GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 11.15.23

Monthly memory verse: “In God, whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can flesh do to me?” (Ps 56:4).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,It was a blessing to be with you this past Lord’s Day, learning together in Sunday School, praising our God and hearing from the book of Revelation in the worship service, and enjoying fellowship over a meal.  As always, getting to praise the Lord with you provides me yet another reason to give Him praise – namely, for the goodness of gathering with the company of His saints to delight ourselves in Him as He abundantly blesses us from the riches of His divine storehouse.  It is one of countless reasons that we have to praise our God, which is something I have been reminded of lately as I have driven around noticing the autumn glories that surround us at this time of year, and as I have spent a bit of time meditating on Psalm 65.Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David calls to mind that unchanging truth that our God is indeed worthy of our praise.  You can’t miss it, as it is in the very opening line, declaring, “Praise is due to You, O God, in Zion” (Ps 65:1).  As the first two commandments especially teach us, this is something that is true of the Lord in a way that is true of no created being (cf. Exod 20:3-6; Deut 5:7-10).  He alone is worthy to be exalted to the highest place in our thoughts, affections, speech, and behavior.  He alone is worthy to be magnified in worship.  He alone is worthy to be praised.  This is true, first and foremost, because of who He is.  He alone is God, and besides him there no other (cf. Isa 43:11; 44:6, 8; Hos 13:4; etc.).  He alone is the eternal, uncreated, self-existent God, from whom are all things, in whom all created things have their being, and for whom we exist (cf. Exod 3:14; Acts 17:28; 1 Cor 8:6).  There is none like Him, no God except Him.  Therefore, He alone is worthy to be praised, simply because of who He is.And, in Psalm 65, David also directs us to some specific reasons the Lord is to be praised.  Some of them we’re quite used to hearing in our worship services each week, as we hear the assurance of pardon and share the Lord’s Supper, for example.  The Lord hears our cries, forgives our sins through the death of His Son on the cross as our Substitute, calls us draw near as His elect and beloved children, and satisfies us with His own goodness (cf. Ps 65:2-4).  Apart from His being, this is perhaps our highest motive to adore and glorify our God: He so loved us that He gave His only Son for us, in order to provide full atonement for our sins, reconciliation with Him, and life everlasting in His presence.  What a blessing it is to be among the Lord’s chosen ones – chosen not because of anything in us, but because of His own absolutely unmerited grace and mercy, having been pleased to freely set His love upon us from ages past.Beyond this, David uses the middle portion of Psalm 65 to highlight the Lord’s awesome power in ruling over the entire created world, even doing great things in answer to His people’s prayers (cf. Ps 65:5-8).  He established the mountains in their places and quiets the turbulent seas at His pleasure, showing forth His unrivaled power for people to see from one end of the earth to the other, giving all people everywhere reason to pause, take note of His glorious might, and raise their voices in joyous praise.Indeed, the Lord goes further still, exercising His sovereign dominion by graciously and abundantly providing whatever good things people enjoy throughout the world, and especially showering His kindness upon His beloved children (cf. Ps 65:9-13).  I was particularly struck as I read verse 11, in light of our entering into the final portion of another year: “You crown the year with your bounty; Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.”  In the surrounding verses, David expands on this by recording the Lord’s goodness in watering the earth and making crops to grow, causing fields to bring forth abundantly, and making the sun-kissed pastures, hills, meadows, and valleys almost seem to offer inaudible songs of praise to the Lord as they sway beneath His shining smile.  It reminds me of walking around my grandfather’s farm as a youth, seeing the grain and corn dancing and glistening in the fall breeze, the thought of which still moves me to praise.  And so too do the brilliant red, orange, and yellows that have painted the trees as of late, along with the smell of warm apple cider and cinnamon on a crisp autumn evening.  The fact is, while life always has its share of troubles, if we’ll only make ourselves stop to take notice, it is also absolutely filled with blessings, with reasons to praise the Lord.Let us not lose sight of this in the busyness of fast-paced modern life and the endless onslaught of negative news.  Let us remember Whose we are, and how great is this sovereign, merciful, mighty, benevolent, generous God and Father to whom we belong.  Especially at a time of year when the earth seems almost ready to burst forth with glad songs, let us forget not all His benefits.  People of God, let us praise the Lord! 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

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

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