West Side Church of Christ

Our Sunday Morning Bible Classes Are Canceled

Happy Thanksgiving

West Side Church of Christ

Sunday, December 3, 2023

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: Story Telling, Part 1

Sermon from Nov 26, 2023
Speaker: Mike Mathis

Sunday PM Sermon

Title: Story Telling, Part 2

Sermon from Nov 26, 2023
Speaker: Mike Mathis

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

He Healed Them All

Today, I went to the doctor with my parents who are now in their eighties. I was to meet them at the entrance of the clinic at the appointed time and we would go up to the 3rd floor office together. When I arrived at the clinic, I was taken aback by the number of cars in the parking lot, the place was packed! I had arrived just before my parents so I waited by the main entrance. A steady stream of people were coming and going, some on crutches, others in wheelchairs. Some of the folks were visibly ill or injured. Literally hundreds of sick and injured were converging on the clinic, seeking healing from the medical staff at this facility. I wondered, could I be witnessing anything like the multitudes who came to Jesus to be healed by Him? I think so, but only a fraction of how it must have been!

The bible says, "Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them." (Matthew 4:24) Can you imagine the parade of humanity that must have led to the "Healing Man"? People who had no hope of a healthy, functional, and self- supporting life now found hope in this Jesus of Nazareth. But Jesus was not just there to make well the physically sick, but to save them and the world from the sickness of sin.

Sadly, many of the people I saw today will not recover from their illnesses and I can't help but wonder how many of those seeking wellness from the doctors and caregivers have sought to be spiritually healed by the Lord? Yes, Jesus Christ was and is, as the old song says, the Great Physician and He is able to heal all of our soul's diseases.

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

Can Everyone Sing?

Do you believe that everyone can sing?" Does any and everyone who has a voice possess the ability to sing a song? This question is well worth investigating because it has such bearing on our worship and spiritual well-being.

The bible says, "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:19-20). It is a well-established fact that singing is to be a part of our worship to God. But time and time again we hear some say, "Brother, you don’t want me to sing to you, I couldn’t carry a tune if I put a bucket on my head!" Then others will say, “I don’t sing out loud during the worship because I don’t have the ability, but I do make melody in my heart." The American humorist, Charles Farrar Browne who was popular in the mid 1800's said, "I am saddest when I sing. So are those who hear me." However, we must ask, “Why would God demand we do something that everyone doesn’t have the ability to do?”

The following excerpt is from the Columbia Encyclopedia:
"Not only is the voice the principal means of human communication, but it was undoubtedly the first musical instrument. The instrument is within the performer, and the condition of the vocal apparatus, and thus the quality of the voice, is strictly dependent on the physical and mental condition of the singer. Since the vocal impulse cannot actually be described, the teacher’s task is to provide the pupil with concepts, usually systematized into a vocal "method," that will free the vocal apparatus from restrictive tensions and lead ultimately to the complete coordination of all the faculties involved."

Surprising, there is an absence of articles or explanations on why people have an inability to sing. It is true that some natural ability comes into play and some of us don’t have the vocal range that others have but it would seem to reason that development of your singing voice is no different than learning to ride a bike, play tennis or shooting a gun, it just takes practice.

Can everyone sing? Yes, if you have the ability of speech, you also have the ability of song. Isn’t that exciting? Isn’t it a comfort to know that God hasn’t placed a command upon us that we all can’t comply with? I want to encourage you to sing in our worship together. You’ll receive such a blessing while actively participating in the worship of our Heavenly Father. You can now comply with the Psalmist when he said, I will declare Your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12)

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

Assurances from the Shepherd

The 23rd Psalm is perhaps the most popular passage of scripture found in the Old Testament. Believed to have been written by David in his old age, it is a song of comfort and edification of one’s faith in the “Good Shepherd.” Though it is debated between commentators that the psalm points to the Messianic promise to the lay person, the shepherd and sheep metaphor is easily applied to the relationship between Jesus and His disciples. In His teaching, our Savior did not spare the use of this familiar imagery, one of which we still easily understand today. Through the example of the shepherd and sheep, the Lord gives the faithful believer many assurances.

Here are a few:

  • Jesus has Compassion on Those Without a Shepherd (Matthew 9:36)
  • The Good Shepherd Gave His Life for the Sheep (John 10:11)
  • Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd of the Sheep (Hebrews 13:20)
  • Jesus is the Saving Shepherd of All Mankind (John 10:16)
  • A Single Sheep is Worth Saving (Luke 15:1-7)
  • The Good Shepherd Knows Each Sheep by Name (John 10:3)
  • The Good Shepherd Watches Over Our Souls (1 Peter 2:25)
  • The Shepherd will Never leave His Sheep (Hebrews 13:5)
  • The Shepherd has Come to Give Us an Abundant Life (John 10:10)
  • The Shepherd has Given His Inspired Word to Feed the Sheep (John 21:15-17)
  • The Sheep will Find Themselves on the “Right Side” of Judgement (Matthew 25:32-34)

What a blessing it is to be a sheep of the Good Shepherd!

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

Truly Blessed, Truly Rich, Truly Saved

As we consider how to be truly rich, we must certainly consider just how rich we are when compared to others in the world. The following list was written by an unknown author and has been in my files for almost 20 years. I’m sure that the numbers and percentages would be greatly inflated now and even if these figures are only half right, they still are eye-opening as to how truly blessed we really are.

  • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
  • If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
  • If you can attend a place of worship without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
  • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep...you are richer than 75% of this world.
  • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace...you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.

Now, add to this list the spiritual blessings we have in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), the forgiveness of sin through the Savior’s blood (1 John 1:7), and the promise of eternal life (John 10:28), what right do we have to complain or murmur about one single thing? Let us always remember that we are truly blessed, truly rich, and truly saved!

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

I Want to Go to Heaven (Just Not Right Now)

The late country music singer Joe Diffie had a hit song back in 1993 entitled “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)”. The song expresses the sentiment of a good ole boy who, should he kick the bucket, have his lifeless body posed in the honky tonk that he dearly loves. Even though the song is tongue-in-cheek and supposed to [be] funny, it’s anything but humorous. One line in the chorus goes, “Lord I wanna go to Heaven, but I don't wanna go tonight.” Sadly, this may very well express the true feelings of many Christians today.

A close examination of oneself may reveal that we love this present world too much and lack the spiritual maturity to truly desire and be looking forward to our heavenly home. The Scriptures warn us about placing too much affection in earthly things because it will dampen our longing for the spiritual. Jesus said we must lay up treasure in heaven, not on the earth (Matthew 6:19-21) because our heart will be where our treasure resides.

Christians may also feel this way about the second coming of Christ. We all say that we’re looking forward to His return, just as long as it’s not today, next week, or in our lifetime. Our Savior said, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.” (Luke 12:37) If we are not eagerly waiting for Christ to come again, then perhaps we’ve got some spiritual growth yet to do. Could it be that we are so richly blessed with family, friends and material wealth that we have no desire to be with the Lord?

Peter encourages us to be ready and enthusiastic about going to heaven. “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things (the Day of the Lord), be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” (2 Peter 3:14–15)

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

The Autumn Years

Time passes so quickly. This afternoon, I stood and looked out the back door, watching the yellow leaves from the elm tree float to the ground. The persimmon tree is full of its orange fruit and the possums will begin their nightly feast of the bitter plums. It is Fall once again, there are only three months left in the year, a year that has passed by much swifter than all the previous ones. Now in my sixties, they tell me I’m entering into the autumn years of life. I must admit that I do a lot more reflecting on things than I used to, especially when it comes to matters of a spiritual nature.

The bible has a lot to say about “time” and it’s a worthy subject for brief consideration:

  • Time was created in the beginning by God (Genesis 1:5)
  • God does not keep time as we keep time (Psalm 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8)
  • There is a time and season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
  • Time’s passage causes us to reminisce about the days of old (Psalm 77:5)
  • Time causes our bodies to perish, but the spirit lives on
    (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
  • We must make the very best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16)
  • Time passes so swiftly for mankind (Job 7:6; 9:26; James 4:14)
  • The time and span of our life is limited (Psalm 90:10)
  • Time does not change the word of God (1 Peter 1:25)
  • Jesus Christ is not changed by the passing of time (Hebrews 13:8)
  • Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior is timeless (Revelation 1:8; 22:13)
  • The time of our salvation is closer than it was yesterday (Romans 13:11)
  • Now is the time to obey the gospel (2 Corinthians 6:2)

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

Is There a Perfect Church?

When faced with the question of why there are so many churches in the world, an answer, rhetorical in nature, has often times been given. “Can there be such a thing as a perfect church?” With literally thousands of denominated and divided churches, all with conflicts, controversy, finger- pointing and fault-finding, caused by human imperfection, one wonders if it is even possible that a church could possibly be perfect.

When considering questions of a religious or spiritual nature, we should always go to God’s word for the answer (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So does the bible describe a perfect church? We can begin with the description of the church found in Ephesians, Chapter 5. First, Christ is the Head of the church and Savior of the body (church), therefore, the church is subject to Him (v. 22-24). Next, verses 25-27 declare that Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Christ died for the church, purchasing it with His blood (Acts 20:28). The same blood that washes away sin (1 John 1:7; 1 Cor. 6:11)), and He has set it apart, cleansed it so it has no imperfections.

So yes, there is a perfect church. It is the church built by Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18), filled with spiritually saved people who have been added to it by the Lord Himself (Acts 2:47).

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

In a Spirit of Gentleness

I suppose that there’s not a congregation anywhere that doesn’t have wayward members. These are Christians who have decided to break fellowship with the church and no longer participate in the worship or work of the local congregation. The reasons for this can be widely varied and an attempt to list those reasons would take more than our article space will allow.

Ever since Jesus walked the earth, people have made the conscious decision to walk away from the Savior. (John 6:66) But just because a disciple walks away doesn’t mean they can’t be turned around. There’s a wonderful passage found in the first five verses of Galatians 6 which speaks to us concerning reaching out to those who have been overtaken by the devil and have convinced themselves they don’t need the blood-bought church of Jesus Christ. It reads as follows:

  • Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1–5)

We must take note that we are to go to these folks in a spirit (attitude) of gentleness and humility. No one will ever repent at the verbal bashing and reprimand of a self-righteous and hypocritical Christian. When we get down off our high-horses and hit our knees in humility, just maybe we’ll reach those hearts that have become hardened against the church. As you finish reading this article, there’s no doubt you have someone in mind that needs to return to the fold. First, pray for them, then go and get them just as the shepherd would fetch a single lost lamb. (Luke 15:4-7)

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

Like a Thief

One of life’s necessary evils is that of physical security. Businesses can spend between $1,000 and $10,000 for a security system in addition to a $300 monthly fee to help deter theft. The average homeowner may spend $500 for a system with a $50 monthly fee. We put locks, bolts, bars, and video doorbells on our houses in an attempt to prevent thieves from stealing our stuff. Then there is the threat of electronic and identity theft we have to guard against. Almost every vehicle is equipped with door locks and an alarm. Even with all of these precautions, statistics say that there is a break-in every 26 seconds for a total of 2.5 million burglaries per year in the US. The conclusion? It’s very, very difficult to predict when a thief will strike.

The Lord has always known this about the thief and it’s no wonder that He used the metaphor to describe Christ’s second coming and the end of the world. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Matthew 24:36-44). He went on to say if the master of the house knew when the thief was coming, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into (v.43) and concluded by telling His disciples, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (v. 44).

The thief will take advantage of us when we become lax in our watching. God tells us to always be ready and watchful for the coming of the Lord. Paul warned the Thessalonian church by saying, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6) Because we have faith, love, and the hope of salvation, we can watch with much anticipation for that Great Day when Jesus comes back to bring us to Himself (John 14:1-4). With the wonderful expectation of Christ’s return, we can be encouraged, comforted, and built up together.

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

Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz

The title of this week’s article comes from a 1970 song by the late Janis Joplin. The song is a parody prayer in which the singer asks God to give her a luxury car. Well, we know she ain’t going to get that car, at least not from the Lord. The reason being, it is a prayer of selfishness and greed. The bible says it best in

James 4:3
  • “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

To be self-centered and consumed with worldly desire is sinful, thus the Psalmist said,

Psalm 66:18
    “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

To pray that the Lord bless us with a luxury home, expensive car, or a fat bank account is asking for trouble. The sin of materialism, especially for those of us who live in such a rich country, can quickly lead the Christian away from God and down the path of spiritual destruction.
(James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16)

So how should the Christian handle their wants and desires for all of the “good things” in life? The answer may well be that we first redefine for ourselves what the “good things” in life really are.

  • First, we must transform our thinking.
    (Romans 12:1-2)
  • We can pray that God will help us develop self-control.
    (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Practice giving to God first as we’ve been blessed.
    (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
  • Realize that contentment with godliness is great gain.
    (1 Timothy 6:6)
  • Grasp the fact that you’ll carry nothing to the grave.
    (Job 1:22)
  • Realize that Jesus Himself was poor and homeless.
    (Matthew 8:20)
  • Learn that what we do for others, not ourselves will weigh heavily in the Great Judgment.
    (Matthew 25:31-46)

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

It is Absolutely True

I recently watched a video clip from an interview about gender identification. The interviewer asked the female guest, “Is it true that only a female chicken can lay an egg?” After a volley of comments back and forth, the interviewer said, “Isn’t it the truth that female chickens lay eggs?” to which the guest replied with a smile, “Whose truth?” Her response reflects a popular belief in our society that truth is relative to an individual’s point of view. Thus, what may be true to one person may not be true to another. So then, the conclusion to this viewpoint is that there is no absolute truth. However, nothing could be further from the truth!

The fact is that there are absolutes that are true regardless of what an individual may believe or feel in one’s heart. It is the absolute truth that the sun exists and even though I may believe that it isn’t there, hide in a cave and never see it again, the sun is still there. It is an absolute truth that a human must breathe oxygen to survive. Even though one may think that it’s not necessary, or that because you can’t see it that it doesn’t exist, still it is true that without it, a person will suffocate and die. Speaking of dying, all people will die a physical death, even if that is not “true” to me, I will someday breathe my last and die. That’s the absolute truth.

When it comes to matters of faith, there are absolute truths. First and foremost, God is absolute, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect. He is the Creator of all things and it is evident in the marvelously complex and wondrous universe He spoke into being. God’s word is truth as stated by Jesus in John 17:17. The bible is God breathed, inspired and it is good for doctrine, for reprimand, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, so that the people of God may be spiritually mature, thoroughly prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Because the bible narrative is true, Jesus came, lived, died, was resurrected and now resides on the right hand of God. Because one believes in this truth and obeys the gospel plan, they can have eternal life once they pass from this present life.

And that my friends, is the absolute truth.

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

Fire Hazard

As we find ourselves in the midst of a long rainless drought, the fire hazard is very high! The past week of triple digit temperatures along with hot Southern winds have turned the outdoors into a tinder box, ripe for a raging wildfire. Notices and burn bans have been issued, warning of the possibility of a fiery catastrophe.

Just as the fire departments and forestry services warn us, the bible warns of a spiritual fire hazard. The scriptures teach that when a person is without God, much like a land without rain, one is in danger of a flaming future.

Here are just a few examples of the bible’s fire warnings:

  • Fiery vengeance on those who refuse to obey God – 2 Thes. 1:8
  • Many people will find a fiery end of the road - Matthew 7:13
  • Evil & sinful people will go into the lake of fire - Revelation 21:8
  • A fiery end for false teachers - 2 Peter 2:1-4
  • The unfruitful branch is cut off & burned - John 15:5-6
  • After death, the ungodly will be tormented in flame - Luke 16:24
  • The flames of hell will never go out - Mark 9:43-44

The good news is that a fiery future can be easily avoided through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, the Christian walks through a life of service and sacrifice to find God’s love, forgiveness, and everlasting salvation in paradise with Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Under Pressure

An interesting fact about an individual who is under pressure is that one might crumble under the stress of the situation and another might excel, arise to the occasion and conquer the adversity. This contrast seems to be true across the spectrum of human experiences, family life, career, or sports. When it comes to our Christianity, this rule of human nature certainly applies.

Nothing can put our spiritual well-being to the test more than social pressure. We are social beings, and for most of us, we need the company and support from “our tribe” or circle of family and friends. Unfortunately, not everyone in our circle will be faithful Christians, some will be less faithful or even unbelievers. Satan will tap into these groups and use them to put us under pressure to do and participate in activities unpleasing to God. The easiest example can be seen in attendance to the worship service. Family and friends will pressure us to join them in weekend activities that pull us away from the church and her worship to the Lord. When we give in to the pressure, we become bad examples to our unbelieving friends. How will they ever be brought to Christ by watching our own unfaithfulness? And boy, does the devil ever enjoy it!

This principle can be applied to all aspects of our spiritual lives. Instead of giving into social pressures, we must rise to the challenge and remain steadfast, setting the best of examples to those outside the body of Christ, “that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (1 Thessalonians 4:12)

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

When I Think I’m Right

We all have opinions on issues we feel strongly about. Whether social, political, or religious, it is easy to become convinced that the way we perceive an issue is the one and only correct way. Many a feud has been started due to opposing opinions, many a family have become estranged, many a country gone to war, and sadly, many a church has been split asunder.

The bible has much to say about our opinions and how we should handle them. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15). The sacred word teaches that those who stubbornly hold their opinions are acting foolishly and to consider both sides of a matter is wise. The opinionated fool refuses to listen to reason and learn that there are other views in the world and some may very well be alright even though they may disagree. “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.” (Proverbs 18:2)

For the Christian, it is not only wise, but necessary to consider all opinions on any matter, even sinful ones. How better to defend against the devil than to have a better understanding of the behavior in question? Also, a good dose of humility will go a long way when we find ourselves at odds with each other over differing opinions. For the sake of unity in the body of Christ, we must do as the old prophet said, “Come now, and let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18)

“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” (Romans 12:16)

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

Poverty in the Bible

Poverty has always been an unfortunate part of any society. Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always...” (Matthew 26:11). The words of our Lord still ring true today, even for some living in the “richest” nation of the world. God has always had compassion for the poor, and included mercy and benevolence in the ancient law of His people. The Law of Moses states, “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.'” (Deuteronomy 15:11).

Fast forward some 1400 years, and we see Jesus continuing to teach that care of the poor is a vital part of serving the Lord and can have everlasting effects. After asking how to have eternal life, the rich young ruler, who had followed God's law to the letter, was told to “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)

Jesus proclaimed Himself to be poor when he told the scribe, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:20). It's inferred that Jesus never owned a house, property, or even an animal to ride on. As followers of Christ, we MUST be sympathetic to the poor and less fortunate, making every effort to “do good to all” at every opportunity. (Galatians 6:10) Benevolence can be challenging in our modern world, but with godly wisdom, it can be accomplished. Also, we must never forget that we can offer the hope of the gospel, something that all the money in the world can never buy!

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

Benevolence in the Old Testament

We all know that Jesus taught us to care for the poor and needy. Benevolence is to be an active part of every Christian's life. However, giving to those in need is not only a New Testament practice. God has always required His people to care for the less fortunate.

God required His people to care for those who fell on hard times. Deuteronomy 17:7-11 says that Hebrews were not to harden their hearts nor close their hands to the poor, rather give as the poor brother had need. In Leviticus 25:36, the Lord commanded, “If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.” Those who had fields of crops or vineyards were mandated to leave the corners of the fields unharvested to allow the poverty stricken to gather the leftover “gleanings” for food (Leviticus 19:9) This is the what Ruth did in order to provide food for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi.

One aspect of the Old Testament law of benevolence that carried on into the Law of Liberty is one of cause and effect. In the Old Testament we read, “The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.” (Proverbs 11:25) This same principle is repeated by Jesus when He said, “Give, and it will be given to you; For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38). The circle of benevolence is one that we all should be involved with at every opportunity (Galatians 6:10) and when we do, we'll hear the King say, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”(Matthew 25:34)

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

Great “IF” Statements in the Bible

  1. “If you ___________ Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
  2. “If you abide in My word, you are My ____________ indeed.” (John 8:31)
  3. If they fall away, to renew them again to _______________. (Hebrews 6:6)
  4. “If you ______________ with all your heart, you may [be baptized]. (Acts 8:37)
  5. If you ___________ with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be ___________. (Romans 10:9)
  6. If we ________ with Christ, we believe that we shall also ______ with Him. (Romans 6:8)
  7. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have ____________ your feet, you also ought to ___________ one another's feet.” (John 13:14)
  8. If God so __________ us, we also ought to _________ one another. (1 John 4:11)
  9. If you have anything against anyone while praying, ____________ him, that your Father in heaven may also ____________ you. (Mark 11:25)
  10. If any of you lacks _____________, let him ask God and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)
  11. If one member _____________, all the members _____________ with it; or if one member is ____________, all the members ___________ with it. (1 Corinthians 12:26)
  12. If our earthly house [body], is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the _____________. (2 Cor. 5:1)

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

We All Have Giants to Slay

There's not a kid that ever went to bible class that hasn't heard the story of David and Goliath. The story of the shepherd boy who went head to head with the Philistine champion who stood over 10 feet tall is a bible classic. The victory given to David by the Lord, despite uneven odds, is the same success we all seek over the various temptations faced throughout our lives.

Christians stand in the valley, challenged by the devil, just as David stood in front of the giant in the Valley of Elah. (1 Samuel 17:2) David had the king's armor available to him (though he chose not to wear it). We are encouraged to put on the whole armor of God so to defend ourselves against the schemes and fiery darts of the devil. (Eph. 6:10-20) As Jesus came out of the wilderness, He took the devil straight on. Satan tempted Him in all the ways that he tempts us, yet the Lord never gave in to sin. (Heb. 4:15) At times, the enticements of sin seem gigantic, powerful and ten feet tall, they become our “Goliath”! But just as David loaded a small smooth stone into his sling, we must have the sword of the spirit drawn and read to slay our adversary, the devil who walks about like a predator seeking whom he can destroy and devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

The giants you battle may be different than the ones I face, but the strength and eventual victory comes from the source, our Almighty God! As Philippians 4:13 states so well, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And with this strength, we will slay all of our giants.

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

Promises Kept, Promises Broken

Have you ever made a promise you couldn't keep? I think if we are really honest with ourselves we would have to admit that we've failed to follow through with a promise at one time or another. Think about all of the promises that people make and then break. Around 50% of all people who get married make promises they don't keep. They promise to love, honor and cherish each other for the rest of their lives, yet so many abuse, cheat and divorce the spouse that they made these promises to. Politicians make many campaign promises that are never fulfilled. People make promises to pay back loans from the bank then default, thus breaking the agreement to the financial institution. Then, there are those promises we make to ourselves and never seem to keep. We promise ourselves we'll break that bad habit, get to work on time, make better grades, clean the house more, floss, or countless other self- improvement promises. Even though people make and break promises every day, there is one source of promises that can always be depended on.

When we obey the gospel and are baptized into Christ, we make a promise, a commitment to God to faithfully serve Him for the rest of our lives. Sadly, many will break those promises and return to the wallow of sin from whence they came. (2 Peter 2:20-22)

However, there are some promises that can never be broken. God promised to provide a way to save us from spiritual destruction. He can be depended on to fulfill all the promises made to us that are revealed through His word. Nothing can be more comforting than knowing that these sweet and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) made by God through Christ are the sure thing and can never be broken!

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

Things God Wants from Man

Even though God loves mankind and has put into place a plan of forgiveness and redemption, there are still things that He wants people to do. The short study that follows takes a look at some of those things.

  1. We must __ __ __ __ the LORD our God with all our hearts.
    (Mark 12:30)
  2. We must __ __ __ __ one another because __ __ __ __ is of God.
    (1 John 4:7)
  3. "Surely His salvation is near to those who __ __ __ __ him."
    (Psalm 85:9)
  4. Without __ __ __ __ __ we cannot please God.
    (Hebrews 11:6)
  5. God desires that we __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Him in spirit and truth.
    (John 4:24)
  6. God wants us to diligently __ __ __ __ Him.
    (Hebrews 11:6)
  7. We must __ __ __ __ do __ __ __ __ and __ __ __ __
    for our enemies.
    (Matt. 5:44, NKJV)
  8. God wants all people to __ __ __ __ __ __.
    (Acts 17:30)
  9. God wants us to __ __ __ __ what the Spirit has to say.
    (Revelation 2:7)
  10. We must __ __ __ __ __ __ __ each other just as
    Christ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ us.
    (Colossians 3:13)
  11. We should pursue things which make for __ __ __ __ __
    (Romans 14:19)
  12. We are to __ __ __ __ __ each other, thus building up the church.
    (1 Thes. 5:11)
  13. We are not to love in word only but in __ __ __ __
    and __ __ __ __ __.
    (1 John 3:18)
  14. God wants us to keep ourselves __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
    from the world.
    (James 1:27)
  15. God requires us to __ __ __ __ __ __ __ for our families.
    (1 Timothy 5:8)
  16. God wants us to be __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ till death
    and He will reward us.
    (Revelation 2:10)

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

Speaking of Life

The bible is all about life. In Genesis, we read about the creation of life and also the destruction of life by the Creator. The Old Testament contains many stories about the lives of God's people, while other books give wisdom and guidance for living life. The four gospel accounts teach us about the life of Jesus and we have the Acts in which we read of the lives of the Apostles and Christians in the early church. The epistles (letters) instruct us on how to live the Christian life and of course, we learn of eternal life through the scriptures. Yes, the bible is all about life.

Take your bible and complete the following quiz about “life” in the bible (NASB):

  1. God created human life on this day of creation: __ __ X __ __
    (Genesis 1:26-31)
  2. Because of sin, God would destroy all life and He felt __ __ R __ __.
    (Genesis 6:6)
  3. The Lord will uphold one's life, He is our __ __ __ P __ __
    (Psalm 54:4)
  4. Keeping the instructions of parents results in this kind of life:
    __ __ __ G (Proverbs 3:1-2)
  5. While young, we are in this stage of life: __ __ __ M __
    (Isaiah 38:10)
  6. We are not to feel this way concerning physical life: __ __ RR __
    (Matthew 6:25)
  7. This gate leads to eternal life: __ __ __ __ O __ (Matthew 7:14)
  8. Jesus paid this with His life: __ __ __ S __ __ (Matthew 20:28)
  9. After baptism, we walk in this type of life: __ __ W __ __ __ S
    (Romans 6:4)
  10. The scriptures are described as the __ __ __ D of life.
    (Philippians 2:16)
  11. Christians should seek to live this kind of life: __ __ I __ __
    (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
  12. God promised eternal life which gives us __ __ P __.
    (Titus 1:2; 3:7)
  13. The swiftness of life is described as a __ __ P __ __. (James 4:14)
  14. The Book of Life will be used to __ __ D __ __ all people. (Revelation 20:12)

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

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

In the story of the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2- 13; Luke 9:28-36), Jesus is transformed in His appearance while Peter, James and John look on. While Jesus is praying, He is gloriously joined by Moses, the lawgiver and Elijah, the prophet of God. They talk with Jesus about His upcoming crucifixion in Jerusalem (Lk 9:30-31). Peter, so thrilled and honored to witness such a wonderful sight said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” and suggested erecting three tabernacles (tents or booths) in honor of the Christ, Moses and Elijah. Perhaps he thought that such an event should be commemorated and thus remembered by the three structures. It's interesting that Mark's account says that Peter did not know what to say and Luke wrote that Peter didn't know what he was saying. For a fella who didn't know what to say, Peter said something anyway and his suggestion seemed like a good idea at the time. But then, a great cloud overtakes them and they hear, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”, thus God gives full preeminence to Christ, leaving the law and the prophets behind. I believe Peter's idea to memorialize the transfiguration event was in good faith, but then God corrected him in showing that the law was going away and the prophets were being fulfilled before his very eyes.

To this day, people still desire to build monuments, give out trophies, and mount memorial plagues to walls in an attempt to keep a momentous or glorious moment alive. However, Christians are to live in the present, learn from the past and hope for the future (Heb. 3:13; 1 Cor. 10:6; 2 Cor. 6:2; Rom. 15:4; Phil. 3:12-14; Titus 2:13). In recent years we've seen our own country divided over commemorative statues and monuments. As believers, we should not be concerned with those things made of stone and marble which will fade away with time, but rather pray for the precious souls of our fellowman “that they may be saved.” (1 Cor. 10:32-33).

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

Who Would You Be?

A study of bible characters can be one of the most interesting, inspirational, and beneficial efforts in the pursuit of scriptural knowledge. The vast number of individual personalities described in both the Old and New Testaments can supply years of fascinating learning experiences. As we study the selected character, one cannot help but compare oneself to actions and responses of the character studied. We may even ask ourselves, “If I were a bible character, which one would I be?” Would I be described as one of the champions of faith found in Hebrews 11, or some other person who struggled with a weak faith?

We think of Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, John the Baptist, Priscilla, or the Apostle Paul as heroes of the bible narrative and would never dare compare ourselves to them. Yet each of them possessed the same human weaknesses and faced temptations just as we do. They made mistakes, disappointed their friends, family and their God. It's likely that we relate more to those characters who possessed a “not-so-perfect” record and were scolded for their missteps. Simon the wizard, from Acts chapter 8 or Simon Peter (Galatians 2:11ff) come to mind. Even though the bible is now complete (Jude 3) and the stories of these mentioned are forever sealed, our stories are being written as we live and breathe.

Revelation 20:12
    “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”

Even though my personality is flawed and filled with imperfections, the pursuit of my faith opens the doors of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-10) and is received upon obedience to the gospel message (Romans 1:16). The good news of Jesus Christ is offered freely, not only to a select group of good people, but to “all men everywhere” (Acts 17:30).

Titus 2:11
    “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men”

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

A Soft Answer

Proverbs 15:1
    A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

In the preceding passage, the wise man gives some great relationship advice. We've all found ourselves in confrontations at some point in our lives. While some folks revel in a good fight, most of us would rather avoid those uncomfortable situations all together. The bible is not short on advice and warnings about controlling our anger and resisting the temptation to fly off of the handle when things frustrate us. Uncontrolled anger and confrontation always lead to hurt feelings and alienation in our relationships. However, the mature Christian has developed a sure fire way to handle anger through prayer and self-control. I suppose one of the hardest things we have to do is keep our cool while someone is letting us have it “with both barrels”. But that's exactly what this proverb is telling us to do. Remember the old cartoons, where the characters avoided getting blown up by a bomb by licking their fingers and pinching off the fuse? You and I can “diffuse” difficult situations by following these simple suggestions (all of which are encouraged in the Scriptures). First, be kind and patient, even if the other person is being unreasonable. Don't fight back, because nothing can take the momentum out of a fight better than an unwilling sparring partner. And finally, never go to bed angry, even if the other person is unwilling to make up. Be sure that you are at peace with yourself and God, then pray about your relationship with the person with whom you've had a disagreement.

Ephesians 4:26
  • “Be angry, and do not sin do not let the sun go down on your wrath”

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

Love Demonstrated

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

God did not just tell us He loved us and then left it there. As the preceding verse states, God demonstrated, revealed, and validated His love for mankind by allowing Jesus to be crucified, thus bearing the sins of all undeserving people. After showing us the greatest act of love, He now commands us to love others. (1 John 4:11). As we comply to the second greatest command, “love your neighbor” (Mark 12:29-31), it becomes so easy to shake the hand or hug the neck of a fellow Christian and say, “I love you.” However, the love that the Lord requires of us is much more than a verbal acknowledgment. The love which God demands is not a love spoken, but a love shown.

Notice how we are to demonstrate love:

  • Doing good and showing mercy for our enemies (Luke 6:35-36)
  • Giving preference to each other (Romans 12:10)
  • Serving one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Putting up with each other's imperfections (Ephesians 4:2)
  • Sacrificing ourselves for our family (Ephesians 5:25)
  • Being ready to meet urgent needs of others (Titus 3:14)
  • Encourage one another to do good works (Hebrews 10:24)
  • Being enthusiastic in expressing our love for each other (1 Peter 1:22)
  • Showing compassion for each other (1 Peter 3:8)

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

A Loving God Would Never Do That!

Many folks today, especially our young people, are adhering to the belief that our Heavenly Father is an all-loving God, who has given His love to mankind unconditionally through the sacrifice of Christ. They believe that because of this great gift of grace, the Almighty will never send anyone to an eternal hell. These beliefs can be found within the "Universalist Church", founded in America during the mid-1800's. Also gaining popularity in our society is the belief that no matter how evil a person may be, or what terrible things they may have done, there is a little bit of goodness in everyone. This fraction of goodness is enough to excuse their sinful behavior and therefore such a person should not be eternally punished. By using selected scriptures, this theology can be easily confirmed (or so it would seem).

This octopus has too many tentacles to be covered in such a short article, but we will offer a simple comparison:

1 Timothy 2:3,4
    "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Revelation 21:8
    "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
Acts 20:27
    "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God."

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

Killed and Eaten

Galatians 5:13-15
    For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

In this passage, we are encouraged to use the freedom that is found in Christ, for good rather than bad. This is the same liberty that has freed us from the old law of sin and death, the Old Testament (Romans 8:2). We are to “serve one another” with love and when we do, we fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; James 2:8). However, following these encouraging and uplifting words comes a strong warning. So what does it mean not to “bite and devour”, otherwise we'll be “consumed” by each other?

Imagine for a moment, a predator who has captured its prey. Fangs and claws, biting, tearing the victims flesh bringing death and dismemberment. The prey is slowly eaten, consumed until only a few bones and skin remain. It's a bloody scene, one that would make most folks a bit uncomfortable. Now think of the destructive results that hate, fighting, jealously, harsh criticism, arguments, or nasty gossip can have on a collective group of people. The devastating effects of such behavior will certainly destroy a congregation of God's people, leaving only skin and bones.

Of all the places in the world, the church should be the place one can come to be loved, cared for and comforted. Let us love each other, just as God has loved us (1 John 4:11).

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

"I Can Be a Christian Without the Church"

Many folks today take the view that they can be believers, even Christians, without participating with the church and her functions. They claim that the church has become “institutionalized”, caring only for its million dollar buildings that are filled with hypocritical members. But truth be known, a person who makes such a statement is probably seeking justification for their personal decision not to participate with the worship and work of the body of Christ.

To those who make such assertions, we offer the following scriptural guidance:

  • Jesus died for the church, He purchased it with His blood. (Eph. 5:25; Acts 20:28)
  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of the church (the body). (Eph. 5:23)
  • The Lord adds the saved to the church, to be separated from the church is to be separated from the saved. (Acts 2:47)
  • The Lord provides spiritual nourishment to the church and He treasures her. One who has nothing to do with the church will miss this. (Eph. 5:29)
  • God gave Jesus Christ to be the head of the church. (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) If one is not in the church, one is not under the Headship of Christ.
  • God seeks worshipers to worship Him in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
  • Praising God takes place by singing collectively with the church. (Heb. 2:12; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19)
  • Believers must meet together (Heb. 10:24-27). If one purposely neglects meeting with other believers, there's no longer a sacrifice for sins.
  • Within the church, love, edification, comfort and support are shared. (Rom. 12:10; Eph. 4:29; 1 Thes. 5:11; Gal. 6:2)

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

Am I in the Faith?

The Apostle Paul challenged the Corinthians to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” (2 Cor. 13:5) It is a profound question that each Christian should ask themselves periodically, taking a personal self-assessment of their spiritual condition. What does it mean to be “in the faith”?

Review the following passages for a brief overview on the subject:

  • Christians should be exhorted to continue in the faith.
    (Acts 14:21-23)
  • When growth is present, churches are strengthened in the faith.
    (Acts 16:4-5)
  • Not every member is strong but some are weak in the faith.
    (Romans 14:1)
  • Christians will be watchful, steadfast, brave and strong in the faith.
    (1 Cor. 16:13)
  • One must not be moved away, but remain grounded in the faith.
    (Col. 1:23)
  • One who receives Christ as Lord, will be established in the faith.
    (Col. 2:6-7)
  • Deacons who serve well, develop a great boldness in the faith.
    (1 Tim. 3:13)
  • False teachers should be warned, so to remain sound in the faith.
    (Titus 1:13)
  • Brotherly love should always be shared by those in the faith.
    (Titus 3:15)
  • Satan can be resisted by those who are steadfast in the faith.
    (1 Peter 5:8-9)

Successful Christianity is not defined by man's view of greatness, but by humble service to the Lord which is constantly practiced. To remain “in the faith”, I must practice the faith. God has provided His saving grace, through Christ, accessed by faith. (Eph. 2:1-10) As a reaction to this wonderful gift, the Christian will gladly participate in all things which are found “in the faith”. Living for the Lord is not easy, yes, sometimes it's downright hard. But with God's help, the encouragement of Christ, and the strength of the Spirit, we can endure. “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

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

Mothers in the Bible

The role that mothers played in the biblical story is undeniable. From the beginning pages of Genesis to the latter letters of Timothy, the influence of mothers (both good and bad) is seen time and time again. The impact that the mother has on the child can and will have everlasting consequences (2 Timothy 3:15). The godly mother will pass on a genuine faith to her children just as Timothy's mother, Eunice did for him (2 Timothy 1:5).

Here's a small sample of the mothers found in the bible:

  • Eve was the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20)
  • Sarah became a mother in her old age (Genesis 21:7)
  • Rebekah preferred one son over the other (Genesis 27:5-10)
  • Jochebed hid her son from harm for 3 months (Exodus 2:1-3)
  • Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:22)
  • Bathsheba lost the son of her adultery (2 Samuel 12:15-18)
  • Elizabeth's son prepared people for the Lord (Luke 1:13-17)
  • Mary watched her Son be crucified for the world's sin (John 19:26)

Today, we pay tribute to our godly mothers, thanking God for their love, care and guidance in the ways of the Lord.

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

You Don't Meme It!

What is a "meme"? It is defined as "a unit of cultural information spread by imitation. The term meme (from the Greek mimema, meaning 'imitated') was introduced in 1976 by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his work The Selfish Gene." For most of us it is known as a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied and spread rapidly by social media users. Because most of my social media friends are "believers", I see many memes that have spiritual connotations. These memes may contain a bit of scripture or a feel good proverb or saying and at first glance seem to be comforting and inspiring. However, many times, a closer examination of many of these memes may reveal an error, falsehood or a lie when compared to the inspired scriptures. Just because something sounds good and gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't make it right. Remember, man's wisdom, no matter how good it sounds is not God's wisdom (Isaiah 55:9; Philippians 3:17-19).

John wrote, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1). It is our responsibility to take care that we don't spread false doctrine on our social media accounts and cautiously consider the memes that we share. We must be vigilant and aware of the influence we may have on others who may not be as familiar with the scriptures.

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

The Art of Self-denial

One of the most difficult things for Christian people to practice is self- denial. Yet that is exactly what God expects of His people. If we allow ourselves every pleasure of our heart's desire, we'll become spoiled to the point where we will believe that we “deserve” all these things in order to be happy and content. But the truth is, when we obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine (Rom. 6:17), we made a commitment to God to deny ourselves many of the pleasures in life in order to serve Him, the church, and other people. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23). In the parallel passage in Matthew, Jesus asked, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). To put it in our own terms, Jesus is asking, “What good will it do you if you have the grandest house, the best recreational vehicles, go on the best vacations, send your kids to the finest schools, attend the best parties, go to weekend sporting events, or get the big promotion at work, if it means you'll wind up on the wrong side of judgement. Will you exchange these temporary pleasures and then spend eternity in hell?

Wow! That's pretty heavy stuff there Jesus. But it's exactly what He means. To make it even more difficult, our friends and neighbors are going to think we're crazy because we don't take part in every social event that's happening (1 Peter 4:4). When we are totally committed to Christ, we'll make these sacrifices in order to serve our heavenly Father and in the end, it will be worth it all. Jesus also said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt. 16:25)

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

The Service Station

Remember the service station? When the car needed fuel, you pulled up to the pumps at your favorite full-service gas station. The attendant came out and pumped your gas, washed your windows, checked the oil, water and air in the tires and "serviced" what was required. To the best of my knowledge, there are no more full-service stations in our area, gone the way of drugstore fountains and drive-in movies. A lot of our service today comes from a machine rather than a nice man in a spiffy uniform. We've eliminated much of the human contact in our busy daily lives. We pay at the pump, have online bill pay, use the ATM machine for our banking needs, and even check ourselves out at the grocery store. Technology is great and I'm thankful for it, but I fear we've slowly losing the human touch of service.

One area of service that we should never want to automate is our service to our God and Christian families. The interaction of family members helping and serving each other should never be replaced with computers, video games, robots, or anything else. Christian family members should support each other physically and spiritually in all that they do. This week make the commitment to serve your family better than you did in the past.

Matthew 24:45-47
  • "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions."

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

Blessings in Christ

Are you glad to be a Christian? Are you really? Have you ever thought about all of the blessings that are found in Christ? Using a bible app or concordance and search for the phrase "in Christ". I think you'll be amazed.

Here's just a small sampling of what you'll find:

  • Redemption is found in Christ Jesus - Romans 3:24
  • Alive to God in Christ - Romans 6:11
  • No condemnation in Christ - Romans 8:1
  • We are one body in Christ - Romans 12:5
  • We are wise in Christ - 1 Corinthians 4:10
  • We have hope in Christ - 1 Corinthians 15:19
  • New creations in Christ- 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • God's riches & grace toward us in Christ - Ephesians 2:7
  • Faith & love are found in Christ - 1 Timothy 1:14
  • Salvation through faith is in Christ - 2 Timothy 3:15

This list is not complete by any means; there are so many more things we could list here. Today as we worship and study together, let me remind you to count your blessings that are found in Christ.

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

Only on Easter and Christmas

As I write this article I am anxiously anticipating our Sunday morning gathering. The smiles, hugs, handshakes and encouragement are always welcome. To be able to spend time with people you love, respect and appreciate is truly one of life's great blessings. I look forward to Sunday because I'm pretty confident that we will have a good attendance. Why this prediction? Because my calendar says that it will be "Easter Sunday" and we have a tradition in our country where on certain holidays people go to church, Easter being one of those holidays. Many of you will have family visiting and they will attend church with you. Perhaps we'll have some visitors from our community who are responding from an invitation from one of our members. And then we may have some in our assembly who practice traditional church attendance on such holidays as Easter and Christmas. First and foremost let me say that everyone is welcome anytime here and we encourage your regular attendance.

As we're thinking about attending church only for special occasions, we must turn to the Bible for God's instruction concerning worship and all that we do in life. When you begin looking into the "perfect law of liberty" you will quickly see that God expects more from you and me than just an occasional visit to the church building. In Acts 20:7 we read that "on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread..." We usually use this verse in teaching the necessity of having the Lord's Supper each week. But I want you to notice that the same logic we use to support that doctrine can be used to show that the Christians in the first century church gathered each and every first day, not just every once in a while, just on a special holiday or when it was convenient. But it doesn't stop there; the Saints of the early church practiced their faith every day, not just once a week. They enjoyed fellowship, encouragement, and faith building practices as a part of their daily lives (Acts 2:46). Christians studied the scriptures everyday (Acts 17:11) to confirm what the Apostles were teaching them was true. The early church shared the Gospel with their friends and neighbors every day and the church continued to grow not just on Sunday mornings, but daily! (Acts 16:5)

From these examples we can see that being a Christian is not something we do just once a week on Sunday or on an occasional holiday. Jesus said that to be His disciple we must live for and serve God every day. "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Let us encourage you to begin a daily walk with the Savior and participate in the daily fellowship, love, faith and encouragement that can be found in the church of Jesus Christ.

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

Why is That Man Smiling?

This week I'd like to share a few personal thoughts, if you don't mind. I get ask a lot, "What are you smiling about?" The truth is sometimes I don't even realize I'm doing it. Perhaps today you've noticed me smiling. Why? I'm smiling because I have plenty to be happy about. Many good things happened to me last week and I'm optimistic that this new week will bring even more things for me to grin about.

Here are just a few of the reasons I'm smiling:
  • Last week, I gained a new sister in Christ
  • I had the good health to be able to go to work every day
  • We had a healthy baby girl born into our church family
  • I attended a great bible class and heard an excellent devotional on Wednesday night
  • I was able to read my bible every day
  • I had the opportunity to visit a fellow Christian I haven't seen in a while
  • I sat in the swing with my favorite girl on a warm spring evening
  • I had the opportunity to invite someone to church (and they came)
  • I was able to furnish someone with biblical information on how to become a Christian
  • God loved me so much He sent Jesus
  • I'm saved and will live with God someday

Now, why wouldn't I be smiling? This week, take some time to slow down and think about reasons you have to smile. I guarantee that it will make you and those around you have a greater appreciation for the many blessings that we have from God though Jesus Christ.

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

Living My Best Life?

"Living my best life" is a popular phrase used on social media to describe good things in a person's life. However, its origin doesn't come from the most wholesome of sources. The phrase is featured in the 2018 hip hop song "Smile" by Lil' Duval and contains derogatory and explicit language which is repeated over 50 times in the 4 minute song. The infamous "F-word" appears at least four times within the lyrics of the popular tune. It seems that once a catchy phrase becomes in vogue, the source doesn't seem to matter and I believe this is the case of "living my best life". I've observed the use of the phrase on social media and the #livingmybestlife appears on posts about family gatherings, fishing trips and cooking good things to eat. I've seen it on kid's ball games and camping trips and just about anything that is "good" in life.

As Christians we must carefully consider how we present ourselves to the unchurched and unsaved world. Remember that we are not to be conformed to this world, but are to be transformed by having a spiritual attitude concerning all aspects of life (Romans 12:1-2). Are we at liberty to live our best life? We most certainly can, because we trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17) For the Christian, living my best life means living for Christ and sharing the message of salvation to those around us. Living my best life means that I live humbly in servitude to my Lord and fellowman. (Mark 12:30-31)

So the next time you want to show off your "best life", why not take a photo during family bible study, bible class, worship or during the yard service after church and post it with #livingmybestlife. By doing so, you'll show the world what living the best life is really all about!

Ecclesiastes 1:9,10
  • That which has been is what will be,
    That which is done is what will be done,
    And there is nothing new under the sun.
  • 10 Is there anything of which
    it may be said, "See, this is new"?
    It has already been in ancient times
    before us.

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

The Great Imposter

Born in 1921 in Massachusetts, Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. grew up and went to Catholic school just like so many other kids around him. He never finished high school, instead he wound up in a monastery, but would soon leave it too but later confessed that his time there was one of the most enjoyable of his life. Demara's beginning seem anything but extraordinary, yet for the next 30 years his life would indeed be such. Perhaps the name Ferdinand Waldo Demara Jr. doesn't "ring a bell," it didn't with me until I began the research for this article. But Mr. Demara will be known in history as "The Great Imposter." Throughout his life Demara made his mark in history by taking on false identities and he did not just imitate your average person on the street. Throughout his career as an imposter he posed as a zoology Ph.D., law student, cancer researcher, hospital orderly, deputy sheriff and teacher. He even was arrested and spent six months in jail for posing as a teacher. His most famous exploit was imitating a surgeon while in the Royal Canadian Navy. He performed many operations including removing a bullet from a man's chest. Demara was blessed with the gifts of a great intellect and a photographic memory and taught himself from text books the skills needed in order to make the impersonations successful. It appeared that Demara never led this life of the masquerade for personal gain, it was said that he was just mischievous. He died a sad, depressed man in 1982, those close to him said that he felt as if he had wasted his talents.

Within the realm of Christianity we find imposters as well. There are people that appear to be holy, righteous children of God when in fact they are the devil's servants. We're talking about "Fake Christians," those that the Bible describe as deceivers who are the greatest of the imposters. The fake Christian has many characteristics of the sincere servant of God, they attend worship, pray, and do many good works all in the name of the Lord. But from certain passages we read that even though they appear to be righteous on the outside, inside they are filthy and rotten to the core (Matthew 23:25-28). We need to heed the warnings of Paul when he wrote young Timothy and said "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (2 Timothy 3:2-5). We must be careful to avoid such people and more importantly we must be sure that we don't share any of these characteristics with these imposters.

God wants us to serve him with honest and pure hearts, and if we do we will produce the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) when we worship and live for Him through our Lord, Master and Savior, Jesus Christ!

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


What does it mean to "dedicate" oneself to something? When applied to an individual it means to devote to a particular subject or purpose. In a religious sense, it means to devote to the worship of a divine being, specifically to God. It can also be defined as setting apart for specific, sacred uses with solemn rites. There are many instances of dedication found in the Old Testament story. The mother of Samson was instructed by the Angel to dedicate the boy to God's service with the "Nazarite" vow. The vow, as described in Numbers 6, laid specific rites to abstain from strong drink, not to cut the hair and refrain from touching the dead (Numbers 6:1-21). Though the original vow was intended to be a temporary dedication, Samson, along with Samuel and John the Baptist were to keep the vow for their lifetimes. (1 Samuel 1:10-11; Luke 1:13-15) As we consider these three examples, we may very well see the foresight of inspiration for Christian dedication.

When we obey the Gospel, we make a commitment to the Lord and are to dedicate ourselves to His service. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) This personal sacrifice and dedication to the cause of Christ is now a lifestyle rather than something we apply only for an hour on Sunday morning. We've all known people who wholeheartedly dedicate their lives to a cause that they are passionate about. We need to be just as passionate about our Christianity and live it to the fullest every day. Unlike the original Nazarite vow which lasted for only a specific time and then expired, our Christian service will have only one expiration date as described by Revelation 2:10, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."

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

Is Consistency Important for the Christian?

Ask any motivational life coach if consistency is important for success and you'll get an astounding "Yes!". To be consistent means to fully dedicate yourself completely to a task, activity or goal. It means to fully stay engaged without distraction. Consistency requires that one commits to a sustained effort of action over the long-term. They say that in order to be consistent in life, one must build habits and rituals that keep one focused on the goal set before them. Now that we've established what it means to be consistent, let's apply it to our spiritual lives.

After a study of the scriptures, it isn't long before we will realize that God wants us to not only be committed to Him, but be consistent as well. Notice what the scriptures have to say:

  • Be Consistent in Your Faith (Colossians 2:5)
  • Be Consistent in Your Prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • Be Consistent in Your Hope (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
  • Be Consistent in Your Bible Study (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Be Consistent in Your Worship Attendance (John 4:23,24; Hebrews 10:24,25)
  • Be Consistent in Your Good Works (Galatians 6:9-10)
  • Be Consistent in Your Love for Each Other (1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:11)

It's easy to see that consistency is indeed important to the Christian. Are you lacking consistency in your spiritual life? Through prayer, personal commitment and support from your church family, you can become more consistent in your service to the Lord.

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

Closed on Sunday

When I was growing up, Sunday was a day set aside for rest and reverence. Most stores and businesses were closed and most folks got together with family for Sunday lunch. There were "blue laws" which allowed only basic necessities such as food or gasoline to be purchased. Yeah, Sunday's were different back then.

Nowadays, it's hard to tell Sunday from any other day of the week (other than a lot of people are off work). Every conceivable business or recreational activity is available, allowing us to purchase or do most anything on the "first day of the week". As convenient as this is, it poses a great challenge to the disciple of Christ. Instead of Sunday worship taking priority, it would seem that "going to church" is something we do as long as there's nothing else happening. This is especially true when it comes to the evening services. But as we continue to strive for spiritual growth, we must make the commitment to place God's service first and not just work it in when we can. Let's remember to:

  • Seek First the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
  • Continually Offer the Sacrifice of Praise to God (Hebrews 13:15)
  • Place God First then Family Second (Matthew 10:37)
  • Be Steadfast in the Work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • Not to Neglect Meeting with Our Church Family (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Not Love the World More Than the Lord (James 4:4)
  • Make Self-Sacrifices that Will Please God (Hebrews 13:16; Romans 12:1)
  • Be Good Examples to Those Outside the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

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

The Christian's To-Do-List

  • Love Without Hypocrisy
  • Hate Evil and Hold on to Good Things
  • Be Kind with Brotherly Love, Prefer Each Other
  • Serve the Lord with Enthusiasm
  • Rejoice in Hope and Be Patient in Difficult Times
  • Always Pray
  • Help the Needy and Be Hospitable
  • Bless Those Who Mistreat You
  • Practice Empathy
  • Be Agreeable with Each Other
  • Don't Be High and Mighty, Be Humble
  • Don't Believe Your Opinion is Best
  • Don't Look for Revenge
  • Seek to be a Good Example to Those Around You
  • Make Peace with other People

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

Can I Be Guilt Free?

The weight of guilt can bear down on the soul of the carrier and diminish the spirit so that one becomes unfruitful. We're all guilty of something at one time or another. "There is none righteous, no, not one" and "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10,23) It was guilt that caused the people of Acts 2 to be "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37) and inquire about obedience to the gospel message. Guilt can cause a heavy heart and it is through the emotion of "godly sorrow" that a person will seek repentance (change) and turn toward God and His will. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

In the act of gospel obedience, the past is washed away, leaving us to walk in a refreshing "newness of life" (Romans 6:4) where our sins are remembered no more (Hebrews 8:12). Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Therefore, if one is not condemned, then one is free from guilt of the past infraction. However, we must remember, that we are never free to live sinfully just because of the blessing of God's grace (Romans 6:1,2) and that we can willfully choose to return to the mud and mire of the world (2 Peter 2:20-22) and when we do so "there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26). But as stated earlier, we no longer walk (live) according to physical desires but "walk in the light as He is in the light," and where "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Can I be guilt free? Can I forget the things of the past and press forward to the goal of eternity? (Philippians 3:13,14) Yes, I certainly can, because of the gift of God's grace received through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-10).

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

Are You Prepared for a Spiritual Storm?

As the Apostle Paul described the perils of his evangelistic endeavors (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) there is no doubt that his suffering was a tremendous test of his faith. Yet through all those storms of trouble and trial he persevered and remained true to Christ. He wrote from a Roman prison, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) What spiritual strength it must have taken to pen such a profound statement! For the modern day Christian, spiritual storms can come in all shapes and sizes. From the sly remark made by an unbeliever to physical abuse or imprisonment because one stands for the cause of Christ. For most of us our personal suffering is mild in comparison to others, but still our faith is tested from even the most trivial trouble.

Just as many of the powerful empires of history, America finds itself on the downward slope of moral decline making less and less room for God and His people. The time may be near when we will suffer greatly for declaring God's truths as outlined in the Scriptures. As that time nears, Christians must ask themselves, "Am I prepared for the on-coming spiritual storm?" If we believe the bible to be true, then we understand the certainty of tribulation for the believer. Paul warned Timothy, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)

However, this gloomy forecast does not have to discourage us. If we build upon a firm foundation, that being Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), then our spiritual house will endure the storm just as the man who built his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). With the right attitude, we will strengthen ourselves during the smaller, less serious trials of life thus building spiritual strength which will enable us to weather the major tempest (James 1:2-3). We're assured that God will never "leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5) and have the hope of all hope, that eternal place prepared for us by the Savior. (John14:1-4).

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

Many Faiths

Once, as we drove into a small central Arkansas town, we were greeted with a sign which read, "Welcome to Our Town, A Town of Many Faiths." After we had passed the sign, my wife asked, "Doesn't the bible say that there is one faith?" I answered back, "Yes, that's what the bible says." She thought it strange that a town would boast about something that was contrary to what the bible teaches, and I agreed. As you drive through the little town, a town similar in size to the small town we live in, you begin to realize that it is in fact a town of many faiths. I counted at least five church buildings within rock throwing distance from each other. Our town is not much different, if you look at the sign that is located just west of our fellowship building, you'll see an example of our religious diversity. That Arkansas town's religious pride is typical of our country's attitude toward religious diversity. Built upon the principle of freedom of religion, our country allows and promotes a diverse religious community, one of which allows you and I to meet and worship without worry of harassment. However, this concept is indeed at odds with what the New Testament teaches concerning faith, worship and service to God.

The passage that my wife called in question when we encountered the "many faiths" sign is found in the letter to the Ephesians. Note what Paul, inspired by the Spirit wrote,

Ephesians 4:1-6
  • "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, [.underline]#one faith#, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."

As you can see from this passage, God's idea for the religious community is "oneness" rather than diversity.

It should be our sincere desire that we can all follow Jesus, worship God, and serve Him in unity as outlined in His Word. Wouldn't it be great if [we, as a community, were so united that] we could put up a sign that read, "Welcome to Our Town, A Town of One Faith"?

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

You Can't Buy Your Way In

Silas Gentry walked into the church building just like he'd done a thousand times before. He took off his black hat, hung it on the same hook that he'd used since 1957. He walked in, greeted no one and took his place on the end of the pew, third from the back. As worship started, Silas sat there stone faced while the rest of the congregation sang praises to the Lord. As far as I can remember, Silas never once opened his mouth to sing. As a matter of fact, I can't say that I ever remember Silas participating in any part of a worship service except when it came time for the offering. Every Sunday, without fail, Silas deposited a handful of $100 bills into the collection plate. Once the money left his hand, his expression became hard again, one of loneliness and isolation. I understand that Silas was very influential in the congregation though you'd never know it by watching him. But I was told that he would threaten the eldership if things didn't go the way he thought they should. I've been told that at times, Silas would withhold his offering of large bills while a major decision was being made, just to remind the elders that he was responsible for a large portion of the church budget.

Silas Gentry died last year and was buried with a graveside service. Since then, the church continues to function just as well as it ever did, even without Silas' large weekly offering of $100 bills. I guess it just goes to show you, you can't buy your way in.

Many of us believe that just because someone is financially successful means that they are excused from being involved in the work of the church. Their large contributions allow them privileges in God's Kingdom not offered to those who may not have quite as much. Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn from the story of Simon in Acts 8 that you can't buy the gift of God. "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!" was Peter's answer to Simon in verse 20. God blesses us all in different ways but we are all required to use what we have (Matthew 25:14-30). Remember that Jesus said, "For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48). Just because someone has the ability to make large contributions doesn't mean that they are using everything God has blessed them with for the better of the church and their service to Him. What they say really is true, "You can't buy your way to heaven."

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

Should We Strive for Religious Excellence

How important is it that we strive to be perfect? The drive and determination that it takes just to exceed at any given task takes monumental effort. For instance, the athlete that achieves the world championship must dedicate and sacrifice his life totally to training for the event. The successful business person must spend countless hours working at their occupation in order to achieve world market wealth. When we consider the spiritual aspect of Christian perfection, we are sure to begin to have doubts that we can never achieve such a goal. The total sacrifice needed to become like the Apostle Paul seems unattainable, so therefore many of us say, "What's the use?"

Truth is there are no perfect people, only a perfect God. Those who follow Him through obedience to the gospel of Christ set for themselves a level of perfection, a godly maturity. Jesus said, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48). So again we have to ask ourselves, "Should we strive for religious perfection?" Even though we will never be perfect, Christians have no choice other than to set out for the highest of spiritual goals. Don't get down and discouraged and even though you may never be perfect you can have a relationship with a perfect God, believe in a perfect Savior, belong to a perfect church and receive the perfect gift of salvation.

Philippians 3:12
  • Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

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

Living in a Right-Hand World

I'm left handed and throughout my life it has been a source of both inconvenience and at times down-right difficult. For instance, when I started school as a kid the desk we sat at were right-handed, totally opened on the left side. When I tried to write or draw my left arm was up in the air, and had no support. Other school supplies caused some frustration as well, the spiral bound notebook for example. That spiral wire is right in the way of my left hand. Everyday utensils that are geared for a right-hand world. Scissors are a source of constant frustration, try using a pair of scissors to cut fabric using you're left hand and it's like a tooth-less dog trying to eat a bone, it gnaws at it but nothing happens! Other items seem to cater to the "righties" like a computer mouse, musical instruments and even firearms. There are the names associated with being left handed, "leftie" and "southpaw" come to mind. I've always wondered why we don't have "right-paws". Yep, it's a right-handed world alright, geared to the majority.

If you think about it, being a Christian is a lot like being left-handed. Christians are not in the majority and sometimes find it hard to fit into a non-Christian world. We are to be unique, different, not conformed to the world around us (Romans 12:1-2). We are to be "peculiar" people (Titus 2:14 KJV) who refuse to fit into the mold of a sinful society. Take a look at your life and ask yourself, "Am I so different that those around me can tell or do I just fit in with everybody else?" We are to be so different that others notice and ask why we are not quite like everyone else. Notice Peter's comment, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear," (1 Peter 3:15). One of the judges of Israel was a unique individual by the name of Ehud (Judges 3:12-26). Ehud was wise, a good planner and he was left-handed and by looking at his example we can see just how important it is to be a unique child of God.

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

Starting Anew

As we come to the [beginning of a new] year, it's time to look ahead and set goals for the New Year. Remember that the Apostle Paul said,

Philippians 3:13,14
  • "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.".

We can't ride the wave of past successes nor dwell on past failures. Christians must always look ahead, planning for spiritual growth, growth of the kingdom and looking towards our final heavenly reward.

So what would be some worthy goals for the coming year? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Increase Your Faith - Luke 17:5-10
  • Read the Bible Every Day - Acts 17:11
  • Make Church Attendance a Priority - Hebrews 10:24-25
  • Be More Constant in Prayer - 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Improve Your Example - 1 Timothy 4:12
  • Make Godly Living a Family Priority - Ephesians 6:1-4
  • Tame Your Anger - Ephesians 4:26
  • Practice Pure & Undefiled Religion - James 1:27

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

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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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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Excerpts from Proverbs 3 and Psalms 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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 3:7-12
    (World English Bible)

    • Exhortations to Seek Wisdom
      • and Walk with the Lord
        • continued
        • Proverbs 3:1 - 12
    • 7) Don't be wise in your own eyes.
      • Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.
    • 8) It will be health to your body,
      • And nourishment to your bones.
    • 9) Honor Yahweh with your substance,
      • With the first fruits of all your increase:
    • 10) So your barns will be filled with plenty,
      • And your vats will overflow with new wine.
    • 11) My son, don't despise Yahweh's discipline,
      • Neither be weary of his reproof:
    • 12) For whom Yahweh loves, he reproves;
      • Even as a father reproves the son
        • in whom he delights.

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    Psalm 12:1-8
    Book 1 (Psalms 1-41)
    (World English Bible)

    • For the Chief Musician;
      • upon an eight-stringed lyre.
        • A Psalm of David.
    • 1) Help, Yahweh; for the godly man ceases.
      • For the faithful fail
        • from among the children of men.
    • 2) Everyone lies to his neighbor.
      • They speak with flattering lips,
        • and with a double heart.
    • 3) May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips,
      • And the tongue that boasts,
    • 4) Who have said,
      • "With our tongue we will prevail.
        • Our lips are our own.
          • Who is lord over us?"
      • 5) "Because of the oppression of the weak
        • and because of the groaning of the needy,
          • I will now arise,"
        • says Yahweh;
      • "I will set him in safety from those who malign him."
    • 6) The words of Yahweh are flawless words,
      • As silver refined in a clay furnace,
        • purified seven times.
    • 7) You will keep them, Yahweh,
      • You will preserve them
        • from this generation forever.
    • 8) The wicked walk on every side,
      • When what is vile is exalted among
        • the sons of men.

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