GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 11.23.23

onthly 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 great joy for me to learn and worship together with you this past Lord’s Day.  I hope that as you read this you are well in body and soul.  I have been praying for you this week, asking the Lord to fill you with the knowledge of His will, the joy of His salvation, and gratitude for His underserved and yet virtually numberless blessings.  Expressing the last of those – giving thanks –  is a central and defining mark of the Christian life, and it is a blessing to have a national holiday devoted to doing so every year.Scripture consistency calls us, as the people of God, to give thanks to the Lord.  Examples abound:“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!” (1 Chron 16:8-10).“Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy name!” (Ps 97:12).“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD, or declare all His praise?” (Ps 106:1-2).“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18).“[Be] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:20).Much more could be cited, but even this small sampling makes it clear that those who belong to the Lord are to be a people who regularly, consistently give thanks to the Lord.Indeed, the Word of God declares that it is a great sin to be ungrateful – failing to recognize and give thanks to our God.  In Romans 1:21, the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, condemns the ungodly, “For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him.”  Because of this base ingratitude to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, many troubles come upon the wicked.  And, ought to be no surprise, since it can be nothing but evil and darkness of heart to be given life, breath, and every good thing, and then to refuse to acknowledge their Source and say, “Thank you!”  To live as though no thanks were owed, as though the good things we have and enjoy are somehow owed to us and either the result of blind chance (which doesn’t exist) or purely our own efforts, is fundamentally to deny the sovereign goodness, generosity, kindness, and mercy of God.On the other hand, it is not only fitting, but also a great blessing, to be thankful and to give thanks to the Lord.  It is to fulfill our calling to glorify our God and enjoy Him forever – lifting our voices and magnifying Him as we express gratitude for His mercies, and at the same time filling our hearts with joy as we do the very thing we were created and redeemed to do.  Thus, Scripture often links the giving of thanks with praise, and both with joy.  Even in hard times, it lifts the spirit to remember that we are not without many blessings, and then to turn this remembrance into thanksgiving.  It reminds us, and it rightly declares aloud, that, even in times of trial, the Lord is good and has been good to us.Let us therefore make sure to pause, not only on Thanksgiving, but every day, to take stock of the kindnesses we’ve been shown by our heavenly Father, and to render thanks unto His name.  In this way, we avoid, on the one hand, the error of making earthly things and end of themselves – as if what we have and experience here and now is all there is – by insisting on keeping the Lord ever in the picture.  And, on the other hand, we avoid the opposite error of denying the goodness of earthly blessings – as if we were too pious to enjoy a bit of gravy, stuffing, or wine – by making ourselves recognize not only the spiritual but also the temporal the mercies of God.  As we eat and drink, therefore, let us also remember the Fountainhead of all blessing and joy, and give thanks.And, above all, let us be sure to give thanks God for Jesus Christ, and for His priceless gifts to us in Him – the forgiveness of sins, perfect righteousness, a place in His family, eternal life, and, above all, the Lord Himself to be our God and our delight, both now and for all eternity.  May our hearts praise Him now an all year round as we recount around the many ways He has demonstrated His Fatherly love and over-abundant goodness towards us.  May we count it among our greatest joys in this life to do so, and may be magnified in it! 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.

 

 We are located at:
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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