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Dear Partner,

I spent much of the past two weeks with my mom and dad. They are both in their eighties now and even though they are generally in good health, once in a while a problem arises that must be dealt with. In this case my father had to have his gall bladder removed. The surgery went fine and he is recovering well but after spending several days (and nights) in the hospital with him and mom, my mind could not help but think on the mortality of the flesh. Even though our spirits have been reborn and we will live forever with Christ, our flesh is mortal and subject to death. In the Old Testament Solomon wrote;

Eccl 3:1-2   To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.

Unless the Lord returns during our lifetime, each of us will one day come face to face with our own mortality. What is important on that day? First of all is our relationship with Christ. My mother and father have loved the Lord for many, many decades. The bible tells us that through faith in Christ we no longer have any reason to fear death.

Heb 2:14-15   Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

John 11:25-26   Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

There is no reason for believers to fear death. It is our joy to serve the Lord in these mortal bodies while on earth. But even the apostle Paul said he had a desire, " to depart and to be with Christ which is far better." [Phil 1:23]

What is important on that day when we face our own mortality? Is it fame or fortune? No. It is love! My 86 year old mother would not leave my father while he was in the hospital, not even at night. The first two nights she spent in a chair trying to catch a few winks of sleep next to my father's bed. From the third night on the hospital provided a small bed for her to sleep on in the room.

The hospital had a good cafeteria yet my mother would not leave his room long enough to go have a meal. She would ask me to go and get food for her and bring it back to the hospital room. Mom and dad have been married for 64 years and their romance continues. I am now sixty years old yet my parents continue to teach me by example what truly matters in life love, devotion, humility, and self-sacrifice for one another.

At times during the week the hospital room would fill up with family and friends who drove many miles just to spend a little time with my father during this time of crisis. When we come face to face with our own mortality, what matters most is the love of those whom we have shared our lives with. I would watch my father's aged eyes brighten as he would hear the voice of a loved one and felt them take his hand in theirs. Our heavenly Father doesn't just "have" love. The bible says He "is" love and we are recreated in His image;

1 John 4:15-16   Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

One more thing I kept thinking about during these past two weeks was that death will not always rule our bodies. This earth is not presently in the condition in which God originally made it. For this "season" we are clothed in mortal flesh that is subject to death. One day we will receive new bodies that will be subject to death no longer;

1 Cor 15:51-57 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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