Arches of our Faith

Over the past few years, my husband and I have made it a point to take our family vacation right when school lets out for summer. Otherwise, it doesn’t happen. We get wrapped up between softball, baseball and our little berry farm. Our summer 2017 trip was a quick one, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and then up to Louisville for a visit to the famous Louisville Slugger Museum. We had a great time!

Visiting with Park Rangers always seems to be a highlight for us. One year it was the Ranger on horseback at the Petrified Forrest, this year it was a Ranger at one of the night chats. However, something one Ranger said during a our cave tour continues to intrigue my thoughts. He was teaching us about the natural arches which make up some of Mammoth Cave’s structure, and went on to say something to the effect that arches are one of the strongest architectural forms found in nature. It sparked my interest, and triggered thoughts of a spiritual reality.

First of all, the physical strength of an arch. Turns out that arches and domes have been used for thousands of years in architecture, in addition naturally occurring formations. The Roman aqueducts and Colosseum or Arches National Park in Utah for example. And think about an egg! A chicken egg has a natural arch form, and they can actually withstand a tremendous amount of weight. (I stack stuff on the eggs in my fridge all the time.)

Secondly, the word ‘arch’. And this one is a big tease, because there just isn’t time in the space of this blog post to review the origins of the word ‘arch’. But if you’re into words, it’s a good one. The word ‘arch’ ranges in definitions from a segment of a circle and bow, to describing a someone as cheeky, clever or cunning. It’s fascinating.

Third, and most important are the spiritual thoughts this Ranger’s comments stirred in my mind. I’m certain that if my brain could shoot fireworks, my husband and kids would have run for cover. The idea that arches are architecturally sound and capable of withstanding a massive amount of weight astounded me. One of God’s greatest promises to man was made with a visible sign, still to this day, in the form of an arch.

As the Lord fully engulfed this earth in a flood, His servant Noah was faithfully on board the ark. Afterwards, God made this promise to Noah and all generations to come.

And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures on earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have confirmed between Me and every creature on earth.”  (Genesis 9:12-17, HCSB)

Genesis 9_13

Our Creator lay down his bow, which is represented and attached to our present word of focus, and gave us a promise. God is the Promise Maker and the Promise Keeper. Just like His promise confirmed with a rainbow in the sky, His promises are strong and unbreakable. God’s promises can carry more weight beyond our comprehension, and they are never broken.

When life gets challenging, it’s the foundation of God’s promises that have the ability to hold us up. His promises can carry the load. His promises can provide the architecture of our faith.

One of the promises, or arches, I hold on to the most is Joshua 1:5-6a. “No man shall be able to stand against you all of the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you. Be strong and courageous…”

The Holy scriptures are full of promises from our Creator, some of which I hold on to when the ground beneath my feet seems a little shaky. What “arches” can you hold on to in scripture?

(Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.)

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Hello – My Lovely, New Friend!

Hey friends, so this is post is a little different than the norm – but I couldn’t help it. Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity for a little get away to Springfield, MO. It was great! But one of my favorite things is that I got to visit the local LifeWay Christian bookstore. And, I had a 40% off coupon for one item. (Score!) The minute I saw that coupon, and realized it would be valid over my trip – my one item was pegged. A new Bible. The She Reads Truth Bible.

I didn’t really need a new Bible – I have 3 sitting on a shelf in front of me, and another one to my left hand. I use them all, but did I really “need” another? But it’s pretty! And…it’s the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation I’ve been desiring, especially for study. Did I say it’s pretty?

Well, I got it. So now I have two Bibles sitting by my left hand, with three more in front of me. It feels slightly selfish, but I use them all!

IMG_6442What a gift. You see, a sweet friend had the opportunity to do some of the artistry within its pages. To me, this Bible is more than just a pretty, and new-to-me translation. It’s tangible evidence that God goes before us, His plans are good, and that He has an abundance of good gifts to give his children. And those gifts aren’t necessarily the tangible gift of a new Bible. It’s His love, and watching His plans unfold before us, it’s the gift of forgiveness and new mercy each day.

Not only have I been enjoying the story behind this Bible – but the devotionals, maps & timelines (I LOVE maps & timelines!), and there’s even space to take notes or journal. The extras are super enriching.  And even better, God is confirming messages to me within it’s pages.  Praise you, Lord!

Looking for more info on this little treasure? You can read Carrie’s blog post and visit the She Reads Truth website.

I’m not being compensated in any way to promote this Bible, just wanted to share my excitement with you. Happy studying!

Waiting Well

Waiting on God vs. Waiting for God

School-day mornings around our house just bring out the best in everyone (insert ample sarcasm). We’re often waiting on one person or another. The right outfit isn’t clean, we can’t get the pony tail just so, the sleep just wasn’t enough. So, there we are. Waiting. Very, impatiently.

It seems like this life is full of waiting. In fact, you might be waiting this very moment. I can almost guarantee it. Waiting to use the bathroom, waiting on someone to complete a project, waiting on your favorite show to start or a ballgame to begin, waiting on test results, waiting on a phone call, the list could be extensive. The more our society as a whole is conditioned to immediacy, waiting-well seems to become like an extinct dinosaur. Impatience runs rampant, and even blind-sides us at times.

When we’re in relationship, it often includes waiting. Our relationship with the Lord is no different. How often have you waited on an answer to prayer? There are some prayers, I’ve whispered for years, that I’m still waiting for answers to. How many times do Christians say, “I’m just waiting on God,” with a hint of sarcasm and impatience?

Isaiah 30:18 tells us, “Therefore, the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for him.” (ESV, emphasis mine)

Have you ever thought of the All Mighty, powerful God, as having to wait? I believe that God’s timing is perfect, and sometimes waiting is involved. We don’t have the big picture, and typically, we have to wait for our pieces to fall into place with everyone else’s.

This verse is so exciting to me because it lays out a win / win situation! The Lord is waiting to be gracious to us, he desires to do that. Sometimes, it’s all about timing. In our waiting for Him, we will be blessed. So not only is the Lord going to be gracious to us – we’re going to be blessed in our waiting.

I want to offer a thought, and it may just be splitting hairs – but I think it could be powerful. It’s my desire that this may just help us to ‘wait well’. When we’re waiting on the Lord, it carries a sense of impatience. (Like me, tapping an impatient foot with kids on a school-day morning.) When you’re waiting on God to act, how often do you catch yourself impatient, arms crossed?

When we’re waiting for the Lord, it carries an expectancy and hopeful anticipation. Waiting for God requires us to exercise trust in Him.

The word in Isaiah 30:18, wait, is châkâh in Hebrew. It means to await: – long, tarry, wait; to be patient.[i] To me, this word carries a sense of abiding, drawing near and tarrying.

In my life right now, there are a lot of things up in the air. A lot that requires me to wait. It’s an active waiting, but I’m still waiting. I’m anticipating that a hopeful attitude in waiting, rather than impatience, will alter my experience in the process. What would be different if you chose to patiently wait for your Creator? What would it be like to draw near with hopeful anticipation? Would you be more open for the next step? Surrendered?

When we wait for the Lord, we will be blessed. God is gracious.

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Amplified

[i] Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 2, p. 39). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.