Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The second wave of the pandemic is spreading swiftly around the world. Rev. Milos Solc reports that the Czech Republic is heavily infected, as is Northern Ireland, home to many Free Presbyterian Churches.
The Toronto Sunday services will be held in the church at 11.00 am and 6.30 pm, and also on sermonaudio. The pre-evening prayer time will be at 5.50 pm in the church and concurrently on Zoom. The Wednesday prayer meeting will be at 7.30 pm on Zoom.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CAIRNS
Mrs. Joan Cairns is in self-isolation at home while her husband, Dr. Alan Cairns, is in hospital in ICU in Northern Ireland. An earlier message that some heard about his recovery turned out to be premature. The Cairns family would appreciate your continued prayers.
MAN’S PASSION AND GOD’S PROVIDENCE
Saul of Tarsus first appears in the Bible as the young man who kept the witnesses’ clothing at the martyrdom of Stephen. Saul was probably in his twenties at the time and had a fine Jewish pedigree. Well educated, having studied under the famous rabbi, Gamaliel, he was a “Hebrew of the Hebrews,” and also a Pharisee. But that day, as he gazed upon the expired form of the first Christian martyr Saul’s education took a further retrograde step. He witnessed the murder of one of the despised Christians, and from that moment Saul would no longer be a passive observer but an active persecutor of the saints of God. From then until his dramatic conversion he “made havoc of the church” [Acts 8:3]. Saul’s life at that period was ruled by prejudice, passion and bigotry. He was intensely sincere, but he was wrong. To this day many make the same mistake, even Christians. Passionate sincerity does not make our beliefs or behaviour right.
Contrary to his intention, Saul’s persecution helped the early church. Christ had commanded His disciples to radiate out from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and beyond with the Gospel message. In His providence, God used Saul’s persecution to bring about His will. He still makes the wrath of man to praise Him [Psalm76: 10]. Whatever our afflictions, He will overrule every attack of the devil for our good and His glory, and lead us forward in triumph.
MINISTERS’ PRAYER TIMES
The North American ministers have resumed their prayer times using Zoom and Skype. The men are divided into groups based on location. Although far from North America, some of the missionaries are able to join us, which is a great encouragement for them and us. The Ontario group meets on Tuesdays at 1.00 pm.
2020 will go into the annuls of history as a year of sickness and death. There have been many plagues or epidemics since the world began but mostly they were confined to one country or area. But this year we have a pandemic meaning that it is worldwide. There is not a person among the world’s population of almost eight billion that is not directly or indirectly affected by the Covid19 virus. Every nation is suffering and is having to take severe steps to try and limit the spread of the disease, and just when the world thinks it is getting control, it breaks out again.
Millions of people have lost their jobs. Countries have spent colossal amounts to try and stem the financial tide, and it will be years before the damage is repaired. The cost in human life now stands at well in excess of one million, and each of those is an individual story of human sorrow. After almost a year the pandemic shows no sign of abating.
Why should such a thing happen? The Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, has warned that He will visit human sin in His wrath. [Jeremiah 5:9, 29. 6:15. 9:9. 14:10. 23:2]. God can “visit” a sinful people by plague as in the Exodus, by the captivity of the Israelites under Assyria, or Judah taken captive into Babylon. But God will visit sin make no mistake about it. Who will argue that our present world does not deserve the judgment of God? Or that the world is not currently under the Lord’s reproach? Believers ought not to be unduly worried about the pandemic. God protected His ancient people in Egypt by sheltering them in Goshen from the plagues he rained on Egypt. Indeed He told them, “I will put none of these diseases upon thee” [Exodus 15:26]. It must be noted that this is a conditional promise depending on their obedience to God’s commands [Deuteronomy 28:60]. The good news for Christians is that the very same verse in Exodus 15 reveals God as “Jehovah Ropheka,” so for those that are sick He reminds us, “I am the LORD that healeth thee.”