Although life’s troubles and obstacles may frustrate those on their path towards success, a pastor’s sermon encouraged parishioners to square their shoulders and fight the good fight of faith.
That message was delivered Friday night during the concluding service of the 12 annual Alachua County Empowerment Revival held at DaySpring Baptist Church.
“We still have to fight the good fight of faith,” said Evangelist Wendy Smith-Martin, pastor of Greater Victory Christian Center in Riverdale, Georgia, who was the featured speaker at the revival. “You may feel like the wind has been knocked out from under you, but keep fighting. You may not be happy with what God had to take us through, but we are not going to go out in this one. The fight was designed to build us up for us to win. The fight is developing you to build integrity, character, and increase the stamina that we have. We’re going to keep fighting until the victory is entirely ours. How I fight will determine how I win.”
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Many parishioners attended the revival to worship and praise God, and to set the tone for the new year.
Minister Jacqueline Strappy Daniels of DaySpring presided over the service Friday night, and Minister Sebrenah Phillips of DaySpring read Psalm 146, which was followed by singing from the Voices of Empowerment Choir directed by Dr. D.E. Richardson II.
Minister AzzuDee Johnson of DaySpring gave the welcome, and the Rev. Eugene Herring of New Hope United Methodist Church in Hawthorne read Old Testament scripture and prayed.
“We honor your presence, Lord,” Herring said. “Bless us with the knowingness to give you honor and praise. I pray you anoint our ears to hear, our minds to receive clarity and our hearts to know the power of faith.”
During her sermon, Smith-Martin read scripture from Genesis 32:22 and used Jacob as an example of why parishioners should continue to keep fighting the battles they face in life.
She focused on three things she got from her sermonic text, and they were that fights are meant to develop not destroy, to strengthen you not silence you and will help you walk beyond your wounds.
Smith-Martin said when you fight, it is important to not lose your footing.
“Sometimes we feel like we’re slipping into depression, dysfunction, bad habits and old habits,” Smith-Martin said. “We must hold on to the Lord’s hand like our life depends on it.”
She said the battle is designed to put you back in prayer and to strengthen your connection with God.
“Pray to hear from God and let God hear from you,” Smith-Martin said. “Open up your mouth and start calling the name of the Lord.”
Smith-Martin said through the battles, God is on your side to see you through victory.
“You’re going to walk out of the fight, trouble and heartache,” Smith-Martin said. “You may be hurt, but you got to keep walking. Continue to fight this good fight of faith.”
The Rev. Dr. Marie Herring, pastor of DaySpring; Deaconess Angela Terrell; Pastor LaShon Young, ACERT (Alachua County Empowerment Team) supervisor and Alachua County School Board member Leanetta McNealy, Ph.D., presented several local groups with financial donations from money raised during the revival.
ACERT donated to the YAS (Young Annasemble) Orchestra, Dr. D.E. Richardson II, Voices of Empowerment Choir and the Female Protective Society.
Herring thanked Smith-Martin and the Rev. Dr. Willie Caison Sr. of St. Joseph Baptist Church in Archer for delivering sermons Friday night. Caison preached during the first half of the service.
Herring then gave the benediction.
“Those who call your name, make sure they’re healed from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet,” Herring said.
This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Alachua County Empowerment Revival encourages attendees to keep faith