January 24, 2023

Mary Lou Lewke Tuyls Funeral Service

Passage: Psalm 31:14-16
Service Type:

Funeral Sermon – Mary Lou Tuyls
January 24, 2023 ● 4pm

Nancy, Bill and Kathy,
Family and Friends,
Members of Calvary Lutheran Church

The Word of the Living God I would lay upon your hearts for your comfort this afternoon is found in the 31st Psalm, verses 14-16:

Psalm 31:14-16
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me. 16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

In the Name of Jesus,
Who died to deliver us all,
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus --

David was a man who knew what it was like to alone, with few friends and surrounded by his enemies. He could have been running for his life (or at least remembering those days), fleeing from King Saul when the Holy Spirit led him to write these words. David spent a lengthy period of his life hiding out in the caves in the rocky hills of Judea.

Was it terrible to live in daily fear of death? Was it unbearable to think that your enemy with vastly superior forces were searching for you and could at any time fall upon you and destroy you?

I suppose this knowledge could have been a terrible burden…EXCEPT that David knew that his life and his future were NOT in his own hands, but in the hands of the LORD, Jehovah God. This he learned when standing between his sheep and a lion or bear; between the Israelite armies and Goliath.

For this reason the words that we find in Psalm 31 do not betray a man frightened of men or unsure of his future. Instead we find the confident words of one who knew by faith that the same GOD who promised to be with him in this life also promised to rescue him from sin and death through His Promised Savior, the Christ.

These are the words of a man who had learned that in difficult times there is no one as reliable as the LORD God. So he did not place his confidence in man, but in the LORD, saying:

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

This was also Mary Lou’s confession:

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

She made that confession when she gathered here to worship, when standing with her fellow Christians, she confessed:
“I Believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. I Believe in the Holy Ghost.”

This ‘I believe’ wasn’t a grudging admission of the existence of a god or higher power, but a heart-felt confession of confidence in the True God who reveals himself in the Bible.

She showed her confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, the one Savior of humankind, every time she came to the Lord’s Supper to receive His body and blood – to confirm that Her sins were forgiven.

Yes, like David, she was blessed with the gift of faith in the LORD. It was not a choice on her part, but a blessing given by God. It was the Holy Spirit that worked faith in her heart, a faith created at her baptism and confirmed as an adult. It was the Holy Spirit that led her to say of the Triune God of the Bible – you are My God.

My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, And from those who persecute me.

When speaking these words, David wasn’t referring to King Saul. While Saul may have thought that David’s life was in his hand, the length of his days his decision – David knew better.

He believed that his days, their length and width were in the hands of the LORD God. He did not grumble about this nor complain. Instead, he prayed that as long as he lived the Lord would deliver him from all his enemies, both those who sought his life and those who persecuted his faith.

Once again, Mary Lou recognized that her days were in the hands of the Lord. Her times were in the hand of the LORD and when the time was right, He determined it was best for her to call her from this world of sin to her home with Him.
She didn’t have to be afraid -- because her enemies had been defeated. On the cross of Calvary, Satan and his forces were routed. He who by his temptation brought sin into the world and death by sin – saw sin paid for… and death reduced to the door to heaven for those who believe.

We can rejoice today knowing that Mary Lou was delivered from all her enemies, including sin, death and Satan.

She is still in the Lord’s hands today, more safe and secure than she has ever been, for she is with the LORD Jesus. Now the weakness of her earthly, sinful body has been put off, and her soul has returned to her Maker.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.

David prayed for God’s blessings on earth saying: Make your face shine upon your servant. God answered his prayer and provided all that he needed on earth.

Was it any different for Mary Lou? No. God blessed her with gifts and abilities – which she used to serve family, friends, neighbors and God. He gave her a willing heart. He gave her loving husband, faithful friends, good neighbors.

He looked upon her with a smiling face and blessed her. Now that’s not to say she didn’t have dark and difficult days. She did, and so will you.

Yet it was that blackest of all days, Good Friday, that lifted her spirit and can lift yours. It was then and there when Christ paid Mary Lou’s and your debt of sin and took away the sting of death.

David prayed that God would save him – admitting that he couldn’t do so.

Mary Lou prayed in same way. Unlike so many today who imagine that they can save themselves (at least in part) thank you very much – Mary Lou was moved by the Holy Spirit to call upon the LORD Jesus Christ, and to trust in Him.

She prayed – Help me. Jesus did more than help.
He saved her by shedding his blood.
Prayer heard. Prayer answered.
Are you in good hands? If you answer yes because you are confident in yourself, or in your goodness, life or learning, then beware.

But if you trust, that is completely rely upon Jesus Christ in life and in death… then you too will be safe in His Strong Hands now and forever.


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