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EDITOR Allen Green

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Donald E. Graham, Jr. Mary Daniels Irene Council Demetrius Adams II Carl C. Gable III, MD Simone Malone Lenora Young Phil Hughes Anthony C. Williams Christine Tunstall

Sidney Weston Shelly B

Outside and Inside Cover Design by A. Green

Outside and Inside Cover Photo by: D. Reese Photography

www.makeitsomanagement.com


October 2011

Make It So Report Volume 9 VOTE – PLEASE – VOTE

- Your Life Depends on It!

Writers Allen Green & Shelly Baylock I am not going to beat around the bush or try to sugar coat this observation. It is apparent to those who are not blind, deaf or dumb that the Congressional republicans along with some in the tea party are a th group of mean spirited, 19 century racist who are so frustrated that an intelligent, educated black man is running the highest office in the United States that they are willing to plunge the entire country into recession. Some of these same people are so blinded by hatred for this President; they don’t care that they may be causing detriment in the lives of members of their own families and friends. The disrespect that President Barak Obama has been shown is unprecedented. There has been no other President, all which have been Caucasian (democratic or republican) that has been so deliberately and without shame shown the disrespect that has been shown Mr. Obama. For this reason it is important that each and every black person vote. It has never in the annual of history been more important. Focus on the positive things that President Obama has done since he has taken office. I am sure many of you are saying that he has not done this or that for the black community. However, you must realize he is not President of the United States of Afro-Americans or Latinos but he is President of the United States of American which includes the rainbow. Okay, let us not be stupid and stay home on Election Day because of the propaganda that the media perpetuates on a daily basis. For the Democrats, African Americans, Hispanics and all those who have supported the President to be so disgruntled to contemplate either voting republican or not voting at all, would be to play right into the republican/tea party’s hands. They cannot win on their own merits, so they are counting on making it impossible for the President to do anything to help this country or the American middle class. Voter suppression laws are being discussed and/or implemented in most states to limit the number of Obama supporters and Democrats eligible to vote; even some registered voters who voted in the last election may be turned away from the polls. The republicans are counting on President Obama losing his voter support, which will be to their benefit. Remember, the election of 2010, some were so angry they voted against their own interest, by putting members into congress who are more focused on getting rid of President Obama than governing to help America and the American people get back on their feet. Now, there are some with buyer’s remorse realizing the folks they put in office are now trying to pass laws to take things away from them as well. Instead, of working together as leaders to make thing better for all Americans, they have decided to cut programs and get rid of everything the middle class depends on to live a healthy, productive safe life. The republicans do not discriminate between their supporters and Democrats and those who support President Obama when it comes to taking away from the middle class to give to their corporate benefactors; if you are a middle class hard working person, whether Democrat or republican, you will be their target and on their chopping block as well. Please do not allow the same terrible mistake made in November of 2010 to happen again; we will ALL pay the horrible price. It is crystal clear which party is fighting for America and the American middle class. With this being said DO NOT stay home! Vote November 2012. Your voice (vote) is crucial and will count. 1


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Getting America Back On Track Writer Sidney Weston What is it, this, “putting America back on the right track”, according to Republicans, but more specifically, Sarah Palin whose comment I’m referring to and that she made during a recent appearance on Fox News. She claims, "I am so adamantly supportive of the good, traditional things about America and our free enterprise system, and I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track, and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012. I have that fire in my belly." America, do we really want a person like Sarah Palin being the president of this great nation? A person who could not continue her duties as governor of Alaska, she quit and now she wants to possibly run for president of the United States. The presidential office is a lot more intense than the governorship. We see from her past that she could never finish anything she started. For example, she attended a number of colleges before quitting; she was governor for a few years in Alaska before quitting, pursuing fortune and fame, and after a failed attempt at running for vice president on Senator John McCain’s presidential ticket in 2008. If Sara Palin and other politicians, including couch politicians, who have all the answers until they’re in office really want to help the country, stop with all those stupid comments and side shows. Stop fighting the President on non-issues, playing political games for political gain. Come up with solutions to help our President get this country back on track. All of the Nay Sayers in office who have some influential power should get behind our President to support him and some of the great ideas he has to present to congress, to revive our economy and help our middle and poor class out of what seems insurmountable trouble, and instead of just saying “no” just because you are a Republican or Tea Party member, when you know good and well that some of the changes that were proposed would definitely help the country and start facing the economy in the right direction. Sometimes is disheartening and depressing to see how our political figures behave in such a crisis. Greed is the code on the hill. No one wants to give in or compromise for fear of losing out on the kickbacks they will receive from lobbyist, corporations and other political interest. Time out for acting like little kids squabbling and pointing the finger, get to work and get this country back to its best days of a thriving economy. Put the American people back to work so they can take care of their families.

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Diabetes: America's Silent Killer Excerpts from The Oprah Winfrey show February 01, 2010 Out of the 85 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, the African-American community has been hit particularly hard. Dr. Oz says the biggest reason is lack of access to affordable, healthy food. "The cheapest calories in America are the calories with no nutrients," Dr. Oz says. "So especially among the young, in their neighborhoods they can't get the foods they need to be able to eat and the foods they need are expensive. The Hispanic population is very hard hit for the same reason." Dr. Ian Smith, the medical and diet expert behind the 50 Million Pound Challenge, says the obesity epidemic has spiraled out of control. African Americans are twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes, develop end-stage kidney disease, have amputations and die from the disease. "AfricanAmericans are facing an obesity crisis," he says. "It's literally killing us." Dr. Smith says part of the problem lies with bad habits. "Habits are tough to break, especially for African-Americans when their habits are around food, which is like a culture for them," he says. "Food is love and comfort." Another major battle is attitudes toward eating and exercising. "Tran generationally, we've eaten this way, and African-Americans take this 'heels in the ground' approach," he says. "This is a disease often about attitude, and attitude has a lot to be desired right now. We have to improve our attitudes about it."

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Saved, Sanctified, and Filled With the Holy Spirit – Then I Hit the Parking Lot Writer Christine Tunstall Its 1:00 p.m. church services have just ended and I am on my way out the sanctuary. I am leaving church after an awesome worship service. Normally, I am not one to quote clichés but after the worship experience I just had, I must quote this one for sure -- I feel ‘too blessed to be stressed’. What we just experienced in church should be filmed and shared with everyone. It was just that awesome. The choir sounded like angels. Every song they sang today just touched my spirit in that special way. Holy Ghost tears were flowing down my face throughout the service and the spirit seemed to illuminate the entire building. Watching my fellow worshippers praising God was a beautiful sight to behold. Pastor had a message for everyone in the building. He had the anointing all over him. I can’t wait to get home to tweet, chat, face book and twitter to everyone just how awesome service was. I am too excited. Help me Holy Ghost!! Nothing can ruin this mood. When I reflect on how my day started, I must say I am so glad I decided to go to church today. It was surely a test of wills this morning with everything that could go wrong, doing so. This teenager of mine had a mind of his own today. He actually thought he had a choice on whether he was going to church today. I had to check my reflection in the mirror. I then had to make certain he was my child. After all, here he was, in my house, presuming he had a choice about going to Church to worship and serve the very God who gives us strength to do all that we choose to do. Oh hecky no. Once I checked my reflection, I then checked my teenager’s attitude. He obviously had temporary amnesia but I quickly cured him. Whew, everything was back in order. I am glad I had what my momma always called “a made-up mind” this morning. As my son likes to tell me, when it comes to God and education, my mind, my words and my actions are very predictable. Church services like today serve as a constant reminder to me of why I rarely miss any Sunday in church. I can count on one hand the number of services my family may miss each year. Missing church is not a viable option for me. I need my Holy Ghost tank filled up each week to get me through Walking out of church this day, it seemed as if no one wanted to leave the sanctuary. Even after Pastor pronounced the benediction, the sanctuary looked almost as full as it did during service. God surely must be smiling at the sight He is beholding. His children are still in the midst of one another speaking about various aspects of the service, not wanting to leave this worship experience. This is what church is supposed to be about Well, I finally get through the crowds of church folk and make it to the car. My family is (impatiently) waiting for me to get to the car. They obviously were ready to get on the road and I obviously was the hold-up. Even looking at their impatient stares, I refused to let my mood be changed. I start singing Victory in Jesus to bring my mind back to the place I was just moments ago. Seatbelts fastened mirrors adjusted, ready to move ahead and what happens next, some jack rabbit pulls out of the space to my left, nearly hitting my car. No worries. I just smile. It’s a beautiful day so the windows are down in the truck. Before I could motion for the driver to go ahead, or say a 4


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word, the driver of the other car unleashed a tirade of profanity that only a sailor could mimic. Wow!! I had to pinch myself before I reacted in like behavior. I remembered I was not always a Christian and I was quite familiar with the words the young woman was throwing my way. But I decided to respond to her instead of reacting. There were a few things that startled me. First, I could not believe this woman was so upset with me when it was obvious she was the person who made the traffic snafu. Second, it dawned on me that we were in the church parking lot and she obviously had just come out of the same church I walked out of. I wondered as I gazed upon her if Jesus had the same look on His face as He watched Peter deny Him three times. Reading the account of this story in either Book of the Bible - Mark 14:66-68 or Matthew 26:71-75 is heartbreaking. Peter was so determined to make the accusers believe he was not with Jesus that he even cursed them with harsh words. Like Peter remembered the words of Christ “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice”, and he went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:7175). I began to weep. I cried from the depths of my soul. I cried thinking that we as Christians many times cannot get farther than the parking lot before our actions (and our words) make us look like strangers to Christ. I wept because it obviously grieves our Lord’s heart to watch us treat each other with such disdain and disrespect, even on the church parking lot. I think my tears must have surprised this woman because she stopped mid-sentence. I put the truck into park and got out. I told her that God truly loves her and that whatever was troubling her surely could not be bad enough to have her forget what we just experienced inside. I asked her what I could do to make her day better than it had become in the parking lot. I asked her if she needed to talk about whatever was obviously bothering her because I didn’t believe it could possibly be a little traffic snafu. It was then that she blessed my soul. She told me that she had, in fact, enjoyed the service and had let her mind drift away from church back to the problems at home and work. We then shared with each other the message meanings we had derived from worship service and I gave her my copy of the cd from service. She plopped the cd into her car player and immediately you could see a weight lifted from her shoulders. She told me that she wanted to be a Christian everywhere she went, not just in the sanctuary. She told me that she wanted to be a Christian at work, at home, in the supermarket and at the laundry. She thanked me for showing her love and not showing her the same behavior she showed me. I told her being a Christian is a daily walk and that our God of another chance would let her start that walk all over right there in the church parking lot. In Romans 15:4 it reads: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” My hope is for that young woman and all of us to be Christians farther than the church parking lot. Be blessed.

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My Irene Experience: Writer Mary Daniels Friday night, my friend, Diana and I had prayed a hedge of protection over the country; that Irene would be subject to Him. However, the more I listened to the news, the more anxious I became. Around midnight Saturday, they mentioned a tornado watch in South Philadelphia, Manayunk, and Northeast Philadelphia. They marked the area in red. They urged us to get away from windows, go to a lower floor or basement. At that time, a friend called to talk and I told him I was on my way to the basement; he kept talking anyway. I continued talking but after about 5 minutes I reminded him I was on my way to the basement. I explained I have 4 windows: bay windows behind the bed and a window on the side. I imagined the window breaking and my being speared by a piece of glass while I laid there. Plus there's a tree in front of the window - I saw it falling and landing on me. I reached for a blanket and pillow, I was headed for the basement and THEN I remembered our prayer for protection. In that prayer we remembered how Jesus rebuked the waves, saying PEACE BE STILL. I looked out the window one more time and noticed how all the trees were being blown violently. The one in front of my house didn’t seem to be fazed by the wind; it stood like a guard over the house. I turned the television off, and put on a CD (Darwin Hobbs (praise), curled up in the bed and went to sleep. Psalm 127:1-2 “Except the Lord watch, we watch in vain… Why should you sit up late to eat the bread of sorrow, so He gives His blessed sleep." Remember the people that prayed for Peter to be released from prison but when he showed up at the door, the girl said "it's a ghost?" That's funny to us until our "answers" to prayer show up unannounced and in strange attire. I had planned to stay in on Sunday, as recommended by the media. However, after spending some time with the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient Father, I got dressed and ventured out on foot - car has a headache - to visit a few frail "homebound" seniors who live alone. They were surprised to see me and so was I - surprised to be there... God always has such wonderful plans for our day, IF we stop to listen. Recently in dialogue with a young married friend, I was asked if I get lonely. After some reflection, I told her "No, I don't understand that. Of course, I understand the meaning of the word, but once you are content in "whatever state you are in” and have learned to trust and OBEY Him, life becomes an adventure. The world spends so much time, energy and money on making themselves appealing to be "loved". Conversely, God invites us to spend time in His presence and allow him to pour in His Agape (unconditional love) - it “fulfills" the void and energizes us to minister to others. What I am saying is we thirst NO MORE. Jesus said, "Come I will give you water that will never run dry." Oh, almost forgot one wonderful benefit of sowing love, you REAP accordingly: I have received a harvest of loving family, friends and acquaintances of all ages and backgrounds; they are the icing on the cake. “How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” Well, those two paragraphs are a real sidebar. Meanwhile back to Irene. PRAYER can change any IRENE (finances, relationships, fears, habits, illnesses) in your life. 6


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IMPORTANT NEWS MARK YOUR CALENDARS The Baptist Pastors & Ministers Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity Sunday October 23rd through Friday October 28th Services to be held at the Triumph Baptist Church Germantown & Huntington Park Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 7


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Taken From: TOM JOYNER'S BLOG ON PRESIDENT OBAMA We've all expressed our opinions, vented, aired it out, and in my heart of hearts, no matter how we got to this point, I believe most of us share a common goal - to re-elect President Obama. That can only happen if we take all the time and energy we've been using to debate, defend - and yes, digress (Tavis didn't patent that word, did he?) and move forward. Like the mamas on my staff tell their little boys when they're distracted by whatever is on the PSP, DS or Wii screen, "Let's focus." If we can learn anything from Republicans, it is that they have the ability to not just rally together, but to grab onto a single candidate, issue, piece of propaganda, whatever, and clamp down like a pit bull. Once they make a decision, they will not be swayed. How many times have you listened to one of them recite the party line, and you think to yourself, I KNOW they don't really believe that? Maybe not, but by being consistent and steady until the end, they come out victorious - or, at the least, united. That's what we need to do more. Of course, we are not all "like minded" across the board, and no one is expected to believe that every single thing that President Obama says or does is perfect and beyond reproach. But, let's look at the big picture and remember that if he's going to win, he needs all of our votes - every last one of them. At one time, I didn't see the harm in the public criticisms from black leaders, but a conversation I had with a friend and colleague who voted for Obama last time around made me think differently. This guy is black, high school-educated and gets most of his news from our show, CNN, MSNBC and C-SPAN. A few weeks ago, when Tavis Smiley and Cornel West began to make the rounds on the cable networks, he started to have second thoughts about Obama. He actually began to let the negativity seep into his brain and said, "What IS Obama doing for Black people? Look at how many of us are unemployed; he's not doing nothing about that." That's when I knew that more harm was being done than some people realize. Keep in mind that was just one person who happened to express his opinion to me. How many more black people will stay home from the polls this November because they think the prez is turning his back on black people? Forget that that's a lie - that he has done plenty for African-Americans and will do more if he gets the chance to serve another term. Forget that bin Laden was captured and killed under his watch. Let's not even deal with the facts right now. Let's deal with just our blackness and pride - and loyalty. We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that's what we ought to be doing. And I'm not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he's a black man. There are a great number of people who are against him because he's a black man. That should be enough motivation for us to band together and get it done. I'll be making an announcement soon about voter registration and what we'll do on the TJMS to make sure that everybody is ready come November. In the meantime, we need to start showing the same kind of enthusiasm as we did when we were electing the president ......... the first time. Please don't think it's going to be any easier because we made it happen before. In fact, this time it will be harder. For years, I've heard people who weren't around during the civil rights movement say that they wished they had been there. They have a deep need to be a part of some great 8


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historic moment that will make a difference, not just to us but to future generations as well. Well, this is our moment. And before I hear the haters say President Obama is no Dr. Martin Luther King, of course he isn't. There will never be another Dr. King, Malcolm X, JFK and there doesn't need to be. We're not dwelling on the past - not 50 years ago, not even 50 days ago. Whether you're in a race to the finish line, the goal post or to making history, you've got to keep your eye on the prize if you're going to win. The naysayers have a vested interest in chunking rocks. We can't stop that. What's our interest? What are we willing to stand up for, fight for, and make a sacrifice for? When is the last time we did more than talk about how much we support the president? When is the last time you mailed a check to his campaign? When you hear people who claim to represent you and black America saying things you don't believe or support, you ought to light up the phones, send emails, tweets, write blogs, fax. Every little bit helps. Don't let hate, pettiness, and jealousy, whatever, overshadow truth. We're on a mission, and a mission isn't always fun, sexy or comfortable. When you step out there and believe in what you say and what you do, you've got to take the heat and keep it moving. In the words of that great philosopher Jay-Z, on to the next. Focus on November. We're moving forward. Can we do it together? That's the only way we will be victorious.

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Music as Ministry for the Worship of God Writer Ouida Harding In worship, music should exist to support the vision of the pastor, be foundational for recruiting souls for Christ, and meet the need to encourage colleagues and congregation. It has been my experience that music provided in many churches is done to fill space, or create or keep a hype going, because music is not necessarily seen as a carrier of the Word of God, or anything other than just being done for the sake of being done. While I do endorse musicians belonging, or having membership in the church of their service, it has also been, my experience that the musician who belongs to the church where they serve are expected to give services without compensation; whereas, if an ‘other’ musician does not belong to the congregation, such services would not be done without compensation. This is a caution, that the musician be very sure the church of their membership can ask for them to serve, whether they are paid or not but, should also be mindful that they need a cover, a stability, and should have a home church. Musicians serving in churches are often “made” to feel as though the requesting organization is doing them a favor. Many churches have lost persons who would dedicate themselves and services for the good of the organization, and the Lord based on how they have been treated. For the most part, churches do not consider musicians as persons who also need to be on the receptive end of the Word, of God, nor be nurtured, nor have fellowship. They are simply needed to supply the music. From another perspective, I believe some musicians who serve in the sacred leadership do not help those who are trying to change the perception that all church musicians are the same. While I personally condone the giving of offerings, and tithing to the compensating organization, it took me a while to even “get it” concerning tithing period. This should not count against the musician who doesn’t tithe to the church from where they are paid, and in fact should not be a mandate. There are musicians who tithe only to their home organization. Finally, in one word, Worship can be described as a response to God; and many times when I reflect on that word, it causes me of to seriously consider this great responsibility, that is if music is to serve as ministry for the worship of God, and what my own contribution is to it. Twenty five years, even 10 years ago….nope…try 8…I did not feel as I do now. These are just some of the things I think about while sitting at the table. Let’s talk.

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What It Is Writer Anthony Williams The flow of the conscience mind often times hasn't fully been allowed to flow at it's fullest potential but I hear very clearly that society's blockages through media and scandal, worry and confusion are coming to a complete halt. People will be stopped in their tracks and not even know what's really and indeed happening in the spirit realm. For the well of the knowledge that flows from eternity can never lose it's assignment nor it's purpose. For love is purposed before hate. Hate is only there to show the contrast between the two polarities. The flow is everything you want it to be and everything you never knew that it could be for it is of the Spirit. The source of strength comes from faith in God and from faith to believe that God is ultimate in rank. We are literally His children so let us no longer live beneath our privileges. There is nothing to apologize for anymore. There is no reason to take time and address something that has already decided it's location. To address someone means that the person or situation has no location or point and needs someone to give it purpose. Most people don't like to be addressed because in the Spirit realm they are homeless. They are looking for home in a building, in a man, or even in a religious system that has let them down dramatically. When we pull back from the concept of Man being responsible for our God state, we can then take full responsibility over our actions and deeds and not try to get God to destroy something that He never created. If you created the problem you also have the propensity to create a solution. There are never enough reasons to hurt someone intentionally. It is many times the unconscious hurt that manifest in conscious circumstances. With this in mind we must also be alert when it comes to word exchange. The right word in the wrong season is just as detrimental as a wrong word received as right in a charged atmosphere. Accuracy is not the only area in which to come to an assessment concerning prophecy, but it really leans more toward if the "word" truly edified and supplied the demand for clarity and exhortation. Prophecy can admonish, and in Old Testament times it was also used to forewarn. But more than that even now we as a people need a word of authority that will challenge us into becoming more effective as ministers and humans beings ....citizens of planet earth. What if we finally came to realize that not only are prophetic we are prophecy itself. It's hard to believe that we are the literal prophecy fulfilled and the potential prophecy yet to be revealed. If we knew this we would not focus on what "is" as much as we should focus on what's been "said". What’s “said" is much more powerful than what 'is". "Is" (as the concept) is always in passing, what is said last forever. And what God says about you "is" all that matters.

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Growing Up Writer Dr. Donna Rouse

it’s that time of the year again. Back to School! Despite all of the major changes within the school district of Philadelphia, I can joyfully say I am excited. I am anticipating seeing all old and new students. One of the greatest blessings of working in Education is seeing the progression of a child’s education. It's amazing to see how much a child has grown not only physically but mentally. That's what makes children so amazing, but once they have grown up the joy and amazement seems to just fade away. I had an enormous epiphany one day that was a reflection of myself. I realized I too continue to grow....mentally. Honestly as a thirty year old woman I do grow physically, just more in girth than height of course. I have learned that Life is Life and it just happens. Every day is a different day of ups, downs, and the anticipation of the end of it to just start this Life cycle all over again. I have grown from my many lessons in life. These lessons are derived from my own and the observations of others. Out of the approximately 730,822 life lessons I have learned I am going to share 5. These five lessons I have a tendency to repeat learning, which leads me to lesson one: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results equals insanity. Lesson 2: people will be people, can't change what they think, say, or do. Most importantly I should not worry about the causes of their actions. Lesson 3: children are honest, be careful of what you do and say. Lesson 4: worrying creates unneeded stress, when in the end it will all work out. Lesson 5: I still don't know anything and hopefully will continue to learn new Life lessons the next thirty years of my life.

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Writer Irene Council Mark 9:8 – Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. I found that no matter what season of life I was going through, the season of “isolation” felt the worst. We are so use to being in the presence of people that we tend to ignore when the presence of God is calling for quiet time with us. So He isolates us for a season, to get our undivided attention. But don’t be dismayed, He is only trying to show you who you are, because we sometimes get lost in who people think we should be. Never let anyone define who you are; your identity is the key to your future. Knowing this, gives you the advantage to rule your destiny….You must believe that you are called to a greater place in the Kingdom and until God feels He is ready to show you off, you will remain in isolation. God will never put you in a place where He prematurely brings you out, because that would only devastate you. So enjoy this time with the Lord, because many are called, but few is chosen! Sincerely Yours Sincere Vessel, The Comedienne

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Writer Simone Malone Success and Happiness are key elements to a good life many may say. Does it always seem to slip through your fingers because you've never been able to GRAB the opportunities for that may come your way at the moment they present themselves to you. Your chances for this pass you by without your even seeing them! Have you discovered that you are surrounded by negative waves which could not only spoil your relationships with others but also ruin your chances of success or doing that thing you always desired?. Most of us are familiar with the scenario in which someone, either at work or at home, says something unpleasant about someone or a situation and rumors begin flying, tempers flare, people choose sides, etc. Once a situation goes this far, the drama is usually set to play out. And the worst part is that if we aren't careful, we can easily find ourselves in the middle of it. Drama may be fine to watch on the TV, but life becomes unpleasant when it gets out of hand in a professional or personal setting. Getting drawn into drama is something I try to avoid whenever possible. Of course, sometimes we can't help but be drawn in, but we can always choose how to handle ourselves when drama erupts around us. There are also things we can do to minimize the effects of the drama on us. One option is make one scarce when a drama starts up. That way it is harder to get embroiled in it. But if we do become involved, we should try to go for a win-win situation for everyone involved. In my case, whenever I find myself approaching a difficult emotional experience and can feel a pit tightening in my stomach, I do my best to communicate those feelings before they become more intense and add to the existing tension. Another way to disarm drama is to avoid the gossip machine. Gossip is almost always harmful, and when we pass it along, our words can easily come back to haunt us. For example, when people around me try to go engage me in gossip, I try to change the subject, or simply say I don't feel comfortable with the conversation and would rather talk about something else. Keeping confidences is another way to avoid drama. If something is said to us in confidence, we should do our best to respect those wishes. This behavior helps to build a bridge of trust between us and the other person and reduces the likelihood that we'll find ourselves in the middle of a drama. People who break confidences regularly are often those who thrive on instigating drama, so it is always good to be mindful of those we put our trust in. Obviously, we may not always be able to stay clear of all drama that may present itself at work or at home. However, if we do our best to avoid it, refuse to engage in gossip and are mindful of confidences, we're more likely to limit the drama in our life to scenes in our favorite books and television shows. That is where it is strictly for entertainment purposes. Take a good look into your conversations daily and make sure they are good advertisements of your faith. Until next time, I am sprinkling some feel good flavor on you.

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Defeating the Spirit of Gossip Writer Minister Donald E. Graham Jr. One of the most challenging strongholds we face in our churches is gossip. We eagerly lend an ear to hear the latest story about our neighbor, our friend, family, political figure, entertainer, or someone we might not even know. The word “Gossip" is defined as “indulging in idle talk or rumors about others; the spreading of sensational stories." This stronghold is subtle and deceptive. In order to be set free from it, we have to recognize it in our lives and consciously make a decision to end it. Gossip is destructive and is often the main cause of hate crimes and family or friend separations. I now understand why the writer of Proverbs said: "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossiper separates close friends" (Prov. 16:28). Sadly, there are many Christians who don't even think that gossiping is wrong. They are persistent busybodies who don’t even realize the division and turmoil they cause within the church. . Let’s consider the following statement the apostle Peter made about being a busybody: "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters" (1 Peter 4:15). Notice that a "busybody" is placed in the same company as "murderers, thieves, and evildoers." The dictionary defines a busybody as "a meddler; a person who seeks confidential information about others; a snoop; a nosy person." A busybody is someone who usually has too much time on their hands who seek to uncover sensational details and to whisper the latest news. I’ve heard it said that "the Church" is the only army that kills its wounded. Regrettably I have found this to be true. Brothers and sisters who have needed our love, forgiveness and encouragement have been mutilated by the verbal rape and assassination of gossip. What makes gossip one of the most dangerous sins is that it is so ambiguous. It often masquerades as "concern" for others. In fact, it will seem more acceptable to the listener if the gossiper hides behind the notion that they are just expressing their concern about an individual. "I hate to say anything about this to you, but I'm 'concerned' about so and so." At other times the gossiper will seek you out as their "confidante" to unload their "heavy heart" about their concerns. In reality, the gossiper is not sincerely concerned about solving the problem, only in talking about it or stirring it up. According to scripture, any Christian whose mouth is out of control does not have a right relationship with God. "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless" (James 1:26). Let me add some clarity here as I do not want to be depicted as someone who is advocating not dealing with sin directly or sweeping it under the rug. I am clear that judging the sin is necessary but loving the person is what's paramount. The problem with gossipers is that they use what they know about other people as a cloak of maliciousness against them, especially if it benefits them in some way by trying to assassinate their character. When a brother or sister is in error, it is an extension of God's grace and mercy to have another member of the Body of Christ provide correction. This gives the one in error an opportunity to repent and it serves as a witness for others in the faith. So how do we defeat the spirit of gossip? First, I think we have to be intentional about exposing it on the front end when it starts. I often tell people who come to me with gossip and rumors about someone else to check their motive. I ask them how does telling me about someone else's sin help them overcome, especially if I don't even know that person. We need to understand that God sees our motive even when we are telling the truth about someone. You could also let the gossiper know that if they are 17


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really that concerned about the person that they should pray for God’s will to be done regarding the situation. If they are close to the person, they should ask God for wisdom in how to admonish them in love and not out of malice. In order to keep gossip or rumors out of our lives we have to be willing to speak up. This includes letting the gossiper know that you are not an active participant. Whenever someone is spreading negative rumors about another person you can either change the subject or share the good things that you know about that person. At the end of the day we ought to consider what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “Judge not that ye will not be judged.” My prayer is that we all would recognize the power that God has given us in our mouths to speak life and not death, love and not hate, good and not evil, knowing that the same grace that is sufficient for us, is sufficient for others as well.

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“WITH GOD, WE WIN� Writer Elder Demetrius Adams, II A colleague and I were sharing events from our past, how we had lost things, were sick, in pain, various family issues and more. After thinking things over we realized God had given us more than we could have ever imagine. Therefore, we can honestly say, with God we win! What about you? If it were not for God on your side where would you be? If the enemy truly had his way in your life where would you end up? If justice prevailed, would your life take a major turn? Only because we have God on our side can we proclaim, With God, We Win! The bible tells us that Job lost everything he had. But God gave him back double for his trouble. There are many of us who think God owes us. We feel He has not done enough, or He is slacking on His promises. We need to wake up, get up and shut up. If we could do better why didn't we take the abuse, die on the cross and rise on the third day? It is because we could not do it especially with our mouths, our attitudes, our demeanors and our views on the world. Jesus was sent to do it, and because He did it, He will always be the one we honor, celebrate and love forever. He didn't have to do it, but I'm glad He did. We need to stop being jealous of God and be concerned about our own lives. Let God do what He does because if you are not on the winning side you are definitely on the losing side. Those on the winning side have God and we win. Many of us have lost jobs, homes, money, cars, friends, loved ones, relationships and more. With our loss come pain, nights of tears and much more. However, the exciting part is God has done a 360 degree turnaround in all our lives. He gave us double for our troubles just to let us know that with Him, we win! God does all things well! He is always there for us even when friends, colleagues, loved ones, and spouses are not. Yet we have the audacity to complain, act up, and try to challenge God. We should be thankful, happy and glad to have what God has given us, and feel down and depressed. Those of you who do not have what they desire or need maybe you are doing something wrong and need to get your life together. The scriptures tell us to delight ourselves in Him, and He will give us the desires of our hearts. But are you delighting yourself in Him or trying to be Him? As you delight in Him, read, pray, be happy and content with what you have, then you can always say, With God, We WIN! In conclusion, whatever you have lost God will restore. You will regain and be blessed double of what you had. But my friends do not assume you deserved it or it was meant to be. NO! It was God testing you to let you know that He has never left or gave up on you. The Lord is here to stay, to bless you exceedingly and more abundantly beyond what you may think or ask. Beloved we are not even worthy to receive the blessings. All God wants is "thank you". So why is it so hard to say thank you to the one that gave us life and blesses us daily? Let this be a lesson to you, be content and delight yourselves in Him. Keep this in mind we have God, He has us and we are in His care no matter what we face or lose with God, We WIN!!!

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Make It So Report Volume 9 Questions to Make You Think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The following two questions were given to a few of our readers. Below are their responses. Question #1: Can an individual have a relationship with the church and not with God? Question #1: Can an individual have a relationship with God and not with the church?

Answers: #1: Response: I believe it's difficult to have a relationship with the church where God exists where people fellowship in unity. If a person is going to church for whatever reasons and not feeling the presence of God there at some point, that is a problem of concern. Why be a part of a church if you have no intentions on having a relationship with God. The church and God works together in a place that is designed to worship for his people #2: Response: I believe a person can have a relationship with God because it's a personal and spiritual thing with whom they worship. The church is a place to go to connect with others and be in the presence of a minister to receive a word. I do believe both are important for the growth and development of a person spiritually. S. Malone #1: Response: Yes, for African-Americans attending church was cultural. In fact, for many years it was the only place we had the freedom to express ourselves. It's the place where we learned to speak publicly. Children participated in plays during special holidays: reciting poems, Scriptures, performing skits, etc. There were fashion shows, teas, Back Home Hours (musical programs), etc. At a time when we were refused jobs because of the color of our skin, we were respected as Deacons, Trustees, Sunday school Teachers, Music Directors, Elders, Reverends, Bishops, etc. Decades ago, EVERYTHING, including dances, was held at the church. It was the place that every RESPECTABLE family went on Sunday, even if one had been carousing and staggering drunk the night before. Grandmom would say "child, you gonna get out of this house and serve the Lawd today!" #2: Response: Yes, according to Romans 2:14-15 - "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. Truth is.... the Holy Spirit has to draw us and that begins whenever and wherever He chooses (at home, job, a bar). M. Daniels 21


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#1: Response: I believe you can't have a relationship with God and not the church for we the people are the church. Relationships are with people and the lost are the people. Solely loving God and hating the people is the absence of love. God challenged us through his word how can you love me whom you've never seen and hate those whom you see every day? We may not like the people due to their actions, but we are required to love and restore at every opportunity. Salvation is work not church assignment. We have a great commission to go ye therefore & tell the world of the good news of the resurrected savior Jesus Christ. That requires working with & talking to people. The lost will be brought into "the church" how can one win a lost soul and lead them to nowhere. A new convert cannot be matured & developed through reading the word for themselves. How can they hear without a preacher? They need a church where they can be taught & grow. A church is necessary & I believe one can't have a relationship with God & not the church. If Jesus had a relationship with one then so must we. #2: Response: Oft time’s people do have a relationship with the church and not with God. I believe this is a result of poor teaching. Many Sundays a powerful word of encouragement is released over the body of Christ, but that isn't when teaching is taking place. This powerful word is one that gives renewed strength so one can make it through the week or sometimes their present situation. Teaching on the other hand is what helps us live according to God's principal & prayer strengthens our relationship with God & understanding of his word. Many don't commit time to this part for they are too busy working out their soul salvation through their role in the church. We glaze over too gingerly we are not save by our works, but then we shout boldly we should be in position and carry out our assignment. I believe it is here when the believer losses the love for God/church and picks up the passion for their position. For this reason the bible says we have to return to our first love. E. Lomax

The Battle between Two Wolves – A Story about Controlling Our Thoughts An old Cherokee took his grandson aside and told him, “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One represents anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, dishonesty and selfishness. The other one represents joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, compassion and truth.” The boy gave this some thought and eventually asked, “Which one wins? “The one you feed.” responded the wise old Cherokee. This internal battle is one that we all face and it’s important that we take responsibility for feeding the right one. As I read this story, I was reminded of Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” It’s a great principle and hopefully a helpful reminder to us all. Which wolf are you feeding? God bless, Mary Daniels

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Who is Irene Council? The Make It So Report wanted to find out some information on one of our monthly contributors of words of wisdom. (Sincere’s Corner) So we asked Irene to tell the Make It So Report readers a little something about her life and some of the things she has been through. Irene Council is a very funny lady who has worn many hats in her lifetime. Irene has appeared across the United States on various venues performing stand up Christian comedy under the title of Sincere Vessel. On the weekends, she can be found feeding and ministering to the homeless and needy of Philadelphia.

Who is Irene Council?

Irene:

Funny, that is a question I still ask myself sometimes to this day. I mean, I started doing hair at the age of 13. So I became a hairdresser and to this day have added beauty to thousands of women and men. I have always had a funny streak in me, so I became a successful comedienne. I was blessed to have been chosen out of one thousand contestants auditioning for a spot on B.E.T’s “Coming to the Stage”. I was one of two women to be picked to grace their stage. I also have a love for helping people. I became a case manager and later an employment specialist for the City of Philadelphia. This position consisted of finding employment for welfare to work clients all the while helping them to believe in themselves. These are just a few of my gifts and talents given to from God. Then in 2006 I started “Platinum Fruit Creations”, a fruit bouquet business. However, I always new there was a greater calling on my life. In 2010, which I have deemed the worst year ever for me, was actually the birthing of who I was destined to be. I was two and a half years into a relationship. I thought I was going to be married. This was my plan. However, it is nothing like putting all your eggs in one basket and finding out later someone stole all the eggs. I was totally taken off guard when the relationship ended. He was my friend, my brother in Christ, my babe. LOL! I found out when God has a plan for you not everybody who started with you will end up going into that next season of your life with you. Well, I devastated to say the least. After that loss it seemed like everything was going downhill until I found myself in the valley of despair. That was the lowest of lows for me. But it was in the valley that I found out my calling, my purpose and my worth. It was in my valley experience that I learned that God does not worry about your comfort but your commitment. I learned that I was going through a great test so that I would have a greater testimony. If I would tell you exactly how things went down in my breakup we would need this entire magazine. LOL! I have learned from my experience to never put all my trust in man, only God because He will never steer you in the wrong direction. 24


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December 2010, I was planning one of the loneliest Christmas days I would ever spend with myself but God intervened and planned the day for me. God spoke loud and clear to me. He instructed me to go to Love Park in Philly and feed the homeless. I did not understand this request; I had never done anything like this. I mean, I’ve assisted with feeding the homeless and even participated in Soup Kitchens but I was instructed to pioneer this venture. I had recently taken an Evangelism training class and graduated in October of 2010, so I guess I was prepared. But God does not call the qualified, He qualifies who He calls. So, I began to share this information with friends and family. They were just as excited about fulfilling God’s plan as I. God had told me during my valley experience that He was calling me to ministry and I was ready to get more direction from Him. You have to be open to what God has planned from your life because that is where the true meaning is living and waiting for you. Once I accepted the assignment at the Love Park, God began making the provisions and this confirmed that I was exactly where God wanted me to be in this season. I have never stopped. I do the Love Park ministry every month. I asked God, Why once a month? He shared with me that He did not want to overwhelm me while I was learning to follow His voice. I now have a team of people chosen by God to go out and do street ministry along with me and my son. We not only feed them food but the ministry has escalated into giving toiletries, blankets and the Word of God. I offer Christ to every soul that I minister to. I have also accepted the call of minister. Currently, I am a minister in training at my church home. I will be ordained in January of 2012. Needless to say, I am happier than I have been in a long time. I finally feel like I am walking in what God has called me to do at this juncture in my life. But I have so many more things God has shown me in my future. So, I leave this little insight for the readers of the Make It So Report. Do not let a bad situation count you out. Ask God for direction and wait for the answer. God definitely speaks and He speaks loud and clear.

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Writer Elder Vivian Sye-Payne I went to hear Bishop Paul Morton preach at Mt. Airy COGIC when he was here last week. His message centered on the legality or lack thereof of Satan’s authority in the earth realm, in large part because he doesn’t have a birth certificate. In his message he spoke about the importance of having your papers in order if you want the rights, authority and protection of the law. He used certain illustrations that brought to mind the many people I’ve encountered over the years that failed to get “just a piece of paper.” When I first came to practice law the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was one of the few states that recognized common law marriages, it no longer does. But the thing that amazed me is that many people in our community had the mistaken belief that cohabitating with someone for seven years was all that was necessary to establish the common law marriage. That was so far from the truth but for some reason seven years was the magic number. While seven is the number of completion in spiritual matters it is of no consequence in establishing spousal rights without papers. On many different occasions I met with people who were trying to obtain the benefits of being a spouse without having “the papers” because they had been together more than seven years. Without the papers you cannot receive the pensions benefits, Social Security benefits and unless their name was on the deed (usually it was not) they had to move from their home. If you want the benefits and the protections due to a spouse, show me your papers.

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Lessons from Our Current Economic State Writer Carl C. Gable, III MD The doom and gloom discussed with regard to the current U.S. economy prompts me to reflect on a time, merely a few decades ago, when people spent only the money that they had earned. I fondly remember how my parents would purchase Christmas gifts for my sister and I using a process offered by many department stores during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s called “layaway”. During those days, credit cards were relatively difficult to obtain and were granted only to individuals who were deemed capable of being financially responsible. In the 1990’s however, and certainly by the year 2000, something changed. Layaway had practically vanished and credit cards were offered to freshman college students on university campuses with almost as much ease as the bill for their tuition. As individuals and organizations began to purchase with credit and/or loans, both spent money that they did not have. In addition, as people compared their material possessions with those of others around them, they became less satisfied with what they owned and borrowed money to purchase more items that they simply couldn’t afford. Consequently, personal and national debt in this country reached an all-time high, the unemployment rate increased, and ironically, layaway has now returned as a purchasing option in several department stores. Though I am by no means a financial advisor or a financial expert of any kind, if we pause and reflect on the events outlined above, there are a few lessons that all of us can learn with regard to the management of our finances and indeed our attitudes regarding money in general. The advice that follows is not new; rather, it is advice that was available in various books by successful financial authors, entrepreneurs, and in fact, my grandmother, before the personal and national debt climbed to their current rates. The first and arguably most important lesson we can learn regarding personal financial management is that it is neither necessary nor wise to spend all of the money we make. To put it another way, wisely consider buying less than you can afford, especially when it comes to big ticket items such as a home or an automobile. I realize that this is often easier said than done. Many people delay gratification for years while going to school or otherwise trying to better themselves so that one day, they can afford items that they couldn’t previously afford. This is part of the so called “American dream”. Once they finally “arrive”, there is a strong temptation to buy the biggest and best that they possibly can. They purchase the Mercedes instead of the Ford, the Movado instead of the Seiko, and they fly first class rather than coach. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things of life, discretion and moderation are wonderful concepts with which to stay acquainted regardless of the level of financial success. There are far too many celebrities who made millions of dollars in the prime of their careers who are now financially broke because they never understood this simple concept. Always keep in mind that the Ford is entirely capable of taking you to the same destination as the Mercedes. The Seiko displays the same time as the Movado, and those flying coach land at the same airport as those flying first class.

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Second, we must learn to be satisfied with the possessions we are fortunate enough to acquire. To be “content whatever the circumstances� as stated in Philippians 4:11 is a valuable skill to master. As human beings, most of us are vulnerable to the temptation to measure our success by comparing ourselves to others around us. Marketing companies are aware of this human tendency and often advertise their products to us accordingly. But just as it is not necessary or wise to spend all of the money we make, it is also not necessary or wise to purchase flat screen televisions, automobiles, homes, computers, or any other items for the sole purpose of keeping up appearances. These material possessions, as fantastic as they may be, are in reality only temporary. They will ultimately fade in value and significance because they are not eternal. More important are the relationships we develop with our fellow human beings and the willingness to share our resources with those in need.

Lastly, it is important to avoid living only in the here and now with regard to financial planning. Stated another way, we must have enough foresight to plan financially for the future. Barring unforeseen circumstances, many of us will be fortunate enough to live into our sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and perhaps beyond. As such, we will need a retirement fund of some kind. Consider for a moment how much you currently spend per month on food alone and multiply that number by twelve to estimate how much you spend on food per year. Then imagine needing that amount of cash per year for the number of years that you plan to live retired just in order to eat! This calculation does not include funds needed for other activities such as home and/or vehicle maintenance, personal health needs, entertainment, vacation travel expenses, a possible mortgage and/or monthly rent, etc. This exercise puts the importance of a savings plan into perspective. Fortunately, one of the advantages of not spending all the money we make is that we can save portions of it for retirement and/or emergency situations, consequently ensuring for ourselves and our families, a comfortable living well after we have ceased from our labor.

So as we watch the news and read the headlines touting how horrible the current national economy is, let us all do ourselves a favor and wisely manage our own personal finances. A good way to start is by spending less than we make, being satisfied with what we have, and having enough foresight to actively plan for our financial future.

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A HEALTHY BODY IS A HEALTHY MIND IS A HEALTHY SPIRIT III Writer Phill Hughes Hi! Welcome back. The first time you and I talked we focused on exercise and diet as the greatest prevention of illness. Then, in our next conversation we spoke about the value of coloring your meals. A healthy diet and exercise regimen can reduce many of the health risks people are facing today. It really can. Now, I’m not a doctor, dietician, nutritionist or any of those things. I’m just a man in my late fifties that began looking for information on longevity with good health, because I want to be around and want to be able to get around, well. By the way, on October 6th, I’ll be fifty-nine. So today, I’d like to talk about carbohydrates. We hear about carbohydrates all of the time, but it doesn’t mean we understand what they are. When I first began reading about them, it was rather complicated; especially the part about good and bad carbohydrates. I know, very confusing. Then I read about the “glycemic index”. The glycemic index really made the whole thing crystal clear. Basically, it measures the effects of carbs on blood sugar levels. All carbs, once in the body affect the blood sugar (glucose) levels in your body. The bad carbs cause a spike or rapid increase in your blood sugar level. The good carbs don’t affect your sugar level that much. The carbs that causes your sugar level to spike to seventy or above are considered bad and can lead to diabetes, stroke or heart disease. Other carbs that increase your blood sugar level to less than fifty-five are considered good carbs and can help you become healthier and lose that extra weight. Okay, now wasn’t that easy. I want you to know that this is especially important because you can do some serious prevention here. So let’s talk about some of the good carbs and how we can begin using them. Let’s start with breakfast. Cereals, hot or cold, based on whole grain, such as oats; barley, wheat and bran are your best sources to start the day off right. You can even mix in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, raisins, banana or other fruit of your choosing. Be bold and be colorful and have fun planning your breakfast. If you’re like me, your mornings will also include coffee. Coffee and tea have zero calories and are excellent warm beverages as long as you don’t fill them with creams and sugars. If your lunch consists of a sandwich, make sure your bread is whole grain or multi grain, but whatever bread you choose, don’t, and I repeat, don’t use plain white bread. White bread is recognized as a bad carbohydrate. This means that if you choose a fast food place; make sure that your order isn’t in white bread slices or a white roll. While we’re talking about lunch and fast food places, leave french-fries alone. I know, I love those greasy things loaded with salt and ketchup too, but they’re not good for you. Once you’ve gotten your system back on track you might be able to sneak a small portion every now and then. Water should always be your choice of beverage with your meal. Soft drinks like sodas, fruit drinks, or sweetened teas and waters have sugar in it. Drink water and finish your lunch with fruit; apples, orange slices, chilled melon chunks, you decide. Finally, we have our dinner meal. We have to get away from 29


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the idea that meat is the main product of the meal. Vegetables should always be the main products and the meat is a side dish. Y’all got that? Meat should be a side dish. Include salad vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing; at least three different color vegetables on your plate and whole grain pasta can be a great choice to include in your meal. In closing, the Word below sum up my thoughts. Be Blessed. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.

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Make It So Report Volume 9 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ouida Waltryce Harding

Dynamic, energetic, humorous, fun, sincere, a musician’s musician and definitely a leader, “Major,” as she is affectionately called, is not someone to be taken lightly. Ouida’s hands first touched a musical instrument (organ) when she was six months old. Her academic introduction to music was begun at age four by her mother, Mrs. Kathryn R. Harding. Ouida’s eagerness to unite others through her God-given gift of music has won her National and International recognition. In fact, during an active duty tour in St. Louis, Missouri, Lieutenant Harding (1988) organized a multicultural choir known as the “Sound of 100 Voices” at the United States Army Record Center to perform during the annual celebration of Black History Month. Ouida is a native New Yorker (Harlem) where her father, Rev. Walter L. Harding (one of the founders of the local association), served as pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church for fifty-three years. Her “on the job training” in church music ministry began at St. Luke when at the age of 12, she was assigned to assist the Minister of Music (Mrs. Harding), until she left New York in 1971. In 1975, Ouida’s military assignment permitted her to return immediately after her mother’s sudden illness, and her role in church music ministry resumed. Ouida’s aspiration to focus on church choir ministry came as a result of a challenge issued to seriously examine her role as a musician in the church and was confirmed in 1984 when she responded to a call from Reverend Winston R. Rudolph, Sr. to come to South Florida to help a church choir redirect and redefine their purpose in church music ministry. This experience was a turning point in Ouida’s life where church choir music ministry moved from performance to purpose. “Lifelites” for Ouida include: being one of four featured artists, at an early age in concert at New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall; representing the state of New Jersey as a solo classical musician during the 1964-1965 World’s Fair; serving as Director of Music for the Progressive Baptist Convention’s “Pre-convention Musical” in 1984, and Musical Director for Cissy Houston on the CD Face To Face, for which Ms. Houston captured the 1997 Grammy for Best Traditional Album, and the Melva W. Costen Music Award, during her academic study at the ITC. Listed in the 1995-96 edition of the Distinguished Church Musicians in the United States, Ouida is also a trailblazer. Her first gospel group was organized with the intent to do more than sound good but—to also connect with and encourage people from all walks of life. The results of her efforts afforded her singing group, “The Reflections of Faith,” the very first NYC Gospel Grammy Award for the Best Non-Recording Female Group for three consecutive years. She later founded and worked with Young Artists Loving the Lord, (aka) YALL, a group of seven college students who either resided in or moved to New York to matriculate in 31


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music to highlight their gifts and talents to help alleviate some of their educational expenses. Recently retired after twenty years of military service, Major Harding served as the Minister of Music for the United Missionary Baptist Association 2003-2005. (and now in the present administration which is due to end in 2013); Dean of Seminars and Training for the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (2005-2008), and is an instructor at the National Convention for Gospel Choirs and Choruses, Inc. Ouida graduated from City College of New York (BFA, 1988) and in 2003, received a Master of Arts in Church Music from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA, to which she commuted weekly from New York. After dialogue with Dr. J. Wendell Mapson Jr. and completion of a course in African American Christian Worship taught by Dr. Melva W. Costen (retired Professor of Worship and Music at ITC), Ouida decided to restructure her life’s work and to redefine the title, role and position, Minister of Music, enhance the ministry of church choirs, serve as pastoral consultant, and “grow” church musicians, especially back home in the Harlem community, - where it all began for her. Ouida’s love for Christ through choir ministry has placed her in great demand throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Barbados, the West Indies to explore the origin, feeling and delivery of gospel music first as a form of encouragement, as opposed to entertainment or business. From these works, Ouida has been asked to oversee an annual music ministry mission to Limon Costa Rica and has been doing so since 2006. On December 30, 2007, Minister Ouida W. Harding was licensed by Dr. Winston R. Rudolph and the congregation at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Pompano Beach, Florida, to “preach the gospel” through the ministry of music. The mandate was to make the difference and set standards for church music leaders. After receiving the Doctor of Worship Studies degree (DWS) from the Institute for Worship studies, Ouida will open her school to assist congregations in music leadership and for persons who desire to use music as ministry to encourage people throughout the world.

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Make It So Report Volume 9

Writer Pastor Lenora Young

“In The Season of Push” Scripture: Isaiah 66: 7 – 9 (NKJV) “Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the time of birth, and not cause delivery?” says the Lord. “Shall I who cause delivery shut up the womb?” says your God. Push: To press or thrust forward vigorously, to put forth great effort – To advance against opposition. Many of us have heard time after time; this is our time of restoration. This is the time of receiving the promise, but we were not given all the instructions or should I say we were not given the entire scenario – we were not told the whole story. We were not told that there is a period of preparation. Some of us are entering in, some are in the middle, and some are at the end of your preparation getting ready to walk into the promise – getting close to the destiny that God has promised. Out with the old – in with the new. Enthusiastic – excited – anxious about what God said to us concerning our lives. Not being cognizant of the fact that there would be a time when it would come into mind that you would want to throw in the towel because the promise did not come when you thought it should have. All of us have come to that point, when we’ve said to ourselves; this is not going to happen. Somebody lied. BUT, I have come to tell you, that even that thought is a part of the process. Your faith has been put under scrutiny. It’s being challenged – it’s being examined – it’s being tested – the bible tells us; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. The human response to trials is not to rejoice; therefore the believer must make a conscious commitment to face them with joy – a conscious commitment must be made to “P U S H.” Push pass what the natural eye may see – Push pass what the natural ear may hear – Push pass what is felt. We’ve been told down through the years, “Trials Come to Make You Strong” they come to prove to you that you are stronger than you think. Trials – this Greek word means trouble, or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in someone’s life. Trials take you out of your comfort zone. The verb form of this word means “to put someone or something to the test,” with the purpose of discovering that person’s nature. God brings such tests to prove and increase the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its validity. Job, a man considered to be upright, was challenged to the point of loosing everything. It was a test ordained by God. There was a conversation that went on between God and Satan; “Have You Thought or Considered My Servant Job? I give you permission to examine him. Satan’s reply, I can’t get to him – you have a hedge protecting him. Take down the hedge and I will cause him loose faith. I will cause him not to PUSH. God spoke back to Satan; you can have him but you can’t have his life. Job, being tried – lost everything. But, the bible says; Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. The positive words of Job: “If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed 36


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time will I wait, till my change come.” But, He knows the way that I take, when He has tried (tested) me, I shall come forth as gold. We must continue to PUSH. “Before she was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child. Who has heard such a thing?” The time has come when we are about to walk into the fullness of God’s promises. It’s our time to bring forth all that God has impregnated us with. Pregnant with ministry – pregnant with souls – pregnant with outreach – pregnant with healing – pregnant with deliverance. But please do not think that you will have these promises without a fight, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” – you will not have these promises without enduring some pain in order to get all that God has promised. Who has heard of giving birth without the pain? Who has even seen it happen? “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” But the God who has impregnated you with promise, would not bring you this far, and not allow you to bring forth. Now is not the time to falter – to hesitate – to weaken – to waver – to fade – to take a pause break – to become faint – to stagger or stop by the way- side to smell the roses. Now is the time to PUSH. You are in the season of PUSH. You are about to bring forth – you are about to give birth. The pain is excruciating – it’s seems to be unbearable – yes, it’s agonizing – yes, it’s severe – yes, it’s sharp BUT it’s time to PUSH. PUSH – meaning Pray Until Something Happens. PRAY –the bible tells us “That men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Pray without ceasing.” You might say, I have prayed until it seems like I can’t pray anymore – I’m prayed out – I’m out of words – He already knows that, He gives us to know in His word; Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Now, He knows the way that you take – He sees what you are going through, for He has given you a another solution – He said Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

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Halloween (Taken from Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry www.carm.org) Halloween is celebrated by millions of people as a fun time for kids, putting on costumes, and going door-to-door to get candy. But it is also known as a time of witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts. On one hand, some see Halloween as a harmless time of fun and on the other, a ghastly and demonically inspired night to be avoided. As Christians, there is a lot of debate on whether or not we should participate in Halloween. Is it alright to go trick-ortreating? Can we dress our kids up in costumes on that day? If we do any of this, are we celebrating an evil holiday? Halloween's Origins The word Halloween is derived from the term "All Hallows Eve" which occurred on Oct. 31, the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. "All Saints Day or All Hallows Day" was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day. Apparently, the origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland around the time of Christ. On Oct. 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain -- pronounced 'sow-ane' and means 'end of summer.' Sow rhymes with cow. There was much superstition associated with this time of change including the belief in fairies, and that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit. Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits, they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away. In addition, the New Year began for the Celts on Nov. 1. So, the day of Samhain was believed to be a day that was in neither the year past or the year to come. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day. Often, people would pull practical jokes on others as a result. Later, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, it took over the Samhain celebration. Nov. 1st became "All Hallows Eve" where all the saints of the Catholic church were honored. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome. This may have been the precursor to Trick-or-Treat. The Jack-O-Lantern apparently comes from Irish folklore about a man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack not to allow Jack into hell after Jack died if only Jack would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he couldn't go to hell, and he couldn't go to heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer. When the Irish came to America in the 1800's, they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they 38


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brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities. So, it appears that the origins of Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals superstition and early Catholic traditions. What does the Bible say about Halloween? What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing, but it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism. Exodus 22:18, You shall not let a witch live. Deut. 18:10-12, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…" The Bible definitely speaks negatively about occult practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. As Christians, we are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and can harm a Christian's fellowship with God and open the Christian to demonic oppression. Most Christians know this and avoid these activities. But, the question still remains. Since there are ancient pagan connections and present occult connections, what is the Christian to do? Can the Christian celebrate Halloween? The answer is simple: Yes and No. Let’s look at the negative first. The Christian is not to be involved with or support the occult, witchcraft, demonism, or any other thing that uplifts the occult. To do so is to contradict God’s word, dabble in demonic spirits, and invite judgment from God. If a Halloween celebration is centered on demons, devils, spirits, etc., I would say don't have anything to do with it. On the other hand, it isn't wrong to dress up in a costume and go door-to-door saying "Trick or Treat." Provided that the costume isn't demonic, I can't see anything wrong with this. It's just fun for the kids. Take a look at the Christmas tree. It was originally an ancient fertility symbol. Yet, it has become a representation of Christmas and the place where gifts are placed. Are the Christians, then, paying homage to an ancient pagan fertility god? No. Not at all. They do not consider it pagan at all and are simply joining in on a cultural event and giving no honor to anything unbiblical. In the Bible in 1 Cor. 10:23-33, Paul speaks about meat sacrificed to idols. This meat was often sold in the meat market and the question arose, "Should a Christian each such meat?" Paul said in verse 25, "Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience' sake." This is most interesting. He says it is okay to eat the meat bought in the market place even though that meat may have been sacrificed to idols. Then in verses 28-29 he says, "But if anyone should say to you, 'This is meat sacrificed to idols,' do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?" (NASB). Paul is saying that if you find out the meat was sacrificed to idols; don't eat it -- not because of you, but because of the other person. In other words, eating that 39


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meat won't affect you. But, it may affect the attitude of another who does not understand the freedom the Christian has in Christ. Is it any different with Halloween (or Christmas)? No. Even though Halloween has pagan origins, because of your freedom in Christ, you and/or your kids can dress up in costumes and go door-to-door and just have fun. However, if you are not comfortable with doing this, then you should not. If you know of a person who would be hindered by doing it, then you shouldn't either.

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October 2011 Make It So Report  

christian, political, current event commentary.health issues, and more

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