Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

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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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

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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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

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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