January 22-28th Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
of January 22-28th, 2023 
The Third Week after Epiphany

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 29:14-29
Matthew 25:1-13
1 John 2
Psalm 56

Verse to Memorize
1 John 5:21

Catechism Questions
Q. 83. What is the second commandment?    
A. The second commandment is, "You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

Q. 84.  What does God forbid in the second commandment?  
A.   In the second commandment, God forbids the worship of Himself through images, or any other way not appointed in His Word.    

Q. 85.  What does God require in the second commandment?
A. In the second commandment, God requires the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in His Word.    
People to Pray for:
Church:  Trinity Presbyterian Church
                 Pastor Andrew Dionne
Ministry: Cal Zastrow
Civil Magistrate: Jeffersonville Mayor
                                Mayor Mike Moore
Notes for Parents:
Deuteronomy 29:14-29 
God makes his covenant with his people in this chapter.  He is their God and they are His, young and old, wealthy and poor, the blue collar and white collar workers, those who were native born and those who were strangers brought in.   And in this passage, we see again the warning that the people be careful that they do not fall away.  God in exquisite detail revealed the curses that would befall them if they left their love of Him to go after idols.  He says in this passage that He said this so  “that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.”  Idolatry is so sneaky.  It is like a seed planted in the night that grows a root just under the surface until it burst through bearing fruit, fruit that makes all who eat it sick and die.  The taste is bitter making you vomit but it does not take much of a taste for you to kill over dead.    This Old Testament passage warned them that they be outwardly a part of God’s people, a branch on the vine, externally a partaker of the covenant, and yet they cut be cut off and cast out.  Idolatry reveals a lack of faith and without faith it is impossible for one to be saved.

Now you might be thinking, this is the Old Testament of course there were people in that old covenant who were not truly saved but this isn’t true of the New Covenant.  Hold on to your horses because Hebrews 12:15 says “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled...”  The Holy Spirit writing to New Testament Christians, those who were outwardly a part of God’s people, branches on the vine, externally partakers of the covenant says that they must be on guard that no root of bitterness springs up.  Be careful that you do not come short of the grace of God.  Be on guard the same poisonous fruit can come up and kill you too.   Don’t turn away from trust in God to trust in idols.  Never turn from Jesus.  Be alert.  Stay awake.

This is not teaching us that we have to earn our salvation or that we do good deeds to keep from losing our salvation but rather it is a warning that we must cling to Jesus by faith in order to be saved.  Don’t let anything move from it.   Don’t turn to other gods which are no gods at all.  Christ Jesus is your only hope.

Matthew 25:1-13
We had this saying when I was in the military “Stay Alert, Stay Alive.”   The Christian life is a long battle to stay awake.  We have an enemy who would love nothing more than to lull us to sleep and plant within that root of unbelief, that bitter plant, which springs forth into idolatry and all manner of sin.  That weed which would entangle us and keep us from joy in Christ.   Stay Alert, Stay Alive.  Jesus in this parable teaches us that we need to be prepared for the long haul.  The one who is saved is the one who perseveres to the end by God’s grace.  The victory does not go to the one who started out of the gate with haste but grew tired and did not have enough fuel for the race.  It does not go to the one who heard the gospel and responded with glee and excitement but did not place down roots in Christ and when the cares of the world came, they were choked out.  The victory goes to the one who stays alert, the one who keeps his eyes on Christ and will let nothing move him.  He may battle sin and there may be periods where he gets drowsy but he has enough fuel to keep his fire going because his hope is unshakably in Christ.

Stay Alert.  Stay Alive.    Fathers, do you know the state of your flock?  Do you know your own heart?  Are you asleep to your own sins?  Are you lullabied by the cares of the world?   Is your lamp running low and you don’t even know it?   Wake Up! And restore your love in Christ.    What about the hearts of your wives and children?  Do you come home from work and check out?  Are you unaware of the temptations they face?  What would you say is your daughters biggest indwelling sins?   What are your sons dreams and desires?   Do your close your eyes to the spiritual needs of your wife?   All eyes can look but only some see.  

1 John 2
God forgives sin.  As Christians, we are to flee sin.  We should run far away from it.   We do not walk in the darkness.  But isn’t it such a comfort to know that when we sin, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ. When we fail, we are not just cast away.  We can cry out for mercy and the blood of Christ covers our sins.  Jesus is our only hope.  We must cling to Him and as we cling to Him, He will enable us to love our brothers and sisters.  

Psalm 56
What are you afraid of?  Children often fear darkness, thunderstorms, loud noises, or simply being alone.  Their imaginations often run wild with them in the dark.  The coat hanging on the door in the darkness becomes a monster ready to eat them alive.  But when the light comes on, all fear goes away.
Children are not the only ones with run away imaginations.  We all are tempted to fear when the darkness seems to close around.  We fear when we hear of all the evil going on in our culture, in our government, in the economy, and in our neighborhoods.  We fear when we have enemies who hate us.  We fear when trials and troubles happen.  We fear not being able to provide. We fear many things.
We all need the light of Christ to help us.  You and your children need to memorize this verse:
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
The psalm writer was afraid but he knew he could turn to God.  And when he put his trust in God, he was not afraid.  Verse 4 says “In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.
Catechism/ Memory Verse

The Apostle John ends his first epistle to the church with the warning, "Little Children, Keep yourself from idols." The first commandment teaches us to have no other gods before God and the second teaches us that God is to be worshipped as He commands.  We are not to make images of God or other things and worship them.  One can claim to be worshipping the one true God and still be worshipping idols.  God is a jealous God and will not let us substitute images, statues, or anything else for Him.  We are called to worship Him in spirit and in truth.   We are capable of making idols of anything.

We are also capable of profaning the worship of God by not giving our due attention to that worship.

Coming to church and mouthing the songs but having our hearts and minds far from him is not honoring him.  The same goes for participating in family worship but not being engaged.  Teach your children that when they allow other things to distract them from worshiping God, they are not honoring God in worship as they should.  This is sin and it is breaking the second commandment. We make idols of the world and the things in it and these idols fill our minds rather than the truths of God.  

Work hard to pay attention when worshiping God.  Stay engaged.  When you feel your mind slipping and yourself losing focus, take a moment, breath, and re-engage.  We all struggle with having a distracted mind.  Some of this is our fallen nature but some of this is because we spent too much time engaging our mind with other things the rest of the time.  We amuse ourselves to death and then find it hard to focus.  It could be that tv, phones, internet, and etc have become idols.   Little Children, keep yourself from idols.

People to Pray for:
Prayer for Trinity Presbyterian Church:   
Dear Father,
we thank you that you have given us peace with you through the work of Jesus Christ.   You have also not left us to labor alone in the darkness of this world.  When Elijah grew discouraged, you showed him that you will always have a faithful remnant. Thank you for the Church and for our participation in the gospel with faithful brothers and sisters around the world.  We thank you for Trinity Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg South Carolina.  We pray that you give Pastor Andrew Dionne wisdom to lead, and your Spirit to proclaim with power your word.  Raise up godly men and women as fathers and mothers in the church.  Protect them from temptations without and divisions within.   And let your light shine through them so that all may know the peace of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Prayer for Cal Zastrow (Cal has served as a missionary in China as well as proclaiming the gospel outside of abortion mills for decades.  He and several other faithful brothers and sisters are facing prosecution from the federal government for attempting to protect little children.)
Glorious and Almighty God, 
We praise you and shout Hallelujah for your work in and through our dear brother Cal Zastrow and the other faithful Christians who are facing persecution for standing up for the lives of little children.  We pray that you would grant them favor with judges and keep them from being convicted and sentenced to time in jail.  We ask that you would give them your Spirit of comfort through this time.  Give them wisdom on what to say and when to say it.  Please spark a revival among your people that we all would be so bold to proclaim the truth of the gospel of your Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for Mayor Mike Moore
O Lord our Governor,
Thank you for Mayor Mike Moore.  We pray that you reign down upon him the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice; that with steadfast purpose he may faithfully serve to promote the well-being of the people of Jeffersonville by punishing evil and protecting the proclamation of the gospel.  We pray that you would give us opportunity to teach him your word and favor with him that he would receive it with joy.  Grant to the people of Jeffersonville repentance of sins and the happiness of Christ our Sovereign King, Amen.

Church History Spotlight
St. Vincent of Saragossa
Died 22 January 304

Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Vincent Martyr, was a deacon in the early Christian Church during the 3rd century. He was born in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica (modern-day Spain) and died in Valencia in the year 304 AD during the Diocletianic Persecution. He is known for being tortured and executed for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. It is said that he was brought to trial along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both, and that his fearless manner so angered the governor that Vincent was tortured and killed, though his aged bishop was only exiled.  His death in Valencia is considered one of the earliest recorded Christian martyrdoms in Spain. Little else is known about the martyr and many modern Christians do not know his name.   God however has not forgotten.  The Bible says the death of one of the godly is precious in the sight of the Lord.  We need not fear the enemy because God will use our faithfulness. Vincent’s fame as a martyr helped make Valencia an important center of Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula, God used his sacrifice to further the gospel.  For those in Christ, their labor is never in vain.