August 20-26th Family Worship Guide 2023

The Guide for the Week
August 20-26th 2023 AD.
12th Sunday After Pentecost

Bible Passage for the Week
Proverbs 8:1-11
1 Samuel 6
2 Peter 3
Psalm 86

Verse to Memorize
Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Catechism Questions

Q. 6. Are there more gods than one?
A. There is only one God.

Q. 7. In how many persons does this one God exist?
A. In three persons.

Q. 8. Who are they?
A. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
People to Pray for: 
Church: Clearnote Church
                    Pastor Dave Abu-Sara
Ministry: Operation Save America
                      Jason Storms
Civil Magistrate: Clark County Deputy Prosecutor
                                        CHARITY MANSFIELD
Notes for Parents:
Proverbs 8:1-11

What holds significance for you? Not just what you claim to value, but what genuinely matters? How would you discern this? An audit of your daily schedule, tracking your actions, would provide insight into what matters. Examining your bank transactions would also reveal where your money goes. If we could monitor your thoughts and brainwaves, we would unveil what truly matters.
So, what occupies your time?
What occupies your thoughts?
Where does your money go?
This proverb states that wisdom is superior to jewels and all desirable things cannot compare to her. Wisdom and knowledge, rooted in the fear of the Lord, are invaluable. They offer guidance and ensure your path's security. How highly do you regard them?
Do you invest time in God's Word?
Do you allocate your resources to support the church that spreads the Word?
Do you listen attentively to preached sermons? Before that, do you pray for insight to absorb and apply it?
Do you meditate on God's Word? Do you contemplate the sermons and teachings you encounter each week? Or do they enter one ear and exit the other? Are you always seeking the next entertaining message?
Do you, as a family, engage with God's Word? Can you, like the writer of Proverbs, declare that wisdom surpasses jewels and nothing you desire can compare to it?

1 Samuel 6
As you read this passage what are some key phrases that stick out to you.   Here are two key phrases that stand out from the passage for me:
1. Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts?
2. Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your children regarding this key phrases:
1.  What does it mean to harden your heart? Have there been instances where God disciplined you, but you resisted repentance? Are there sins you're reluctant to let go of? Are there areas in your life where you're hesitant to obey God? Begin by asking God to reveal these areas to you and to grant you a tender heart and a spirit of repentance.
2.  The people of Beth-shemesh were glad to see the ark, yet they disobeyed the commands concerning it. They peered into it and faced consequences. This led them to ponder, 'Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?' In a sense, these men had taken God's grace for granted and lacked reverence. How might you be tempted to do the same? Have you seen the Gospel as a 'get out of jail free' card? Is it an excuse for you to sin? When you attend Sunday worship, do you approach it with seriousness? What about family worship? Do you engage with reverence, or do you merely go through the motions? Are distractions preventing your focus? Are you just rushing through it to return to your activities?"

2 Peter 3
There is a day coming when the entire world will undergo transformation. All of creation bears the weight of a curse due to the sins of humanity, but through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, God will renew the entirety of creation. This renewal will occur through a purifying fire. The Apostle Peter informs us that the current heavens and earth are awaiting the day of God’s judgment and the destruction of the ungodly. A day is approaching when Christ Jesus will return, and the wicked will be like chaff. The world will be cleansed by the fire of God's judgment.

The wicked mock and scoff at this prospect. They believe they have evaded consequences and escaped unpunished. It's a temptation for us to entertain this notion as well—that the wicked are prevailing, that unprincipled and ungodly individuals amass wealth without facing justice, and that the world continues to turn as usual. However, Peter reminds us that God is not lax in fulfilling His promises. He will judge the wicked just as surely as He flooded the earth in the days of Noah.

Therefore, how should we live? When we witness the apparent prosperity of the wicked, should we allow bitterness and anger toward God to fester within us? Should we conclude that if we can't overcome them, we should join them? Should we abandon our principles and live unrighteous lives too? Or should we, with unwavering faith and our focus on Christ, strive to remain pure and blameless? Fire consumes impurities, but pure gold emerges refined. When Christ returns, will you resemble the dross, or will you shine brightly like the righteous and pure gold?"

Psalm 86
This past week, the right-wing side of the internet has been abuzz about a song by a blue-collar Appalachian named Oliver Anthony. The song is called 'Rich Men North of Richmond.' The song resonates as a forgotten blue-collar man’s lament against the various ways politicians have enriched themselves while devaluing the dollar. Part of the lyrics say, 'Livin' in the new world / With an old soul / These rich men north of Richmond / Lord knows they all just wanna have total control / Wanna know what you think, wanna know what you do / And they don't think you know, but I know that you do.' (Please be cautious when listening around children due to profanity content.)

The song went viral due to its authentic old-school country feel and a theme that many resonate with. It serves as a lament—a song or prayer expressing sorrow, pain, and even anger. The Bible contains several songs of lament found in the Psalms and even a whole book named Lamentations.

However, there is a significant distinction between the world’s laments and the laments of the Bible. The Bible’s laments are not mere cries of anger or sorrow; they are pleas for help from God. Many of them, if not most, include an element of hope. God has not abandoned His people.

Psalm 86 is a cry for the Lord to show grace. The psalmist knows the experience of facing arrogant and proud adversaries. He understands what it's like to confront oppressors similar to the 'rich men north of Richmond.' Yet, the psalmist clings to hope.

Verses 7-9 read: 'In the day of my trouble, I shall call upon You, for You will answer me. There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and they shall glorify Your name.'
The psalmist isn't merely sorrowful or fearful. He doesn't confine himself to lamenting his circumstances. He reaches out in faith to the One he knows will respond. The psalmist believes that God will ultimately triumph, and all nations will worship Him.

The reason this bluegrass/country song resonated with many this week is evident. It struck a chord with the feelings of numerous Americans. However, it's not sufficient to stay at anger and lament. The temptation for many of us today is to stop at anger and lament when facing struggles. In doing so, we forget that not only are our adversaries wicked, but we too are sinful without Christ. Anger can evolve into bitterness, eventually turning our accusations not only against the 'rich men north of Richmond' but also against God.

Hence, while a song like this has its place in the cultural discourse and is appreciated by many, we require the Psalms and their laments to strengthen us. There is hope for those working long hours for minimal pay. There is hope for the weak and forgotten. The Lord God Almighty cannot be defeated by anyone from any direction. His name will be revered."

Catechism/ Memory Verse
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is referred to as the Shema Israel by many Jews. Shema Israel are the first two words in Hebrew of this passage. This is a passage that every Jew would grow up reciting daily. It teaches three important truths:
  1. The Lord is our God. God is not a distant deity unconcerned with His creation. He isn’t merely a creator who set everything in motion and then withdrew to observe from a distance. No, God is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He has chosen a people, entered into a covenant with them, and promised to be their God. As we read through all of Scripture, we see that God's covenant isn't confined to a single ethnic group. In Christ, God invites both Jew and Gentile into His covenant people. All those who have faith in God's promises, along with their children, are part of His covenant people. He is their God. Reciting this passage with our whole hearts is not just an obligation but a privilege. The Lord is our God.
  2. The Lord is one. Not only is the Lord our God, but He is the only God. There are no other gods. God is utterly unique and holy. While other nations might have worshiped supposed gods, those were not true deities. They were idols, mere creations, and not divine beings. In reality, they were demons—created spiritual entities that rebelled against God. Those who worship idols are, in essence, worshiping the father of idols, the devil. However, we must take the entirety of Scripture into account. Doing so, we come to realize that God is not only one but also three. There is indeed one God, but this one God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are fully divine and encompass the fullness of God. While this concept is difficult to grasp and words scarcely do it justice, it remains the revelation of Scripture. God is three in One.
  3. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and might. God is our God. He is the only God, and therefore, we are to love Him. We love Him because He first loved us and chose us, reinforcing point #1. We belong to Him. Our response is to offer ourselves—our entire beings—to Him. The triune God loved us. The Father created us, sent His Son to die for us, raised His Son from the dead for us, and enthroned His Son for us. The Son left the Father and heaven to take on human form for us. He lived a perfect life for us. He suffered and was persecuted for us. He died for us. He bore God's wrath for us. He was buried and descended into the realm of the dead for us. He rose again for us. He ascended into heaven for us. He reigns for us and will return for us. The Holy Spirit was used by the Father to breathe life into humanity. The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God for us. The Holy Spirit reveals the Word of God to us. The Holy Spirit empowered Christ for us. The Holy Spirit was used by God to raise Christ for us. The Holy Spirit applies Christ’s redemptive work to us. The Holy Spirit calls us out of darkness. The Holy Spirit transforms our hearts. The Holy Spirit grants us faith and repentance. The Holy Spirit produces fruit in us. The Holy Spirit assists us in living and praying. God's love for us is immeasurable. It is only fitting that we respond by loving Him in return.

People to Pray for:
Clearnote Church

Mighty and Sovereign God,
Thank you for Clearnote Church in Indianapolis and the bond of Christ that we share with them. Thank you for establishing Your church and for the believers carrying out Your work in many neighborhoods throughout our state. We are grateful for the friendship of Pastor David Abu-sara and his faithful work of preaching the gospel and discipling the saints.
We come before You now and ask for Your protection over Clearnote Church. Protect them from persecution and the hatred of the ungodly. Grant them favor with their neighbors, and open the hearts of the community to hear Your Word proclaimed. Safeguard Clearnote Church from internal division. This year, in particular, has brought numerous internal pressures and stresses upon Your people. Temptations toward bitterness, anger, and restlessness have arisen among us. Forgive us for failing to fully trust in You. Please shield Clearnote Church from these dangers.
Instead, help them to flourish in number and maturity. Bless the work of establishing young families and raising their little children. Bestow wisdom upon Pastor David and the other elders as they undertake this task. Ground the men and women of this church deeply in Your Word through the power of Your Holy Spirit.
We ask for these things and all other needs that You, in Your wisdom, know before we even ask, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen."

Prayer for Operation Save America and Jason Storms
Our Father and Our King,
We thank you for your sovereign hand guiding us through this life and protecting us. Thank you for calling us out of darkness and revealing the truths of Jesus Christ to us. Jesus is the answer to all our needs. Lord, help us to love Him, worship Him, and obey Him. Mold us into His image, for Jesus is the standard.
We now approach your throne to express gratitude for the work of Operation Save America and Pastor Jason Storms. Thank you for OSA's efforts in combating abortion across the nation and for their support of the church in this crucial endeavor. We are also grateful for OSA's past involvement in the establishment of Sovereign King Church. Our shared times are cherished memories.
We appreciate Jason Storms' leadership of this organization and his dedication to both fighting the battles and maintaining unity within the church. There are those who openly oppose this work, behaving in ungodly and wicked ways, insulting and scheming to undermine these men and their efforts. Sadly, there are even those who claim to be brothers but spend their time criticizing and insulting. We ask for forgiveness on their behalf.
Grant wisdom to Jason Storms, Derrin Stidd, and others to discern when to respond and when to remain silent. Shield them from discouragement and fill them instead with the Holy Spirit, empowering them to persevere. May OSA be a source of strength and encouragement for the church. Guide all volunteers to understand that your plan involves the church, and therefore, their primary identity is as churchmen.
We trust that you hear and answer our prayers. With gratitude, we praise you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer for Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Charity Mansfied
Compassionate and Just Creator,
We come before Your throne with hearts full of gratitude and a deep sense of responsibility for those who serve in positions of authority and justice. Today, we lift up Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Charity Mansfield into Your loving care. We thank You for the role You have established for civil government to maintain order, punish evil, and uphold justice. We recognize that her work is intricately tied to this divine call, and we ask for Your guidance in all she undertakes.
Lord, grant Charity the strength and wisdom to carry out her duties with unwavering obedience to Your will. As she prosecutes cases involving wrongdoing, especially in the realm of drug offenses, instill in her a heart for justice, tempered by patience and love. May her actions reflect Your divine justice.
In her pursuit of justice, we ask that You grant her wisdom beyond measure. May she discern the complexities of each case and the unique circumstances of those involved. Empower her to make decisions that align with Your truth and righteousness.
As Charity navigates her career path, we pray that she will remain steadfast in her faith, understanding that her identity as a woman is a gift from You. May she use her femininity to honor and please You, ensuring that her career never consumes her whole focus. Whether in her professional life or personal pursuits, let her light shine as a testimony to Your grace and love.
In all things, Lord, we beseech You to grant Charity a heart that seeks after You above all else. May she find solace, strength, and wisdom in Your presence, knowing that You are the ultimate source of guidance and grace.
We lift up this prayer with faith and thanksgiving, trusting in Your perfect plan. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen.

Church History Spotlight
Bernard of Clarivaux,  Abbot, Theologian, and Poet
20 August 1153

Church history is messy.  It is messy because God is pleased to use flawed men.   This should not come to a surprise to us.  The Old Testament history of God’s people is also messy.  Some of the men whom we call heros of the faith has some serious flaws and sometimes held views contrary to God’s truth.  Think of how many godly men had multiple wives.
We should not be shocked then we read through church history and see how God used flawed men, men of their times.   This is especially true in the years leading up to the protestant reformation.   Many faithful men were trying to serve God in a system much in need of reformation.

Bernard was one such man.  He was the third son of a Burgundian nobleman, was born in 1090. His brothers were trained as soldiers, but Bernard from youth was destined for scholarship. One Christmas Eve as a child he had a dream about the infant Christ in the manger; and the memory of it, and consequent devotion to the mystery of the Word made flesh, remained with him throughout his life.

Bernard had good prospects of success as a secular scholar, but he began to believe that he was called to the monastic life, and after a period of prayer for guidance, he decided at age 22 to enter the monastery of Citeaux, an offshoot of the Benedictines which had adopted a much stricter rule than theirs. He persuaded four of his brothers, one uncle, and 26 other men to join him. They were the first novices that Citeaux had had for several years.

After three years, the abbot ordered Bernard to take twelve monks and found a new house at La Ferte. The first year was one of great hardship. They had no stores and lived chiefly on roots and barley bread. Bernard imposed such severe discipline that his monks became discouraged, but he realized his error and became more lenient. The reputation of the monastery, spread across Europe. Many new monks joined it, and many persons wrote letters or came in person to seek spiritual advice. By the time of his death, 60 new monasteries of the Cistercian order were established under his direction.

For four years after 1130 Bernard was deeply involved with a disputed papal election, championing the claims of Innocent II against his rival Anacletus II. He travelled throughout France, Germany, and Italy mustering support for his candidate (and, it should be added, preaching sermons denouncing injustices done to Jews), and returned from one of these journeys with Peter Bernard of Paganelli as a postulant for the monastery. The future Pope Eugenius III spent the next year stoking the monastery fires. Years later, Bernard wrote a major treatise of advice to Eugenius on the spiritual temptations of spiritual power.

The papal election was not the only dispute in which Bernard became involved. He was highly critical of Peter Abelard, one of the most brilliant theologians of the day (see 21 April). Bernard believed that Abelard was too rationalistic in his approach, and failed to allow sufficiently for the element of mystery in the faith. When Abelard rejected some of the ways of stating Christian doctrines to which Bernard was accustomed, Bernard concluded, perhaps too hastily, that this was equivalent to rejecting the doctrine itself. A conference was scheduled at Sens where Abelard's views were to be examined, but soon after it began Abelard decided that he was not about to get a fair hearing, announced that he was appealing to Rome, and left. He set out for Rome and got as far as Cluny, where he stopped. Peter the Venerable, the abbot was a friend of both Abelard and Bernard, and managed to reconcile them before they died.

One of Bernard's most influential acts was his encouragement of the Second Crusade. The First Crusade had given the Christian forces control of a few areas in Palestine, including the city of Edessa. When Muslim forces captured) in 1144, King Louis VII of was eager to launch a crusade to retake Edessa and prevent a Muslem recapture of Jerusalem. He asked Bernard for help, and Bernard refused. He then asked the Pope to order Bernard to give help.. The pope gave the order, and Bernard obeyed with spectacular results. Whole villages were emptied of able-bodied males as Bernard preached and his listeners vowed on the spot to head for Palestine and defend the Sacred Shrines with their lives.

The preaching of the Crusade had an ugly side-effect. In the Rhineland, a monk named Raoul wandered about telling crowds that if they were going to fight for the faith, the logical first step was to kill the Jews who were near at hand. There were anti-Jewish riots in Mainz, where the archbishop sheltered the Jews, or many of them, in his palace, and sent an urgent message to Bernard to come before both he and they were killed. Bernard came. He called Raoul arrogant and without authority, a preacher of mad and heretical doctrines, a liar and a murderer. Raoul sneaked off the scene, and the riots were over. From that day to this, Bernard has been remembered among Rhineland Jews and their descendants as an outstanding example of a "righteous Gentile," and many of them (e.g. Bernard Baruch) bear his name.

As for the Crusade, things went wrong from the start. The various rulers leading the movement were distrustful of one another and not disposed to work together. Of the soldiers who set out (contemporary estimates vary from 100,000 to 1,500,000), most died of disease and starvation before reaching their goal, and most of the remainder were killed or captured soon after their arrival. The impact on Bernard was devastating, and so was the impact on Europe.  The cumulative effect of the crusades though was to stop the movement of Islam and to keep Europe from being taken.  While there were many things done on both sides during the crusades, we can praise God that they were used by him to keep the gospel light shining in the west.

In 1153, Bernard journeyed to reconcile the warring provinces Metz and Lorraine. He persuaded them to peace and to an agreement drawn up under his mediation, and then, in failing health, returned home to die.

If Bernard in controversy was fierce and not always fair, it partly because he was a man of intense feeling and dedication, quick to respond to any real or supposed threat to what he held sacred. It is his devotional writings, not his polemical ones, that are still read today. Among the hymns attributed to him are the Latin originals of "O Sacred Head, sore wounded," "Jesus, the very thought of Thee," "O Jesus, joy of loving hearts," "Wide open are Thy hands (to pay with more than gold the awful debt of guilt and sin, forever and of old) and "O Jesus, King most wonderful." His sermons on the Song of Songs, treated as an allegory of the love of Christ, are his best-known long work.

A prayer of thanks for Bernard:
O God, by whose grace thy servant Bernard of Clairvaux, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Upcoming Events:
Morning Study Hour With Pastor 6-7AM
August 20 Genevan Pub
September 4 Outreach
September 6 3P -Prayer, Psalm, and Preaching
September 10 Genevan Pub with Michael Foster
September 20 Kings Men and Daughters of the King
October 28 All Hallows Reformation Festival
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