Today’s Scrip-Bit   9 January 2022 Psalm 34:19.

Psalm 34:19.       Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.    

Well friends, after today our sanctuary will be closed again for another few weeks. As a result of the unnerving spike of the Omicron virus, the government has further clamped down on lots of stuff. And though our worship service would not have been much affected, the leadership of our denomination decided to play it safe and shut all their sanctuaries until things lighten up.

So from next week, we will be back to only technological means of worship. And to set us off on the right foot for this last Sunday of physical worship, is a most appropriate song titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ Now that anchor is Jesus my people. And it does hold, if you believe it will.

The song was born in 1992 from the frustration and rough times of a burned our pastor Lawrence Chewning, a time when his wife also had her third miscarriage. It led him to take a six month sabbatical, most of which he spent playing the piano and talking to God, and during those moments of reflection and prayer, he created the song. Eventually, Chewning mentioned the story of the song God had given him to singer Ray Boltz, who remodelled it and released it in 1995.

And with that inspiring story under our belt, let’s sing a soulful, heartfelt, mid-tempo version of  ‘The Anchor Holds,’ letting all heaven and earth know that we are indeed sincere in our sacrifices of praise this day of the Lord. ‘I have journeyed, Through the long, dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone, Sight unknown And yet His eyes, were watching me. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm.

I’ve had visions, I’ve had dreams, I’ve even held them in my hand, But I never knew, They would slip right through, Like they were only grains of sand. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Oh, I have been young, but I am older now, thank the Lord, And there has been beauty, that these eyes have seen, But it was in the night, through the storms of my life, Oh, that’s where God proved, His LOVE for me.

The anchor holds, though my ship is battered. The anchor holds, though my sails are torn. And I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm.  I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Yes, the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Thank You Jesus! I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Yes, the anchor holds, In spite of the storm.’

Oh my people, it’s easy to sing the very moving and inspirational words of the song, but it’s much more difficult to put those words into action in our lives. However, with each storm we face, with Jesus as our anchor and helmsman, our faith in Him grows, and it becomes a tad easier to do each time. And though it’s not the most desirable aspect of our Christian faith, it’s only through personal experience that we are able to grow and come up higher.

And I know that we have all faced experiences that seemed like they would hit us for six, but when all hope seemed lost  and we got down on our knees during the raging storm and held on for dear life to that solid anchor called Jesus, we were able to successfully battle the stormy seas in a battered ship with torn sails. Oh my faithful brethren, only the anchor named Jesus can cause us to accomplish such eventful deeds under such trying circumstances! That’s why it’s ever so important, so necessary to have Him as a major part of our lives.

And why is that you ask, (smile) despite all that we’ve just spoken of? I believe Bruh David puts it best in Psalm 34, where he confidently declares: ‘The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto (near to) them  that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite (crushed) spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked : and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate (condemned, held guilty). The Lord redeemth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate (condemned, found guilty). (Ps. 34:17-22)

Now, I personally can’t find any arguments with those sentiments, but just in case you don’t believe Bruh David, then listen to his son, Cousin Sol, reputedly the richest and wisest man who ever lived. He says in Proverbs: ‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (calamity).’ (Prov. 24:16) Yes friends, as the scholars’ so rightly tell us: ‘The righteous man always recovers, but the wicked man faces permanent destruction.’ And yes, it might not happen right away, and we ought not fret about the ways of the evil doers, just continue doing what we know is right.

Now, if you still don’t believe in God’s power to hold you up in times of storm, then listen to the prophet Micah, as he talks about God’s concern for His people. He warns: ‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be light unto me.’ (Mic. 7:8)

And we are going to end with one powerful example of how the Lord looks after His people and catches the wicked in their own snare. Remember back in Babylon when the king’s right hand man, Haman, plotted to eradicate the Jews and built a gallows fifty cubits high to hang his hated enemy, the righteous Mordecai, Queen Esther’s uncle? You can read the whole story in the Book of Esther. But just listen to what eventually happened to the wicked Haman. The Good Book says: ‘So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified (subsided).’ (Esth. 7:10)

Yes my fellow saints, Haman was what you call hoisted on his own petard, that’s injured, or done in by the same thing he created to injure or do in someone else. So please, please, let that be a serious warning for us. The wicked will get their comeuppance in the Lord’s time. It’s His solemn promise, and we all know that He keeps every promise He makes. Much LOVE!

…to God be the glory…through Jesus…the Son…                                                                                                                                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8              

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 August 2021 Psalm 34:19.

Psalm 34:19.      Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. 

One more Sunday is on deck friends! What a way they come around often and quickly! (smile) But that only means it’s time once again for corporate praise, worship and thanksgiving to Almighty God, our Creator and Provider. And there is definitely no problem in doing that. In fact, it ought to be an exciting and joyful time to which we gladly look forward. For what can be more energizing and uplifting than giving thanks and praise to our heavenly Father, considering all that He has done for us, is currently doing, and has promised to do until eternity? Absolutely nothing my faithful saints in Christ! 

So let’s get on with it nuh, opening as always with a song of praise. And today’s song has been one of my favourites ever since I first heard it a few years ago. It’s titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ The song was originally written by a small-town pastor called Lawrence Chewning. According to Chewning, around 1992 his wife and him were having a rough time. He was a burned-out pastor, and then his wife had her third miscarriage. He took a sabbatical for six months, and just ended up playing the piano all the time, while talking to God. 

One day he found himself playing a song that sounded familiar, but he really didn’t know it. Then he began singing some words that the Lord put in his heart and the song was born. But that’s not the end of the story. Sometime later, he was talking to the singer Ray Boltz and told him about the rough times and the song the Lord had given him. Then one day, out of the blue, Ray called and said he wanted to record the song. Obviously Chewning said yes, but told Ray that he would have to shorten the song, because he felt it was too long. Ray remodelled the song to what it is today and released it in 1995. 

It seems he even had problems getting the record company to release the song because they didn’t like it. But he persisted because others who heard it liked it. And to show how God doesn’t leave His children in the lurch, Chewning says that at the time of the release of the song, he had become an out of work pastor, having resigned some time before, wondering how he was going to support his family. Obviously, he was going to get some financial rewards from the release of the song. Isn’t our God great? He certainly is! 

Now after hearing that touching and encouraging story, let’s sing the song in an up-tempo reggae riddim like the Jamaican gospel singer Judith Gayle. Remember the background vocal, the flourish of hands and the high stepping, with joy and gratitude emanating from our hearts, as our sincere voices are raised to heaven in sacrificial praise. Wow mih bredrin, let’s sing! 

‘I have journeyed, Through the long, dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone, Sight unknown And yet His eyes, were watching me. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. I’ve had visions, I’ve had dreams, I’ve even held them in my hand, But I never knew, They would slip right through, Like they were only grains of sand. The anchor holds, though the ship is battered. The anchor holds, though the sails are torn. I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. 

Oh, I have been young, but I am older now, thank the Lord, And there has been beauty, that these eyes have seen, But it was in the night, through the storms of my life, Oh, that’s where God proved, His LOVE for me. The anchor holds, though my ship is battered. The anchor holds, though my sails are torn. And I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm.  I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Yes, the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Thank You Jesus! I have fallen on my knees, As I face the raging seas, But the anchor holds, In spite of the storm. Yes, the anchor holds, In spite of the storm.’ 

And is that ever the gospel truth my people! When Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, whatever storms we go through, be they literal or metaphorical, the anchor always holds because He is the Master of the storm! However, we need to believe that and put it into action when the storms of life come against us. Even in the raging seas, when our ship is battered and our sails are torn, the right thing for us to do is get down on our knees and cry out to Him for safety and succour. 

It is all based on the premise of hope in Christ Jesus which leads to an undying faith in Him. I like how the prophet Zechariah puts it as he speaks to his people, Israel about the coming of their future king, Jesus, the Messiah. He says: ‘Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope…’ (Zech. 9:12a) Yes friends, that’s what believers in Christ are, ‘prisoners of hope!’ And what’s hope? Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) describes ‘Hope as a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks through from the future and transforms today.’ Oh my people, that is exactly what hope in Christ does for us; gives us an encouraging glimpse of a wonderful future with Him! 

And we are just going to quote a few verses of scripture to back up our contention, re hope in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This first from Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous. The psalmist declares: ‘The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite (crushed) spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.’ (Ps; 34:17-20) 

What marvellous words of assurance friends! And just in case you don’t believe that psalmist, then listen to the Sons of Korah from Psalm 46, who tell us in no uncertain terms: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (an abundantly available help) in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst (the heart) of the sea. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.’ (Ps. 46:1-3) 

But all talk aside friends, there is only one way to find out if all of that is true; and that’s by putting one’s hope, faith and trust in Christ Jesus. Otherwise you’ll just keep wandering aimlessly in the wilderness like the Israelites did so long ago. And in these desperate and uncertain times, our lives definitely call for less talk and more action! So let’s get to some serious action nuh! Much LOVE!

…talk is a precursor to action…that means…talk without action is useless…                                                                                                     

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8    

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2018 Isaiah 25:4.

Isaiah 25:4.   For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

Ah friends, we’re sailing on the good ship Sunday, towards the sanctuary of God, where we will fall on our knees and praise and worship Him, give Him innumerable thanks, exalt His holy name and glorify Him without ceasing! 

Wow! What a time we will have in the sanctuary as we fellowship with each other, encourage each other, hear God’s word and bury it deep in our hearts, and souls, and eventually leave the sanctuary fortified with His strength and confidence, able to withstand whatever comes against us. And please remember the immortal words of the psalmist; this is the day the Lord hath made, let us all rejoice and be glad in it! That’s both wisdom and common sense friends! 

And as always, we’ll open the proceedings with worship in sweet song. This morning we’ll sing a Christian Gospel tune titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ It was originally written by a pastor, songwriter called Lawrence Chewning. Apparently the year of 1992 became known as the year of sorrows for him and his family. 

One sorrow after another hit them and finally Lawrence, depressed and discouraged, was left burnt out, so he took a six month sabbatical from his pastoring duties and during that time began playing the piano more, in an attempt to get closer to God. In this sorrowful time he read stuff about the long dark night of the soul, when it seems you just can’t find God anywhere, and also experienced that emptiness for a while. 

Then, one day, in his many hours of playing the piano, he discovered that he was writing a song, a song that was coming from deep down in his soul. It was so touching that it provided him with therapeutic help in his depression and discouragement. But the song was some ten minutes long. However, a couple of years later, he offered the song to his friend, Christian singer songwriter, Ray Boltz, who edited and recorded it and made it a hit. 

Ah friends, ‘The Anchor Holds’ is one of my favourite Gospel songs because I can testify to the truth of those immortal words. And if you’re a true believer, so too can you. So let’s offer it up through the sacrifice of our lips now nuh, with appropriate reverence and heartfelt sincerity. In glorious harmony: ‘I have journeyed Through the long dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone Sight unknown And yet His eyes were watching me (Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn) 

I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas The anchor holds In spite of the storm I’ve had visions I’ve had dreams I’ve even held them in my hand But I never knew They would slip right through Like they were only grains of sand (Chorus) I have been young But I am older now And there has been beauty these eyes have seen But it was in the night Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved His LOVE to me. 

(Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn. Ohhh yes, The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn).’ 

Ah mih people what words of truth and encouragement! And it’s only when we are going through a stormy period in life that we can write such heartfelt words. You’ll notice too, that it’s during the storm that God proves His wonderful and unconditional LOVE to us, more so than when the seas are calm and quiet. 

Because that’s when we need Him the most, when we discover that our efforts are too puny to withstand the storm that’s bruising and battering us. And only when we take refuge in His safe harbour, when we allow Him to anchor our hearts and souls in the sheltered bay that’s His awesome LOVE and grace that we truly find rest and rejuvenation for our troubled, storm-filled lives. 

Oh what a wonderful God is our God! No wonder in Isaiah’s song of praise by the redeemed the survivors of the Great Tribulation exalt the Lord, lift their voices in praise to God for His protection. ‘O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap (a ruin); of a defensed (fortified) city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (rebuilt). 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible (ruthless) nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:1-4) 

Yeh friends, our God runs things; He controls it all. So in your time of need, who are you going to call eh, who are you going to run to for refuge? Almighty God, if you are wise! As the old reggae song says, ‘You’ll run to the rock for rescue, but there will be no rock.’ But if you run to the Creator of the universe, you’ll find Him ready, willing and able to offer help. 

As Isaiah prophesies about Jerusalem’s glorious future. ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.’ (Is.4:6) 

Oh friends, there’s no better place to hunker down in stormy times than under the wings of our heavenly Father, just like chicks hide under the mother hen’s wings when it rains, for under there we are guaranteed safe passage through the storms of life. Much LOVE!

…through the heartache…through the storm…take my hand precious Lord…lead me on…