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Southern Missionary Baptist  Church
Southern Missionary Baptist  Church
A Spirit Led And Bible Based Church
  • 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

  • Our Church

    Southern Missionary Baptist Church
    921 Bissell St., P.O. Box 38 Map
    Madison, IL 62060
    Phone: 618-877-1305, Fax:618-688-4351, Pastor's Home Ph. 618-235-8299

    · Southern Missionary Baptist Church
    · Statement of Beliefs
    · Church History

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    Sunday School: 9:00 a.m.

    Sunday Worship : 10:45 a.m.

    Children's Church Is Open During Sunday Worship

    Prayer Meeting:  Tuesday 7:00 p.m.

    Bible Study: Tuesday 7:00 p.m.












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    We would like to welcome you to the Southern Missionary Baptist Church of Madison, Illinois.  We are a church with a warm heart and where no one is considered a stranger.  We believe in following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who exemplified love for all.  We believe in being led by the Holy Spirit in all that we do, praising God and giving Him the glory for His grace and mercy.  Here, at Southern, you will be greeted with open arms and you are invited to praise God with us.  Our Sunday and Bible Study is designed for all ages, with excellent teachers who exited about teaching and ready to answer your questions.  We have a mandate to win souls to Christ.  So if you're looking for a Spirit Led and Bible Based Church, come visit us.


    Pastor Sherrell and First Lady Mauristine Byrd






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    Dear Members of Southern,

    "We're Open!"

    Praise God!  As of April 25, we are back in our Church building.  We had a very good turn out and I want to thank everyone for your cooperation with our Staff Members who checked each of you in.  Thank you for following the CDC and IDPH Guidelines.  We had no issues.  Thanks to our Ushers for taking you to your seats and for you following their directions.  We have worked hard to make the building as safe and sanitized as possible, including a total church cleaning by a Professional Janitorial Contractor and had it sanitized upon completion.  Hands-free sanitizing stations are scattered thoughout the building as well as wipes and plenty of masks available in case you forgot yours.







    You cannot enter any side doors, although they do have emergency bars on the inside to exit in the event of an emergency.  Enter with your mask on. COVER YOUR NOSE AS WELL AS YOUR MOUTH. You must use hand sanitizer as you enter the front doors, have your temperatures checked, answer some simple questions and the Usher will seat you.  You will find that things have changed for now, but will improve over time.  Service is about an hour long.  As you enter the Sanctuary, you may place your offering in the Offering Box before you walk in to your right.  There will not be the usual Alter Call. Prayer will be offered, but you will stand in place. Lord's Supper will be placed in your hands by our Deacons.  After Benediction, Ushers will direct you to exit, starting at the rear.  There can be no congregating in the building.  Please remember not to hug and shake hands.  I know you miss each other, but we must do our best to follow guidelines.  Please do not leave any articles behind, especially tissue.

    Sunday School will remain closed at this time.  All seating down stairs will be re-configured for social distancing.

    Bible study will continue on Facebook.

    Sunday Worship will also continue on Facebook.  This will be beneficial to those members who are "Home Bound".

    Church van will not be used at this time.

    Again, thank yo for your patience and cooperation. Things will get better!  Now is the time to Renew, Refresh and Revive!

    Pastor Sherrell L. Byrd, Jr.

    April 28, 2021


    For those who wish to send their Offerings and Tithes, You may mail them to Deacon Terryl Curry, Sr. or Sis. Mary Trice.  Or you may mail them to the church address: Southern Baptist Church, 921 Bissell St. P.O. Box 38, Madison, IL 62020.  Or use our CashApp: $9446Church.

    Yours In Christ,

    Pastor Sherrell L. Byrd, Jr.















    Turning from Bitterness to Forgiveness


    Key Verse: Ephesians 4:31-32

    In our last lesson we


    What is Resentment?

    Resentment is that deep feeling of displeasure or anger that we have toward someone because of a past offense. It is our painful memory of past hurts.

    Resentment is the great enemy of right relationships. It destroys friendships and turns friends into enemies. But the most damaging effect of resentment is the destruction of the one who holds it.

    Illustration: A pastor was called to the bedside of a dying man. He was a man whom nobody liked. He was hard, bitter, and sullen.

    He lived in a tumble-down shack on the edge of town. When he went into town, he made it clear that he didn't want to speak to anyone, and he didn't want anyone to speak to him. Even the children ran from him.

    People wondered what had made him so bitter and mean. Some thought he had a guilty secret. Others were sure that he had committed some terrible crime and that he was a fugitive from justice. But they were all wrong.

    The simple truth was, when he was a young man, a friend had done him a grievous wrong. He was so angry about it that he said, "I'll remember it until my dying day." And he did.

    He said to the pastor who sat at his bedside, "I've gone over it every morning. I've thought about it every night. I've cursed that man a hundred times a day."

    Gasping for breath, he continued, "I see now that my bitterness has eaten out my soul. My hate has hurt nobody but myself. But God knows that it has turned my life into hell."


    Why do we Hold Resentment?

    Of all the evil, destructive things that can happen to us, resentment is one of the worst. It is like a deadly germ, working constantly to gain power over us to destroy us. No right-thinking person would harbor and nourish a deadly germ in his body, knowing that this germ would eventually kill him. Yet many Christians hold on to the sin of resentment which is far more destructive than any germ.

    Seeing that resentment is such a deadly sin, we might well ask, "Why do we hold on to resentment?" There are a number of reasons:

    · We feel justified in our resentment.

    One reason why it is difficult for us to recognize the poisonous nature of resentment is that it seems right to us. We feel that we are justified in our resentment. We say to ourselves, "It is only natural to resent so-and-so."

    In order to justify our resentment, we often build in our mind a false image of the other person. We push aside the whole picture of what that person is and all the good and decent things he may have done and focus on his offenses against us.

    · It makes us feel superior.

    When someone does something that offends or hurts us, we take a superior attitude toward that person. We say to ourselves, "I would never do a thing like that!" We like this feeling of superiority, and therefore we hold on to our resentment.

    · We like to "keep score."


    Sometimes we hold on to our resentments in order to have something to offset any future offenses we may commit. We want to be able to say, "Maybe I was wrong in that matter, but you did such-and-such to me."

    · We enjoy our resentments.

    Strange as it may seem, we keep our hurts alive for the pleasure we get out of them. We enjoy nursing our wounds and feeling sorry for ourselves after someone has offended us.

    Resentment grows into Bitterness

    Resentment is one of the most unusual of all sins in that it is meant to punish the other person; yet it is far more hurtful to us than it could ever be to the other person. Sometimes the other person may not even be aware of having done anything wrong. Therefore our resentment does not harm him at all, but it is very destructive to us.

    If we hold on to resentment, it can grow into bitterness. Bitterness affects our health, our mind, our personality, and our relationship with God. Let us consider these things:


    Bitterness affects our health.

    Bitterness is poison to our body. Resentment, bitterness, hatred, and unforgiveness can cause ulcers, high blood pressure, and dozens of other diseases. It has been estimated by some doctors that as much as 90 percent of our illnesses are caused by anger, fear, resentment and bitterness.


    Holding bitterness in your heart can cause you to lose sleep and to be tired most of the time. It will take away the enjoyment of your food. It will kill your happiness. In time, it will show in your eyes and in your face. A doctor said,

    "The moment I start hating a man, I become his slave. I can't enjoy my work any more because he controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body and I become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The work I formerly enjoyed is now drudgery. Even vacations cease to give me pleasure…I can't escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind." (S.I. McMillen, None of These Diseases)


    Bitterness affects our mind.

    It has been proved that bitterness can and does bring on depression. People who have a tendency to be depressed much of the time are often people who hold resentment against a loved one or relative who injured them earlier in life. If you are one of these people, you will never know lasting victory over depression until you get rid of that bitterness.


    Bitterness affects our personality.

    The more we resent someone, the more we think about him. And the more we think about a person, the more we become like him. It is a fact that, when you focus your emotions on someone, you tend to become like that person.

    A teenager was bitter against a relative. When it was suggested by a youth worker that she should forgive that relative, the teenager said, "I'll never forgive that person as long as I live."

    The youth worker casually replied, "I'm sorry to hear that."

    "Why?" asked the teenager.

    "Because in twenty years, you will be just like that relative," replied the youth worker.

    This thought so horrified the teenager that she said quickly, "Oh, no! In that case I'll forgive her." (Bill Gothard)

    Bitterness affects our relationship with God.

    When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we say something like this, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

    When you pray this, you are saying, "God, please forgive me of my sins just like I forgive other people of their sins against me." If you don't forgive other people, you are actually asking God not to forgive you.

    Forgiveness sets us Free

    The only thing that can set us free from resentment and bitterness is forgiveness. But not many people truly understand what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is not trying to overlook sin or to pretend that it never happened. Forgiveness is not trying to forget. Forgetting comes after forgiveness, not before.

    What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is bearing the wrong or injury yourself and choosing to remember it no more. Forgiveness means that you give the person who wronged you a clean slate so far as you are concerned.


    Forgiveness is costly. The one who forgives pays the price of the injury or evil that he forgives. In order for Christ to forgive us, He had to pay the penalty of our sins. This is why He died on the cross.

    It is costly to forgive, but it is more costly not to forgive. You may have remembered a certain injury or offense a long time. You may be thinking of it right now. That person may indeed have done you a great injustice, but that injury did not do you nearly the harm you have done yourself by holding that resentment.

    How to Turn from Bitterness to Forgiveness

    The following steps will show you how you can give up your bitterness:


    Recognize that God is the Judge.


    People need to be judged for their wrong deeds, but you and I are not the ones to judge them. Judgment belongs to God. The Bible says,

    "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." Romans 12:19

    God tells us not to try to "get even" or to avenge ourselves, but rather to forgive. When we forgive someone, we are turning that person over to God, recognizing that He alone has the right to judge and punish people for their wrongdoing.


    Confess your sin to God.

    The other person may have done you a grievous injury. If so, he is responsible to God for this. But, if you are holding bitterness, you are sinning, and you are responsible to God for your sin of bitterness. To deal with this sin, you must confess it to God and ask Him to cleanse you with the precious blood of His Son.


    Pass the sentence of death upon resentment and bitterness.

    Resentment and bitterness are not minor vices. They are among the deadliest of all sins. We must pass the sentence of death upon them or they will pass the sentence of death upon us. Holding bitterness is "living after the flesh," and the Bible says, "If you live according to the flesh, you will die…" (Romans 8:13)

    Because we were crucified with Christ, we have the right to refuse anything that belongs to the old life. This means that we can refuse and reject the sin of bitterness. We have the right to ask the Lord to put it to death by His Spirit. We can pray,

    "Lord Jesus, I was crucified with You. Because of this, I have the right to refuse any sin that belongs to my old life. Right now, I refuse and reject this bitterness, and I ask You, by Your Holy Spirit, to put it to death."


    Forgive even as Christ has forgiven you.

    Forgiveness involves a choice on our part. We must choose to forgive. We may not feel like forgiving the other person, but God deals with our choices, not our feelings.

    You may say, "But suppose that person doesn't ask for forgiveness or even admit that he was wrong? How can I forgive him?"

    So far as we know from the Scriptures, no one ever came to Jesus and asked to be forgiven of his sins. Yet Jesus did forgive people. He forgave them in a very special way. He forgave them unilaterally.

    The word "unilateral" looks like a very difficult word, but it is really not hard to understand. It means "one-sided." To forgive someone unilaterally means that you forgive him from your side, regardless of what he does. He may not ask for forgiveness. He may not even know that he needs to be forgiven. But you can choose to forgive him anyway.

    The ones who crucified the Lord Jesus did not ask for forgiveness, but Jesus forgave them anyway. He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Forgiveness flowed out from His heart to those who did not ask for it or deserve it. This was unilateral forgiveness.


    When we came to the Lord for salvation, we did not confess every sin that we had ever committed. We did not ask His forgiveness for each sin. Yet the Lord received us and forgave us of every sin we had ever committed. Now He commands us to forgive others, even as He forgave us. The Bible says,

    "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. JUST AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU, SO YOU ALSO FORGIVE OTHERS." Colossians 3:12-13 (NET Bible)

    Although the other person may not ask for forgiveness or even admit that he was wrong, you can still forgive. You can forgive unilaterally.


    Trust the Holy Spirit to make your forgiveness real.

    Forgiving others and getting rid of bitterness is the result of our working together with the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it by ourselves, and the Holy Spirit will not do it apart from our choice. We must work together with Him. We choose it, and we trust Him to do it. The Bible says,

    "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13

    We must ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to forgive and forget! We can "forgive" someone and then repeatedly "reinstate" their sin by dwelling on it. By refusing to forget it, we keep the resentment alive. May God enable us to forgive as He forgives—to forgive and forget. God says,

    "Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more." Hebrews 8:12

    Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was asked on one occasion if she was still speaking to so-and-so. "Why shouldn't I?" she replied. Her friend who had known years ago of an offense which this person had committed against Miss Barton reminded her of the offense. Her response was, "Oh, I distinctly remember forgetting that offense."

    Dealing with our Feelings

    An important part of turning from bitterness to forgiveness is dealing with our feelings. We can choose to forgive and mean it with all our heart, but the hurt is still there. To be fully free from resentment and bitterness, we must deal with our feelings.

    Is there a way by which we can deal with our feelings? Yes, there is! The way to deal with our feelings is to change the way we look at a matter. We cannot change the facts of a past situation, but we can change the way we look at the matter. Remember, we are controlled by the way we inwardly see and believe things to be.


    Consider Joseph. We have already seen how Joseph's brothers hated him and sold him as a slave. The facts of the situation could not be changed. What had happened, had happened forever. Yet Joseph was not resentful toward his brothers.

    How did Joseph manage to have good feelings toward his brothers after all they had done to him? He put a proper meaning on those circumstances. He saw God's hand in all that had happened to him. He realized that God had used all those circumstances for his good. He said to his brothers,

    "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20)


    The story of Joseph teaches us this great truth: God can bring good out of a bad situation if we trust Him. God does not cause evil, but He can use it to bring about His purposes. The Bible says,

    "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God…" Romans 8:28

    Notice that this verse does not say that we "see" or that we "understand," but that "we KNOW that all things work together for good to those who love God." We may not see or understand how all things are working together for our good, but we can know it because God says so.


    Concerning our situation, we cannot change the facts. What has happened, has happened, and we cannot change it. But we can trust God to bring good out of the situation. We can say,

    "Lord, what that person did seems bad to me, but You said that all things work together for good to them that love You. I am believing You to bring good out of this just as You did in Joseph's case."

    When we believe that God is using all things, even those things which seem bad to us, for our eternal good, we see things in a different way. We can actually thank God for the things that happened to us. This takes the hurt out of past offenses and sets us free from resentment. Concerning those who wronged us, we can say with Joseph, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."






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    • Sunday, May 23, 2021: “Preaching to the Exiles”

       Sunday, May 23, 2021

      Lesson: Ezekiel 18:1-9, 30-32;

      Time of Action: 591 B.C.;

      Place of Action: Ezekiel preaches to those already in Captivity in Babylon

      Golden Text:  “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4).


      I. INTRODUCTION. From the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, humans have been blaming others for their wrong choices and excusing themselves.  This week’s text teaches us that God holds each person accountable for their individual choices.  It’s most important that we own up to our mistakes and take responsibility for our actions.  Acknowledging our sins opens the way for a clean conscience and ultimately for a better relationship with both God and man.  Our lesson this week records God speaking to the people of Judah who were in exile in Babylon.  His words were intended to help them on the path of acknowledging their sins.  He encouraged them to turn back to Him for healing and to avoid the negative consequences of sin.


      II. THE BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Ezekiel was born and raised in the southern kingdom of Judah and was a priest in God’s temple when the Babylonians attacked a second time in 597 B.C., and carried him away along with 10,000 other captives (see II Kings 24:10-14).  The nation was on the brink of complete destruction.  There were three deportations and three invasions by Babylon (see II Kings 24:1; 24:10; 25:1).  The first was in 605 B.C. (see Jeremiah 52:28), the second in 597 B.C. when Ezekiel was taken captive, and the third and final time in 586 B.C. (see Jeremiah 52:29-30) completely destroying Jerusalem, burning the temple, and deporting the rest of the people (see II Kings chapter 25).  Four or five years after he arrived in Babylon about 593 B.C. (see Ezekiel 1:1-3), God called Ezekiel to be a prophet, and he gave his first prophecy to the exiles.  Ezekiel dates all of his messages from the year he was taken captive in 597 B.C. Our lesson this week is part of Ezekiel’s first prophecy or message to the exiles in Babylon which covers Ezekiel chapters 4-24.  In this first message, the prophet warned them that the punishment they were experiencing was because of their sins and that God was purifying His people.  However, the people of Judah believed that they were being punished for the sins of their ancestors, not their own.  They thought this way because of how they interpreted the law (see Exodus 20:5).  Ezekiel’s message was designed to correct that way of thinking.


      III. THE PROVERB AND GOD’S RESPONSE (Ezekiel 18:1-4)

       A. A misunderstood proverb (Ezekiel 18:1-2).

       1. (vs. 1). In our first verse Ezekiel says “The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying.”  This statement was to assure Ezekiel’s fellow exiles that “the word” or message he was about to give to them was not his own, but came directly from “the LORD.”  The word “again” indicates that God spoke to the prophet more than once (see Ezekiel 3:16; 12:17, 26; 14:12).


       2. (vs. 2). In this verse, God begins His message to His people by asking a question: “What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?”  In other words, the LORD was asking “Why do you people use this proverb: ‘The parents ate the sour grapes, but the children got the sour taste’?” This was a commonly quoted “proverb” in Israel.  The idea comes from a person going into a vineyard and eating “sour grapes” or unripe “grapes” which caused an unpleasant sensation in the “teeth” or mouth.  When the Jews quoted this “proverb,” they were claiming that their suffering was because of the sins that their “fathers” or ancestors had committed.  Undoubtedly, the Jews no justified this way of thinking because they misunderstood the law where God portrayed Himself as a jealous God saying, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (see Exodus 20:5).  But this statement meant that the children as well as the parents would continue to hate the LORD and therefore suffer for their own sins (see Deuteronomy 7:9-10).  The Jews also may have been thinking about the prophecies stating that the nation of Judah would be removed from Palestine because of Manasseh’s sins (see II Kings 24:3-4; Jeremiah 15:4).  If this is true, they also misunderstood what the prophets were saying regarding Manasseh.  The people admitted that their “fathers” had sinned, but complained that although they themselves were innocent, they had to bear their ancestors’ punishment.  But in reality, according to Ezekiel 8:1-18 they had added to their “fathers’” idolatries.  Like many people today, the Jews refused to take responsibility for their own actions. 

      Note:  With this type of thinking, the people concluded that “the way of the LORD is not equal” (see Ezekiel 18:25), meaning that God was not being fair with them.  God’s response to that was “Hear now, O house of Israel is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” (see Ezekiel 18:25).  God is a just God and whether things appear to be fair or not, He is always doing what is right and good.  It appears from Scripture that the people of Judah often repeated unbiblical ideas.  In Ezekiel chapter 12, the people seemed to be using another proverb saying “the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth” (see Ezekiel 12:22).  The people understood this to mean that God was not bringing judgment on them because Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed as the prophets had prophesied.  Like we often do, they neglected to realize that just because judgment was delayed did not mean that it wasn’t coming.


       B. A divine declaration (Ezekiel 18:3-4).

       1.(vs. 3). The LORD continued to say in this verse “As I live, saith the LORD God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel.”  With the phrase “ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel,” God was saying that His people will not have any reason to use the sour grapes proverb (see verse 2) anymore because He was about to explain what the proverb really meant: that every person, then and now is responsible for his or her own sins.  The blame game was now over! 

      Note:  The blame game originated in the Garden of Eden when God asked Adam and Eve what had caused them to hide from Him.  Adam immediately blamed Eve and Eve just as quickly blamed the serpent.  But God refused to accept that reasoning then and He won’t accept it now. 

      To emphasize the fact that the “proverb” would no longer be used in Israel, the LORD prefaced His statement with an oath saying “As I live, saith the LORD God.”  This “proverb” not only placed guilt on their ancestors, but when they used it they were questioning God’s justice.  The LORD then proceeded to refute its use.


       2. (vs. 4).  In this verse God went on to explain why this proverb (see verse 2) will not be used in Israel anymore.  He said “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  The LORD used the word “Behold” to get the people’s attention.  The phrase “all souls are mine” implies several things.  First, it implies that God owns everything He created.  He breathed into man “the breath of life” making him “a living soul” (see Genesis 2:7).  Therefore, everyone who breathes belongs to Him.  But this does not mean that everyone belongs to God spiritually, or will have eternal life.  For that to happen, each person must go through Jesus Christ (see John 14:6).  A second implication for the phrase “all souls are mine” is that all men stand before their Creator on an equal moral basis.  God does not respect one generation, class, nation, race, or sex, above another (see Acts 10:34-35).  A third implication is that no one is beyond the bounds of God’s justice.  He keeps every human being under His judicial control.  But so that there would be no misunderstanding, God stated that “as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine.”  Every individual “soul” or person belongs to God, including every “father” and every “son.” This would also include every mother and every daughter.  The main thought here is that every individual “soul” or person must give a personal account of his or her activities to the One that owns us.  Believers will one day stand before Jesus and give an account of our own life, not the life of someone else (see II Corinthians 5:10).  Likewise, unbelievers will stand before God at the Great White Throne judgment (see Revelation 20:11-15).  To confirm individual responsibility, in the last part of this verse God emphatically declared “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  The word “soul” does not refer to a disembodied or nonmaterial entity, for the Hebrew word used here refers to the entire person.  The LORD was declaring that the person who sins will “die.”  This death, according to the text, no doubt refers to physical death reserved for transgressors of the law (see Deuteronomy 30:15-20).  However, Scripture also teaches that sin brings spiritual death as well (see Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23). 

      Note:  It is true that one generation’s sins often have an effect on the following generations.  However, it is also true that God does not punish children for what their parents have done.  God punishes individuals, not family lines.


      IV. GOD’S EXAMPLE OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN (Ezekiel 18:5-9)

       A. The just or godly man avoids defilement (Ezekiel 18:5-6). The LORD now explained more fully how the principle of individual responsibility and punishment worked.  He called attention to three consecutive generations and the outcomes of their individual lives: a lawful or righteous man (see verses 5-9), his wicked son (see verses 10-13) and his righteous grandson in verses 14-18 which are not part of our printed lesson.

       1. (vs. 5). In this verse, God began by saying “But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right.”  The LORD began by giving an illustration of what happens to a hypothetical man who was “just,” meaning he did what was “lawful and right” before God.  No one stands before God absolutely perfect, but he or she can stand before Him spiritually mature and having dealt with sin.


       2. (vs. 6). This just man, God said “hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman.”  The righteousness of this just man was shown by his avoiding defilement.  First, God said that the just or righteous man “hath not eaten upon the mountains.”  This means that this just man didn’t participate in the observance of pagan festivals at shrines built on the hills (see Deuteronomy 12:2).  The just man avoided these centers of idol worship.  Second, God said “neither hath (he) lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel.”  Lifting up the “eyes” indicated an attitude of prayer.  The just man didn’t pray to “idol” gods.  The words “idols of the house of Israel” probably refers to the ten northern tribes and their idols which caused their downfall.  The northern kingdom had begun its existence under a cloud of apostasy as Jeroboam I introduced the worship of golden calves (see I Kings 12:26-30).  By the time of the Assyrian Captivity, pagan worship almost completely gripped the people of the northern kingdom of Israel (see II Kings 17:7-18).  Judah, the southern kingdom had also began to worship these “idols of the house of Israel” (see II Kings 16:2-4; 17:19).  Third, the just man kept himself from immorality.  God said “neither hath (he) defiled his neighbour’s wife” meaning the just man avoided committing adultery which was a crime punishable by death (see Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22). Fourth, God said this just man “neither hath come near to a menstruous woman.”  This hypothetical just man in God’s illustration also avoided sexual relationship with his wife during her menstrual period, which caused her to be ceremoniously unclean (see Leviticus 15:19-24; 18:19-20; 20:18).  This just man in God’s illustration maintained sexual purity in every way.  Although the subject of sexual activity with a woman on her period is not addressed in the New Testament, the subject of adultery is (see Matthew 5:27-28, 32; Romans 13:8-9; Galatians 5:19).


       B. The just or godly man promotes justice (Ezekiel 18:7-8).

       1. (vs. 7). In this verse, God continues to say that this hypothetical just or godly man “hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment.”  The fact that the just or righteous man “hath not oppressed any,” meaning he was not an oppressor, was demonstrated in several aspects of his behavior.  First, it was demonstrated in that he “hath restored to the debtor his pledge.”  The Law imposed strict ethical standards on those who loaned money.  A creditor was  allowed to receive from “the debtor” a “pledge” that he would repay the debt; but he was forbidden to take a millstone (one of a pair of stones used for grinding grain) as a “pledge,” because it was a man’s means of making a living (see Deuteronomy 24:6).  However, in this verse the “pledge” is referring to a “debtor’s” garment.  If a poor man’s garment was given to be held as a “pledge” for money he had borrowed, “the debtor” had to return it to him at the end of the day so that the poor man would have something warm to sleep in (see Deuteronomy 24:10-13).  Second, the just man “hath spoiled none by violence.”  The word “spoiled” means to take another person’s property by force.  The just man had not robbed anyone by violent means.  The Law recognized the right to hold private property, but it condemned anyone who would take it from someone else (see Exodus 20:15, 17).  Third, the just man also “hath given his bread to the hungry.”  In other words, he shared what he had with the needy.  The just man was being obedient to Deuteronomy 15:11: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”  But this just man went even further and “hath covered the naked with a garment” meaning he would provide clothing to those who needed it as well.


       2. (vs. 8). The LORD continues to describe the just man in this verse saying “He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man.” The just or righteous man “hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase.”  The word “usury” comes from a verb meaning “to bite.”  It has the idea of inflicting injury on someone by demanding interest on borrowed money.  The word “increase” refers to excessive interest.  The Law stated that Israelites couldn’t charge interest to their fellow Israelites, but could charge interest to others (see Leviticus 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 23:19-20).  In addition, the just or godly man “hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man.”  In other words, the just or godly man maintained high standards of conduct in his actions, avoiding all “iniquity” or wrongs.  He also promoted true “judgment” or justice among all those around him.


       C. The just or godly man is honored (Ezekiel 18:9). The description of the just man concludes in this verse stating that he “Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the LORD God.”  The just man is someone who “walked in” or followed God’s “statutes,” or His commandments.  He had kept God’s “judgments” or His laws and dealt honestly with others.  Because this was the lifestyle of the godly man, and not what he did occasionally, Ezekiel also declared that “he is just, he shall surely live, saith the LORD God.”  This is not a declaration of salvation through good deeds.  It refers primarily to one who, because he honored God, would not have his life cut short by personal or national judgment.  Even if the word “live” should refer to eternal life, it’s evident that the one who receives this promise is not a legalist, one who supports a code of laws, but he or she truly loves God.  His or her works merely reveal the soundness of their soul.


      V. THE MERCY OF GOD (Ezekiel 18:30-32). Verses 10-29 are not part of our printed text, but in verses 10-13, God declared that if the just or righteous man (see Ezekiel 18:5) had a son who committed all the sins that his father had not committed, the son would be responsible for his own sins and would surely die. Then in verses 14-17, the LORD said that if that son had a son who watched his father commit the sins listed in verses 11-13 but he didn’t commit the same sins, he would not be held responsible for his father’s sin and he would live.  In those verses, God was giving a hypothetical illustration using the son of a wicked man and the grandson of a just man.  God described the wicked man’s son as having the same godly characteristics as his grandfather.  In verse 18, God once again declared that the son’s wicked father would die in his own sins.  Then in verse 19, God stated that the people still asked “Doesn’t the son pay for his father’s sins?”  And the LORD replied, “no! For if the son does what is right and keeps my laws, he shall surely live.”  In verse 20, God restated the fact about individual accountability for sin.  Then in verses 21-22, the LORD declares that if a person repents of his or her sins, they won’t be mentioned to them again.  In verse 23, God asked “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the LORD God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”  And in verses 24-29, the LORD explained His willingness to change predetermined destinies, either from life to death or from death to life.  Our lesson continues with verse 30.


       A. A gracious appeal (Ezekiel 18:30-31).

       1. (vs. 30). This verse says, “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the LORD God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”  Having concluded His argument, “the LORD” again declared “I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the LORD God.”  In other words, God will judge Israelites as individuals “according to his ways” or his own sins and not someone else’s.  Then God appealed to them saying “Repent.”  He was reminding His people that repentance, or a change of attitude and behavior was still possible.  He invited His people to “repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”  This is basically what repentance is—turning away from one direction and going in the opposite direction.  God was telling His people that to “repent” meant that they had to “turn yourselves from all your transgressions” or acts of rebellion, which was necessary so that their “iniquity” or sins would not be the reason for their “ruin” or destruction.  The LORD through His Word continues to warn sinners of the judgment that He will reluctantly unleash upon humanity, but He pleads with men to repent and He waits patiently for repentance to take place.  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (see verse 32; II Peter 3:9).  In a nut shell, true repentance requires a change of mind, a change of life or behavior, and a change of heart.  We can change our mind and reform our life, but only God can give us a new heart as we shall see in the next verse.


       2. (vs. 31). In this verse, God says “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”  After challenging His people to repent in verse 30, the LORD commanded them to “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed.”  In other words, they needed to get rid of all their “transgressions” or rebelliousness against God.  By living contrary to His Word, they had broken away from God and needed to be reconciled to Him.  If anyone listening to Ezekiel would do as God commanded, He would give them a “new heart and a new spirit” (see Psalms 51:10; Jeremiah 31:31-33).  The words “for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” can be translated as “you don’t really have to die.”  If they repented and allowed God to give them “a new heart and a new spirit,” they wouldn’t have to “die” in their sins.

       Note:  In the Bible death means separation.  Physical death is the separation of the body from the soul and spirit.  Eternal death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the presence of God forever.  Unless the LORD returns in our lifetime, we all will face physical death, but we don’t need to face eternal death (see John 3:16, 36).

       B. The logic behind God’s appeal (Ezekiel 18:32). In our final verse God says “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the LORD God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  Not only did “the LORD” tell His people that they didn’t have to die because of sin, He added “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.”  In other words, God finds no pleasure or enjoyment in human deaths, either physical of spiritual.  Although the word “death” here refers basically to physical death, in the context of this chapter with its contrast between righteousness and life and wickedness and death, it’s best to understand the word “death” as referring to spiritual “death.”  Whether physical or spiritual, “death” is separation, and God does not delight in His creatures being separated from Him.  As a result, He commanded “wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”  Instead of avoiding responsibility for their actions, Ezekiel called on his audience to “turn yourselves” or repent.  God gets “no pleasure” from punishing anyone.  He calls for repentance, turning away from sin and to Him.  In the end, a loving and gracious God has only one desire and that is to see His people get serious about their sins and turn back to Him “and live ye.”


      VI. Conclusion. Although we are living in the New Testament era, the basic principle of individual accountability has not changed since the days of Ezekiel. We all must answer to God individually for how we have lived.  We should not delude ourselves by making excuses and blaming others for what is happening to us.  We also should not presume we are qualified to question God’s justice, imagining that somehow God has morally shortchanged us.  The truth is that everything that God does is always right and good (see Psalms 119:75).








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    One thing you will constantly hear me say as I preach/teach during our times together is, “if you’re taking notes…” - usually just before I emphasize a point or something important to think on. I do this to help those who already take notes and have enjoyed the benefits of doing so for many years. It encourages me to see people in our pews, with Bibles open, paper out, and pen in hand ready to digest what’s being spoken on from the Bible. Personally, I’ve gotten to a point where I cannot listen to a sermon without taking notes and through the years have found taking notes to be an enormous help for any serious student of the Bible and for those desiring to grow in the faith. With that said, let me give you three benefits of taking notes whenever you are hearing the Bible being taught: 



    It’s no secret that many people have a difficult time staying focused while listening to Bible preaching/teaching. And as one who has sat under some of the most gifted Christian speakers of our time – I can say that in most cases it has little to do with the speaker and more to do with the listener’s ability to remain engaged. We suffer from short attention spans. Research is beginning to show that because our culture is so used to multi-tasking and having their minds go in 100 different directions, it’s difficult for people to slow down, think deeply, and intellectually engage something for long periods of time. Studies[1]show the surprising reality that people who take notes not only stay engaged with a speaker, but helps them to digest what’s being heard better. Even in an age dominated by laptop computers and personal tablets that help us organize notes and things to do – students are able to think through subject matters best by taking hand written notes. If you’re like me and love to be organized, you can’t help but to listen carefully as you anxiously await the ‘next point’ or note-worthy quote while listening to a sermon or lecture. Taking notes will undoubtedly help you to remain focused on what’s being said in any teaching environment



    How many times have you heard something in a sermon or class that you remembered something similar being said, yet in a different way? If you’re like me, this happens all too often and I’ve found myself wishing I’d written something down to consult back to for further study or just to be reminded. By taking notes we not only store up a resource that we can go back to time and again, but create a kind of tracking of our own spiritual progress and learning as a follower of Jesus.

    True Christians desire to grow in their knowledge of the Lord and to love God with all of their mind (Prov.9:10, Matt.22:37). It may also be good to take notes to pass down to children and grandchildren that show an example of faithfulness to God’s church and His Word as one who committed themselves to deep study of the Bible and marked a life that never got tired of learning about the Lord. 



    I can honestly say that one of the main reasons I wish all of the congregation would take notes is to ensure that what I am saying is biblically faithful and correct. I welcome feedback, questions, and follow up comments about whatever subject matter is being discussed during any given sermon or Bible lesson. I strive to study well so that I might rightly divide the Word for you (2 Timothy 2:15). Bible interpretation and exposition is extremely important to me and I want it to be so for you as well. In Acts 17 Paul is ministering to a group of Jews who were interested in hearing more about Jesus and was eagerly listening to Paul and ensuring that what he was saying lined up with the sacred scriptures 

    The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.Therefore, many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. – Acts 17:10-12 NASB


    The moral of this text? Be a Berean! Check the Bible to ensure what’s being taught is correct. Be a discerning Christian who wants to know the truth and cherish it for all of its benefits to your soul. 

    With these things considered, I encourage you to take notes. If you have never done so, what better time to start than now? Give it a try to see if it helps you in any way. I will soon be starting a ten-week sermon series entitled ‘We Believe’ which will outline some of the core Biblical convictions of our church family. This is a wonderful time to get serious about studying the Word with our faith family and benefitting from taking notes as you hear the Word. 

  • How to Keep Your Faith Strong in Tough Times

    have faith


    “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


    Life can be bittersweet sometimes.

    There are some days when it seems like every wish or dream is coming true. And then there are some days when the clouds begin to fill in and block the light. It’s on these darker days when your faith is needed most.

    Focusing on your faith every day is essential to keeping it resilient and ready to go. Here are eight ways to keep your faith strong so it can help you through the tough times.


    1. Keep doing the things that make you strong.
    If you find peace in reading, listening to music or working out, keep doing these things. Stay true to the activities that give you strength because these are probably the things that nourish your soul and feed your faith.


    2. Allow yourself to grieve for what you have lost.
    Losing your faith happens. It doesn’t mean you are broken – it just means your faith is not strong at the moment. Acknowledge this and permit yourself to feel the sadness loss may bring. To change your condition, you must first acknowledge your reality. Name it, call out for it, or weep for it. Your cries will be heard.


    3. Be patient with the uncertainty.
    When you are struggling with your faith, stay in the moment as long as you need. Your loss of faith may last for a few days or even a few weeks, but you will not be abandoned. Use this time to build your faith around the certainty there is a purpose created just for you.


    4. Watch how you rebound and fill in the gaps.
    Above all, be true to yourself. When you feel your faith returning make certain it is your faith and not a need to begin feeling something, anything, even it is something that is not aligned with your core beliefs and values.


    5. Faith is resistible; learn not to resist, but to receive more.
    Your faith is never taken from you – you may just resist it from time-to-time. Your faith is a gift of grace and you get to choose if you want to receive it, or not. You may even want to resist faith because you don’t trust how long it will stay with you. But when you learn to surrender, and allow yourself to open up, then faith will only multiple and manifest itself in your life more, not less.


    6. Get involved.
    Practicing faith takes action. Faith requires you to think, feel and believe. When you stand on the sidelines and expect your faith to arrive without any deliberate intent on your part, then you run the risk of missing the chance to jump into life. Get involved with the people and causes that touch your heart the most. Spend more time with your children, volunteer in your community, or get behind a group or organization you believe is able to make a positive difference in the lives of others.


    7. Focus on the positive.
    If you find yourself coming back from a difficult situation where your faith has been tested, begin to look for the small, but positive things happening around you. Every good thought or encouraging experience is not an accident – these are signs to remind you of your purpose and the hope for what is waiting for you.


    8. Have deep water faith in the shallow end.
    When I was in high school I worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. When my students entered the pool they looked a little apprehensive, but they went ahead and took the first step anyway because they knew their feet would touch in the shallow end. As I moved them further away from the shallow end and into deeper waters, their confidence, and faith, began to fade.


    You can be a lot like a new swimmer, too. Your faith can be strong when you know what to expect. To do more in life, to take the chance your heart is asking you to take, you need to have the faith to jump in without knowing the depth of the water. What you’ll find is your feet will touch and the water will not be over your head.


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    Alex Blackwell is a father, husband and writer.

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    7 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Engage with God’s Word

    The world tells our kids to love a lot of things. Fast food. Popularity. Celebrities. Their phones. What the world will never teach your child to love is God’s Word. That’s up to you.


    The world tells our kids to love a lot of things. Fast food. Popularity. Celebrities. Their phones. What the world will never teach your child to love is God’s Word.

    That’s up to you.

    There’s not a lot in our culture today that’s going to support your efforts, so you’re going to need to be intentional about it. And even if your child attends a Christian school, or is active with you at church, don’t assume these institutions are successfully infusing your son or daughter with a respect and love for God’s Word.

    Once again, the best person for that mission is…you.

    Below you’ll find some ideas to help you encourage your child to engage with God’s Word.


    1. Fall in love with God’s Word yourself.

    One of the most important ways you can show your child the relevance of the Bible today is to show your child that the Bible matters, personally, to you. Read your Bible. Listen for God’s voice in the words. Apply what He’s telling you in your own life. You will be impacted. Your child will be impacted, too.


    2. Provide your child with his or her own Bible, in a kid-friendly version.

    There are lots to choose from. The NIV Kid’s Quiz Bible, for example, features maps, trivia, and more than 1000 fun quiz questions to get children searching God’s Word for themselves. Check out the Kid’s Quiz Bible and other kid-friendly Bibles.


    3. Handwrite the Bible.

    Did you know this is “a thing”? Let your child pick out a journal, some colorful pens, and a book of the Bible to get started. Oh, and don’t forget to pick out a journal for yourself at the same time. Make this a family event, and plan it in a way you know will be enjoyable for your child. You can write at home, in a park, in a coffee shop. Keep each event short enough so that kids will want to repeat the experience. People who handwrite the Bible say it helps them understand the passage better, feel closer to God, and memorize Scripture easier.


    4. Make it relevant.

    Teach your kids to ask the question, “What does the Bible say about…” As a family, practice turning to Scripture for guidance on relevant issues including: bullying, popularity, rejection, racism, gossip, loyalty, kindness, true love, popular movies, depression, sex, evolution, suicide, topics in the news, and more.


    5. Apply something that you’ve read in the Bible.

    Take an action or make a decision based on something you’ve recently read in God’s Word, either in your personal studies, or something you’ve read as family. Make sure your children understand the reasons behind your action or decision. The best way to help your children understand that reading God’s Word isn’t an intellectual exercise—but how we learn to recognize God’s voice and live according to His principles—is to let them watch Scripture influence your own behavior and choices.


    6. Play charades with proverbs.

    Here are some examples of verses from the book of Proverbs that would translate well into a fun game of charades:

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23)
    “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17)
    “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30)
    “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6)


    7. Get the Bible on your family calendar.

    Establish recurring times in your child’s schedule for interacting with God’s Word. What might this look like? A daily devotional, a weekly Bible story and popcorn, or a quarterly “date” with Mom or Dad to do a spiritual checkup and talk about anything your child wants to bring up.
















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    We are thankful and grateful for all of our Healthcare Workers, both here around the world.  We pray that our God will cover them with His amazing grace.

    And we are extremely proud of the Professional Nurses within our own Congregation:

    Sis/Nurse. Gracie Brown-Shanks.

    Sis/Nurse Michelle Jackson; Retired

    Sis/Nurse Mary Trice; Retired




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     RENARD BELL ................................................ MAY 2

     DILLARD LONDON ......................................... MAY 5

     RONALD CHAVIS ........................................... MAY 8

     CICELY ROBINSON....................................... MAY 12

     EVA DAVENPORT ........................................ MAY 17







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    Jan.  Installation Service

    Feb.  Pastor's  Appreciation. 

    Apr.  Easter

    ​Jun.  Vacation Bible School

    Jun.  Family and Friends' Day

    Aug.  Men and Women's Day

    Sept.  Church Picnic

    ​Oct.  Church Anniversary

    Nov.  Youth Day

    Nov.  Thanksgiving Service
    Dec.  Church Meeting

    Dec. Christmas Program  





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    Report Card Grades:








  • Shut-In and Special Prayer List/

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    Pray for those who are on our prayer list. SICK/SHUT



    Claudia Ball

    Etta Banks

    ​Daphne Buckels

    Deacon George Buckels

    Rhonda Fletcher

    Madeline Foster

    Maggie Garrett

    Brenda Isom

    Ricky Johnson
    Ed Petty
    Deloyd Prothro
    Mary Pryor
    Allease Rich
    Yvonne Rhodes
    Alice Ward
    Arietta Walker
    Ollie Walker
    Eleanor Wiggins
    Ann Wilson
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    Special Prayer for Pastor and Sis. Byrd in the passing of Sis. Byrd's Nephew.

    Obituary Notice. Please notify the Pastor to report any deaths!






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    A song in your heart

    Is what God wants to hear,

    No matter how you sound

    It is music to His ears.


    You may be off key

    But that is alright,

    When you sing to the Lord

    Everything is just right.


    Give Him all the glory

    Sing praises to Him,

    The joy that He will see

    Is that you are singing to Him.


    And when our Lord is happy

    The light will shine on you,

    Always sing to the Lord

    Is one of many things to do.


    Believe in the words you sing

    And sing with all your heart,

    Emotions will stir within

    When you truly sing from your heart.


    Stretch your arms to Him

    And look toward Heaven on high,

    Tears of joy will fall

    The Lord will hear your cries.


    So have a song in your heart

    And thank the Lord today,

    Any song you sing to Him

    Will always make its way.


    So do what you have to do

    To the one you love so dear,

    As you sing to the Lord, our Savior

    It is music to His ears.

    © 2021  Mark Jung


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    Below you find the riddles in the blue boxes and under each one will have the answers. Some of these riddles are silly, some are more serious, and some are who am I bible riddles (Bible character riddles). But no matter what they are great for kids, youth, and adults!  Answers are below.

    1. What kind of lights did Noah use on the ark?


    2 . Who was the only person in the bible without a father?


    3. You might see this in the sky
    By a waterfall its lower
    Some say that it was first seen
    After a flood by Noah


    4. What animal could Noah not trust?


    5. How does Moses make his coffee?


    6. I am the greatest financier in the Bible. I floated my stock while everyone was in liquidation. Who am I?


    7. He led Israelites out of Egypt
    And went up Mount Sinai alone
    He came back down with ten commandments
    Written on two tablets of stone

    Who is this man?


    8. What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?


    I had many locks that don’t need a key
    I was far too many for you to count me
    I was never to be shortened, for a vow had been said
    I was a symbol of strength that flowed from the head
    But in a moment of weakness, my secret was out
    I lay all in pieces when she gave the shout
    I’m in the Bible – what am I?


    10. From my shoulders and upward, I was higher than any of the people? Who am I?


    11. Why couldn’t Noah catch many fish?


    12. Why couldn’t Jonah trust the ocean?


    13. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden? 


    14. I look like the letter t and am a symbol of Christianity. What is it?


    15. Who has a face but it’s not a human or an animal?


    16. I kept him steady and others away
    I kept them safe and showed the way
    Once thrown down upon the ground
    I came alive with a hissing sound
    I hit the rock as he was told
    And that was when the water flowed
    What am I?


    17. Why did the unemployed man get excited while looking through his Bible?


    18. Where is the first tennis match mentioned in the Bible?


    19. How long did Cain hate his brother?


    20. I can be carried but not touched
    I have two on the outside and ten on the inside
    Everyone wants to catch a sight of me
    But I’m kept out of sight
    I was lost and found; then found but now I am lost
    I’m in the Bible – what am I?


    21. Why did Eve want to leave the Garden of Eden and move to New York?


    22. There was a man who went one day
    On top a Joppa house to pray,
    And while he waited for his meat
    He dreamed he saw a great big sheet
    Let down from heaven, and inside
    Fowls and creeping things did ride,
    The one who prayed was told to eat,
    For God had cleansed this “common” meat.
    Who was he?


    23. I was the king who was encouraged by the queen when I was greatly troubled by writing on the wall. Who am I?




    ANSWERS;  Flood lights. 2. Joshua, because he was the son of nun. 3. A rainbow. 4. The cheetah. 5. Hebrews it. 6. The Noah. 7.  Moses. 8. It’s Christmas, Eve!  9. Samson’s long hair. 

    10. Saul. 11.  He only had two worms. 12. Because he knew there was something fishy about it. 13. Your mother ate us out of house and home.  14. The Cross.  15.God 

    16. Moses’ Staff. 17. He thought he saw a job. 18. When Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court. 19. As long as he was Abel.  20. The Ark of the Covenant. 21. She fell for the Big Apple.

    22.  Peter. 23. Belshazzar. 





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    Domestic Violence and Abuse

    Are you or someone you care about in an abusive relationship? Here’s how to recognize the signs of domestic abuse—physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, or financial—and get help.

    Man's clenched fist viewed from behind, woman cowering in front of him


    What is domestic violence and abuse?

    When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. But domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in a marriage or intimate relationship to dominate and control the other. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb.

    Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. Abuse happens within heterosexual relationships and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimized, men also experience abuse—especially verbal and emotional. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether from a man, woman, teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

    [Read: Help for Men who are Being Abused]

    Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal assault to violence. And while physical injury may pose the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your relationship is abusive.

    Signs of an abusive relationship

    There are many signs of an abusive relationship, and a fear of your partner is the most telling. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive.

    Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and having feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

    To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

    Are you in an abusive relationship?
    Your inner thoughts and feelings

    Do you:

    • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
    • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
    • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
    • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
    • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
    • feel emotionally numb or helpless?
    Your partner’s belittling behavior

    Does your partner:

    • humiliate or yell at you?
    • criticize you and put you down?
    • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
    • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
    • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
    • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
    Your partner’s violent behavior or threats

    Does your partner:

    • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
    • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
    • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
    • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
    • force you to have sex?
    • destroy your belongings?
    Your partner’s controlling behavior

    Does your partner:

    • act excessively jealous and possessive?
    • control where you go or what you do?
    • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
    • limit your access to money, the Internet, phone, or car?
    • constantly check up on you?

    Physical and sexual abuse

    Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that injures or endangers you. Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of a family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from a physical attack.

    Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and domestic violence. Furthermore, people whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

    [Read: Recovering from Rape and Sexual Trauma]

    It is still domestic abuse if…

    The incidents of physical abuse seem minor when compared to those you have read about, seen on television, or heard other people talk about. There isn’t a “better” or “worse” form of physical abuse; severe injuries can result from being pushed, for example.

    The incidents of physical abuse have only occurred one or two times in the relationship. Studies indicate that if your partner has injured you once, it is likely that they’ll continue to assault you.

    The physical assaults stopped when you became passive and gave up your right to express yourself as you desire, to move about freely and see others, or to make decisions. It is not a victory if you have to give up your rights as a person and a partner in exchange for ending the assault!

    Physical violence has not occurred. Many people are emotionally and verbally assaulted. This can be just as frightening and is often more confusing to try to understand.

    Emotional abuse: It’s a bigger problem than you think

    Not all abusive relationships involve physical violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked—even by the person experiencing it.

    The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence—leaving you feeling that there’s no way out of the relationship, or that without your abusive partner, you have nothing.

    Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior are also forms of emotional abuse.

    Abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do as they want.

    The scars of emotional abuse are very real and they run deep. You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with physical wounds. But emotional abuse can be just as damaging—sometimes even more so.

    [Read: Emotional and Psychological Trauma]

    Economic or financial abuse: A subtle form of emotional abuse

    Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and they will frequently use money to do so. Economic or financial abuse includes:

    • Rigidly controlling your finances.
    • Withholding money or credit cards.
    • Making you account for every penny you spend.
    • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
    • Restricting you to an allowance.
    • Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
    • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly).
    • Stealing from you or taking your money.

    Abusive behavior is a choice

    Despite what many people believe, domestic violence and abuse does not take place because an abuser loses control over their behavior. In fact, abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice to gain control. Perpetrators use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power, including:

    Dominance. Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They may make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as their possession.

    Humiliation. An abuser will do everything they can to lower your self-esteem or make you feel defective in some way. After all, if you believe you’re worthless and that no one else will want you, you’re less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-worth and make you feel powerless.

    Isolation. In order to increase your dependence on them, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. They may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.

    Threats. Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. They may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.

    Intimidation. Your abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The message behind these actions is that violent consequences will follow if you don’t obey.

    Denial and blame. Abusers are adept at making excuses for the inexcusable. They may blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, or even on you and the kids, the victims of their abuse. They may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. Often, they will shift the responsibility on to you: somehow, their violent and abusive behavior is your fault.

    Abusers are able to control their behavior—they do it all the time

    Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse. They don’t insult, threaten, or assault everyone in their life who gives them grief. Usually, they save their abuse for the people closest to them, the ones they claim to love.

    Abusers carefully choose when and where to abuse. They control themselves until no one else is around to witness their behavior. They may act like everything is fine in public, but then lash out instantly as soon as you’re alone with them.

    Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them. Most abusers are not out of control. In fact, they’re able to immediately stop their abusive behavior when it’s to their advantage to do so (for example, when the police show up or their boss calls).

    Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t show. Rather than acting out in a mindless rage, many physically violent abusers carefully aim their kicks and punches where the bruises and marks won’t show.

    The cycle of violence in domestic abuse

    Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence:

    Cycle of violence

    Abuse – Your abusive partner lashes out with aggressive, belittling, or violent behavior. This treatment is a power play designed to show you “who is boss.”

    Guilt – Your partner feels guilt after abusing you, but not because of their actions. They’re more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for their abusive behavior.

    Excuses – Your abuser rationalizes what they have done. The person may come up with a string of excuses or blame you for provoking them—anything to avoid taking responsibility.

    “Normal” behavior – Your partner does everything in their power to regain control and ensure that you’ll stay in the relationship. A perpetrator may act as if nothing has happened, or they might “turn on the charm.” This peaceful honeymoon phase may give you hope that the abuser has really changed this time.

    Fantasy and planning – Your abuser begins to fantasize about repeating the abuse. They spend a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done wrong and how they’ll make you pay for it. Then they form a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.

    Set-up – Your abuser sets you up and puts their plan in motion, creating a situation where they can justify abusing you.

    Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. They may cause you to believe that you are the only person who can help them, that they will change their behavior, and that they truly love you. However, the dangers of staying are very real.

    The full cycle of domestic violence: An example

    A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, “I’m sorry for hurting you.”  What he does not say is, “Because I might get caught.”

    He then rationalizes his behavior by accusing his partner of having an affair. He tells her, “If you weren’t such a worthless whore, I wouldn’t have to hit you.”

    He then acts contrite, reassuring her that it will not happen again.

    But later he fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and decides to hurt her again.

    He plans on sending her to the grocery store, purposely choosing a busy time. She is then held up in traffic and returns a few minutes later than expected. In his mind, he justifies assaulting her by blaming her for having an affair with the store clerk. He has just set her up.

    Recognizing the warning signs of abuse

    It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness these warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.

    People who are being abused may:

    • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner
    • Go along with everything their partner says and does
    • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
    • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
    • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

    Warning signs of physical abuse

    People who are being physically abused may:

    • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
    • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
    • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (for example, wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).

    Warning signs of isolation

    People who are being isolated by their abuser may:

    • Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
    • Rarely go out in public without their partner.
    • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.

    Psychological warning signs of abuse

    People who are being abused may:

    • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
    • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
    • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.

    Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse

    If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or that the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save their life.

    Talk to the person in private and let them know that you’re concerned. Point out the signs you’ve noticed that worry you. Tell the person that you’re there for them, whenever they feel ready to talk. Reassure them that you’ll keep whatever is said between the two of you, and let them know that you’ll help in any way you can.

    [Read: How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship]

    Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally or physically abused are often depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help getting out of the situation, yet their partner has often isolated them from their family and friends.

    By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help someone escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

    Do’s and Don’ts
    Do: Don’t:
    Ask if something is wrong Wait for the person to come to you
    Express your concern Blame or judge them
    Listen and validate Pressure them to act
    Offer to help Give advice
    Support their decisions Place conditions on your support

    Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

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    Last updated: January 2021

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