The Twelfth Day of Christmas – The Power of Death is Broken

Today is Tuesday, January 5, 2021, the twelfth day of Christmas.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,944

I honestly don’t have anything non-devotional to share, this morning, so I will jump right in.


"O Lord,
you have mercy on all.
Take away my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of your Holy Spirit.
Take away my heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you,
a heart to delight in you,
to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake.
(Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)


For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD.
Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.


Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.


The word that catches my attention in this passage, at least right off the bat, is “death,” in verses 14 and 15.

The passage, while He is not mentioned by name, is referring to Jesus, who is mentioned in verse 11.

By His death, Jesus broke the power of him who “holds the power of death,” meaning the devil, or Satan. In doing this, Jesus freed us from the fear of death.

Death is not something that has occupied a lot of my thinking, for a large part of my life. Most of us don’t think much about it at all, in our younger days. It certainly comes up, but it’s like a blip on the radar. A classmate dies. We encounter death, and we think about it for a week or so. A relative dies, perhaps an aunt or uncle, perhaps someone even closer. We might lost a parent, which would make us ponder it longer.

But as I get older, the realization that that this physical body, this mortal coil, as it were, is not going to exist forever. Not in this form. Oh, sure, as a believer in Jesus, I believe in “eternal life.” But until recent years, that has always been something way off in the future.

I’ll turn 63, though, this year. And while that is not particularly “old” in our culture, I ain’t no “spring chicken” any more, either. I certainly don’t feel “old!” My mind still feels like it’s eighteen! (Sometimes it acts that way, too, unfortunately.)

Death is becoming more of a reality for me. Musicians and other celebrities that I have been fond of for my whole life are dying. Uncles, cousins, parents . . . I have lost one or more of each of these in the past five or six years.

Am I afraid of death? Honestly, no. When I think about death, as I am obviously doing, right this moment, fear is not among the emotions I feel. Truthfully, I am more concerned about those that might be left behind. And, I am much more afraid of pain and suffering than I am of death. It’s like “they” say, “It’s not falling I’m afraid of, it’s the sudden stop at the end.”

In the same way, I’m not really afraid of death, but sometimes, there is a lot of pain and trauma leading up to it.

None of us really knows what happens at the point of death. Because none of us has experienced it, then come back to tell everyone what it’s like. I realize that there are accounts of people who have “died” and been revived. I’m not talking about that.

I can’t talk to my father and ask him what it was like to pass on and be ushered into the presence of Jesus. I don’t know what that will be like, but I have to imagine it will be glorious.

I will never forget a conversation that I had once, with a woman with whom I was sharing a ride to seminary for a semester. Her mother died, and she was with her at the time. She was lucid and talking right up to the point of her death. The woman asked her mother if she could see Jesus. With a brilliant smile on her face, her mother said, “YES!”

Why should we not fear death? Because, as Paul once said, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

And also because Jesus, by His death, has broken the power that death holds over us.

Father, I praise You for the work of Jesus Christ, who, by His death, broke the power of the one who holds the power of death, and has released us all from the fear of death. I pray that all of us who follow Him will realize this deliverance in our lives, and know that death holds not power whatsoever, over us. As we tend to say, death is simply the “passing on” to another plane of life. Death, while a bad thing in our own minds, is simply a doorway to our eternal reward. Let us not forget Psalm 116:15.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

"Brother Jesus - 
from the family of Judah,
descended from David,
born of a woman,
sharing our flesh and blood -
you became one of us,
except for sin.
May the glory of your true and perfect humanity
strengthen us to overcome temptation
and live as true sons and daughters of God.
(Belgic Confession 18)


“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.”
(Luke 1:68 ESV)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
(Ephesians 6:18 ESV)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:26-27 ESV)

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
(Psalms 90:12 ESV)

“It doesn’t matter what happens. You appoint your days in God to bring what is good. You consecrate them for the purposes of God. And then you use your days to accomplish those purposes. Don’t let your days determine your life. Let your life determine your days. And don’t just let your days go by. Prepare them, that they might become vessels of blessing and life. Appoint your days . . . for the purposes of the Most High.

The Mission: Prepare the days ahead. Set them apart. Commit them into God’s hands and appoint them for the fulfilling of His purposes.”

Father, truly teach me to “number” my days, or to “prepare” or “appoint” them to Your purposes. I may not know what all of those purposes are, but help me to prepare each day to walk in that purpose.

Father, I pray that You help us to love and be committed to the communities in which You have placed us. May we be more active in those communities, caring more for their welfare. Give us the strength to publicly serve You in whatever ways You have ordained. I also pray for all government officials in our country, and around the world, that they may have Your wisdom as they serve.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. That Jesus, by His death, broke the power of death in our lives
  2. That Jesus has freed us from the fear of death
  3. For the help of the Spirit when we know not what to pray
  4. For a better night’s sleep
  5. For Your future grace in helping me prepare my days for Your purposes
"Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father,
you have brought me in safety to this new day:
Preserve me with your mighty power,
that I may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)

Grace and peace, friends.