No Sinner Beyond The Reach Of Grace

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And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him (Acts 22:20).

This text introduces us to a man–Stephen — who died a matyr’s death. He was first introduced to us in Acts 6:5 as a “man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit“. Further on in  v.8, we are told “…Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people“. Here is a man used mightily of God in what can be described as a revival and sporadic spread of the gospel in first century Christianity. We could describe him as someone with a budding future and ministry. The narrative of his great exploits for the kingdom of God flows through the rest of Acts six and the whole of Chapter seven. As the story progresses, we notice he had become a threat to the non-believing Jews because of the gospel (Acts 6:11-14).

Sadly, false accussations levelled against him led to his death: “Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 5:58).

As Stephen was stoned to death, we are introduced to another young man –Saul– full of zeal but for the wrong reasons. The text at the beginning of this article was Saul recounting his life. Though his name had changed to Paul, he was the Saul mentioned in Acts 7:58. Paul had a hand in Stephen’s death. He  approved of his execution (Acts 8:1). Saul was a murderer and loathed believers of his day. He had blood on his hands by the death of Stephen.

Today, if you are looking for the equivalent of Saul, cast your gaze on any of the terrorist groups around. Saul could be a leader of any one of them. He breathed threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord (Acts 9:1). No doubt his conversion was received with apprehension (Acts 9:13-14, 21).

Paul, by our limited human reasoning, doesn’t belong in the fold of God’s people. Yet he was a chosen vessel of the Lord. (Acts 9:15). Saul was unstoppable, full of hatred for the believers of his day. But when he encountered the Lord Jesus on his way to Damascus; his life was changed ( Acts 9).

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”(Acts 9:3-6).

Saul the murderer stopped in his tracks by the King of Kings and the Lord of glory, Jesus Chris and for the rest of his life he became a disciple of the Lord and what a gift he was and is to the body of Christ. Though a persecutor, nonetheless, he encountered the grace of God and was transformed. Hear him speak: “by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1Cor15:20).

You see, irrespective of the life you haved lived or are still living–muderer, fornicator, adulterer and any sin under the sun–Paul’s life is a great testimony that none is beyond the reach of the grace of God. God’s grace pardons. Pardon and forgiveness of sin is available through the atoning sacrifice of Christ: “…he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”(2 Cor. 5:21). God’s arms of grace are outstretched to you a sinner. Come just as you are and He will cleanse you from your sin and set your life on a path of restoration from the atrocious grip of sin.

[I] implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2Cor. 5:20).

God’s Love Is So Wonderful

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Love, without doubt, is the most spoken of subject in the world. Indeed, there is nothing wrong about that. God made it so. That we love one another. We are not islands. We are interdependent. “Everyone needs somebody” is a popular saying and it is true. We all need relationships and friendship. We are interconnected. We are to be each others keeper. We are to bear the burdens of one another:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Cor.13:4-7).

Acknowledging the place of love in our human interactions is a necessary ingredient for peaceful and harmonious living.

However, despite its universality, love can be abused. Human love has its limitations. It can and does fail based on how well we perform according to someone else’s subjective standards. When we make fallible, imperfect humans, the source from which we derive all our emotional well being; then we are unhealthy, vulnerable and heading towards an emotional disaster.

Now, love in its Greek origin carries a number of meanings.

EROS:  Intimate, sensual and erotic.
STORGE: Natural affection; love usually shared among family members.
PHILIA: Affection shared purely by friends and can generally be described as platonic.
AGAPE : Unconditional Love.

You will immediately notice that much of what we refer to as love is sadly one sided– Eros, Romance, Feelings and Sensuality– and has become predominantly what we refer to as love. In a world fixated with eros, where our cues for love is drawn from music, soap operas, and novels, God’s perfect love can easily be lost on us. This is an age of sentiments and we can easily confuse God’s love with how good or bad we feel. In the process, we end up defining God’s love by our  feelings.

But God’s love is perfect. God, the Bible tells us is love. Love is not a characteristic of God. God Himself is love. God’s love is Agape love; selfless and unconditional. It is the highest form of love. Agape love is the kind of love God manifested towards us when Jesus left all of His glory, took upon Him the form of man and died the death of wretched sinners (though He was sinless) to reconcile humanity to God (Phil. 2:6-9, 2 Cor.5:21.)

It was love that sent Him to the cross.

Do you need love desperately? Where are you seeking for it? No human, no sexual experience, no entertainment, no drug, no alcoholic beverage, no emotional high, no peer or family provide all of your love needs. If you are a believer, you don’t have to strive for acceptance, you are already accepted in Christ (Eph1:6, Jer 31:3, 2Th. 2:16 , 1Jn 3:1 ). God’s love is everlasting and nothing can separate us from that love (Rom. 8:35). You can’t do more or less to be loved by God. You are already loved as a believer. Is that a licence to live our lives anyhow? No. However, living on this side of eternity in a fallen human body, we will still battle with sin and if we ever lose a battle against sin, we must never despair that God will take His love away from us. (1Jn. 1:8-9).

Now, if you are not a Christian the love of God will make no sense to you. The vacuum and emptiness in your heart you seek to fill with other things can only be filled by God’s love. That vacuum is a symptom of a root problem of sin and separation from God. All humanity is condemned under sin (Rom 8:23 ) and until we bring the burden of our sins to Christ, we still stand guilty before God. Repent from your sins and surrender your life to Christ. Be reconciled to Him and let Him give you the love you so desire.

Discipleship: A Call To Follow Christ.

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Discipleship is simply the process of making a disciple. A disciple is defined as a learner; a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications).[1]

Discipleship therefore requires we follow Christ’s teachings as revealed in Scripture, obey it and teach others to do same. In Matthew 16:21-26 Jesus taught on a number of lessons worth our attention if we are to make progress in our walk of faith. Jesus foretells His death and the things He will “suffer from the elders and chief priests and scribes” which will eventually lead to His death(v.21). After, speaking about His death, Peter, one of the Apostles response, received, if you may, a stern rebuke from Jesus (v.23). From this point, Jesus taught the disciples what it means to be His follower or disciple.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (vv.24-26).

A Personal Decision.

“If anyone would come after me…”

“If anyone would come after me”…is a conditional clause and for every one of us, we must take the very first step of discipleship by placing our trust in Christ for the salvation of our souls (John 1:12-13, 3:16). Lets note that the disciples were at a certain time in their lives not followers of Christ. But one day, each of them encountered Jesus at a personal level. Recording the experiences of some of them, the Bible says “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Matthew 4:20). Again,  In Genesis 12, God called Abraham. In Exodus 3, He called Moses. Joshua was called in Joshua. In 1Samuel 3, Samuel was called. One truth is evident; all of us must answer a call to follow Jesus personally. Our experiences will differ, but there will be no discipleship if we don’t answer God’s call to follow Christ. There are only one of two decisions we must make concerning Christ: either we follow Him or we turn away from Him. And both have consequences–eternal life or eternal damnation. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”(Hebrews 4:7).

Self-Denial

“…let him deny himself…”

Self-denial is gradually getting lost in our Christian vocabulary. In its place we have words like self-confidence, self-esteem and our language is sadly becoming self-preserving. It is not strange to find preachers and Christian authors offering a watered down gospel of comfort and freedom to pursue what makes us happy. Not that we have been called to a life of gloom; not at all, but when we live our Christian lives believing that all God calls us to, is our best life now–a life of no struggle and adverse circumstances, then we have created our own God according our depraved mind.

The call to Christian discipleship is a call to a lifetime commitment to Christ. As was said of Moses, he chose “…rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Hebrews 11:25-26). God demands our full devotion. He warns us of friendship with the world. And He commands us to be a light to the world.

Carry Your Cross

“…take up his cross and follow me”.

Becoming a disciple of Christ will cost us. We are bound to lose all rights to live self-pleasing lives. Christianity is a lifetime commitment and anyone who wants to follow Christ must indeed ponder the decision. Don’t come  for a blessing. Don’t come for a breakthrough. Don’t come for a miracle. Come for the salvation of your soul; the forgiveness of your sins.

The cross is a symbol of suffering and each one of us who follow Jesus will have to bear our own cross just as Christ bore His own. We will encounter our own suffering which might even lead to death–the losing of our lives. I trust you have heard or read the various atrocities meted out to Christians in other parts of the world. Some have had to exchange their lives for their beliefs.

Christ Mindedness

“…whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”

Whatever a disciple does must have one agenda; pleasing Christ. A true disciple must come to a point of total abandonment where they seek to please Christ. Indeed, the end goal of discipleship is to be moulded into the image and likeness of Christ. Everything God is working in us is “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:39). For a true disciple, Christ is far beyond any earthly treasures. He is more to us than houses or earthly relationships or property; and in this side of eternity, Christ must be our utmost devotion and satisfaction.

Eternity Conscious

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

A true disciple understands life on this earth is temporal: “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Many go about life as if all there is, is the here and now. But a disciple of Christ understands we are on a pilgrimage. one day, we will depart this life. The question to ask, is where will you be?

 

The Old Nature Verses The New Nature

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I have been seeing a dietician  for sometime now for a varying number of reasons. According to my BMI, my expected weight should be 74kg. At the first visit, I weighed 79kg. As is to be expected, I was prescribed a list of “eats and eat nots” to adhere to.

Simply, I am undergoing a lifestyle adjustment, i.e. eating the right food and excercising. About a month ago, I went for a review and among many of the positive improvements,  my weight has dropped to 77kg. I was exhilarated because it really does involv a lot of sacrifices and eating what I have come to term “boring food”.

Imagine tea without sugar. Boring! Replacing fizzy drinks with water: boring! But the results has been encouraging. Currently, I weigh 75kg. As a sidebar, my wife teases me I will soon weigh 65kg making it impossible to lift her.

Now, on that day after my review, when I walked out of the dietician’s office, I had this strange craving to “spoil myself”–step out there– and eat all I have been barred from eating, at least for once. Conversely, I learnt a great lesson that day. Immediately those thoughts of indulgence flooded my mind, a counter thought followed. I silently wisphered to myself, “if you take this approach towards sin, it will kill you”

You see, the Christian is redeemed, “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven” of all of his sins: past, present and future. Christ has completely paid the price for all of the believer’s sins granting her to stand justified before God without any strand of condemnation. She can boldly personalise Scriptures saying; ” Therefore, since [I] have been justified by faith, [I] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…There is therefore now no condemnation for [me] who [is] in Christ Jesus”(Romans 5:1, 8:1ESV). Here is a plain biblical truth that speaks of the state of the regenerated. They stand justified before God and declared rigtheous in Christ Jesus.

Hear Jesus speaking to His disciples and by extension, us: “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). The word of God cleanses. The word of God sanctifies. The word of God makes Holy. The word of God keeps us from sin. The word of God separates us from the world. We are born again by the word (Ezekiel 36:25-27, Psalm 119:9,11,105, John 6:63, 17:17, 1Peter 1:23).

This verse, John 15:3 is in the middle of a verse that calls the believer to fruitfulness. What we must however note is that, every form of fruitfulness towards God starts from the point of what Christ has achieved for us through His death and resurrection according to Scriptures, His word (1Corinthians 15:3-4).

However, though it is a fact that the believer is saved from all their sins and given a new nature, yet because he or she still lives in a fallen body(old nature) in a fallen world, there is still a constant struggle between the old and new nature and the believer in cooperation with the Spirit of God ought to put up a fight everyday to subdue the cravings the old nature desires to indulge. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to” do (Galatians 5:17).

That pull is real. Just as I craved a little indulgence of what I have been barred from eating, the believer constantly lives with the pull to please the desires of his old nature or that of the new nature. The believer still has indwelling sin to deal with.

Unfortunately, there is nothing like little indulgence of sin. Sin is dangerous to the believer and anyone who has pleasure in even the slightest hint of sin must beware. The Bible sternly warns against indulging in the pleasures of sin which is fleeting and leads to death. (Hebrews 12:25, Romans 3:23). The writer of Hebrew further warns us to “Take care… lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God”(Hebrews 3:12). John Owen, in his book Indwelling Sin In Believers also admonishes:

Awake, therefore, all of you in whose hearts is any thing of the ways of God! Your enemy is not only upon you, as on Samson of old, but is in you also. He is at work, by all ways of force and craft …. keep your garments undefiled, and escape the woful temptations and pollutions of the days wherein we live

 

Image: courtesy imperfectparents.com

Not With Words Of Eloquent Wisdom

By Olamide Falase

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For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV).

One of the most important things needed to understand the Scriptures (especially the didactic texts) is to understand what the first hearers of the text thought it meant. And this would be very vital to our ability to appreciate the theological lessons of the Book of 1st Corinthians.

This is one verse that has been badly mutilated by ignorant and devious people alike. They import a 1st century quotation into a 20th century context and then conclude that this text dissuades Christians from any thorough research and in depth study when it comes to bible study or matters doctrinal.

But, what did Paul mean by “words of ‘eloquent wisdom‘?”

In biblical times, speakers (also known as rhetoricians) were in pretty high demand, and the greater one’s eloquence and ability to string fanciful (mostly meaningless) words together the greater one’s audience (naturally!) and so taken by the Greeks (and Romans) by this art of Rhetorics that they referred to those verse in the art as wise men.

Rhetoricians were also itinerant (meaning they travelled from place to place) and stayed wherever their services were required. Obviously, their power to command a good buck had a lot to do with their confidence, stage presence and their eloquence (contrast that with Paul’s trembling and “foolish message” of a crucified Savior Christ).

If you are able to see the contrast between those who became rhetoricians and those who were sent by God to preach the gospel, you would marvel at why anyone would believe the gospel to begin with especially in a culture that adored rhetorics. As the Apostle Paul said, “God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise”(1Corinthians 1:27).

Could This Be Pride?

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About a year ago, I left the Charismatic church I fellowship with because of my exposure to Reformed Theology. I have been church shopping for a while now looking for a Reformed congregation to fellowship with. Finally, by divine providence, I found one I have attended for about 6months or more. I now hope to be admitted into membership and one of the requirements for admittance into membership is to go through a Baptismal/Discipleship class.

Today, I picked the material to be used for the classes and I am thinking to myself:  “I am not a new convert. I don’t need to go through all of these”.

First lesson to be taught: Sin.

Sigh! I can preach on sin, trace its origin and establish its universality. I can explain original sin and total depravity. I can quote all the quotable Scriptures that refer to the origins of sin in the Bible. I can explain the fall in Genesis 3. David’s prayer in Psalm 51, with specific reference to verse 5 is at my finger tip. How about Romans 3:23? Easy! I can define sin as contained in the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 14 “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God a. [a]. Lev. 5:17; Jas. 4:17; I John 3:4”

In fact I have written many articles which points to my understanding of sin. Let me share with you a few of these articles. The Dangers Of Sin,Christ Our Sin Bearer and Depart From Me…A Sinful Man. You see I know my way around the doctrine of sin.

Lesson chapter two to be undertaken is Salvation.

Again, I know what Salvation is. I don’t need to be taken through lessons about salvation or so I think. With my understanding of sin, I equally have a good understanding of the requirement for salvation. I can indeed preach on salvation and I have actually written a number of articles on salvation. Permit me to share a few with you: Born Again Into The Kingdom Of God,
Salvation By Grace Alone Through Faith AloneOur Ways Are Not God’s Ways The Gospel, Grace And Work The Water Of Life and True Discipleship: A Call To Follow Christ.

Sin and Salvation are just two of the many lessons I already know which I am to take in this class.

But as I ponder these things, I am reminded of Jesus’ answer to John The Baptist when He approached him for baptism. John tried persuading Jesus otherwise (John 3:13) but Jesus answered; “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (John 3:14).

If you have read up to this point, you might have already diagnosed a heart of pride. I won’t debate that at all. Probably, it is another reason I must take this class; the presence of pride in my heart. As Paul will say, “Knowledge puffs up…[and] If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. ” (1Corinthians 8:1-2). The truth is, my understanding of these things and any other Christian doctrine I know must not become a hindrance to my receiving further instruction on those subjects. I don’t know it all. And my circumstance, i.e. moving from one church to the other demands I obey the laid down procedures of becoming a member of a local assembly, a necessity if one identifies with the Universal body of Christ.

Finally, maybe, I might be an Apollos, an eloquent man and competent in Scripture and yet I need to be called aside by a Priscilla and Aquila and explained to more accurately the way of God (Acts 18:24-28).

Could this be pride?

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?(Romans 7:24).

Saved By Grace

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Image: whatchristianswanttoknow.com

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you . And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules ” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Who does the sprinkling of water and cleansing from uncleanness and idols? Who puts a new heart and a new spirit in the sinner? Who removes the sinner’s heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh? Who puts His Spirit within the sinner and causes them to walk in His statues and be careful to obey His rules?

The answer: God.

Here we see what God does with a sinner; a rebellious sinner who is separated from God and dead in sin (Rom 3:23, Eph 2:1). He cleanses them from all uncleanness, that is, forgiveness of sin and sanctification. He gives the sinner a new heart and a new spirit; that is, spiritual life. He replaces a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. That is, regeneration; a new life, a spiritual life: a rebirth occurs.Here is a dead and stubborn heart that has no faith in God but when this spiritual surgery occurs, the sinner is born of God (John 1:12-13, 3:3).

Then finally, God puts His Spirit within the sinner. He indwells the sinner and causes them to live in obedience to Him. The Spirit given is a guarantee one has been born of God. The Spirit dwelling in the sinner proves they belong to Christ (Eph1:14. Rom 8:9). O what a joy. He who once had no dealings with God is now a lover of God and is careful to obey His rules:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

~John Newton

The believer acknowledges that their salvation is all of God: “…you have been born again , not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God”(1Pet 1:23). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”(Eph 2:8-9).

You see, if God doesn’t intervene in a sinners life, there will be no spiritual life and spiritual birth. We must therefore pray that God will intervene in the lives of our unbelieving loved ones and all unbelievers so they will come to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Father in heaven.
We acknowledge your sovereignty in the salvation of sinners.
We know we are incapable of bringing anyone to salvation apart from your work of regeneration.
Therefore Father, work in the hearts of  sinners and bring as many as you would to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Why Read The Bible

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[The Bible] is a supernatural book. The words of this book–the Bible–are not merely human words. Instead, these are God’s own words, His own personal revelation of Himself to us. Here in the Bible we encounter God and come to know His amazing love for us.

It is no wonder that the Bible is as relevant today as when it first was written. It is the most popular book in human history, and through the centuries millions have risked their lives to have their own Bible. Only a supernatural book could survive countless attempts to destroy it.

The Bible is a unique book. It actually includes 66 different books–some short, some long–written over a period of 1,500years. It was written by more than 40people from all walks of life and in three different languages. But the Bible is especially unique in that the words of each book were inspired or “breathed out” by God (2Timothy 3:16). Taken together, the books of the Bible are “the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”(2Timothy 3:15).

The Bible’s great message is the revelation of Jesus Christ and His work of saving us. The Bible begins in the book of Genesis by telling how God created everything, including human beings, and how sin and death first came into the world to spoil God’s perfect creation. But then the Bible unfolds God’s wonderful plan to give eternal life to all who believe in Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born the Bible predicts His birth. The Bible then goes on to tell the amazing story of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection–and that Jesus will return one day in the future, to take all who believe in Him to be with forever in heaven.

Though the Bible is all one book, it is divided into two main parts. The first part is the Old Testament, which was written initially to God’s chosen nation, the Jewish people, through whom God would bring His Son Jesus into the world. The New Testament was written initially to those who first believed in Jesus in the first century church. But the message of both the Old and the New Testament is timeless and as relevant today as ever–for every race and culture and for every generation down through history.

Best of all, you can discover the life-giving message of the Bible for yourself. The Bible is God’s book written for you–with God’s message of hope and peace and truth and life for you. Why not start reading it today?

–Excerpt from ESV® Bible, The Economy Edition. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®(ESV®). Copyright 2011 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

A Prayer Of Moses,The Man Of God

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Courtesy: thewordout.net

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

~Psalm 90 ESV.