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.


Lisa

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

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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