Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

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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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

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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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

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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