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Saturday, November 11, 2023

Ninety-Nine Years

In 2023 we celebrate the birthdays of Richard Jenkins and Marty Thomas who both turned ninety-nine this year. A marvelous journey this has been for both of them as they have experienced so much since 1924. Just to name a few, they were born during the presidency of Calvin Coolidge. They lived through the highs and lows of “the roaring twenties” and also the great depression. They faced the realities of the dust bowl and World War II. Not only did they live through what we have only read in history books but how fascinating their personal stories are.

As I visited each of them in their homes last month, I said, “Happy birthday! God’s blessings to you in your ninety-ninth year!”

Of course both of them smiled saying, “Yes, pastor, it is truly a blessing”

Then I asked, “ninety-nine years is quite some time, yet, how long is eternal life?”.

Again, they smiled but this time around, it was one of great profound thankfulness. Truly, profound it is... for nothing compares to eternal life.

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” 1 John 5:11.

Not earned or achieved, eternal life was given by the One who defeated death upon the Cross. Eternal life was given by the One who rose from the dead. For by His empty tomb we rejoice and confidently echo the words of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 15,

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death where is your victory?
O death where is your sting?
But thanks be to God, who gives us
the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”

Indeed, where is the sting of death? For the sting of sin and separation has been defeated by Christ and the Cross. For death’s grip has been destroyed as the empty tomb delivers the victory that Christ has graciously given you. And thus in His forgiving and life-saving work, we also smile and rejoice with Richard and Marty as we too are profoundly thankful for the gift of eternal life.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

✝️ Pastor Jeong

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email