Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
A ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR’ ALL TO OUR READERS. We thank God for bringing us safely through a challenging year. If there was ever a time when God’s people needed to pray, it is now. That is why this issue of “Bits and Pieces” is focusing on the subject of prayer.
We are saddened to report the death of Lou Johnson. He and his family were long time members of the Toronto Church and he served church and school faithfully in a custodial capacity until declining health intervened. Our sympathy goes to his wife Adrianne and daughters Tracey, Denise and Nancy.
COMMUNICATING WITH GOD
This is undoubtedly the age of instant communication. In my lifetime, society has gone from the telephone as a domestic novelty to today’s smartphones that seem to govern every moment for many people. World events can be transmitted verbally and graphically as they happen.
As Solomon observed, “There is no new thing under the sun” [Ecclesiastes 1:9]. Instant communication with a faraway place is nothing new. When they first came into general use, some preacher likened prayer to a telephone to heaven. Prayer to God predates by millennia today’s’ electronic gadgets and is vastly superior to them, for it does not need a vast system of cell towers and satellites to make it work.
In the days of Seth, the son of Adam, men began “to call upon the name of the Lord” [Genesis 4:26]. God made the world, and He made us, but He did not leave us to muddle our way through life on our own. He established a means of communication with Him. We are mere infinitesimal creatures, but we are hard-wired to communicate with our Maker and Redeemer. But there are restrictions. We are warned, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” [Psalm 66:18]. The sin problem must be cured to allow communication to pass freely between earth and heaven. The death of Christ on the cross, attended by the rending of the veil of the temple, opened up the way of access to God for the child of God.
Prayer is a priceless privilege and the source of our spiritual power. The devil knows this and will do all in his power to hinder us. With God, there are no busy signals or “select an option” messages. God hears; he answers. Start your day by calling on Him. You will be blessed.
JONAH CAN HELP US IN PRAYER
The disciples of Jesus asked Him to teach them how to pray [Luke 11:1]. If they needed instruction, how much more do we. Much prayer today is little more than talking and sometimes amounts to preaching with a message for others rather than real communion with God. The Bible has much to teach us about prayer.
One of the great lessons is from Jonah. His prayer from the fish’s belly is a model for us. He was in dire straits but alive. It was then that the disobedient prophet cried to God, and his prayer teaches us of the necessity to pray on the scriptures. It is a short prayer [Jonah 2:3-8]. Read it carefully, and you will find that most of it is biblical quotes and not Jonah’s own words. Check the margin, and you will find quotes from 16 Psalms.
The lesson to learn is that God answers Bible-based prayers, for God answered Jonah and freed him from the fish [Jonah 2:10]. Let there be much scripture in our praying.
GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYER
He may answer directly as He did with Nehemiah. In a tricky and dangerous situation before king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah sent a prayer rocket to heaven and got an immediate answer. [Nehemiah 2:4]. God may answer with a delay as with David. “I waited patiently.” [Psalm 40:1]. The Lord may send a different answer as with Paul. Instead of healing, He sent grace. [2 Corinthians 12:8].
Sometimes God responds with an outright denial, as in the case of Elijah, for He had a far better answer for him. [1 Kings 19:4].
Let us remember that God always answers our prayers, but not necessarily in the manner we expect. He may have something better for us.
NEW ONTARIO LOCKDOWN
The Covid19 numbers have shot up in Canada, and the Province of Ontario is shutting things down until January 28. Churches can still be open but are limited to ten people, which is not viable. Hence the Toronto church will continue to use sermonaudio on Sundays at 11.00 am and 6.00 pm with the pre-service prayer meeting on zoom at 5.50 pm. The Wednesday evening prayer meeting will continue at 7.30 pm also on zoom.