My name is Mark-Jan Koster and I would like to tell you who I am and how I became a believer, so you will see from which background, which angle I write my articles about faith. Someone who grew up with faith believes it belongs to life, but to someone who has found faith, has found an enrichment in his/her life. At least that is how I experienced it, because I come from a family where there was no Christian education. My mother was raised with faith, although she did not go to church. My father did not want to know anything about faith. To him, it was fantasy and so we were not raised with this fantasy.
Colleagues and (former) friends know me as quiet and patient. That is, to a certain extent. This is not always due to my personality. In fact, I was born with 1 ear deaf. I am literally missing a link to my brain on 1 side. This makes it impossible for me to hear stereo, but also to determine where the sound is coming from. So, if someone calls me, I need to know in advance where this person is standing and based on the sound of their voice, I know which direction I need to look. To be able to do this, I must first learn the sound of the voice of every person around me and you can't do that if you are busy and engaged in all sorts of things yourself. It also did get me into trouble, mainly in elementary school. Let me just say that that period was not the finest of my life. My mother always tried to make it clear to me that I needed to stand up for myself by banging my fist on the table to demand a statement, being there and hitting back. But strangely, my feelings were different. They were just the opposite than my mother's words and I followed that feeling, not my mother's words. I was also often emotionally upset when others spoke or acted against that feeling.
My hypersensitivity was first in emotion within myself, but the older I got it developed more and more into feeling the emotion and pains of others. I decided to go along to paranormal fairs one day. After all, not everyone has this and so you decide to look for others who have the same, or similar experiences. Faith was not central to my life at that point. I was familiar with Jesus, but saw him as someone who was also psychic, and at the highest level. But I was missing something ... I saw people who referred to themselves as superior and made money from their superiority. I even came across the term like “clairvoyant”, meaning “clearly knowing” not too long ago ... But then that inner feeling again. Not hitting back, not banging your fist on the table to demand a statement, but then still positioning yourself as superior? No, something is not right! And I also saw other dangers. People who live their lives according to what a paranormal person tells them. That can never be the intention, in my opinion.
Meanwhile I was living on my own and I borrowed a book from my father about practical psychology. This book helped me to get back on my feet again and I even got hired as an assistant business manager. So, worldly minded people who say that worldly teachings help you get ahead in this world are most certainly not lying! But again, the same thing; again wanting to be the best, fist on the table, showing yourself and so on. I hated it when people called me 'sir' and addressed me with ’u’ (In Dutch, “u” is what you say in respect to an elderly). I also saw a clear cultural shift within 'like-minded people'. I didn't like that at all either, because on the one hand, the staff looks up to you and addresses you with 'sir' and ‘u’ and on the other hand, if you had a visit from management, only the manager and I existed, but the staff could be happy to hear a 'good morning'. Of course I know that there are distinctions between persons, in terms of education, knowledge and skills, yet I did not like it at all! So, this teaching could not form my basis either, because inwardly the same feeling was still present that indicated just the opposite.
The position I had, I did not have for very long. Still, I learned a lot during that period, and I received quite a lot of positive feedback from my staff and superiors. In the same position, I did not succeed in getting another job, partly because my affinity began to take another turn, as mentioned above. I had to start all over again after that and that means a lot of temporary work, production and you name it. Again, that was quite an experience, because where before you had a lot to say and staff under you, then nothing. But that did correspond with my inner feelings, which I will explain in more detail below.
Meanwhile I had ended up in Hengelo with mainly my sister. She had more faith than I did, and we often talked about it. Through these conversations, self-study via books (Bible and others) and experiences I finally came to faith. I simply could not avoid it anymore. I read the gospel and it immediately struck me that what Jesus taught matched my inner feelings. And especially the cores of love and humility. Not wanting to be the highest, but the lowest. Not banging your fist on the table to indicate that you are there too but be a servant in humility. Here we are taught to be the smallest, to be a servant. By yourself you can’t do anything, with the Lord everything. Love is the basis of everything, and God is a God of Love. Finally some wise words! So, it was through these core values that I came to faith, but it didn't stop there. I came to know Him as Jesus, but now I have come to know Him as Yeshua.
I bought a Bible, the "Complete Jewish Bible" by David Stern. It is in English, but the Hebrew names of the persons are shown normally, including their meanings. And that's what you miss in the English/western Bibles. Again, this has revealed a new world for me. The 5 books of Moshe (Moses), for example, has a completely different meaning than how we know it ... Knowing the meaning of these 5 books is, in my opinion, a revelation in itself. I am often annoyed by the many worldly translations, to make it more understandable to the world, but in doing so rips the context apart!
I try to interpret the words of our Creator in different ways and this is also how I write my articles, on a literal level, on a spiritual level and on a heavenly level. How do I get there? First, that Yeshua clearly indicates that there is a difference between literal material and spiritual, just look at the conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. The pure heavenly level is unattainable, i.e., in infinity you are always learning and growing. I see the first level as the knowledge of the Word and believing in it. The second level I see as the knowledge of the Word and their spiritual meaning, the meaning behind this Word. A very good example of this is the creation story. So, the third level I see as the highest love and the understanding that all words can be traced back to a Fatherly love and how He wisely sets up His order from love. That understanding only the Father Himself has.
The articles I write, I write in intention to make the second, spiritual level clear through examples on the first level. At least, this is what I try to do. If I can't substantiate something, then I also state that honestly. If I can substantiate something, then I try to do so as well as possible with the help of simple examples. But where a person makes mistakes and thinks they have some insight, here too one should never take my articles as true but take them along in their own development to a better understanding of God's Word. I only share my opinion and try to substantiate it. The reason for this sharing lies in my love for this Word as I have understood it and love is there to be shared ... However, there is only 1 Teacher who knows what truth is!