A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, July 16, 2021
"The Master Architect"
Note: We are in the Midwest visiting family and friends and attending three family gatherings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. This morning we are still in Tulsa where Brooksyne will have breakfast with her brother, sister, and their families before we head to Fort Gibson Lake in eastern Oklahoma to gather with extended family on my Mom's side. We are unable to prepare regular Daily Encouragement messages during this time due to long travel days, limited time due to seeing family and friends, and in some cases limited internet access such as when we will spend several days in a mountain cabin next week in Arkansas. We will also not be preparing the daily podcast during our time away from home.
Message summary: Let us joyfully serve Jesus Christ today as we also direct our thoughts and affections on the Master Architect and on things above where our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
“For he [Abraham] was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
If you were to ask people to name a famous architect many would name Frank Lloyd Wright.
On Tuesday we stayed one night in Price Tower, the only skyscraper architect Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed. Now if you are from a big city like New York using the word "skyscraper" for a nineteen story building may seem a stretch but in a small city like Bartlesville (35,000) it does stand out! The tower was opened in 1956 as a corporate headquarters for H. C. Price Company, a local oil pipeline and chemical firm but more recently it was converted to a hotel. Price Tower is a member of Historic Hotels of America. Wright nicknamed the tower, which was built on the Oklahoma prairie, "the tree that escaped the crowded forest" (the "crowded forest" being the skyscrapers in a city.)
It was an interesting place to stay since it is very idiosyncratic (something peculiar), which, apart from the fame of the architect, it's what makes the place so interesting along with it's interior still reflecting the 1950's era. Years ago we visited "Fallingwater", another famous Wright designed property, in Pennsylvania. I would use the same word to describe this property as well! A beautiful place to visit but not somewhere I would want to live (not that I would ever have that opportunity).
Today let us consider the true Master Architect and focus on the words, "architect and builder" in our daily text. The word, architect (architekton) is derived from two Greek words, “arche” which means chief and “technites” where we get the English word “technical”. The word builder translates a word that means, "artisan, builder, maker".
In this Scripture text the writer of Hebrews (who is not identified in the Bible text) gives us a glimpse of the early patriarch, Abraham, whose faith and actions indicated that he was looking for a city not designed or built by mere human hands. His heart’s desires were fixed upon the invisible heavens where he would live for all eternity. It’s an expression of his faith in what God had promised.
C.H. Spurgeon writes, “Here you have the expectation of faith. Faith does not live on things seen; she lives on something yet to come. That which is to come she regards as eternal, not like a mere tent in which she dwells here, but a city that hath foundations, fixed and firm.”
The Master Architect is at work in His Kingdom and in our lives, in both the visible and invisible realm. He’s designing a masterpiece, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Long after the works of the great architects and builders like Frank Lloyd Wright have turned to dust, the work of the Master Architect and Builder will remain!
In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves.. . . the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.”
Let us joyfully serve Jesus Christ today as we also direct our thoughts and affections on the Master Architect and on things above where our lives are hidden with Christ in God.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we’re reminded in the book of Colossians that if we are risen with Christ we are to set our affections on things above, not on things of the earth, for we are dead [to the things of this world] and our spiritual life is now hidden with Christ in God. Father, You are the Masterbuilder working in the invisible realm preparing for us a kingdom that cannot be shaken by the folly of man or the sins that so easily corrupt. Our future resting place is eternally fixed in the heavens where we will dwell with You and the saints of all the ages. Keep our anticipation stirred and our affections above where Jesus is seated at Your right hand since it's because of His sacrificial death that we can look forward to dwelling in the eternal city of Heaven. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Build My Life" Video Housefires
"Looking For The City" Video Steve Green
Price Tower Website
Price Tower Wikipedia article
Bartlesville has a beautiful downtown and although the city is small it has several tall buildings probably due to being home for a major oil company. This is the view from our twelfth floor hotel window.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
The hotel is furnished as it was in 1956. This is a replica of an office with the original furniture. Due to the historical nature and designation they are not allowed to upgrade the rooms and they are the same as original except for adding beds to make it a hotel. Even in this case they recreated the 50's design.
We visited Fallingwater in 2003, and this photo spot is known as the ultimate view. Fallingwater is a luxury home in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, most famous because it was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is in a gorgeous setting built over waterfalls, thus the name. It was the getaway home for Edgar Kaufmann Sr., a successful Pittsburgh businessman. It is listed among Smithsonian's Life List of 28 places "to visit before you die." Actually at 6 foot 2 inches I found the ceilings and doors way too low for me in addition to the damp, clammy feel due to the proximity to the water and the masonry.
Fallingwater Wikipedia article
All through Bartlesville themed buffalo are sponsored by various businesses. This was Brooksyne's favorite since it is the Oklahoma state song. Most of you know it from the very popular musical, Oklahoma!
We drove through Picher Oklahoma, a ghost town in northeastern Oklahoma abandoned due to widespread pollution from lead and zinc mining. The town, which sits just a quarter-mile off of Route 66, was the national center of lead and zinc mining. In 1920 nearly 10,000 people lived here. Picher mine shafts produced over half of the lead used to make bullets fired during World War I. The community's contribution to the war effort continued through World War II. The zinc ore mines continued to churn out the in-demand material. As a result, the town boomed. But later it became a ghost town as explained in this link.
The old Sherrell (Brooksyne's maiden name) homestead is to the left. I (Brooksyne) visited my old neighborhood where I grew up in West Tulsa. My brother, Jody and his wife, still live just up the road. Next to him is his daughter and her family. This is our neighbor's pond where the neighborhood children gathered and ice skated though we were a poor neighborhood and never owned ice skates, just skated in our rubber boots. And of course we never had a long ice season! Beyond our pasture was the Myers' swimming pond where we enjoyed swimming on very hot summer afternoons after spending the days doing the chores, tending to the huge garden we grew every year and then canning hundreds of quarts of vegetables to feed our family of seven.
To the far left stands Jody's barn and on the right you can see the old galvanized gate leading into our pasture land where Daddy milked our cow, Bessie. We also farmed many pigs, horses, goats, chickens, you name it. The skeleton of Daddy's humble barn is still standing to the right of Jody's barn. We had a farmette (as it is called in Lancaster County) since it was only five acres. Daddy brushhogged the neighbor's pastures all around us in exchange for access to their pastureland so we actually had nearly 15 acres to pasture on. Two days ago I visited with the neighbors I grew up with which was special, but it's no longer home since Daddy (Brooklyn) entered the kingdom of heaven in 2000 at age 66 and Mom (Ruth) joined him in 2001 at age 67. Both died of cancer. A few years later the house was sold to a couple from California. Scenes like this remind us that everything in this life is temporal, that rust and decay are inevitable on this side. But when we reach our heavenly home there is no aging, no rust.
I enjoyed meeting again with Charlotte Gaunt who lives in Mannford, OK. She's been a longtime reader so we got to know each other two years ago when I was in Tulsa. It was wonderful to visit with her again during breakfast at IHOP yesterday morning.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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