June 18-24 Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
 June 18-24th 2023 AD
The 3rd Sunday After Pentecost

Bible Passage for the Week
Proverbs 4:20-27
1 Samuel 1:1-8
Micah 6
Psalm 77

Verse to Memorize
1 John 1:7-9

Catechism Questions

Q. 133. What is the fifth petition?
A. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Q. 134. What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
A. That God would pardon our sins for Christ's sake, and enable us to forgive those who have injured us.

People to Pray for:
Church: Church of the King Evansville
                Pastor Jacob Mentzel  
Ministry: Sweetwater Research  
Civil Magistrate: US Senate
Notes for Parents:
Proverbs 3:13-26
In "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," while dangling from a bridge that has been cut over a deep canyon with alligators at the bottom, Indiana wrestles with a Hindu priest who possesses the power to remove a human heart from its body. Indiana Jones' little sidekick, Short Round, notices the priest going for Jones' heart and yells, "Indy, cover your heart, cover your heart."

The physical heart is vital for human life, and even more so, the spiritual heart is the source from which all life flows. Proverb writers advise us to diligently watch over our hearts. The heart controls our actions, our words, and our way of life. The enemy always seeks to target our hearts.

Our enemy entices us to place our hearts on worldly matters rather than on things above. He wants us to find delight and treasure only in fleeting things. Additionally, he aims to fill our hearts with envy, greed, anger, malice, and lust.

We must guard our hearts and ensure that they are filled with things that bring life. First and foremost, we need a transformed heart. In our sinful nature, our hearts are nothing more than factories producing lifeless idols. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms the heart and brings it to life.

Those who are in Christ have a living heart, yet they still struggle against their sinful flesh. The task now is to protect the living heart and nourish it, rather than indulge the sinful flesh. The Bible instructs us not to make provisions for the flesh. What occupies your mind? Is it the Word of God? Be vigilant about what you allow yourself to dwell on and think about. When you sense bitterness rising up, repent. When you find yourself inclined to grumble and complain, remind yourself of things you have to be grateful for.

This is challenging work, but it is worth it because the springs of life flow from the heart.

1 Samuel 1:1-8
We are beginning a series through the book of 1 Samuel.  This week as you read these verses consider the context of 1 Samuel and what God is doing in the history of His people.   This book comes in a time when God’s people had fallen into serious disarray.  It had been years since God had led his people out of slavery by the hand of Moses.  It had been years since they had been lead by Joshua into the promised land.   The promise given back in the beginning to Eve that her seed would crush the head of the serpent had still not yet come to pass.   The promise to Abraham was a continuation of this promise.  And yet none of his children had yet fulfilled it.  They had become a great nation and they had taken the land of Israel but even in the midst of this earthly conquest things had not yet been completed.  The Israelites did not drive all the wicked out of the land but instead had settled in and began to adopt the pagan practices of the people.  God’s people had become very wicked.  And God allowed various groups to hound and harass them.  The people would fall into gross immorality and idolatry and then God would discipline them.  They would cry out and He would give them a judge to lead them.
The book of judges tell of this tumultuous time.  The people even at one point were so wicked that they did what Sodom and Gomorrah did not do when Lot offered his daughters.  God sent them judges but each judge was flawed.   Sometimes the judge redeemed the people while shaming them for their wickedness in the case of God using Deborah and Jael to shame the courage of the men.   Finally the book of judges ends by saying that everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes.

This was a far cry from the time of Joshua.  All seemed dark.  And it is in this darkness that the book of 1 Samuel begins.  It begins with a family.   It is a faithful but imperfect family.  The Father of the family brought his family to worship the Lord regularly but there were sins within the family that causes friction.  He had two wives which is against God’s created order.  It was sinful and it brought family division and pain.  Hannah was barren which two shows the darkness of the land.   She could not be fruitful because God’s hand did not appear to be on her.  The other wife would taunt her and make her miserable.
It was a dark time.  Yet it was in this time that God would act in a powerful way to bring a deliverer to His people, a deliverer who would be a prototype of the ultimate deliverer of the world.   The time was dark but the promises given to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua would not be forgotten.  

God would give the barren woman a child.  Her child will be the forebearer to a King of God’s own choosing.   Her son, Samuel, would be the final judge and a prophet who would see the establishment of a throne, the throne of David.   God’s promise then would live on through David and then to his seed.  

As you read this chapter, consider the parallels between this and the gospel of Luke.
The gospel of Luke also opens in a dark time.  The people of God did what was right in their own sight.  They had no word from the Lord.   It too opens with a barren woman, who lamented her childlessness.  God would perform his miracles in this darkness.   The barren woman would be with child, the last of the prophets and a forerunner to the coming Son of David, the King of Kings.    Just as Samuel would point to David,  John the Baptist would point to Jesus.  
The establishment of David’s earthly throne would point to the greater heavenly throne of Christ.
Out of darkness would come light.   Out of the barren womb, life.   And out of a sinful, do what you want time, would come the King to defeat the enemies of God’s people and establish righteousness forevermore.

Micah 6
All Rise, the Honorable Judge has entered the courtroom and court is in session.   The mountains and the hills will serve as the jury.   They will hear the indictment of God against his people.   When I was in Israel, I got to see these mountains in person.   Israel is a land of many mountains and hills.  One thing I thought to myself while there was how often scripture speaks about mountains.   The cities are all situations in and around mountains.  It is fitting then that Micah would paint this as the courtroom of God.
God reminds the Israelites of His faithfulness throughout their history, from their deliverance out of Egypt to their journey through the wilderness. He highlights the ungratefulness and disobedience of the people, asking what more He could have done for them to show His righteousness and love.   They had sinned against God even though He had been good.
The prophet using mockery convicts the people by presenting various exaggerated suggestions for how they can atone for their sins, such as offering thousands of rams or even sacrificing one's firstborn child.   None of these though will suffice.  God is not pleased with the elaborate ceremonies of the people.  He doesn’t care about the religious speech.  God desires a genuine repentance and a transformed life. Micah explains that the Lord has shown them what is good and what He requires: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.

This too was something else I saw in Israel.  The people, whether they were Jewish, Islamic, or Eastern Orthodox Christian where very much engaged in external ceremonies of religion.  But for many it was all external.  It was all fancy ritual.   The heart though is what God looks at.   We must have clean hearts and that is something mere water cannot bring about.   Only the blood of Christ.

Those who have Christ then are those who will act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.  And then this will impact their religious observations.  The external will just be the natural outworking of the internal.

We too must be careful that our righteousness is not the righteousness of the hypocrites.  We must not be people who think that attending a church service once a week is enough to appease God.  God is not pleased with mere superficial religiosity.
Don’t be content to be a hypocrite.
Psalm 77
The scripture is clear that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But this does not mean that we won't be tempted to think that He changes. The psalm writer in this Psalm said, "Then I said, 'It is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed.'"
The Psalm writer, when he looked around at his circumstances, was overwhelmed. It seemed as if the Lord had abandoned him. He knew that God had chosen his people and made promises to them, but now, because of the trials and sufferings of life, it appeared that God had changed. His promises of old were of no count. God had forgotten them. He had, in his anger, withdrawn his compassion.

We are always tempted to think this when trials happen in our lives. Things may go well, and we think God is for us, and then trials hit, and we wonder what has happened. Has God changed? Is He no longer for us? Has He forsaken us?

The psalm writer then says in verse 11, "I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old." Now, why would he say this? Why would remembering God's faithfulness in the past be a comfort? It is because the Psalm writer knows something that the tempter was lying about: God does not change.

God gave His promise to His people, and He will keep it. God was faithful, and He will always be faithful. If you belong to God through Christ, then you are God's child. God only has good purposes for you. The presence of trials and tribulations has not changed God's purposes. When you face suffering in this life, if you are Christ's, it is not as if God has suddenly become against you. No, He can't do that because to do that would be to be against His very Son. God is for you. Trials and tribulations are not God's plan to destroy you but to purify you and to do you good.

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

The Psalm writer looked to past examples of God's faithfulness through storms, how He led His people through the seas, and this was the comfort that He needed. God doesn't change, and He will guide His people through the current storm and across the current seas.
When things in life hit you hard, remember the past faithfulness of God. Remember how He has done you such good, and then remember that God does not change. Your situation may change, but God's good purposes for you do not.

Catechism/ Memory Verse
Psalm 32 says, "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!" Some translations say, "How happy is..." True happiness in this life comes from knowing that your sins have been forgiven and that you have peace with God. David, the Psalm writer, goes on to say, "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away. Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer." When our sins are uncovered, they fester like an open wound and bring much pain. By being uncovered, I don't mean that they are out in the open so that all can see, but rather that they are hidden from God. It's not as if we can hide anything from God, but we can stay silent in our sin and try to hide. It's like when Adam tried to hide after he sinned against God. Uncovered sin is sin that hasn't been dealt with.

David said when he kept silent about his sin, when he hid it or tried to deal with it himself alone, he wasted away. Unrepentant sin eats at us. If we are not in Christ, unrepentant sin will ultimately lead to our doom.

For those in Christ, unrepentant sin eats at our conscience. It makes us miserable. It puts a block in our active relationship with God. It keeps us from His word. And it keeps us from the happiness that should be ours in Christ.

Now, sometimes we try to cover our sin all by ourselves. We think we can cover it up with worldly pleasures, entertainment, distractions, or with good deeds. We try to use rags, filthy rags, to cover it up, but that's like putting dirty bandages on an open wound. It only leads to infection and makes things worse. Sin can only be covered by one thing: the blood of Christ.
David goes on to write in Psalm 32, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord'; and You forgave the guilt of my sin."
This is the way to happiness. It is confession and trust in the Lord. It is uncovering our sin before God so that He can cover it with the blood of Jesus. How happy you will be then.
The fifth petition of the Lord's Prayer teaches us to constantly come before God and confess our sins, as well as being willing to forgive those who sin against us. Confession of sin and, therefore, forgiveness is the way to a happy life.

If you have been depressed, full of anxiety, or just lacking joy, it could be that you need to have your sins covered. It may be that you need to return to God, who is faithful and just and will forgive you and cleanse you.

Turn to Christ and be healed of your sin.

People to Pray for:
Prayer for Church of the King Evansville
Pastor Jacob Mentzel

O Lord our King.
We come before Your throne, lifting up Church of the King in Evansville and its pastor, Jake Mentzel. We thank you for the work You are accomplishing through this congregation and for the steadfast commitment to the truth that permeates their ministry. Thank you for establishing a new church in this city and for the fast growth that they have experienced.
Grant Pastor Jake an abundance of wisdom as he leads.  Guide him by Holy Spirit in every decision, every teaching, and every moment of shepherding Your flock. Strengthen his resolve to faithfully proclaim the unchanging truth of Your Word, even when it is unpopular or challenging.
We pray, O God, for unity within the body of Christ. Protect them from the divisive tactics of the enemy and grant them a spirit of love, harmony, and mutual edification. Guard them from the temptations of the devil, the world, and the flesh. Strengthen them to resist the allurements of compromise, cultural pressure, and sinful desires.
Fill their hearts with unwavering faith, unwavering love for You, and unwavering commitment to Your truth.  In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we pray, confident that You hear us and will answer according to Your perfect will. Amen

SweetWater Research and David Pendergrass
Gracious and Heavenly Father,
We come before You with hearts full of gratitude and praise for the work being carried out by the Sweetwater Research. We thank You for the vision You have placed in the heart of their leader, David Pendergrass, to address the critical need for clean and purified drinking water in impoverished nations. We acknowledge that You are the ultimate provider, and we thank You for equipping Sweetwater Research with the resources and expertise needed to make a tangible difference in the lives of those suffering from water-related illnesses.
Lord, we recognize that physical provision alone is not enough. We thank You for the dedication of Sweetwater Research in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that true transformation comes from knowing You, the Living Water, and we pray that through the work of this organization, hearts and lives will be transformed for eternity. May the message of salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ, be shared boldly and effectively, bringing hope, healing, and restoration to those in need.
Heavenly Father, we ask for Your continued guidance and wisdom for David Pendergrass as he leads Sweetwater Research. Grant him discernment in making strategic decisions, selecting projects, and allocating resources. Strengthen him with perseverance and patience in the face of challenges and obstacles. May his leadership reflect the character of Christ, demonstrating humility, integrity, and a servant's heart.
Lord, we pray for the entire team at Sweetwater Research. Surround them with Your divine protection as they travel to different nations and navigate unfamiliar territories. Grant them favor with local communities and government authorities, that doors may be opened for their work to have a lasting impact. Provide them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for water purification.
We also lift up the communities that Sweetwater Research serves. Lord, we pray for those living in poverty-stricken areas without access to clean water. May Your compassion and mercy reach them through the efforts of this organization. Heal the sick, strengthen the weak, and bring comfort to those who are suffering. Open doors for economic development and education, that these communities may thrive and experience a better quality of life.
Father, we ask that You bless Sweetwater Research abundantly. Provide the financial resources needed to expand their reach and impact, enabling them to serve more communities in need. Raise up partners and supporters who share their vision and are willing to invest in this vital work. We thank You in advance for the testimonies of transformed lives and the tangible difference that will be made through their efforts. All these things we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for the US Senate
 Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we come before Your presence with humble hearts and contrite spirits, seeking Your guidance and mercy for the members of the United States Senate. We acknowledge that You are the ultimate authority and source of wisdom, and we recognize our own limitations as we lift up our leaders in prayer.
Heavenly Father, we pray for those who serve in the Senate. Grant them clarity of thought, moral discernment, and the courage to uphold the truths that align with Your divine Word. Convict their hearts, dear Lord, of any sinful and ungodly abuses of authority they may have committed, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Grant them the humility to acknowledge their wrongdoings and the strength to repent and seek Your forgiveness.
We grieve, Lord, over the widespread acceptance and promotion of wicked practices that go against Your sacred design for life and human sexuality. We lift up the issue of abortion before You, asking for Your mercy and compassion to touch the hearts of our senators. Help them recognize the sanctity of every human life, from conception to natural death. Grant them the wisdom to protect the vulnerable and champion the rights of the voiceless.
Furthermore, Father, we mourn over the promotion of sexual immorality in our nation’s capital. We live in a culture that has strayed from the created order and your command for human relationships, disregarding the beauty of marriage and promoting abominations contrary to Your Word. We pray that our senators would recognize the damaging effects of these practices and turn their hearts toward Your truth. May they seek righteousness, purity, and fidelity in their personal lives, serving as examples of integrity and godliness.
In their pursuit of justice and legislation, may our senators prioritize obedience to Your Word. Give them the strength to resist worldly pressures and political expediency, and instead, may they be guided by Your eternal truth and the well-being of the nation.
Finally, Lord, we ask for Your blessings upon our senators and their families. Grant them good health, wisdom, and discernment in all their endeavors. Surround them with godly counsel and guide their steps according to Your will. If they will not serve you, please remove them from office and replace them with someone who will.
We offer this prayer in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
Alban, First Martyr of Britain
22 June 304

There were probably Christians in the British Isles already in the first century. However, Alban is the first recorded Christian martyr. The traditional date of his death is 304, during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian; but many scholars now date it as around 209, during the persecution under the Emperor Septimius Severus. Alban was a pagan, and a soldier in the Roman Army. He gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from arrest, and in the next few days the two talked at length, and Alban became a Christian. When officers came in search of the priest, Alban met them, dressed in the priest's cloak, and they mistook him for the priest and arrested him. He refused to renounce his new faith, and was beheaded. He thus became the first Christian martyr in Britain. The second was the executioner who was to kill him, but who heard his testimony and was so impressed that he became a Christian on the spot, and refused to kill Alban. The third was the priest, who when he learned that Alban had been arrested in his place, hurried to the court in the hope of saving Alban by turning himself in. The place of their deaths is near the site of St. Alban's Cathedral today.

A Prayer of thanks for St. Alban  
Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even unto death: Grant to us, who now remember him with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Upcoming Events:
Tuesday Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
June 18 Genevan Pub        
June 21 Family Ministry Night
June 28 Women’s Bible Study
July 3 Monthly Outreach
July 19 Family Ministry Night
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