Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 4 comments

Another day, another amazing God-incident! Gotta love that!

Three weeks ago, we went out to dinner solely because we had a buy one, get one free coupon (and I’m never one to pass up on an opportunity not to cook!) I actually rounded up a second coupon when I learned our daughter and son-in law were able to join us. Before we ordered, God reminded me that we needed to ask the waiter if we could pray for him. We’ve been trying to get in the habit of asking the person waiting on us for prayer requests, but since we’re relatively new at this we still need these reminders from the Holy Spirit.

We're still a bit awkward with this, but what is five minutes of feeling stupid compared to someone's eternity? Jesus looked to God for words, "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." John 12:49-50 and He encourages us to do the same. "Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Matthew 10:19-20

We tell the waiter that we’ll be praying when our food arrives, and if there is any way we can pray for him he can let us know when he delivers our food. This way it gives him time to think, and if he’s not interested this gives him an out because he doesn’t need to say anything, just drop off the food. The majority of the time, if we do get any kind of response at all, we’ll hear a quick, “No, I’m good,” but this day our waiter began to share his story with us as soon as we asked. This began a dialogue that continued throughout the meal.

Since we weren’t far from home, before we left the restaurant we invited our waiter to visit our church. He didn’t take us up on the offer so we left him with the name and location of the church, our phone number and a generous tip, believing the latter gives credibility to the former.

Fast forward three weeks. My plan was to be home all day on Friday, but now that Bob has Fridays off, that didn’t end up being the case. What I thought would be an hour outing with him ended up being four hours, so when we found ourselves in the vicinity of this same restaurant at dinner time we decided to stop in. We looked for the waiter we’ve been praying for since our last visit, but he wasn’t there. Actually, we’ve never had a second encounter with any of the wait staff we’ve asked for prayer requests, but we figured there’s a first time for everything, especially with such a positive initial response.

So, we didn’t plan on being in the restaurant, yet there we were, and in walks our friend the waiter – on his day off! It “just so happened” that we were seated right next to the place where the staff picks up their checks. A coincidence? I think not!

Bob said, “Hi” and we chatted for a few minutes before the waiter asked where he knew us from. When we mentioned our previous visit his face lit up and he asked if he could pull up a chair. This began another conversation and another opportunity to invite him to Corinth. This time he said yes, though he wondered if he could make it to church and back on time since he was scheduled to work at 11:30. While we’re at second service 90% of the time, we jovially said that for him we would make an exception and go to first service. He didn’t have transportation, so we made arrangements to pick him up at 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning.

When the phone rang Sunday morning, I knew who it was before I even looked at the caller ID. Our waiter now had to be at work at 10:00 a.m. due to a shift change and was wondering if he could still come to church and make it back to work on time. Since I was expecting him to cancel, I happily assured him that with the service being just an hour long that shouldn’t be a problem. It would have been so easy for him to cancel, but he didn’t, and once we were at the service I knew why. God had tailor-made today’s message for this young man. Everything he mentioned on our first encounter was addressed. It was absolutely amazing.

I wish I could have heard what he had to say after the service, but because I had responsibilities after church Bob was the one to transport our friend back to the restaurant. He told me this young man talked all the way there. Unfortunately, Bob is not one for details, but it did sound like our friend had a positive experience. Here’s praying for next week!

Oh, and that coupon that brought us to the restaurant in the first place? It must've blown out of the van because we never did find it. I love how God works!

Father, thank you for choosing to give us a part in furthering your Kingdom. Thank you for leading us even when we have no idea we're being led, and thank you Holy Spirit for giving us the words to say when we really have no clue. I never cease to be amazed at how you can work out so many details to get us where we need to be when we need to be there. Please continue to work in this young man's heart and draw him to you.
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

I teach at our women’s Bible study every-other Thursday, but since this was my off week I was able to join the rest of the women. We generally open with worship, and as I was standing and singing I felt God prompting me to go and pray over the woman who would be teaching. Now, this is not anything unusual for me since God often prompts me to pray for people. Just a few weeks ago I prayed over the woman who came in to teach at our FaithFULL Women’s conference. Again it was during worship, after God prompted me to do so.

I wish I could say I was immediately obedient, but in both instances this prayer came only after a brief debate. As I look back at the conference, I distinctly remember pointing out to God that I didn’t know this woman well and that she was a seasoned speaker, but regardless of my arguments I continued to feel the urge to pray for her. A similar thing occurred this week. In this case, I knew the woman and was more than willing to pray for her…until I saw that she wasn’t in the back of the room where I expected her to be. She was sitting on the opposite side of the aisle in the front row. Again came the debate. I thought surely God wouldn’t want me to go up to the front row to pray for her, but it became quite clear that He surely did!

I walked along the perimeter of the seating to be less obtrusive, then laid my hand on her shoulder and whispered that I was there to pray for her. I prayed for her out loud-ish since worship was still going on. I had no idea if she heard me or not, but I knew God heard me and that’s what was important. Normally that would be the end of the story – God said “Go,” so I went – but this time I was blessed to hear the rest of the story.

The teacher approached me after she had finished and she thanked me for praying for her. She then proceeded to tell that before I came up to her she had been very nervous; she was short of breath, her heart was pounding, her hands were sweating, and she just couldn’t seem to calm herself down. While I was still praying, it all immediately went away. Her hands were even dry! All her tension was released and the more she taught, the more at peace she felt. Of course, I know that God always has a reason He calls us to pray, but hearing this testimony reminded me that there is also a reason for the timing of His prompting.

Our church will be calling the congregation to fast in the month of November, so I just started reading a book I had purchased last winter - "Fasting" by Jentezen Franklin. In it, he first explained that there are three things that God expects us to do, and when we do them His blessings are unleashed. Jesus presents these in the Sermon on the Mount, which is interesting since our Bible study is currently studying the Beatitudes from that very message. Jesus taught about “when you give” (Matthew 6:2,3), “when you pray” (Matthew 6:5,6,7,9), and “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16, 17). It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I connected this dramatic answer to prayer with the fact that I had been fasting the day before.

The subtitle of the book is “Opening the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God.” I’ve never fasted drinking only water before, but the benefits mentioned in the book were so desirable that I didn’t want to wait for November to try it out – and look at what happened! If God will do this as a result of one person fasting one day, I can’t wait to see what He will do when our whole church fasts!

Holy Spirit, I thank you for your promptings. Thank you for helping me to be obedient and for the blessing of hearing the results of that obedience. I pray that everyone reading this will take up the challenge to fast and experience firsthand Your power unleashed!

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

I am so disappointed in myself.

I still can’t believe what I did.

(Heavy sigh)

Yes, I do know better.

No, I did not miss the irony of the fact that on the very day that I was preparing to teach others about being merciful (Matthew 5:7) I was struggling to show mercy myself. Oh, the beauty of God’s timing!

I have spent the last couple years in what has been for me a painful situation. It is not by my choosing, nor is it in my power to do anything about it. I had just heard that things might be changing for the better (and this is why one should never listen to rumors – not even positive ones) and then not a week later saw that my hope was premature. I literally felt like I had been punched in the stomach. All day I prayed and wrestled, wrestled and prayed, trying to follow God’s example and be merciful. I thought I had worked through all this, but evidently not, because here I was struggling again.

And then what did I do the next day? I ran. Not to God. Nope, I ran in the other direction. I ran away. Seriously, do I not know better? I didn’t even realize what I had been doing until late in the day, and even then I could not pull myself back on track.

How did I run? I blew my day, wasted my time. I didn’t spend any time with God; I did everything but that. I did a crossword puzzle, a suduko, and another word puzzle – more than I have in the last several years combined! I even played solitaire on the computer, a habit I had given up over two years ago! I realized that night, when I couldn’t pry myself from the computer, that I had spent my day doing everything that I had given up so I could spend more time with God.

In my studies I read that the greatest illustration of showing mercy in Scripture was that of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10, verses 30-37. Respectfully, I beg to differ. While I agree that most of us are not very good at setting aside our agenda to attend to the needs someone else, I think it is much easier to show mercy to a stranger than it is to be merciful to someone who has hurt you deeply. In my opinion, the greatest illustration of mercy is found in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). This son had wished his father dead, took his inheritance and used it to live a wild life in a place far away. Imagine how the father must have felt: puzzled at why this was happening; confused as he searched the past trying to find what he had done wrong and make some sense of the situation; crushed with the pain of loss; fearful for the fate of his son; sorrowful thinking of the ungodly way his child was living; desperate as he searched the horizon for him every day.

The father could have built up a wall around his heart to keep away the pain, but he did not. He could have turned away, but he did not. He could have kept a list of wrongs to hurl at his son should he ever return, but he did not. Instead, he kept the door of his heart open, searching for his son on the horizon every day. When he spotted his son, he ran to him with open arms. He did not curse his son, he blessed him. Somehow the father was able to separate the actions from the person and love him unconditionally.

Day 1 – wrestle and pray.
Day 2 – run away.
Day 3 – return.

I realize that I am the prodigal. Instead of staying and working this out with God, I ran away. I wasted my time on what is meaningless. Even though it was only a day, my Father was scanning the horizon for me, ready to welcome me with open arms. Having been shown this great mercy, how can I not do likewise?

Father, I am so sorry for running away from you when I should have stayed. Forgive me for wasting precious time that could have been spent with you. I mourn the loss. Thank you for welcoming me back with open arms. Please, show me how you do it, because when I grow up I want to be just like you!
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

It is wonderful to be in the place that God has designed me for! I love learning, and one of my favorite things about teaching is that I get to share with others what it is that I have learned. I know there is always at least one person who comes away knowing something she didn’t before because that person is me! It never ceases to amaze me that I can read the same Scripture over and over and then suddenly see or understand something that I had missed all those times before, or read a passage and think, “I never knew that was in Scripture!”

This session of the women’s Journey Bible Study we are studying the Beatitudes, and the first thing I learned was that Beatitude is spelled with only one “t” following the “a,” not two (thank you spell check!) As I studied the first Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3) I wondered what exactly this “kingdom of heaven” is that the poor in spirit are to be blessed with.

A clerk at Baker Book House informed me that a book by Dallas Willard called “The Divine Conspiracy” had a great chapter on the Beatitudes, so I began to study it. I have to admit, I thought the Beatitudes were pretty straightforward and that I understood them pretty well. After reading that one chapter, panic set in as it was revealed to me that I knew nothing! Since I had started my reading at chapter four, the one focused on the Beatitudes, the first thing I did was go back and start over at chapter one. Then I read it again, and again, and again, until finally it made sense!

Willard defined the “kingdom of God” as the place where God reigns, where what He says, goes. One might think this is everywhere, and it is, but with one big exception – the human heart. Since He has given us all free will, He does not intrude where He is not invited. God only reigns in the hearts of those who invited Him in. This is why society and the political system are so far from God; these realms consist of human hearts, the majority of which have not submitted to God.

“The kingdom of heaven” is where God is present. Willard gave an illustration that helped me immensely in understanding where God is. God is a spiritual being, and since we are created in His image, we too are spiritual beings. That is why, when we see a man walking down the hallway, we can say, “There’s John,” but when we see that exact same physical body lying in a casket we say, “That’s not John. He’s not there anymore.” We can say that because his spirit, what makes him who he is, is no longer present.

Our spirit can’t be pinpointed as occupying any particular part of our body or be visibly seen, yet it is aware of everything that affects our body. For example, if I step on a nail, I am immediately aware of it and that experience will likely cause me to change my habit of walking barefoot in a construction area.

God occupies space the way that our spirit occupies our body. Think about that for a moment. Just as our spirit is in our body, so God occupies space, which means He is everywhere and aware of everything. He is not only far off on a throne somewhere, as we read in Isaiah and Revelation, among other places…

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. ~ Isaiah 6:1

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. ~ Revelation 20:11

…He is also in the space surrounding me, and you. Paul was speaking literally when he said,

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. `For in him we live and move and have our being.” ~ Acts 17:24-28

We are surrounded by God like a submerged bottle is surrounded by the ocean. He is not far from us, He is here, with us, surrounding us. Just as the bottle will be filled with ocean as well as surrounded by it when the cork is removed, so we will be filled with God’s Spirit, as well as surrounded by Him, when we removed the blockage from our heart and allow Him to fill us. This is where the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven collide; God filling us and God surrounding us.

Father, I thank you for truly being with me wherever I am, surrounding me and filling me. Thank you for giving me the ability to understand this truth and help me to live in a way that makes it evident to all. Your loving daughter, Lisa
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

Planning a wedding and making arrangements for a trip to Africa didn’t leave us with much down time this summer, but we were blessed with the use of a cottage so that we could have a quiet weekend before the busyness of fall sets in. We left home early, at least it was early based on our standards, and arrived at the cottage mid-morning on Friday. My husband Bob had been up all night, so I planned to spend some time in God’s word while he slept. God, however, had other plans for me.

The main entry to the cottage faces the entry to the cottage next door, and in between the neighbors had a table. There were two men sitting at it, so we met the neighbor and a friend of his as we came in. I think it was when I went out to get something from the van that I became engaged in a conversation with them. They had given me a warning about bears, which I’m not sure if they were serious about or not, but I replied that having just returned from Africa I really wasn’t concerned about bears. It was my reply to the question of what I was doing in Africa that revealed to them that I was one of those “church people.”

The neighbor was very friendly, i.e., quite a talker, and immediately offered me a beer since he and his friend were drinking. I declined because I am not a beer drinker, but I got the impression that he thought he had made a grievous mistake because he quickly offered me a cup of coffee, which I also politely declined. He asked if there was something the matter with drinking coffee, as if to imply he knew there was something the matter with drinking beer, or at least too much of it. In fact he later started a discussion on that very topic.

Ephesians 5:15-18 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

After explaining that the only thing wrong with drinking coffee was that I didn’t like the taste of it, I was offered a Diet Coke, which was apologetically served in a glass with a beer logo on it! Chatting with the neighbors wasn’t in my plan, but God says to make the most of every opportunity, so I figured, “Why not?” I must confess I was getting quite a bit of enjoyment watching him walk on eggshells even though I’d given him no reason to do so.

It became evident that the eggshells came from his own conscience as he revealed that he was raised in a church and knew he was living contrary to what he had been taught. It was an interesting discussion to say the least. Have you ever had one of those conversations where you learned far more than you wanted to know? This was one of those, and then some! I was mainly listener as he went from confession to testifying to his friend about how God had worked in his life on the rare occasions when he invited Him to.

On a related note, I recently “unfriended” my first person on Facebook because I’d had all the negativity I could take. This guy had several posting a day with video clips of those he considers false prophets or did other things he disagreed with. Though he appears to have a large following, I, for one, was getting tired of all the criticism so I asked him if he ever posted anything positive. My comment was not well received. One person directed a response towards me and quoted 2 Timothy 4:2:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (KJV)

His comment: “1. Reprove (Negative) 2. Rebuke (Negative) 3. Exhort (is a word which has a double meaning, which is 1) Encourage and 2) warn.) With all that being said, if I follow 2 Tim 4:2 I get 4 things to preach so my ratio is 75% negative and only 25% positive.”

Personally, I don’t agree with his rational. The NIV version says, “correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.” I don’t see how preaching negatively 75% of the time would display “great patience”. And who is going to stick around and wait for the 25% positive, if it ever came? Not me, and probably not the guys I was talking with.

Because I patiently listened, when I did interject with my opinion it was well received. I was even called “a nice, Christian lady,” and that was after suggesting to the friend, who had just been in a motorcycle accident the previous day, that riding his bike across the state after having another beer and a Vicodin was probably not a good idea. I think I’ll skip the 75% negativity and follow the instructions of James 1:19-20:

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Father, I thank you for divine encounters. Thank you for helping me to be "slow to speak" so that when I did speak my words were heard. Thank you that your word does not come back empty, but the Holy Spirit can bring those words up to us when we most need to hear them. I pray you will do that for these men. All my love, Lisa

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

Really, I’m fine.

I wanted to start with this statement because today is at least the second time that God has spared my life. In all probability there are other instances that I’m not even aware of.

Daisy and I were out for our walk, but we set out in the direction opposite of the way we normally head because I was watching for someone that was going to be passing by that way. There are a lot of hills in this direction and places where there’s not much of a shoulder. There are also a lot of large trees along the road, and the pavement in the shade of these trees was still wet from this morning’s rain. I was just coming over one of these hills, walking as close to the edge as I could get, when I simultaneously saw a truck heading towards me and heard brakes screeching behind me. I pulled Daisy as I jumped into the brush and turned to see what was going on.

Thankfully, the vehicle stopped about six feet from me, so aside from the effects of concurrently pulling, jumping and turning, I’m fine. Really.

After they had passed me, both vehicles stopped to make sure I was alright (and to discuss the importance of driving the speed limit and in one’s own lane.) Now, this would never have happened had I been a squirrel or a possum. They get hit and they’re road kill, pure and simple. Have you ever thought about this? Sure, you feel terrible if you run over a bunny or a chipmunk, but you don’t call 911 if you pass one lying along the side of the road. Humans, now they are a totally different story.

I mention this because there are those in our society that think that all creatures are created equal; that animals should have the same rights as humans, perhaps even more rights. They will fight to protect baby seals but see nothing wrong with aborting baby humans. They will lobby to spend millions of dollars to ensure turtles can safely get from one side of the road to the other while people go hungry.

Human beings have value because we are the only ones created in God’s image.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” ~ Genesis 1:27

Animals are not our equals; we are their superiors. We know this because God commanded us to “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." ~ Genesis 1:28

We live in a backwards society that tells people they have no value, when in reality this is furthest from the truth. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” ~ Psalm 139:13-16

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have value! You are created in God’s image; you are fearfully and wonderfully made! All God’s works are wonderful, which mean YOU are wonderful. God created you with a purpose in mind. No one is here by accident. Look at yourself as the valuable person God loves so much He sent His Son to die for and fulfill the purpose He has for your life!

Thank you, Lord, for your love for me and for your protection. Thank you for the comfort of knowing that you value me and have a purpose for my life.
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

Being an amateur genealogist, I jumped into a Facebook disagreement on cousins. Specifically, one person said someone was his first cousin once removed while another said the person he was referring to was his second cousin. This is not something easy to wrap your mind around, and the conversation ended with this statement: “I don’t care so much about genealogy and think we shouldn’t refer to anyone we consider family as removed, once, twice, or otherwise.”

Taken in a literal sense, truer words have never been spoken. How often does a person decide they are going to “remove” someone from their family? I can’t think of anything more tragic than for someone to be written off by a family member (or members), yet I personally know of parents who have been cut off by their children and also some children who have been cut off by their parents. Now, I’m not talking about a tough love situation, where the best thing one can do is to stop enabling harmful behavior. I’m talking about unforgiveness; the attitude of “I don’t like something you did, I’m not going to tell you what it was, and I’m not speaking to you any more.”

The church I attend is preaching a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer, which is found in the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 9-13. A few weeks ago we studied verse twelve,

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” ~ Matthew 6:12

Read that verse again, slowly. When we pray this prayer, we’re asking God to forgive us the same way we forgive others. Yikes! Can this be true? The short answer is “yes.” There’s no question as to the truth of this statement because it is in the Bible and it was spoken by Jesus himself. His half-brother James said something along the same lines:

“Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who is not merciful.” ~ James 2:13

I happened to be watching the Detroit Tigers game a few nights ago when Armando Galarraga pitched what should have been a perfect game (and if you knew how much I watch baseball you’d recognize this as a divine appointment.) What an example of grace! No player has ever pitched more than one perfect game, yet Galarraga barely flinched when the umpire made a bad call and cost him what may have been his only opportunity to have his name in the record books. Grace was also returned when, after viewing the instant replay, umpire Jim Joyce apologized to Galarraga for his error. More grace flowed the next day when Joyce walked out onto the field to cheers rather than jeers.

I think sports columnist David Mayo got it right when he said, “we all benefit from forgiving and being forgiven, and the ones to feel sorriest for are the ones incapable of it.”

Father, help me show forgiveness to all, regardless of the circumstances. Help me to remember that no matter how much I forgive, it will never be more than you've forgiven me. Thank you Jesus for paying the penalty for sins - mine and everyone else's.

*For those who are curious, the children of your first cousin would be your first cousins once removed (because they're one generation removed from your generation.) Those children and your children would be second cousins.
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 4 comments

As I was walking down the stairs into the living room the other day, a movement in the front yard caught my eye. There was our young cat, Houdini, looking in my direction with her jaws wrapped around a chipmunk. We probably stared at each other for a full minute. I’m not sure why she was looking at me, but I was watching her to see what she’d do next.

The chipmunk was doing a good job of playing possum, hanging lifeless from Houdini’s mouth, but I knew Houdini’s jaw would soon tire and the chipmunk would get its chance at freedom. Sure enough, as soon as the vice-like grip loosened, the chipmunk sprang to life and made a break for it. Of course, being held in a cat’s mouth is not without effect, and the chipmunk’s attempt at running was feeble at best.

Houdini watched as the chipmunk made his escape. I imagine the critter was just thinking he’d made it to freedom when WHAM! Houdini pounced again, only to once again let it go and then WHAM! Another pounce.

I’ve often watched Houdini prowling around the yard and wondered if she thought herself to be a lion stalking her prey in the Serengeti. Watching this scenario made me think of another enemy stalking his prey. Paul compares satan to a lion in 1 Peter 5:8 where he says,

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Satan is just like Houdini in that he toys with us. He lets us get just far enough to think we’ve escaped, only to pounce again. Have you ever felt pounced on by life? I know I have.

As I watched this play out, I realized that the chipmunk doesn’t stand a chance unless someone greater than Houdini intervenes. If Daisy came out barking to distract her or if I came out and attempted to chase her down, the chipmunk would truly have an opportunity at freedom. Without intervention, there's not much hope for the chipmunk.

We’re in the same boat when satan is interfering in our lives. Without someone greater than satan to intervene on our behalf, we don’t stand a chance. Thankfully, as believers in Christ, we have someone greater who intercedes for us – God Himself. Scripture tells us:

“the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Lord I praise you for your omnipotence; that you are all powerful and can conquer any foe. Forgive me for those times I’ve tried to handle things myself rather than submit to you. Help me to recognize the enemy and come immediately to you for help, and thank you for your love for me and your willingness to intervene on my behalf. Caught in Your net, Lisa

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

As parents, we all experience a strange time of transition when our children go from little people that we spend all our time with to bigger people who choose for themselves with whom they’ll spend their time. I’ve heard it said that “love” is spelled T-I-M-E, and in this stage of my life that really makes sense.

For the last couple years, when my son has asked me what I’d like for my birthday, my response has been the same, “a date.” I don’t need anything from him, but I do want to spend time with him. Well, last Monday was the big day. I wasn’t sure how much time I’d get; I was just happy to have made it on to his calendar (not that he actually has one.)

We ended up spending the entire afternoon together – first lunch, then a movie, then to the mall to buy a birthday gift for him since his birthday is just two days before mine. Since I was feeling lucky, I even asked if we could stop at the store on the way home. I was on a roll!

While I thoroughly enjoyed the six hours we spent together, what will stay with me is what happened after lunch. Being the cheap date that I am, I had a ten dollar coupon for a particular restaurant, so we ate there. When it came time to pay, I glanced over at the check to see what he left for a tip. I wanted to make sure he tipped on the full bill rather than after the discount.

What I saw shocked me: a double digit tip on a rather inexpensive lunch! Rather than profit from the coupon himself he gave it to the waitress, leaving her a tip in excess of 50%!

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” ~ Proverbs 11:25
Both of my children work for tips; Cassie is a waitress and Ryan is a valet at a downtown hotel. Minimum wage for them is truly minimal – $2.85 an hour, so their incomes rely heavily on the generosity of others.

"This is what the LORD Almighty says: `Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” ~ Zechariah 7:9
Ryan had compassion on the waitress and was generous because he’s in the same situation that she is in. As we left the restaurant, Ryan said, “I’ll bet I made her day!” Probably, Ryan; I know you made mine.

Father, thank you for teaching me through my children. Help me to show others the generosity and compassion that you have shown to me.


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The seed was planted back when I was in elementary school. My Camp Fire Girls group leader had the same birthday as I did, and I remember her telling me that one year Easter was celebrated on the same day as her birthday. Ever since then, I’ve wanted Easter to fall on my birthday. It hasn’t. It’s fallen on my son’s birthday, which is two days before mine, but it’s never fallen on mine.

In researching how the date is calculated, I discovered that Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25. For anyone born within that thirty four day range, there’s a chance that Easter will fall on his or her birthday. I like the idea that so many people have the opportunity of celebrating their birthday on Easter Sunday; celebrating the day they were given life physically on the day Christ made it possible to live with Him eternally.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” ~ 1 John 5:11-12

Easter is the pinnacle of the Christian faith. Even more joyous than Christmas, when Christ came from heaven to earth to live as a man, is Easter, the day Christ rose from the dead. Because He had the power to rise from the dead we have the assurance that He also had the power to pay the penalty for our sins.

Sin entered the world soon after it was created, when Adam and Eve broke the one rule God had given them. (Genesis 3) Every person that has walked this earth, save one, has been a sinner, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 8:23). There is only one penalty for sin – death. Not just physical death, but eternal separation from God.

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

Christ was able to pay the penalty for us because He alone could do the one thing that we cannot – live a sinless life. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.” ~ Hebrews 4:15

Because Christ paid the penalty, we “have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” ~ Romans 6:22

No one likes the idea of being a slave, but we all are. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to God. Everything in this world is upside-down in comparison to God’s kingdom. Only in God’s kingdom does slavery to Him lead to true freedom.

After the death of Lazarus, Jesus said these words to Lazarus’ sister Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~ John 11:25-26

“Do you believe this?” This is the question we must all ask ourselves. It is a matter of eternal life and death.

Lord Jesus, my mind cannot comprehend the agony you went through, bearing not only the physical pain of being nailed to the cross, but bearing the weight of the sins of all mankind. You paid a high price for this gift you so freely give. I pray for those who have not yet accepted your gift of salvation, that this Easter will be the day they submit to you as Lord and Savior. Thank you for paying the price for me, so that I may spend eternity with you; and thank you that in 2018 I will celebrate my birthday on Easter!
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My personal philosophy on dealing with winter would have worked well in the land of Narnia, where it was “always winter.” I have found that if I keep the mindset that it will always be cold, winter is more bearable. When spring finally arrives, it’s like a welcome surprise. I almost forget that it’s going to be warm again. However, it’s rare that spring comes and stays. When it’s sixty degrees in Michigan in March, I know it’s too good to last, as much as I would like it to. Personally, I think the cold is much harder to take the second time around.

I think my daffodils would agree. As soon as the ground begins to thaw, shoots start pushing their way up to the warmth of the returning sunshine. Of course, there are obstacles. I don’t like obstacles, and I’m sure the daffodils don’t either. They worked so hard to reach the surface, only to find a thick barrier of leaves between them and the much sought-after sun.

Has that ever happened to you? You finally make it over a hurdle, only to find another one awaiting you. It can be frustrating, especially when you know that God could take that hurdle away in an instant, but He doesn’t.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

I could have easily raked the leaves so the daffodils could soak up the sunshine rather than burrow through the damp barrier, but I didn’t. Why? Because I enjoy making life hard and watching the plants struggle? No. Because I knew what the daffodils didn’t; regardless of how nice the sunshine looked and how warm it felt, winter was not over. What appeared to be a barrier to the bulbs was actually a benefit – a layer of protection against the snow yet to come.

When you come up against a barrier that God has placed in your life, what do you do? Do you stubbornly press on to reach your goal, regardless? Or do you seek His instruction as to whether to stay put or forge ahead?

God has been teaching me that the latter is the better choice. Sometimes life is difficult because that is how God strengthens us. Let’s face it, if life was always easy, we’d never be prepared when the really tough times come. Yet at other times, God places barriers in front of us to protect us, to keep us from heading in the wrong direction or rushing ahead too soon.

Rather than pressing on with my own plans, I’m learning to seek God first, to ask whether He wants me to press ahead, to go in another direction, or to wait. Regardless of the answer, I can trust that it is for my benefit, because I know that God is good and only wants what’s best for me.

“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14

Holy Spirit, I thank you for your leading. Help me to be sensitive to your every move, that I may keep in step, not pushing ahead or lagging behind. I’m so thankful that everything you do, you do in love and do for my benefit. Thank you for your patience with me in those times when I don’t quite get it right. Love, Lisa
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I’ve been trying to be better about using coupons lately, so after Bible study this morning I ran up to the store to pick up a few items that were on sale. I had one coupon in particular that was good for a free item, up to $5.99. Of course, I was going to use as much of that $5.99 as possible, so I looked for the item in the size that would be closest to that price. I found one for $6.39, and it had a $1.00 off sticker on it as well. I figured that with the two coupons together the item would actually be free.

I went to a check out line that actually had a cashier running it because I’m still not a fan of do-it-yourself lanes, plus I was using a rain check and had no idea how to make that work. Something seemed wrong when I was checking out, but I really didn’t process it until I was in the van. I studied my receipt and saw that the $5.99 coupon actually rang up as $6.39, and the $1.00 coupon came off as well.

I’m not making any moral judgments about coupons here, but I was really bothered by the fact that I’d received an extra dollar. Then I was bothered that I was bothered. Why was I so bothered by a dollar?

There I was, sitting in my van having a conversation with myself (in my head, not out loud – I’m not that far gone) saying:
- It’s only a dollar.
- They put the coupon on the box.
- They rang the other coupon up wrong.
- I didn’t even bring up my pop cans that the machine refused because I’m tired and I just want to go home.
- I’ll look stupid if I go in and try to explain this.

The Holy Spirit only had to say one thing to me, “Is disobedience worth a dollar?” At this point I had to ask myself, “Would I even be going through this thought process if He wasn’t telling me to go back inside?” Of course not.

Scripture says, “Be holy, because I am holy,” three times. (Leviticus 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:16)

God demands obedience. In the scheme of all eternity, one dollar really doesn’t matter, but disobedience does. I turned my van off, grabbed my receipt and my two rejected pop cans, and went back into the store. Why? Because obedience matters.

Holy Spirit, thank you allowing me to hear your voice. Forgive me for trying to rationalize something when what I really need to do is be obedient. Thank you for moving me back into that store and letting me keep the dollar anyway. I don’t know why I had to go back in, but I know You have Your reasons. That’s a good enough for me! Help me to be quicker to obey the next time and be who You’ve called me to be. Love, Lisa
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Today Daisy and I went for our first Spring walk of the year. Yes, I am declaring Spring! Sunny, mild, and no snow on the pavement - it's close enough for me, at least here in Michigan.

I've been studying the Holy Spirit lately, and as we walked, Romans 8:14 came to mind:"Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."

In my research, I discovered the word translated "led" referred to someone leading an animal at the end of a rope. I was leading Daisy at the end of her leash, and most of the time it was the same type of leading that Scripture describes. I'd gently tug, and she'd follow. Most of the time. There were several occasions, however, when she came across an interesting scent and rivited herself in place to investigate. She no longer responded to my gentle tugs, and it took a combination of coaxing and yanking to get her moving again.

I'm afraid that when it comes to being led by the Spirit, I can be more like Daisy than I'd care to admit. Sometimes I don't respond to His gentle promptings. Unlike me, however, the Holy Spirit has all the time in the universe to wait for me to get going again. He doesn't force His will on me, but patiently waits for me to follow Him. The problem is, by ignoring the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, I'm the one missing out. How much time have I wasted while He was waiting to lead me? What opportunities have I missed? How much deeper could my relationship be if I had just kept in step?

"Since we are led by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

Father, forgive me for those times when I fail to follow your promptings. Thank you for leading me by your Spirit and help me to keep in step! Love, Lisa
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One thing I love about God is that He can use absolutely anything as a teaching opportunity – even something as mundane as cooking. Consider the following ingredients:

I think SUGAR is a good example of how we’d like our lives to be: sweet! Given the choice, I know I’d pick easy over difficult every time. The problem is we tend to confuse easy with good. Just because something is easy doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for us. Quite often it’s just the opposite. Just as a steady diet of sugar is unhealthy; so is a life of ease. We’d never grow strong without any opposition. God says in Romans 8:28 “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Not in some things, or in the easy things, or in most thing, but in ALL things.

When we were at an orphanage in Kenya, the children eagerly lined up each morning for a steaming cup of porridge, which was made of flour and water. Can you imagine a steady diet of FLOUR? It’s dry and bland, just like some seasons of our life seem to be. We’ve all had times when we wonder if God is really hearing us or if our prayers are just going off into empty space. The important thing to remember is that we can’t base our faith on feelings. We must base our faith on the solid ground of God’s word, which tells us in Hebrews 13:5, “God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

When I see COCOA powder, the words “dark” and “bitter” come to mind. Sometimes events in life can be painful and difficult to accept. We feel like we’re surrounded by darkness and can’t find our way. But the truth, as written in John 8:12, tells us Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” When we feel we’re in the dark, we must turn to God’s word, for Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Have you ever melted into a puddle, like BUTTER does when put to the heat? Aren’t there times when we just can’t seem to pull ourselves together and get back in shape? Take heart! The One who formed us is the One who will transform us! 2 Corinthians 3:18 teaches us that we “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” What we look at as falling apart, God sees as an opportunity for transformation. Praise God!

Have you ever been compared to VANILLA? I think many people, both inside and outside of the church, think of the Christian life as being boring like vanilla. They’d rather have a butterscotch ripple or cherries jubilee kind of life. You know, adventurous, not ordinary. The truth is, there is nothing more adventurous that submitting to the will of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:37 we see that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Does a conqueror sound like someone who’s living a boring life?

When we were babies, we lived solely off MILK. 1 Peter 2:2-3 says the same was true of us spiritually. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” We all start out as infants, but God doesn’t want us to stay there, our growth stunted. Paul told the Hebrews (5:13-14) that “anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Do you ever feel scrambled, like a couple of EGGS? There are times in life when we have to ask ourselves, “What am I doing?” Paul articulated this struggle in the book of Romans. “7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…18…I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.” The good news is found just a few verses later: “Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” We’re reminded that we “:4 do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

BAKING POWDER reminds me of the Holy Spirit. It is powerful. Look at what a small amount of it is used in comparison to the other ingredients. It’s God’s Spirit that lifts us up when we’re down. 1 Corinthians 6:14 “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.”
These ingredients are like the events in our lives. Individually they don’t give us an accurate picture. It’s incomplete. Just like in life, we have to look at things as a whole. It’s when we mix it all together and add a little heat that we get a true picture of what is being created. We won’t see the finished product until God brings our lives to completion, but I know one thing. We can trust that since it comes from God, it will be good!

Thank you, Father, for the adventure of living life in submission to you. Help me to always seek your will for me and never wander off on my own! I'm so glad you call me Yours!

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My husband Bob is a big sports fan. He doesn’t have a favorite sport as much as he has a favorite college team. Whenever they’re playing, he’s watching, regardless of what type of game it is they’re playing (which means no off-season for me!) If we’re not going to be home when a game is televised, he records it, though I noticed he doesn’t necessarily watch everything he records.

When I asked him about this, he admitted that whether or not he watches the game is often based on the outcome. If his team looses, he’ll delete the game without watching it, sparing himself the frustration and the misery. But he always watches the games his team wins. Now, that may not sound like much fun, but according to Bob, it can be even more fun than watching a game live.

Bob doesn’t know what’s going to happen during a recorded game; he only knows the outcome. That means no matter how bleak it may look for his team, no matter how many mistakes they make, he knows that in the end his team will be victorious! No more worrying about whether his team will get their act together; he knows ultimately they will and they will win.

When it comes to this world we live in, we too know the ending. God wins! Good triumphs over evil! God will complete the curse on satan and put him out of the picture once and for all.

RE 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

And God will reverse the curse placed on mankind after sin entered the world.

ISA 65:22-23 For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” (JN 14:1) and “do not worry about your life.” (MT 6:25) Could this be because what happens in the course of this life is not nearly as important as the final outcome?

It’s so easy to get bogged down in day-to-day living and forget about the big picture. We need to live with the perspective that this life is but a blip on the radar in the scheme of all eternity. Regardless of how things look at the moment, whether in our own lives or in the world in general, we must keep in mind the final outcome has already been determined. God wins! The question is, are you on His team?

Lord God, I thank you for allowing me to be one of your children. Thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to pay the penalty for my sins so that I may spend eternity with You. I pray that those reading this would also accept this precious gift that you offer freely to all, that they would acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. When this life gets difficult, help me to remember that I’m part of Your winning team! Love, Lisa.
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We often refer to the roles we play as hats we wear, but today I am literally writing about hats, specifically two hats I auctioned off on eBay recently. They were very similar in color and age, and both had been stored in the same hat box for the last sixty plus years. The only difference in them was that one hat was in mint condition while the other had some spots on the top of it.

It’s always a challenge to know how to price items when I list them on eBay. If the price starts off too high, there may not be any bidders. If it starts off too low, there may be only one bidder and that will be the selling price. After much debate, I decided the unblemished hat was worth twice as much as the one with spots, and priced them accordingly. I was pleasantly surprised to see there was a great interest in vintage hats. What was even more surprising was that the spots didn’t seem to matter at all! When the auctions were finished, both hats sold for exactly the same price; ten times the value than I had estimated for what I had determined to be the inferior hat! (I wish all auctions would go this well. I've sold more items for 99 cents than I'd care to count!)

I thought the appearance of the hat affected the value, but in this case I was wrong. I’ve been wrong about people, too. How often do we make judgments based on appearance when in reality we don’t know anything about the person in question? God knows we have a tendency to do this, and in Scripture He reminds us that this is not how He works. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7

Perhaps it is because I sometimes judge by appearances that I can also become too concerned with my own appearance. How many photos have I cringed at because my eyes were closed or I was having a bad hair day or that outfit made me look fat, etc? God speaks against looking at ourselves this way as well. We’re told, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4

I think it all comes down to who I am trying to please, God or man? God is very clear that He is concerned with the condition of my heart, my inner self, and not the external. We all have twenty-four hours in a day and must make choices as to how we will use that time. How much time is spent on make-up and hairdo’s, shopping for just the right clothing and accessories and having the “perfect” house? How much would my life and the lives around me change if I invested that much time in God, in prayer and studying His word? Let's trust God and see!

Father, thank you for the changes you are making in my priorities. May I become more and more like you inwardly and become less and less focused on outward appearances, both those of myself and others. Help me to see others the way You see them. All my love, Lisa
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When it comes to original sin, I think Eve gets a bum rap. She’s always blamed for leading Adam into sin, but I think the responsibly for his sin should fall squarely on his own shoulders. I just read an article that said, “she must have used the same twisted arguments [as satan] to convince Adam [to eat the forbidden fruit.]" I have two arguments against this:

Argument One: In Genesis 2, Adam was the one who received the command from God not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. GE 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Eve was not there when God gave this command to Adam; her creation is not recorded until verse twenty two. GE 2:22 “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”

We know Eve is aware of this command because of her reply to the serpent in Genesis chapter three. GE 3:2 "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" Now, her version of this command is exaggerated because “you must not touch it” is added, but we don’t know if this addition came from her or if it came from Adam and she was merely repeating it. Maybe Adam added this warning for emphasis. We have no way of knowing if God also spoke the command directly to Eve or if it was left to Adam to relay it to her. Either way, we know Adam did hear it directly from God.

Argument Two: Adam was no innocent bystander. Eve did not walk up to Adam out of the blue and offer him the forbidden fruit. He was fully aware of the discourse that took place between Eve and the serpent because he was there! GE 3:6 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

We’re all responsible for our own actions, and Adam is responsible for his regardless of what Eve did or who sinned first.

2 CO 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

GA 6:4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.

I don’t think Adam needed any convincing, nor is any recorded. We’re only told that she “gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” As James says, JA 1:14 “each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

We often wonder what it would be like to live in a world without sin, and for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, one day we will know. But did you ever wonder what would have happened if Eve had eaten the fruit and then Adam refused? What would have happened if Adam had said, “I can’t believe you did that! Eve, I am so sorry. This is going to change everything…”

We are all responsible for our own actions, but unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who pay the price.

Father, forgive me for the times I've doubted you and relied on my own reasoning. It leads me into trouble every time! Help me to walk closely with you and trust fully in your promises to provide me with all I need. I love you! Lisa
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This week at Journey I taught about Creation.

It just so happened that while I was preparing my lesson, I finally opened an email that had been languishing in my inbox for several weeks.

It just so happened that the email contained an illustration of God as the Potter that would fit perfectly with my lesson. Now, I do believe that some things that happen are just a coincidence, but I also believe that this many coinciding events are not coincidence but God incidents. I could see His hand as I was putting the Creation message together, but I had no idea it wouldn’t end there!

It just so happened that after teaching in the evening I was unexpectedly able to leave an hour earlier than I normally do, and

It just so happened that when I turned the car on the radio played, “Lord if I'm the clay then lay me down On your spinning wheel, Shape me into something you can fill with something real” (Caedmon's Call “Hands of the Potter”). I’d never heard this song before, and just caught the last line. Now God really had my attention, because at the end of my teaching I posed two questions to ask God that I had gleaned from the email: How would You like to shape my life? (vs. me deciding what I’d like to do) and How can I cooperate with that shaping?

I had already planned to post something else today, but when I heard these words my mind started racing back and linking all these “coincidences.” Because I was processing, I wasn’t paying any attention to the song currently playing, but again, the last line grabbed my attention:
“Lift up your heart and be amazed And be changed by a perfect God.” (Perfect People, Natalie Grant)

This was too much! I’ve seen God’s hand in things before, but I’ve never had this many promptings in such close succession. One thing God impressed upon me was that while I had posed those two questions to those attending the Bible study, I’d never posed them to God for myself. Obviously, that is something God wants me to do!

There was a time when this series of events would have terrified me. I think that’s because God doesn’t usually call me to things I’m already comfortable doing, but to things that I either don’t feel qualified for or have never even considered. Plus, quite often the things God calls me to are difficult, and He doesn’t show me when or how it’s all going to end. All I get is the next step, which, in looking at Scripture, is how He generally works. Yet I came home excited! God is doing something new and He wants me to be a part of it! Something amazing and life changing!

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

God, I thank you that you are the same yesterday, today and forever, and that you speak to us today just as clearly as you spoke when you walked this earth. Thank you for speaking to me and teaching me to listen. I do want what you want for me. Please show me how you want to shape my life, and how I can cooperate with you! And thank you for promising to be with me every step of the way! I love you so much! Lisa
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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I was doing so well, and for so long...

Then I messed it up.

And I was so close!

I was walking in faith, full of peace one minute, and the next minute it was all gone.

God told me He would take care of it and I believed Him, at least for a while. Actually, a long while given my default, “I’ll take care of this so You don’t have to bother” mindset. I wasn’t scurrying around trying to make something happen, but peacefully following God’s lead as I did my part. Then one day, something changed. It may have been the looming deadline, or the only remaining lead turning into a dead end.

Looking back, I think being rejected by the only place I knew of to ask for help was what caused me to pull the whole mess into my own hands and start to panic. What if this? What if that?

What happened? I started leaning on my own understanding, which according to Proverbs 3:5 means I did not trust the Lord with all my heart. You know the kind of thinking I’m talking about:

“I’m not qualified for this;”

“I’m not gifted in this;”

“How am I ever going to do this?”

I I I I I! Good grief!

Thankfully, my lapse lasted only a day.  My peace returned when I placed it all back in God’s hands. I already had a lot of people praying about the situation, but I called in a couple die-hard prayer warriors and that made all the difference. Not only did I have my peace back, but within a day I had the solution. God told me who to go to, I did, and now it’s all taken care of.

Oh, how I wish I had made it without the lapse in faith! I was only a day away. But I am so thankful that I made it so far. Maybe next time I’ll get it right.

Thank you Jesus, for how far you’ve brought me from my “taking care of it myself” mode. Thank you for the peace You give when I trust you as I should, and thank you for understanding and helping me to get back on track when I fall short. Thank you for being the God of second chances who never gives up on me even when I give up on myself. Most of all, thank you for always keeping Your promises and finishing what You start!

“[He] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” ~ Philippians 1:6

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