GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 11.23.22

11-23-2022 Grace Notes – Pastoral Letter Monthly memory verse: If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared” (Ps 130:3-4).”

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,On the eve of another Thanksgiving celebration, I hope this note finds you with a heart full of gratitude to our good God.  We have, of course, many customary times during the year when, as a country, we pause to remember or celebrate one thing or another.  But what a particularly refreshing and joyful thing it is to have a national day set apart for the giving of thanks.  It is an inherently God-ward celebration, in that it hardly makes sense, as many people do at this time of year, to say, “I am thankful” for this or that, without directing our thanks to anyone.  For thanks to be truly rendered, there must be Someone to whom we are ultimately thankful for all of the abundant blessings that we enjoy.  This Someone is the Lord.  In Him we live, move, and have our being.  From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things.  Indeed, we have nothing that we have not ultimately received from Him.  Therefore, it is always appropriate, in fact commanded, that we give thanks to Him.  To have an entire day set apart for this specific purpose is a wonderful thing, and something that I hope will fill your heart with gratitude and your lips with expressions of the same tomorrow.  We give thanks to Him for all that He does for us.  Even more so, we give thanks to Him for who He is and for letting us know Him as our God.Over and again, for a great number of reasons, the Word of God calls us to give thanks to the Lord.  We’re to think back upon all of His wonderful deeds, recorded in Scripture and experienced in our own lives, and to give Him thanks (cf. 1 Chron 16:8-36; Ps 9:1).  We’re to give thanks to Him for His steadfast love – His faithful, unbreakable, never-ending covenant loyalty and love to His chosen people (cf. 2 Chron 20:21; Ps 57:9-10).  We’re to give thanks that He is righteous in all that He does (cf. Ps 7:17).  We’re to give Him thanks for His strength and saving help, exercised in behalf of His people (Ps 9:7).  We’re to thank Him for His many deliverances, both in this life and from that which our sins deserve (cf. Ps. 30).  Indeed, it is God’s will that we be a people who realize we always have a reason to give thanks, and who give that thanks to Him (cf. 1 These 5:18).  Not only is thanks owed to Him, but it is good for us – pleasant and fitting – to give Him this thanks (cf. Ps 92:1-4).  And on and on the list could easily go, as these are just the tiniest sample of verses that could be cited.  If we have breath in our lungs today, it is His gift, for which He is to be thanked.  If we have water to drink and food to eat, it is His gift, for which thanks are due to Him.  If we have a roof over our heads it is His kindness, for which gratitude is to be rendered to Him.  Scripture plainly and consistently teaches that, for all of His kindnesses to us, we are to give thanks to the Lord.And, centrally, the Word of God calls us to give thanks to the Lord for who He is, and for letting us know Him as such, as our God.  Thus comes the call, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good” (1 Chron 16:34; Ps 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1).  Behind all of His act of kindness toward us, finding their pinnacle in His sending of His own Son for us, lies that glorious attribute of our God’s goodness.  He does good because Himself is good.  He declares it in His perfect Word and He demonstrates it to us every day in more ways than we can begin to count.  In a broader sense, even the wicked are daily recipients of the fruit of His goodness – receiving life and many good things from the hand of the Lord, though they scorn Him and refuse to give Him thanks.  Much more do His own people, chosen before the world and purchased with the blood of Christ, daily awake, live, and lie down as the recipients of goodness beyond measure.  And, the heart and center of this experience of His goodness is God Himself – that we get to know Him as our God and our Father in heaven, who has loved us with an everlasting love, and from whom nothing in heaven above or hell below can separate us.  Which is to say, His greatest gift to us, for which we owe our most exuberant and unending thanks, is Himself – letting us know and delight in Him, at those right hand are pleasures forevermore, and in whose presence there is fullness of joy.  Even if everything else in our lives seems sour on a particular day, or for a lengthy period of time, this remains a constant reality for which we have reason to offer our thanks amidst the darkest knight: He is our God and He is good.  In Him, there is comfort.  In Him there is peace.  In Him there is shelter.  In Him, there is always cause for thanks to be found – remembering that all of this abundant goodness is ours to enjoy forever, because, in Christ, He is ours to enjoy forever.  Thus, centrally, the Word of our God calls us to give thanks to the Lord for who He is, and for letting us know Him as such, as our God.So, whether you’ve had the best year of your life to this point, or whether you find yourself feeling hard-pressed and downcast, remember whose you are, remember that He has become your God, think upon His glorious character – His overflowing goodness – and give thanks!  We will see many ups and downs in this life as our circumstances change from one day and year to the next.  But, this remains ever-constant, always true: this God is our God and He is good.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!  “O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!” (Ps 106:1). In Christ,Pastor EricP.S.  NO PRAYER MEETING THIS WEEKJoin 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.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://covenantofgracews.org/event-calendar/· 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
 

‘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.

 

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