Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 3 comments

zeal·ous (adjective)  ardently active, devoted or diligent.

I also looked up ardent at dictionary.com and learned that it means having, expressive of, or characterized by intense feeling; passionate; fervent.

Z - Always be zealous for the Lord. ~ Proverbs 23:17b
 
I get a little uneasy when I see the word "always" come up in Scripture because the only thing I always am is saved by the shed blood of Jesus.  He is the One who is consistent, not me.  Yet this verse from Proverbs is saying that we should always be intensely passionate in our devotion to and service for the Lord. 

I don't know about you, but some days I'm more zealous for the Lord than others.  To be honest, just being obedient can be challenging at times.  Praise God that he understands our weaknesses and failures!  He's looking for our best efforts, understanding that perfection is something beyond us. 

It's amazing how God can transform us while we're not even looking.  What starts out as obedience can turn into zeal.  The more time I spend with God, the more diligent I become in wanting to spend time with Him.  The more I step out of my comfort zone and see God come through once again, the more excited I get to see what He will do next! 

If you're wondering why this verse has a "Z" in front of it, it's because this is our final verse in the "She Sparkles" A to Z Scripture Memory Challenge.

Photo courtesy of "She Sparkles"

I have been so blessed by learning these verses - I want you to be blessed too!  I've retained the verses I've learned because of the alphabet prompts that remind me what comes next.  

Won't you join us?  If you've just found me, why not make memorizing these verses your goal for the coming year?  You could print out the list below, pin this post on Pinterest, or save it in your "favorites."  A-Z versepacks - a set of business cards with a verse printed on each - may still be available.  Contact Darlene at darlenedykstra@yahoo.com.

Lisa



A - As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b

B – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:31

C – Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

DDevote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

EEvery good and perfect gift is from above James 1:17

F – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

G – God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

H – How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

I – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Galatians 5:1

J – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

K – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13

L - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

M – May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:76

NNothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17b

O – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

PPut on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Q - In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15b

R - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

S - Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

T - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

U - Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it. Proverbs 16:22
V - Victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:31b

W - We Love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

X - Exalt the Lord our God, worship at His footstool; He is holy. Psalm 99.5

 
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments


I think it's safe to say that most people have heard the ancient Mayan calendar ends today, leading some to think that the world is coming to an end.  Today is December 21, 2012 and I'm still here.  If you're reading this, that means you are too. 

No one really knows why the Mayans chose this date to end their calendar. I think the suggestion in the illustration above is as good as any.  Personally, I never gave this apocalypse theory any credence because as a Christian I know that any day someone declares will be the end can automatically be ruled out. 

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." ~ Matthew 24:36

If God didn't tell even Jesus when the world would end, I am positive He didn't give that information to anyone else either. 

As much as we may make light of these prophecies, it's really something we should take seriously.  Why?  Because there are lost people in this world who take it seriously.   Do you know anyone who believes in this prophecy?  Have you shared with them the truth of God's word?
 
Believers in the Mayan prophecy may be relatively few.  Far greater are those who just don't know what to believe and think this scenario is as likely as any.  If you don't know for sure, then you just don't know.
 
As confident as I am that the world will not end for humanity today, I'm equally confident that today will mark the end for some people.  No individual knows with certainty how long they will live.  Life is fragile and can end in an instant. 



God wants everyone to come to know Him and be saved (Matthew 18:14).  While He's perfectly capable of revealing Himself on His own, instead He chooses to do it through those who already believe.  Jesus says there are many waiting to be saved, but only a few who will share the way to salvation. (Luke 10:2)  Will you be one of the few?  I know it can feel uncomfortable or awkward sharing your faith, but what is five minutes of you feeling stupid compared to someone's eternity?  The more hostile to God's message the world around us seems, the more they need that message!
 
Father, I thank you that you loved us so much that you sent your Son to model a perfect life and pay the penalty for our sins.  Give us the courage to share what has come to be a controversial message, so that many may come to know you as Lord and Savior and no longer live in fear. 
 

Lisa
 

I've been known to link up with: Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection, Into the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 10 comments

Waiting...

It's something we all have to do. 

I don't know about you, but I'm not always good at it. 

Finally the awaited day had come.  By Wednesday morning I'd made my list and checked it twice:

       Dishes - washed
       House - tidied
       Laundry - done
       Bag - packed

We were ready to go, but this would be no vacation.  My husband was headed to the hospital for open heart surgery.  We literally had five minutes to head out the door when the phone rang.  It was the hospital, postponing his surgery until Friday because his surgeon was called to do a heart transplant.  It was a day of celebrating for one family and a day of sorrow for another, and though we didn't know them we immediately began to pray for them both.
 
For a few minutes, we were stunned.  I remember feeling this way after my dad died - now what do we do? 

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. ~ Psalm 27:14
 
My husband has the best attitude.  He remarked that he always wanted to be an astronaut (specifically the first farmer on the moon!) and now he knew what it must feel like to have a mission aborted!  What a great perspective!
  
Photo courtesy of NASA
We fumbled our way though Wednesday and watched our grandsons on Thursday to keep us occupied (and wear us out!)
 
 
Friday came, and once again I checked items off my to-do list.
 
This time we made it to the hospital before getting bumped.
 
Fortunately for us, this delay was only a couple hours.  Unfortunately for someone, they were rushed to the hospital and were in need of emergency surgery.  They just happened to have an operating room ready to go - the one my husband was supposed to be in.
 
In both instances, the waiting came easier when we were focused on others rather than ourselves. 
 
How about you?   Are you patient when it comes to waiting?  I'd love to hear your tips for waiting!
 
Father, I thank you for the peace that comes when we keep our focus on You.  Thank you for your perfect timing, which is so often different than our own.  Thank you for protecting my husband, seeing him successfully through surgery, and giving me patience as I waited.





Lisa



Linking up with: Simply Helping Him, Into the Word Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, True Vine Challenge, Faith Filled Friday, Spiritual Sunday, Weekend Whatever, Tell Me a Story
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

 As Christmas nears I think of Jesus descending from the glory of heaven to take on human flesh. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  (John 1:4-5)

Looking at the darkness that surrounds me, it's easy to think of Jesus as the Light of the World. What's almost incomprehensible is that He thinks of you and me as the light of the world, yet that's exactly what He says in our next Scripture Memory Verse:
 
Y - You are the light of the world.  Matthew 5:14
 
Of course, the difference between Jesus being the Light and you and I being the light is as great as the difference between the sun and the moon. 

Literally. 

Like the sun, God's Son is the source of the light He shines.  We are like the moon, reflecting the light we absorb from the Son. 

Photo courtesy of Photo Bucket

Of course, a few things need to take place if we are to reflect the Son.  First, we need to spend time in His presence so we have something to reflect.  How are you doing with that?  We can find ourselves so busy preparing for the Christmas holiday that we neglect Christ.  It's important we examine our schedules - and maybe even weed a few things out - so we don't forget Christ this Christmas. 

Next, we need to position ourselves in a place in need of light.  We don't appreciate the light reflected off the moon during the daytime because there's no need for it.  Where can you reflect the light of Christ? 

By showing patience in a crowded mall?

Giving a generous tip to a harried waitress?

Being understanding of a weary cashier?

Helping a family in need?

My husband is undergoing major surgery and will be hospitalized for several days.  It's my prayer that as I wait I can be light to someone who desperately needs it.  Where will you be light?


Lisa

Only one verse to go and we will complete our journey from A to Z!  I have been so blessed by learning these verses; I want you to be blessed too! You can jump in anywhere at any time. Here are the verses we've learned so far. Won't you join us? A-Z versepacks - a set of business cards with a verse printed on each - may still be available. Contact Darlene at darlenedykstra@yahoo.com.

A - As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b

B – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:31

C – Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

DDevote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

EEvery good and perfect gift is from above James 1:17

F – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

G – God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

H – How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

I – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Galatians 5:1

J – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

K – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13

L - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

M – May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:76

NNothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17b

O – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

PPut on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Q - In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15b

R - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

S - Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

T - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

U - Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it. Proverbs 16:22
V - Victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:31b

W - We Love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

X - Exalt the Lord our God, worship at His footstool; He is holy. Psalm 99.5

I've been known to link up with: Soli Deo Gloria, Inspire Me Monday, Titus 2sdays, Tell Me a Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Courtship Connection, Into the Beautiful, God Bumps & God Incidences, Word-Filled Wednesday, Winsome Wednesday, Simply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Monday's Musings, Monday Montras
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 20 comments

"...one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)



Jesus replied,


"When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

Anything your heart desires

Will come to you"*



If you listen to how many people pray, or how some "pastors" preach, you might be led to believe these were the words of Jesus rather than those of Jiminy Cricket.  Think about it...

How often do we ignore God until we want something? 

How often do we treat Him like a genie in a lamp, pouring out request after request with barely a breath inbetween?

Or maybe we act like He's a big vending machine in the sky, thinking "Okay God, I did this, now I need You to do that..."

I've been convicted myself that my prayers can be heavy on the requests and light on worship and adoration.  I'm not fond of people who want things from me but aren't interested in a relationship with me, and I can't imagine God is fond of it either.

If we continue reading in Luke, we see Jesus begins His model of prayer by saying "Father, hallowed be your name,"

Throughout Scripture we're reminded that God is holy and deserving of our praise.  If Jesus began His prayer this way, wouldn't we be wise to do the same?
 
X - Exalt the Lord our God, worship at His footstool; He is holy.  Psalm 99:5

This is our next verse in the "She Sparkles" A to Z Scripture Memory Challenge. (Hey, give her points for creativity - there are no verses that actually start with "X"!)   Can you belive we only have two verses left?  I have been so blessed by learning these verses; I want you to be blessed too! You can jump in anywhere at any time. Here are the verses we've learned so far. Won't you join us?

A - As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15b

B – Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Acts 16:31

C – Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

DDevote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

EEvery good and perfect gift is from above James 1:17

F – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

G – God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

H – How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

I – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! Galatians 5:1

J – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

K – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Psalm 34:13

L - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

M – May Your unfailing love be my comfort. Psalm 119:76

NNothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17b

O – O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1

PPut on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Q - In quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15b

R - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8

S - Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

T - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

U - Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it. Proverbs 16:22
V - Victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:31b

W - We Love because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

* Thanks to my good friend Kris, who shared this illustration from Jack Hayford with me.
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