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…                                                                                                                                                                          

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 August 2021 Proverbs 24:16.

Proverbs 24:16.      For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity). 

And it seems like it’s going to be another glorious summer Saturday in August! O give thanks to our wonderful God for the many wonders of nature He’s created for us to enjoy! Ah friends, the splendour of the bright noonday sun, the exhilarating colours of the heavens, the flowers, the birds, and all the other bright hued components of nature, just prove that our God is not only omnipotent but also has a great eye for beauty, is indeed the artist for the ages! Give Him much thanks and praise! 

And having done that, let’s get down to brass tacks now, checking out the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this past week. And the first one says: ‘I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.’ Now that’s a statement that ought to be true of all of us my people! We should always try to be true to ourselves and not capitulate to the wishes and desires of others, regardless of who they may be and their position in our society. 

But, unfortunately, it’s a situation to which many of us fall prey. We accept the rightness of others over that of ourselves and go around thinking much less of ourselves than we ought to. Believe me though, the worse thing we can possibly do in this life is to go around disliking ourselves. And as to the more intense sentiment of abhorring ourselves, brother, that should never ever even enter our minds because that just kills all the joy in our souls. 

Remember, you have to be with yourself every minute of every hour of every day, and abhorrence of oneself will certainly play a big and most likely negative part in the formation and structure of your life. Please do not forget the second great commandment as pronounced by Jesus: ‘Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thy self.’ (Matt. 22:39) And if you dislike or abhor yourself, logic dictates that your LOVE for your neighbour will be poor to non-existent. 

Then we have this interesting quote: ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ And that’s ever so true! Children are young, malleable and pliable and can much more easily be formed or conformed to the image we desire, than trying to change those already set in their ways. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 

Now it’s not that you can’t, but it’s ever so difficult to teach someone set in their ways and thinking new skills, especially if the skillset needed is completely new to them. That’s like teaching older folks to use a computer in these modern times, where almost everything is computerized. But you’ll note how quickly children acquire those same computer skills, because they have nothing else to compare it to, or nothing to throw out before they can embrace it. 

That brings to mind this scripture from Jesus, where he explains greatness. ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matt. 18:3) Meaning that we must all become like children, humble, malleable, teachable and willing to receive and accept His word without a lot of resistance. Just threw that in as a li’l food for thought. (smile) 

Then comes this quote: ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.’ And that’s for certain sure! If you want any kind of power at all, in any sphere whatsoever, you will always have demands made by the very same power you wield! Just look at political leaders, teachers, judges, doctors, etc. They all wield some kind of power, but that same power demands that they do certain things, follow certain rules and behave in certain ways. 

Even dictators, who supposedly can do what they want, are still constrained by that very power in certain circumstances. It’s also true of the lowliest rank of power, like the captain of a kindergarten team. You may pick whom you desire, but you still have rules to follow. (smile) So for those of us who desire power so badly, that we are willing to sell our souls for it, please realize that power itself is a very demanding and ofttimes very intractable (ungovernable) mistress. (smile) 

And the last quote advises: ‘You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.’ Oh, so true, so true, my brethren! And that applies ever so much to Christians, because in Christ, there is NO giving up! Yes my fellow believers, there are no words like defeat or give up in Christ’s vocabulary. You might lose, but you are NEVER defeated, which means you NEVER give up! And Cousin Sol lays it on the line for us: ‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief (stumble into calamity).’ (Prov. 24:16) 

Yes friends, the believer in Christ may fall many times, but he gets back up every time and continues the good fight in Christ’s name. Hear how the prophet Micah puts it nuh: ‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.’ (Mic. 7:8) Truer words were never spoken or written my fellow saints in Christ! We are always expected to stand up again when we stumble, and we can do that because we have the wonderful power of Christ, whereby ‘We can do all things, through Christ who strengthens us!’ (Phil. 4:13) 

But friends, I think it’s also important that we note the other side of the coin, so to speak. Cousin Sol tells us: ‘Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him (it seems like evil in his eyes), and he turn away his wrath from him.’ (Prov. 24:18) 

Oh, I know it’s not easy, but despite our successes, we are not to laugh at out enemy’s demise or calamity because it is liable to displease God, who doesn’t like us crowing or boasting of our supposedly superior efforts and achievements, especially since He is the one that enables us to rise and be successful. So, in closing, let’s remember to never give up, to get back up each time we fall, but also don’t boast or laugh at our enemies’ problems, for our God doesn’t like it. Much LOVE!

…lording it over others…taking pleasure in their stumbling…displeases our God…                                                                                                                             

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