Think on These Things

Reverend Frank I. Williams

Are you ready for the Word! “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8 Gratitude is a condition of the heart that gives rise to expressions of appreciation and thankfulness. Gratitude is an important quality to cultivate because it nurtures cheerfulness, and shows how we value those around us. A wise person is a grateful person.

But gratitude is still more than this – gratitude is a principle of conduct, and the product of character. Anyone can say thank you for a gift or for help when they are in serious need. But what if we are not in great need? Gratitude is not simply waiting for or responding to others who do something for us for which we are grateful. We know that the principles of gratitude are active in our heart based on how we treat people we do not need. Give someone power and you will see the internal laws that shape their character and govern their actions.

So, we must ask ourselves a series of questions aimed at testing our hearts. How do I speak to people I do not need? Does my primary expectation and orientation to life lean toward “giving” or “taking”? When another person I know receives a blessing or acquires success, am I genuinely happy at heart for them or do I have to pretend to be glad for them? When gratitude is in our character we are also grateful to receive good news and pleasant information about others. We can say, “thank you for sharing the news of your good fortune with me.” We can be grateful that good things happen in life for other people. Practicing this cultivates our faith, and prepares our mind to expect and attract good things into our life as well.

In fact, I would like to suggest to you that it is dangerous not to express gratitude when you should. Romans 1:21 makes this statement about a condition that plagues humanity to this day, “…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Note the phrase, “nor were thankful.” This “unthankfulness” is a dangerous condition. It indicates that when ungrateful thoughts and conditions settle into our character, it creates an environment that promotes and facilitates the growth of inner darkness – an arrogance that denies God and defies God. It brings out the worst in us. A proverb puts it this way, “pride goes before the fall.” This form of pride is the arrogant, self-promoting pride. In almost every instant that we encounter this form of pride, ungratefulness toward people you think you don’t need is also there. Gratitude helps to protect our hearts from this kind of darkness. Ungratefulness gradually leads us to futility.

So, how do we cultivate this attitude of gratitude? Begin by obeying the principle of gratitude – the command that God has given to us to be thankful. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” Psalm 100:4. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” Colossians 3:15. Therefore, practice saying thank you to everyone for any good thing they do for you or for someone else connected to you. Someone held the door for you – “thank you.” Someone repaid you some money you loaned to them – “thank you.” Someone respectfully pointed out a concern they observed in your behavior – “thank you.” God blesses you with the opportunity to show kindness to someone who was unkind to you – thank the Lord for trusting you with that opportunity. Yes, even the moments when we encounter people whose actions or words were brash and insulting toward us is an opportunity (a very emotionally difficult one), but one none the less. The character of gratitude opens doors of opportunity that will bless our life. Ungratefulness, on the other hand, shuts doors. Listen to words of the Psalmist: “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near” Psalm 75:1; “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples” Psalm 105:1; “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8. Be filled with a heart of gratitude. Until next time, give thanks my friends, and think on these things.

Spiritually Speaking...

BY JAMES WASHINGTON

For some reason, the phrase ‘rejuvenated in the spirit’ is resonating with me right now. My reference point is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I have been revisiting Christ’s last experience on earth and was struck by the fact that God as Christ had to be excited, if not relieved to be going home. I mean think about it this way. He humbled himself by putting on human skin to fulfill the new covenant under which we all now live. Now some of y’all might think I’m being a little sacrilegious here, but I promise you I am not. After the beatings, stabbing, thorns and nails, after the praying to not have to go through the save the world ordeal and that father forgive them they don’t get it thing, I am sure Jesus was ready to get up out of here. Job well done! Mission accomplished! Let’s go be God again. What a rush! Can you imagine the celebration in heaven at the return of this Son?

Now if you remember before He left, He spent a little more time hanging out, letting folk see touch and feel His redemption of us. I can’t help but sense His expectancy of being a member of the Godhead again, as He continued to fulfill His calling. I know many of you can attest to a special feeling at knowing you’re going ‘home’ for Thanksgiving, Christmas, family reunions and other infrequent anniversaries and celebrations which bring sheer joy just at the thought of seeing loved ones soon. There are many families waiting at airports today for servicemen and women returning from war. There are children about to burst with unbridled enthusiasm because they know in a few minutes, mommy or daddy will be coming down that runway right there.

That anticipation is what I am describing as ‘rejuvenated in the spirit.’ I just believe if we could view the cross as a symbol of our eternal life after death, then maybe we could look upon death a little differently than we currently do. I mean really. If you call yourself a believer, then that’s what this is all about. The party for Christ had to be incredible. If the truth be told, that party is still going on and everybody is anticipating when you walk through the door. That’s that Jesus thing again. I find it illuminating that after death, Christ walked among us without the disfigured body on the cross, except for enough to make believers out of the doubting Thomases. That’s proof that when you get to the party, you too will be perfect in your form and perfect in your reception. This may not be a typical column but, based on the cross event, you too are transformed from ‘glory unto glory.’ If you can feel what I feel today, then you understand being rejuvenated. I am because He is. I will because He fulfilled the Word and I’ll see you when you get there.

I just know that’s a welcome to look forward to. Until then, may God bless and keep you always.

Walter “Ball” Smith Jr. October 1934 – November 2017

Walter “Ball” Smith, publisher and savvy business entrepreneur died suddenly in Miami, Florida on Friday, November 10, 2017. He was 83. As CEO of Smith Haj Group, Walter published New York’s premier weekly, The New York Beacon, and The Philadelphia Observer. Smith was CEO of The New York Beacon, a newspaper he has operated for the last 26 years. The two papers focus on the African-American community.

Walter Smith Jr. was the seventh of what would be 10 children to Walter Smith Sr. and his wife, Belle. He was raised in Badin, N.C. where his father worked for the aluminum company, ALCOA. At 18, Smith was drafted into the United States Army where he served his country for 18 months in Korea. Upon his return, he secured a degree in Business from the University of North Carolina at Durham after which, he landed in New York and began his career. ADP (Automatic Data Processing) was in its embryonic stage and Smith became one of its founding employees. After attending computer school, his input to the company was invaluable. When he began with ADP, the company had just two offices but now has $10 billion in revenues and approximately 570,000 clients.In 1980, Smith met Bill Underwood, who was operating the Big Red, a numerology tip sheet selling approximately 100,000 sheets per day. He later re-named it Big Red News.

Because of its unique style and content, Big Red became the largest circulated, ABC audited African-American weekly in the nation. “I saw the opportunity to be a positive voice in the community and for a good, thriving business to develop as a result of this captive audience. I made some suggestions to him as to how to convert the production of a numerology sheet into a business of a newspaper,” Smith said. In 1981, Smith took part of his new-found riches and made an investment in his future. He purchased full control of the newspaper. In 1983, the paper changed its name to The New York Beacon. “You have to say something to the readers,” he said. Adhering to the advice of this civil rights partisan, The New York Beacon reflects the voices of many editorialists as well as Smith’s weekly views. It concentrates on providing general news to the African- American community of New York City and its five boroughs — Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens. In 2006 he acquired The Philadelphia Observer. Both newspapers are award-winning publications.

To have a stronger voice in the region, Smith founded the Northeast Publishers Association in 1991. The Association united New York’s African-American newspapers into a cohesive unit. Its aim was to better serve New York’s communities, and to enhance the economics of its member papers.He was also one of the regional directors for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade organization that represents over 200 African-American newspapers nationally. Although press numbers have declined universally, Smith continues to believe in the power of the press and the dedication of its readers, especially as it pertains to the African-American community.“One thing we can rest assured of is the news that we gather and the news that we present is just as relevant today as it was in the ’80s,” he said. Black newspapers record black history. That information is still in demand; we just have to deliver it to today’s social media society. We’re trying to keep abreast of the technology of delivering news.” Outside of the news business, Smith was an avid golfer. He enjoyed swimming, fishing, yachting traveling and spending time with his wife, Miatta, their children and grandchildren.

He has homes in Puerto Rico, Miami, North Carolina, Atlanta and New York. “You count yourblessings as you go.” Smith received many awards, citations and proclamations and died doing what he did best, being his own boss. Like many publishers, he has seen the business change through the years. He once said, “Once you own your own business, there’s no such thing as retirement. You work until you die.” Some might consider the life of Walter Smith a rags to riches story. In some ways it is. But it is also a story of adhering to some thoughtful advice, knowing about opportunity and persevering through hardship. That’s a wrap

Soul Vibrations Corner

YOUR ASTROLOGICAL FORECAST

ARIES -March 21- April 20

Creative opportunities abound, but you must handle the situation with kid gloves. You may feel as though you have to give a helping hand to others to be ultimately effective. Take a step backward to magnetize the right situation or to pursuade people to your side. You never know what someone else is thinking, so don’t waste too much time guessing. The world will do as it pleases. Amuse yourself with things you understand. If you are upset with a partner or your mate, that could be reason enough to feel unappreciated. Someone could step on your toes in a big way, but if you give yourself a pat on the back, you’ll be able to minimize the pain. Do something special for yourself & try to find new avenues of relaxation. LUCKY NUMBERS: 9,11,18,28,30,48

TAURUS - April 21- May 20

Your vitality may be low or you may be bothered by health problems, which may make you feel vulnerable and overly sensitive. Discussions about land, property or your home life may end up in a stalemate, with you being the one who steps away from a confrontation. To give in may be noble, but to walk away from something important to your life could be foolish. Your investment of time & love may show you what is most important. Although conversations may be fraught with problems, serious negotiations could set the record straight, for once & for all. If you want others to value you, you must value yourself. Learn to value your good qualities & work on your weaknesses. LUCKY NUMBERS: 4,5,10,19,46,47

GEMINI - May 22- June 21

Your sense of pride may depend on your interaction with a group of people. Choose carefully to whom you confide in. If someone steps on your toes, it could affect your creative output. Co-workers may resort to less than ethical methods to get what they want. Your financial situation demands that you treat everything and everyone with kid gloves. If someone demands attention, give them some of your time and then keep on going. It may be a sticky situation to get out of. Don’t get into trying to prove who’s right. The pressure of leadership may weigh heavily on you, but it’s not inspiration or brilliance that’s needed. A calm and quiet approach is most likely to be successful. You can gain the confidence of others through your focus and self-control.LUCKY NUMBERS: 21,23,32,43,45,48

CANCER - June 22 -July 23

You have been very sensitive to others feelings & now need a little tender loving care, as well. Avoid forcing anyone or anything right now. Your stock is high in the public eye, and you must take care not to let that image be tarnished in any way. Job opportunities and career goals demand your full concentration. Don’t let anything compel you to manipulate others or play games. Romance may not bring the satisfaction you desire, but you must focus on what is important right now. Take care of your health and your money. If you struggle against the odds, you’ll win in a big way. LUCKY NUMBERS: 18,27,32,34,44,46

LEO - July 24- Aog 22

Be patient with others but at the same time insist on honesty from them. Once you get past the initial set-backs to good communication, you’ll be able to see things from a different perspective. You could be distracted by romance and lose some valuable time obtaining your dreams. Your very magnetism will keep the people who are important to you at your side. Let go of anything that is not squeaky clean or aboveboard. Deal carefully with someone who is yanking at your coattails, whether it’s a loved one or a child. Step lightly to avoid antagonizing them. LUCKY NUMBERS: 15,20,23,29,41

VIRGO -Aug 23- Sept 22

If you lose your focus, you could get careless. Tricky matters that relate to your lifestyle or home could require your vigilance. A large sum of money may be required to straighten out a messy situation and you may not know at this time where it is coming from. Not the best time to ask for a loan or for other funds that you need. To avoid feeling disillusioned, try to keep your perspective. You’ll find more financial resources if you use your creativity to ask the right questions. Your future will look brighter than anticipated. LUCKY NUMBERS: 8,11,19,24,35,48

LIBRA - Sept 23 - Oct 22

Some health issues may demand your attention. To avoid getting sick, find ways to keep your spirits high. Mind over matter. If you feel disillusioned because of your financial situation or creative work, your immune system could suffer and you could be knocked out flat. Communicate your feelings, you may just hit it off in a big way. Replace your lost dreams with new ones. Partnership problems may be costly, but know that you can create what you need and want through your vision and fantasies. Create an aura that will make things work. LUCKY NUMBERS: 9,16,19,28,31,32

SCORPIO -Oct 23 - Nov 22

Your career goals may seem unreachable right now, especially if you are running into obstacles at work or experiencing financial difficulties or health problems. First, take care of your energy level. Then deal with people who want to undermine your authority on the job. Your magnetism will be very high. Treat all tricky situations with extreme care. Don’t try to assert your authority or pull rank, because that will only fuel the flames. Turn the other cheek and shower your adversaries with kindness. The encounter may remind you of the feeling of your youth. Something inside you will click. LUCKY NUMBERS: 3,8,13,25,37,43

SAGITTARIUS - Nov 23- Dec 22

Your love life will improve if you get out & start to enjoy the company of friends & relatives. Realize the power of your mind and send out the most positive, productive thoughts to people at a distance. Children and those you love who are far away from you need some of your time and attention. You may be temporarily distracted by problems that someone else creates. Others seem to want more of you than you are willing to give at the moment. The situation may be your way of testing yourself to see if you can keep going. LUCKY NUMBERS: 22,25,29,41,43,48

CAPRICORN - Dec 23 - Jan 20

Your moral standards are high enough to alienate some of your earthier associates. You know in your heart that certain acts of peer pressure must be resisted. A real promise can wait a few days before you accept it. There may be no way out of something you’d prefer to avoid. Disillusionment could cause more problems than anything else might right now. You may have counted on some financial aid that is temporarily delayed. Unfortunately, funds seem to run through your fingers. Avoid losses with real estate, land, or property by exercising the utmost care in negotiations. Visualize the end result and create a harmonious environment that will bring the right results. LUCKY NUMBERS:19,21,29,33,38,40

AQUARIUS - Jan 21 - Feb 19

You’re not one to sit back & wait for things to happen. You like to make them happen. You’re full of energy & forever doing things that are unusual, interesting & creative. Make the effort to stay on top of a tricky group situation. You may feel like you have a tiger by the tail but you could end up being trampled unless you gather all your wits about you. Conversations could help resolve a delay, but you have to put all your cards on the table and be aboveboard in your dealings. Don’t get caught playing other people’s games. Step back and think before you speak. You partners may not come to your aid as you’d expected. Don’t store up resentments. LUCKY NUMBERS: 7,9,10,20,30,40

PISCES - Feb 20 - March 20

If you need help with financial matters, ask for assistance. Be sure to ask someone with whom you are involved in a cooperative endeavor. It will be to his or her benefit to help you resolve some tricky situation. A legal situation, travel plans and creative activities may be more costly than you’d expected. Be alert in your dealings with financial institutions. Plan your budget carefully and cut out unnecessary expenditures. Focus on the details of investments or anything that relates to land, home, and property. LUCKY NUMBERS: 7,8,12,16,22,40