Multitude Monday: Working Here?

Sometimes changes in life follow the annual shifts in the seasons. This year that is proving to be the case. For almost three years I’ve had time to recoup from some major life changes. As a result, I’ve moved to a beautiful and inspiring place. Time has been filled doing volunteer work for several organizations, making new friends, traveling to Central Asia, and being available to encourage my adult children.

I’ve had time to rest and rekindle.

But the autumn shift this year has also brought a new job. With it comes an opportunity to speak into young lives and bring home a pay check. If you haven’t caught my enthusiasm yet, check out these photographs of Glen Eyrie, the conference center owned and operated by the Navigators. Nestled in it’s own secluded valley, it was originally the private home of General Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs.

Some of the regular residents rambling the acreage include a herd of big horn sheep, several rafters of turkeys (yes, I had to look that up), deer, and bear. As a conference center it is a place where people from all over the world come to learn and grow in their faith.

It is a peaceful place, one of my favorite spots on earth.

And they are going to pay me to work here!

So, on this Multitude Monday, I begin my list with thanks for His gracious provision:

A new job

His perfect timing

A new season

A lingering summer

The first signs of approaching fall

The yellow in the treetops

The antelope grazing across the road, the herd grown this year to an even dozen

Sunflowers blooming across the fields

The moon dancing across the sky

Fields tanning across the hills as summer grows to a close

The grasses whispering as they fade

A chill in the evenings and a sweater to warm in

Candle light, warmth for the eyes and the heart

God’s purpose, manifest

God’s love and strength

~”And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Philippians 4:19-20







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Made Perfect in Weakness…

But thou art making me, I thank Thee, sire.

What Thou hast done and doest Thou knows’t well.

And I will help thee; gently in Thy fire

I will lie burning; on Thy potter’s wheel

I will whirl patient, though my brain should reel.

Thy grace shall be enough the grief to quell,

And growing strength perfect through weakness dire.


George MacDonald, Diary of An Old Soul, October 2.


But [the Lord] said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Cor. 12:9











Book Review: The Soul of C.S. Lewis

The Soul of C.S. Lewis: A Meditative Journey through Twenty-Six of His Best-Loved Writings

Written and edited by Wayne Martindale, Jerry Root, and Linda Washington

Whether the words Narnia, Screwtape, and the Weight of Glory lead down familiar paths in your reading habits, or if you are just being introduced to one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century, this book is a must-have. It is an invaluable spring-board into the broader range of Lewis’ thinking coupled to helpful comments and Biblical passages.

It is dedicated to the need for quiet reflection and the “interconnectedness of Scripture and life.”

Designed for the reader’s personal growth, each offering is one short page. The book is divided into four categories: Pilgrimage, Temptation and Triumph, Going Deeper, and Words of Grace. There are six chapters in each category from six different writings, with ten contemplative offerings from each work cited. The introduction is packed with valuable references and establishes the flow for the entire work.

This book is three hundred and seventeen pages of sustenance for our souls. It expands our ability to plumb the depths of God’s Word through the heart of C. S. Lewis.  The contributors vary from life-long Lewis scholars to those who have lived his mind in the realms of his fiction. All carry insight into Lewis’ connection to the mind of God.

Thankfully, his fiction works have been included and act as what they are: an expansion of his intellectual understanding of human nature. Story, for many of us, is the link that brings truth to life. The introduction states:

“Lewis himself was well aware that reason has its own weaknesses. If someone makes a bad decision or a questionable moral choice, reason is not so quick to challenge the choice and call the individual to repentance. It is more likely that reason will be marshaled by the will to make a host of rationalizations and excuses for the bad choice. Consequently, bad moral choices can lead to intellectual blindness; cleverness is no synonym for ethical clarity. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:18 that ‘wicked people…suppress the truth by their wickedness.’ Lewis recognized that reason, having been employed to justify a bad choice, will stand like a dragon guarding access to the heart, thus keeping one’s understanding darkened. Sometimes story alone makes it possible to get past a watchful dragon.”

We have been blessed with Lewis’ insight into the human soul. His ability to communicate that insight will stand for posterity. This book adds to that gift by helping us connect the dots between Lewis’ vast works, his enduring themes, and Scripture. It is the work of ten gifted writers who will help move this treasure into the minds and hearts of coming generations, adding their own depths of scholarship and understanding to us, the readers.

Tyndale House Publishers has graciously provided a complimentary copy of this book to the reviewer. Yea!

Multitude Monday

God’s grace is rich this morning, joy meeting the glory of sun blushed clouds and cricket song on the porch.

~ripening tomatoes, red on the vine

~just enough clouds to reflect the rising sun

~our very own cricket in the flowers on the patio

~anticipation of good things, just over the horizon

~lingering summer

~sunlight in patches on the prairie

~God’s hand directing our work

~freedom, and the men and women who protect it

~ a son on his way to do the work God called him to

~a Father’s gift–grocery store flowers, warm reds, reduced and in my basket

~a patio to sit on

~God’s promise of protection and long life–Psalm 91

~ice cream, outdoors

~morning, fresh–a new day, a new week, a new season

~strength to accomplish His purpose

~a faithful washing machine, turning out clean laundry

~a turning of the tap–and clean, fresh water in my sink, in my shower!

~a new set of pens in five different colors with ink to match!

~God’s resilient strength placed in our hearts, ready in all seasons of life

~His Word, meat to chew, sustenance that carries us into the new day

Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.

The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 28: 6-9 NIV

May God’s rich heritage be known by you today, with ever-deepening understanding, in ever-widening circles of joy.

Love,

~Kris

Multitude Monday: Filling the Missing Chunk

It would never have crossed my mind to buy an inflatable palm tree.

Yet there it stood, 6 feet tall with a pool at its base holding ice and drinks. It added fun to our annual barbecue and did its job with flare and function.

My sister-friends had pulled a theme together, decorated tables and planned the menu. I was able to chip in with the general work and clean up, but the ability to turn a meal into a celebration came from their creative ability.

Now, I can cook and sew and do the job of feeding folks in large numbers. I can even throw a piñata and a sheet cake into the mix if called upon. But the joy of creating a festive atmosphere is a chunk that is missing in my makeup, and I know it.

My sisters fill in that missing chunk, and I’m so thankful to have them in my life. In their honor, this weeks list of Endless Gifts starts with them:

Pat and Sherrie and Kathy, my anti-stodgy chunk filler-in-ers

Creativity in all its forms

Inflatable palm trees :)

Hospitality at its warmest

Opportunity to share talents

Being loved in your lack

Smiles all around

Happy hearts

Full tummies

Ice cream cake, donated by Maggie Moo’s

Mike and Steve, the guys flipping burgers

Gip, the famous praying therapy dog

The gentle music of Nancy’s harp

Our faithful military chaplains

The unsung heroes, our Nurse Case Managers

who work tirelessly for our Wounded Warriors

“The Lord  bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26, NIV





A Summer Multitude Monday

On this Monday, a chance to praise God for His blessings

and be thankful for

  • The opportunity to ramble with camera in hand
  • Beauty close and accessible
  • A place where faith and family still matter

  • Farming, and towns where you can still park the tractor

  • Cloud shadows racing across the valley

  • Churches and schools together

  • The view from a place only a bird could be

  • Family time, family visits
  • Good BBQ
  • Opportunity to encourage others
  • The red, white, and blue and all it stands for
  • Chaplains
  • Bugs for kittens to stalk
  • Deep conversation, continuing across miles and years
  • Walking, hiking, trekking, mobility in all its forms
  • Babies, new and smiling
  • Company coming
  • Thunderstorms
  • Still green grass
  • Tomorrow, and the hope it has to offer
  • Today, because it is

Be blessed this week, and walk in the knowledge that God loves you.

In Him who loved us first,

Kris

Does God See?

“He sees you,” she whispered, bent low, hands on my shoulders.  Later another woman crossed the room, knelt by me and said, “God sees you. He sees your tears, your faithfulness, your years of hard work. He sees you.”

How odd. I hadn’t been aware of the need for such encouragement, yet twice in one morning the same word came through two unconnected women. The following week a third person delivered the same message.  Spoken with no elaboration, almost as an afterthought, the words struck with an intensity and depth that left no doubt of its significance.

God had my attention.

I went home feeling ravaged. The message had sheared my armor and exposed my soul. So what? He sees me? He sees everyone. I’m still here, alone. Instead of giving strength and comfort these encounters had marked a deep sense of abandonment. I had walked through the forty-nine months since my husband’s illness and death wrapped in God’s presence, like a blanket insulating me from the harshness of the reality. Yet there was something else deep inside, untouched and unacknowledged. My response to the message was mystifying, yet God was using it to uncover something hidden deep in my heart–the depth of aloneness that comes with separation from our “one flesh” partner.

And a seed of bitterness trying to find the light.

Days passed. I came across in Laurens Van Der Post’s A Story Like the Wind a moving reference to the African Sindabele greeting, “I see you, indeed I see you.” Spoken with the right hand lifted high, palm out, it is a sign of “being recognized and accepted…almost as good as an embrace.”

This touches me through. It makes me want to draw closer, to pull out the meaning of God’s message. I draw a shuddering breath. Okay, God, I’m ready. Please show me what You want me to see. I get out my Bible and begin to study.

“The God Who Sees,” El Roi, is found in the story of Hagar in Genesis 16. Hagar is a run-away Egyptian slave. She is pregnant with Abraham’s child, was treated cruelly by her mistress, and has struck out across the desert to return to her homeland. In her loneliness and distress El Roi finds her.

This is one of the few places in the Old Testament where God appears in physical form, a theophany. Not only does He appear, He ‘sees’ her depth of anguish and despair. He makes Himself visible and speaks directly to her. The cultural implications are similar to Jesus’ speaking to the Samaritan woman in John 4. This was something that wasn’t done. Men did not lower themselves to speak with women, much less a female slave.

But He speaks to her, confronting her deepest need and bringing comfort and encouragement. He gives her promises for the son she is carrying, and blesses him with the name Ishmael, meaning “God Hears.”

Before God appears to Moses in the burning bush, before Jacob wrestles with Him at Peniel, God appears to Hagar. A woman–a slave, an Egyptian, someone out of God’s chosen line–was seen by God. Here she names Him El Roi, and the place she names Beer Lahai Roi, “The Well of the One Who Lives and Sees Me.”

Following this meeting, Hagar obeys God and returns to her earthly master, Abraham. He also listens to her, hearing with an obedient heart, and honors her encounter by christening their son Ishmael, the name given by El Roi.

Reading and studying this short passage begins to open my heart and mind to God’s message. Like the loving God He is, he was answering a need before I was fully aware of it. He was working deeply, rooting out a seed of bitterness and abandonment I wasn’t aware of. While I had chosen to stand on the Word of God, trusting that He never leaves us nor forsakes us, that He is a Father to the fatherless and a husband to the widow, there was more going on in my heart than I realized.

Two weeks went by and another woman pulled me aside, looked into my eyes and said, “He sees you.” This time I could hear and receive the message as God intended, a message of love and encouragement. But, if I hadn’t been willing to face the sense of abandonment and work through it, the message could have been lost. Worse, it could have hardened the shell developing over my heart.

Instead, it has brought healing, growth, wisdom, and thankfulness. I know now that He not only sees me, my needs, my heart, and my future but that He also cares for me at a depth that is unfathomable, except by His grace.

And I am blessed.

God bless you and keep you,

God smile upon you and gift you,

God look you full in the face, and make you prosper.

The Aaronic Blessing, Numbers 6:24-25, The Message