Day Five – He has done it!

When we lament in the face of death and what accompanies it, we follow our Lord Jesus:

Matthew 27:45-46
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Psalm 22 from which Jesus prayed on the cross begins with lament, in dark loneliness – the reality of death surrounding one who belongs to God:

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The psalm moves between two realities of present suffering and the Holy One and lands in a place of trust:

2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer…
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One…
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you…
19 LORD, you are my strength; come quickly to help me.

The promise now fulfilled which ends the psalm fills us with joy –

29 …All who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Jesus, thank you that by your death you made it possible for a people yet unborn to know righteousness.  Fill us to proclaim in every place you have called us, “He has done it!”  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “I have a savior” by Cece Winans, featuring Leland (click here).

– BR


Day Four – Do not take me away in the midst of my days

Psalm 102:23-24, 28
In the course of my life he broke my strength;
he cut short my days.
So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations…
The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you.”

As the psalmist laments to the everlasting Lord, his petition is about this:  It is about the psalmist’s days, that he may live to see children live in God’s presence and descendants established before the Lord.

Likewise, for us; it’s about our days.  Our days are limited, and none of us knows what that number will be.  But their purpose is this, that:
– a future generation may praise the Lord (v. 18),
– spiritual children will live in God’s presence (v. 28).
– spiritual descendants will be established before God (v. 28).

Death has been conquered by Jesus; if we are in him, we do not need to fear death.  Before we cross over into eternal life, have we seen the next generation established before God?  To be cut short without that would be a tragedy indeed.  So, we seek our God of the living, asking that we and others will live in the fullness of life given by Jesus.

As for me, I will always have hope…
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.  (Psalm 71:14, 17-18)
In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “My All in All” by Phil Wickham (click here).

– BR


Day Three – You are Enthroned Forever

Psalm 102:1, 3, 11-12, 24
Hear my prayer, LORD…
For my days vanish like smoke;
My days are like the evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever;
your renown endures through all generations.
Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days…

“The central question of the psalm is the significance of the LORD’s everlasting time for the incomplete time of the lowly.  The lowly one exemplifies the human predicament of time.  Human control of time is an illusion.  We think we have all the days we need, when suddenly something happens that makes controlling them like grasping smoke.  In one way or another, all human beings come to see the illusion.

But the psalmist knows more than this general tragic truth about human existence.  He knows that the LORD disposes of his days.  With the LORD time is a matter, not of days, but of years, and generations, and forever.

In the midst of a world in which everything changes and passes away… saying ‘my God’ lays hold of the one who is ever the same and whose years are without end.”
(James L Mays.  Psalms:  Interpretation:  A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching)

Psalm 118:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Prayer:  Lord God, you are enthroned forever.  And you are so good – your love to us, your people, endures forever!  So, I worship and place my trust in you alone.  Teach me, God, to fear only you, love you, honor you, and proclaim you for all my days.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “As it is in Heaven” by Phil Wickham (click here).

– BR


Day Two – Free from the Fear of Death

Romans 8:34-35, 37-39
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“We look around to see who has condemned us, and discover that they’ve all gone. Four times the question is asked, and each time the answer is resounding:  Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in King Jesus.

Look what God has done… and is still doing even as we speak. The end of Romans 8 deserves to be written in letters of fire on the living tablets of our hearts.”
(N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone.  Romans, Part One)

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NLT)
Because God’s children are human beings… the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die…  In this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

Thank you, God, for what you have done for us in Jesus. We pray for those around us who are afraid of death. Send your Spirit and your church with the message and the power of the gospel. Set them free; write what you have done in Jesus Christ on their hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Behold (Then Sings my Soul)” by Hillsong Worship (click here).

– BR


Day One – In Life and Death

Let’s read aloud together the following confession, passage, and prayer:

What is your only comfort in life and death?
That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Q1)

Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you have gone ahead of us into all things. You lived, died, and rose again, and I follow and trust in you for my life, death, and resurrection. Fill me with your Holy Spirit today to live by faith in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Everything” by Tim Hughes (click here).

– BR