grace notes- PASTORAL LETTER 10.6.23

View this email in your browser10-05-2023 Grace Notes – Pastoral Letter Monthly memory verse: “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Gal 3:16).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I hope that this note finds you full of the joy of salvation and enjoying the crisp, clear fall weather we’ve been having as of late.  On a couple of occasions in the last week or so I’ve found myself sitting at a stoplight, only for a small gust of wind to blow, leading to a short but pleasant shower of falling leaves surrounding my truck and notifying me that the seasons are changing again.  It is always a happy thing for me, since autumn is my favorite season, even as the falling leaves also indicates that soon the trees will be barren again, rendering our surroundings far less beautiful than they are during the brief blaze of color that comes with the fall.  And thinking of breezes and barren trees often leads my mind back to something of a tangible parable I witnessed in my dad’s yard a few years ago.My dad had purchased a new home and tree-filled property not long before the fall season came.  The trees were pretty well emptied of their leaves and, as per usual, the Pennsylvania sky was gray when an unusually strong storm blew into town.  The storm lasted through the night and the next morning I awoke to a call from my dad telling me that twenty-one of the quite tall trees that filled his new land had fallen through the night, and asking if I was available to help cut them up and haul them off.  I was indeed, and, as we worked through the day, I couldn’t help but be amazed that such tall trees (all of them easily 40-50 feet or more, if I had to guess) had such incredibly small root systems.  Somehow, those tiny roots, forming a radius only a few feet out from the trunks, had been enough to supply some amount of water and nutrients, such that the trees all had the appearance of being alive and well.  However, apparently, such poor root systems weren’t nearly wide and deep enough to resist the strong winds of a well-formed storm.  Perhaps you already see where I’m going with this.As believers in Christ, we’re sometimes compared in the Word of God to trees.  And as the storm at my dad’s house revealed must the case for a tree to stand the test of time and bear fruit over the long haul, we’re called to be well-rooted trees – solidly grounded in the strong doctrine of the Word of God amidst all of the storms of this life, ranging from personal difficulties to assaults from false doctrine.  You might think, for example, of the words from the Psalm with which the Psalter opens: “Blessed is the man… [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away” (Ps 1:1-4).  As followers of Christ, we’re not to be undeveloped and immature in our thinking, leaving us open to being easily confused or led astray by the erroneous claims of deceitful and / or deceived people who speak things that are contrary to Scripture.  Nor are we to be unprepared to respond biblically to the various hardships and trials the Lord calls us to endure in this life.  If we’re trees, we’re not to be trees that are easily blown over, but trees that can be called, “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD” (Isa 61:3).  And we’re to grow-up into such trees through constant watering and nourishment from the written Word of our God, as we meditate on it every day and night.Brothers and sisters in the Lord, the winds of error and assault against the church of Christ are very blowing hard today.  The gusts seem to be getting stronger, and they are coming from every direction imaginable.  A tree with little or no rooting in the good soil of the Bible is simply not going to be able to stand the test.  If the wind of pressure to affirm someone’s “personal pronouns” doesn’t blow a rootless Christian over, the winds of compulsion to stop decrying homosexuality and other perversions may, or the winds of insistence that you no longer declare that Christ is Lord, or the winds of threats of penalties if you protest the murdering of unborn children, and on it goes.  Lies swirl all around us.  They’re growing in number, intensity, and insanity.  A Christian who doesn’t make the purposeful effort to get way down into the unshifting Word of God will soon find himself shifting in ways he never anticipated in order to avoid the perceived or actual consequences of failing to do so.  He will be like those trees in my dad’s yard, like the dead branches of which our Savior spoke, no longer good for anything other than to be chopped up, gathered, and burned (cf. Jn 15:6).Let us therefore be warned against apathy in reading, meditating upon, and praying over the Word of God.  Let us commit to its daily study.  Let us not compromise our weekly sitting under its teaching and preaching.  Let us be men and women of the Word, continually refreshed by it, well-equipped to stand firm in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (cf. Eph 6:13)! 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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508 Harvey Street
Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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

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