Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
The pandemic is still not under control and the infection figures are hitting record highs. The only bright spot on the horizon seems to be the hope that anti-covid vaccines will soon be available. All churches in Ontario are reduced to ten participants. The United States seems to be under fewer restrictions than we are, despite burgeoning numbers.
The Toronto Sunday services today will be held on-line only on sermonaudio at 11.00am and 6.30pm. The pre-evening service prayer time will be at 5.50pm on Zoom. The Wednesday prayer meeting will be at 7.30pm on Zoom.
TRUSTING, NOT WORRYING
These are worrying times – at least they seem to be for many people. Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to recently has expressed anxiety and concern over current events – the virus pandemic and all that.
It reminds me of the late, great pastor Willie Mullan, and what I heard him say when I was a teenager. In one part of his sermon he was encouraging people to trust God. He said, “When you’re worrying you’re not trusting – and when you’re trusting you’re not worrying.” I suppose the ultimate message was – don’t be worrying, trust God.
Worry is a terrible foe, an enemy to peace and tranquility. It saps the energy, it befogs the mind, it strikes at the heart, and it gets the eyes off what really matters in life – our relationship with God, for He tells us not to worry. He tells us to “be careful for nothing” or “full of care” [Philippians 4:6]. Don’t be consumed with hopelessness, as if nothing can be done.
Place the problem, no matter how serious it looks, or is, in God’s hands, and remember that He is in control.
This is a particular time of anxiety. This viral pandemic is frightening. It is like a hidden enemy, waiting, lurking, and watching, for a chance to attack unawares. Remember that before the pandemic people died, and when it is gone people will still die. The death rate for humans is 100%. The Bible and human experience tells us it is so. Hence be ready for that eventuality. How? By trusting Christ as your personal Saviour [John 3:16]. He is the only One who has, and can defeat death. [Given by Rev. James McClelland on BBC radio, Nov. 15].
LIVING IN GOD’S WILL
The Spirit of God often leads His people in a positive sense with clear directions where to go, and what to do. But sometimes He leads negatively, forbidding us to take some step we feel justified in taking.
Paul was busy preaching the Word in Phyrgia and Galatia with great success. It seemed natural to continue on to Bythinia and reap a gospel harvest there. There was just one major problem. God did not want Paul there at that time, and so “The Spirit suffered Him not.” There was for Paul a Macedonian call ahead, so he by-passed Bithynia and headed for Macedonia.
The Christian ought always to move in the will of God. But knowing that is not always easy.
God reveals Himself, not in visions and audible voices, but in His Word. God’s Word should confirm personal feelings about what we think we should do. Do not be disappointed if the Lord closes the door to some cherished plan. He knows best. Bithynia was closed to Paul, but Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth were opened and led to churches and five of Paul’s epistles.
“Ungodly men, like Balaam, may cunningly plot the overthrow of the Lord’s Israel; but with all their secrecy and policy they are doomed to fail.”
“O my soul, to thee there are so many mercies that thy sorrows are not worth mentioning.”
The Lord “will keep us so that none of the evils which now assail us shall really do us damage…. We need not allow the shadow of a fear to fall upon our spirits.”
“What an enjoyment it is to walk abroad after illness, and what a delight to be strong in the Lord after a season of prostration.”[From C.H. Spurgeon]
THE ‘ROMANS’ BENEDICTION
This is the benediction as in Romans [16:24-27]. Again it is worthy of our meditation.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. But is now made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.