grace notes-pastoral letter 8-3-22

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I hope this note finds you well and filled with the praise of the Lord.  Truly, He is worthy of our continual adoration and thanksgiving, having abundantly blessed us with every good thing in our lives.  More than that, as we considered this past Sabbath day, He views our deaths as precious in His sight and has turned even our parting from this world into a cause for praise, having transformed it from something to be feared into our entrance into glory.  It is a cause for gratitude and hope, knowing that the moment we exhale for the last time in this present world and close our eyes is the moment our eyes will open to behold the glory of the Lord as we have never seen it before.  Even so, the reminder that death awaits us all, unless the Lord returns first, is a call to live each day in such a way that shows we’re preparing to stand before the Holy One, and that would leave us with nothing to be ashamed of should He come on that day.  This is something for which we’re taught to pray in verse 37 of that great Psalm devoted to exalting the Word of our God, Psalm 119.First, the Psalmist teaches us to pray that the Lord would help us not to love and long after the fading things of this present evil age.  In the words of Psalm 119:37, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things.”  The word “worthless” might alternately be translated as “vain” or “empty.”  It refers to something that has no real substance or value, especially when viewed from an eternal perspective.  And, the Psalmist pleads with the Lord to please cause his eyes, and thus also his heart, from being fixed upon any such thing.  What a timely word for our present age, in which we are absolutely inundated with a flood of worthless things, all vying for our attention!  We have a 24-7 news cycle, always presenting new headlines in bold red font, insisting that we pay attention.  We have social media feeds, ever filled with updates that bid us to click and avoid being uninformed and out of the loop.  We have streaming services that give us the option of filling every quiet moment with movies and shows of our choosing.  We have illicit material always available at the click of a button.  We have countless pictures of social media influencers challenging us to give our time and money to the pursuit of a perfect future like theirs.  We have advertisements and carefully selected images tempting us to buy into the dream of a big bank account, better home, and nicer car.  And what will all such things amount to in the end?  What is their true value?  The news headline that is so important today will be old news tomorrow.  The social media feeds and video streams will continue to flow, whether or not we pay them any mind, with no one really caring whether or not we stayed up to date.  In spite of our best efforts, our bodies will continue to age and eventually return to dust.  And all of the stuff we’ve accumulated will be left to someone else.  Simply put, it will all be shown to be quite empty in the end – vain, worthless.  We can’t take it with us, and it will do us no good before the throne of God or in eternity to follow, and in the meantime it often distracts us from other pursuits which would prove far more valuable, both in this life and the life to come.  Thus, it is great wisdom that we would do well to heed before picking up the remote or phone when the Psalmist teaches us to pray that the Lord would help us no two love and long after the fading things of this present evil age.Then, second, the Psalmist teaches us to pray that the Lord would lead instead in His ways, filling us with the life that comes from Him.  To quote the Psalm again, “give me life in Your ways” (Ps 119:37).  He asks the Lord to give, to sustain, or to revive his vitality.  In particular, he asks the Lord to do this in His ways, which, given the whole thrust of Psalm 119, means he desires to have the life that comes from living according to the Word of God.  So, the opposite of looking on worthless things is to do what the Lord calls us to do right at the beginning of His Psalter, delighting in His Word and meditating on it day and night (cf. Ps 1:2).  Here, as opposed to the things of this present age, is something of true and lasting value.  Here, over-against all that which will soon blow away like smoke in the wind, is something weighty and enduring.  It is the perfect, inspired, inerrant, abiding, live-giving, Word of the eternal, unchanging God.  It contains God’s own revelation to mankind, given that we might learn about Him and His law, be convicted of our sins, learn about His salvation in Christ, repent and believe the gospel, grow in holiness as we learn to increasingly obey the Lord in all of life, be filled with His own joy and peace, and then dwell forever in His blessed presence as we enjoy the rewards won through a life of faithful service.  Thus, the person who sets his eyes, heart, and mind upon this Word not only invests wisely for this present life, but for that which is to come – storing up treasure in heaven, which will never rot, rust, or fade away.  Surely then, it is a tremendous kindness and display of wisdom when the Psalmist teaches us to pray that the Lord would lead us in His ways, filling us with the life that comes from Him.Therefore, let us heed the call of Psalm 119:37 and resolve in our hearts to spend less time clicking and scrolling our way through endless streams of worthless things on glowing screens, and far more time reading and meditating on the Word of our God.  May the Lord work in our hearts to create the desire in our hearts and bring about the change in our homes at Covenant of Grace.  And, as He does, may we increasingly discover the sweetness of that declaration earlier in the same Psalm “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart” (Ps 119:2).In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S. Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.
ANNOUNCEMENT: In addition to our weekly Wednesday evening prayer meeting, we have a new prayer meeting every Thursday at 10:30am in the Adult Sunday School room.  We will read a brief portion of Scripture and pray together, ending at 11:00am.  It is our hope that this will allow some of our members and other visitors to attend who are not able to make it on Wednesday evenings.NOTE:  Our men’s breakfast study — Joshua’s Men is now recorded and available on YouTube.
NOTE2:  Our adult Sunday School lessons are now being recorded and are available on YouTube.
Just search for Covenant of Grace ARP Church to find the links.
· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:
§ https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/morning-and-evening/today
 

Our mailing address is:
Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511


 ‘Vision Statement’Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.


Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:  https://www.covenantofgracews.org/events.html
 

 We are located at:
508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103


  
   
  
    
  
   
  
  
     

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