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Nov/Dec 2023
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Delbert Baker/AHA! An Effective Approach to Strengthen Your Conscience

Stephen Foster/Confused with tradition, even the Church can’t overrule the truth.

Carl McRoy/Travel through time’s archives to discover the more things change…

Beverly Robinson/Change is needed to protect communities of faith from predatory behavior.

Erica Biddings/The sticky art of standing up for yourself among fellow believers.

Tammy Darling/How God guides the reconstruction after your brush with a “human tornado.”

John Adjah/The first steps to lifelong freedom from bondage.

Philip T. David/How your transformation comes to be.

Cover Photo : Adobe Stock
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by Phillip McGuire Wesley/media that takes you higher


by Carmela Monk Crawford/Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment


by Carl McRoy/Buried Black History

by Donna Green Goodman/The Amazing Plant Power of Mediterranean Cuisine

by John and April Nixon/Millennials Are Not Rushing to Get Married


by Debleaire Snell/Why We Need Church

by Christopher Thompson/Authenticity Detector

by Pete Palmer/God’s Law: A Recovery Disk for the Human Race

Cover Photo : Adobe Stock
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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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Cultivating One’s conscience

Parenting Cosby Style
Important as it is to educate the conscience, that is not enough. It must be cultivated. Every beam of light that finds its way into the heart must be translated into the life. One single and even seemingly small point of truth cast aside may result in such spiritual confusion that one will thereafter fail to discern the difference between right and wrong, truth and error.

Should Conscience Be Our Guide?,
by Paul K. Freiwirth, Message, October, 1953

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.

In every issue we intentionally provide resources to lift you higher! Thank you for your support over the years! Let’s continue to elevate the Message!


Mindset of success book cover
7 Mindsets of Success
Turn Your Season Around

The book “7 Mindsets of Success” is a powerful and insightful guide to achieving success in all areas of life. Written by a team of experts, it offers practical strategies and mindset shifts that can help individuals unlock their full potential and achieve their goals.

One of the key strengths of this book is its emphasis on the power of mindset. It explores seven different mindsets that successful people possess, such as the “Passion First” mindset and the “We Are Connected” mindset. Each mindset is explained in detail, with real-life examples and actionable steps to help readers adopt these mindsets in their own lives. This book is available online or in stores.


My message
Consciousness Hacking
and Enlightenment Engineering

ichie’s Plank Experience, for some users, starts with set-up: a board on the floor, sometimes with one end resting on a stack of sponges to make it “bounce.” Players don the Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality (VR) headset that engulfs the line of vision and peripheral senses. Then after a simulated and dizzying ascent aboard the elevator of a skyscraper, to your abject surprise, the doors open to reveal the vertiginous effect of you standing on a wooden plank. Now far above the street, over the tops of towers, untethered, you walk that plank.

This virtual thrill-seeking comes with an elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, and panic, all at no extra cost. Some users tremble, on all fours, clutching the very board that they — moments prior—lay on the floor in the first place.

I haven’t tried it. My nerves can’t even handle the write up. The book Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering, however, clues us into the lengths to which seekers will go in “man’s search for meaning.” The plank walking was just an example of the effectiveness of technology at persuading the senses. Authors and researchers Wesley Wildman, Ph.D., and Kate J. Stockly, Ph.D., investigate the assistive technology and science behind such futuristic spiritual quests.

eye on the times
woman next to giant clock
Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus Calls out the Ubiquitous Evil of White Supremacy Inspires Continued Vigilance and Resistance
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The annual legislative conference hosted each year by the Congressional Black Caucus boasted a lineup of heavy thinkers and hitters in social justice spaces. This year, speakers and panelists leveled serious critiques against legislators and policies that perpetuate everything from mass incarceration, homelessness, to the dismantling of access to capital, higher education, and a true and accurate presentation of American history. To view the National Town Hall, scan or click the QR code.
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Put Some Steel in Your Backbone
LETICIA JAMES, New York Attorney General
As a black woman, and as the chief legal officer of one of the largest and most diverse states in the nation, I watch all of this unfold with a sense of outrage and growing concern. It’s clearly part of an effort to transform what is a vibrant and dynamic democratic country into an Ethno-nationalist, authoritarian state.
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Turnabout as Unfair Play
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, author, speaker, minister
The greatest crime a slave could commit was to be sleep; now we’re trying to be woke, and they’ve got a problem with it.
Black from the Past
Buried Black History
old sepia toned picture of family from Forsyth, Georgia
Image: Public Domain
By Carl McRoy
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Oscarville was a majority Black town in Forsyth County, Georgia, established during Reconstruction. Former slaves and their children were able to enjoy the fruits of their labors as carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths, and farmers.

That all changed beginning on September 8, 1912, when 18-year-old Mae Crow disappeared. Mae was found unconscious in the woods the next day. She was severely beaten and believed to have been sexually assaulted. She never regained consciousness before dying from her injuries. Since she was a white, young woman, it was quickly determined that the suspect(s) must be black men.

Thousands of whites gathered to lynch those judged guilty but weren’t satisfied until their reign of terror drove all the blacks out of Forsyth County. Whites took ownership of the dispossessed land until Lake Lanier was created in the 1950s, submerging any remnants of Oscarville. There have been over 700 deaths on Lake Lanier since then, leading some to believe the lake is haunted. If I believed in ghosts, Lanier’s story would make it haunt-worthy.

Optimal Living
Plant-based Lifestyle
The Amazing Plant Power of Mediterranean Cuisine typographic title in white plus dark red with dark black outer shadow strokes on both phrases
Photo by: Adobe Stock
Falafel (deep-fried balls) with cilantro on a circular round plate and green olives in a small tiny round bowl

By Donna Green Goodman

If you do a search for “healthy diet” recommendations, one that will always come up is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet highlights the dietary benefits found in the food culture of countries like France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. There, the chronic diseases are lower because of the high consumption of powerful plant foods. As the process of decolonization continues to grow, scientists are now also recognizing the countries on the south side of the Mediterranean like Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt. The people in these African countries have lower rates of chronic diseases as well.

“The Mediterranean diet is perhaps one of the most widely researched eating patterns in the world. Following a Mediterranean diet is linked with a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, a decreased risk of certain cancers (e.g., colorectal, head and neck, respiratory, gastric, liver, and bladder), a slower progression of atherosclerosis, and many markers of healthy aging” (Today’s Dietitian).

Whenever I thought of Mediterranean food, my mind went to things like falafels, olives, gyros, and spanakopita, which are connected to Greece. As I have looked a little more closely at the Mediterranean foods of Africa, I have discovered familiar flavors that are integral to this type of cuisine.

Photo by Adobe Stock
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tudies show that “The average age of first marriage has increased by almost a decade in the last two generations…”, (Lisa Anderson from Focus on the Family). Two in five [young adults say] they believe marriage is an outdated tradition. Seventeen percent of millennials say they do not plan on getting married while 7% of Gen Z agree with this sentiment (Thriving Center of Psychology).

Cohabitation is on the rise among the young adult population as well. One report reveals “over three in five unmarried couples live with their partners, though more millennials live with their partner than Gen Z — with a difference of 65% to 35%.” What is causing this shift in perspective towards marriage? Here are a few reasons:


Life Design

Fine-Tune Your Conscience typography

Work out your spiritual muscle using the AHA approach.

By Delbert Baker
With a well-grounded conscience, you will have an internal moral GPS that will help to guide you to a life of trust in Christ, spiritual growth, and good works. Under divine influence, your conscience can lead you to a life of purpose, fulfillment and ultimately life eternal.

What then, is the pathway to upgrade our conscience and lead to a more abundant life? In short, through personal understanding of conscience and an “AHA” approach for its development.

Personal Understanding
The foundational understanding necessary for conscience development is twofold. First, recognize conscience is an internal source that God uses to impress you with what are true and sound life principles to follow. Second, appreciate that conscience has to do with the ways and means the Holy Spirit partners with us to perform and live out God’s purpose for us. Conscience is how we work out our salvation with sincerity and humility (Philippians 2:12-13). More than an internal instinct, feeling or sense, our conscience is the spiritual muscle that causes us to grow in knowledge and grace.
Saturday to Sunday Tradition
ndoubtedly you have at some point wondered why most people attend church on Sunday, while noticing that a few people go to church on Saturday. You may also have noticed that the Ten Commandments seem to say that the seventh day is the Sabbath but noticed that the seventh or last day of the week on your calendar, Saturday, is not the day that most Christians attend church.

While the first day of the week had long been observed and venerated by pagan custom as the day of the sun, there had been Christians, particularly the Christian church in Rome, who, because of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, began to regard the first day of the week with significance. They had begun a tradition of gathering on it, although there had never been a biblical authorization for the worshipful observance of the first day of the week as holy, or set apart by God.

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2023 Conscience Calendar typography on a bookmark with thread

Travel through time, and rediscover that the more things change…


black and white copy of painted profile portrait of Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI issued papal bull Inter caetera, granting newly ‘discovered’ lands to Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Crown: “that in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread. . . and that barbarous nations be overthrown and brought to the faith itself.” Alexander called for “the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul” to fall on anyone who infringed upon his “grant.”


black an white line etching of Spanish explorers fighting with Indigenous people
El Requerimiento [The Requirement] is drafted for Spanish exploiters explorers to announce to the Indigenous people they were about to invade. Ignorance [of Spanish] was not bliss for the Natives: “Acknowledge the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world…and the high priest called Pope. . . But if you do not do this. . . I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully… make war against you. . . we shall take you and your wives and children, and shall make slaves of them. . . and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault.”


black and white copy of a painting of an Indigenous American man kneeling while holding fish in a clearing
Plymouth Gov. William Bradford ordered colonists to grow corn to avoid starvation. Thankfully, Indigenous peoples taught these migrants to farm and prepare it. The English language also owes several vocabulary words to their agricultural and culinary tutors, such as: hominy, pone, supawn, samp, and succotash. Gratitude didn’t last long. In 1637, the precious pilgrims set fire to the neighboring Pequot village and shot all who tried to escape, killing about 700 children, women, and men. Gov. Bradford wrote, “It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same,” and called it a “sweet sacrifice,” for which the colonizers “gave the praise thereof to God.”
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Change is needed to make communities of faith and houses of worship safe from predatory behavior.
Photo by Adobe Stock
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hurch-related sexual abuse is an alarming issue that has affected countless individuals and communities worldwide. This article aims to shed light on the prevalence of such abuse within religious institutions and the devastating consequences it can have on survivors. By examining real-life examples and statistical data, we can better understand the magnitude of this problem and the urgent need for action.
*Lanitra, a young outgoing, outspoken teenager was in her senior year of high school and destined for college in Huntsville, Alabama. She was active in her church, attending each Sabbath and participating in most of the events. Lanitra was captivated by the pastor, an older, charismatic, hell-and-brimstone speaker who often gave her compliments and special attention. She was being raised by a single mother and shared the home with two half-brothers. The siblings had different fathers. None of the fathers stayed in the home. Lanitra wasn’t considered “attractive” by industry or peer standards; however, she possessed a grown woman’s curvaceous body and early knowledge of sexuality and sensuality. She shared her body with many, including her brothers, and with the pastor. The pastor enticed Lanitra with cheap gifts and with small amounts of money – more than what her mother could provide for her. Lanitra felt special.
Setting Healthy Boundaries Even with Church Folks!

Photo by Adobe Stock

“When people set boundaries with you, it’s their attempt to continue the relationship with you. It’s not an attempt to hurt you.”
– Elizabeth Earnshaw
By Erica Jones-Biddings
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etting boundaries allows you to practice self-care and self-respect and will enable you to communicate your needs to others. Furthermore, it sets healthy limits for your relationships at church and beyond, allows you to feel heard, acknowledged, honored, respected, and conserves your emotional energy.

A big part of setting personal boundaries is learning when to say no, (Titus 2:11, 12). I think we can safely conclude that in addition to ungodly influences and worldly practices and passions, it is ungodly to let others put stress on you.

Saying “No” is as easy as just saying “No thank you,” “Maybe next time,” or “My schedule is full right now.”

To set your personal boundaries, identify the most important things to you. Ask yourself, “What is important to me?” and “How do I want others to treat those things?”

Picking Up The Pieces After The Human Tornado Blows Through Your Life
By Tammy Darling
dotted line going up - cream
hen my human tornado blew through, I was not destroyed for God protected me, but I was greatly damaged. The destruction left behind was great, but I knew there had to be something worth salvaging.

No way was I going to live among the rubble. And I wasn’t about to try rebuilding without first clearing the “land” so to speak. The garden of my heart had been torn to shreds and needed to be replanted. You cannot have a firm foundation unless the land has been cleared and prepared for rebuilding. Therefore, I began picking up the pieces.

You may be a fighter, a warrior, an overcomer, but you don’t have to go it alone. And in fact, you shouldn’t. I tried to deal with the aftermath on my own and it only caused the pain to intensify. It was only after I shared my story with a few select others that my healing truly began.
Breaking Hidden Chains – The Lust of the Flesh
he craving for pleasure is innate, but God wants us to find pleasure in Him. God grieves when He sees His children going astray. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10, NKJV).

Today, our social media is filled with diverse misleading content that incites people to indulge in sin. A typical case is the influx of pornographic websites. In fact, it is easier to access sexual content today because of mobile devices. Millions of pornographic content pieces are cast and uploaded daily. Besides pornographic websites, social media platforms have become a marketplace for streaming sexual content and marketing products that encourage young people to adapt immoral lifestyles.

Despite its ever presence, it is possible to break the hidden chains of lust.

Love and Truth = No More Guilt – How your transformation comes to be.
e can’t hold the weight of guilt and stay upright at the same time. Guilt causes you to feel that you do not deserve to have good things happen to you. More specifically, you will believe that you do not deserve a good man or a good woman. Guilt robs you of your confidence and your boldness and gives you an inferiority complex.

In God’s presence, all sin is forgiven and forgotten. Proverbs 16:6 (Msg) says Guilt is banished through love and truth; Fear-of-GOD deflects evil.

One way to rid oneself of guilt is via the power of love. As humans, we have a responsibility to realize that God loves you in spite of all you have done wrong. We have a responsibility to comprehend the fact that the love of God may even be shown on a greater level; that while we were in our most helpless position, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6). When you and I were at our lowest, He gave His life as a sacrifice for us. Although it is possible for a man to choose to die for another man, it is very unlikely that a man would die for a bad man (Romans 5:7). Despite the fact that we were evil, Jesus chose to die for us. How much more so now that God has adopted you as His child?

Were you ever sexually abused typography
Photo by Adobe Stock
By David and Beverly Sedlacek
piritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. It is characterized by a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behavior in a religious context. Spiritual abuse can have a deeply damaging impact on those who experience it.

Congregations can abuse pastors. Pastors can abuse congregations and congregants. Congregants can abuse one another.

And spiritual abuse is connected to other forms of abuse such as sexual abuse, human sex trafficking, physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse.

Because of its highly damaging potential it is important to identify, early, some of the warning signs of spiritual abuse. They include manipulation and exploitation by spiritual figures in power positions, enforced accountability, censorship of decision making, requirements for secrecy and silence, and coercion to conform (which translates to your inability to ask questions). Further, the requirement of obedience to the abuser and the suggestion that the abuser has a “divine” position plays into the power imbalance that enables the abusive relationship. Isolation as a punishment should be questioned, as should be a sense of superiority and elitism.

Why We Need Church
Photo by Adobe Stock
By Debleaire Snell
ecently, I began attending a 5 a.m. weightlifting session with a group of men my age. No one is trying to outdo each other. No one is trying to break any records. It’s just a group of men, recognizing the need to prioritize health.

We sequester a small portion of the gym, where one of the guys plays gospel music on his portable speaker. For the most part, our time together is very jovial. We reminisce about what was as we try to cling to what is left.

There is a camaraderie and a fellowship that refreshes us. There is conversation that edifies us. But the collective encouragement of the group pushes everyone in their work out. We spot one another when weak, and we push one another when someone is tempted to give in. There is an accountability text thread for those who miss the workout, or for those who are tempted not to show up.

You’re family 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.
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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.
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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).
 Christopher Thompson
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The commandments tablets
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“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34, 35, KJV).
A REFLECTION: The New Commandment
by Ellen G. White
hese are the credentials that Christ’s followers bear, showing to the world that they are true disciples. By their unity and love for one another, they reveal to the world the love wherewith Christ has loved them. God would have us cherish love for one another, that he may be glorified in us. Love like Christ’s will bear the stress of circumstances. It will never abate nor change. As he loved us, even so are we to love one another.
The Hope of the Race God's Law: A Recovery Disk for the Human Race
Photo: Adobe Stock
here is a correspondence between the way our brains work and the functioning of computers. Just as some of the main components of computers are its operating system, its application, and its memory which provide the computing power, so, there is an operating system for our minds, applications, and of course our memories.

The challenge is that when Adam and Eve downloaded the “sin” virus by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it corrupted their human central processing units (CPUs). Now, the human operating system does not process properly, we don’t reason well, our imaginations deflate us instead of inspiring us, and we have painful memories that trap us in cycles of harmful habits, negative behaviors, and addictions.

It is against this backdrop that God introduces the moral law and the ceremonial laws. God gives us the moral law as a recovery disk for our minds, hearts, and memories. God gives us the ceremonial laws as a way of reminding us that He will one day heal us and completely eradicate the sin virus.

Bless and Be Blessed
Map of all Churches in the U.S.
Find resources near you by going to this link
Atlanta, GA
Berean Outreach Ministry Center
291 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive
Atlanta, GA 30318
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Chicago, IL
Hyde Park SDA Church
4608 South Drexel Road
Chicago, IL 60653
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Miami, FL
Mt. Pisgah SDA Church
3340 NW 215th St,
Miami Gardens, FL 33056
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Thanks for reading our November/December 2023 issue!