Paul and Silas were doing a good work at Philippi. They met Lydia at the riverside where women resorted to pray, and through their preaching, she became a Christian. Then the poor demoniac girl was delivered from awful satanic oppression. But a good work does not please everyone, and the girl’s masters, who lived on her soothsaying abilities, attacked God’s faithful servants.
They were scourged and thrown into prison, with backs bleeding and sore. Their feet were thrust into the painful stocks. In such a condition they could have been excused for indulging in a little self-pity and wondering why they, the servants of the Lord, should suffer so.
Their reaction, however, was very different. In the prison, Paul and Silas supplicated and sang so heartily that the other prisoners heard them. Paul later exhorted the Philippian Christians, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” In the prison, he practiced what he would soon preach.
God stepped in with a great earthquake that burst open, not only the prison but also the bonds of Paul and Silas. But their work in Philippi was not over. The jailor, on the point of suicide, cried out, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Then came the glorious message of hope: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” [Acts 16:31]. That night the jailor was freed from sin, and the next morning Paul and Silas were freed from captivity.
There is no wall of difficulty or barrier of sin strong enough to hold God’s people when the omnipotent God comes to their rescue.
It was with deep sorrow that the Toronto congregation learned on Wednesday of the death of Jennifer Browett. Jennifer and her husband Dan are long-time members of the church, Dan serving as a deacon. Jennifer was a vital member of the math department of Whitefield Christian Collegiate and will be sorely missed. She had been very ill with pancreatitis in the hospital ICU for the past eight weeks. Much prayer went up from the Church and School for her. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Dan, and his two sons.
THIRTY YEARS AGO
It was thirty years ago on March 28, 1992, that the Vancouver congregation opened their beautiful new building in Cloverdale. The minister, the Rev. Ian Goligher, with Drs. Alan Cairns and Frank McClelland performed the opening ceremonies.
Since the recent retirement of Rev. Goligher, the Toronto pastor, Dr. Larry Saunders, has been acting as interim moderator until such time as the Cloverdale congregation calls another minister. Your prayer to this end would be greatly appreciated.
It was also thirty years since the historic date stone was retrieved for the McComb building with the help of Councillor Edith Montgomery. Time flies!
MEANINGS OF BIBLE WORDS
“They shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry” [Isaiah 8:21]. Not too many Bible readers know what hardly bestead means, and some commentators have skipped over it. The expression means, “hard-pressed, oppressed, or agitated” [Albert Barnes].
When Joshua conquered Canaan we are told that “he houghed the horses” of their enemies [Joshua 11:9]. What does that mean? Horses were used in battle situations. The horses could be disabled by cutting the tendon of the hock, or hamstring, thus rendering them useless for battle. As was mentioned last week, jot these meanings in your Bible margin so the next time you read in that area your will have them available.
BOUGHT AND BORN
“But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it (holy food), and he that is born in his house: they shall eat of his meat.” [Leviticus 22:11]
Strangers, sojourners, and servants upon hire were not to eat of holy things. It is so in spiritual matters still. But two classes were free at the sacred table, those who were bought with the priest’s money, and those who were born into the priest’s house.
Bought. Our great High Priest has bought with a price all those who put their trust in Him. They are His absolute property – altogether the Lord’s. Not for what they are in themselves, but for their Owner’s sake they are admitted into the same privileges that He Himself enjoys. “They shall eat of His meat.”
Born. This is an equally sure way to privilege; if born in the priest’s house we take our place with the rest of the family. Regeneration makes us fellow-heirs, and of the same body; and, therefore, the peace, the joy, the glory, which the Father hath given to Christ, Christ has given to us. Redemption and regeneration have given us a double claim to the divine permit of this promise. [Spurgeon].