January 15-21st Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the
Week of January 15-21st, 2023 
The Second Week of Epiphany

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 29:1-13
Psalm 103:1-2
1 John 1
Psalm 55

Verse to Memorize
Isaiah 44:6

Catechism Questions
Q. 80. What is the first commandment?  
A.  The first commandment is, "You shall have no other gods before me."  

Q. 81. What does God forbid in the first commandment?  
A.   In the first commandment, God forbids us to have any other gods.

Q.82.  What does God require in the first commandment?
A.  In the first commandment, God requires that we fear, love and trust Him above all things. We fear God above all things when we revere Him alone, honor Him with our lives and avoid what displeases Him. We love God above all things when we cling to Him alone as our God and gladly devote our lives to His service. We trust in God above all things when we commit our lives completely to His keeping and rely on Him for help in every need.    

People to Pray for:
Church:  Christ Church Cincy
                        Pastor Joseph Bayly
Ministry: Pastor Tim Bayly trip to Asia
Civil Magistrate: Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb
Notes for Parents:

Deuteronomy 29:1-13
In this chapter, Moses gathers the people to renew the covenant promises of God with them.  They have been rescued by God and called to be his people.  They are to believe God’s promises and to obey His words.    

Matthew Henry notes the various parties of the covenant:
1. It is the Lord their God they are to covenant with, Deu_29:12. To him they must give up themselves, to him they must join themselves. “It is his oath; he has drawn up the covenant and settled it; he requires your consent to it; he has sworn to you and to him you must be sworn.” This requires us to be sincere and serious, humble and reverent, in our covenant-transactions with God, remembering how great a God he is with whom we are covenanting, who has a perfect knowledge of us and an absolute dominion over us.
2. They are all to be taken into covenant with him. They were all summoned to attend (Deu_29:2), and did accordingly, and are told (Deu_29:10) what was the design of their appearing before God now in a body - they were to enter into covenant with him.
3. Even their great men, the captains of their tribes, their elders and officers, must not think it any disparagement to their honour, or any diminution of their power, to put their necks under the yoke of this covenant, and to draw in it. They must rather enter into the covenant first, to set a good example to their inferiors.
4. Not the men only, but their wives and children, must come into this covenant; though they were not numbered and mustered, yet they must be joined to the Lord, Deu_29:11. Observe, Even little ones are capable of being taken into covenant with God, and are to be admitted with their parents. Little children, so little as to be carried in arms, must be brought to Christ, and shall be blessed by him, for of such was and is the kingdom of God.
5. Not the men of Israel only, but the stranger that was in their camp, provided he was so far proselyted to their religion as to renounce all false gods, was taken into this covenant with the God of Israel, forasmuch as he also, though a stranger, was to be looked upon in this matter as a son of Abraham, Luk_19:9. This was an early indication of favour to the Gentiles, and of the kindness God had in store for them.
6. Not the freemen only, but the hewers of wood and drawers of water, the meanest drudge they had among them. Note, As none are too great to come under the bonds of the covenant, so none are too mean to inherit the blessings of the covenant. In Christ no difference is made between bond and free, Col_3:11. Art thou called being a servant? Care not for it, 1Co_7:21.
7. Not only those that were now present before God in this solemn assembly, but those also that were not here with them were taken into covenant (Deu_29:15): As with him that standeth here with us so also with him, that is not here with us this day; that is. Those that tarried at home were included; though detained either by sickness or necessary business, they must not therefore think themselves disengaged; no, every Israelite shares in the common blessings. Those that tarry at home divide the spoil, and therefore every Israelite must own himself bound by the consent of the representative body. Those who cannot go up to the house of the Lord must keep up a spiritual communion with those that do, and be present in spirit when they are absent in body.
8. The generations to come are included.

God’s covenant promises are for us.  He has forgiven our sins.   Let us trust Him and obey Him.

Psalm 103:1-2
Take time to remember the blessings of God. It is important to remind yourself of all that God has done for you. This is a common practice among God's people in the Bible. The mercies of God in the past serve as a guarantee of His faithfulness in the future. Reflect on where God has led you, and use those experiences to gain strength to follow Him now.

This week, spend time with your family discussing ways in which God has been good to you as individuals and as a family. Your children should know your personal testimony, including the times when God rescued, disciplined, and blessed you. Share all aspects of your story, both the good and the bad, and give thanks to God for His kindness.

1 John 1
The Apostle John sets a good example for fathers.  At the time of the writing of this letter, John was advanced in age.  He was the last of the apostles to live.  He was a father in the church and he writes to the churches to strengthen them.  He says that he writes this letter so that our joy may be made complete.  The Apostle John uses his authority to bring joy to those under him.  He does so by proclaiming the truths of Christ, the word.  John was an eyewitness to Christ.  He saw him.  He ate with Him. He touched him.  He heard his words.  John knew that Christ was God in the flesh.  And He also knew that Jesus is the source of our joy.  When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us.  If we trust in Christ we can have joy.

As a fathers, your responsibility to bring joy to your family.  You have been given authority for this purpose.  Don’t be the man who sucks the joy out of the room. Rather than dampening spirits with harshness, fathers should balance discipline with playfulness, humor, and truth-telling. A good father should not be seen as unapproachable, but rather as the chief lover, hugger, and proclaimer of truth in the family. It is important to lead by example and point others towards Christ through our words and actions.

Psalm 55
Psalm 55 teaches us that God is with us when we feel alone.  He will not desert us when others do.  David in this psalm felt betrayed by those who were supposed to be his friends.  They had become his enemies.  He knew though that God was with him and would not forsake him. David prays that God would be the one to take vengeance.  God will punish the people who hurt him and therefore he will not be afraid.
Psalm 55 reminds us that God is always with us, even in our darkest moments. It calls us to pour out our hearts to God in prayer, to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness, and to find refuge and strength in God. God is a refuge and stronghold in times of trouble and the Lord is near to those who call upon Him. Take comfort when things look difficult, God is our ultimate source of help and comfort in times of distress, and that He will bring justice and vindicate the righteous in the end.
Catechism/ Memory Verse
The Apostle John ends his first epistle to the church with the warning, "Little Children, Keep yourself from idols." Idolatry is a common temptation, but it is often overlooked. We may think that only primitive people worship other gods, but in reality, we all have the tendency to elevate the things of this world above God. Our hearts are naturally inclined to make idols out of things like entertainment, comfort, food, and material possessions. Even good things like time with family can become idols if we treasure them more than God. To identify your own idols, consider what fills your thoughts, takes up your time, and has the highest priority in your life. If there is something or someone you would be willing to sin for, it is likely an idol. To combat this, we must recognize and repent of these sins, and actively grow in our love and worship of God. This can be done through prayer, reading scripture, and spending time in worship.

Our catechism question this week teaches us that we are to have no other gods but God.  We are to love and treasure Him above all.  We must be willing to part from all things and yes people rather than to sin against God.
Two areas of application:  
1.  Identify your sin and Repent.  What areas in your life are you tempted to elevate too highly?  Where do you need to repent and watch out that you do not have idols?  
2.  Grow in your love and worship of God.   How can you grow in your love and worship of God?

People to Pray for:
Christ Church in Cincy is a sister church of ours and a member of our presbytery.  She is a year or two older than our church and also recently particularized.  Pastor Joseph Bayly is the son of Tim Bayly.  They have many of the same struggles as our own congregation.   They have a lot of little children and young Christians who need discipled.  They have dealt with sicknesses as we have in the last couple of months but they have had some more serious illnesses as well.  Please pray God’s mercy on them and for his strength to grow them in maturity and in number.
Prayer:  Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for establishing Christ Church in Cincinnati and for growing them over the last few years.  Thank you for their gospel witness in a dark culture.  Please preserve them from temptation and let them rejoice in your mercies as you provide for them even through the trials of sicknesses and suffering.  Pour our your wisdom on Pastor Joseph Bayly and the other elders of the church so that they may shepherd your people-leading them into the green pastures of your word, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose church is it. Amen.

Pastor Tim Bayly is going to be heading to Taiwan in February to minister there for a few months.  He will be working with a missionary there and helping with training pastors.  Pray that God will keep him safe during his trip and make him useful for the kingdom.
Prayer:   Father, who sent His Son to redeem the nations, we ask you to preserve and strengthen Pastor Tim Bayly on his trip to Taiwan so that he will be used to bring the light of Christ to the people you made there.   Use him to equip men for the work of ministry so that your church will grow up into maturity.  Expand your kingdom and may your will be done we pray in the name of the light of the nations, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lastly, we are praying for Governor Eric Holcomb.  

Prayer:   Dear Governor of the nations, you have set apart Christ Jesus as King of Kings.  All earthly rulers receive their authority from Him.  We thank you for establishing civil government and ask that you help us to have submissive hearts to this authority.  We also ask that you would give us civil leaders who would rule with the wisdom and love of Christ.  Please give Governor Eric Holcomb your Spirit so that he would repent of sin and use his authority to serve the people of Indiana and in particular the church.  We pray that he would work to end the slaughter of the preborn and the promotion of sexual immorality.  If he will not do this work, please remove him from office and replace him with someone who will.  We praise you King Jesus and long for your kingdom to be manifested throughout the ends of the earth and it is in your holy name we pray.  Amen.

Church History Spotlight
Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor
315 AD - 13 January 367 AD
Hilary of Poitiers lived during the great controversy between Athanasius, who taught that the Son is fully God, equally with the Father, and Arius, who denied this.
Hilary is sometimes called "the Athanasius of the West." He was bishop of Poitiers, and when he refused to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the Arian emperor Constantius (one of the sons of Constantine) banished him to Phrygia in 357. His exile lasted three years, during which time he wrote several essays, including On The Trinity. Finally the Emperor was forced to send him back to Gaul because he was causing such difficulties for the Arians in the East. In 364, he journeyed to Milan, where he engaged in public debate with the Arian bishop Auxentius, and persuaded him of the error of his ways.

Here is a quote form his work on the Trinity:
God the Word became flesh, that through His Incarnation our flesh might attain to union with God the Word. And lest we should think that this incarnate Word was some other than the Word of God, or that His flesh was of a body different from ours, He dwelt among us that by His dwelling He might be known as the in dwelling God, and, by His dwelling among us, known as god incarnate in no other flesh than our own, and moreover, though He had condense ended to take our flesh, not destitute of His own attributes; for He, the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, is fully possessed of His own attributes and truly endowed with ours,”