July 23-30th Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
 July 23-30th 2023 AD.
The 8th  Sunday After Pentecost

Bible Passage for the Week
Proverbs 6:12-19
1 Samuel 3
2 Timothy 4
Psalm 82

Verse to Memorize
Hebrews 4:14-16  

Catechism Questions
Q. 67. How is Christ a priest?
A. Because he died for our sins and pleads with God for us.

Q. 70. Why do you need Christ as a priest?
A. Because I am guilty.

People to Pray for:
Church: Church of the King (McAllen Texas)
                Pastor Ron Smith
Ministry: Bill Schank
Sports Fan Outreach
Civil Magistrate: Clark County Deputy Prosecutor
                                Andrew O. Steele  
Notes for Parents:
Proverbs 6:12-19
In our reading of 1 Samuel we have seen worthless men.  Eli’s two sons are called worthless because they don’t know God.  They lead others astray into their perversions.
In this passage from Proverbs we seem more characteristics of a worthless man.
The worthless man walks around winking, and pointing, and devising evil.  He is cocky and proud.  

But notice the capstone of it, He spread strife.
He brings strife, division, and hurt wherever he goes.  God hates this.   The list of things God hates is the things the worthless man does.  He is proud, He lies, He sheds innocent blood.  
But notice again the capstone or the pinnacle of it.  God hates the one who spread strife among brothers.   The scriptures by saying there are six things, yes seven is putting the emphasis here on this seventh thing.  Of all the things God hates, He hates those who divide brothers.  He hates those who bring division into the Church.  
Now how do these men bring division.   There are a host of ways- Gossip, slander, pride, violence, and false teaching.   All of these things call strife.
We need to put them far away from us.

Titus 3 says this “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

We are to reject the worthless men.  Those who come teaching heresy (the word used in Titus which also means division) are to be rejected.   Those who seek to divide brothers over issues of nonimportance are to be warned and then rejected.
Let us all be on guard against being this type of man.

1 Samuel 3
The word of the Lord was rare in those days and visions were not being given.  God was hiding himself because of the sins of the people.  Eli’s two worthless sons were an indictment upon all the people.  Not only were they a discouragement to the people and worked to lead them to despise the offering of God, they themselves were a result of the people’s despising the offerings.   It was judgement.

The King James says the word was precious.   It was precious because it was rare.   Now for us, we have the full revelation of God.  We have the word in written form.  We have it in our pockets on our cell phones.  We have access to it anywhere at anytime in about any language.   It’s not physically rare and yet in our day it is rare.

It is rare because we don’t give ourselves to reading it, meditating on it, praying it, and obeying it.  Because of this, we often get the leaders we deserve.  The church in America has many preachers who don’t preach the meat of the word.  There is a dirth of good preaching and many are led astray.  This is both evil and a judgement from God.

But the word of God should be precious to us.  In a time where everyone has an opinion and always makes it known and when you are constantly bombarded with information, the word of God is precious in that it is the only sure truth.   It is the one source you can trust.
So do you treasure it?   Do you read it?  Do you meditate on it?  Do you love it?  Do you obey it?

2 Timothy 4
"Et tu, Brute?" - Julius Caesar: According to historical accounts, these were the last words spoken by Julius Caesar when he was assassinated by a group of conspirators, including his close friend Brutus, on the Ides of March in 44 BCE.
"I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have." - Leonardo da Vinci: The renowned artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci reportedly spoke these reflective words on his deathbed in 1519.
"I'm bored with it all." - Winston Churchill: The iconic British statesman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill allegedly uttered these words shortly before passing away in 1965.
"Now, voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find." - Walt Whitman: American poet Walt Whitman's final words, written in a notebook, were a reflection on his life's journey. He died in 1892.
"Go away. I'm alright." - H.G. Wells: The prolific science fiction writer H.G. Wells said these words to his son before his death in 1946.

These are famous last words.    Here in 2 Timothy 4 we have the last recorded words of the Apostle Paul.  This is a man that God chose and used richly to grow the church and spread the gospel to the gentiles.  And here in this chapter, the Apostle gives his final message to his son in the faith, Timothy.   These are important words that I am sure Timothy hung on to.  Paul gives Timothy a charge: Preach the Word.   The one thing that Paul wants to make sure happens is that the word of God is proclaimed.  He wants to make sure that the generation after Him will be faithful to hold to the truth and make it known to others.  There is going to be a time Paul says when people would not listen but Timothy must keep on fighting.  He must endure the battle, do the work and fulfill the call.   There is a crown that awaits.

Fathers nothing matters more to you than making sure that next generation continues the work.  You have to prepare them for that and instruct them to teach the next generation to do the same.  

I went to a conference once where they had research looking at homeschool data.  They found that a large chunk of people who were homeschooled were no homeschooling their children.  It was really only a minority who continued to do so.  This was shocking.  So the researchers did some digging and found out that when people homeschooled for purely academic reasons and did not teach their children the faith and why they were homeschooled, that the majority of the kids didn’t continue it in the next generation.  But when the people surveyed were taught why and were taught to continue it, that the majority of these people did.

Now this is not to say that homeschool is the only way but to point out that its not enough merely to do things right in your day, you need to teach your children why you are doing what you are doing and to teach them to replicate it.  You need to encourage them to keep up the work in future generations.  Make sure you raise your sons and daughters to raise up their sons and daughters.  Teach them to be sober in all things, endure hardship, and do the work that God calls them to.

Psalm 82
God is the all-wise and all-powerful judge. He is king over all the nations, and they will also answer to Him. All nations and all their leaders will answer to Him.

Psalm 82 is an interesting Psalm. There are a few competing interpretations of the passage. The overall theme of the Psalm is that God will judge, and everyone will answer to Him. What makes the passage interesting and difficult is that this passage speaks to some "rulers" who God also calls gods and sons of the Most High. Some have argued that this is God speaking in heaven to a "divine council." We see in several places in Scripture that God created not only the earth and humans but also the heavens and spiritual beings. We are familiar with angels and with demons. There are spiritual beings, and the Bible does teach that some rejected God and were cast down from heaven. Some have argued that these beings were put in charge of the nations but rebelled against God to lead the nations astray. This is why pagans have worshipped other "gods," which the Apostle Paul says are demons.

This psalm, then, is God speaking to these rulers in the high places as the Apostle Paul calls them and saying that they will be judged just like men and will die. They should have led with justice and mercy but led the nations astray. Others have argued that this passage is speaking not of divine beings but to earthly kings who are to represent God. They are called gods because they are in a place of authority and are called to be God's representatives. They instead have led their nations in injustice and will, therefore, be judged. They place themselves in the seat of Jehovah, but God will bring them low.

I think there are truths in both views. There are spiritual beings who rebelled against God and whom we wrestle with. We as Christians in holy living and in prayer are in spiritual warfare. We have an enemy in the devil and his followers that we fight against, and we must not lose track of it. We also can trust that God will judge and destroy these demonic forces. We also know that all those in authority will answer to God. If you have been given authority, you are to represent God well and use your authority to uphold justice and defend the weak. Authority is given to be used wisely and compassionately. They all will be held accountable to the judge of the earth. Every nation, every king, every man, and all of creation must bow its knee before Jesus."

Catechism/ Memory Verse
How do you plead? We have all seen the court dramas and television shows, so we know what happens when someone is being prosecuted for a crime and is brought before a judge. The charges are read, and the judge asks the defendant to give his plea. The one being accused can answer one of three ways: Not guilty, Guilty, or No Contest.

If they plead guilty or no contest, the trial will then move on to the sentencing phase. The judge will then give the punishment for the crime. A wise man, when arrested and brought to court, will want to have a good lawyer with him. A good lawyer can help make a difference even in the sentencing.

Our catechism question today teaches us that we need a good advocate on our behalf. We need someone who is able to intercede on our behalf with God. We need someone who can offer to the Judge of the universe a sacrifice that will atone for our sins. And we need this because we are guilty.

We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have nothing good that we can offer on our own. We are guilty. Oh, we can try to be proud and declare ourselves not guilty, but on the day of trial, all the evidence will come out to the contrary. We are guilty.
And if we are wise, we will acknowledge that and cast ourselves on the mercy of God. Now the good news is that we have a Great Priest in Jesus who paid all the penalties of our sins, and in Christ, we are declared righteous. Our advocate Jesus took our place, and therefore when the verdict is handed down, we will be found innocent and set free. Not because we aren't guilty, but because Christ took our guilty verdict and our sentence. He gave us his innocent verdict. He also gave us the reward for all His good deeds.

I am guilty, but God has declared me righteous by the work of Jesus

People to Pray for:
Prayer for Church of the King and Pastor Ron Smith
Dear God our Father,
We come before Your throne of grace today with hearts full of gratitude and humility, lifting up the Church of the King in McAllen, Texas, and their faithful pastor, Ron Smith. We are aware of the challenges and trials they have faced, especially concerning Pastor Ron's health. We ask for Your loving hand of healing and restoration to be upon him, bringing strength and renewed vitality to his body and spirit.
Lord, we thank You for the ministry of Church of the King, which serves near the border of Mexico. We pray for Your protection and guidance over the church as they seek to share the gospel boldly and without reservation. Grant them the courage to stand firm in their faith, proclaiming Your truth in love to all who cross their path.
Grant Pastor Ron and the church leadership Your divine wisdom. May they seek Your counsel in every decision and be led by the Holy Spirit as they navigate the challenges and opportunities before them. Strengthen their resolve to lead with integrity and humility, always seeking to glorify Your name above all else.
As they labor in the harvest fields, we ask You to raise up new leaders within the congregation. May they be individuals with hearts fully devoted to You, equipped with the gifts and talents necessary to serve and lead effectively. May they be nurtured and mentored in Your ways, growing in grace and understanding.
Lord, we pray that Church of the King will be a beacon of light and hope in their community and beyond. May their love for You and one another be a powerful testimony to Your grace and goodness. Open doors for impactful outreach and missions to touch the lives of those in need, both locally and across borders.
In times of weariness or discouragement, remind them of Your unwavering presence and promises. May they find strength in knowing that they do not labor in vain, for You are with them, and Your purposes will be fulfilled.
We pray this in the Mighty name of King Jesus, amen.

Prayer for Bill Schank

Heavenly Father,
We come before You today, lifting up our dear brother Bill Schank  in prayer, asking for Your steadfast support and blessings upon his life and ministry.
Lord, we pray that You would grant Bill unwavering boldness as he proclaims the Gospel with Sports Fan Outreach. Strengthen his spirit, fill him with Your Holy Spirit, and embolden him to fearlessly declare Your truth in a world that often rejects it. May his words be filled with power and conviction.  Give open ears and soft hearts to those who would hear his preaching so that they might come to the knowledge of Christ.
Father, we ask for Your protection over Bill, that he may resist and overcome temptation. Shield him from the allure of worldly distractions and grant him discernment to discern right from wrong. Strengthen his faith, enabling him to walk in purity and righteousness, setting an example for others to follow.
Loving God, we pray for Bill's family. May his love for them reflect Your sacrificial love for the Church. Grant him the wisdom and patience to nurture and guide his family in the ways of the Lord.  We also pray that you would meet all of Bill’s needs. You are the ultimate provider, and we ask that You bless him abundantly, both spiritually and materially. Open doors of opportunity for him, that he may have the resources necessary to continue his ministry effectively.
Lord, Surround Bill with Your grace, protection, and favor as he serves You faithfully. May his ministry bear much fruit, leading many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Prayer for Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Andrew O Steele

Dear Just and Merciful God, our King,
You are just and all your ways are good, God.  Thank you for establishing civil government to punish evil and to protect what is good.  And thank you for appointing men like Andrew Steele to serve in this way.

 We acknowledge that salvation comes through a clear view of our own sin and guilt before You, and we earnestly beseech You to grant Andrew a deep understanding of his need for Christ as his Savior. We pray that his eyes would always be open to the weight of his own sin so that he may recognize his desperate need for Your forgiveness and redemption. Help him grasp the truth that salvation is found only through faith in Jesus Christ, who paid the ultimate price for our sins on the cross.

Lord, as Andrew serves as a Deputy Prosecutor, we pray for Your wisdom to guide him in his work. Grant him discernment to distinguish between good and evil, and the strength to stand for righteousness. May he diligently pursue justice, protecting the innocent and punishing those who perpetrate evil acts. Let his actions reflect Your righteous character, and may he be an instrument of justice in his community.

Heavenly Father, we fervently ask that You guard Andrew’s heart and mind from the temptation to be greedy or dishonest. Shield him from the allure of bribes or shortcuts that compromise justice. Give him unwavering integrity, a steadfast commitment to truth, and a deep compassion for those affected by crime. Protect him from any pressures or influences that would cause him to prosecute the innocent.

Lord, we entrust Mr. Steele into Your loving hands, knowing that You alone have the power to transform hearts and guide lives. Surround him with Your grace and mercy, that he may walk in righteousness and be your servant for justice.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and the righteous judge, we pray. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
J. S. Bach, Musician 28 July 1750
George Frederick Handel, Musician 14 April 1759
Heinrich Schuetz, Musician 6 November 1672

Johann Sebastian Bach, widely regarded as the greatest of all composers of music for Christian worship, was born in 1685 in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, into a family of distinguished musicians. In 1708, shortly after marrying his cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, he became court organist to the Duke of Weimar, where he wrote his principal compositions for the organ. In 1717 he became music director to Prince Leopold of Coethen. In 1720, his wife died, and in 1721 he married Anna Magdalena Wuelcken, for whom he composed a famous set of keyboard pieces. From 1723 until his death in 1750 he was at Leipzig, where he taught, conducted, sang, played, and composed. He had 20 children, of whom nine survived him, four of whom are also remembered as composers.

In addition to his secular music, Bach wrote a considerable amount of music for worship. He drew on the German tradition of hymn-tunes, and arranged many of them as cantatas, with elaborate choir settings for most stanzas, and a plain four-part setting for the final stanza, to be sung by the congregation with the choir. Normally each stanza is unique, using the melody traditional for that hymn, but with variations, particularly in the harmony, that reinforce the meaning of the words of that stanza. He wrote altogether about two hundred cantatas, including at least two for each Sunday and holy day in the Lutheran church year (matching the subject of the cantata with that of the Scripture readings prescribed for that day). Two of the better known are "Christ lag in Todesbanden" (Christ lay in the bonds of death"), based on an Easter hymn by Martin Luther; and "Jesu, meine Freude" (Jesus, all my gladness).

It was an ancient custom that during Holy Week the Gospel readings shall be from the accounts of the Passion (=suffering and death) of Our Lord, and that, where possible, these accounts shall be read, not by a single reader, but with the speeches of different persons read by different readers (and the crowd by the choir or the congregation). This may be said, or chanted to a simple tune. Bach wrote, for the St. Matthew Passion, and again for the St. John Passion, an elaborate musical setting, with the Gospel narrative sung by a soloist, with the dialog by other singers, and commentary by the choir in the form of hymns and more elaborate pieces. He also wrote a setting for the traditional Latin Liturgy, his famous B Minor Mass. The Liturgy is divided into the Ordinary (the parts that are the same every time) and the Propers (the parts that vary from day to day, such as the Bible readings). The choral parts of the Ordinary include the KYRIE ("Lord, have mercy" or "Hear us, O gracious Lord"), the GLORIA ("Glory to God in the highest," based on Luke 2:14), the CREDO ("I believe in one God, the Father Almighty..."), the SANCTUS-BENEDICTUS ("Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", based on Isaiah 6:3 and Matthew 21:9), and the AGNUS DEI ("O Lamb of God," based on John 1:29).

Bach wrote choir settings for these (in case anyone is wondering why a devout Lutheran would write choir settings for a Mass, I point out that the language of the Liturgy is ancient, and contains nothing not taught by Lutheran and Methodist and Presbyterian churches), and his work is not simply a matter of supplying pleasant-sounding melody and chords. For example, in the Creed, there occurs the line, "And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church." In Bach's setting of this line, there are two melodies sung by the choir simultaneously. One is a traditional plainchant melody, most frequently sung by Roman Catholics. The other is a Lutheran chorale melody. The two melodies are interwoven, and they harmonize perfectly. Bach was not just a musician. He was a Christian, and a preacher of the Gospel.

George Frederick Handel (Georg Friedrich Haendel) was born at Halle in Germany in 1685. He originally studied for the law and then began to write operas. He moved to Italy in 1706 and to England in 1710, where in 1726 he became a British subject. From operas, Handel turned to the writing of oratorios, works with a religious theme to be sung by soloists and a chorus. His greatest work, The Messiah, was first performed in Dublin in 1741. The words are Scriptural passages from both Testaments dealing with the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. G. B. Shaw referred to it as "the hymn that can make atheists cry." In most large towns in the English-speaking world, it is performed every Christmas and Easter. Handel died 14 April 1759.

Heinrich Schuetz was born in Saxony in 1585, and twice (1608-12 and 1628-30) went to Venice to study music, first under Giovanni Gabrielli and then perhaps with Monteverdi. He was music director at Dresden for most of his life, but spent time in Copenhagen and elsewhere when Dresden was devasted by plague and the Thirty Years' War. His special achievements were (1) writing choral settings of Scriptural texts that emphasized the meaning of the words; and (2) introducing into his music the forms of Monteverdi and his Italian associates while retaining a distinctively German character and feeling. He died 6 November 1672.

A prayer of thanks for these men and a request for God to help us be creative:
Almighty God, beautiful in majesty, majestic in holiness, who hast shown us the splendor of creation in the work of thy servants Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Heinrich Schuetz: Teach us to drive from the world the ugliness of chaos and disorder, that our eyes may not be blind to thy glory, and that at length everyone may know the inexhaustible richness of thy new creation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Upcoming Events:
Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
July 26 Women’s Bible Study
August 2 Prayer Gathering
August 7 Monthly Outreach
August 8 Women’s Bible Study
August 16 Family Ministry Night
August 20 Genevan Pub
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