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What lasts? August 5, 2022

Hello! Of all the things you set your mind and hand to today, do you and ever stop and think 'what will last?' Hmmm… Yesterday I did a few things that will last. In the middle of the afternoon, I picked up my 8-year-old grandson, Bennett, to drive him to church camp, (just three nights). Because he has three younger siblings, I seldom get much time alone with him, so I really liked it. Beforehand, I had scoped out an ice cream shop en route to our Lake Gaston, Virginia destination; it was refreshing in our 90+ degree afternoon. And the drive through historic towns filled with tall, lush trees was equally as refreshing to my soul. What lasts? The love Bennett and I are building and his growing faith in Christ. Most of us are fond of the gold standard for love in 1 Corinthians 13: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.1 These verses always sharpen me; the standard is clear and it is challenging. But it is the last verse in the chapter that ought warrant our attention daily: Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.2 So of all the things you will think about today, all of the things you will set your hand to do – what will last forever? Hmmm… Takes me once again to Paul’s great prayer from Ephesians 3: I pray that from his [God’s] glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.3 O, how I want to be made complete – with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God! As I type that yet again, I think of the very great difference Jesus Christ makes in my life – the hope that I carry and stand upon because of his death on the cross, his resurrection from the grave. As Bennett and I drove by many an old church cemetery yesterday, I know that my body will turn to dust, but my soul will live on forever in the abundant love of Christ. And because Jesus rose from the dead, so will you and I one day, believer!4 Friends, how different is the TRUTH and love of the Father and the Son from the gods of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, from Scientology, Mormonism (who calls itself “The Church of Jesus Christ” now, though it is the teachings of Joseph Smith they elevate”) and Jehovah’s Witnesses. What lasts? Faith in Jesus Christ, the hope [and promise] of eternity spent with him, and love. How do we know that? From the Word of God which endures forever.5 Jesus said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.6 And so we read and seek to understand the Bible—TRUTH, we make prayer a priority, so that we grow in relationship with our Lord [in whom we have faith, hope and love], and we endeavor to love as he loves – with abandon and endlessly. In a world where everything seems to be disposable, these are not. Aye, this is the stuff that lasts.7 Christine Keep Your Word, new artist: Alexander Pappas- 1 – 1 Corinthians 13.4-7, New Living Translation 2 – 1 Corinthians 13.13, ibid. 3 – Ephesians 3.16-19, ibid. 4 – 1 Corinthians 15.23 - But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 5 – 1 Peter 1.25 6 – Matthew 24.35 7 - what else did I do yesterday that will last? Studied my Bible (Ephesians 3 and Ruth 2), prayed, went to a women's Bible study to be with other like-minded folks/community, studied Mere Christianity for my Colson Fellows Program -

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