December 25-31st Family Worship Guide 2022

The Guide for the Week of December 25-31st, 2022
The First Week Of Christmas

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 28:15-28
John 1:1-5
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 54

Verse to Memorize
Luke 2:29-32

Catechism Questions
Q. Who was first to receive the news of the birth of Jesus?
A. An Angel announced to shepherds who were keeping watch over their sheep, that the Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born.

Q.  What did the multitude of angels proclaim?
A.  They praised God and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Q.  After Jesus was born and his parents went to the temple to offer sacrifices, who did they meet?
A. Simeon, a righteous and devoted man, looking forward to the coming of Christ.

Q. What had God promised Simeon?
A. The Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not die before he saw the Messiah with his own eyes.

Q.  What did Simeon do when he saw the baby Jesus?
A. He praised God saying that he could finally depart in peace having seen the salvation of the Lord, the light to the gentiles and the glory of Israel.

Q.  What does it mean that Jesus is the light of revelation to the gentiles and glory of Israel?
A. Jesus is the savior of all people, not just the Jews but of all the nations. No matter what your ethnicity, you can be saved from your sins.

People to Pray for: 
Church:  The Church in Jeffersonville
Ministry:  Mothers and Children
Civil Magistrate: US Congress
Notes for Parents:

Deuteronomy 28:15-28

Sin brings curse.  It brings destruction everywhere it goes.  Sin is always the path to death.  As you read this section from Deuteronomy, you read the heaviness of God’s curse against sin.  You read how God sins sickness, disease, poverty, and oppression from enemies to those who turn against Him.   Now we are tempted to say, well that’s just the Old Testament.  It’s different now.  The Bible says God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  God does not change.  

Sin still brings destruction.  Look around at our nation.  Look at how sins compound.  Even if we go back 50 or 60 years to the good ole days, we see sins that we would overlook.  Sins like idolatry.  Sins like failing to honor the sabbath day.  Sins of taking the name of God in vain.  Sins of pride.  And then these sins compound to where we are now with acceptance of Drag Queens grooming children.  Sin is like a snowball running downhill.  We also see that with these sins comes disastrous effects for marriages, families, and the nation.  We have not yet filled up the fullness of our sin and I pray we never do.  I pray that God gives us repentance.

But consider your own life, are there little sins that you let slide.  Do you see them starting to compound into bigger sins.  Maybe you see all kinds of calamity.  Maybe there has been nothing but sickness after sickness in your home.  Now it could be that God is simply trying to test you and grow you in faith.  We cannot always say that sickness equals a direct correlation to a specific sin.  Remember the man that Jesus healed who was blind.  Someone asked if it was his sin or his parents that caused the blindness and Jesus said neither.  It was so that God could be glorified.  Therefore we know that sometimes calamity strikes the godly.  But on the other hand, sin still can have impact in our lives.  Our sicknesses could be because we do have unrepentant sin in our lives.   God could be trying to get our attention.

As we say that sin has consequences, we want to be sure to look at this rightly.  You and I all deserve the curses.  We have failed to obey God’s law and we would justly stand condemned.  When you read a passage like this, you should feel the weight of it.  It condemns us.  We read God’s law and with each word, we are condemned.  We stand guilty.  We deserve all these curses and more.   What is our hope.  Our hope is that someone has take the curse for us.  Our hope is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ takes the curse for us.  We may still face earthly consequences for our sins.   We may face discipline.  But discipline is not a curse.  Discipline is a sign that we are sons of God.  Discipline is not the same as facing the curse.  Christ took the curse for us.  Praise God.  Therefore when you read this passage let it drive you treasure and love Jesus and want to seek to please your heavenly Father.  

John 1:1-5
My family and I love driving around looking at Christmas lights.  We go every year to Charlestown to look at the lights.  We also try to go to lights under Louisville.  My own personal goal is each year to add a little more to my outside decorations till my house makes Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation movie jealous.  I love the lights.  They are beautiful.  Can you image December without them?   How depressing it would be.

Now try to imagine not having any kind of lights any time of the year.  Can you imagine how dark it might have been to be Abraham riding in the desert with just your caravan?  No big city lights, no electricity.  On a cloudy night, it would be pitch black.   I am sure they had plenty of torches and lit fires as they set up camp.  But to be outside of the camp would be to be cast into darkness.  Light is not only beautiful, its useful.  Without it you can’t see.  There would be no reading.  No being able to prepare food in the evening.  There would be confusion as people bump into each other.

And of course without lights it would have been very dangerous. You could not see lions or other deadly creatures.  Thieves, rapists, and murderers love the cover of darkness.

Light is beautiful.  Light gives protection.  Light give warmth.  Light lets you see.  
John 1 teaches us several things about Christ.  He is the Word.  He was with God before the creation.  He is God.  All things were created by Him.  And nothing was created without Him.  In him is life.  And the life is the light of men.  Jesus is the light.  He is the light of the world.
Christ is beautiful.  He gives us the ability to see.  Not just physically with our eyes but to have understanding.  He gives us warmth.  The warmth of life.  Without Christ we have no life.  And without Christ we have no eternal life.  And Christ gives us protection.

Christ is the light that the darkness cannot comprehend and cannot overcome.  And it is in His light that we see light.   And by His light we are made lights.

Isaiah 9:2-7
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
We were those who set in darkness.  We could not see.  We were exposed and unprotected.  We were open to the abuse of the devil.  We were thieves and those who use darkness to cover our sin.  We were cold and dead.  We were in the ugliness of sin.   But at the right time, Christ came bringing light to this dark world.  He came exposing our sin but bringing us healing for it.  He brought us out of the clutches of the devil. And into the warmth of life.
Praise His name.

Psalm 54
The Lord hears our prayers.  This psalm is a prayer that God will deliver and praise that He does.
Catechism/ Memory Verse
Jesus was born a king but not in the usual way of kings.  His birth was not announced by a royal herald in the palace.  There was not a myriad of nurses and attending physicians on stand by to care for the mother and babies every whim.  There were no newspaper headlines and thronging crowds gathering outside of the royal home.  Jesus came as a King but was born into a poor home.  He came to live a poor destitute life.  This doesn’t mean there was no herald or no people coming to see his birth.  Rather than a court crier sent out into the streets, Christ had something better.  A herald sent from heaven.  The angel went forth from those royal gates to proclaim the good news.  Not to the elites but to the shepherds.  Christ came for the poor and the needy.  Yes, the rich too would come.  The wisemen would attend his birth but even these were not the wealthy of his own hometown.  They were foreigners and strangers.   Christ’s birth set the state for his life.  He was a King of the highest authority and yet lived the most humble life.  He has by inherit right claims to riches far surpassing any earthly royalty and yet He set that aside to identify with bluecollar workers like shepherds.  Christ came for the humble, the sick, and the sinner.  As you read the catechism questions about shepherds, be thankful that Christ lowered himself to identify with us.  He humiliated himself so that we might be exalted.  He came so that we could have peace and goodwill from God.

People to Pray for:
The light has shined in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it.   Praise God.  We live in a dark time.  Many churches have compromised the truth and some so bad to hardly be called a church.  We need the light of Christ to fill us and enable us to be lights.  Jesus said we are lights of the world.  Pray that we will be light in Jeffersonville.  Pray that Christ will awaken not only us but all those who profess his name.  Pray that the light would shine so bright from Jeffersonville that all the surrounding region would hear the gospel and come to Christ.

At Christmas, we think about Christ coming as a baby and his mother who bore him.  We are reminded of the beauty and glory of motherhood.  Pray for the mothers and children in our church.  Pray that God would give mothers strength, wisdom, patience, and faith for the work of motherhood.  Pray that God would help us always to celebrate motherhood even when it gets tough.   Pray that God would give salvation to all the dear children and keep them in his tender care.  And pray that they would grow into strong fathers and faithful mothers in the church.

Lastly,  we are praying that the light would shine in our federal government.  That the men and women who serve in the US congress would repent of their sins.  That they would not rule merely to appease lobbyists and big business interests but that they would seek to please God.  
Church History Spotlight
St. Stephen
All that we know about Stephen the Protomartyr (that is, the first martyr of the Christian Church) is found in chapters 6 and 7 of the Book of Acts.

The early Christian congregations, like the Jewish synagogues, had a program of assistance for needy widows, and some of the Greek-speaking Jews in the Jerusalem congregation complained that their widows were being neglected. The apostles replied: "We cannot both preach and administer financial matters. Choose seven men from among yourselves, respected, Spirit-filled, and of sound judgement, and let them be in charge of the accounts, and we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word."

 The people accordingly chose seven men, including Stephen, and the apostles laid their hands on them. They are traditionally considered to be the first deacons, although the Scriptures do not use the word to describe them.

Stephen was an eloquent and fiery speaker, and a provocative one. His blunt declarations that the Temple service was no longer the means by which penitent sinners should seek reconciliation with God enraged the Temple leaders, who caused him to be stoned to death. As he died, he said, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." One of those who saw the stoning and approved of it was Saul (or Paul) of Tarsus, who took an active part in the general persecution of Christians that followed the death of Stephen, but who was later led to become a Christian himself.