GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 5.23.23

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 hope you are having a wonderful week so far.  I have been praying for you daily, even as I thank the Lord for the privilege of worshipping with you each week and look forward to this coming Lord’s Day.  What a blessing it is to be able to do so Sunday after Sunday, as we draw near to His throne as His gathered people, approaching by faith in Christ, with our sins covered by His blood and our spiritual nakedness covered by His spotless righteousness.  It is a joy and comfort in a world so evidently at odds with our God and His people.  Indeed, it is one of many joys and comforts available to His people in Christ, given to help us as we sojourn in this world and look for a better to come.This comes home beautifully Psalm 94:19, which we read at both of our prayer meetings last week.  The Psalmist notes the brash arrogance of sinful and foolish people who heap up wickedness and boast as if the Lord doesn’t see or hear, and won’t do anything about it.  He demonstrates what grief this causes the godly as He calls out for the Lord, the God of vengeance, to rise up and judge the proud evildoers, giving them what they deserve for so hard-heartedly opposing the Lord and attacking His people.  He warns the wicked that the Lord will indeed judge, and thus implicitly calls them to repent and receive mercy before that great and awesome day of His wrath.  It is a scene marked by turmoil and trouble, not at all unlike what we see as we look at our own culture today.  Yet, in the midst of all this turbulence, he makes a most encouraging declaration.  Surrounded by sin and greatly disturbed by it, he nonetheless can say to the Lord, in verse 19: “When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul,” or, in the more poetic Old English, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul.”What a steadfast, unshifting, unfading source of comfort we have in the Lord!  We’re daily surrounded and assaulted by countless cares and concerns, threatening to choke our hope, leaving us anxious, frustrated, downcast, and despairing.  But, it need not be so for the child of God.  Not that we can somehow escape having to deal with the various troubles of life in this fallen world, but that we can find great comfort, peace, and even joy right in the midst of them.  And how can we do this?  Well, says the Psalmist, these blessings are available to us as we learn to fix our minds and hearts upon the consolations – the comforts – of our God.  And what are these comforts, available to all whose trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ?  They are too many to number, but consider a few.  The Lord has loved us with an everlasting love (cf. Jer 31:3).  The Lord has written our names in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain, even before the foundation of the world (cf. Rev 13:8).  He will never blot our names out of that book (cf. Rev 3:5).  He will keep us from stumbling into soul-destroying sins and present us blameless before Him when all is said and done, and that with exceeding joy (cf. Jude 1:24).  In the meantime, He will be with us through everything He calls us to face and endure in this life, never leaving or forsaking us for a single moment (cf. Matt 28:20; Heb 3:5).  He will provide for all of our needs along the way (cf. Matt 6:11; 7:7-11; Phil 4:19).  He will work in us, by His Word and Spirit, both to desire and do those things that please Him (cf. Phil 2:13).  When we stand before Him, He will reward us for those very things that He Himself has worked in us (cf. 1 Cor 3:14, etc).  Indeed, above an beyond all else, He Himself will be our very great reward – filling us with joy inexpressible and filled with glory as we draw near to Him in this life and dwell in His presence hereafter (cf. Gen 15:1; Ps 16:11; 1 Pet 1:8-9; Rev 22:4-5).Many, many more could be listed, but hopefully these few references are enough to drive the point home.  In sovereign, undeserved mercy, the Lord has chosen to be His very own people – calling us His prized possession, dear children, and beloved bride.  As such, He has filled HIs Word with promises so numerous that to memorize them all would be a daunting task, to understate the case.  A single promise would have been enough to assure our blessedness in this life and the next, but He multiplies and restates His promises so that, in them, we might find great consolation – abundant comfort – as we live in this fallen world, awaiting the glory to be revealed when the Son comes again on the clouds in glory.The Lord has thought it worthwhile to speak and record these great and precious promises for our good – spiritual food and salve as we make our journey through this world.  Let us therefore not make light of them by failing to meditate on them – believing them, storing them up in our hearts, and preaching them to ourselves and one another – in order that we might not drag our hands as we walk along the paths of life, but find renewed strength to run with endurance the race set before us.  Yes, we will meet with many obstacles and strong opposition along the way, but we need not be overburdened and begin to lose hope.  The Lord has given us ample consolation in HIs Word – assurances of HIs love, His provision, and the great things He has in store for all who are hidden away in Christ.  Let us make good use of them, daily leaning upon and living by them, that we too might glorify our God as we learn to confess, “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul.” In Christ,Pastor Eric P.S.Join us for the prayer meeting