Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
After eight weeks of self-isolation and lockdown there are some small positive signs that the peak has been reached. The Canadian Provinces are cautiously and slowly beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions. Garden centres are now open for people to purchase flowers to beautify their gardens. The third week of May is the traditional time for planting as the possibility of a late frost is usually gone.
As of last week, the Toronto church service times will be broadcast an hour earlier. The adult Bible Class will go out on SermonAudio at 9.00am, the morning service at 10.00am, and the evening service at 5.30pm, with the pre-service prayer time (on zoom) at 4.30pm. The Wednesday prayer meeting is carried on zoom at 7.30pm. Anyone can join. Contact the church for details on how.
A TIMELY WORD
“Whenever in history the Church is faithful to its calling and bears testimony concerning the truth, tribulation is bound to follow. Apart even from this fact, the Church is in the world. Accordingly, it suffers along with the world. Children of God do not escape the horrors of war, famine, and pestilence. The Church needs these tribulations. It needs the direct antagonism of the world and participation in the common woes that pertain to this earthly life as a result of sin. The Church, too, is sinful. It is in constant need of purification and sanctification.
“These tribulations, therefore, are employed as an instrument for our own spiritual advancement. We see God’s footstool. Let us not forget His throne! To be sure, we say that to them that love God all things work together for good; but do we really believe it? Sometimes we speak and act as if the control of events and the destiny of the world rested in the hands of men instead of in the hands of God. Revelation chapters 4 and 5, however supply the needed correction and bring us a vision of the throne which rules the universe.
In the midst of trial and tribulation may our gaze be towards One who is King of kings and Lord of lords. [Wm. Hendriksen on Revelation].
SOME INTERESTING BIBLE FACTS
The Word of God contains 773,692 words in English. The shortest verse has 2 words (John 11:35), and the longest verse has 90 words (Esther 8:9).
The middle verse in the Bible is Psalm 118:8, and the middle word in that verse in Hebrew is, appropriately, LORD or JEHOVAH. The name JEHOVAH occurs 6,855 times in the Scriptures.
Ezra 7:21 is interesting. It contains all the letters of the English alphabet except ‘j’. Haggai 1:1 is similar but is missing ‘q’.
FRUITFUL FIG TREES
C.H. Spurgeon made the following observations when commenting on Proverbs 27:18.
“He who tends the fig tree has figs for his pains, and he who waits on a good master has honour as his reward. Truly the Lord Jesus is the very best of masters, and it is an honour to be allowed to do the least act for His sake. To serve some lords is to watch over a crab tree and eat crab (apples) as one’s wages; but to serve my Lord Jesus is to keep a fig tree of the sweetest figs. His service is in itself a delight, continuance in it is promotion, success in it is blessedness below, and the reward for it is glory above.”
SOME GOOD NEWS
A few of our churches in the United States have been able to reopen public services depending on the laws of the State where they are located. Each State has its own regulations for reopening, but all are subject to strict rules regarding the number of people that can safely assemble in a church. They need to follow the ‘physical distancing’ guidelines. The Canadian churches cannot open just yet, but hopefully after this small start in the U.S. it will not be long until some form of normality is available to all of us.
NOT SO GOOD NEWS
Just when we were rejoicing to be able to use Zoom.us to meet for prayer and other meetings, comes the news that a Lutheran Church in San Francisco has had one of its Bible Class meetings hacked into, and the hackers were able to put “sick and disturbing videos” before the church people. The church has sued Zoom, a spokesman for which admitted it was a “horrific event.” Those of us who use zoom need to be very careful about who is able to get the meeting I.D.’s and passwords. The devil is always busy!