Preparing 4 His Kingdom


Encouragement from Erica Lerisse

The First Step

February 19, 2021

I grew up a poor black girl in the Bible belt near Dothan, AL.  Though we were not a church-going family,  living in the Bible belt insured that we were not Bible illiterate.  We had Bibles in our home, and my sister and I had our own “style” of religion:  lying and cussing was strictly forbidden on Sunday.

As I got older and bad habits bound me, temptations always were the victor, and sin was my master, I often thought of what would happen to me after I died.  My own conscience condemned me, and I could not even live up to the no cussing on Sunday rule.  This all came to a head when I was 14 years old and became desperately rebellious.  Moving to Gulfport, MS in a community called Gaston Point, one Saturday a few white ladies came knocking on our door wondering if we would like to ride the church bus.  My Dad insisted that my cousins and I go and the following Sunday we walked into the Faith Baptist Church in Gulfport, MS.  I was not surprised to find a church full of white people, but I was surprised when Pastor Dan Carr began preaching and my heart burned as it never had before.  The Spirit of God was convincing me and convicting me of my sin that only He and my conscience knew about.  I resisted walking the aisle at the invitation for fear of all the white eyes looking at me, but the battle was on; the battle over a soul and its eternal destination; the battle of the ages between Satan and Christ, between good and evil.

My family and I were drawn, compelled to be in each service, and each service I could feel the grip on my heart and conscience.  Finally, on January 5, 1991 after a message from the Bible, the Word of God, I responded to the preacher’s invitation for all those who wanted to do business with God to come forward.   A lady named Lois Starling took the Bible and in the pastor’s office she showed me the only way to God.  There in the office, I believed that I was a sinner, condemned already to pay for my sins in hell according to the Word of God.  I believed that God, our loving creator, sent His Son Jesus Christ to take the judgment and condemnation for my sins by suffering greatly, shedding His blood, and dying on a Roman cross in my place.  I believed that day, that because Jesus Christ was God, He was raised from the dead after three days and revealed Himself to many witnesses.  Finally, I believed that IF I simply believed that He was the Son of God who died in my place and rose up from the dead, and then I confessed Him as my Savior by faith alone in all that HE is and DID then I would be given eternal life in heaven with my Creator.

That day the battle was won, and my soul was secured for Jesus Christ.  I made a public profession of faith and felt a weight lifted from my soul that I had not even ever noticed before was there.  I felt light enough to fly!

This is the first and vital step to “Preparing 4 HIS Kingdom, Living 4 His glory”