Bits and Pieces – 103rd Edition – February 27, 2022
THE ONE AND ONLY MESSAGE
The Christian need never expect the world to applaud his efforts, even when engaged in so lofty an occupation as preaching the Gospel of Christ. Paul has time on his hands while in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. [Acts 17]. As he looks upon that ancient city with its grand architecture, illustrious history, and philosophical peoples, his heart is stirred within his breast, because he sees Athens wholly given over to idolatry.
Rather than idle away the time, Paul “preached unto them Jesus” [v18], first in the synagogue with the devout Jews, and then daily in the market. That market, as well as being a shopping centre, is also a meeting place of philosophical minds where the Epicureans, Stoics, and their followers argue and debate over points of learning. Many and heated are the discussions as these proud intellectuals vie for the attention of the crowd.
Into this motley crowd steps Paul. His message is simple: Jesus Christ, and His resurrection. As he preaches the Person of Christ and people begin to listen, the proud philosophers wonder, “What will this babbler say?” Their expression shows the utter contempt they have for God’s faithful and fearless servant. Babbler means literally a “seed picker”; Paul is derided as one who picks like a bird at the crumbs of human philosophy.
But why should Paul concern himself about what mere, miserable, mortal men may say of him? Paul has the everlasting Gospel of Christ that is able to make men wise unto salvation and, “If it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe,” why should he or any other Christian fear what men will say to him, or of him?
PRAY FOR JENNIFER
Jennifer Browett was taken into hospital about three weeks ago suffering from pancreatitis. Jennifer is a key member of the Whitefield Christian Schools staff and both church and schools are shocked at this development. She has suffered quite a bit especially in the digestive area. Urgent prayer has gone up for her, and her husband Dan who is a deacon in the church. Can we ask all of our people to remember Jennifer daily at the throne of grace? Please also add to your prayer list Stephen Cranston, son of the Rev. Reggie and Doreen Cranston, of our Port Hope church. Stephen is in the I.C.U. with Covid. The Cranstons would appreciate your prayers.
A WELCOME GIFT
Little Evelyn Maud Sima’an arrived safely on Monday, February 21. She was 6lb. 5oz. at birth, and is a blessed gift from God for Daniel and Rebekah, their first child. She is named after both grandmothers. May the Lord bless her as she grows up in a Christian family.
PUTIN AND UKRAINE
In the first issue of ‘Bits and Pieces’ [March 8, 2020] we reported on Russian President, Vladimir Putin, proposing a series of amendments to the Russian Constitution on the subjects of God and marriage. It spoke of paying homage to “ancestors who bequeathed to us their ideals and a belief in God.” It also described marriage as a “union of a man and a woman,” thus cutting across the powerful homosexual lobby of the west. We found it somewhat strange for an atheistic politician.
Now, with the advent of his attack on Ukraine we are learning something more about him.
Putin was born to a devout Russian Christian mother and atheistic father. From his recent statements there seems to be a dichotomy about him. He is the President of Russia which is basically communist. But he also has a religious dimension to him that the west does not seem to see. I saw him in a documentary on Thursday past coming to meet a man whom I presume was the Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who Putin presented with a large bunch of flowers. Then he bowed down before an icon of some sort and kissed it face down. Then he crossed himself not once but several times. Strange behaviour for an atheist!
Kyev, the capital of Ukraine, figures prominently in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church going back many centuries. It is thought that Putin wants to put the U.S.S.R. together again. Might it not be the Holy Russian Empire he is working on with Kyev as its capital?
BEFORE THE COMING OF THE LORD
“Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…all these are the beginning of sorrows” [Matthew 24:7, 8].