West Side Church of Christ

Our Sunday Morning Bible Classes Are Canceled

Happy Thanksgiving

West Side Church of Christ

Friday, March 24, 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: Paul Goes to Corinth, p1

Sermon from Mar 19, 2023
Speaker: Scott Reynolds

Sunday PM Sermon

Title: Paul Goes to Corinth, p2

Sermon from Mar 19, 2023
Speaker: Scott Reynolds

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

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

Investing Yourself

There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment and seeing the results of all of your hard work. Usually, when we finish a project there's something to show for it at the end, it's tangible, and we can see it, touch it, use it, and even share it with others. When we complete a job or project we feel proud and self-confident and are ready to take on the next project, maybe even one that is bigger and better than the one just completed. Your own personal progress can be seen as you move to more complex and difficult task in order to work through the next project. For instance, take the man who began woodworking as a hobby, just building little trinkets in his garage. His interest in working with wood causes him to practice and develop the craft. He studies and practices using the tools needed to complete each project. It's a slow process, but after years of hard work, he becomes a master craftsman, building fine custom furniture pieces that sell for thousands of dollars and are in high demand. He's invested himself in the craft, thus after years of practicing the art or woodworking, he reaps the benefits.

The same principle that led to the man becoming a master craftsman applies to the Christian life and involvement in the church of Christ. The Christian who invests himself in Christ's service will, just as the master craftsman, reap the benefits at the end. Where are you in your journey as a Christian? No matter where you are along that road, there are things to do and learn. Lacks of ability, physical limitation, or chronological age are no excuse for not continuing the work set before us. Just as Nehemiah set the people of Israel to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, you and I must set ourselves to the building of the Kingdom.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Nehemiah 4:6

But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

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


Match the subject with the correct passage:
1. Matthew 7:1,2 Faith
2. Colossians 3:16 Good Works
3. 2 Corinthians 9:7 The Lord's Supper
4. John 4:24 Singing
5. Galatians 3:27 The Word
6. Romans 10:17 Judgement
7. John 1:1 Heaven
8. 1 Corinthians 13:13 Giving
9. James 3:5,6 The Tongue
10. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Baptism
11. Revelation 21:4 Worship
12. Galatians 6:10 Love

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

By Faith

Faith is defined as the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We believe that certain places or people exist although we've never been there or met that person. We rely on trustworthy information that has convinced us that those places or people are real. Our faith is developed from the true word of God (Romans 10:17) and through practice it continues to grow for the rest of our lives. (Luke 17:6) They say that "seeing is believing" and Thomas had to touch the nail scarred hands of Jesus before he would believe that the Christ was alive. Yet Jesus told him that we are blessed because we believe without having seen Him (John 20:29).

It is by and through faith by which we access the wonderful gift of God's grace and salvation, thus we are motivated to do good works and continue in them for a lifetime (Ephesians 2:8-10; Revelation 2:10). To fail to do so results in a useless faith (James 2:17-18) and without faith there is no way to please our Heavenly Father (Hebrews 11:6). Hebrews 10:38 says, "Now the just shall live by faith", meaning faithfulness is a way of life. Continued trust and faith in God through Christ can and will keep us on the narrow road to our heavenly home.

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

He Was Like Us

Very little of the early life of Jesus is recorded in the gospel accounts. Only in Luke do we get a small glimpse into the childhood of the Savior. Men have tried to guess and assume certain things that Jesus may have done when he was young, for instance because his father Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3), we assume that Jesus was taught and practiced the trade of carpentry. Even though we aren't told stories of his youth, we can, by using other passages of scripture, come to realize that because Jesus was human, he shared some of the same emotions, feelings and temptations that you and I are experiencing right now.

Because He was human, Jesus felt happiness when things went well. He probably spent time with His friends laughing and playing games that most children played. As He grew older He experienced the emotions of an adolescent, thus learning and understanding the vast range of growing pains that young people experience as they grow into adulthood. Also as He grew older, He was tempted with all of the bad things that life had to offer. We read that He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). And because of passages like Mark 7:21-23 we know that He was tempted with materialism, all types of sexual sin, greed, lewd behavior and foolishness. Jesus cried when he was sad (John 11:35), got angry, frustrated and perplexed when people disappointed Him (John 2:14) and enjoyed the company of children (Matthew 18:2). In order to know us and sympathize with us Jesus experienced life fully. So you might ask, "What does this have to do with me today?" Well, everything. As we go through our everyday lives, we experience happiness, frustration, temptation, anger, and enjoyment. Knowing that Jesus experienced life just as we do can be very comforting and encouraging. There's not a problem that the Savior doesn't understand and will mediate to the Father for us (1 Timothy 2:5).

So as we begin another week, let's remember as the old song says, "There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one" and He'll help us through all of life's troubles and triumphs because after all He was and is like us.

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

Taking Time

Think about the old favorite hymn "Take Time to be Holy." Considering the theme of this song it's easy to see that in order to do anything worth while it takes time. No matter what we might be engaged in or trying to accomplish, it will take a concentrated effort along with time to see the end result. For instance, think of the time you spent getting ready for church services. You spent time in reading and study so that you could be prepared for bible study hour. You filled in the blanks of the questions and made notes in your workbook. You took the time to get up early enough so that you could be here at 10 AM thus reaping the benefits of group Bible study, keeping in mind the words of Paul when he told Timothy to "Be diligent (study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15).

Perhaps you took the time last week to do something good for someone in need. You could have spent your time doing something you enjoyed but you sacrificed a little of your personal time in order to make someone more comfortable. By doing so you fulfilled "the Law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2) and let other people see Jesus Christ in you.

Maybe you took the time to pray to our Heavenly Father. Everyday you set aside some time from your busy day to talk to God. As you continue your talks with Him, you get closer and closer to Him. We know this because the Bible tells us that if we draw near to God, He in turn will draw near to us (James 4:8). We are to pray and pray often, without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) so that we can continue to develop a personal relationship with the Almighty God through our Savior Jesus Christ.

If you did not take time to serve God last week, then let us encourage you to begin to serve Him today. Make that commitment to take time everyday to talk to God, love Him with all of your heart, mind, strength and soul. Take the time to serve others first, then yourself. If we will but apply these principles into our everyday lives, they will be full, busy, fruitful and rewarding. A life where we "take time to be holy" will lead us down that narrow, rocky, and difficult path (Matthew 7:13-14) toward that final place with God (John 14:1-4).

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

The Estate Sale

As a "re-purposer" and bargain hunter I enjoy cruising the online classifieds. Its fun looking [for] items you don't have and probably don't need but are really cheap. One ad I usually take time to look at is the estate sale, especially those with lots of photos. These are the sales in which the complete contents of a house, garage or workshop are on sale. The estate sale is a common occurrence in our society and commonly held after a person or persons have passed away.

But recently I've begun to look at the estate sale in a different light. Instead of clicking through the photos looking for a great deal I've begun looking at the items on display as a collection of artifacts of a person who's time on earth has come to an end. Seen in the collection of items are the contents of a shelf full of little mementos of vacations past or gifts from friends. Decorative items line the walls still hanging where the deceased carefully placed them. A stack of old vinyl records that give you a clue to the music enjoyed in years past. A garage filled with well-worn tools used many years to care for the small well-kept yard. There's an alarm clock, still sitting on the night stand where it faithfully woke someone to rise and go to work. Hundreds of items kept, stored, and cherished that were once thought valuable are now for sale for only pennies.

The estate sale is a reflection of a person's life work and the gathering of material things. The writer of Ecclesiastes called this "vanity" or emptiness. We work so hard to gather up only what will be left one day for others. John wrote, "Do not love the world" and Paul said he counted his material wealth as dung. The important things in life aren't those we can hold in our hands but the products of the heart are the possessions that can last eternally.

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

Advice From the Old Book: Pride

The Old Testament was written for our learning (Rom. 15:4). Let's study what is said of sinful pride -

  • The prideful person doesn't think about God - Ps 10:4
  • Bragging on oneself is a character of evil - Ps 36:2
  • Never be proud of sinful behavior - Ps 52:1-3
  • God will not protect the haughty and proud - Ps 101:5
  • Pride and haughtiness will precede failure - Prov. 16:18
  • Godly people hate pride and arrogance - Prov. 8:13
  • Always prefer patience over pride - Eccl. 7:8
  • Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes - Is. 5:21
  • Beware of pride of your talents and blessings - Jer. 9:23,24
  • God hates sinful pride - Prov. 6:16-17

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

How Much Do I Need?

Recently I watched a series of short documentaries on minimalistic living and tiny houses. There was a man who lived in a "hobbit-like" house dug into the side of a hill. Another man lives in a 12 x 24 (288 sq. ft.) house he built in the West Texas desert. There were young people who built their 2-story tiny house on a 16 ft. utility trailer. It was quite interesting to see just how little it takes to get along and live very comfortably if one's health and attitude allows.

Just how much "stuff" does a person really need? Growing up and living in a materialistic society has convinced most of us that we need a whole bunch of "stuff" in order to survive when the real truth is you only need food (including water), clothing and maybe shelter. I think about myself and just how much I have accumulated over my lifetime. If I took inventory I'm sure that I don't need 98% of my "stuff" and that's probably a conservative estimate.

As disciples of Jesus we need to be careful of the influence of materialism. We follow a Savior who had "nowhere to lay His head" (Luke 9:58) and refused an opportunity to possess "all the kingdoms of the world" (Matthew 4:9). Jesus taught that we need not worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear, but make seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness our priority and God will supply those life sustaining necessities to us. Our problem lies in that we believe a person who has only the basics of life is the poorest of poor and we pity them because of this perceived poverty. Yet that's exactly the type of "man" that Jesus was.

The bible teaches that "contentment with godliness is great gain" and we should be content in the state of living we find ourselves in at the present time (1 Timothy 6:6; Philippians 4:11). So next time you think you just can't get by without that gadget, appliance, vehicle or house then take a moment and ask yourself, "How much do I really need?"

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

The "One Another's"

Take your bible app and search the New Testament for "one another", mine returned 89 results. The first passage to note is John 13:34 where Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." As you begin to read through the selected verses you can begin to see a pattern of behavioral practices to apply in our relationships. You will read key words like "affectionate", "preference", "service", "gentleness" and "compassion". These passages will overwhelm you with encouragement and motivation and you will begin to wonder if the scriptures teach us to have these characteristics why is it that Christians can't get along with each other?

I believe the answer can be found in Jesus' own words, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Yep, that's it. We can't get along because we disregard the instructions of the "one another's". Oh how quickly we will condemn the individual who lies, curses or practices immorality. We stand with rocks in our hands ready to stone the adulterous offender while holding contempt in our hearts for each other. (John 8:3ff) Shame on us.

Can you imagine how strong and effective the church would be if we all applied the "one another's"? Let us begin today to encourage, appreciate, forgive, and love one another.

1 John 4:11
    "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

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

Look Out!

In life we are given warnings to prevent us from being harmed. However it is up to the individual to pay attention and heed those warnings.

The bible is full of admonitions (warnings) for God's people:

  • Don't Neglect Salvation - Hebrews 2:3
  • Danger in Lack of Knowledge - Hosea 4:6
  • Watch for the Coming of the Lord - Matthew 24:42
  • Danger in Refusing to Repent - Acts 8:22
  • Do Not Lie to Each Other - Colossians 3:9
  • Beware the Dangers of Alcoholic Drinks - Proverbs 23:30-35
  • Avoid the Party Lifestyle - Romans 13:13
  • Avoid Division - 1 Corinthians 1:10-12
  • Warnings to Married Couples - 1 Corinthians 7
  • Warning Against Same Sex Relationships - Romans 1:24-27
  • Watch Out for False Teachers - 1 Timothy 4:1-6
  • Do Not Gossip or be a Busybody - 1 Timothy 5:13
  • Do Not Be Complacent - James 4:17
  • Do Not be Lazy - 1 Thessalonians 4:11
  • Beware of the Enemy Satan - 1 Peter 5:8

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

A Different Vantage Point

The way that we see the world depends a lot on our point of view or vantage point. Have you ever approached your driveway from the opposite direction than normal and notice how different it looks? Maybe you've had the opportunity to fly over your house while on approach to the airport, getting a bird's eye view. Have you ever sat in a different pew at church and discover that things look totally different from there? When we take a chance and try to see things from a different angle the possibilities of seeing new and undiscovered things seems endless. Many of us only look at our Christianity in one way. Some of us look at our service to God as an hour spent in a church building once a week. Others view Christianity as sitting in their pew three times a week. Some folks view Christianity as something to do when there's nothing better going on in their lives while others live and breathe serving the Lord 24/7. Some view Christianity as obeying a strict set of rules while others view it as a law of liberty. Many Christians view service to God as working with their hands whiles others see it as sharing their hearts and emotions with others. As you can see (no pun intended), we all seem to view Christianity in a different way. However, we must realize that God has placed us here in the church just where He wants us (1 Corinthians 12:18) thus making a body full of diverse talent and ability. But in order to continue to grow and mature in Christ we must continually seek new vantage points from which we can learn and grow.

This week try looking at some of your ideas of Christianity from a different vantage point. You may just discover a new way of seeing the cross of Christ that will help you continue your spiritual journey to eternity.

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

It Seems Right to Me

Proverbs 14:12; 16:25
  • "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death."

When meditating on the preceding passage one begins to realize that mankind's wisdom apart from God's wisdom can leave one spiritually destitute. Society and tradition can set one's moral compass to believe that his reasoning is correct even when it violates God's commands. The end result of such thinking is described by the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 5:20
  • "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Christians must use the principles of God when called on to make moral judgments. That is why it is so very, very important to have a good knowledge of what the bible says and does not say. Another Old Testament warning states:

Hosea 4:6
  • "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

We must continue to give attention to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine as prescribed by 1 Timothy 4:13. Just as "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", a little daily dose of God's word helps us build a healthy spiritual awareness that we can draw upon to help us make important decisions about what is right and what is wrong.

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

If Only I Had... — Regret

We all know the old saying, "Hindsight is 20/20". There's not a one of us who hasn't looked over our shoulder and questioned a decision or action committed in the past. Mistakes, misjudgments, tragedy and missed opportunity filled our memories and worry our minds. "If only I had...", begins a sentence of regret, wishing we had chosen a different path and perhaps the end results would have been different.

Regret is certainly one of the ironies of life because we learn and grow from those mistakes and missteps yet they are the things which make us sorry for the past! The first time we read of regret in the bible is in Genesis 6:6. Because of mankind's evil ways God was sorry that he had created such an unruly being. Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes the writer expresses much regret as to spending his life working, building and saving only to pass it on to someone else after he dies. Judas regretted the decision to betray Jesus and even though he repented, the pain was such that he took his own life.

Why would God give us such a worrisome emotion? Because regret causes us to realize our need for change and the need for God's forgiveness and His salvation. (2 Cor. 7:10) If I never felt remorse for my wrong doing I would never see the need to be obedient to God. Those who are accused of crimes have lawyers to be their advocates when facing judgment. You and I have an Advocate in Jesus Christ who goes to God on our behalf at the point of regret and confession.

"If only I had done things differently." Holding on to regret can weigh heavy on the heart but we must remember that Philippians 3:13 encourages us to let go of the past and move toward the future. A future filled with God's love, forgiveness and eternal reward.

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

Where is He? — Wandering Christians

It was a beautiful fall day in the small community, a perfect day for the annual fall bazaar. The closed off streets were full of people with craft merchants lining each side. Jennifer Crowley had taken David, her six-year-old, to the bazaar for a great fall outing. As they walked down the street hand-in-hand, Jennifer met Sandra Franks and the two struck up a conversation. While they were talking, David impatiently pulled and tugged on his mother's arm, "I wanna see the horses!" he insisted. A group of teenagers fooling around pushed by breaking Jennifer's grip on David's hand. After a brief moment of confusion Jennifer looked and David was no where to be seen. She quickly scanned the surrounding crowd but David had simply vanished. She told Sandra to begin looking up the street while she went the other way. After 10 minutes of searching she began to get frantic. She came upon Deputy Sheriff Darrell Height, told him what had happened and he immediately joined in the search. After 45 minutes with David no where to be found, Jennifer was now in a panic and began to cry, "Where is he?" As she wiped the tears from her eyes she scanned the crowd again and froze as she looked at the courthouse steps. There on the top step sat David watching and enjoying the small sea of people. Jennifer ran and picked up her little boy. "Momma, why are you crying?" David asks. With a big smile she answered, "Because I'm so glad to see you!"

In Luke 15, Jesus told three stories about lost things, a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. In each story, the one who had lost something had great concern over the thing that had been lost. The man who lost the sheep left all the other sheep to search, the woman who lost the coin cleaned the whole house in the search and the father of the lost son never lost his love and compassion. When one of our members wanders from the family (James 5:19-20) we should become as frantic as Jennifer did when David disappeared in the crowd. However, many times we don't even realize someone is missing until it's too late. We must begin to practice one-on-one Christianity and go search for the wanderers. We must never lose our desire, care or compassion for each other. Let me encourage you to go and find those who have left our family here and when we find them...

Luke 15:10
  • "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

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

Things About Heaven

What causes a person to board a plane, train, ship or auto and head out to a distant vacation destination? Escape, to get away from the busyness and challenges of life for a while and to experience perhaps a beautiful new place. For Christians, the final destination is Heaven. It is one of the motivating factors that keep us moving through life. But what will it be like? What is it that draws us to it and gives us hope of being there for eternity?

  • Heaven is God's Dwelling Place - 2 Chronicles 6:39
  • Jesus Christ is There - Colossians 3:1
  • A Place of Many Mansions (Dwellings) - John 14:2
  • All Things will Be Like New - Revelation 21:5
  • There Will be Non-Stop Worship - Revelation 4:8
  • Heaven has Been Prepared Just for Us - John 14:3
  • Heaven has a Zero Crime Rate - Matthew 6:20
  • We'll Never be Sad in Heaven - Isaiah 60:20
  • No One will Cry or Be in Pain - Revelation 21:4
  • No Alarm Clocks or Deadlines in Heaven - Revelation 21:23
  • We Will See Him and Be Like Christ - 1 John 3:2
  • We'll Never Grow Old in Heaven - 1 Corinthians 15:52
  • Heaven's Beauty is Indescribable - 1 Corinthians 2:9

Wow! I want to go, don't you?

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

If It Smells Like a Skunk...

Last week when entering the church building we were met with an all-too-familiar odor. Unfortunately, some of us know firsthand just how bad a skunk can really smell. Whether you've encountered a skunk one-on-one or not, when you smell the distinctive odor produced by these little varmints, you can immediately identify it. If it smells like a skunk, then it probably is a skunk. Sin is like that. If some action or emotion feels like it could possibly be sinful, then there's a good chance that it probably is:

  • If it feels like pride, then it probably is
  • If it sounds like gossip, then it probably is
  • If it seems to be petty, then it probably is
  • If it feels lukewarm, then it probably is
  • If it looks like it might be a sin...

You get the idea. The Christian life is a constant growing experience and God want us to continue to learn about Him and His will through study and meditation of His Word. Outlined in the Scriptures are corrections and guidance to help us avoid the stench of sin.

Philippians 1:9,10
  • And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,

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

Proud as a Peacock

As Americans [we] are a proud people. We boast about living in the most powerful country in the world. Many wear their patriotism outwardly, believing that because they are a citizen of the United States they possess a superiority over all other people of the world. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with loving our country and being patriotic. However, as Christians we must be careful of too much self-imposed pride. Answer the following questions, "Did you [choose] the country of your birth?" and "Did you [choose] the race to which you were born?" Of course, the answer is "No," to both questions. So we must be very careful not to become arrogant and take credit for our nationality but rather be thankful for it.

The Christians at Corinth had this problem. They had become arrogant because of the spiritual gifts they had received and developed a sinful dose of pride because they could perform miraculous task[s] (1 Corinthians 4:6-7). Pride and arrogance are not only an unattractive characteristics but are emotions which God hates (Proverbs 6:17). Religious arrogance is especially condemned in the New Testament narrative, so much so that God will resist (oppose) the proud while embracing the humble spirit (James 4:6). There's nothing wrong with having pride in ourselves, our families, our country and our Lord. But when we become haughty, thinking ourselves better than others because we've received God's grace we commit the greatest of hypocrisy (Matthew 23:28).

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

I Wonder Why...

God gave us the interesting characteristic of "curiosity" when He created us. It causes us to question and inquire about the things around us. Curiosity makes us wonder and seek out knowledge. The power and consequence of being curious is credited for our advances in education, science, and technology. What drives the desire to explore, invent and discover? It is the sense given to us called "curiosity".

Curiosity makes us "think" and "wonder". What else could motivate us to seek God? As seekers of knowledge we wonder about the Creator and ponder the mysteries of life. The old adage, "Curiosity killed the cat" can be a warning of being too curious in matters that might be dangerous, however the wise man of Proverbs wrote,

Proverbs 18:15
  • "The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."

Christians are encouraged to...

Eph. 3:1
  • "seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God."

Thus we are to use our curiosity to seek out our spiritual path in life.

True, there are those questions we may never be able to answer, "Why must good people suffer?" or "Why is my life so challenging?" But with the right prayerful attitude we can accept things for the way they are and let our curiosity move us to please our Heavenly Father.

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

I Give Up!

James 4:7,8
  • "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

For Christians to have a right relationship with God they may have to get to the point in life where they say, "I give up!". This is not a declaration of quitting but rather admitting that they have tried to face life's challenges on their own terms instead of submitting to the Lord and letting Him help them get through life. The above passage simply states, "submit to God" which means we should give up and give in, allowing God to control every aspect of our lives. I know that's a tall order, however when we base our decisions upon God's instruction and wisdom life can indeed be less frustrating.

Now take a look at the next part of the passage. Resisting Satan is easier said than done because he'll use every means possible to make us fail in both our physical and spiritual lives. But God assures us here that if we stand up and stand strong the old devil will leave us alone for a while.

Finally, we're told to "draw near to God". We get close to God through Jesus Christ and when we trust and depend on the Lord to help us He will be right by our side. We're never promised that life will be easy, what we are promised is we'll be able to handle whatever life throws us because we have the peace that passes understanding in our hearts (Phil. 4:7) and our Father will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)

Ephesians 6:11
  • "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."

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

Fooling Ourselves

Self-awareness can be described in many ways. Knowing the person you are inside is the beginning of a successful life (or so they say). The ability to look at oneself in the mirror objectively is a difficult achievement because many of us look into a "magic" mirror which hides the person we truly are. With Satan's help our society is becoming more and more permissive, convincing us that no matter what lifestyle we choose it should be accepted and embraced as long as it falls into a skewed sense of morality.

However, for the disciple of Christ that illusion is shattered when we look into the "perfect" mirror of God's word. In it we learn that there are "none righteous" (Rom. 3:10) and "all have sinned and fall short" (Rom. 3:23).

All people need the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ through obedience and if we believe "I'm OK" without obeying God then we are just fooling ourselves (Gal. 6:3). We're not to think more highly of ourselves than we should (Rom. 12:3) and the Lord will reject the proud heart but accepts the humble (James 4:6). If the Apostle Paul who possessed a great faith, preached boldly, and suffered for the Gospel yet said he was the "chief of sinners" where does that leave us? We must never be convinced that sin is alright but having a realistic view of ourselves and having a sense of self-worth are two different things. God loved us so that He gave His Son for us and that we are "worth more than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:31).

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

Don't Be a Fool

April 1st is known as "April Fool's Day". The day is celebrated with pranks and practical jokes played upon friends and family all in good fun. However, in real life no one likes being the "fool". Christians should avoid foolish behavior and be aware of what the bible says about the subject:

  • The fool says there is no God - Psalm 14:1; 53:1
  • The fool believes his way is always right - Proverbs 12:15
  • The fool continues in unbecoming behavior - Proverbs 26:11
  • Don't call anyone a fool - Matthew 5:22
  • Don't be a hypocritical fool - Matthew 23:16-23
  • Materialism is foolish - Luke 12:16-21
  • We once acted foolish (but not anymore) - Titus 3:1-3
  • Avoid the lifestyle of a fool - Ephesians 5:15
  • We should be fools for Christ's sake - 1 Cor. 4;10
1 Timothy 6:11,12,
  • But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

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

Enjoy Your Liberty

Christians should celebrate their spiritual freedom every day. Christ has set us free from a law of strict rules and regulations (the Old Testament) and given us the freedom to make our own decisions about matters of opinion not specifically outlined in the scriptures. Christ has also set us free from the bondage of sin. Romans 6 goes into great detail about how we've been liberated from sin. Sin no longer has [reign] in our lives and we're now free to seek a life filled with righteousness. Christian liberty can be a tricky business and easily misused. A [careful] study of Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 will teach us that there are even times where we will have to sacrifice some of our freedoms for the benefit of a fellow Christian.ter of James is packed full of those kind of verses but one in particular is:

Our Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy our Christian liberty. The freedom to share the Gospel with all people is by far the most important aspect of our liberty. By the grace of God salvation has appeared to all people (Titus 2:11) and we can celebrate when our friends and neighbors obey the Good News and become part of God's family.

From Jay Launius, 2018, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Calm Before the Storm

[In] the 13th Chapter of Romans, Paul gives instruction on how to interact with the government. To summarize he says obey the government so you can live a peaceful life. It is believed that the letter was written between 57-58 AD during the rule of Emperor Nero. Nero had become popular with the poor of Rome because he had given them tax relief and other benefits. The church was primarily made up of the poor thus their relationship with the government would have been somewhat peaceful. But that would soon change.

In 64 AD there was a great fire in Rome which destroyed as much as two thirds of the city. Some believe that Nero himself had the fire set for his own amusement. However he never took the blame but rather blamed the fire on the small sect of Christians living in Rome. Nero declared "open season" on Christians and thus started a dark period of terrible persecution. Christians were hunted, tortured and put to death. Most would think that it would be the end of the church, however historical accounts say that the martyrdom of those Christians killed caused an increase in faith and the church continued to grow. That's absolutely amazing and causes us to wonder how we would react to such persecution. Let's thank God for the church and the peacefulness we enjoy today.

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

The Inspector

About midway through my career I worked as a machinist inspector. My primary job was to assure that machining operations conformed to the specifications. After a part or vehicle was machined with new surfaces or holes I would measure the dimensions and compare those measurements to the technical drawings. If the dimensions didn't match the ones on the drawing then I had to reject the work. A lot of the time my friends had worked very hard on the job and it was very difficult to tell them they would have to do it all over again. Needless to say there were times they weren't very happy with me but I had a job to do and had no choice but to hang that "red tag" on their work.

As a minister of the gospel of Christ I have the responsibility of teaching and preaching according to the standards laid out in the inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I have an obligation to study and learn those standards so I can convey them to you in a way that is truthful and easy to understand. Just as with inspecting my friends work on the job there are times that I have to preach about things I know some of my church family members struggle with and it's difficult for me to do. But just as the worker has to correct his mistakes, you and I must do our best to correct those things in our lives that go against God's standards.

James 5:19,20,
  • Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

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

Power, Signs and Lying Wonders

( 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
The spreading of misinformation is a very real concern in our modern day society. With the huge mass of electronic information available at our finger tips we are perhaps the most informed generation in the history of mankind. It is said that "knowledge is power" (Thomas Hobbs, philosopher 1588-1679) and with it comes great responsibility. With advancements in software technology and graphics we can no longer trust what we see and hear to be the absolute truth.

When it comes to the spiritual well-being of God's people the search for the truth has always been of the utmost concern. The second letter to the church at Thessalonica seems to indicate that they were receiving some very disturbing teaching. Had the resurrection passed and they had missed it? Could it be possible that the persecution they were facing was the beginning of the end? According to some teachers it would seem that these things were true. But Paul assures them this is the work of Satan and that God will take vengeance on those who worry his people with such nonsense.

Spiritual misinformation is still being taught and in this information age it would seem an impossible task to tell the truth from a lie. But with diligence and study Jesus assures us "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (Jn, 8:32)

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

Don't Blame the Messenger

Beginning in Luke 4:16 we read of Jesus going to His hometown of Nazareth. It was the Sabbath Day and as was His custom He went to the synagogue to read and teach. On this day He chose to read from the prophet Isaiah which just happened to be a messianic passage about Himself. After reading He sat back down and everyone was watching Him. Then He said, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." And they marveled at this hometown boy who spoke with such authority. He then proceeded to teach that they would reject Him just as the Jews had rejected the prophets of old. This angered the crowd so much that they proceeded to throw Him out of town, carried Him up a hill so that they could throw Him off a cliff. Jesus easily escapes to continue His ministry.

There are times when elders, teachers and preachers must present biblical teaching that can be convicting to some individuals. These difficult admonitions must be presented with the correct attitude of humility and love (Eph. 4:15). All too often the recipient of God"s warning becomes angry at the messenger, accusing them of being condescending and breaks fellowship with the teacher or in some cases leaves the church altogether. We all should realize that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23) and God corrects those that He loves.(Heb. 12:6) Becoming angry at the one delivering the message serves no other purpose than to divide the church and give Satan the victory. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God." (1 John 4:7)

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

Here's Looking at Me

2 Corinthians 13:5-6
  • "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 6 But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified."

One of the hardest things for us to do is to look at ourselves honestly. We'd like to think that we don't have too many faults of bad traits. We seem to have an inborn defense mechanism that prevents us from being completely honest with ourselves which all makes self improvement that much more difficult. But in the preceding verse, the bible says that we are to examine ourselves, that's honestly looking at the measure of faith that we possess.

It also goes on to say that we should test ourselves, give ourselves spiritual challenges which will make us grow and become spiritually stronger. Why is this important? Because Jesus Christ is a part of us and we're to live for Him everyday. Just as the athlete in the ball game or the race, we want to play by the rules and don't want to be disqualified from the game (1 Corinthians 9:27). Living a good, busy, faithful, trusting, loving, Christian life will keep us in the running with the Good Lord right by our side.

Every day we should look into the mirror of God's Word, concentrating on our own personal ability (or inability) to look at ourselves and see ourselves just as God sees us.

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

Preserving Unity

What is perhaps the one thing that has destroyed more congregations of the Lord's church than anything else?


Our inability to accept the diversity of opinions, personalities and liberties of fellow Christians causes the local church to fracture and come apart. When disagreements and disputes are not quickly resolved the result can be devastating. So how can we prevent such a disaster?

The answer can be easily found within the scriptures:

  • Follow Jesus' guide to conflict resolution - Matthew 18:15-20
  • Agree with your adversary quickly - Matthew 5:25
  • Do not return evil for evil - 1 Peter 3:9
  • Put up with each other's imperfections with love - Ephesians 4:2
  • Forgive as you've been forgiven - Colossians 3:13
  • Restore the sinner in a spirit of gentleness - Galatians 6:1
  • Strive to keep the unity of the Spirit - Ephesians 4:3
  • Avoid divisive members - Romans 16:17
  • Love as brothers, be tenderhearted and courteous - 1 Peter 3:8
  • Warn each other as you would family - 2 Thessalonians 3:15
  • Willing to sacrifice your liberty for unity's sake - Romans 14:21
  • Respect the leadership of your elders - 1 Timothy 5:19
  • Pray for each other - James 5:16
  • Love each other as God has loved us - 1 John 4:11

Are You Thankful for the Church?

In the letters to the churches of Rome, Corinth, Colossi and Philippi, the Apostle Paul expressed his deep gratitude for those congregations. He was thankful for their faithfulness, fellowship and spiritual growth. Even though these groups of Christians struggled with temptation and sin, Paul appreciated his relationship with the church.

Can we say the same about ourselves? Are we thankful for the church? If so, how do we express our appreciation? Here are a few ways and reasons we should be eternally grateful for this great institution:

  • Jesus Christ Died for the Church - Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:24-25
  • The Benefit of a Spiritual Family - Eph. 3:14-15
  • Love for One Another is Found in the Church - 1 Peter 1:22
  • Gratitude Shown by Consistent Fellowship - Acts 2:42
  • Physical Needs are Met Thru the Church - Acts 4:34
  • Peace and Harmony is Found in the Church - Rom. 15:5
  • One Can be Worry-Free in the Church - Phil. 4:6-7
  • Our Thankfulness is Shown by Giving - 2 Cor. 9:6-8
  • Spiritual Support is Found in the Church - James 5:13-16
  • Good Works Come from the Church - Eph. 2:10
  • Christ is the Savior of the Church - Eph. 5:23

Hebrews Chapter 13

Based on the commentary to the Hebrews by Robert Milligan

13:1-7 Exhortation to stedfast perseverance and fidelity
  • 1 Let brotherly love continue
    2 Do not forget to entertain strangers
    3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them
    4 Marriage is honorable among all
    5 Let your conduct be without covetousness
    6 The Lord is my helper
    7 Remember those who rule over you

13:8-16 Exhortation to stability in Christian doctrine and practice
  • 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever
    9 Do not be carried away by strange doctrines
    10 We have an altar from which those who serve at the tabernacle have no right to eat
    11 [a sacrifice] whose blood is brought into sanctuary by high priest is burned outside the camp {and not eaten}
    12-14 Jesus with his own blood suffered outside the camp, let us go to him outside the camp
    15,16 Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God

13:17-19 Our duties to overseers
  • 17 Obey those who rule over you and be submissive
    18,19 Pray for us to have a good conscience & that we might be restored to you sooner

13:20,21 An earnest benedictory prayer in behalf of the Hebrews
  • 20 May God who brought up Jesus from the dead through the blood of the covenant 21 Make you complete (perfect) in every good work to do His will

13:22-25 Closing Remarks
  • 22 I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words
    23 Timothy has been set free
    24 Greet all those who rule over you
    25 Grace be with you all. Amen

— Scott R

The Heavenly Jerusalem

Hebrews 12:22-24 (WEB)
22 But you have come to:
  • Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
  • and to innumerable hosts of angels, 23 to the general assembly
  • and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
  • to God the Judge of all,
  • to the spirits of just men made perfect,
  • 24 to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
  • and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25-29 (WEB)
  • 25 See that you don't refuse him who speaks. For if they didn't escape when they refused him who warned on the Earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, 26 whose voice shook the earth, then, but now he has promised, saying, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens."
  • 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.
  • 28 Therefore, receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

— Scott R

Jesus — The Christ
The Son of God, Hebrews 1:1-4:16

Hebrews 1:2-5 (ESV)
  • 2 but in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
  • 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
        "You are my Son,
        today I have begotten you"?

Hebrews 2:9,10 (ESV)
  • 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Hebrews 2:14,15 (ESV)
  • 14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

Hebrews 2:17,18 (ESV)
  • 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)
  • 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

— Scott R

Continued below

Jesus — The Christ
The Son of God, p2, Hebrews 5:1-8:2; Romans 1:1-4

Hebrews 5:1 (ESV)
  • 1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Hebrews 5:4-6 (ESV)
  • 4 And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
    5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,
    • "You are my Son,
      today I have begotten you";
  • 6 as he says also in another place,
    • "You are a priest forever,
      after the order of Melchizedek."

Hebrews 5:8-10 (ESV)
  • 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 7:11,12 (ESV)
  • 11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.

Hebrews 7:15-19 (ESV)
  • 15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,
    • "You are a priest forever,
      after the order of Melchizedek."
  • 18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

Hebrews 7:21-24 (ESV)
  • 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
    • "The Lord has sworn
      and will not change his mind,
      'You are a priest forever.'"
  • 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
    23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.

Hebrews 8:1,2 (ESV)
  • 1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true [tabernacle] that the Lord set up, not man.

Romans 1:1-4 (ESV)
  • 1 ...the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

— Scott R

Examples of Faith, p2

Hebrews 11:20-40 (NKJV)
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.

24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Examples of Faith

Jesus speaking: "...I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins." John 8:24 (WEB)

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (WEB)

By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance... not knowing where he went. 9 By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 (WEB)

By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead. Hebrews 11:11,12 (WEB)

By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son; 18 even he to whom it was said, "In Isaac will your seed be called;" 19 accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead. Hebrews 11:17-19 (WEB)

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking after a country of their own. 15 If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16 (WEB)

In God's love, Scott

What Is Faith?

Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended?… Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know? Proverbs 30:4 (WEB).

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (WEB).

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. Romans 1:18-20 (WEB).

By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3 (WEB).

Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (WEB).

By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness... Hebrews 11:4 (WEB).

By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn't see death,... For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God. Hebrews 11:5 (WEB).

By faith, Noah,... moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. Hebrews 11:7 (WEB).

By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance... not knowing where he went. 9 By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews 11:8,9 (WEB).

In God's love, Scott

Israel Wants A King, part 3

1 Samuel 8:5, " They said to him, "Behold, you are old, and your sons don't walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations." Samuel prayed to God and God told him in verse 7, "Listen to the voice of the people in all that they tell you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me as the king over them." So Israel wanted to be like the nations all around them and have a king. They rejected God as their King and followed after the way of the world. Do you see the danger for our country if we 'remove God from our country' like the leftists in this land are trying to do. They want us to be godless, like Europe, and have a government that is godless, which is Socialism and Marxism. A good thing for us, God always reserves a remnant of faithful people, whether in the Old Testament time or New Testament, the saints, those who haven't bowed to foreign gods. God still led Israel and cared for them though they rejected him.

Some of the kings were faithful to God. The first three kings were and they were the only ones to rule over all of Israel. They were; Saul, who started out good but lost his favor with God by not consulting with him but the witch of Endor instead. King David was faithful and God promised him that through his bloodline the Messiah would come, and his son Solomon was faithful but permitted his foreign wives to have 'high places' to worship their false gods. Solomon's son Rehoboam was to harsh on the people with taxes and the nation split. The ten northern tribes became the Northern Kingdom, and the tribes of Benjamin and Judah stayed faithful to Rehoboam and God and became the Southern Kingdom. The northern tribes had 19 kings and all of them did evil in the eyes of God and were eventually punished and carried away by Assyria, never to come back.

Jim L

Israel Wants A King, part 1

Our God is the God of order and not chaos. God gives us laws to follow to keep order and peace because mankind as a whole tend to make bad decisions and often behave like sheep and will wander away and become lost or get into some kind of trouble. We need rules, we need boundaries that cannot be crossed. We need a system that provides a way to enforce those laws fairly and justly for all. When that happens the result is freedom, happiness and peace. It has been God's intention for mankind that a system of rule be established to keep order. Mankind with no leadership is soon plunged into disorder and chaos and everyone turns to his own way resulting in anarchy. We are fortunate today to live in such a society that functions well when there is good leadership and the rule of law is followed. We can immediately see the harm that can be done when you have bad leadership and the system of rule breaks down.

God never wanted mankind to be left to his own devices. When man fell from grace in the Garden, we see from the sentence of punishment pronounced upon Eve; "Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you", we can infer that God established a patriarchal system of rule. Reading through early Old Testament history you find that is the case. When the population increased, you had elders of family clans being the leaders. Eventually mighty men like Nimrod rose up building great cities, establishing themselves as kings. By the time the bible's greatest patriarch Abram arrives on the scene, most cities were ruled by a king. When we read Genesis chapter fourteen, we read about the 'battle of the kings' and see that most cities had their kings. God's people were a Patriarchy and he was their God.

Jim L

The True Tabernacle & A New Covenant
A Minister in True Tabernacle

  • Hebrews 8:2
    • 2 [Jesus is] "a minister in the sanctuary in the true tabernacle set up by the Lord and not man."

  • Hebrews 8:5
    • 5 [The Levitical priests] serve[d] a copy and shadow of the heavenly things,…

  • Hebrews 7:12 (WEB)
    • 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is of necessity a change made also in the law.

  • Hebrews 8:8-13 (WEB) (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
    • 8 "Behold, the days come," says the Lord,
      "That I will make a new covenant
      • with the house of Israel
    • and with the house of Judah;
    • 9 Not according to the covenant
      • that I made with their fathers,
    • In the day that I took them
      • by the hand to lead them
    • out of the land of Egypt;
      • For they didn't continue in my covenant,
    • And I disregarded them," says the Lord.

    • 10 "For this is the covenant that I will make
      • with the house of Israel.
    • After those days," says the Lord;
      • "I will put my laws into their mind,
    • I will also write them on their heart.
      • I will be to them a God,
    • And they will be to me a people.
    • 11 They will not teach every man
      • his fellow citizen,
    • Every man his brother, saying,
      • 'Know the Lord,'
    • For all will know me,
      • From the least of them
    • to the greatest of them.
    • 12 For I will be merciful
      • to their unrighteousness.
    • I will remember their sins and lawless deeds
      • no more."

    • 13 In that he says, "A new covenant," he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.

  • In God's love, Scott

A Copy & Shadow of Heavenly Things
The Levitical Priests Served A Copy

  • The Hebrew writer tells us that the priests under the law of Moses "5 ...serve[d] a copy and shadow of the heavenly things." Hebrews 8:4,5

    [Jesus is] a minister in the sanctuary (holy of holies) in the true tabernacle set up by the Lord and not man. Hebrews 8:2

Type - tupos

He then tells us that Moses was warned when he was about to build the earthly tabernacle to make sure he made it according the the pattern (Greek: tupos – type), God showed him on the mountain.

The writer is telling us that the tabernacle was a type (a copy and shadow, not the reality itself) and therefore, he will say, so is the entire Mosaical system a type (a copy) as he elaborates in the rest of chapter eight.

What was Moses shown on the mountain? Deut. 25:8,9,40. It may have been pictures, drawings, or even a model of the tabernacle and all its furnishings.


Whatever Moses was shown, it was a plan from heaven of how God wanted the tabernacle constructed. This type (copy) is from the original in heaven, the archetype. The archetype was used to make a "copy & shadow of the heavenly things" on earth, an earthly tabernacle which itself is a type (copy) of the original in heaven.

What's the purpose of the copy? To show us the real object, the antitype, when it appears. And a copy implies an original.

What is the antitype of the tabernacle?

Where does God live? Not in temples made by hands, Acts 17:24; 7:48,49. We are (the church) the temple of the God. 2 Cor 6:14-7:1. And individually our bodies are a temple also. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 you were bought with a price.

So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6:19,20

In God's love, Scott

Hebrews - A Change in the Priesthood
The Messiah Would Be A Priest!

We are told the Christ would be a King. God calls His Son God and then sets Him above his companions by anointing Him with oil, making Him King. Psa 45:6,7

In addition to being a King, the Messiah would also be a priest, but not in the order of Aaron.

  • The LORD has sworn
    • and will not change his mind:
  • "You are a priest forever,
    • in the order of Melchizedek." Psa 110:4

The Hebrew writer asks:

  • If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood… why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. Hebrews 7:11,12

A change in the priesthood drives (requires) a change in the law.

The Former Law Was Weak, Useless

What's the purpose of the priest? To make atonement for transgressions of the law. It's the solution, the remedy, to our transgressions (ie sins) of the law. Hebrews 2:17,18

The former law had flawed priests who were unable to make the worshipper perfect because the law made nothing perfect. However, the perfected Messiah, as our great high priest was made our remedy with an oath (from God). Because of this oath He can guarantee a better hope and since He lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Heb 7:18-24,28

  • Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Hebrews 7:25,26

A new priest, a new law, a good thing!

In God's love, Scott

Christianity Under Assault
What Did Jesus Say?

"Haven't you read that God from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall join to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?' So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don't let man tear apart." Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9 (WEB).

According to Jesus there are two genders male and female and in marriage a man shall join his wife.

What does the Bible Say?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (WEB) 9 Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

What Does Man Say?

Canadian pastors are warning that a new "conversion therapy" bill, just passed by parliament, will likely ban them from teaching that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins according to the Bible.

The bill, known as C-4, unanimously passed both the House of Commons and the Senate before receiving Royal Assent.
[it officially became law on Jan 8.]

In the Preamble of the Bill, it says that the belief that "heterosexuality, cisgender gender identity and gender expression that conforms to the sex assigned to a person at birth are to be preferred over other sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions" is a "myth."

Check out these links for more info:

It is God who reserves the right to declare what is right and wrong by right of creation, Isaiah 45:18-19.

Now more than ever we need to be out informing our neighbors of God's message. Jeremiah 7:1-34

In God's love, Scott

Back to Top

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

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

Consider This

Keep your words sweet,
You may have
To eat them someday.


Consider This

Anyone who has grown
mentally, physically, or spiritually
knows that growth is not found
in comfort.


Consider This

Don't bring up the past
of a person
who is trying to improve
their future.


Consider This

There is nothing in this world
that can trouble you
as much as
your own thoughts.


Consider This

Being negative only makes
a difficult journey more difficult.
You may be given a cactus,
but you don't have to sit on it.


Consider This

I can't brag about my love for God
because I fail Him daily.
But I can brag about His love for me
because His love never fails.


Consider This

Many people try to excuse their sin
by saying “I was born this way”…
which is why Jesus said
“you must be born again.”


Don't Let it All Out

Conventional wisdom tells us that when we are upset or angry to “let it all out” and get it off our chest. But while reading in the Proverbs I came across this extraordinarily different idea:

A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back.
(Proverbs 29:11)

Could it be that in some cases it's better to keep my mouth shut rather than letting all of my feelings be known? Many a harmful word has been spoken while fueled by strong emotions. Not every situation is the same but we must use God-given wisdom to determine when to speak and when to keep quite. Back in the 90's I had a college course on the introduction to the Internet. One thing I remember from the class was that you never send an email in anger but wait a day and see how you might respond differently to the situation that upset you. Good advice that holds true today.

I'm reminded of the trial of Jesus when He was accused by the chief priest and elders and “He answered nothing.” (Matt. 27:12). Jesus could have easily spoken a word and destroyed them all but rather “He held His peace” (Matt. 26:63). We should never hold things in and allow them to fester into a worse situation. Rather we should take a breath, hold our response until after we've had time to settle down. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19)

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

Don't Be Neglectful

If there's one thing about being a daily bible reader it's the fact that sooner or later you'll come across one of those verses that hits you square in the face. The letter of James is packed full of those kind of verses but one in particular is:

James 4:17, NKJV
  • “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Wow! Now don't that just get your goat! (Pardon the grammar). It's hard enough that I have to fight off temptations and abstain from doing all the bad stuff but now I have to worrying about not doing the good stuff too. In the preceding verse James has warned us not to be too presumptuous in taking tomorrow for granted, life is short and can end in an instant. Thus we must do our best to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Galatians 6:10 come to mind,

Galatians 6:10
  • “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

I must admit that there have been many times I've let opportunities to do good or help others pass by, chances that will never come again. We all need to be reminded that

James 2:15-17, NKJV
  • “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

The keyword to Christian maturity is “ACTION”. Ours is not a religion of leisure but of hard work. “You mean I have to do more than make a nice comment when someone posts their troubles on social media?” “Yep, you do.”

1 John 3:18, NKJV::
  • “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

From Jay Launius, 2018, Maud coC, Maud, Texas

Count Your Many Blessings

  • Giving thanks for _____ ________ (1 Tim. 2:1)
  • Giving thanks to _______ __________ (Heb. 13:15)
  • Giving thanks to _______ the __________ (Col. 3:17)
  • Giving thanks for the ______ thru _________ (1 Cor, 15:57)
  • Giving thanks for our ____________ (1 Tim 4:3-4)
  • Giving thanks through our __________ (Col. 4:2)
  • Giving thanks for our establishment in the _______ (Col. 2:7)
  • Giving thanks for all __________ from God (2 Cor. 9:11)
  • Giving thanks to having been called in ________ (Col. 3:15)
  • Giving thanks to _____ ______ our _________ (1 Tim. 1:12)

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

A Great Weapon Against Temptation

We all face temptation, Satan is going to make sure that none of us are exempt. We read in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that it is a common challenge for all people but those who are in God's family will be provided ways to resist and eliminate temptation. One great weapon we can use against the devil and his enticements is wisdom. Wisdom is available to every Christian who asks God for it (James 1:5) and can help us make good choices when we're tempted. But this is nothing new, long ago the wise man of Proverbs wrote about the advantages of using wisdom against evil. (Proverbs 2)

When wisdom enters our hearts (minds) and we use knowledge wisely, discretion will be key to keeping us from sinful things. Wisdom will help us recognize social pressure which gives the desire to “go along with the crowd” and participate in things not pleasing to God. Wisdom shows us that resisting physical desire contrary to wholesomeness (substance use, sex, dishonest behavior) will only give temporary pleasure that can lead to more trouble down the road.

James 1:6,7 warns us that the Christian who doesn't tap into the free offer of wisdom will be “wishy-washy” in their struggle with temptation and sin. Doubting ourselves and God can and will have devastating results in one's spiritual life. But we can happy to know that asking God for and receiving wisdom can lead us down the path of righteousness and a life that is pleasing to God.

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

The Benefit of Light

During the last 14 years of my career I worked in an office that had no windows. There were times when I would be very busy and work most of the day without venturing outside the building. Because I had no exposure to the outside I had no clue as to what it was like outside. As we'd head out the door at quitting time and walked out into the sunshine I would suddenly feel better. The grogginess of the day seemed to go away and I felt a strange sensation of wellbeing. This little phenomena is just one of the benefits of light. Science tells us that we receive many health benefits from natural light. Our bodies absorb Vitamin D which helps with bone loss and heart health. Sunlight also can ward off depression and improve sleep. Best of all this health benefit is free, all we have to do is go outside into the sunlight.

With this in mind it's easy to see why God used the illustration of light so often in the bible. Is it any wonder why light was the first thing He made during the creation of the world? (Gen. 1:3) In John Chapter 1 Christ is described as the "Light". Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." (John 8:12) Without sunlight plants don't grow so it is easy to understand that if we're not exposed to the "Light" that is Jesus Christ we won't grow spiritually.

So just as our bodies need exposure to sunlight to benefit our health our spirits need exposure to the True Light so to continue our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

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

If It Smells Like a Skunk...

Last week when entering the church building we were met with an all-too-familiar odor. Unfortunately, some of us know firsthand just how bad a skunk can really smell. Whether you've encountered a skunk one-on- one or not, when you smell the distinctive odor produced by these little varmints, you can immediately identify it. If it smells like a skunk, then it probably is a skunk. Sin is like that. If some action or emotion feels like it could possibly be sinful, then there's a good chance that it probably is:

  • If it feels like pride, then it probably is
  • If it sounds like gossip, then it probably is
  • If it seems to be petty, then it probably is
  • If it feels lukewarm, then it probably is
  • If it looks like it might be a sin...

You get the idea. The Christian life is a constant growing experience and God want[s] us to continue to learn about Him and His will through study and meditation of His Word. Outlined in the Scriptures are corrections and guidance to help us avoid the stench of sin.

Philippians 1:9,10
  • And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ

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

Snakes in the Church

(Mark 2:15-17)

Last week I saw a meme on social media that said, “Not all snakes crawl - Some sit in church.”

I gotta admit it set me back a bit that someone might make such a statement about church folks. But after some thought I had to admit that it is highly likely a true statement. It's true, there can be Christians who are not honest, nor have pure motives. There are New Testament examples of such people, for instance Paul said that, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” (2 Tim. 4:10). Then there was Diotrephes, who loved to have superiority among the brethren and throw people out of the church. (3 John 9-10). Timothy was warned of liars and hypocrites that would be in the church (1 Tim. 4:1-3). With these examples there is no doubt that there are “snakes” in the church.

But you may be surprised that the church is exactly where the snakes need to be. In Mark 2:15-17 we read of an occasion where Jesus had gone to Levi's house for a meal and there were tax collectors (thieves) and sinners who were there. Jesus was accused of socializing with the less desirable crowd by the religious people. He answered their accusations by saying, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (v. 17)

There is a misconception among folks that the church is to be filled with perfect people and before one can be a part of the church they must be perfect. Only by God's grace and our obedience to Him do we find ourselves in His family. Yes, there are imperfect people in His church and that's right where they [we] need to be. - [Change added by SR.]

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

Growing Conditions

About 12 years ago a close friend gave my wife some saw tooth oak seedlings he brought back from Arkansas. We took them and planted them all over our place. One particular tree was planted out back near where we had burned brush while cleaning the place up after we bought the property. Another was planted out front near where the old railroad line used to run. The tree planted out back where the soil was rich with ashes and plant material immediately began to grow while the tree in the front didn't seem to grow at all. Now, after all these years the tree in the back is over 30 feet tall while the tree in the front planted in the rocks and clay struggles to top 12 feet even though the trees were planted at the same time.

Jesus told a similar story about growing in Matthew 13. There He told of seeds being planted in different growing conditions and the results there of. Our spiritual growth is dependent upon the conditions we allow ourselves to live in and the everyday things we do. We must ask ourselves, “Am I feeding my spirit with God's word? Am I doing things which will grow my faith?” or “Am I slowing my spiritual growth by neglect and over exposure to things of the world?” By reading the bible daily, regular worship, and living a life full of love and good works will provide the necessary growing conditions for a healthy spiritual life.

Israel Wants A King, part 4

The southern kingdom had 20 kings and only a few did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and they too were punished and carried away by a foreign army, Babylon, and was there for 70 years. King Cyrus feared the God of Israel and permitted the remnant of the southern kingdom to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Of all the kings that both kingdoms had, none of them obeyed all of the rules that God gave them through Samuel to follow. God would speak to the prophets of Israel and give them hope of a king that would be faithful to God above all others. A sinless king, a Messiah who would deliver all of mankind from sin. King David speaks to this coming king who's kingdom will endure forever for all mankind, for all those who fear him and love him,

Psalm 145:9-13, "Yahweh is good to all. His tender mercies are over all his works. All your works will give thanks to you, Yahweh. Your saints will extol you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom, and talk about your power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, the glory of the majesty of his kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Yahweh is faithful in all his words, and loving in all his deeds." Daniel agrees, 2:44 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left to another people; but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever...The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure." Praise be to the Holy and Living God of Heaven! He has given us a King above all kings, and a Lord above all Lords, he has given us Messiah. Brothers and sisters, we have a King! Amen.

Jim L

Israel Wants A King, part 2

God made promises to Abraham that he would have a land to live in, have a family that would be so many they would be a nation and that through his seed he would raise up a king for all the people of the world. Over the next several hundred years God's people became so numerous, God raised up Moses to lead his people out of bondage from Egypt and God established a theocracy form of government with them. God as the head and Moses as his spokesman. God made a covenant with them that had all the rules for governing the people and how to worship him. They had a system of priests and judges to rule the people. Deu 17:8-10 says, "If there arises a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within your gates; then you shall arise, and go up to the place which Yahweh your God chooses.

You shall come to the priests who are Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days. You shall inquire, and they shall give you the verdict. You shall do according to the decisions of the verdict which they shall give you from that place which Yahweh chooses." The Lord, knowing the nature of man and how he is inclined to sin, prophesied to them just a few verses later how in the future they would break covenant with him, "Deut. 28:36, "Yahweh will bring you, and your king whom you will set over yourselves, to a nation that you have not known, you nor your fathers. There you will serve other gods of wood and stone." The prophecy alludes to Israel installing a king and being punished for sin and being banished to another land. This happens when Israel's final judge Samuel, appoints his sons as judges over the people and they rebel against them because of his son's wickedness.

Jim L

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Friday, March 24, 2023

Excerpts from Proverbs 24 and Psalms 116, 117, 118, 119, 120

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 24:15-22
    (World English Bible)

    • Thirty Sayings of the Wise
      • continued
      • Proverbs 22:17 - 24:22
    • Saying 27
    • 15) Don't lay in wait, wicked man,
      • against the habitation of the righteous.
        • Don't destroy his resting-place:
    • 16) For a righteous man falls seven times,
      • and rises up again;
    • But the wicked are overthrown by calamity.
    • Saying 28
    • 17) Don't rejoice when your enemy falls.
      • Don't let your heart be glad when
        • he is overthrown;
    • 18) Lest Yahweh see it, and it displease him,
      • And he turn away his wrath from him.
    • Saying 29
    • 19) Don't fret yourself because of evildoers;
      • Neither be envious of the wicked:
    • 20) For there will be no reward to the evil man;
      • And the lamp of the wicked shall
        • be snuffed out.
    • Saying 30
    • 21) My son, fear Yahweh and the king.
      • Don't join those who are rebellious:
    • 22) For their calamity will rise suddenly;
      • The destruction from them both
        • --who knows?

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    Psalm 118:13-17
    Book 5 (Psalms 107-150)
    (World English Bible)

    • 13) You pushed me back hard,
        • to make me fall,
      • But Yahweh helped me.
    • 14) Yah is my strength and song.
      • He has become my salvation.
    • 15) The voice of rejoicing and salvation
      • is in the tents of the righteous.
      • "The right hand of Yahweh
        • does valiantly.
      • 16) The right hand of Yahweh
        • is exalted!
      • The right hand of Yahweh
        • does valiantly!"
    • 17) I will not die, but live,
      • And declare Yah's works.

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