THE HUG ─ A Car Story of God’s Amazing Grace


IMG_20190509_085643412Sunday, June 9, 2019

One morning in April our son-in-law Dirk called to say someone wanted to give us their deceased father’s car. We had prayed that God would give us a car, and once again he was moving beyond our wildest dreams to do precisely that. We were told we needed to wait, but the details were being worked out and the car would be ours soon. This was stunning news!

The man who had passed away was a dear friend in our church family whose daughter and her husband had asked Dirk and Jennifer over lunch if they knew of anyone they could bless with the car. Dirk said there was, and he mentioned us. Jennifer spoke of that as an exciting moment of recognition that God was once again moving to meet our needs.

IMG_20190415_093651838This dear couple had decided to pay off a large amount still owing on the car from the estate, amplifying the magnitude of the gift. And with mileage under 17,000, the fully equipped 2016 Honda CRV is like new and still carries a large resale value.

When I was invited out to the country to see the car, I was so overwhelmed with God’s gift that the car seemed too sacred for me even to get into it. And once again two weeks later when we met up with our friend’s daughter at the DMV to finalize the transaction, the sense of awe at God’s amazing, gracious love expressed through this couple came over us as we sat in the car for the first time and drove it home.

IMG_20190415_093017706_HDR“The Hug”

We have named the car The Hug. It is a picture to us of how utterly trustworthy God is, and that he has determined to provide for us as we trust in him. This past Wednesday we returned from a long road trip to Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. What a tremendous blessing to be hugged all the way there and back!

When the Honda was promised we began to think about getting rid of the 2006 Kia Sedona van that has served us so well for these many years. With 220,000 miles on it, and increasing creaks and groans, it is no longer the car for a road trip like the one we just enjoyed in The Hug. IMG_20190609_104527872_HDR (2)But it does have miles left on it and we discovered that especially with our grandson Tobiah’s excellent detailing of the car, it is still worth approximately $1000-1,200. We wondered if we should try to sell the car, but then God began to impress on our hearts that we should simply give the car away if there was a need for it. Julia and I agreed that we could easily do that – especially considering The Hug.

Matt 18What surprised me as we prayerfully considered giving the van away was how often stories from the Gospels came to me about showing mercy, especially the stories found in Matthew 18:21-35 and Luke 7:40-50. There Jesus spoke of a generous mercy prompted by both the greater mercy shown us personally, and the love for Him now filling our hearts. Recently a loving neighbor told me she could not think of anyone more deserving of that new car in our driveway than us. And our postman, who is a fellow believer, said a workman is worthy of his wages. I know they both meant well and out of love were affirming the kind of people God is helping us to become. Yet, deep in my soul I remain deeply humbled by this gift and feel so unworthy to have received such an amazing hug from God.

The story grows BIG in God’s grace…

IMG_20190609_104610622_HDR~2Friday evening, we were privileged to have our grandsons for pizza and a movie. Afterward, we took them home to share some gifts we had collected on our vacation, traveling in The Hug through the Finger Lakes region. As we were leaving Dirk mentioned that we should think about Randy and Candice Strattman as a possibility for our van.

As Julia and I prayed about it, we were convinced that God was telling us to give the van to Randy and Candice, encouraging them to put any money they might give us into the van so that their family could be safe.Today, following the church service we met with the Strattmans in the church parking lot and were able to follow His voice. There it was our joy to pass on to them this van that has been such a wonderful vehicle for us over the years.

Jackson Strattman in SedonaWhat a blessing to witness the same joy on their faces over the van that we have experienced over the last couple of months regarding the Honda. We drew great pleasure from watching their son Jackson romp around inside the van, and to hear how they could all go together as a family in one vehicle to the outdoor movie theater. Randy used the same words I had used regarding The Hug when he said, “I don’t know how to say thanks.” Candice added on Facebook: “Words can’t even begin to express how grateful and blessed we are. These amazing wonderful people, after being blessed themselves, decided to pay it forward and GAVE us a van!!!!! No more taking two cars everywhere when we have the girls!”

God is so very generous with us, and now we have had the joy of showing his generous love to others. God be praised!

We know that God’s heart is blessed in this, and so we too are greatly blessed.

I mentioned earlier that on the day Dirk took me out to our deceased friend’s home to see The Hug for the first time, I was overwhelmed by the sense of sacredness in the gift of the Honda. First, it was being given to us because our dear brother had gone home to the Lord – a sacred moment in itself. Second, it was such an amazing demonstration of God’s provision in answer to prayer!

I said to the three with me standing around The Hug, I felt like David when three mighty men brought him a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem, during a time when they were battling Philistines (2 Samuel 23:15-17). David was so overcome by the sacredness of the gift that he wouldn’t drink the water but poured it out as a sacrifice to the Lord. The response from the three with me was to laugh and say they hoped we would not pour out the gift on the ground. I smiled too, but now believe God has indeed allowed us to pour out that gift as an offering to him by freely giving our beloved van to others.

David Ewert

 

Strength is not in figuring it out, but trusting…

Recently the Lord has been teaching me to be silent before Him, and wait for Him to make the first move, revealing His heart for me and the good work He’s about in the matters at hand.

March-Madness thefeministwire_comI suppose the Spirit’s voice in this matter started during March Madness when I noticed commentators frequently saying something to the effect, “They’re doing well because they’re not forcing their shots, but waiting for the flow of the game to bring it to them.”  And then there was the incredibly strong impression my memory verse from Isaiah 30:15 made upon my consciousness, “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. But you were not willing.'”

As I walk forward with the Lord in these days, I realize again how far too often an idol from the past is one I’d resurrect if left to myself. How often the thought escapes my mouth in some fashion, “If only I could figure out what He wants me to do, then I’d be at peace and would know what to do next.”

But I can’t figure Him out. I can only receive what He is willing to reveal – to give for the day at hand. I must rest in the goodness, acceptability and perfection of His choice of what to give me. Whatever it is, and however much it is, is enough. It will accomplish what He wants it to accomplish, not what I would accomplish if it were up to me.

Isa 30_15 christianquotes_info“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.'” Isaiah 55:7-11 (NASB)

Quietly Drinking My Cup

inheritance welcolawyers_com_auMy lot, my assigned portion, my cup to drink – this is what I’ve been led to consider lately in breathing by grace.

Knowing that the portion of life I’m given is a gift and measured out by God’s love-shaped, eternal wisdom quiets me. I’m finding truth in Elizabeth Elliot’s words: “Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”[1]

And yet I know I could be more at peace than I am. I know today once again my spirit might be aroused to mount a defense of myself to justify my existence and my worth before others. I know that I could very easily sin in this, allowing my anger to become my Director and my words to become my sword.

But for Jesus…

shearing IMG_1063 oldfashiongirl_blogspot_comThe ancient scriptures predicted that Jesus Christ would be like a lamb led to slaughter and a sheep standing dumb before the shearer (Isaiah 53:7). As one of his closest disciples testified, when Jesus was reviled, he didn’t revile in return. While suffering he uttered no threats, but instead entrusted himself to the Righteous Judge of all the earth, God himself. (1 Peter 2:23-25)

Oh, to be more like Jesus – but it’s so hard! This is a world where courage is often measured by how well one speaks up for oneself and demands respect. This is a world that never once has been totally and completely fair with me. Has it with anyone?

Charles H. Spurgeon noticed that “Jesus had never been slow of speech when He could bless the sons of men, but He would not say a single word for Himself.” In saying no man was ever silent like Jesus, he asked, “Was this singular silence the index of His perfect self-sacrifice?” Yes was the answer in Spurgeon following words: “Patient silence is the best reply to a world of cruel opposition. Calm endurance answers some questions infinitely more conclusively than the loftiest eloquence… The anvil breaks a host of hammers by quietly bearing their blows… The ambiguous and the false, the unworthy and mean will soon enough confound themselves and therefore the true can afford to be quiet and find silence to be its wisdom.”[2]

Oh, to be more like Jesus and truly quiet in heart.

Ps 16 5The 1984 NIV of Psalm 16:5 reads, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure.” If that translation were accurate, it would be enough for a quiet heart. But revisions of Psalm 16 since 1984 have deepened the spiritual power to be found in those words. Now, the NIV reads, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” This is far more fitting for what follows in verses 6-8, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Lam 3 24 lifeaftercaregiving_wordpressThe Psalmist’s testimony is mine and so my prayer today is “Jesus, you are my portion and my cup. My lot in life is secure only and always because you’re here with me in everything that happens. The interruptions and course corrections are no surprise to you. I can be quiet, Gracious Master, because of you.”

“In repentance and rest, you shall be saved. In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

– David Ewert

[1] Keep a Quiet Heart (Ann Arbor: Servant Publications, ©1998 Elizabeth Elliot), p. 18

[2] https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/daily-devotionals/04/02/1/

Our lives are forever changed because of Linda Oltman

Linda at St. Helens (2)Today we are celebrating our sister Linda who arrived in heaven yesterday and found the answer to her lifelong prayer, “Be Thou My Vision.” We’re certain our Savior gathered her into his loving embrace and invited her to work and play in His Gardens of Glory.

Her artistic insights help us to see…

Linda’s amazing skill as an artist drew on the vitality and beauty of every part of God’s creation, but then went on to add her own soulful, unique interpretation as a Chief Steward of Creation. Perhaps one of the most glorious examples of this in our memory is a Cross Mosaic created out of broken pieces of pottery and glass for the family of New Hope Church.

We had been invited to pick out a piece of beautiful glassware or pottery we wished to represent our lives. Then we were asked to break those pieces to show how our lives have been broken in this sinful world. As we watched that pile of brokenness grow, we wondered what was to be done with it.

Linda's Cross (2)At that point two leading men of the church, Michael Stubblefield and Linda’s husband John, brought in two large rough timbers and laid them on the floor of the church – in the shape of a cross. Our “brokenness” was poured out on that cross to represent what happened to Jesus Himself when He died for us and opened the doorway to God’s redemption of our lives. Afterward, Linda graciously took the timbers and the broken pieces of glass and pottery and promised to create something that would represent how we find life in the death of Christ.

What she came up with is stunning!

The artwork she produced with the help for husband John is a beautiful mosaic in which every life that had been broken was somehow represented. The mosaic is on plexiglass with a light behind it, showing that God’s light can take the brokenness of our lives and shine His light through it and make it beautiful. In between the broken pieces she included bead work with the words of the scriptures that speak of Christ’s love for us – how woven into every part of our broken lives there is an amazing, beautifully good purpose created out of everything he allows to happen as we follow him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALinda’s inquiring mind helps us to never be satisfied with simplistic answers…

Linda might have been a philosopher ─ a philosopher who found color in a black and white world and couldn’t help but wonder how it got there. As teachers of God’s word, we were stretched time and time again to think beyond the clichés of the Christian world by her thirst for clarity and understanding.

She would ask difficult questions and keep asking those questions until we had exhausted our searching and finally had to rest in mere glimpses into the glories God was seeking to share with us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was not uncommon for us to be studying to preach or teach and ask the question of what we were preparing, “Would this make sense to Linda?” We still wonder as we teach, “What question will Linda ask of what we have to say?” 0h, for more like her that push us to search for the truth in everything! Oh, for more like Linda who invite us to live unafraid of questions.

Linda’s kind and generous heart is a guiding light for our journey…

Linda at St. Helens (4)When there was a problem, a need, or even just a task to accomplish, Linda was first in line to help. She helped paint several rooms in our house, even though she felt pain as she worked. Our dining room table often held sewing projects where she helped work out patterns as well as helping with the final results. Our front yard contains rocks she painted, intricate rock animals peeking out from under our porch.

Linda's fruitThe people of our church benefited from her green thumb as she shared her plants and extra produce. She read of the First Fruits offerings in the Old Testament and faithfully dropped off the first of the harvest of her garden and orchard at our home each year. She spent countless hours setting up for special events at church, for sharing her beautiful yard for a women’s tea or entertaining friends.

But one of the things Linda excelled at most of all was prayer. She knew how to hold people up before God and ask Him to step into their lives with His power and strength. It was so inspiring to pray with her, for as she poured her heart out to the God she loved, she drew those who heard her closer to God’s throne as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow she loved her family and how she enjoyed her grandchildren! Julia was privileged to be part of outings for tea parties or shopping trips to Eugene with she and her granddaughters. She was always thinking of ways to influence them toward Jesus and encourage them in using their gifts and talents in creative ways.

Linda was one of those unsung heroes of the faith, a person who loved God and lived out their faith without hypocrisy or pride. She was one of the most real people we’ve ever known.

Linda at St. HelensWith all our love and many prayers,

Dave and Julia Ewert | March 2, 2019

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BE THOU MY VISION (Slane) 

“Be Thou my vision / O Lord of my heart / Naught be all else to me / Save that Thou art / Thou my best thought / By day or by night / Waking or sleeping / Thy presence my light

“Be Thou my wisdom / Be Thou my true Word / I ever with Thee / And Thou with me Lord / Thou my great Father / I Thy true son / Thou in me dwelling / And I with Thee one

“Be Thou my shield / And my sword for the fight / Be Thou my dignity / Be Thou my might / Thou my soul’s shelter / And Thou my high tow’r / Raise Thou me heav’nward / O pow’r of my pow’r

“Riches I heed not / Nor man’s empty praise / Thou mine inheritance / Now and always / Thou and Thou only / Be first in my heart / High King of heaven / My treasure Thou art

John & Linda at Andrew's graduation (2).jpg“High King of heaven / When vict’ry is won / May I reach heaven’s joys / O bright heaven’s Sun / Heart of my own heart / Whatever befall / Still be my vision / O Ruler of all”

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne © Public Domain

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Whom have I in heaven but YouAnd besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26 NASB

A Caleb Moment?

Sometimes I feel old, a bit useless, and wondering what to do next that will seem even remotely meaningful. But then, I have a “Caleb moment.”

Old-soldier bigpinekey_comIt’s at those times when the Caleb’s victory at 80 years of age is truly inspiring. Joshua 14:14 says that he was given Hebron in the hill country of the Promised Land because “he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.” What inspires me is that he was 80 years old when he led the conquest of God’s spiritual enemies – fighting uphill! Any soldier knows that’s not easy. Any old soldier thinks that’s just crazy!

And yet, this morning is one of those mornings when sitting on the sideline just isn’t good enough for me either. I cannot stop from battling uphill just because I don’t believe I’m capable, don’t feel energized, don’t feel glad to see another day of challenge, or don’t have confidence of more victories than defeats.

So, I’m remembering this morning that old soldiers are sometimes called into battle, and they go on to victory in the strength of the Lord. Today seems to be one of those days for me when the calling to do so is loud and clear and faith is rising to the task.

When does an old soldier go to battle?

  • When called up by the Lord of Hosts
  • When special skills are needed
  • When the battle requires maximum effort
  • When the battle is pressed on the home front
  • When the young ones are not available, or otherwise engaged

0c9c7b_e19a83a753fb415896c5e7d267e3dbe1_srz_920_575_85_22_0-50_1-20_0b theriverwalk_orgO Lord, as I and the other gray hairs enter the spiritual battles before us today, we pray with the Psalmist that You will “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.” We remember that WITH You “we will gain the victory,” and that YOU “will trample down our enemies.” (Psalm 60:11-12)

– David

Read: Joshua 13:1-14:15, Luke 18:1-17, Psalm 85:1-13, Proverbs 13:7-8

Prayers on Forgiveness Eve

eve of forgiveness bookdepository_comWe’ve had Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Now it’s time for Forgiveness Eve.

As I stand on the brink of leaving to minister in a Pastor’s Conference January 9-12, what I’ve termed a “Conference on Forgiveness,” I’m filled with anticipation for what God will do, and thrilled to bring a living witness to His forgiveness for my brothers and sisters in Mexico.

Yesterday, our son-in-law and much loved pastor of our current church family asked me if I felt ready for the conference. I said yes remembering a moment on Thursday when I felt God saying “Enough!” to all the preparations for teaching and counseling I had been making. It felt like that moment before the big party you’ve been planning for Christmas or the New Year when all is done and you can just sit down for a moment and savor what’s to come.

I told Pastor Dirk I had prepared a Guidebook to Forgiveness that had been translated and I would work through with  our conference brethren. I described the guidebook not as a step-by-step manual, but a way to consider the movements in God’s Spirit as He moves through the process of forgiving us, and then begin to invite Him who indwells us to do the same in us.

anointing-feet ekklesiaproject_org (2)Forgiveness is a dynamic way of life that takes us ever closer to bearing the image of Christ with love and transparency to all those He brings into our circle. It is not  a 7-steps-and-we’re-done kind of deal.

Perhaps it’s a like a Christmas party in this regard. You really never know how it’s going to go no matter how much you’ve done to prepare. It all depends on who shows up and the gifts in attitude they bring to share.

So, here I am on Forgiveness Eve. I fly out of Albany on Monday, January 7 and return on January 15. The conference on forgiveness is Wednesday, January 9 – Saturday, January 12.

For all of you who desire to pray with me through this experience, these are the goals that God has given me for this Mexico experience:

  • To help the OperationFLOW ministry team work through the shock of swirling emotions and changing circumstances due to their main leader’s hurtful departure
  • To help them see there is hope beyond this time – that ministry effectiveness could actually increase far beyond where it has been (John 14:12)
  • To communicate a biblical perspective on forgiveness. The key in all of this is to respond not according to what we feel but according to the principles of scripture.
  • To discourage the ministry team from making hasty decisions, but to work together toward a plan of action that underscores dependence upon God and harmony with each other.

In addition, I ask special prayer for my wife Julia. She will remain home and need to deal with the extreme weariness, occasional dizziness, and other difficulties of living with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). Please pray that God will guard her from respiratory problems (e.g., chest colds, etc.) which can quickly complicate things for her.

I’m rejoicing that God has provided a 30-year veteran missionary from Mexico City to be our translator for the conference. Her name is Katie Taylor and I ask you to especially uphold her in prayer for she is the critical link in my communication with the brethren there. In addition to Katie, I am teaming up with my brother Kevin M from Oregon who will add wisdom and clarity of perspective to everything. What joy this is for me to partner with these two and of course, our host and OperationFLOW team leader, Rebecca Coult, to begin this moment of God’s grace in our lives. She and her children especially need our prayers since it is her husband who has left their marriage and the ministry in pursuit of ungodly, worldly pleasures.

With God’s help I hope to report on the progress of the conference as we go along, but it may not be until after the event that I can follow through on that desire.

20160722_135250-003I’m leaning on your prayers this Forgiveness Eve.

Your brother, Dave Ewert

PS: To see more of what God is doing through our Emmanuel Reformed church family, please visit (https://encountererc.com/). To get caught up on the various ministries of OperationFLOW, please visit (https://operationflow.org/).

A Forgiveness Conference for Mexico!

forgiveness-healing-health-Jesus faithandhealthconnection_orgThank you, Lord!

Please join me, Dave, in thanking God for an opportunity to serve the church in Mexico.

On January 9, 2019, a four-day Ministry Leader’s Conference will begin in a sea coast village called Las Glorias (Sinaloa) with a special focus on forgiveness.

My job is to teach the relational wisdom of the Bible on how to forgive as God forgives (see below).

A time of recovery & refocus…

The ministry leaders are converging on Las Glorias from seven ministry locations across Mexico and Texas. They are under the leadership of a parent ministry (OperationFLOW) that recently lost its main leader to major moral failure. We hope to bring the comfort and guidance of the Scriptures to the leaders as they recover from this loss and refocus their efforts to take the Gospel of Christ to their neighbors and friends.

I’m desperate for prayer support…

Job 10 12This assignment is one of the most difficult of my life and I beg for your prayers.

So, please pray…

  • that my teaching preparation and presentation cross-culturally will be Christ-filled,
  • the couple dozen ministry leaders gathered will be encouraged in spirit and renewed in vision and unity, and
  • that all the powers of darkness opposing this conference will be utterly defeated.

“Mexico RW Conference.”

Some of you may also be prompted to contribute financially to this trip. My expected need is $1200 which covers the cost of air travel for me and our missionary translator from Mexico City, books for attendees, and supply funds for the conference hostess.

To help out financially, please make your donation payable to Emmanuel Reformed Church  and send  it to the church (with a note designating it for the “Mexico RW Conference”) at 1150 Maple Hill Rd., Castleton, NY 12033;  or donate online at https://encountererc.com/donate/. When the link opens, follow it to the “One Time Gift” option and fill in the Note space with the words “Mexico RW Conference.”

20160722_135250-003Your brother,

Dave Ewert

 

How God In Christ Forgives (all)

Thank God! This Time It Was Only a 24-hour Funk

Should’ves & could’ves have threatened my heart world again lately. I know they are the language of regret. I know they are in the background of grief over losses. I know the pictures they present to my mind appear so brilliant because they act on after-the-fact information. But I also know they are dangerous to soul health and can be used by our spiritual enemy to steal away joy, crush hope, and hinder faith.

So I’m rejoicing this morning that regrets and grief have not conquered my heart, and I pause in wonder at the grace of God that’s invaded my heart, surrounded and conquered the thoughts that have threatened to disable me, giving me an inner strength to move forward in this moment, into tomorrow.

The snowfall last night and into this morning left a foot of heavy, wet snow. After an hour of shoveling a walk to our cars, the weakness in my back and legs showed up big time and I had to come in and head for the Ibuprofen bottle. Grief over lost ability to work threatened to undue my snow-cheered attitude and once again I had to put the remembrance of youthful vigor in proper perspective – with God’s help. And now, after coming back in and resting, making breakfast for Julia and me, and doing the dishes, I think I’m ready to return.

But wait! God has sent reinforcements!

My neighbor just showed up with his snow blower. Yeah John!

It really is true! God does answer prayer and he does care about showing up in our weakness to demonstrate his great love for us. To say I should have been able to do that work, and I could have if I hadn’t been afflicted with aging arthritis and calcification of muscles simply does not fit the moment.

My tomorrow with the Lord is testifying to my today that it is far greater than yesterday’s casualties. His gracious mastery of my life is a mastery of my heart’s greatest enemies and at the end of the day, Jesus wins!

There’s a song lyric that says, “Each morning brings you closer to your goal so grab your chance, don’t let it go.”*  What is my chance? It is to fully rely on God to transform my heart and free me from momentary distresses of soul. As my life testifies, nothing beats the power and joy of looking up and finding the God-of-Extravagant-Love looking full in your face.

– David Ewert (November 16, 2018)

*Tomorrow Never Dies is a 1997 British spy film, the eighteenth entry in the James Bond series ….. for the missing score tracks. Pulp’s effort was re-titled as “Tomorrow Never Lies” and appeared as a b-side on their single “Help The Aged”: “Tomorrow never lies, / So live for today. / Don’t be afraid / Of the skeletons / Of yesterday. / Each morning brings you closer to your goal / So grab your chance, / don’t let it go. / The city streets are littered / With the casualties, / The could haves / The should haves / And the would’ve beens. / Don’t let this chance slip by. / Because / Tomorrow never lies. / Tomorrow never lies…” [https://en.wikipedia.org]

It’s In His Nature to be Faithful

How thankful I am that though we may be a broken people, God is faithful.

There’s really only one objection to sin that really matters. There’s only one person who raises an objection to our self-control, our self-righteousness, our self-this or self-that. It’s God.  He is the overwhelmingly big and powerful and almighty OBJECTION to sin in our lives.

And because of God, because He is there none of us can get away from dealing with our sin. God is too big to get around, too big to get under, too big to get over. He is just too big! He is this huge OBJECTION to our sin and the brokenness of life that comes because of sin.

But as He stands there, objects to life as it tends to go on and on in this sinful world, He is not just standing there like a brick wall. No, God is standing there with His arms open wide to us, saying, “I want to help you through this, I want to redeem you, I want to rescue you. I want to set you apart from all of this. I want to raise you up and some day take you completely out of all that junk. So God as this great OBJECTION to the sin and brokenness of our lives is also the great REFUGE and HOPE. And in His faithfulness we find all that we need in order to be whole people.

God’s people may be broken by the oppression and sorrow that follows their sin. But, He is faithful – faithful to His own pure goodness (holiness), and also faithful to His heart-felt purpose to restore us to a holy fellowship with Himself.

God IS faithful. It’s his nature to be faithful to Himself, to His purposes, and to His people. God ACTS faithfully – always!   “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

As a result of God, we do not throw away our confidence in Him, but declare with the writer of Hebrews: “we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (Hebrews 10:39 NASB)

David Ewert

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Very Best Time of His Life

A few days ago, David and I were talking about our life as it is now, and David commented that this the very best time of his life. I agreed. We have lived very busy lives, David studying for his master’s degree, starting a church, working at pastoring for forty years with all the meetings, counseling, studying for sermons and teaching and me working at a variety of jobs, raising a daughter, maintaining a home that was built around hospitality, and teaching.

Now, we live in one of the smallest homes we’ve ever had, there are few times a week we are required to be out and about, and our life barely resembles what we’ve known for the rest of our lives. But the thing that makes it so very good is that we are together almost 24/7 and we are close to our daughter’s family, so they pop in and out of our days.

You hear stories of couples who, when they retire, can hardly stand each other for they are always in each other’s way. We are so not like that. Our lives have been so busy that we could go days without seeing each other for more than a meal or two a day and then falling exhausted into bed at night. The rest of the time we just tried to squeeze each other into our busyness. We longed for more time together being just “us.” Now we have it and we are loving it!

The other day, David had to be home to let the man fixing our furnace into the house, so I went to pulmonary rehab alone. Afterwards, I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from Albany. Although I used the electric wheelchair at the store, by the time I got to the check out I was so exhausted I was almost in tears. The checker was kind and had someone help me out with the groceries, but when I got into the car I just sat for a moment to try to compose myself before driving home. I had to stop and thank God that almost fifty years ago He brought David and I together. We didn’t dream then of life now. We didn’t even think through what the forty-eight years of marriage it took to get here would be like.

But God knew and He planned the very best for us and gave it to us wrapped up in a big bow!

Life is so very different now than anything we’ve known, but it is so very good. It’s like God saved the best for last. I am so grateful for breath, for life, for my daughter and her family, for our church, for friends, and most of all for my wonderful husband.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, for we had great examples of wonderful husbands in our lives. David’s brother-in-law Art took such wonderful care of his sister Pauline throughout all of her illnesses, and my wonderful father lovingly cared for my mother in those hard years after her stroke. David makes my life so much easier by taking so much of the burden of our lives on himself. He makes sure I eat, take naps, and pace myself to conserve my energy. He holds me when I’m weak, and does everything he can to make my life do-able. And for him to say this is the best part of his life is such a blessing to me. I know I’m enjoying time with him, but that he enjoys it too makes it over-the-top wonderful.

Julia Ewert

October 28 at 7:01 AM ·