On the Air

Click here to listen to my first interview as an author: Sunday, 1/11/09 on Urban Literary Review (BlogTalkRadio) with L. Martin Johnson Pratt ( @iluvblackwomen on Twitter ).

Click here to listen to my Saturday, 7/11/09 interview with Evangelist Maureen Chen and her co-host Juergen on Kingdom Club on BlogTalkRadio.

Robin Tramble interviewed me on 7/14/09 on the subject "Why Forgiveness Tests Our Faith", during her awesome Dynamic Women of Faith Telesummit. (Recording issues required that the interview be split into two parts - Part II is here.)

My transformation from atheist to born-again Christian minister was fodder for a second 60-minute interview with Evangelist Maureen Chen and co-host Juergen Mair on Kingdom via the BlogTalkRadio network on Saturday, 7/25/09.

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Stepping into the Light: You’re a Christian, what now? is a great primer for the new adult Christian, as well as a devotional and inspiring Christian living guidebook.

Written by Diane L. Harris, the daughter of a South Bronx born Jew and a Jamaican-American ex-Episcopalian Jewish convert, Stepping into the Light is the fearless testimony of a former atheist who admits that while Christian salvation erases the threat of eternal damnation, becoming a Christian is not a magical pill for the ills of life on earth.

Combining curiosity, transparency, a gift for simplifying erudition and a palpable joy, Minister Diane explores the questions for God that inundated her as a “baby believer.”

With clarity and wielding a humble sense of humor, this woman of God leads the way to a down-to-earth relationship with a loving Messiah by answering such important questions as: What’s the meaning of salvation? Who do I become when I’m born again? Do I need to know about spiritual warfare? How is the Old Testament relevant to me as a Christian? What does the New Testament teach? What promises does God have for me? Can I contribute to the kingdom of God?

If you are a Christian, “baby believer” or not, who is asking yourself, “what now?” this book is written for you.

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STEPPING INTO THE LIGHT

BIBLE STUDY: THE FALL OF MAN

GENESIS 2:4-3:24

1. What makes forbidden things so tempting?
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2. What command did God give man? (2:16-17)
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3. What happened when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? (3:6-7)
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4. What’s the problem with having "knowledge of good and evil"?
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5. What do these verses tell us about temptation and how to resist it?
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6. How can you become wiser about the Satan's tricks?
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Life Application Bible Notes - Gen 2:4-3:24

B. THE STORY OF ADAM (2:4—5:32)

Learning about our ancestors often helps us understand ourselves. Adam and Eve, our first ancestors, were the highlight of God's creation--the very reason God made the world. But they didn't always live the way God intended. Through their mistakes, we can learn important lessons on how to live in relationship with God. Adam and Eve teach us much about the nature of sin and its consequences.

The Garden of Eden

Notes for 2:9

The name of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil implies that evil had already occurred, if not in the garden, then at the time of Satan's fall.

2:9 , 16,17 Were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil real trees? Two views are often expressed:
(1) The trees were real, but symbolic. Eternal life with God was pictured as eating from the tree of life.
(2) The trees were real, possessing special properties. By eating the fruit from the tree of life, Adam and Eve could have had eternal life, enjoying a permanent relationship as God's children.
In either case, Adam and Eve's sin separated them from the tree of life and thus kept them from obtaining eternal life. Interestingly, the tree of life again appears in a description in Revelation 22 of people enjoying eternal life with God.

Notes for 2:15-17

God gave Adam responsibility for the garden and told him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather than physically preventing him from eating, God gave Adam a choice, and thus the possibility of choosing wrongly. God still gives us choices, and we, too, often choose wrongly. These wrong choices may cause us pain, but they can help us learn and grow and make better choices in the future. Living with the consequences of our choices teaches us to think and choose more carefully.

Notes for 2:16,17

Why would God place a tree in the garden and then forbid Adam to eat from it? God wanted Adam to obey, but God gave Adam the freedom to choose. Without choice, Adam would have been like a prisoner, and his obedience would have been hollow. The two trees provided an exercise in choice, with rewards for choosing to obey and sad consequences for choosing to disobey. When you are faced with the choice, always choose to obey God.

Profile: For Eve

We know very little about Eve, the first woman in the world, yet she is the mother of us all. She was the final piece in the intricate and amazing puzzle of God's creation. Adam now had another human being with whom to fellowship -- someone with an equal share in God's image. Here was someone alike enough for companionship, yet different enough for relationship. Together they were greater than either could have been alone.

Eve was approached by Satan in the Garden of Eden, where she and Adam lived. He questioned her contentment. How could she be happy when she was not allowed to eat from one of the fruit trees? Satan helped Eve shift her focus from all that God had done and given to the one thing he had withheld. And Eve was willing to accept Satan's viewpoint without checking with God.

Sound familiar? How often is our attention drawn from the much which is ours to the little that isn't? We get that "I've got to have it" feeling. Eve was typical of us all, and we consistently show we are her descendants by repeating her mistakes. Our desires, like Eve's, can be quite easily manipulated. They are not the best basis for actions. We need to keep God in our decision-making process always. His Word, the Bible, is our guidebook in decision making.

Notes for 3:5

Adam and Eve got what they wanted: an intimate knowledge of both good and evil. But they got it by doing evil, and the results were disastrous. Sometimes we have the illusion that freedom is doing anything we want. But God says that true freedom comes from obedience and knowing what not to do. The restrictions he gives us are for our good, helping us avoid evil. We have the freedom to walk in front of a speeding car, but we don't need to be hit to realize it would be foolish to do so. Don't listen to Satan's temptations. You don't have to do evil to gain more experience and learn more about life.

3:5 Satan used a sincere motive to tempt Eve — "you will be like God." It wasn't wrong of Eve to want to be like God. To become more like God is humanity's highest goal. It is what we are supposed to do. But Satan misled Eve concerning the right way to accomplish this goal. He told her that she could become more like God by defying God's authority, by taking God's place and deciding for herself what was best for her life. In effect, he told her to become her own god.
But to become like God is not the same as trying to become God. Rather, it is to reflect his characteristics and to recognize his authority over your life. Like Eve, we often have a worthy goal but try to achieve it in the wrong way. We act like a political candidate who pays off an election judge to be "voted" into office. When he does this, serving the people is no longer his highest goal.
Self-exaltation leads to rebellion against God. As soon as we begin to leave God out of our plans, we are placing ourselves above him. This is exactly what Satan wants us to do.

3:14-19 Adam and Eve learned by painful experience that because God is holy and hates sin, he must punish sinners. The rest of the book of Genesis recounts painful stories of lives ruined as a result of the fall. Disobedience is sin, and it breaks our fellowship with God. But, fortunately, when we disobey, God is willing to forgive us and to restore our relationship with him.

Notes for 3:15

Satan is our enemy. He will do anything he can to get us to follow his evil, deadly path. The phrase "you will strike his heel" refers to Satan's repeated attempts to defeat Christ during his life on earth. "He will crush your head" foreshadows Satan's defeat when Christ rose from the dead. A strike on the heel is not deadly, but a crushing blow to the head is. Already God was revealing his plan to defeat Satan and offer salvation to the world through his Son, Jesus Christ.