Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Nonfiction Books podcast: Black History Month edition episode #111. Today we are celebrating the life of Jarena Lee from the book “100 Most Influential Black Christians in History” compiled and edited by the editors of BCNN1.
Minister of the Gospel
1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
“That instant, it appeared to me as if a garment, which had entirely enveloped my whole person, even to my fingers ends, split at the crown of my head, and was stripped away from me, passing like a shadow from my sight — when the glory of God seemed to cover me in its stead.”
Jarena Lee was likely one of the first African American female preachers in America. Born in February 1783 to free but poor black parents, she was sent to work as a live-in servant at the age of 7. After hearing a sermon by Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Church (AME), Lee underwent an intense and protracted conversion. Yet she had doubts. She later wrote:
But to my utter surprise there seemed to sound a voice which I thought I distinctly heard, and most certainly understand, which said to me, “Go preach the Gospel!” I immediately replied aloud, “No one will believe me.” Again I listened and again the same voice seemed to say “Preach the Gospel; I will put words in your mouth and will turn your enemies to become your friends.”
But women weren’t allowed to preach. Lee sought permission from Allen to preach. First he refused, then changed his mind, granting her permission to preach on an itinerary circuit and to hold prayer meetings in her own home. For a woman of any race to be granted such authority was highly unusual.
Accompanied by a female companion, Lee later wrote that she “traveled two thousand three hundred and twenty-five miles, and preached one hundred and seventy-eight sermons” to mixed gatherings of blacks and whites. Vulnerable and subject to danger, she seemed confident that God was with her. That confidence took her to Maryland, a slave state. Her diary records one camp meeting where slaves had walked 20 miles and more to hear her preach.
Her date and place of death is unknown, but her spiritual autobiography remains an important record of a woman whose faith allowed her to break and defy the social conventions and racial barriers of her day.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family nonfiction books. You may purchase a copy of this book and any other Christian nonfiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.