Bits and Pieces is a random collection of news and views compiled by Dr. Frank McClelland for Toronto F.P.C.
After ten weeks of self-isolation and lockdown there are some small positive signs that the peak has been reached. The Province of Ontario has slowly and cautiously begun to open some businesses. Unfortunately the Covid-19 case numbers are not as good as would have been hoped. They are fluctuating which makes forward planning difficult.
As of recent weeks the Toronto church service times will be broadcast an hour earlier than usual. 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.
GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS PRAYER
The Christian is blessed indeed that he can pray to, and communicate with, his Creator and Redeemer. We have direct access to God though the Mediator, Jesus Christ. The Lord encourages His people “always to pray.” Sometimes, however, there is the feeling that either God has not heard or is not answering. It is then that we need to remember that 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 in the case of David. The Psalmist said, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1). Then God may give a different answer as with Paul who prayed three times to be rid of a “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:8). Instead of healing him God gave Paul “sufficient” grace. Sometimes God answers with an outright denial. Elijah prayed for his life to end (1 Kings 19:4) but God did not answer as Elijah prayed. God had something far better for His fearful servant, a “chariot of fire” to escort him to heaven. (2 Kings 2:11). Elijah never died. Let us never forget that God always answers our prayers, but not necessarily in the way we expect.
Tattoos used to be fairly rare and were usually restricted to some modest marking of the arms. Nowadays, it is increasingly common to see elaborate tattoos covering arms and legs, even the neck and face. Not only do men do it, but attractive young women mar their God-given beauty by horrible tattoos. The human body was designed by God and intended to be whole and beautiful. God has given us our bodies and it is wrong to mar that which was formed in His image. In fact, in Bible times tattooing was a practical sign of rebellion against God, and associated with death. Is it any different today? God Himself put the matter beyond doubt when He clearly instructed His people, “Ye shall not….print any marks upon you. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28). Disfiguring the body dishonours God, and His creation.
THE BARS ARE CLOSED
One of the blessings of Covid-19 is that it has shut the bars, pubs and taverns. The following poem was written by a convict serving a life sentence in the Illinois State Prison, U.S.A. It was entitled “The Saloon,” another name for bar.
“A bar to heaven, a door to hell,
Whoever named it, named it well.
A bar to manliness and wealth,
A door to want and broken health;
A bar to honour, pride, and fame,
A door to grief and sin and shame;
A bar to hope, a bar to prayer,
A door to darkness and despair;
A bar to honoured useful life,
A door to brawling, senseless strife;
A bar to all that’s true and brave,
A door to every drunkard’s grave;
A bar to joys that home imparts,
A door to tears and aching hearts;
A bar to heaven, a door to hell,
Whoever named it, named it well.”
A WORD IN SEASON
“Ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy bread and water” (Exodus 23:25).
“What a promise is this! To serve God is itself a high delight. But what an added privilege to have the blessing of the Lord resting upon us in all things! Our commonest things become blessed when we ourselves are consecrated to the Lord. Our Lord took bread and blessed it; we also eat of blessed bread. Jesus blessed water and made it into wine: the water which we drink is far better to us than any of the wine with which men make merry, every drop has a benediction in it.” [C.H.Spurgeon].