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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