Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 6 comments

It's that time of year again, and as I gaze at the brilliant colors of fall I thought I'd reshare this post...

Every autumn we are blessed with a dazzling display of color as the leaves turn away from their summer hues.  It was always my understanding that the normally green leaves somehow changed to the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges that we enjoy every fall, but I had it backwards.  

Did you know that many of the dazzling colors we enjoy come autumn are actually there all along?  Amazing, isn't it?  As the days shorten, the trees begin to shut down their food-making process of photosynthesis. The green chlorophyll disappears from the leaves, revealing the colors that were there all along

I couldn't help but think of how this parallels our walk as Christians.  Of course, we're not green with chlorophyll but we are stained with sin.  For many of us, to some extent and for most of our lives, that's what we display - the stain of sin. But for those who walk closely with Christ, spending time speaking to Him in prayer, listening to Him through His Word, the Bible, and striving to obey His commands, something beautiful happens.  The stain of sin begins to wane and our true colors burst forth! 

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18 

Suddenly, we start looking like Jesus!  As we mature, the beauty that was in us from the moment the Holy Spirit entered our lives - the beauty of Christ - begins to overpower the stain of sin.  We begin acting in ways contrary to our human nature; we begin acting more and more like Jesus.  

And people see it.

And wonder why we're so different from everyone else.

And want what we have.

Even more amazing than the fact that our "true colors" in Christ are eventually visible to others is the fact that they're visible to God all the time.  Wherever we are in our walk, thanks to the cleansing power of the blood of Christ, when God looks at us what He sees are our true colors - the stainless beauty of Christ! 

As I was typing this, the lyrics from the hymn "In Christ Alone" started playing in my mind:

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain 

Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

Bursting forth.  That's exactly how it feels.  The balance is tipped and suddenly the goodness of Christ comes flowing out.  And that's exactly how God designed it to be.

Lord, it is humbling to think that you have chosen me to reflect your glory. I pray that more and more in my life, the stain of sin would wane and the glory of Christ would be displayed to draw the lost of this fallen world to the salvation you so freely give.


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 11 comments


Tips for Tuesday

Am I the only one who still hasn't done anything with those Christmas cards I received? I didn't think so! If you don't consider yourself "crafty," skip down to numbers 4 and 5 for other options for recycling. Happy New Year!

Christmas is over and now comes the task of getting our homes back to normal.  Most people display the Christmas cards they receive in one way or another, but what do you do with them once the holiday has passed?  It seems like such a waste to throw them out, but saving them all takes up precious space and odds are we'll never look at them again (or remember where we put them!) 

I do save a few special cards, but for the remainder I've put together some ways to put those used Christmas cards to good use.  There's something for everyone, so even if you're not "crafty", please keep reading!

1. Convert them into Christmas postcards to use next year.

I have a friend that has been doing this for years.  Using a card front with a clean back (no writing on it), cut it to postcard dimensions.  According to,  postcards must be rectangular and measure between 3 1/2 and 4 1/4 inches high and 5 to 6 inches long.  Once it's cut to size, just draw a line down the middle of the card (while in landscape position).  Next year, put your message on the left (you could even use a rubber stamp if you're crafty) and the address and stamp on the right.  You can even save a little money by using postcard stamps rather than first class!

2. Turn them into next year's Christmas cards. says cards must be rectangular and measure between 3 1/2 and 6 1/8 inches high and 5 to 11 1/2 inches long.  I like to make mine 4 1/4 inches by 5 1/2 inches.  This fits well within the guidelines, and just happens to be the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of card stock cut and folded in half. 

Cut the design from the card front and using double-sided tape, adhere to the folded card stock you've prepared. To add interest, you can layer with a mat cut from card stock 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the design.  

This card also had a recycled message inside, mounted on a layer of card stock.

3. Cut them into gift tags

Again using a card front with a clean back (no writing on it), cut your cards into rectangles to use as tags for next year's gifts.  If there is a place on the front to write, all you'll need to do next year is write on the names and tape it on.  If the tag is all design, punch a hole using a hole punch, run a piece of string or ribbon through it and do your writing on the back.  If you want to get fancy, you can buy card punches of different shapes rather than sticking with rectangles. 

4. Recycle them (and help a good cause!)

St. Jude's Ranch for Children, located in Boulder City, Nevada, has a 40 year history of healing and caring for abused, abandoned and neglected children. When you send in card fronts (of any kind) the children recycle them into new cards which they then sell.  You can find the requirements and the address to mail them to here.

5. Pray over them!

This is great for those family photo cards you get!  Last year I began the New Year by placing the stack of photo cards in my "quiet time" area.  Each week I would pray for the family at the top of the pile.  If I was really on the ball, I'd let the family know I was praying for them and ask for prayer requests.  Hanging it on the refrigerator helps to remind me to pray for them during the week. 

I'm sure there are a lot more uses, but I hope I was able to give you a few ideas. 


I've been known to link up with: Frugal Fridays, Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection,Tutorials & Tips TuesdayInto the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday,Winsome Wednesday,Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras, Funky Junk Interiors
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments

Several years ago, while busying myself with other things, I listened to a sitcom that I’d never seen before (and haven't watched since). It featured the dysfunctional family typically found on television these days, with one exception: this family attended church. The mother has been a part of the church choir for seventeen years, and for seventeen years she took a back seat as "the chosen one" sang the lead at the Christmas Eve service. This year "the chosen one" was unable to perform, giving the mother a chance at the part she’s always wanted. The dilemma was she couldn’t put the extra time into choir practice when there were so many preparations to be made for Christmas.

Enter TV's typical, inept father. Not working for the holidays, he offered to take care of ALL the Christmas preparations so his wife could focus on her singing. Of course, every time he completed a task, his wife would say, “I can’t believe you did that without me! That was my favorite part!” Each of these statements was then followed by a flashback of her begrudgingly doing the task and complaining about her family’s lack of participation. 

Oh, how our minds like to improve on the past! I wonder if that’s how the mind of Lot’s wife worked. She was told to leave Sodom and begrudgingly did, but she “looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26) Rather than focusing on the blessings of that moment, she looked back to mourn what she had left behind. I’m sure her memories, too, were far better than the reality they represented.

How about you? Are you nurturing idealized memories that cannot possibly be lived up to?

The show concluded at the Christmas Eve service, the choir dressed in their robes, standing in the front of the church.  Breaking the serenity of the scene was the mother shooing people out of the front row seats that she was saving for her family. Meanwhile, the father had just awakened after dozing in front of the TV and was frantically trying to get the family into the car so they could get to church. They arrived just as the mother was starting her solo. She was singing the words to the Christmas hymn while simultaneously shooting daggers at her disheveled family as they attempted to sneak into the back row.

Again, the blessings of that moment they were lost because her focus was elsewhere. This mother had waited seventeen years for this solo, and yet she did not enjoy it because she was instead focused on what wasn’t going her way. How often do we do that? We physically go through the motions while our heart is elsewhere.

Do you look for the blessings in the moment, ever present even if not immediately recognizable? Or are your expectations far greater than reality could ever be? 

"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

God doesn't want us just going through the motions, He wants us to love and serve Him with all our heart. Remember, God is far more concerned with our presence than our presents. This holiday season, may your focus be fixed firmly on His presence so you may fully enjoy the blessings He brings.

Father, during this busy Christmas season, help me to keep my focus where it should be - on You and on the precious gift of Your Son. I want to have an undivided heart so that I may love serve You fully and in a way pleasing to You. 


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 14 comments

In honor of what would have been her birthday here on earth, I wanted to re-share the story of one who finished strong.

Photo courtesy of

Growing up, I can remember wanting to be an Olympian. Every 4 years when the Olympics rolled around my sisters and I would set up our own "games." (As a parent, I shudder to think of the 2x4 lying precariously between two ladders, which served as our "balance beam." It even had a door knob hole cut out of it!) At the root of it all, I think I just wanted to be really good at something, and an Olympic athlete symbolized the best of the best. 

In my previous post we learned (from a lecture given by Ray Vander Laan) that the Olympic Games accompanied the emperor Domitian's declaration that he was god; and we saw how John structured the Book of Revelation to parallel these ancient games. 

Photo courtesy of
It sounds to me like this Domitian, who considered himself a god, was quite a piece of work. He was an out of shape, couch potato-type guy, and not what you would consider good looking either. Yet interestingly, the older he became and the worse he looked, the younger and more virile his image was portrayed in statues and coins.  Hmmmm.

It's unlikely that Domitian ever ran a race himself, yet he would kill athletes who didn’t perform to his satisfaction.  

KILL them.

What a contrast he is to Jesus! Jesus really was God, yet He doesn't call us to run a race He hasn't already run. We deserved death, yet He died in our place to pay for our sins. 

"Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us." ~ Hebrews 12:1

If those Domitian called to run a race were Olympians, doesn't it stand to reason that those whom the One True God calls to run the race would be the true Olympians?


Now think about how hard you would train if you were chosen to participate in the Olympic Games.  Wouldn't you give everything you had?  You certainly wouldn’t quit before you reached the finish line.  So why do we do that in the Christian faith?  We're competing for God's team! Christianity isn’t a stroll in the park or a day at the beach.  We should be flat out, all out, all the time! So why is it that we so often coast? 

God doesn’t ask that you win the race. If He called us to win, there would only be one winner and it would probably not be me. Or you, for that matter. What God asks is that you to finish the race!  He calls you to run with perseverance the race mapped out for you.  Do you want to stand in front of God one day and admit to him that you didn’t give it all?  We need to make Jesus the center of everything we do, all the time!  God wants us to run with intensity!  He doesn’t want joggers, He doesn’t want us to merely run for a while, He wants us to finish, and finish strong!

Hebrews 11 lists the great heroes of the faith, and chapter 12 begins, “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.”  The Greek word nephos describes clouds in the sky, but back in that day in was also used to describe the highest seats in the bleachers of a stadium because they were so far up from the ground. This gives us a picture of a stadium whose bleachers are filled to the brim with people who have run the race before us. 

“Never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  ~ Revelation 7:16-17

Last week, Bob's Aunt Sue took her place in the stadium. To me, she is the epitome of finishing strong. Though she battled Multiple Sclerosis for over thirty years and was well-acquainted with life in a wheelchair, she seemed anything but confined. She was fun-loving, spunky and had a wonderful sense of humor. Most of all, she loved Jesus and introduced Him to everyone she encountered. It may sound odd to say she went to be with her Jesus, that is unless you knew her. Then it would make perfect sense because He was such a big part of her life and she was so intimately acquainted with Him. Her sentences were punctuated with "Thank you Jesus!" and you could tell that she wasn't talking to you, she was talking to Him, praising Him for even the smallest things.

We heard last Tuesday evening that she was moving to a local hospice, so Bob stopped by Wednesday morning to see her. When he saw the empty room, he knew what that meant. Heartbroken, he asked God for something. He didn't know what, just something. As he went to leave the hospice, this is what he saw:

At the funeral today, before Bob had the opportunity to share this photo with anyone, the pastor said he could picture Sue, with her hands held up to meet her Jesus.

These words from Rick Renner could have been written about Aunt Sue. Perhaps they describe someone you know as well: "She faced the impossible, she accomplished the unthinkable, and she stands as proof that you can make it too. As a witness, she's watching and cheering you on to victory! Just listen with the ears of faith, and you’ll hear her saying, “Go for it! You can do it! Your faith will carry you through!” 

Jesus, we are so thankful that through you we have forgivess and that this life is not all there is to our existence. Thank you for the assurance that You will wipe away every tear from our eyes and restore the years the locust ate. Thank you for healing and wholeness, rest and restoration, and the picture of those we love cheering us on as we run the race marked out for us. May we all run hard and finish strong.


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 10 comments

This may just be my year to be on top of the yard work!  (My husband will tell you I say this every spring, but I really think this year might be the one!) As I was raking leaves and pulling weeds I couldn't help but remember my sweet companion of fifteen years, Daisy. Come with me to revisit one of my fond memories of my faithful sidekick... 

I was working behind our house the other day, while heavy equipment was doing major construction next door. At one point I thought, "Wow, it sounds like they're right in my front yard!" When I finished what I was doing, I went around to investigate the racket that continued in front of the house.

There was my "faithful sidekick," Daisy "the wonder-dog." She was doing her best to capture one of the pesky little chipmunks that burrow in our yard. Unfortunately, she was doing it in my flower bed. My plants were trampled as only an excited dog on a mission can do; they were even dug up in the spots where she'd become extra-zealous. Then the drainpipe caught my eye. . .

Evidently, the chipmunk thought this would be a good escape route and scampered up it to get to the roof. Daisy, however, was on a mission and would not be easily dissuaded. The "construction" noise was actually the sound of "destruction" as the drainpipe banged against the house. Daisy obviously put great effort into her work, because by the time I got there she was on her hind legs, reaching up as high as she could. The drainpipe was flatened, twisted, and full of holes where she'd tried to take a bite out of the little critter. I'm sure the chipmunk had a great show looking down from the safety of his rooftop vantage point.

Daisy had good intentions. She probably thought she was being helpful, attempting to relieve us of one of those pesky chipmunks. Unfortunately, the result wasn't so good: a torn up flower bed, a crumpled drain pipe and a dirty dog. This made me wonder, "How often do my efforts look like this to God?" I always serve Him with the best of intentions, but if I plow ahead with my plans rather than ask God what He would like me to do, how often do I leave a mess rather than anything of value?

Before I rush off to "do" something for God, I need to ask Him if it's something He would like me to do. Just because I know how God has gifted me doesn't mean I know how He wants me to use those gifts. How often have I expended much effort only to discover that's not what He had in mind for me at all? Think of all the work it would have saved me, if only Daisy could've asked about chasing the chipmunk...

"I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands." Psalm 119:10

Father, forgive me for the times I've rushed off to do things for you without consulting you first. Help me to always seek you before I act so that I can be productive for you.


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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 17 comments

I saw your picture today.

It made me sad.

And you know why. 

Whether you admit it or not; 




You got what you wanted,

but I have to ask, 

"Was it worth it?"

I have to ask.

Because it cost me.

You may not think it was much.

But it cost me a lot.

Maybe too much.

And that's on me.

I have to ask,

"Was it worth it?"

Because, you see, 





Maybe you already know that.

Maybe you already know. 

Maybe you've felt the consequences.

Or maybe you haven't.

But it did cost you.

How much?

More than you think.




You didn't say anything.

You just did it.

And still didn't say anything.

And haven't.

Which says a lot.

About you.

And your integrity.




But I take comfort in this:

"A good name is better than fine perfume..."


"Frustration is better than laughter,

Because a sad face is good for the heart.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning

but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."

Ecclesiastes 7:1, 3-4

Yes, these words give me comfort,

But they also cause me sorrow.

Great sorrow.

Because I wonder,

"How often is it me?"

How often is it my picture, 

That makes someone sad.

How often have I been the one,

to hurt another,

with my actions?

Or with my words?

And I didn't say anything.

Because I was ashamed.

Because I was afraid.

Because I was proud.

Because I just didn't know.

If that's the case.

If it was me.

I just want to say, 

I'm so sorry.

Because we don't always know.

But that doesn't make it hurt any less.

And that doesn't make it okay.

Maybe that's why God says, 

"Be completely humble and gentle;

Be patient, 

Bearing with one another in love."

Ephesians 4:2


I have been known to link up with: Make Your Home Sing Monday, Monday's Musings Inspire Me Monday, Sharing His BeautyLiving Proverbs 31Unite, Soli Deo Gloria, Tell Me a Story,  Titus 2sdaysWorks For Me Wednesdays, #TellHisStoryA Little R and RWoman to WomanChoosing Him,  WholeHearted WednesdayWedded WednesdayCoffee and ConversationFrom House to HomeSo Much at HomeThursday Favorite ThingsThriving ThursdayFriendship FridayFaith Filled FridayBest Blog Post Ever,  Make My Saturday SweetStill SaturdayMissional WeekendSpiritual SundayThe Weekend Brew
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