|View this email in your browser03-14-2023 Grace Notes – Pastoral Letter Monthly memory verse: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith ” (Gal 6:9-10).|
Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a great joy to worship with you this past Lord’s Day, as we learned from the book of Acts in Sunday School, turned to Romans in morning worship, and continued along in 1 Samuel in evening worship. I have been praying for you ever since, and I hope that this letter finds you guarded by our God’s perfect peace, filled with the joy of His salvation, overawed with His glory, and moved to worship by the awesome reality that this God of glory has made a way for you to draw near in safety through the ongoing mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That last bit was something that recently hit me with renewed forcefulness as my family read from Psalm 29 in the Psalter during family worship – the breathtaking fact that the God before whom creation trembles has made peace with us, and a place for praise, in Christ.In the first place, all throughout, Psalm 29 displays the overwhelming majesty and might of our glorious God. It begins by calling even the holy heavenly beings to humble themselves and ascribe glory and strength to the Lord, worshipping Him in the splendor of holiness (cf. Ps 29:1-2). Then, the Psalm goes on to picturesquely and powerfully do that very thing, declaring the praiseworthy power of the God whose voice is enough to cause the world He made to tremble and shake as though it will burst apart at the seams. His voice is described as being like a thunderstorm, powerful and full of majesty as it booms over the waters of the seas (cf. Ps 29:3-4). If you’ve ever watched a storm roll towards the shore from out upon the ocean, cracking and flashing as it draws near, then you know how humbling and even discomfiting this can be as it makes you keenly aware of your smallness, and of the greatness of that which is moving unalterably in your direction. Even so, says the Psalmist, the God who speaks reigns over His creation, speaking and causing all before Him to move and shake as He pleases. Driving the same point home, the Psalm goes on to describe the Lord’s mere utterance as snapping thick cedar trees, like hurricane winds ripping palm trees apart on the coast (cf. Ps 29:5). His voice makes whole lands and nations to move according to His will, such that all seems to unravel before Him, like entire forests twisted and stripped bare, as in the aftermath of some great fire, storm, or volcano (cf. Ps 29:6-9a). And, all the while, He sits in heaven, ruling over it all, having done all without the least exertion, such that nothing and no one could ever think of standing before Him in its, or his, own strength, without being completely undone (cf. Ps 29:10). It should put us on our faces in trembling awe – overcome by the greatness of our God, and both dumbfounded and ashamed that we have at times thought so lightly of Him as to shrug off His commands, transgress His boundary lines, and offer to Him less than zealous obedience in all of life and heartfelt praise in the company of His saints. It should press us to both confession and adoration. It should, in short, move us to worship, which, after all, is the whole point of the Psalm. It is to this end that it displays the overwhelming majesty and might of our glorious God.And having done so, astoundingly, Psalm 29 doesn’t leave us to conclude that we could never approach such an awesome, fearful God, but just the opposite. Far from saying that such the approach of such a mighty and holy God as this means all are lost, left to cower and suffer under His inescapable wrath, the Psalm describes a place of peace and praise amidst the world-shaking storm. Yes, the coming-near and speaking of this God means dreadful judgments for this fallen world. Yes, this should lead the unbeliever, who remains at enmity with Him to tremble with fear. But, for those who have found refuge in Jesus Christ, or who will do so even now, our response to hearing of His greatness shouldn’t be one of fretting and fleeing (as if He could be evaded), but of gathering together and drawing near to Him to offer Him the worship His name is due. Thus, as David portrays the entire world seeming to rock and reel at the Lord’s approach, he paints a picture of a place of peace in the midst of the storm, like the calm in the eye of a hurricane. While all is being stripped bare and made to shake, says David, “in His temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” going on to say that the Lord will give His people strength and peace (Ps 29:9b; cf. v.11). While the world quakes before the presence of His people, and the very creation itself seems to split apart, His people stand before Him, not in terror but in reverent awe, guarded by His peace, girded up with strength from His Word and Spirit, giving Him praise. They are like those who have taken refuge in a solid, well-lit home as the storm passes by. It is a moving and beautiful presentation of what He has done for us in Christ, venting the full fury of His just wrath against our sin upon His only Son at the cross, so that we might stand, gathered together as it were, at the foot of that cross, secure in the knowledge that that wrath will never fall upon us, and thereby pressed offer up to Him our glad thanks and unceasing adoration, saying, “Glory!” In all of this, Psalm 29 reminds us that ours is a indeed an awesome God whose presence and just judgment can never be eluded or resisted, but also a God who has made a way of peace with sinful people who will trust in His Son, such that we have no need to even think of trying to elude or resist Him, but rather to come before Him humbly – receiving His mercy, hiding in Him as our shield and shelter, and rendering Him the praise of which He is so abundantly and evidently worthy. Thus, Psalm 29 doesn’t leave us to conclude that we could never approach such an awesome, fearful God, but just the opposite.Let us therefore learn from this Psalm to maintain the biblical balance of holding our holy God in the absolute highest regard, while at the same time not fearing to draw near to Him, but insisting upon doing so in order to give Him the glory He is due. Let us not think so little of Him that we fail to be present, with ready minds and hearts, to worship Him each week, or that we go through our daily lives with little regard for His presence and perfect Word. At the same time, let us not allow lofty thoughts of His mighty majesty cause us to think of Him as a God who is a far off, fearful unknown. Let us rather draw near to Him and live before Him with an appropriate mixture of childlike faith and rightful reverence, astounded at the greatness of His glory, and more amazed still that this God of glory allows us to draw near and call upon Him as, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt 6:9).As the Lord helps us to do so, may it be made manifest that amidst a world that lies directly in the path of His dreadful judgment, there is a shelter from the storm whose name is Christ, in whom one may hide and be saved, no longer crying, “Woe is me! For I am lost,” but rather, with all the saints and the heavenly host, “Glory!” (Isa 6:5; Ps 29:9b). In Christ,Pastor EricP.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.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:
‘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.
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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