grace notes- PASTORAL LETTER 5.16.23

Monthly memory verse: “Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession” (Heb 4:14).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I was blessed to be with you this past weekend, picnicking on Saturday, and learning and worshipping together on the Lord’s Day.  I have been praying for you since, asking the Lord to fix your eyes on Him through this week may hold, knowing that He is our Shield and very great Reward (cf. Gen 15:1, KJV).  It is an essential truth to remember and to which we must regularly return: one day, the enduring believing in the Lord Jesus Christ will see Him in His glory and, seeing Him, will be made to reflect that glory, as we were designed to do, which will be our everlasting delight.It is essential to remember because the simple fact is that this world continually threatens to either dampen or drown-out our faith.  It threatens to dampen our faith by throwing the water of sorrow and affliction on its flame.  Surely, if you have sought to follow Christ for any length of time at all in this fallen world, you know this all well.  During His earthly life and ministry, our Savior Himself, the perfect man, was at times filled with great sorrow.  He lamented over the hard-heartedness of those in Jerusalem, who refused Him, making their condemnation all the greater (cf. Matt 23:37-39).  He wept at the graveside of His friend Lazarus (cf. Jn 11:35).  Not only so, but He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin (cf. Heb 4:15).  He sweated great drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane, so great was the agony that pressed upon Him as He contemplated the cross to come (cf. Lk 22:44).  And, all throughout His ministry He was surrounded by the hatred of those who despised Him, and eventually sought and took His life (cf. Jn 15:18).  And, if this is what the perfect God-man endured in this world, then surely, He says, we can expect the same as we seek to follow Him (cf. Jn 15:19-21).  We too will be hated for resisting the spirit of the age and insisting on living according to the Word of our God.  We too will be subject to the sorrows that come upon all who live and die in this vale of tears.  We too will at times feel weighed down and tempted to wonder if it is all worth it, if maybe we shouldn’t just forsake the narrow way and walk in the ‘comfortable’ way of the broad road, where people push thoughts of eternity far from their minds and assure themselves and one another that all is well and always will be.  In such ways, this world and its troubles threaten to dampen our faith.  And, at the same time, this world threatens to drown-out our faith by offering alternate pleasures, promising that they’re better than anything Christ or that ‘Christianity thing’ can offer.  Like Satan selling the forbidden fruit, we’re inundated with sights and sounds intended to grab our attention and win an affections, so that we invest ourselves wholly in getting the most we can out of this present life – placing our hopes of happiness in come-and-go vacations, rusting and fading possessions, and the like.  In many such ways our pleasure-obsessed culture bids us drive heavenly thoughts from our minds and put all our roots down in the here and now, threatening to dampen our faith and hope in Christ.  And, the temptation can be very strong – with multiplying sorrows and the world’ threatenings on one side of the scale, and supposed present happiness on the other, the choice might seem obvious – if we forget eternity.  Which is why we must remember and regularly revisit the reality of what awaits the enduring believer.In the words of Isaiah 33:17, of those who continue to trust in the Lord and walk uprightly before Him, “Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off” (KJV).  This is what awaits you, believer, as you persist in looking to your Savior, by faith, day after day in this fallen world.  One day, the Lord says through HIs prophet, all earthly possessions and pleasures will appear very dim, like candles drowned out by the light of the sun, as you see the One whom your soul loves, radiant in glory and smiling upon you.  At the same time, the world’s threatenings, which can seem so loud and frightening at present, will fade into nothing, drowned out by the overwhelming sound of your Savior’s welcoming voice and the loud songs of the heavenly host.  What will terrify you in that day?  What could tempt you, for a single second, to withdraw your gaze from Him?  What earthly pleasure would seem so wonderful as to be worth forsaking your Savior to enjoy?  What sorrow endured amidst all the momentary afflictions of this present life could counterbalance that eternal weight of glory?  You may climb, or crawl, up many jagged hills along the way.  You may suffer the loss of much in this world.  You may shed more tears than you know you had to give.  You may see worldly people posting photoshopped pictures of grand adventures in exotic locations and think that you wouldn’t mind hanging it all up and disappearing to such an earthly ‘paradise’.  But, if you will only keep the eyes of your faith firmly fixed upon Jesus, remembering Him and all that is yours in Him, and so press on, walking by faith and not by sight, then in due time you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that all was more than worth it.  A single glimpse of Christ in His glory will be enough to forever banish every ounce of sorrow and every thought of forsaking Him for anything else, filling you with radiant light and the fullness of that joy which, even now, Peter calls, “inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet 1:8).  This is what awaits all who steadfastly hope in Him.Therefore, believer, fan into flame the faith that the Lord Himself has worked within you, daily looking to Christ by faith and remembering where all of this present difficulty is leading.  It is worth it!  He is worth it!  Keep learning about Him in His Word.  Keep revisiting those truths you’ve already learned.  Think often of heaven and of being with Him, and let it be the counterbalance to every sorrow, trial, and temptation you face that makes you even entertain the thought of giving up and giving in.  It may seem like such  weight to bear, such a strong pull to resist, but soon you will understand, as Paul says, that it is all quite, “light and momentary” when compared with the glory to be revealed (cf. 2 Cor 4:17).  Fix your eyes on Christ – everyday.  Refuse to look away.  Soon – soon – your eyes will see the King in HIs beauty! 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.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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Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church
PO Box 26511
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27114-6511

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