God Will Sustain

“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

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Thank you to all who prayed for us during my husband's recent experience with the court system. As some of you know, he is a law enforcement officer and was involved in an incident on duty ten years ago. Unfortunately, the incident resulted in the death of an individual. The situation was one you could never have trained for. Although the investigation concluded my husband acted in a responsible manner within policy guidelines, the victim’s family has made repeated attempts (at least five) through the courts to make him responsible. The outcome of almost all proceedings was the same—his actions were justifiable.

As with most of our stories (testimonies), there is much more “back story,” lessons we’ve been learning about God’s faithfulness throughout our times of need. During the ten years, my husband’s physical injuries related to the incident required many corrective surgeries—some being delayed when I was diagnosed with (and successfully treated for) cancer.

On July 22, 2019, after ten years back and forth between dismissals and appeals, his case went to a civil trial. A jury of sixteen was chosen, but four of them would be alternates randomly chosen at the end to stand by in case a juror could not deliberate. It was all part of God’s plan.

My husband spent multiple days on the stand testifying about the incident. Experts from both sides also took the stand. The opposing side persecuted my husband day in and day out, and our side was not allowed to rebut their testimony. During the trial many unexpected medical needs surfaced in our family, dividing my focus and responsibilities. I spent my time between the hospital, court house, work and home. My husband spent most of his time preparing for the next day's proceedings. This went on for three weeks. We were being put to the fire, and the devil was doing his best to break us.

In the midst of all this, we tried our absolute best to praise him in our storm, one that had remained for ten years. Every day I sat in the courtroom, witnessing the proceedings and watching the jurors to see if we could read any of them as to which way they leaned. The trial went to the jury and two alternates were randomly chosen to remain. The other two were released and one of them was visibly upset. I had been watching her during the trial, sensing she was not on our side, so I was relieved she had been dismissed. I didn’t know she asked the clerk if she could be considered first should another alternate be needed.

My husband's fate was now in their hands. He was worried that his reputation would be irreparably damaged if they came back with a verdict against him. He had been a conscientious law officer for 33 years and planned to retire at the end of the year. A verdict against him wasn’t the way he wanted to leave his career.

On the first full day of deliberation one of the jurors called in sick, and they would need to call an alternate. Random selection reinstated the juror I thought was not in our corner. My heart sank, but we only needed nine on our side.

A verdict was reached in a little over an hour. Hearts pounding, hands sweating, I think we were holding our breath when the verdict was read--full exoneration for my husband. Ten years of pent up stress and tears flowed as we clung to each other.

As the lady I thought was a hostile juror passed us, she touched my arm. When we all made it out to the corridor, she walked over and asked my husband if she could give him a hug. She thanked him for his service and his actions that fateful day. It turned out she was our biggest advocate in the jury room. She told us she had prayed all night that she would be called back…for our family.

Wow! Had I been wrong! I had praised God in our storm, but I did not fully trust He was in control of the jury—because the system had failed us so many times before. A Huge lesson for me.

I share all this, first of all, to say thank you to all who prayed for us. We were not allowed to talk about it for a very long time and it felt very lonely. But the fervent prayers were heard and our whole family appreciates it.

Secondly, I want to encourage you. I know many of us have major battles going on, some wars that have left and come back, some that have been lingering for a very long time, and some storms that seem to just never end. I also know that sometimes we just feel weak and tired. We do our best to be faithful, but sometimes we have just barely enough energy to sustain.

I can say after this experience, He Will sustain us. He fights for us when we are weak. His timing may be unknown, but His plan will always prevail. And He knows when we are trying our best to be faithful. He recognizes that.

My husband will be retiring in December. He has had an amazing career--we’ve had our share of “ups” and “downs”--but he has a servant's heart, loves the Lord, and we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for him now.

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for being our support team that we so desperately needed.

By Misty Wyatt

Editor’s Note: This Saturday CCEA’s Cancer Support Group meets at the home of Marie Hyepock. All ladies who have dealt with, or are dealing with, cancer issues in themselves or in family members are invited to come for a time of fellowship and prayer. We want you to know that you are not alone on this journey. For further information, please call Marie Hyepock at (714) 955-3080 or Laurie Schroeder at (951) 660-8789
















Ageless

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1 & 2

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I've never seen myself as 'old'. My family has allowed me to feel young with laughter, midnight runs for ice cream, silly texts and hanging out at the beach. We let each other know how much we love each other. So can you imagine how shocked I am when no one outside my family sees that? They don’t perceive how young I am on the inside. To me, being viewed as old is synonymous with useless.

But God …

His feelings for me (or you) don’t shift due to my (our) abilities or inabilities. He loves us exactly where and how we are. We can’t impress Him nor can we fool Him. He sees our heart.

I am now 65 years old and my Lord reminds me every year, my soul is ageless.

People can choose to see the old lady and not my young heart. They can put limitations on what they think I can or cannot do. But my Lord says He is not done using me. And when change comes I can lean on Him. His Word and His direction are where I want to be.

“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6

by Eve Montano






Salt In Any Language

“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?” Luke 14:34

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I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to go on retreat with the women of our Spanish Ministry. My language skills are more like spanglish than Spanish. But the tug of my heart was undeniable. I had to go. I needed to go.

For the first time in 32 years I went on a church retreat without any expectations. This was the Calvary Chapel Spanish Women’s Retreat, attended by over 500 women from several churches. They came to worship, learn, renew friendships, and draw near to God. They were Cuban, Mexican, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Bolivian, Argentinian and represented all walks of life.

Hearing my first language spoken almost exclusively astonished me. My sisters graciously translated for me when I didn’t understand.

From the first moment of worship, the love and passion expressed by these humble women amazed me. Voices raised in song, hands lifted in adoration and the beauty of their love written on every face was breathtaking. When the teacher—an older woman who needed assistance on and off the stage—began to speak, rapt attention was on every face. As she spoke, this little lady who had traveled from Rosarito, Mexico, became ageless, speaking in a voice as young as a teenager. The theme: “Somos la sal de la Tierra” Mateo 5:13 (We are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13)

That night in my room I asked the Lord,
Why am I here? What are you trying to teach me? Spanish is my first language but I don’t remember being immersed in the culture, the textures or the people. I’ve never owned my heritage. Instead, I’ve run from it, ashamed and embarrassed. At 65 years of age you have me here, trying to re-learn all this. Why is it so important to You that I learn it now?

I fell asleep with questions on my mind and no answers from God.

The second day was the same, passionate worship and down-to-earth teaching. I took notes in English and noticed my translations improved. I noticed other things, too. God was opening my eyes to see—truly see—what I’d been running away from all my life was actually quite inviting. These beautiful women shone with the love of Christ.

“Snapshots” of the weekend pass through my mind. The two women who traveled from Seattle to attend the retreat. The woman whose son was pronounced dead in her womb, but—after crying out to the Lord—his heart started to beat and now years later she gives glory to God alone for her son. The new friends I made who encouraged my faith in a language I’m learning to understand. The offers to help me correctly translate what I write in English so I can encourage women in two languages.

Why now God?

Because God will use anything to help me listen to His voice better. Because I was wearing blinders and He wanted me to take them off. Because this is another way to serve Him

Why? Because I had not been using salt to season my life, nor was I allowing it to heal my broken spirit. Salt burns and heals as well as seasons. My life has been missing the seasoning that makes things better.

“Salt is good but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:50

by Eve Montano

 




From Mom ...

Dear One,

If you fade from my memory
If I forget your name,
Know you will always hold my heart,
I’ll love you just the same.

So, when you see a clearness
or a twinkle in my eye,
Just know that at that moment,
I feel that you’re close by

I’ll be dancing with the memories
Of days when you were young,
Of games and talks and silly songs
Bursting from our lungs.

Of how you met and married
The precious one you love,
But most of all my heart’s content
With your love for our Lord above.

Remembering in my heart of hearts,
Sweet babies you made “Grand”,
The laughter and the silly songs,
And tiny little hands.

I thank God for the precious joy
I might not express today,
But remember. Child.
A Mother’s Love can never fade away.

By Darla J. Short-Lewis

Gentleness Instead of Judgment

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God breathed life into Adam's nostrils, putting him to sleep while he removed a rib and brought forth Eve. God walked with his creation in the cool of each day. He knew they would fall into temptation, but gave them free will anyway.

Why?

I sometimes think God did that because he knows human nature and wanted us to know exactly what we are capable of doing. When the first humans made the wrong choice, our sweet Creator already had a redemption plan. No harsh words, no bending them to His will. They were clothed with the skin of the first sacrifice, mirroring the one who would someday clothe us in grace through the shedding of his own blood.

Why, God? What is it about us that ignites such love and compassion? You have everything. You are everything. Why? Is this a mystery I’ll understand only on the other side of heaven? I’m not being rude or argumentative in this line of questioning. It reflects my need to know you more, to draw closer and closer still.

I examine my motives for my relationship with Jesus. The truth is, I love Him because He first loved me.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” John 4:10

I couldn’t continue to live without my Redeemer. Without him, I would have self-destructed and died in my sins. I’m thankful to God for saving my life.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

My relationship with Jesus Christ has become a sacred habit. Examining my decisions from his perspective gleaned through His Word has become a way of life--to sit and know more of God, to learn who he is, what he has done, and is still doing in my life.

His word fills me with overwhelming love and devotion to him. It increases my faith and my hope.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Even when my faith falters and I fall into temptation, Jesus reminds me he is my escape. All sin has a consequence but I never have to face it alone.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

My relationship with Jesus grows every time I trust Him. It doesn’t deepen because of anything I do. It is based on what he has done for me. I need him for my very breath. I need him to be my compass. I need him in my relationships and my friendships. I need him because in him I find my worth. Without him I am nothing, a sinner dying in my sins.

I need his love, his grace, his mercy—daily, minute by minute. The more I know him, the more I need him, the more I love him.

So you see, my relationship with my Savior is one he initiated first and tenderly nurtures in me. He is enough.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

by Eve Montano