, Pennsylvania has the reputation of being one of the deadliest cities in the state. Representatives from Chester Peace Initiative discuss how best to create relationships, and lasting peace.

By Ronald D. Williams
acedonia Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Chester, Pennsylvania, re-opened church with community engagement instead of re-entering the church building this past July. Although the church doors were closed for more than a year, the church had reason to open them: people are still hurting and still need answers for life’s most challenging seasons.

“We were not alone either. We met Jesus with community stakeholders who desired to do something different to enhance morale, “ said Ronald Williams, DMin. “We wanted to address public safety and encourage our neighbors.”

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