Summering in Psalms – F.A.T. Girls Style

Beginning Monday, May 27th, join us as we spend our summer in the book of Psalms.

Why in the world should you spend your summer reading  Psalms with us? Well…

Music and poetry often seem to be the only way to express the wide gamut of emotions we all experience throughout our lives. Happiness, anxiety, frustration, despair, peacefulness, joy and anger are difficult to script because our human emotions are complicated. The book of Psalms speaks  to this part of our human experience through the poetic expressions of people who offered their feelings and their circumstances to God.

My hope and prayer is that we will use this season to exhale… to pull in close to the Father, to see beautiful glimpses of Jesus in these Old Testament songs and prayers, to inhale the wondrous realization of His love, His mercy, and His grace.

Did you know…?

The one hundred fifty psalms in this Old Testament book provide poetic expressions of praise, worship and confession.  Jewish tradition ascribes David as the author of 73 psalms, Asaph 12 psalms, the sons of Korah 9 psalms, Solomon 2 psalms, Herman (with the sons of Korah), Ethan, and Moses each wrote 1, and 51 psalms are anonymous. The time span over which the psalms were written is vast beginning about the time of Moses (around 1440 B.C.) and ending with the Babylonian captivity which was 586 B.C.

Join us!

Berta

December 10th – The Temple, part 1

tabernacle
1 Kings 5:5
 
The Temple – Part 1
 
The temple was more than the temple.
 
But you have probably figured that out by this point in Advent.
 
Each of these Old Testament stories point beyond themselves. They are like little mirrors as they catch the light of Christ’s birth, his life and death, his resurrection, and ascension.
 
Their light give us a glimpse of what’s to come – his second coming – a return to set all things right.
 
Let’s do a little temple history, shall we?
 
The temple served as the meeting place for God and humanity.
 
First – The Tabernacle (the Mishkan)
 
Before Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the meeting place was a portable leather-sided tabernacle. It was basically a tent that could be taken down and put up as the people of Israel moved from place to place.
 
God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to build a *mikdash* (sanctuary) where God would dwell, specifying exactly how the tabernacle should be designed.
 
As the people wandered through the wilderness, the presence of God was always with them. It was not that God needed a physical sanctuary on earth, but that each one of us is called to build a tabernacle for God in our hearts, preparing ourselves to become a sanctuary for God.
 
The tabernacle’s design physically represented a gradual increase in degrees of holiness, from the outer courtyard (meant to create a barrier from the common and outside world) to the Holy of Holies (only entered once a year on Yom Kippur by the High Priest).
 
The portability of the tabernacle foreshadows the future movements of the Jewish people in exile, where they built synagogues and houses of study wherever they migrated.
 
The note on [Exodus 25:1-31:17] in the [*ESV Study Bible*]
  • First, the tabernacle is seen as **a tented palace for Israel’s divine king**. He is enthroned on the ark of the covenant in the innermost Holy of Holies (the Most Holy Place). His royalty is symbolized by the purple of the curtains and his divinity by the blue. The closer items are to the Holy of Holies, the more valuable are the metals (bronze→silver→gold) of which they are made.
  • The other symbolic dimension is Eden. The tabernacle, like the garden of Eden, is where God dwells, and various details of the tabernacle suggest it is **a mini-Eden**. These parallels include the east-facing entrance guarded by cherubim, the gold, the tree of life (lampstand), and the tree of knowledge (the law). Thus God’s dwelling in the tabernacle was a step toward the restoration of paradise, which is to be completed in the new heaven and earth ([Revelation 21-22) us.
 
John 1:14 tells us that “the Word became flesh and *dwelt* among us.” In other words, when Jesus came as Emanuel, he “tabernacled” among us.
 
Jesus,
 
No words could ever express the gift of your presence in our lives, in our hearts. Learning about you through Scripture is one of the greatest joys of my life because the more I learn about you, the greater my love for you. Give me boldness to share you with others daily… Your story, our story, is just to rich not to share.
 
It is the greatest story of all!
 
Amen

 

December 9th – 2 Samuel 5:1-5

shutterstock_279608516-sheep (1)

 

Shepherd – King

I know I live in unicorn land with cotton candy clouds and dreams of a perfect world. My idea of the perfect politicians and leaders are those marvelously servant minded, honest, humble Jimmy Stewart characters I have loved in the old Hollywood movies…
I want a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” kind of politician and leader to serve and guide the people.

So when I look at this passage of Scripture in 2 Samuel in light of our recent 1 & 2 Samuel study, I know David…

I know his humanly imperfect heart, and I know His God.

King and shepherd seem to be polar opposites, don’t they?

Kings are regal, sit on thrones, live in wealth, and rule people with calculated agendas. They hobnob with important people.
Shepherds are humble. They are often dirty. They spend their day caring for their flock outside in the elements. They are cautious and patient people who have very small circles of influence.
 
When we look at the person of David, we see aspects of both shepherd and king. God chose him to shepherd His people. Honestly maybe shepherds would make better kings.

Maybe we need someone who cares more about his people, his flock, than wealth and power.

 
David carried his shepherding spirit into his role as king.

Was he perfect? Heavens no…

BUT One would come who would be the perfect Shepherd and King. In John 10, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd, the one who knows his sheep and lays down his life for them. He is also king, the one who victoriously defeats the powers of sin, death, and evil.
Crown of thorns, robed in majesty…

King Jesus,

I praise you for you are both mighty and meek, self-sacrificing and victorious, and You rule over all! I praise your shepherd’s heart. Please bring a spirit of gentleness and self-sacrifice to the hearts of our political leaders in our country.

Amen.

December 8th – 1 Samuel 16:1-15

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Photo by Pro Church Media.

The Unlikely King

Let’s be honest. We all love a great “underdog” story.

The beautiful thing about the family line of Jesus is it’s filled with underdogs, unlikely heroes, a sprinkling obedient humble people, a handful of rebels, and a few reprobates…

David was an unlikely pick as Israel’s king. Baby of the family and shepherd boy…
AND yet… God shattered the expectations of whiny Israel and chose this keeper of sheep and farm boy to lead His wayward, fickle people.
Have you noticed that God has a habit of subverting the world’s expectations?
Not only did He choose an unlikely boy as king, He chose to bless the world through a
tiny group of people who were often bullied by other nations.
And when it came to saving His people and expressing His love for the entire world, He would come in human flesh as a member of that underdog nation.
 
What in the world!? Right?
It even sounds incredible as I type this. I am daily reminded He works in ways that are so
outside the norm…

BUT I LOVE THAT ABOUT MY GOD!

The knowledge that God would be born as a baby, vulnerable and unknown in humble surroundings…
  • That He would do the physical labor of a tradesman… not an aspiring political leader…
  • That He would submit himself to the humiliation and physical agony of death on a cross at the hands of a corrupt and powerful empire…
It’s simply unbelievable… according to the world’s standard that is.
BUT we serve a God who is outside the box… who is a pursuer of the underdog, lover of the lowly, rescuer of the weak and broken…

He is a redeemer…

God has shown His love for the whole world in Jesus, descendent of David, Jesse, Obed, and our unlike hero Boaz who was the redeemer of Ruth.

Jesus is the One True King of all people.

The greatest shattering of expectations is that God makes himself the underdog and conquers sin and death.
 

LORD,

You constantly amaze me, and you exquisitely shatter my expectations. Your birth, life and death teach me humility and self-sacrifice. Thank you… Amen.

December 7th – Ruth 1:15-4:12

T he Kinsman Redeemer

The Kinsman Redeemer

 
Yes… I know. This is a long passage today, but it is incredibly rich. The book of Ruth is short, but its narrative. You can read it in one sitting and have no difficulty in understanding its text.
 
It’s a love story… and it’s a part of God’s love story to us.
Today as you read, take notice of several things.
  • The story takes place in Bethlehem. Interesting, yes?
  • Ruth was a widow.
  • Ruth was a Moabite… an outsider to the Jewish people.
  • Ruth was obedient to her mother-in-law, Naomi. She trusted her and was bold enough to follow through in her pursuit of Boaz.
  • Boaz was of the tribe of Judah. He was the great grandfather of King David and of the lineage of Jesus. He was a wealthy farmer.
 
Most of the time, the focus of the book Ruth seems to sit with Ruth and her uncommon devotion to Naomi, but today we are going to shift our focus to Boaz.
Boaz is known as the kinsman redeemer. Under Israelite law, there was a special provision for widows with no sons. The brother or the next closest male family member could take the widow as his wife, redeem  her late husband’s land, and  provide her with a son to carry on the family name. Without a kinsman redeemer, the widow would be left with nothing and the family would cease to exist.
 
Boaz was a relative of Naomi’s husband, and he had the power to redeem Ruth, the land, and father a child to carry on the family name.
 
Boaz was the proverbial knight on the white horse who rushes in to save the day. Unlikely hero, we see through the book of Ruth, his intimate care, his faithfulness, his compassion. Boaz not only did what was right, but he did it right away.
 
Boaz was a christ-type. Notice the little “c.”
He was a picture of Jesus, but Jesus would be better. Jesus would be the true Kinsman Redeemer. By virtue of his humanity, He is our brother, our kinsman, and He is willing to be our bridegroom in order to redeem us.
Jesus faithfully stepped up to save us, to join Himself to us even though we have nothing to offer him. We are a broken, poor, and sinful people, and yet, He made us His own.
Hallelujah!!!
Girls, that is seriously the BEST news you will EVER hear!

Jesus,

How precious are you! How amazing that you would join yourself to me, consider me your kinsman and family member. You so graciously paid the price with your own life to redeem me when I had nothing to offer in return other than my fickle heart and my broken promises. I give you my life…

Amen.

December 6th: Joshua 2:1-21

ElaineDavis_BadGirl2
Illustration by Elaine Davis

My dearest Rahab,

You are my unlikely hero…
Your faithfulness and your willingness to walk an unknown path humbles me.
I know you primarily by your sin… but you met the one true God during a tender time in history. You had heard the stories of the Hebrew God and His mighty deeds on behalf of His people.
These Yahweh people were coming with their God to take control of your people and land. You heard their fearful words as they were whispered in the streets. Panic was growing…
But a different kind of fear was taking root in your heart. You wanted to know this God who fought His people’s battles, who parted seas, who defeated alien armies. This God was different.
You risked everything to hide the Hebrew spies. In a culture of faithlessness, you dared to meet their faithful, holy God head-on and follow Him.
What a bold act!
You stepped out alone and followed on nothing but faith.
You found a place in a family line that leads to my Jesus.
You were just one of five women named in a male-dominated lineage.

YOU MADE THE CUT, GIRL!

Just as shocking, you were named in spite of the fact that you were a gentile and definitely outside the family tree.
AND … and … you were a prostitute…
A beautifully broken rebellious line of humanity leading to a beautifully perfect Savior…
Our God is SO GOOD!
Sometimes, like Rahab, we must walk the road alone, stepping out on nothing but faith and a holy fear of the God who rescues His people.

Hey Sisters!!! Be bold. Follow hard.

Father,
Your grace overwhelms me. You could care less about my pedigree. You are willing to overlook my sin as you graft me into your family and your story. Help me be faithful like Rahab in my generation. Empower me to do the work you have called me to do among my people.
Amen.

 

December 5th – Deuteronomy 5:1-22

sean-foster-jrazH5W7niA-unsplashPhoto by Sean Foster on Unsplash

The Ten Commandments

 

I think we often have the attitude that it is relatively easy to keep the Ten Commandments.

No idols-
No murder –
No stealing –
We may even flesh out our days with the attitude that it is within our power to do right, to keep the commandments and in the process earn God’s approval and love…
WRONG.
BUT…
When we sit with Matthew 5 – 7 – The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus rattles our complacent hearts.
We realize obedience is hard…and perfection?  Impossible???
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:17
Jesus is the true human, and He alone perfectly reflects God’s image (Colossians 1:15). He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).
While I don’t understand the full implications theologically of Jesus fulfilling the law, I do know that:
  • He was able to keep the commands we fail to keep.

  • He reversed the fall and broke the curse.

Jesus does what we cannot.

And when we are united with Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, we, in some marvelously mysterious way are able to keep the law too.
 
Jesus,
this is just one of so many things I don’t fully understand about the Father’s simple yet beautifully complicated love for me. I don’t understand how, but I am tremendously thankful that your life fulfills the law that I cannot humanly keep. Please continue to work that process in me, and make me more like Jesus…
Amen

December 4th – Genesis 37:1-36

frank-holleman-4UnwodkbWEQ-unsplashPhoto by Frank Holleman

Consider as you read this devotion today:

  • The line of Christ is through the brother Judah – not Joseph.

  • Judah was a liar.

  • Judah mistreated his daughter in law.

  • He slept with her believing her to be a prostitute.

  • He fathered a child with Tamar.

The beauty of the Jesse Tree is that we see the line of Christ is full of broken humans…

It fills me with hope. How about you?

Which brother are you?

❤️“The story of Joseph and his brothers is not the Bible’s only story of betrayal and denial.
Judah isn’t the last person who values money over a close relationship—think of Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And Reuben isn’t alone in his cowardice.
Think of Peter on the night that Jesus was arrested: he too was too ashamed to stand up in defense of the innocent. Nor is Joseph the only person to end up alone in the pit of despair. Jesus himself knows what it’s like to be betrayed, ignored, and left for dead. He knows all about being at the bottom of a dark pit when you don’t deserve it.
The incredible thing is that whichever brother you’re most like—the traitor, the coward, or the one at the bottom of the pit—Jesus Christ loves you. If you’re a Judah or a Reuben, you are forgiven. God cherishes you as a precious child.
And if you’re a Joseph, the one deep down in the dark pit, Christ himself is there with you. You’re not alone. Jesus is holding you close and loving you.

Lord, what a relief it is that the Bible is full of real people, whose weaknesses are so like my own. Forgive me for my failings and assure me of your love and presence. Amen.”

Devotion today by Grace Claus
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