Today’s Scrip-Bit   8 January 2023   2 Corinthians 5:7.

2 Corinthians 5:7.        We walk by faith, not by sight.

Another Sunday is upon us friends, which means it’s time to get together to fellowship in the presence of our Lord God Jehovah. For those who can make it to the Lord’s sanctuary, that’s the best place, but if you can’t, one of the wonders of today’s technological world is online worship, and you are advised to do that, rather than not fellowship at all. (smile) There are simply no excuses these day for not joining in some worship service or the other. 

Anyway, to open our proceedings today, we’ve chosen a favourite song that very appropriately describes what we hope to accomplish for this new year of 2023, that’s to live more keenly for Christ. And the name of the song is ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee.’ Yes, it’s the often recorded traditional gospel song, who’s author remains unknown, despite several stories as per its origin and public attention. 

Needless to say, it’s become a big hit over the years, and today we’ll do it justice by singing an up-tempo version, a la Anne Murray, because it’s a song of praise, pleas and gratitude, and such a song ought to be sung in rousing fashion to show the joy in our hearts. So, with sweet harmony, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

Singing: ‘I am weak but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long As I walk, let me walk close to Thee. (Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.) Thro’ this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee. [Refrain] When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore. [Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, is my plea, Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.)’ 

Oh friends, that was a great version of a very uplifting song. The scholars say: ‘The title and lyrics of the song allude to the Biblical passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7 which states, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” and James 4:8, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” Or, as the King James version puts it: ‘Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.’ 

And there is great truth to those statements, for we can only walk close to Jesus by first getting to know Him, then sticking with Him through faith, as Romans 8:24-25 so wisely and graciously inform us. ‘For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience (perseverance) (eagerly) wait for it.’ 

Yes my fellow saints, without hope there can be no faith, for hope is the forerunner to faith, and you can only walk with Christ through faith, which is strong trust for the positive expectations of things to come, things that you have not seen, but know deep down that they will eventually come to pass because Jesus promised it. 

There’s also this interesting scripture from 2 Chronicles which puts our walk with God in right perspective. It’s the prophet Azariah’s warning to King Asa. ‘And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet (before) Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.’ (2 Chr. 15:1-2) 

And that’s the living truth my people! If we seek Christ sincerely, we will find Him, but if we forsake Him, He’ll just leave us to do our own thing. And we all know the serious ramifications involved in doing our own thing without God’s divine and omnipotent help: the rate of success is few to none. (smile) 

Meanwhile, the website Hymnary.org offers this commentary on the tune. ‘In this song, we acknowledge our human inability to live righteously, but we also express awareness of the grace and strength that God gives us in our daily walk. Even such an esteemed saint as the apostle Paul acknowledged his need for this grace.’ 

Remember Bruh Paul pleading three times with the Lord to remove the thorn from his side. ‘And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (weaknesses), that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Cor.12:9-10) 

And that’s a fact friends, when our weaknesses come against us, that’s when we’re truly strong, because it’s then that God’s amazing grace rises up to help and protect us. And there are so many useful and encouraging scriptures in the God’s Library on faith and walking with God, that we can spend the whole day talking about them and never exhaust them, (smile) that’s because walking with God in faith is what we’re all about, what God made us to do. 

Unfortunately though, too many of us refuse to get right with God and walk faithfully with Him. Instead in this evil and ungodly world the trend is to walk away from Christ right into the open, deceitful and destructive arms of Beelzebub. How can that ever be a wise decision eh my people, when all Beelzebub has to offer is death and destruction in the fiery halls of hell? 

That’s why this year of 2023 is so important to Christ’s church. We have to turn this exodus from it around, and can only do so by we faithful believers sincerely living for Him, truthfully showing it in our lifestyles and boldly telling it in our speech. That’s the only way to right this ship called the church of Christ! Much LOVE!

…there’ll be no excuses in heaven…when your earthly sojourn…shows a lack of pride, passion and purpose… 

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   11 September 2022 Psalm 34:3.

Psalm 34:3.       O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 

Oh my fellow believers, it’s Sunday, it’s Sunday! Time to gather and sing, praise and worship our Lord God Jehovah, for that’s one of the major reasons He created us! Yes, there’s no day like a Sunday, when our world sees a li’l bit of peace, quiet, LOVE and godliness, as believers extricate themselves from the busyness of the world and gather to worship our wonderful God. So let’s ‘begin the beguine’ with my favourite worship song as today’s song of praise and thanksgiving. 

Yuh know, yesterday when I asked the Lord what song we should sing today, He answered me immediately – Psalm 34. O Taste and See that the Lord is Good. And there was definitely no hesitation in my acknowledging the Lord’s request. I just jumped for joy, because I simply LOVE that piece of music as sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. There isn’t a more appropriate song of praise and worship. (smile) If you’ve never seen the video, then I strongly recommend that you check it out on You Tube. 

Oh friends, every time I see it, a wonderful spirit of joy just rises up within me, making me want to sing and dance and praise our amazing God! (smile) And what I believe makes it such an extraordinary recording, is that the musicians are into the song as much as the choir and the congregation. And when musicians truly feel a song, it just raises their level of playing and thus the level of the song. So, enough talk, I know like me, you’re dying to sing. Let’s offer up our voices then in sweet sacrificial praise, harmonious, melodious, full of joy and heartfelt sincerity. 

Singing: ‘I sought the Lord And He answered me And delivered me From every fear. Those who look on Him Are radiant They’ll never be ashamed They’ll never be ashamed. This poor man cried And the Lord heard me And saved me from My enemies. The Son of God Surrounds His saints He will deliver them He will deliver them. Magnify the Lord with me Come exalt His name together Glorify the Lord with me Come exalt His name forever. Oh taste and see That the Lord is good Oh blessed is he Who hides in Him. Oh fear the Lord Oh all you saints He’ll give you everything He’ll give you everything. 

(Magnify the Lord with me Come exalt His name together Glorify the Lord with me Come exalt His name forever. Repeat) (Let us bless the Lord Every day and night Never ending praise May our incense rise. Repeat 4 times) Magnify the Lord with me Come exalt His name together Glorify the Lord with me Come exalt His name forever. {Repeat} Oh taste and see That the Lord is good. He’ll give you everything He’ll give you everything. Oh taste and see That the Lord is good. He’ll give you everything He’ll give you everything. …He’ll give you everything…’ 

Oh beautiful mih people, beautiful! That’s certainly one of those times when there can be no doubt whatsoever in heaven that we sang truly from our hearts! Wow! Now listen to a few comments on the video nuh. ‘This is how it would be like in heaven. Every voice, musician, race, soul praising the name of God. Amen!!’ Another comment says: ‘Every frame, every beat, every note, perfectly executed. THIS is musical perfection in gospel music.’ And it certainly is! 

Then hear this one: ‘Every time I listen to this song, I imagine myself along with all the other saints in heaven worshipping. This song carries a strong anointing. You can feel the presence of the heavenly hosts.’ For sure! And this last one takes the cake: ‘I just imagine being in heaven worshipping with this magnificent choir, just magnifying our great God! Hallelujah!!’ And if that’ how it’s done in heaven, then you can most definitely count me in! (smile) 

And we do need to give thanks to Shane Barnard for taking those words of Bruh David in Psalm 34, subtitled – The Lord hears the righteous – and turning them into such a wonderful worship song. Also, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t read the parts of the psalm itself that was inculcated into such a marvellous song. So please read these inspiring and encouraging words of Bruh David with me, because inspiration and encouragement are a couple of things we come to church to receive.

Reading: ‘I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened (radiant): and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want (lack) to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want (lack) any good thing.’ (Ps. 34:1-10) 

Mama Mia! That says it all my fellow saints! If you LOVE and trust the Lord, you will not want for anything! And we cannot forget that Bruh David said it so eloquently in Psalm 23: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.’ (Ps, 23:1) That’s a big statement, highlighting total trust and surrender to our great God. And if you don’t believe it with every breath of your being, then you’re doing yourself a terrible injustice! Why? Because good shepherds never allow their flocks to want, and our great God Jehovah is indeed a good shepherd! 

And believe me friends, when Bruh David wrote Psalm 34, it was a personal testimony because he had just escaped death from the hands of his arch enemy, King Saul and had to run to the king of Gath, seeking succour, playing the role of a madman. You can read it all in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. Bruh David was surely a man of many parts! (smile) But let’s read a few more verses of Psalm 34, because it’s filled with lots more encouragement and good advice. 

Reading: ‘Come ye children, hearken unto (listen to) me: I will teach you the fear (reverence) of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and LOVETH many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (deceit). Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.’ (Ps. 34: 11-15) And that’s the gospel truth my faithful brethren! 

So please, let’s wake up and realize that time is swiftly passing us by, meanwhile, the evil and ungodliness of the world is increasing by leaps and bounds, and we’re not doing enough to bring others to Christ so that His kingdom could be magnified and glorified and exalted. In other words, we are shirking our bounden duty as His ambassadors on this planet earth. And that’s not a very good thing to do, because we’ll eventually pay the price for it. So please, let’s get with the programme nuh! Much LOVE!

…a word of warning to the wise…is sufficient…  

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   4 September 2022 Matthew 7:24.

Matthew 7:24.       Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his home upon a rock. 

It’s time friends, to gather at the Master’s place to celebrate another Sunday of abundant life with praise, thanksgiving and worship! And do these Sundays ever come around quickly. (smile) But we do enjoy the awesome fellowship and togetherness they engender, as we meet and greet and encourage each other in the Lord God Almighty. There’s nothing like a group of sincere believers singing, praising and worshipping our Creator! It’s so filled with LOVE, joy and peace that unbelievers can’t believe their eyes when they see us worship. 

So, without further ado, let’s begin the celebrations with this wonderful song of praise and thanksgiving written way back around 1837, by the English pastor Edward Mote, (1797-1874) titled ‘My Hope is built on Nothing Less.’ It must be a wonderful song to have stood the test of time. (smile) Oh yes, it is! Therefore, let’s raise our voices in sacrificial praise, with heartfelt sincerity, in a harmonious, scintillating up-beat tempo, because it’s a joyful song. 

‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. (Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.) When darkness veils his lovely face I rest on His unchanging grace In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. (Refrain) His oath, his covenant, his blood Supports me in the ‘whelming flood When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay. (Refrain) 

Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging LOVE. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r. [Refrain] When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain: On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand… Oh thank You Lord…You solid rock…’ 

That was most excellent my faithful brethren! It left heaven with no doubt that we truly believe in and appreciate our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, using Him as the foundation stone, ‘the corner stone that the builder refused’ upon which to build our lives. I don’t think we can pay Him a greater compliment than that, especially after He gave up His life so that we could be saved from eternal damnation. And it’s obvious that Pastor Mote had the awesome words of Jesus re the two foundations that one can build upon in this world, at the forefront of his mind when he wrote the song. 

Please read with me, what Jesus taught His followers. ‘Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man who built his home upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.’ (Matt. 7:24-25) 

Yes friends, that house was founded upon THE rock called Jesus, so no wind, rain or flood could destroy it, because Jesus is also the Master of the wind, rain and flood. Note how He calmed the storm out on the Sea of Galilee, when the disciples were so afraid that the boat would capsize because of the stormy sea and they would drown, while Jesus was napping unconcernedly in the stern of the boat. 

In answer to their frightful pleas of ‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?’ Jesus got up, no doubt somewhat annoyed that His peaceful nap was disturbed by a bunch of wimps, who hadn’t really learned anything about Him, despite the time they spent with Him. The Good Book says: ‘And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this (who can this be), that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ (Mark 4:38-41) 

Now, if they had been paying serious attention to Jesus’ words and deeds they would have realized that He created the winds and the seas, so they would naturally obey Him! In any case, I like these two explanations that the scholars offer re verses 40 and 41. As per 40, where Jesus asks the disciples why they were so afraid and had no faith, they say: ‘Jesus constantly questions in order to spur people to deeper trust. See 2:8, 19, 25, 26: 3:4, 23, 33; 4:13, 21, 30.’ Please look up those references, they are rather interesting and enlightening. 

And as per verse 41, where the disciples were deathly afraid, the scholars say: ‘The fear must have been a mixture of reverential awe and real fright – it would be chillingly eerie to witness the instantaneous dissipation of a violent storm.’ And is that ever the truth. I believe that even today, even with all that we know about Jesus powers, if we saw Him talk to a storm and it quietens right away, we too would be somewhat scared. So we can’t be too harsh and condemning on the young disciples. 

But let’s get back to our major topic, Jesus’ discourse on the two foundations. He continues by saying: ‘And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.’ (Matt. 7:26-27) Please note friends, that the house didn’t just fall, but great was its fall. That means more important negative stuff happened when the house fell. 

And the scholars offer this interesting explanation on Jesus’ words. They say: ‘In drawing his concluding illustration of the two foundations, Jesus begins with the word therefore. On the basis of all that He has taught and illustrated, He concluded that all who both hear and do His sayings shall be saved. As a great Master Counsellor, Jesus reminded His listeners that hearing His message alone will not change his life. he must both hear and do what Jesus has said. 

The elements of the closing illustration are drawn from the simplicity of nature itself, the rock, the rain, and the winds. The man whose house collapsed was at fault not because he failed to labour, but because he did not lay the proper foundation. The shifting sand represents human opinion and the doctrine of men as opposed to “these sayings” of Jesus.’ 

So it’s obvious friends, that although we may labour long and hard to build our spiritual lives, if we build them on human opinions and the doctrines of men, instead of the strong foundation rock-like sayings of Jesus, our lives will eventually take a big tumble, all because of our unwise actions in building on insecure and shifting sands, as dictated by the prince of darkness and this world. 

And we’ll close today with these fitting words of Bruh David from Psalm 18, sub-titled – Thanksgiving for Deliverance- when the Lord delivered him from the hands of all his enemies, including Saul. Bruh David opens the psalm with this joyful proclamation: ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) 

Oh friends, if it’s one thing you cannot say about Bruh David, is that he had little faith. (smile) So please let’s get ourselves together and build our faith, so that we can proudly declare like Bruh David did, and live the way Christ desires of us. Much LOVE!

…only two options…build on Satan’s shifting sand…or on the solid rock of Jesus…it’s your choice… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   7 August 2022   Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16.     Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

And another joyful Sunday has come along; joyful because we can gather and worship our great God, give Him much thanks and praise for His many blessings and awesome encouragement of the past week, and receive more blessings and confidence to go out and face the upcoming week, bold and unafraid in His magnificent name! All praise and honour be unto the Most High God Jehovah, who’s mercy endures forever to the undeserving children of men. And all the people, said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ 

So, let’s get on with the show by singing this wonderful Christian song of discipleship written by Christopher Rice in 2004 and sung by Kathy Troccoli, titled ‘Go Light Your World.’ In a heartfelt, soulful, harmonious, mid-tempo version, let’s raise our voices to high heaven in sacrificial praise. ‘There is a candle in every soul Some brightly burning, some dark and cold There is a Spirit who brings a fire Ignites a candle and makes His home. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the helpless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world.) 

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to Light his own candle some other way See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to Still holds a candle without a flame (Chorus:…Carry your candle…) ‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus Make us a beacon in darkest times. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world… Repeat… Take your candle, and go light your world…Take your candle, and go light your world.’ 

Oh my people, those words hold such valuable promise, and ought to be so inspirational to all believers, especially with the current troubled and ungodly state of our world. Remember one of Jesus avowed reasons for coming to earth was to bring light to a darkened world of sin and ungodliness. As He said so profoundly to the disbelieving Pharisees: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) 

Yes friends, living for and walking with Jesus is all about basking in the light of His sinless self and the glory of His resurrection. Before he came our world was filled with the darkness of sin and evil as dictated by Satan, but when Jesus came, He came to set us free from that darkness of sin and ungodliness. Listen up, as He once again emphasizes His role as a shining beacon in a dark world. ‘I am come a light into the world that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.’ (John 12:46) 

And just before that He expounded thus to the people. ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be (become) the children of light.’ (John 12:35-36) 

It’s therefore obvious that light through belief in Jesus, was a major aspect of His ministry and teaching in opposition to the darkness and slavery to sin that Satan espoused. And we see it also in His ground-breaking, revolutionary statement to the disciples: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) In other words, Jesus is everything: the way, the truth, the life, the light – the whole reason for living! 

But since Jesus knew that His sojourn on earth would be relatively short, hence His saying to the people earlier on, ‘walk while ye have the light with you,’ it behooved Him to make other arrangements for light, His light to stay here and overcome the darkness on the entire earth. And the arrangement He made was that His believers, His followers, would take His place and do the marvellous job of spreading His light in every nook and cranny of the earth. And He said it loud and clear in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ (Matt. 5:14) 

And that’s the gospel truth! If you build a city on a hill, it is impossible to hide its light from the surrounding area. That means He desires His followers to be like cities built on hills, like shining beacons, to all and sundry around them. And that’s why lighthouses in olden times were built on hills, because their light could be seen for much further distances from a hill. And Jesus continued: ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:15) 

Yes my people, light is not meant to be hidden, but shone around as much as possible. It doesn’t make sense then, that so many of us are hiding our candles, our lamps, under baskets and not allowing them to give light to all that are around us. But that’s exactly what the song is telling us: We are all lights of Jesus, and His Holy Spirit operates in all of us, so let’s get our candles burning brightly and go seek out the ‘hopeless, confused an torn… the frustrated brother, the abused sister, be a beacon’ in these dark and sinful times, for Jesus didn’t come to save the whole and the righteous, but the sick and the lost (Matt. 18:11) 

And we’ll close with these heartfelt and most meaningful words of Jesus on the subject. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) Yes friends, as faithful believers, let’s take our candles and go light the world as Jesus so desperately desires of us, and the world so badly needs.. Much LOVE!

…followers of Jesus…must have hearts that are blazing…so we can light up the sky… 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 February 2022 Matthew 10:31.

Matthew 10:31.      Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Oh my faithful saints of Christ, this Sunday morning, please, let’s do as the psalmist advised. Let’s ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Therefore enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps 100:1-5)) 

Yes friends, we could not begin our day of worship with a better introduction, because the earth is the Lord’s and all therein and we desperately need to give Him sincere thanks and praise for all the good things He’s done, is doing, and will continue to do on our behalf. And today we have a marvellous gospel song to sing written in 1905 by lyricist Civilla D. Martin and composer Charles H. Gabriel. It’s the favourite hymn titled ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow.’ 

Now before we sing it, let’s hear the inspiration for this amazing song. The author Civilla Martin says that in the spring of 1905, they were visiting a couple, the Doolittle’s in Elmira, New York. The wife had been bedridden for nearly twenty years, and the husband was a paraplegic who got around in a wheelchair. But despite their afflictions they lived happy Christian lives, bringing inspiration and comfort to all who knew them. 

On that particular day while visiting, Mr. Martin commented on their bright hopefulness and asked them for their secret to such blessed faith. Mrs. Doolittle’s reply was simple: ‘His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’ Wow! Wish we could all have such simple but extraordinary faith! And according to Mrs. Martin: ‘The beauty of this simple expression of boundless faith, gripped the hearts and fired the imagination of Dr. Martin and me. The hymn ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ was the outcome of that experience.’ Glory Hallelujah my faithful brethren! 

So, having learned or refreshed our memories about the inspiration for the song, let’s sing it now in a soulful, mid-tempo riddim, with joy in our hearts and sacrificial praise in our voices, as we come before our wonderful God with sincere thanksgiving. ‘Why should I feel discouraged, Why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, And long for heav’n and home; When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is he; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me. 

(Refrain: I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free; For his eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me.) “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear, And resting on his goodness, I lose my doubts and fears; Though by the path he leadeth, But one step I may see; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me. [Refrain] 

Whenever I am tempted, Whenever clouds arise; When songs give place to sighing, When hope within me dies, I draw the closer to him, From care he sets me free; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me. So I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free; For his eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me. Yes, I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free; For his eye is on the sparrow, And I know he watches me. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.’ 

Oh my people, that was marvellous! And why shouldn’t our faith be strong and confident, when our wonderful God watches over even the small and seemingly insignificant sparrow! Can you imagine then how He watches over us, His most precious and prized creation? We should have no reason whatsoever to doubt His awesome concern for us. But unfortunately too many of us do, that’s why our faith is weak, especially in these turbulent times, when it is supposed to be oh so strong. Please, let’s take a page out of that afflicted couple’s life and raise the level of our faith nuh. 

And it’s said that the words of the song are inspired by the words of Bruh David in the Psalms and Christ in the gospel of Matthew. So let’s take a look at those scriptures now. In Psalm 32 – The blessedness of forgiveness – Bruh David declares of the Lord. ‘I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way in which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.’ (Ps. 32:8-9) 

That reminds me of this command and promise that the Lord gave to Joshua when he became the leader of the Israelites after the death of Moses. ‘Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper (have success, act wisely) withersoever thou goest.’ (Josh. 1:7) And that’s exactly what we need today friends, to stay under the commands of God and not turn from them to either side, because that’s the only way our lives and our world will improve. 

Now let’s look at the words of Christ which they say inspired the writing of today’s song. In the Sermon on the Mount, He is teaching about not worrying about clothes and food and asks: ‘Is not life more than meat (food), and the body more than raiment (clothes)? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?’ (Matt. 6:25-26) We certainly are! 

And then later on, while instructing the disciples, he tells them: ‘And fear them not which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him, (God) which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.’ (Matt. 10:28-31) 

Yes my people, we are indeed of much more value to our heavenly Father than the birds of the air, but the problem is that we must believe it and act positively on it, otherwise the scripture is wasted on us. And it’s in tough and troubled times like what we’re currently experiencing that followers of Jesus need to come up exceedingly strong and fight the good fight in His name. But sadly too many of us are wilting like grass in the noonday sun. 

That’s not acceptable my brethren, because it means we are letting down Jesus, not taking up our cross and truly following Him. And I don’t doubt that He’s sitting in heaven right now contemplating our actions, shaking His head and wondering like He so often did down here on earth: ‘O ye of little faith! Where is your faith?’ 

So please, today, let’s all promise to raise the level of our faith by truly believing in Him, by reading and meditating on His word and staying on the straight and narrow path, not turning to the right nor to the left. That’s the only hope for our world and ourselves! Much LOVE!

…the wide and winding path leads to destruction…but the straight and narrow one leads to Christ…to life everlasting… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   7 November 2021 Matthew 5:14.

Matthew 5:14.     Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.

Oh my fellow saints in Christ, may grace and peace be multiplied unto you through (in) the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord this November Sunday morning, in this unprecedented year of 2021! Yes friends, it’s another Sabbath Day for us to keep holy, gathering, by whatever means possible, to worship, give thanks and praise to our heavenly Father for the wonderful things He’s done, is doing and has promised to do in our lives. And all of God’s children said a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Thank You Lord! Amen!’ 

It’s time to throw off the blanket of tiredness and frustration that’s come over us this past work week and rejuvenate our souls and spirits with the Lord’s Word so that we can have the energy and faith to go back out next week and continue living strong for Jesus. And the best way to begin, like we always do, is with a song of praise. Today’s song of praise is titled ‘Go Light Your World,’ written and performed by Christopher Rice in the early years of this century, but since then performed by numerous others. 

The most popular version I believe is one done by Kathy Troccoli. But today we’ll do our own version; a soulful, up-tempo, harmonious, gut-wrenching, heart touching, encouraging, uplifting rendition. (smile)  So, without further ado, let’s raise our beautiful voices in sacrificial praise to heaven. ‘There is a candle in every soul Some brightly burning, some dark and cold There is a Spirit who brings a fire Ignites a candle and makes His home. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the helpless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world.) 

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to Light his own candle some other way See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to Still holds a candle without a flame (Chorus:…Carry your candle…) ‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus Make us a beacon in darkest times. (Chorus: So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world… Repeat… Take your candle, and go light your world…Take your candle, and go light your world.’ 

Ah mih bredrin, that last line there says it all. It’s the call that Jesus gave to us when He declared: ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.’ (Matt. 5:14) That’s what He wants us to be, what He expects of His followers: to be light in this darkened world, be shining brightly like a city that is set on a hill, whose light can be seen for miles around. It’s the Christian’s duty to shine bright for Jesus. Something we obviously are not doing to the best of our ability, otherwise our world would not be so covered in darkness and bright lights so difficult to find. 

And Jesus continued His light metaphor by saying: ‘Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt. 5:15) And that’s the purpose of light, to shine in the darkness so that one can see what’s happening around you, and where you are going. So, it makes no sense whatsoever to have a light and hide it, because that would be defeating the very purpose of the light. 

And we don’t only need to be a light shining in the darkness for others, but we also need a light to show us where to go. And our guiding light, as the psalmist so wisely tells us, is the Word of God. ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps. 119:105) So, once we know the Lord’s Word we’ll know how and where to walk. But Jesus wasn’t finished with us, for He went even further and said: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:16) 

And some of you might be wondering where you are supposed to get this light so that you can shine. Well, the song tells us very graphically. ‘There is a Spirit who brings fire Ignites a candle and makes His home.’ That’s the Holy Spirit of Christ my people, which came on Pentecost Day two thousand years ago, as the Good Book informs us: ‘And there appeared unto them (120 believers in a room) cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Sprit gave them utterance.’ (Act 2:3-4) 

That’s where the fire comes from to light us up friends; from the Holy Spirit of Christ, which comes to indwell each believer and set them on fire for the Saviour. But I guess the fire has dimmed considerably, or even gone out in some of us, because our lights are not shining as they should. That’s why there are so many frustrated brothers and abused sisters out there who are unsuccessfully trying to light candles on their own, which is an impossibility without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. 

And most importantly, let’s remember, as the song says, that we are a family, the church of Christ, whose hearts are supposed to be blazing with the fire of the Holy Spirit. However, with the sad state of darkness and evil in which our world is currently enveloped, we therefore desperately need to ‘raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus to Make us a beacon in these darkest of times.’ 

Oh my people, what more can I say to encourage us to live for Jesus eh? Just the heartfelt plea of our song. ‘So carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world…Hold out your candle for all to see Take your candle and go light your world.’ 

It’s what Jesus desires and expects of His loyal followers. So please, after all He’s done for us, none of which we can ever repay, let’s not disappoint Him nuh. Much LOVE!

…to Jesus…be all the glory…and all the praise…for He richly deserves them…                                                                                                                   

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 October 2021 Romans 8:35a.

Romans 8:35a.     Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? 

A good Sunday morning to you my fellow believers in Christ Jesus! And am I ever so glad that you joined me for some praise, worship and thanksgiving on this the Lord’s Day. Now that is a must, as the Lord decreed to the Israelites when He handed down the Ten Commandments to them. Prominent amongst the directives was this: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) And that’s what we are endeavouring to do this Sabbath Day. 

And as always, let’s begin with a song, a song of praise. Today’s song is a Contemporary Christian number ‘Give Me Jesus’ written by Fernando Ortega, but his version is too slow, (smile) whereas the live, more up-tempo version by Danny Gokey suits our purposes admirably. So let’s sing that song which shows how desperately we need Jesus, that it has us crying out to heaven for Him. And we better had be sincere, because He’s not only going to listen to our pleas and praise, but also check our hearts to see if what we’re singing is really true. 

Therefore, in soulful harmony, let sacrificial praise flow from our hearts and mouths …and don’t forget the sweet background vocals from the choir, and the majestic sound of the orchestra, for those are what raise the song to a higher level. (smile) ‘Ohhh ohhh, Give me Jesus… In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise Give me Jesus. (Chorus: Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus.) When I am alone, Oh When I am alone, When I am alone, Give me Jesus. (Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. For He is all that I need. Just give me Jesus) 

When I come to die, Oh, When I come to die, When I come to die, Give me Jesus. (Ohhhh Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Oh it’s all I need, all I need is Jesus. So Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, You can have all this world, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus, He’s all I need. He’s all I need. 

Give me Jesus…in the morning when I rise…when I lay my head down… when I wake up, when I lay my head down, said I need him, said I need you… said I only want Jesus…when I wake up… Just give me Jesus. All I need is him. We worship you, we worship you, say we worship you Lord. You’re the answer to my prayers, you’re the calm in the storm, you’re my rest and my refuge…oh yeahhh… Just give me Jesus…’ 

Ah mih people, that was beautiful…and made even more so when the heavenly host joined us in offering sacrificial praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wow! What a magnificent person He is, when we call for Him in any and every situation. When we rise up, when we lie down, when we are alone, when we die… The only name we’re calling out is Jesus! 

Bruh Paul learned that lesson the hard way when Jesus accosted him on the road to Damascus to persecute the believers. He tells the story thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as I made my journey, and was come nigh (near) unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.’ (Acts 22:6-8) 

And we all know how he was blinded by the light of Jesus and had to be led to Damascus where the Lord commanded one Ananias, a devout believer to go and heal his blindness. And despite the Lord’s command, even Ananias was afraid to go and confront Saul, such was his reputation for persecuting the brethren. But he perked up his courage and went and confronted him and returned his sight. And it’s interesting to hear some of the words that Ananias said to him. ‘And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.’ (Acts 22: 14-15) 

Two thousand years later, we are still relating that story, as Ananias promised. Bruh Paul also turned out to be a mighty witness for Christ, journeying all over the known world with the single-minded purpose of spreading the gospel, which seems to have been burned or branded into his psyche, into his soul and spirit. You can’t consider anything else when he says stuff like: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom. 1:16) 

And later on in the letter to the church at Rome, he confidently proclaims: ‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, not things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. 8:35, 38-39) 

Can you imagine all that from a man who encouraged the demise of Christians, even supposedly stood by and watched them being killed? And he eventually became so engrossed in Christ that he considered all his earlier accomplishments of no account. ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:7-8, 10) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul was very much into Christ. His zeal for Christ was amazing, more flaming that any of the other apostles. The scholars offer this explanation. ‘3:10. This verse may also be paraphrased: “In order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus I will be more conformed to His death.” Paul wants “the righteousness…of God (vs.9) so that he can obtain a personal relationship with Jesus in actual day to day experiences. This knowledge of Christ is obtained by experiencing in daily problems, needs, ministry, and so forth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. 

Knowing Christ also entails participating in His sufferings. Paul desires to share in the Lord’s sufferings because they bring him into a deeper and more meaningful relation with Him: companionship in sorrow establishes the most intimate and lasting of ties, as afflicted hearts cling to each other. The result of participating in Christ’s sufferings is that Paul is being made like Him in death. The word “death” has a double meaning here, including inward and outward, ethical and physical death. As Jesus died in regard to sin on the cross, so Paul is doing more and more in his daily life. As Jesus was bodily slain, so the apostle, should Caesar’s verdict go against him, is prepared to be slain.’ 

Awright, that was long, but I thought it necessary for us to get a better understanding of the scripture and Bruh Paul’s desires. Now we don’t need to become that zealous, though we must remember that suffering is a part of the Christian’s lot. But we do need to heed what he says later on: ‘this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Oh my fellow saints, we do need to put all our past glory and credentials aside and move forward to new ground, that of knowing Christ deeper with each passing day, so when we get to heaven, we will be greeted by Jesus with ‘Well done, oh thou good and faithful servant!’ Much LOVE!

…you can’t really know and appreciate Christ…without undergoing some pain and suffering…                                                                                                                 

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   3 October 2021   John 6:35. 

John 6:35.     I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

It’s that beautiful day of the Lord again friends – Sunday! And all God’s children shouted a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Glory Hallelujah! All thanks, praise and honour be unto our wonderful heavenly Father, who created us in His marvellous image and blesses us with all we need to see life through, here on earth! We LOVE You and bless Your holy name on this Your day, as we gather to worship You, either physically in your sanctuary or by technological means. 

There’s no distance in prayer nor worship, so it doesn’t matter whether we are together or far away, our prayers and worship still come as one to Your waiting ears and excited, expectant heart! That’s because we know Your great LOVE for us, and Your desire for us to only be blessed and not cursed, as You told Moses way back when. ‘O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever.’ (Deut. 5:29) 

Yes Lord, we know that the cockles of Your heart are warmed when we live the way You desire of us, that’s why today we come to give you an earful of praise and worship. So please listen up Lord and accept our thanks and praise which sincerely come from the depths of our hearts. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!’ 

And our opening song of praise is one we know so well, and sincerely LOVE. It was written in the 18th century by that old rapscallion and slave trader turned slave abolitionist by God’s mighty hand. We’re talking about John Newton (1725-1807), the writer of that other masterpiece, ‘Amazing Grace.’ Today though, we’ll raise our voices in sacrificial praise to ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ another of Newton’s beautiful hymns. That’s God’s mysterious working, where He takes pleasure in turning notorious sinners into amazing saints! Think of Bruh Paul. 

So, in soulful harmony, in an up-tempo riddim, because it’s a song that conveys joy, let’s sing. ‘‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary, rest. Dear name! the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place, My never-failing treasury, filled, With boundless stores of grace.

 O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring. How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought; but when I see you as you are, I’ll praise you as I ought. Till then I would your LOVE proclaim with every fleeting breath; and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death… and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death…’ 

Ah friends, that was wonderful, because it was indeed sincere, and the name of Jesus sounds ever so sweet to our ears, as He is our Everything! As the song says, He’s our ‘Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, Prophet, Priest and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End.’ The only thing that’s probably left out is ‘Brother,’ and some versions do sing ‘Brother’ instead of ‘Guardian.’ So, when we say He is indeed our everything, it’s certainly no lie! 

And though the song is fairly short it is chocked full of biblical references. So let’s check out a few. We’ll begin with Peter’s confident words to the High Priest. ‘This is the stone which was set at nought of (rejected by) you builders, which is become the head of the corner (the chief cornerstone). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:11-12) Wow friends! Under those circumstances, what sweeter name can there be to us believers eh? None whatsoever!  

And when the hymn talks about manna to the hungry soul, it refers to the Lord providing manna for the children of Israel in the wilderness in Exodus 16. But when the people brought their arguments to Jesus about Moses giving their ancestors bread from heaven to eat. He calmly disputed them by saying. ‘Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. Then said they unto him, Lord evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’ (John 6:31-35) 

Ah mih people, Jesus is indeed manna to our hungry souls, for when we believe in Him, we neither hunger nor thirst spiritually! And we know what Psalm 147:3 says: ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (sorrows).’ Now, it’s obvious that talking about giving rest to the weary, refers to Matthew 11:28, where Jesus declares His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ 

And when we talking about building on the rock that’s Jesus, nobody says it better than Bruh David in Psalm 18. ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (lit. rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (fortress).’ (Ps. 18:3) You can’t get any more faith and trust than that. 

Now what about Jesus being our priest eh? Listen to the author of Hebrews. ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (confession of faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our weaknesses), but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:14-16) 

What a wonderful person is our Jesus! He can sympathize with all our problems, yet be without sin. Now that’s an exceedingly good thing, otherwise He would not be able to redeem us. And we’ll do one last scripture, that’s where Jesus considers us friends. He clearly says to the disciples: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.’  (John 15:13-15) 

And there are lots more scriptures that we can pluck from the skillfully created masterpiece of John Newton. I would suggest some valuable homework; you look through the song yourself and see what other scripture references you can find. That ought to be an interesting task for a quiet Sunday afternoon (smile). Much LOVE!

…there’s no greater or sweeter sounding name in all the world…than that of…JESUS…                                                                                                                                  

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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…                                                                                                     

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