West Side Church of Christ

Our Sunday Morning Bible Classes Are Canceled

Happy Thanksgiving

West Side Church of Christ

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

See today's reading schedule & excerpts from the Psalms & Proverbs at the bottom of this page

A Non-denominational Church

Our congregation is dedicated to worshipping God in spirit and in truth as closely as we can ascertain from the New Testament. We search the scriptures for guidance and authority on how we ought to live our lives in order to be pleasing to God.

To learn more about us, or to get in touch with us — stop by in person or send us an email at:

wscoc@wschurchofchrist.org .
Or Call (216) 671-1759.

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Sunday AM Sermon


Title: The Greatness of the 1st Commandment, Part 1

Sermon from May 19, 2024
Speaker: Mike Mathis



Sunday PM Sermon


Title: The Greatness of the 1st Commandment, Part 2

Sermon from May 19, 2024
Speaker: Mike Mathis



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Sunday Morning Article
Jay Launius, Maud church of Christ, Maud, TX

It Happened in the Fall

It was late October and the leaves had just started to turn in the small rural community of Smithers Valley. The weather was pleasant, and folks were preparing for their annual fall festival. But amidst the pumpkin gathering and autumn decorating, there was a somber task to be done. Wilbur Stanley, a life-long member of the Smithers community had died and his funeral was today. As the hearse pulled into the cemetery, only a couple of cars followed and that was to be expected. You see, Wilbur was one of the most despised people in Smithers. He had spent his life dealing other folks misery, one of the meanest, stingiest and foul mouthed fellas you’d ever meet. Children feared him, adults hated him and for the most part, everyone gave Wilbur a good lettin’-alone.

Just a month ago, Wilbur discovered he had a fast growing cancer and his time was short. He had gone to see the preacher, talked and studied the bible, made the good confession, then being baptized in Upton Creek. Those that heard of Wilbur’s conversion scoffed at the idea, saying he’d waited to the last minute to attempt to be a decent human being. Many doubted he’d been sincere and had just taken out some “fire insurance” in hopes of missing hell. Most thought it was a slap in the face to those who had lived decent lives and contributed to the good of Smithers Valley. Even after his repentance, folks still detested old Wilbur.

Jesus told a story about some workers who went to work in a vineyard. Some were hired early in the day, while others came to work in the late evening. Despite the complaints of the early workers, those that came last received the same pay. (Matthew 20:1-16) He concluded the story by saying, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16) We must never begrudge the “last hour” Christian, but rather rejoice at their obedience and their acceptance of the saving grace of God given to all men through Jesus Christ. Even those like Wilbur Stanley.


From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Are You Worried Yet?

It would seem that everywhere we turn, we’re being told that we should be worried about something. If you watch the news, then they’re telling us that we should be worried about the economy, politics, homelessness, world hunger, endangered animal species, the environment, our health and the weather. If you watch the commercials in between the newscast, then we’re to be concerned about having the right clothes, shoes, houses or cars. They tell us that we should worry about our savings and investments or our children might not get to go to college. We’re told we need insurance for our house, car, teeth, eyes, ears, and anything else that might fail us. We can now purchase insurance in case our car’s transmission breaks or the refrigerator goes on the blink. They say we need to have a certain lawyer’s number handy just in case we’re injured in an accident. Are you worried yet?

The truth is that we spend a lot of our time worrying about things that never come to pass and as Christians, we are not to be a worrying people. We have put our trust, not in the securities of physical life, but in God. Jesus said,

Matthew 6:31-34
  • “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?” He then said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...”.

Now does that mean that we should be “happy-go-lucky” through life without a concern in the world? Certainly, we are to be concerned about our relationship with God, raising our families, being good stewards over our blessings, and helping our fellow man. But not to the point that it cripples us into a state of ineffectiveness. The bible tells us not to worry, but in everything give thanks to God and His peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts through Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:6-7). We can have confidence and ease our worries because, as Peter wrote, we can cast all our cares upon God because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:6)


From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Reaping the Good Things

Many of you have your summer gardens well underway and with the coming warmer weather you’ll soon begin to harvest those good tomatoes, squash, okra, watermelons and more. But the growing of those good things didn’t just happen by accident. You’ve spent many hours preparing and planting that garden so it will make that homegrown produce.

The bible warns us not to be fooled because God is not to be taken lightly. If we spend all of our time dedicated to our physical desires, at the end of time, we’ll have nothing to harvest but corruption. But if we “plant” to the Spirit, that is the “fruit of the Spirit”, we’ll harvest everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8) There’s no doubt about it, gardening is hard work. Living and serving the Lord is just as challenging. But we’re assured in the scriptures that if we do not “grow weary while doing good” and don’t lose heart, then when the season of our life is over, we will indeed reap the benefits of heaven. (Galatians 6:9) Just as you will share the harvest from your home gardens with the rest of us, the bible encourages Christians to share both their physical and spiritual blessings with those around them.

Hebrews 13:15–16
  • “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Goody-Too-Shoes

Stan had stopped at the store to pick up a few things before he headed home after a hard day at the office. As he stood in line waiting to get checked out, he noticed some of the people standing in line with him. In front of him was a young guy that wore several ear rings, a nose ring and what appeared to be full-body tattoos. Stan thought to himself, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not like this guy.” He also noticed a girl who wore all black, her hair was dyed dark orange and she wore a spiked choker around her neck. Again, Stan thought, “Boy, what a freak! Where do these people come from?” Stan stood there in his polo shirt and nicely pressed slacks and looked very similar to the way that he dressed each time he attended a service of the church. He was very involved with the work of the church; he attended regularly, generously gave of his money and studied his Bible on a regular basis. However, Stan’s [disdain] for other people that were different from him was very noticeable. He often wondered how someone could be so stupid as to get hooked on drugs or wind up in jail. “A bunch of heathens, gonna burn in hell one day,” he often thought to himself when encountering someone who was “un-churched”.

It’s sad to say, but many of us who serve God faithfully may find ourselves with the same mindset as Stan. Because we have not fully matured spiritually, we too feel [disdain] for those who serve the prince of this world. We may even feel superior to them because of our relationship to the Heavenly Father. However, such an attitude is completely contrary to the way God expects us to feel toward the lost. We must have compassion for others just as the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:30-37). We must avoid an attitude that is prideful, haughty and one in which we think that we are better than others. We must always remember that, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 ). Jesus hung out with people that the religious elite of the day thought of as scum of the earth, but Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mark 2:17). If we are going to share Jesus with others in the community, we have to get our noses out of the air and put our hearts on the line. Then and only then will we have real compassion for those who don’t have the Lord in their lives. I heard it said this way, “There are two types of sinners, those who have been forgiven and those that haven’t.”


From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





When God Chooses

When we were kids and chose teams for a playground ballgame, the biggest, fastest and best players were always picked first. That left the scrawny and weaker kids to be chosen last. That’s just the way it was and still is today. In our society, the strongest, best looking, most talented and wealthiest are the people chosen to succeed and be admired by all. Celebrity worship is prevalent in our country, thus leaving the less-famous to be considered less important and the last to be chosen by our culture.

However, when it comes to God’s Kingdom, the opposite is true. God always seemed to choose the underdog to serve Him and complete His missions. He chose Gideon, the “least in his father’s house” to save Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6). God chose David, a shepherd boy to be king over His people because “the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t appear as a magnificent specimen of a man. The old prophet said of Him, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2 ESV). Jesus probably wouldn’t have been first pick for the team. When it came to choosing the twelve Apostles, He didn’t pick the most likely candidates. Some fishermen and a hated tax collector would be among those chosen to take the gospel to the world.

So where does that leave us? The Scriptures are clear that God has given the gospel call to every person (Romans 1:16; Titus 2:11) whether beautiful or homely, rich or poor, gifted or challenged. Jesus said it is the attitude, not the physical trait that is important and God seeks the meek and humble, not the proud and arrogant. The Lord said many times, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16). Therefore, even though we may not be the best, the most talented, or the best looking, there is always a place for us in God’s family (1 Corinthians 12).


From Jay Launius, 2021, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





A Time of Renewal

We are in full swing of the spring season! The trees, plants and flowers are green and colorful. Nature has renewed itself once again. This season can bring to one’s mind ideas of personal renewal, a time to start fresh and new.

As believers we have the great blessing of renewal in times of spiritual difficulty or weakness. When we first come to Christ the scriptures say that we put off the old man (person) and are renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4: 22-24) but it doesn’t stop there. We’ll still struggle with worldly desires and thoughts but have the continued opportunity to avoid conforming to this world but rather being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). Living the life of a Christian can be overwhelming at times, especially when combined with the physical and mental stresses of everyday life. But our confidence can be found in the following verse.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

Just as the tree puts out new leaves, the birds build new nest and the grass grows green again, we have the great blessing of spiritual renewal!

Song of Songs 2:11-12 (NKJV)
  • For lo, the winter is past,
    The rain is over and gone.
    12 The flowers appear on the earth;
    The time of singing has come,
    And the voice of the turtledove
    Is heard in our land.

From Jay Launius, 2020, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





To Your Health

It seems you can’t turn on any type of media without seeing an ad that promotes some type of health product. There’s the “Keto Diet”, exercise programs, gym memberships galore. It seems that our country is obsessed about looking and feeling good. Is this OK? What should the Christian’s view point be when considering his or her health?

When faced with the question of health and the part it plays in our life as a child of God, one of the first passages of scripture we think about is 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Within the surrounding context of this scripture is the teaching that using or abusing our body (in this case through sexual sin) is not pleasing to God. Therefore we have to conclude that keeping our bodies healthy is important. Let’s look a little closer at this thought.

A healthy lifestyle equals an active lifestyle. Christianity is not a passive religion. It is a religion of action, of doing. We are to be "doers of the Word" (James 1:22). That means we are to have a life that is full of activity in the Lord’s business. A Christian’s work can be very demanding physically and being healthy allows use to have the extra energy needed to complete our day to day activities as well as do those things to further the cause of Christ. Christians should be the busiest people on earth! It takes vigor and stamina to be able to keep up the pace but if we are in good health, we can keep going and going during those times when we’re called to extra duty. We must avoid those things that cause us to be unhealthy, things like over-eating, not eating a proper diet, avoiding exercise, using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. All of these can contribute to us becoming sick and when we’re sick, we can’t be active in the Lord’s work.

Finally, being a healthy Christian sets a good example to those around us. If we live a lifestyle that promotes good health and wellbeing, folks will notice and desire to be like us. 1 Timothy 4:12 tells us to "be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Jesus Christ is our motivation, the driving force that assist the Christian in righteous living. Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to be an active Christian? You can start today, you can change those bad habits that slow you down and keep you from doing God’s will. Remember, through prayer, asking for wisdom and strength, we "can do all things through Christ, who gives us strength" (Philippians 4:13).


From Jay Launius, 2019, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Are We Salty Enough?

The divine wisdom of God is so easily seen in the teachings of Jesus. The Master’s use of metaphors in His instruction and storytelling transcend time, making them just as understandable to us as they should have been to those who heard them with their own ears. A great example is seen in the following passage:

Matthew 5:13
  • “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

Salt is a chemical compound composed primarily of sodium chloride and is used to preserve, purify, and season food. In ancient societies it was a valuable social and economic commodity. Salt and its usage is known and recognized the world over, what better image could Jesus have used to describe the influence His followers should have on the world. Just as salt enhances the flavor of our favorite food, we should be busy enhancing the lives of those around us. Like reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table, our friends and neighbors should want to reach out to us when they need a boost during difficult times. Most important of all, we can improve the lives of others by sharing the gospel message. So how do I become more salty? We begin by developing the type of character described by the following:

2 Peter 1:5–8
  • “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

From Jay Launius, 2022, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Do We Need Easter?

As with any of the “religious holidays”, it is an interesting study to look into the origins of special days and compare them to the inspired scriptures. The traditional Easter Sunday is the day in which believers in Jesus Christ worldwide commemorate His resurrection from the dead. It is a traditional religious holiday instituted by practices adopted well after the 1st century church was established as recorded in the book of Acts. When “Googling” the origin of Easter, the following answer is given:

  • “Easter actually originated as an ancient pagan celebration of the spring equinox. In Christianity, the day was dedicated to observing the resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrated around the time of the Jewish Passover.”

According to Britannica.com, the earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection probably occurred earlier. The online encyclopedia goes on to say that the date of observance and its traditions have been steeped in controversy throughout the centuries.

The truth is, the only place you’ll find Easter in the bible is in Acts 12:[4] (KJV). It has been said that King James used the word in that instance to support the observance of the holiday. So do we need Easter? Romans 14:1-[12] allows Christians who follow the “perfect law of liberty”. They decide whether to keep a particular day as special if it is given in thanks to the Lord. Thus, we practice a religion that is not rigid with physical rituals, like feast or holidays. We are however encouraged to remember the sacrifice and resurrection, in hope of Christ’s return.


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Four Letter Words in the Bible

We have all heard the term, “that’s a four-letter word”. It is almost always used in a negative sense, as in swear words or profanity. But there are several good four-letter words found in the bible. Here are just a few:

  • SAVE
    Jesus came to seek & “save” the lost. (Luke 19:10)
    Jesus came to “save” sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)
    The implanted word of God is able to “save” one’s soul. (James 1:21)
    One who turns a sinner will “save” a soul from death. (James 5:20)
  •  
  • HOPE
    “Hope” does not disappoint. (Romans 5:5)
    Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ is our “hope”. (1 Timothy 1:1)
    Our “hope” is in the 2nd coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 2:19)
    We have “hope” of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)
  •  
  • WORK
    Christians must be fruitful in every good “work”. (Colossians 1:10)
    Christians are to “work” with their own hands. (1 Thess. 4:11)
    God’s word equips us for every good “work”. (2 Timothy 3:17)
    Don’t be a forgetful hearer but a doer of the “work”. (James 1:25)
  •  
  • LOVE
    “Love” God with all your heart, soul, mind, & strength. (Mark 12:30)
    “Love” your neighbor, including your enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48)
    “Love” one another for “love” is of God. (1 John 4:7)
    God showed His “love” to us through His Son. (Romans 5:8)

From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Gopher Holes

A couple of weeks ago, I looked out the front door and saw a small mound of dirt toward the front of the yard. I thought it was a new ant mound and said to myself, "I'll put some ant killer on that thing tomorrow." Well, as it would be, I forgot about it for a couple of days and the next time I looked it was now three mounds of dirt. "That's a gopher run and he's heading straight toward Ms. Janet's daylily bed!" Funny thing about those gophers, they make their advancements incrementally instead of one straight shot. They move toward their goal a little at a time and before you know it they're in your garden or flower bed.

There's another pest that uses incremental steps to achieve his goals, the old devil himself, Satan. He places small temptations in front of us like bread crumbs on a lost man's trail. Just little indiscretions, nothing terribly noticeable, like an advancing gopher hole. It may be a wanting glance at the pretty girl, excusing the curse words we hear on our favorite TV series or movie. It could begin with missing a church service or not reading our bibles daily. The thing is, Satan is most successful when he works slowly and gradually. As we get used to these "little sins", we become desensitized and as 1 Timothy 4:2 says, we'll have our conscience seared with a hot iron so that sin no longer bothers us. We must be constantly on guard of Satan's devises (2 Cor. 2:11) and the tricks he uses to fool us into complacency (Eph. 6:11).

So when you see one of those gopher holes Satan is putting in your way, remember the words of James, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Where Should We Go for Lunch?

If there's one thing that can distract us more than any other during Sunday worship is the question, "Where should we go for lunch?" As the preacher preaches on, we continue to ponder what our bellies are hungry for, Tex-Mex, home-style, or maybe burgers? As you walk into any given restaurant on Sunday after 12 PM, you'll see "church folks" dressed in their Sunday best feasting on chicken fried steaks, enchiladas, and sipping their iced tea. Seated at the tables are large groups of worshipers who have checked the "worship box" and are now satisfying their own desires. Before we go any further, let it be known that there's nothing wrong with enjoying a nice meal at a restaurant with family and friends. However, there may be some spiritual things we should consider.

First, if we allow ourselves to be distracted by our physical desires during worship, then we may need to take a step back and consider our spiritual maturity. As we worship the God of all creation, one must "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2) We need to especially concentrate during the Lord's Supper. "For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Corinthians 11:29)

Secondly, have we ever considered that by our Lord's Day patronage to our local eating establishments, we are actually requiring people to work at preparing our meals instead of giving them the opportunity to go to worship? By fulfilling our own hungry desires, we could very well be hindering the furtherance of the gospel message!


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





What Shall I Do?

The most important question a person can ever ask is, "What must I do to be saved?" The gospel accounts and the book of Acts are full of examples of people who asked this important question. The rich young ruler asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said, "Give to the poor." (Luke 18:18) A lawyer asked Him, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The response was to love God and your neighbor.(Luke 10:25) The people, tax collectors, and soldiers all asked, "What shall we do?", in which Jesus gave them all instruction to go and do good. (Luke 3:10-14) The people who heard Peter’s sermon were moved in their hearts and asked, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Peter responded, "Repent and be baptized." (Acts 2:38) The jailer of Philippi brought out Paul and Silas and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. "(Acts 16:30) By these examples and more, we can easily see that God requires us to "DO" something in order to receive salvation.

Through the scriptures we learn that [we] are saved by God’s great love, mercy, and grace through the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ. (Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:4-5,8) Once a person learns that spiritual salvation is available, they must act in faith to receive God’s wonderful gift. Acts of obedience have always [been] required by God, even Jesus had to obey the Father’s will. "Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." (Hebrews 5:8–9)


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





An Action-Packed Faith

The New Testament has a lot to say about faith. Many of us may think that faith is simply believing and accepting the existence of God and that Jesus Christ is His Son. But a close study of the Scriptures will reveal that faith is much, much more. The 2nd chapter of James spends quite a bit of time explaining that faith must be coupled with good works, else, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-26) We may want to argue that we can’t "work" our way to heaven and that’s absolutely true. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-5) However, when considering the message of the New Testament as a whole, we learn that we must possess a faith of action in order to be pleasing to the Lord.

Let’s consider the "Heroes of Faith" listed in Hebrews Chapter 11:

  • By faith, Abel "offered" (v. 4)
  • By faith, Enoch "pleased" God (v. 5)
  • By faith, Noah "moved" and "prepared" an ark (v. 7)
  • By faith, Abraham "obeyed" (v. 8)
  • By faith, Sarah "conceived" a son (v. 11)
  • By faith, Abraham "offered" up Isaac (v. 17)
  • By faith, Isaac "blessed" his sons (v. 20)
  • By faith, Jacob "worshipped" leaning on his staff (v. 21)
  • By faith, Moses "suffered" affliction (v. 24-25)

The Old Testament heroes did not live to see the promise of Jesus Christ come to pass, but now we can look to the "author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2) and access the mercy, love, and saving grace of God through an action-packed faith. (Ephesians 2:4–5)


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





The Walking Stick

A few weeks ago, a dear old friend asked if I would make him a walking stick. I went to the barn and found a maple stick that I’ve had drying for several years. Taking it to the workshop, I peeled the bark away, sawed off the knots, and sanded it down smooth. Several coats of finish were then added along with a paracord wrap for a handle. I even took the wood burner and put his initials near the top. I believe it will be a good walking staff and serve him well.

The walking stick is a great tool for the walker and can lend great assistance. The use of a walking stick or staff has been around for a long, long time. Early in the bible record, Jacob said that he used his staff to assist him in crossing over Jordan (Gen. 32:10). In many ways, the use of a staff can be compared to the bible, God’s word.

The shepherd’s staff provided protection and comfort to the flock (Ps 23:4), God’s word gives us comfort as well with His promises of love, forgiveness, and eternal life. The walking stick can prevent the traveler from stumbling and falling. Developing the godly characteristics described in the bible will also prevent us from spiritual stumbling (2 Peter 1:2-10). The staff can also be used as a weapon to ward off danger. Having God’s word in our minds and hearts will help us defeat the devil when he tries to destroy our faith (1 Peter 5:8). A good, strong walking stick can serve you for many years. The inspired Scriptures, once learned and applied, can and will take us through our lives and into eternity (2 Tim. 3:15).


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Who Did You Pray For?

As you look at the contents most church bulletins, you'll find a list of people who need prayer. Most of the time these folks are sick, battling a serious disease, they are shut-in and unable to leave home or in nursing facilities. Some may need prayers of encouragement as they go through a difficult time. The prayer list can be quite long, with some names staying on the list for many months. Sadly, we may become accustomed to the list after seeing the names reappear each week and don't give it much thought. Even worse, we may not look at it at all.

New Testament Christians are instructed by the scriptures to pray and pray often. Jesus said we are to pray to our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:9) and thank Him for the blessings of life (Colossians 4:2). We are to come boldly before God with our request (Hebrews 4:16), yet with an attitude of humility (James 4:10). Christians are to pray for each other and also pray for the sick and unfortunate. "The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:15-16)

What a great privilege is to be able to go to God firsthand and pray on another's behalf. So who did you pray for today? Remember, our prayer life is to be constant and consistent, so let us all "pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17)


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





Jesus Yes, Church No?

There is a current trend among believing Americans in which they claim to be followers of Christ but have no desire to have a relationship with the church. In 2014, a YouTube video entitled "Why I Hate Religion But I Love Jesus" received some 30 million views. In this man’s attempt to call out false teaching, people have misunderstood the intended message and begun to say, "I can follow Jesus without the church. Why would I want to be a part of an institution that requires me to attend its services, give my money to support its preachers? Why would I want to be part of a group of hypocritical and judgmental people? I can still love Jesus, accept God’s grace, have a private personal relationship with Him and be His disciple on my own terms with no strings attached."

Perhaps many of these folks have had a bad experience with other Christians, been treated with a mean spirit, or ignored by the church when they were in need. Maybe the idea of "Jesus Yes, Church No" comes from ignorance of what the bible has to say about the church. A recent survey said that only 3 out of 10 believing Americans attend at least one church service a week. That’s over 80 million people who say they believe in God but make no attempt to worship Him.

Jesus Christ purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) and He is the Savior of the body, the church (Ephesians 5:23). Therefore any attempt to separate Christ and His church is to promote false teaching. Rather we should all say,"Jesus, Yes! His Church, Yes!"


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





A Sympathizing Savior

As the old hymn begins, “The Great Physician now is near, the sympathizing Jesus.” There’s no doubt when William Hunter penned the lyrics to “The Great Physician”, that he had the following passage in mind.

Hebrews 4:14–16
  • “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

It has been said that sympathy is one of the most important emotions because from it comes understanding, help, and support to those in need. Sympathy is certainly easier to extend when we ourselves have firsthand knowledge of the situation. Hebrews 4:15 explains that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, can sympathize with us when we are faced with temptation. Not only does He have knowledge of those challenges, but has empathy, having experienced all temptation Himself. With such an inclusive statement, we have to conclude that Jesus faced temptation from all aspects of the world. Yes, that means Jesus was tempted to be dishonest, immoral, and to neglect His service to God. As a young boy, He resisted the temptation to disobey His parents, as a teenager He turned down opportunities to run with the crowd into mischief. As He grew into adulthood, He was tempted to be lazy, break His promises and follow popular culture. He faced it all yet without sin. Jesus was the human that the Lord God created us all to be, but because sin entered the world long ago, we’re unable to live up to that faultless design and that is why we need a sympathizing Savior.


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





You Don't Need a Miracle

(John 4:39-42)
I've heard it said, "If only we could work miracles today, imagine how many would believe and follow Christ." However, think of the many people who actually saw Jesus perform miraculous works but still did not believe that He was the promised Messiah. Many folks use the word "miracle" to describe an unusual occurrence that has a positive outcome, like someone who recovers from a serious disease. But the thought conveyed in the opening statement of this article describes the type of event that defies the laws of nature (like bringing the dead back to life).

The truth is you don't need a miracle to bring others to Christ, because we have the blessing of His written word. In John chapter 4, we have the story of the Samaritan woman who Jesus meets at Jacob's well. As most Christians, I know the story well, but as I read it again today, I discovered an interesting end to the events described in John's account. Beginning at verse 39, we see that many believed in Jesus because of the testimony of the woman who said, "He told me all that I ever did." After meeting Jesus, the Samaritans urged Him to stay with them and He stayed there for two days. During His stay, John does not describe an occurrence of any miracles, instead he states that "many more believed because of His own word." (John 4:41). So here we have the proof by Jesus Himself, you don't need a miracle to make disciples. Later in John's gospel, Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (John 5:24) We ought never sell short the power of God's word because as the Hebrew writer states, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12). No, we don't need a miracle, but we do need to be skilled in the use of the sword of the Lord and as skilled workers we can win many disciples to Christ.


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





It's Your Responsibility

Do you remember the first time that you were given responsibility by your parents? If you were like me, it may have been to clean your room, make your bed, or put away your clothes. If you had a pet, it may have been your responsibility to be sure the animal was fed and watered. As we got to our teenage years, we were given more and more responsibility. When I got a car, it was up to me to check the coolant, oil, and air in the tires. I remember my first job as a cook at a popular chicken restaurant, in which I was responsible for keeping up with my schedule and getting to work on time. This childhood training taught us that we are accountable for ourselves, therefore we learned to take responsibility for our successes as well as our failures.

Just as in life, Christians have spiritual responsibilities and we are accountable for our spiritual success or failure. As members of the body (church) of Christ, we have certain responsibilities according to abilities we have been blessed with, such as the story of the talents told by Jesus in Matthew 25:14-30. The Lord does not expect us to do something that we are incapable of doing, however we are expected to serve within our capacities. "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.' " (Luke 17:10). So then men, if you are responsible to teach, serve in worship, or care for church facilities, it is your duty to accomplish that calling. If you are unable to do so, it is your responsibility to assure that someone will take your place. Ladies, if it is your responsibility to teach a class, prepare communion, or provide benevolence, then you, just as the men, must assure the work is complete. God's people are not lazy nor irresponsible, but are diligent and enthusiastic in spirit, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)


From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





A New Beginning

As we begin a new year, we typically make resolutions and set goals to accomplish during the coming 12 months. They tell us that goal setting is important for us and helps us maintain forward mobility in our lives. No one ever improves while sitting still. Christians should set spiritual goals for themselves in order to continue the journey of spiritual maturity which is, by the way, a journey of a lifetime. Here are a few suggestions for our spiritual goals:

  • Daily Prayer and Bible Reading
    Pray without ceasing... (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
    Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
    (1 Timothy 4:13)
  • Continue to Develop the Fruits of the Spirit
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
    (Galatians 5:22–23)
  • Increase My Love, Benevolence and Care for Others
    But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)
  • Improve My Attendance & Time Spent with the Church
    And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)
  • Increase My Involvement in Evangelism
    How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:14)

From Jay Launius, 2023, Maud coC, Maud, Texas





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Another Article
Jay Launius, Maud church of Christ, Maud, TX

Consider This - Jacob's Ladder


Jacob's Vision, Genesis 28
Genesis 28:10-13

    Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring...”

Jesus identifies Himself as the ladder, John 1
John 1:47-51

    Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


Consider This


John 4:24

    "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

John 8:32

    "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 14:6

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 14:15-17

    "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

John 16:13

    "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."


Consider This


Psalm 14:1

    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
    there is none who does good.

Proverbs 1:22

    “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
    How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 21:24

    “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man
    who acts with arrogant pride.

Proverbs 22:10

    Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
    and quarreling and abuse will cease.

Proverbs 29:8

    Scoffers set a city aflame,
    but the wise turn away wrath.


Consider This


1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (WEB)

    For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

    "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing."

    20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn't God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn't know God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 (WEB)

    We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn't have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written,

    "Things which an eye didn't see, and an ear didn't hear, Which didn't enter into the heart of man, These God has prepared for those who love him."


Consider This


Galatians 5:22,23

    ...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Romans 4:15

    For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13

    for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.

Romans 7:1,4-6

    Or do you not know, brothers... that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives?
    4 ...my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.


Consider This


How Can We Know What God Thinks?
Only if His Spirit tells us:


1 Corinthians 2:10-13
    For to us God revealed [His thoughts] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words





Consider This



Proverbs 17:26
... [T]o punish the righteous
is not good,
Nor to flog officials
for their integrity.

Proverbs 21:15
When justice is done,
it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.



Consider This



Proverbs 24:23-25
... Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked,
"You are in the right,"
will be cursed by peoples,
abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked
will have delight,
and a good blessing
will come upon them.



Consider This


Proverbs 8:1,6-8
Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?

6 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
7 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.



Consider This


Proverbs 3:25,26
Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

Proverbs 14:32
When calamity comes,
the wicked are brought down,
but even in death
the righteous have a refuge.


Consider This


Proverbs 11:3
The integrity of the upright
guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed
by their duplicity.

Proverbs 16:30
Whoever winks with their eye
is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips
is bent on evil.


Consider This


Proverbs 17:15
He who justifies the wicked,
and he who condemns the righteous,
Both of them alike
are an abomination to Yahweh.

Proverbs 18:5
To be partial to the faces
of the wicked is not good,
Nor to deprive
the innocent of justice.


Consider This



Proverbs 15:8,9
The sacrifice made by the wicked
is an abomination to Yahweh,
But the prayer of the upright
is his delight.
9The way of the wicked
is an abomination to Yahweh,
But he loves him
who follows after righteousness.





Consider This



Proverbs 30:5,6
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who
take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you
and you be found a liar.





Consider This


Proverbs 14:13
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and joy may end in grief.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 18:14
A man's spirit sustains him in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?



Consider This


(Jesus praying to God, His Father)
The glory which You have given Me
I have given to them, that they may
be one, just as We are one;
23 I in them and You in Me, that
they may be perfected in unity, so
that the world may know that You
sent Me, and loved them, even as
You have loved Me.

John 17:22,23 (see also Ephesians 4:11-13)




Consider This


...and may your spirit and soul and body
be preserved complete, without blame
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

The Lord God formed man from the
dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life;
and man became a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 (see also Genesis 7:22)






Consider This


No one can be established
through wickedness,
but the righteous
cannot be uprooted.
Proverbs 12:3

The plans of the righteous
are just,
but the advice of the wicked
is deceitful.
Proverbs 12:5





Consider This


Don't be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind,
so that you may prove what is the good,
well-pleasing, and perfect will of God
Romans 12:2

For you were once darkness, but
are now light in the Lord. Walk as
children of light,…​ 10 discerning
what is well-pleasing to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8,10




Consider This


Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly,
I say to you, unless one is born again
he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3


since you have been born again,
not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding word of God;
1 Peter 1:23






Consider This


Anxiety in the heart of man
weighs it down,
But a kind word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25

There should be no division in the body,
but that the members should have
the same care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25





Consider This


The eyes of YHWH are everywhere,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Proverbs 15:3

The eyes of YHWH watch over knowledge;
But he frustrates the words
of the unfaithful.
Proverbs 22:12






Consider This


Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean
on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5

In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6






Consider This


A gracious woman obtains honor
But violent men obtain [only] riches.
Proverbs 11:16

A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
Proverbs 11:17







Consider This


Many men claim to be men
of unfailing love,
But who can find a faithful man?
Proverbs 20:6

Confidence in someone unfaithful
in time of trouble
Is like a bad tooth, or a lame foot.
Proverbs 25:19





Consider This


It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one's vows.
Proverbs 20:25

Do you see someone
who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool
than for them
Proverbs 29:20





Consider This


A [scripture] in the mouth of a fool,
Is like a thornbush
in the hand of a drunkard.
Proverbs 26:9

A [scripture] in the mouth of a fool,
Is like the legs of a lame man
that hang loose.

Proverbs 26:7





Consider This


One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor,
yet has great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7

The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this:
They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:5





Consider This


Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 12:1

Whoever ignores discipline
comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honored.

Proverbs 13:18







Consider This



Where there is no wise guidance,
the nation falls,
But with many counselors
there is victory.


Proverbs 11:14







Consider This


Gray hair is a crown of glory.
It is attained by a life of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31

The glory of young men is their strength.
The splendor of old men is their gray hair.

Proverbs 28:26









Consider This


Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Proverbs 26:12

He who trusts in himself is a fool,
But he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.

Proverbs 28:26









Consider This


The Lord works out everything
for His own ends -
Even the wicked
for a day of disaster.



Proverbs 16:4







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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Excerpts from Proverbs 25 and Psalms 121, 122, 123, 124, 125

Read the Proverbs through in a month,
one chapter per day.
Read the Psalms through in a month,
five Psalms per day.

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    Proverbs 25:1, 23-28
    (World English Bible)

    • Proverbs of Solomon Collected by Hezekiah
      • Collected by Hezekiah
        • continued
      • Proverbs 25:1 - 29:27
    • 1) These also are proverbs of Solomon,
      • which the men of Hezekiah
        • king of Judah copied out.
      •  ...
      •  
    • 23) The north wind brings forth rain:
      • So a backbiting tongue brings an angry face.
    • 24) It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop,
      • Than to share a house with a contentious woman.
    • 25) Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
      • So is good news from a far country.
    • 26) Like a muddied spring, and a polluted well,
      • So is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
    • 27) It is not good to eat much honey;
      • Nor is it honorable to seek ones own honor.
    • 28) Like a city that is broken down and without walls
      • Is a man whose spirit is without restraint.
    •  

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    Psalm 125:1-5
    Book 5 (Psalms 107-150)
    (World English Bible)

    • A Song of Ascents.
    • 1) Those who trust in Yahweh
      • are as Mount Zion,
    • Which can't be moved,
      • but remains forever.
    • 2) As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
      • So Yahweh surrounds his people
        • from this time forth
          and forevermore.
    • 3) For the scepter of wickedness
      • won't remain over
        • the allotment of the righteous;
    • So that the righteous
      • won't use their hands to do evil.
    • 4) Do good, Yahweh, to those who are good,
      • To those who are upright
        • in their hearts.
    • 5) But as for those who turn aside to
        • their crooked ways,
      • Yahweh will lead them away with
        • the workers of iniquity.
      • Peace be on Israel.
    •  

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