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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments

"Bless your socks off" - to receive blessings from God in such a quantity and with such force as to cause the coverings to fly off one's feet.

OK, this definition did not come from Websters; I made it up. But it's the best way I can describe my experience this weekend - God blessed my socks off!

"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Exodus 3:5

Moses, get ready. God's going to bless your socks off!

God blessed my socks off! Perhaps part of the blessing was that I didn't see it coming. We organized a retreat for our small group leaders, and one of the women knew someone with a cottage on a lake who would allow us to use it for the weekend. Just having a place where we could hold this retreat was a blessing. The place God provided for us was AMAZING!

The cottage was not a cottage at all (perhaps, in my limited mental capacity, that term was all I could comprehend). It definitely wasn't something you would ever find in The Parade of Homes. Nope. The Lodge, as it is called, would be better suited on "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Except you would never see it there because the owners just aren't that kind of people. I don't even know who they are.

I'm sure our eyes grew bigger as we approached the Lodge. Because the caretaker met us there, we showed as much decorum as we could muster up. But once he finished our tour and left, we could no longer contain ourselves and started jumping up and down and screaming. Literally. Not something I normally do, but then nothing about this experience was normal.

I knew the Lodge had twelve bedrooms, but my mind couldn't fathom the SIZE of this place, and my words cannot describe it. I wonder if John felt this way as he was writing down his vision of Heaven in the book of Revelation?

I was one up on John - I had a camera. I will admit, I took a picture of every room. I thought the pictures would express what my words couldn't. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? If that is true, I needed it to be worth a million. As soon as I got home I loaded the pictures on the computer to show my husband and realized how far they fell short of the reality of this place. So even if John had illustrated the book of Revelation, we still would have only a sliver of the reality of what Heaven is.

I even took a picture of the refrigerator-sized freezer, open and full of a half-gallon of every possible flavor of Hudsonville icecream - all there for us to enjoy. (I called the woman who was going to pick up a half-gallon of vanilla on the way over and told her, "never mind".)

I wonder how often I do that - settle for vanilla when God wants to give me a smorgasbord of the best? Scripture says in Ephesians 3:20 that God "is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." After this weekend, I have a better understanding of what that means. It wasn't just the house (or the icecream), it was that God was there. He was lavishing His love on us. He was speaking to us. We were listening and we were blessed.

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you." John 14:2 KJV

I could have never imagined a person like me staying in a place like this. In a way that is only possible in God's kingdom, this experience reminded me of my time in Africa. The houses were different - a mansion vs. dirt floors and mud walls, but the hearts were the same. In both places I was offered the use of everything they had.

It IS a small world after all.

Daddy, words cannot express how much this weekend meant to me. I feel so loved and cherished. The best part was that I got to be with you. I can't wait for Heaven! Thanks for knowing my heart and allowing me to skip the decorum and just jump up and down and scream when I get there. Love, Lisa
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments

I am having a terrific day, just bursting with joy and excitement! I've really been making an effort to give thanks to God for blessings big and small, especially since I'm so quick to petition Him with needs. I want to be like the one leper who returned to give thanks, not the nine who took the blessing and walked away (Luke 17:12-19).

Our "nest" is pretty much empty, with the exception of random sightings of our youngest son whose belongings still live here, but last night my daughter stayed over. Since she doesn't live here any more, any time we can spend together is a treat. We spent the morning just doing everyday things, made special by the fact that we were doing them together.

We knew her boyfriend was joining us for lunch, and just as we were getting ready to eat, my son made one of his random appearances, happening on a great meal rather than his usual bowl of cereal. Just having us all in one place is a rare occurance and reason for celebration. We spent the afternoon together playing a game and enjoying each other's company.

The highlight of the afternoon came when we learned that there will be a wedding next summer, the first in our family! I'm so thankful that my daughter will be married to a young man with such a passion for serving the Lord!

Little did I know, the blessings would keep on coming! My daughter was barely on her way out the door when I got a call from a reporter from the Grand Rapids Press, wanting to do a story on a quilt I recently finished. I've spent the last three years working on a quilt made of neckties, some of which come from well-known pastors. I plan on auctioning it off on ebay September 8-15 with the proceeds going to a remote village in Kenya that my husband and I have worked in.

All the advertising for this auction has been by word-of-mouth, so having this published in the Press will be a huge boost. I also sent letters to everyone who donated a tie, showing them the finished product and giving them the auction date. I received a couple replies from people telling me they're sharing the information and praying for the success of the auction.

One of the calls came from one of my favorite people in the world, an eighty-something missionary from California that acts half his age - if that! He called me with a blessing from Deuteronomy 28:12:

"The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands."

I definitely feel the Grand Rapids press article (due out August 29) is the result of his prayer. I looked up this verse and found the chapter starts out by saying:

"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All theses blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:"

Following these introductory verses is an encouraging list of all the blessings the Lord wants to give us. The tone of the chapter changes in verse 15, though, when it says,

"However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:" followed by over fifty verses describing the fate of the disobedient.

"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life..." Deuteronomy 30:19-20

God asks us for a lot- total devotion and obedience - but I find my life simplifying as I give things over to Him. As I let go of things (or as He pries my fingers away) I find that those things pale in comparrison to what God wants to give me. We all have a choice. Choose life in Christ, you'll never regret it, and remember to give Him thanks for all He has done!

Father, I thank you for the many ways You've blessed me, both big and small. Help me to notice all you do for me so that I may never fail to give you thanks. Love, Lisa
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