Bits and Pieces – 155th Edition – February 26, 2023
THE BLESSED HOPE
“Comfort one another with these words”[1 Thessalonians 4:18]
Thessalonica was one of those places that proved to be a mixed blessing for Paul. When he preached the Word of God, many were converted and turned to Christ. But there were also certain “lewd fellows of the baser sort” who instigated a riot in opposition to Paul’s faithful preaching that necessitated his speedy departure. Paul later wrote two letters to the church at Thessalonica to encourage the saints and especially to remind them of the return of the Lord.
Paul was heavily engaged in the earthly ministry of God’s Word, but he also kept an eye towards heaven, looking for that blessed hope of the return of Christ. The sufferings of this present world would not be compared with the eternal glory that would be revealed then.
To the Thessalonians Paul spoke of the return of “The Lord Himself.” To Timothy he spoke of the coming of “The Lord, the righteous Judge.” To Titus he was looking for “Theglorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The Thessalonians, in common with most Christians, were saddened by the death of their believing friends, but Paul comforted them by reminding them of the glorious hope we have in the returning Christ. Whether he goes through the grave or meets the Lord in the air, the believer is eternally blessed in His Lord.
Dear reader, is this a day of sadness for you? Have you laid to rest one close to your heart, a fellow believer in Christ? Then fear not, for you shall meet again. The Lord has promised it, and the God who “cannot lie” [Titus 1:2] will fulfill His promise. In such affliction, look up, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
HAPPILY WITH THE LORD
The Lord has taken three stalwart members of the Free Presbyterian Church to heaven in this past week. Thelma Watson of the Toronto church was called home to glory on February 13 to join her husband, John, who preceded her by a few years. The Watsons were faithful members of the Toronto church while their health permitted. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to sons Richard, Barry, Andrew, and daughter Audrey. Thelma was in her nineties.
The Free Presbyterian Church was born on March 17, 1951. Ernie and Molly Monteith joined in the sixties and were instrumental in the formation of the Omagh (N.I.) congregation. Molly was 95 when the Lord called her home.
She was highly thought of by her large family and circle of friends. Her daughter Beulah is married to the Rev. Ian Goligher. To Ernie, now 96, and the family, we extend our sympathy.
The Carryduff (N.I.) F.P. church was saddened this past week to lose James Lowe. James was a well-known farmer in the area and was heavily involved in the Carryduff church’s new building. James was 70 and succumbed to cancer. Our prayerful sympathy goes out to the Lowe family.
“KEEP YOUR FORK”
There was once a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was given three months to live. He called his pastor to discuss the arrangements for his funeral.
He told him which songs he wanted, and what Scripture he wanted read. As the pastor was leaving the young man said, “There’s one more thing. It is very important. I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
The pastor was surprised. The young man explained, that his grandmother told him this story and he always tried to pass it on. In all the years of attending dinners, when the dishes of the main course were being cleared away, someone invariably would say, “Keep your Fork”. He always knew that something very pleasant was coming – dessert!
“At my funeral” he said, “I want people to ask ‘Why the fork?’ I want you to tell them. “Keep the fork for the best is yet to come” When you die in Christ, the best is definitely to come.”
[Adapted from a story received from Ward Tannenberg]
MORMONS FINED FIVE MILLION DOLLARS
The church of Latter Day Saints has been fined $5 million, by the U.S. Securities Commission (SEC), over claims of financial irregularities. It is alleged that they hid a $32 billion stock portfolio using “shell” companies through Ensign Peak, their investment organization. [BBC News, February 22, 2023]. Apparently, they tried to hide their wrongdoing from public scrutiny. Once more the Scripture is true, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” [Numbers 32:23]