February 26- March 4 Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
February 26- March 4th 2023 AD 
The First Sunday of Lent

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 31:19-30
Matthew 26:30-46
Lamentations 1
Psalm 60

Verse to Memorize
Philippians 4:8

Catechism Questions
Q. 106. What is the seventh commandment?
A.    The seventh commandment is, "You shall not commit adultery."    

Q. 107. What does God forbid in the seventh commandment?  
A.   In the seventh commandment, God forbids all unchaste thought, words, and actions.

Q. 108. What does God require of us in the seventh commandment?
A.  In the seventh commandment, God requires the preservation of our own, and our neighbor's chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior.

People to Pray for: 
Church: Chinese Reformed Church Bloomington
                Pastor Jason Chen
Ministry:  Evangel Presbytery
Civil Magistrate: Jeffersonville City Member
                                Scottie Maples
Notes for Parents:
Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Moses wrote a song and made the people learn it so that it would stand as a testimony to them when they were tempted or when they fell into sin. He knew that they might find success and grow cold.  They may love the world and follow after idols.  The song they memorized would come to their minds and be a rebuke.

Music is a good tool to convey truth.  In my own life God used a song by Keith Green to call me out of rebellion when I fell into sin.  The song was called Asleep in the Light.   Here are some of the lyrics

“The world is sleeping in the dark That the church just can't fight 'Cause it's asleep in the light How can you be so dead When you've been so well fed? Jesus rose from the grave And you, you can't even get out of bed Oh, Jesus rose from the dead Come on, get out of your bed How can you be so numb Not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job's done You close your eyes and pretend the job's done.”

Parents don’t grow weary of teaching your children songs and to memorize scripture and catechism.  The work you are doing now may be used by God in the future to draw your child out of sin or to keep them from it.

I can’t say it enough but singing is good.  It is manly.   You don’t have to have the greatest voice to do it.  But with a little practice and effort, you can sing a tune.  If simply involves forgetting yourself and giving yourself to it.   It’s worth it.

Matthew 26: 17-29
In this passage, Jesus sadly foretells of how the disciples will fall away.  Peter in a rash promise says He will never leave Christ.  Christ tells Peter, “you will deny me three times.”  Peter can’t every imagine that.  He loves Jesus.  And He is proud.  

Before Peter can deny Jesus, Peter and the rest of the disciples fail him by not staying awake to pray.  Three times Christ gives them an opportunity and three times they sleep.  Perhaps the reason Peter eventually fell was because He didn’t watch and pray.

We ought to be careful that we are not proud.  We ought to be mindful that no matter how much we think we know, we need to be alert.  We ought to be careful that we don’t think “well I grew up in the church and I know the bible, I’m good.”   We grow complacent and then we shut ourselves off from the ways that we are strengthened in the faith.  We turn away from bible reading.  We don’t give ourselves to gathering to worship.  We don’t pray.   And then we set ourselves up for failure when the pressure comes.

What is your prayer life like?

Lamentations 1
Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet because his work included rebuking the Jerusalem and foretelling its destruction along with the fact that he saw this prophesy come true.  He saw how the people refused to repent and how they continued to head right into destruction.  He wrote the book of lamentations as he wept over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.  The prophet saw the city he loved left desolate.  Her streets were empty.  Her people carried off.  God’s discipline was heavy.  He uses vivid and poetic language to describe the city's suffering, painting a picture of a once-great city reduced to rubble and ashes. He notes that the city's enemies now rule over it, and that the people who were once wealthy and powerful are now slaves.  Sin leads to destruction.

Though the chapter is dark, it does end with a sliver of hope as Jeremiah calls out to God.  He says just as my enemies gloat over me, God judge our enemies.  Jeremiah trusted that God would be faithful.

This book is a helpful book when thinking about repentance.  We ought to mourn our sins.  Jesus said blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.   Some of you know the weight of your sins and bear the burden of the consequences.  You may be dealing with physical issues, debt, or relationship struggles from past foolishness and sin.  You may be lamenting the time wasted, the sins that can’t be taken back, and you may be heavy laden.  It is ok to cry out to the Lord.  But cry out with faith.  Even if all seems dark, hold on to the sliver of hope.  God will be with you.  He will forgive you and walk with you through the darkness.  He will give you strength for the earthly consequences and there will be a day when all will be made whole again.  There will be a time when your enemies will be judged and you will see Christ face to face.  There will be a day when your tears will be wiped away.

Psalm 60
There are times in life whether through our sins and the discipline for them or because God is testing us we feel that He is far away. Psalm 60 is David’s prayer when He felt that God had abandoned him after a military defeat. The psalm begins with a cry for God's help and a confession that the defeat was due to God's anger. David praises God for his protection in the past but now wonders where He is.  David pleads with God to restore his favor and to remember his covenant promises to his people.  While David laments, He does trust that God will be with him.  He knows that God is his only hope and therefore will not turn away from him.

We ought to learn from this psalm when we feel defeated and abandoned.  God has not left us even when He does discipline us or when He tests us.  We ought to examine ourselves and confess any sin.  Sin often makes us feel far from God.   If you feel your relationship with God has grown cold, confess your sins.   Cry out to Him.  Plead with Him.   If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you.   In the midst of trials, don’t give up.  God will not abandon His people. Through God we shall do valiantly.

Catechism/ Memory Verse
The seventh commandment is a very important commandment in our day.  It is broken all over the place.    Divorce, Sexual Perversion, LGBT, Gender confusion, Abuse, and Pornography are just some of the ways this commandment is trampled on.  But it can be hard trying to teach this commandment to children.  How do you do it as a parent when your children may not be mature enough to handle discussion about sex? Should you just skip this commandment?
No. You should not skip it.  It is very important.  There are principles that you can teach to children at a young age that will benefit them when they grow older.   Two principles in particular are self-control and keeping their promises.

When children are old enough to understand what it means to “keep a promise” they can learn to apply this commandment.  One way to teach them is by encouraging loyalty and obedience towards their parents and family members. By demonstrating loyalty and obedience towards their family members, they can practice this commandment in their daily lives. They should especially be taught to keep their promises to God.

Teaching your children self-control will protect them from battles with lust later on.  Talk to them about the different ways that the devil likes to tempt us.  Little children can be taught how to recognize and keep out the impure thoughts that would make them rebel against their parents.   Meal time is the perfect time to practice self-control.  Have them wait until everyone gets their plates before eating.  Don’t let them make demands about the food but rather to eat what is given them.  Teaching them to say no to dessert from time to time will all help instill self-control skills that will be important down the road.

The memory verse is helpful in teaching us that we are to love God with our mind.  The seventh commandment impacts what we think about as well.
People to Pray for:
Prayer for Chinese Reformed Church of Bloomington and Pastor Jason Chen
Heavenly Father,
We thank you that because of Christ, people from all nations and ethnicities may be forgiven of their sins and declared righteous.  Your word says that all the nations will come to know the glories of Christ.  We hold on to the promises that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the water cover the seas.  And we beseech you for your kingdom to come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We pray for Pastor Jason Chen and his work in planting a church among the Chinese people in Bloomington.  We ask you to establish this church and let it be a source for the gospel to flow into China from the many students at Indiana University who may attend.  Be with the Chinese people who face great pressures from their families and culture to keep them from converting to the faith.  By your grace, overcome this resistance and let your mercies flow.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for Evangel Presbytery
Great Shepherd,
 We thank you that while we were straying like sheep, you did not hesitate to leave the 99 and find us.  Thank you Jesus that you laid down your life for us even while we were enemies.  And thank you that you have not left us alone but have given to us shepherds in the church to guide us into greater knowledge of you, leading us into the green pastures. We thank you that the Church is united and you have not left local congregations to flounder alone isolated from the rest of the flock.  Therefore, we thank you for Evangel Presbytery.  Thank you for the pastors and elders that oversee this group of churches.  Please give them wisdom, boldness, confidence, and love in the work that they do.  Bless the churches with numerical growth, peace, and purity.  Raise up many more faithful churches through this presbytery.  Keep us from sin and false teaching.  Amen.

Prayer for Jeffersonville City Councilman Scotty Maples   (He is also the Clark County Sheriff)
O God, Governor of the Universe,
We lift up Jeffersonville City Council Member and Clark County Sheriff Scotty Maples and ask that You would give him wisdom and discernment as he serves the people of this community.  Please protect him in his work as law enforcement officer and give him strength for the work of the city council. Fill him with courage to punish evil and promote righteousness in all that he does. Give him a heart of compassion for those he serves and that he would always be guided by Your truth.  Convict him of his own sins and cause him to flee to no other help but Christ.  Keep him from the devil’s lies and temptations. Guard him so that he may not fall into lusts and other sins which will make him useless to your kingdom. Bless his family with health not only body and mind but in spirit, we pray in the name of Jesus, the Sovereign King. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
George Herbert, Priest and Poet
27 February 1633

George Herbert was born in 1593, a cousin of the Earl of Pembroke. His mother was a friend of the poet John Donne. George attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and became the Public Orator of the University, responsible for giving speeches of welcome in Latin to famoous visitors, and writing letters of thanks, also in Latin, to acknowledge gifts of books for the University Library. This brought him to the attention of King James I, who granted him an annual allowance, and seemed likely to make him an ambassador. However, in 1625 the king died, and George Hebert, who had originally gone to college with the intention of becoming a pastor, but had head turned by the prospect of a career at Court, determined anew to seek ordination. In 1626 he was ordained, and became vicar and then rector of the parish of Bemerton and neighboring Fugglestone, not far from Salisbury.

He served faithfully as a pastor, diligently visiting his parishioners especially when they were sick and bringing them food and clothing when they were in want. He read Morning and Evening Prayer daily in the church, encouraging any to join him when possible, and ringing the church bell before each service so that those who could not come might hear it and pause in their work to join their prayers with his. He used to go once a week to Salisbury to join in the evening prayer service. On one occasion he was late because he had met a man whose horse had fallen with a heavy load, and he stopped, took off his coat, and helped the man to unload the cart, get the horse back on its feet, and then reload the cart. His spontaneous generosity and good will won him the affection of his parishioners.

Today, however, he is remembered chiefly for his book of poems, The Temple, which he sent shortly before his death to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, to publish if he thought them suitable. They were published after Herbert's death, and have influenced the style of other poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Several of them have been used as hymns, in particular "Teach me, my God and King," and "Let all the world in every corner sing." Another of his poems contains the lines:

     Prayer, the Church's banquet, Angel's age,
     God's breath in man returning to his birth,
     The soul in paraphrase, the heart in pilgrimage,
     The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth.

Upcoming Events:
Tuesday Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
March 5 Small Groups
March 6 Monthly Outreach
March 10-11 Women’s Retreat
March 15 King’s Men and Daughters of the King
March 19 Genevan Pub
March 25 Church in Dialogue