Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.


CANCELLATIONS. Due to the continuing coronavirus crisis, and Ontario government emergency regulations, there will be no Toronto Church services on Sunday 29th March.  Webcasts will however be carried on at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The earliest date for the resumption of the Whitefield Christian Schools is April 6, but that probably will change.  As an alternative the school has set up Google Classroom, and other internet devices, so  that students can learn on-line at home. The North American Presbytery has also cancelled the annual Ministers’ Week of Prayer which was to be held in Greenville S.C. in early May.  The installation of the Rev. Paul Backhurst, which was to have taken place in Calgary, AB, on Tuesday, March 24, has been postponed until the fall.


SKYPE PRAYER MEETINGS.  Most of the North American Free Presbyterian ministers will be meeting for special prayer this weekend via Skype.  Divided into smaller groups they will be praying specifically for the current coronavirus crisis.


THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS continues to seriously affect most nations, Italy, Spain and the United States (especially New York) being the hardest hit.  But the whole world is in virtual lockdown with national borders closed, airlines drastically reducing flights between countries, and the world’s economies in a mess as financiers struggle to stabilize the seriously rocking ship. Only stores providing essential services are open. It is a wartime situation. 

Amazingly, Microsoft chief, Bill Gates, warned of the possibility of such a pandemic in a TED speech in 2015 (Google. “Bill Gates pandemic warning”).  He said that nations make preparations for the possibility of war,  by stock-piling munitions etc.  He urged them to similarly make ready for the possibility of a global pandemic.  


CHRISTIAN COMFORT.  While the world fears, the Christian can rest secure in the knowledge that “God is still on the throne.” We know not what the immediate future holds, but God does. The prophecy of Zephaniah was written in a dark time in Israel’s history, but it contains a bright shaft of gospel (good news) sunlight.  Zephaniah says of God, “He faileth not”  (Zeph. 3:5).  “He faileth not” :  1)In His Love (Psalm 85:33. 2)In His Presence (Joshua 1:5).  3)In His Provision (Philippians 4:19).  4)In His Power (Matthew 28:18) and 5)In His Promises (Joshua 21:45 & 23:14).  Take time to look up those Bible quotations.  You will be encouraged.   Remember His word, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3).  


A CHALLENGE.  Christians are taught not to forsake the “assembling of (themselves) together”  (Hebrews 10:25).  Now with the coronavirus restrictions churches have had to close down.  Fortunately, many have been able to continue preaching the Gospel by means of webcasts, but without live congregations.  So the devil has been robbed of victory as the Word continues to go out.  But he has also been defeated as his pubs, taverns, casinos, clubs, and other places of satanic influence have been closed too.

God likens His people to trees (Psalm 1:3, 99:12). Fir trees grow clumped together to gain strength and stability from each other.  But the cedar is one of the strongest and most stable of trees.  It grows alone.

In this present crisis believers cannot meet together like the fir for strength in their assemblies.  But God can make us strong in solitary growth, like the cedar of Lebanon.

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”


BIBLICAL PLAGUES.  With the coronavirus plague throughout the world it is interesting to consider briefly the plagues in Bible times.  The most obvious are the ten plagues in Moses’ day (Exodus 7:19).  These were sent by God because of the sins of the Egyptians.  God plagued Israel after Korah’s sin (Numbers 16:46).  Aaron made an atonement for the people and the plague was stopped.  Sin was also the problem behind another plague (Numbers 25:8).  Yet another appears because of further sin (Joshua 22:17).  It is obvious than sin and God’s judgments by plague go hand in hand.

For those who, by the grace of God, try to live holy and obedient lives God promises, “there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways”  (Psalm 91:10, 11).