"Rest and wait."
Those words of a reflective King David shared in the Psalms during the latter stages of his life were also the title of a recent life-giving message from Bishop Ronald Hardy Sr. to encourage his congregation at Faith, Hope and Love Worship Center in Baton Rouge.
"There's a lot going on in our society that we can be disturbed about — the pandemic, the hurricanes, the social injustice. I mean, every time you turn on the television, there's something going on," Hardy said. "But in the midst of it, we must rest and wait."
Hardy based his message on Psalms 37:7: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass."
Hardy keyed on the subject of rest and related passages for most of his solid teaching.
Resting is the "absence of disturbance, anxiety and stress" and "possessing a peace of mind," said Hardy, who also is the pastor of Faith, Hope and Love Worship Center in St. Francisville.
"The rest that I'm talking about today doesn't mean to become inactive because that's just being lazy," he said.
In fact, resting requires much action on the part of the believers — like trusting in God.
"We must recognize that God is fully in control," Hardy said. "He didn't say we would see it. He didn't say we would fully understand it. But he's working things out after the counsel of his good will. He's still in control. He still reigns. He's still on the throne."
Hardy referenced Isaiah 26:3 about the "perfect peace" God gives to those whose minds are stayed on him.
"It's more than having your mind on him, but your minds are on him because you're so confident in who he is and what he can do and what he can bring to pass in your life. I'm trusting in God because he's got this thing worked out," Hardy said. "God said, 'You won't be able to fully rest until you trust me. The more you trust me, the more you won't be stressed. You won't be full of anxiety. You will be at rest.' "
Resting comes by being grounded in God's presence, promises and power, Hardy said.
"You must have an awareness that he will never leave you nor forsake you," he said. "You don't have to feel him all the time, but you know he's there. You must be grounded in his promises. If he said it, he's going to do it. If he spoke it, he's going to make it happen. All the promises of God in him are yea and amen. That's a yes and not a no. … For Jesus Christ rose with all power of heaven and earth in his hand. Is anything too hard for God? All things are possible with God."
After centering most of his message on rest, Hardy got more animated as he talked about waiting or anticipating.
"Not only am I calm and at peace, but I'm also … excited because God is about to show up again in my life," he said. "God is about to do something mighty in my life. Anybody ready for what God is about to do next in your life?"
Reading from Psalms 115:12 — "The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron." — Hardy encouraged his listeners to wait and be assured that God hasn't forgotten about them.
"God is not through blessing you. Do you know this?" he said. "Don't stress. Just expect it. God's getting ready to do something. … You are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth — so all you need to do is just rest and wait."
Hardy has been serving in ministry for more than 33 years and a pastor for over 25 years. Faith, Hope and Love Worship Centers are at 4055 Choctaw Drive in Baton Rouge, and 5647 Commerce St. in Francisville.
For more information, go to fhlchurch.net.
A heart for home
Baton Rouge will always be home and a part of business and ministry for Quinetta Latham.
"It's part of who I am. Wherever I go, I take Baton Rouge with me," said Latham, a minister, certified life coach, entrepreneur, business consultant, fitness leader and the reigning Mrs. Black International Ambassador now residing near Nashville, Tennessee.
One of Latham's latest ventures is an initiative to give financial scholarships and donations to help six women of color start their own businesses, with an emphasis in Baton Rouge. She has also helped send relief items for Hurricane Laura victims.
"My purpose is to embrace, expose and equip women, men, boys and girls," said Latham, founder of Divine Diva Inspiration and also the Denim and Destiny Empowerment Conference. "I don't sleep at night unless I know tomorrow I already have a plan on how I'm going to make an impact on somebody's life."
Latham, 37, was already making an impact in Baton Rouge before moving five years ago. Among her many activities in her hometown was heading up God's Chosen Dance Academy, one of Baton Rouge's first spiritual dance academies; and launching Dare to be Different, a program to help young people in their leadership and social skills and spiritual enrichment. She was also an active member of New Hope Baptist Church.
But when her husband's job took the family (including son, 18, and daughter, 12) to Jackson, Mississippi, and then Lexington, Kentucky, Latham found God had more for her to do. It was in Kentucky that she answered the call to ministry four years ago and was licensed and ordained. The family moved to Tennessee about a year ago.
"Every move just kind of propelled me and my family to be able to succeed and walk deeper into our calling and our destiny and in our purpose," she said.
Latham has ministered to thousands of women, youth and inmates all across the country.
For the past year, Latham was the Mrs. Black International Ambassador as selected through an international pageant. Four queens — the others are Teen, Miss. and Ms. — travel throughout the world advancing the goals and objectives of the MBIA and their own individual global passion projects. Queens also serve as national spokeswomen and fundraisers for Ambassadors of Change Inc., a nonprofit that helps create change in communities in the areas of women empowerment, leadership development, health and wellness, and community involvement.
"Even as a Mrs. Black International Ambassador, I was able to come into this organization and continue to be a change agent and continue to inspire and motivate women," she said. "That was my platform. I want women to know that you can be a mom. You can be a wife. You can love God."
Latham said it's a blessing to help others through her ministry, business and other means.
"I know at the end of the day, as long as I'm sowing those seeds something good will come out of it," she said. "I'm looking forward to being able to continue to make the impact that God has for me to do."