Psalm 22

Overview

    A Psalm that as Christians we should recognize so much of in the crucifixion of Jesus. Beginning with Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (verse 1a and Matthew 27:46), to the mockery of those around the cross described in verses 6-8, to the pierced hands and feet and dividing of his clothes in 16-18 (Matthew 27:35), and through it all a praise to the Lord!

In reading this Psalm I want to say, “At least I know the end.” I want to avoid the pain and suffering, but as I shared with you about my experience with Davy, that is a way we insulate our feelings, protect ourselves, bandage ourselves. We must grieve the cross anew each time we sin, each time we read of it, hear of it. Jesus suffered, and died, for you. Linger on these words, read this Psalm over again and again and again if you need. The pain, sorrow, and disgrace that He took on for us. This is what we deserved. And it isn’t to scare us straight that we should focus on it, but to remember what He has done for us, to never think we are without sin or blame apart from Him.

Characters

God, David—the Psalmist / Jesus on the Cross, Israel (the spiritual branch which praises God), our fathers (those who have the faith in God before us, not merely those who are in the genealogy of Judah), mankind, the people, his mother, bulls of Bashan, dogs / a company of evildoers, the lion, wild oxen, my brothers, you who fear the Lord, offspring of Jacob, offspring of Israel, the afflicted, those who seek him, all the ends of the earth, all the families of the nations, all the prosperous of the earth, the one who could not keep himself alive, and a people yet unborn.

Key Verse

Verse 27 “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.”

Verse 31 “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”

Probably not the crux of the Psalm, since all the ones I mentioned before are indeed more about the remembering mentioned here. But these are the application, go and remember and proclaim his righteousness to all who are yet unborn. That is how we heard about his death was the memory and proclamation of others in our lives.

Cross References

Psalm 2:7-8 “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

Psalm 67:7 “God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”

Psalm 96:7 “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!”

Psalm 86:9 “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.”

Isaiah 60:1-6 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.”

This is also a prophecy of Jesus, so I have emphasized certain phrases to draw you back to the story of Jesus within this prophecy.

Psalm 78:5-8 “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

Psalm 102:18-20 “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,”

Conclusion

    When I was reading the Bible through for the first time I was shocked at how quickly God was forgotten. People who had believed in God were still alive when God was forgotten many times. It is not okay to have that happen, and we must remember what Jesus did for us, and we must tell everyone about it.

Jesus in the Psalm

    I already shared about the prophetic aspects in this Psalm that point toward Jesus, so let me share some verses with you from the New Testament, since all of the cross references in my Bible were from the Psalms. Take time to linger on these passages.

Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

1 Timothy 3:16 “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

Revelation 7:9-10, 13-17 “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”…Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Mark 13:24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

This Mark passage again reminds me of the Isaiah passage above with darkness covering the earth, and all being drawn to Jesus’ light.

Galatians 3:13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—as it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Crist Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

CHALLENGE: A new challenge. If you have struggled with this in the past try out this new method. I found a website for memorizing Scripture that has been very helpful. CLICK HERE to try memverse. I hope to post more about memorizing Scripture later, but for now, if this is something on your heart, here is a good way to start. You can use this website as a way to memorize some of the verses we have read in this Bible Study that you want to remember.

Tomorrow: Psalm 23

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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Christianese -Written by Louis Liss

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

I adore intellectualism. I lavish wading in the waters of hyper-cognitive conversations and am filled with a bolt of adrenaline at the opportunity to debate any given topic that pops up in daily dialogue. So when the Holy Spirit illuminated the Great Commission for me in high school as being imperative for my life, I felt uniquely equipped to stand in the middle of the courtyard and watch as my words brought down tongues of fire onto the campus. You can imagine how stunned I was when my incredible oratory and prowess in verbal sparring bore no fruit and sowed a lot of dissension towards not only myself but God in general. For some bizarre reason my puffed up pride did not convey the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond my arrogance, the greatest barrier to Jesus was the language I was using, which to me was clear and deeply significant. To my post-modern classmates the words, “Justification by grace through faith,” not only had no meaningful impact, but had no meaning at all. Though I had a comprehensive command of the theological principles of the road to salvation this did not impress my classmates enough to give their lives over to Jesus nor did they appreciate being dragged brain first across the threshold of salvation. So I stumbled through constant clumsy evangelism into college. It was there at our InterVarsity campus ministry that we played a game where we had to make a list of words that meant nothing or something completely different to our non-Christian neighbors. We made a long list of words including, for example, atonement, sanctification, and blood. Then we were asked to flip over the page and answer the following question without using any of those aforementioned words: What is the significance of the cross in your life? Jesus’ death on the cross was and is the most important manifestation of Christ in my life and so I feverishly began to write with growing fervor. I soon found that I was doing far more erasing than I was writing. I realized that I had become fully dependent on explaining my deep and passionate love for Jesus in a way that only I and those select few fluent in Christianese could understand. I then received a far deeper revelation from the Holy Spirit. I had been clinging to these insider terms during evangelism because I had placed my identity in my intelligence and not in Christ. I thought that it was more important that people were impressed by my knowledge of God than by God, and to bring the illumination to its completion the Holy Spirit finally told me that my amazing oration had drawn many people to myself but very few were then drawn to Him. So I began to take a John 15 set of shears to my language. I started to systematically reevaluate all of my beliefs about God and if it included any of the post-modern taboo words that I had listed then I moved it from the evangelism part of my brain to the discipleship section. I began to realize how deeply difficult this truly was. I found my post-modern friends were in no way interested with whether or not Jesus was true in what He said, but they were intently fascinated by whether or not these truths worked practically in my life. With my high church armor stripped I found myself exposed. These words had protected me from having to engage about my own struggles and failures. I now stood bare before the world with nothing but Jesus and my personal stories of his daily actions in my life. I sat one day in my hockey locker room surrounded by several guys I have known for well over 15 years. They would frequently recount the debaucherous exploits of our youth. After several months of stories a newer player who knew that I had been present for all of the depicted events asked me how it was possible that I could be a character in these stories from the past and now be a pastor and missionary who continued to consort with my former teammates. The characters in these tales were comprised of heroin addicts, a multiple rehab attender, a drug dealer whose family had to flee the state because of death threats, a prisoner for illegal pornography, adulterers, drunkards, three lifetime ban holders, and a rap sheet full of assaults to round out the tales that come to mind. Even as I began to speak I looked at my teammates through a haze of pot smoke. “How did you end up like you did after spending your life with these guys?” he asked. “I was lost, running in darkness and filling my life with anything that could make me not think about the pit I was in. I tried to pull myself out so many times and never could shake the darkness. Then I was invited to come to a youth retreat where Jesus met me and broke in with such amazing light that all of the darkness in me fled and all the venom in me was drained out. I was a new person with Jesus in my heart, and as for these guys. There’s no place that Jesus would rather hang out than in a hockey locker room. We all need that light in our lives.” The locker room that usually sounded like, well, a locker room was silent. One of my old friends leaned over and said, “Thanks Lou we need someone like you in around us.” Everyone agreed and as we were going out to play the game the new guy approached me and asked if we could talk more at the bar after the game. Of course I agreed and we had weeks of amazing conversations about Jesus and His light. While I am amongst someone who hasn’t yet taken that unfathomable leap into the arms of Jesus I now confess to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. It has transformed my life, my ministry, and truly proven to me that God was right when He spoke about all we need in Revelation 12:11, “They overcame [the accuser] by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Amen and Ahmeen

For Other References To Christianese Click Here

Psalm 5 (Includes Next Week’s Reading Plan)

Reading Plan for June 30—July 5

June 30        Psalm 6

July 1        Psalm 7

July 2        Psalm 8

July 3        Romans 2

July 4        Psalm 9

July 5        Psalm 10

Overview

Yesterday the Psalm was an evening psalm, and today seem to be in the morning. Once again he is asking for God to defend him and be his shield among evil men who speak worthless and damaging things. The Psalm talks about God’s power to handle all those against him. In His love we can seek refuge in Him. A few of the motifs from our previous readings again are seen here: shield, blessed, a God who hears his people and fills them with joy.

Characters

The Psalmist, Lord, boastful, evildoers, those who speak lies, the bloodthirsty and deceitful man, my enemies, all who take refuge in God, those who love His name, the righteous.

Key Verse

Verse 7 “But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.”

Verse 8 “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.”

These two verses both share the importance of God’s role in our righteousness. We are not righteous without God, and we cannot enter His Presence without His forgiveness.

Cross References

Psalm 132:7 “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!”

1 Kings 8:29,30 “that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. And listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen in heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” P.S. this verse is in the midst of pretty powerful verses. I recommend you read the whole section.

Psalm 11:4 “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.”

Psalm 79:1 “O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.”

Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Psalm 25:4, 5 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Ezra 8:21 “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.”

Conclusion

    God is not contained by a building any longer, and if you read the section in 1 Kings you also read about God never truly being contained in the temple. The fascinating observation I had was in verse 4 when he is saying no evil can dwell with God, yet in God’s love he lets the psalmist into His temple. Once again we must rely fully on God’s righteousness. God is the righteousness that we need. God is the only one who can protect us because all there is to fear is His judgment. Man can do nothing to us, and if we are not with God it is still He who we should fear. I am so glad I used both verses as key verses today, because the Ezra verse is really beautiful. As my family is on this journey, we have found it so obvious that we are only here by God’s provision and sustenance, and we must remain humble before him as we continue, seeking His guidance with Davy and all our resources.

Jesus in the Psalm

    David relied on God for his righteousness, as we also must do to receive God’s favor. Jesus is our shield. His death and resurrection gives all of us the opportunity to come near to God with joy, confidence, and assurance of His protection. Romans 8:33-34 says, “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Once again this is just a sampling of a great section in Scripture. Soon we will get to this chapter in Romans, but go read ahead now and let this section bathe your own heart in confidence.

Today’s Application: Read the surrounding sections of the cross references today and any day to find God’s truth, and Jesus’ presence throughout Scripture and for you.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 3

Overview:

When others slander and stir up doubt in your mind, rely on God. He is in charge of salvation. No one else can tell you whether or not you have salvation, but God, He is the only one who can assure you of your salvation. That assurance of salvation is well placed, too, because He is our shield and sustainer. He is the one who can lift us up. And He is a God who answers our cry to Him. We have nothing to fear from people.

So many verses here are applicable to anyone who feels attacked. Even by lies from our own inner voices or perhaps Satan, we can feel attacked. I know that doubt stirs up in my mind often. I had to read this Psalm through 4 times because I kept thinking about how this is right where I am, and then I realized I had stopped thinking about what I was reading, my eyes just continued to move. I have a friend who has shared about her own doubt in her salvation before, and I have my own doubts that make it seem like everything is hopeless. Perhaps you also have an inner voice influenced by the world or the Devil that seems to be trapping you.

But to wake up in the morning shows that the Lord has preserved me, and as I go through the day seeking Him, I will find His approval and plan for the day rather than remaining concerned about others’ plans. Then I realize I have nothing to fear from people, because God is in charge. And salvation, both eternal and from all bondage in this world, comes from God. So I lay even my doubts about little choices in His hand so that I am no longer paralyzed by even my inner voice. You take care of her, God, I only want to hear Your voice.

Characters:

Lord, my foes and enemies, myself, people.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Cross References:

Psalm 37:39 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”

Psalm 62:7 “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Isaiah 43:11 “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”

Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.”

Jeremiah 3:23 “Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.”

Hosea 13:4 “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Jonah 2:9 “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!””

Revelation 7:10 “and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”

Conclusion:

    There are some excellent stories in the verses above. I think you could do a whole study on some of them alone. The fascinating thing about Psalms cross references is the variety of texts to which they send you. I might need to come back through here for more than just my Promise Box.

What is being expressed over and over about the salvation from God, is that He alone can provide it. Whether salvation from the stomach of a huge fish, salvation from a life of slavery or exile, throughout all of time, it is God our Lord alone who can provide salvation. Even from those pleasurable things that we think are awesome and filling that hole in us, but in reality bind us, God is the only salvation from those vices as well. I shared over the first two Psalms that my Christianese was being redefined in the word “Blessing” which was in our Psalm today also! Another word today that is standing out to me is “Salvation”. I tend to think of salvation only in terms of who is “saved” or not, but we have been saved from more than an eternity in hell. I have been “Saved” for many years, but I still need God’s salvation from that inner voice, from addiction and vices, from impatience and anger, and I am sure you can relate.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    Of course, salvation is found in Jesus, so an entire Psalm about salvation lends itself to sharing about Jesus. Jesus is the only way we can be saved for all eternity, and with Him is the only way to be saved from the sins in our life as well.

*The commentary also makes the connection between the “holy hill” in this Psalm and the hill Jesus dies on, both hills being used for sacrifice. But only the sacrifice of Jesus holds the power of salvation for mankind. This prayer/psalm walks through the three steps of saving faith: 1) Acknowledge that salvation can only be found through our Lord (verses 2, 8, and John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the lie. No one comes to the Father except through me.”). 2) Agreement that I need that salvation and shield as seen in verse 3 and Ephesians 6:11-13 in the armor of God. 3) Finally, I must have an authentic commitment, welcoming this salvation from God. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how the world has blinded the unbelievers to “keep them from seeing the light of the gospel” (verse 4).

Finally, here are two more New Testament verses which relate to this Psalm and our assurance of being on the winning team:

1 Corinthians 15:57-58: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Colossians 2:13-15: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”*

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

Tomorrow: Romans 1

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Psalm 2

Overview:

This Psalm is talking about kings and rulers setting themselves up opposed to God. The Lord laughs at this because He is the King of Kings and has already set His plan in motion. A king, His Son, one who can ask anything of the Lord and He will receive a heritage. This Son is sent to destroy those other rulers. This Psalm serves as a warning to them so that they may turn and take refuge in the Son and be blessed. (In the commentary of Psalm 1 I found that “blessed” is corollary to the “redemptive presence of God.” This is helping me take the Christianese out of “Blessing” and have an application for it. So, those who take refuge in him are blessed means they will be connected to God’s redemptive presence, they could be redeemed. Also, the parts about his wrath and breaking them with iron and dashing them to pieces reminds me of the verse we just read in the lectionary this past week about Jesus not bringing peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Characters:

The nations, the peoples, the kings of the earth, the rulers, the Lord, his Anointed, King on Zion, Son, a potter, and all who take refuge in him.

Key Verse:

    Sometimes it is so hard to pick a verse. Today I am going to be Annie about it and pick two. I think two that are key to the whole Psalm (and the entire Bible). With such an outright prophecy of Christ, I just can’t limit myself to one verse! Verse 6 & 7 together are key to the entire Psalm I think, with Jesus being the King and also Son.

Verse 6 & 7: “”As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.””

Cross References:

Proverbs 8:23 “Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

2 Samuel 5:7 “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

Psalm 110:2 “The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.”

Psalm 15:1 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

Psalm 43:3 “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”

Psalm 99:9 “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!”

Romans 1:4 “and he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Acts 13:33 “this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'”

Hebrews 1:5 “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

Hebrews 5:5 “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;

Conclusion:

    What exciting verses! Hebrews and Acts quote this Psalm because it is indeed about Jesus! It is so great that all of Scripture testifies about Him. Jesus, who is God’s Son, was appointed as king and high priest, so no ruler here has any power above that. Jesus will win. And if we choose Jesus, and have a relationship with him, we will be redeemed, saved, and on the victorious team. Also, these verses continue to show that while Jesus is a recapitulation of King David, Kind David could never match up to all the words here. Only Jesus is the perfect King, the wholly righteous, Salvation. No one else is, has been, or will be as holy as Jesus, the rightful heir to the nations.

Jesus in the Psalm:* Here is one that is so obviously about Jesus. In verse 2, the word “Anointed” is Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek. The apostles used this Psalm to preach the gospel, and Hebrews explains that Jesus is the Son from this Psalm. Peter preached about the cross being a display of the rage talked about in this Psalm, and Paul that Christ became King due to his resurrection. Our relationship with Jesus is essential to our salvation. We are blessed in obedience to Him, and are saved through Him. Psalm 2 is fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, so notes on commentary are coming from there.

What are your observations, comments, thoughts?

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Psalm 1

Overview of the chapter: (read it through at least 3 times)

Our righteousness is seen by God. A righteous man does God’s will, and meditates on His law at all times so that he can walk in the right way, and stand before God at the end. The wicked are nothing before a righteous God.

Main Characters:

The man of righteousness as defined in this Psalm, the Lord, trees with fruit and streams, the wicked.

Key Verse: (a verse of scripture that stood out to you)

Verse 6 “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

Cross Reference:

Psalm 31:7 “I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul.”

Psalm 37:18 “The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever.”

Psalm 144:3 “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?”

Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”

2 Timothy 2:19 “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit your ways to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

Conclusion:

What encouraging verses! God is not blind to the wicked, but he does turn to those who trust him, he acts in favor of those who know him, and all his actions are those of a good shepherd caring for those sheep who are his own. He does not let them go astray or alone, he knows and hears our cries for him, our pain, and our depths.

Jesus in the Psalms:

Psalm 1 divides humanity into two camps, sinners and righteous. Jesus is at that fork in the road giving us the opportunity to become righteous with Him. The very first word of Psalm 1 brings to mind the redemptive presence of God because that is what “blessing” references in Scripture. Mary was called “blessed” because she was carrying Jesus. This Psalm also talks about delighting and meditating on the law. We now know this law became flesh, the Word of God, and that He himself says these Psalms are about Himself. Another key aspect to this Psalm is that we are not going to be able to just use good works. Here in this Psalm the judgment is talked about and that the Lord knows the way of the righteous. We know we will not be perfect, and before Jesus came and gave us the opportunity, no one could know they were destined for Heaven. They had to have a relationship with the Lord. We have to have a relationship with the Lord through Jesus now. Delighting in the law and meditating on it and submitting to Christ is how we are to live a righteous life.

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Please leave your own thoughts, key verses, and comments.

Quiet Time

What I have heard from people over and over is how hard it is to find time to do Bible Study, Quiet Time, Devotionals, and/or prayer time. Well, I know how that feels. What God has been teaching me over the past few months is to seek His approval in all things. So, as I write about my commitments, know that we are all in a different season of our lives. At one point in my life (college) I was part of a prayer walk group that met 3 times a week from 8pm to midnight. That was an amazing time of maturing in prayer, building fellowship with that group, and was only for a year of my life (in school years). At another point in my life I took the 40 days of Lent to commit to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening for time with God. This was possible because Davy was napping a lot, and nursing, so I would read the Bible while nursing. That was an amazing time of giving everything to God, and each of these seasons has helped me learn about myself and God.

Let me tell you about the season I am in currently. Some of you are reading this to figure out how I will be doing this whole Blog Bible Study thing, and some because you are a part of our prayer team for Lebanon. Either way, I hope this will encourage you and help you connect with me better.

This past week I have recommitted to having quiet time every morning before Davy wakes up. Since making that commitment, I have had no nightmares (for those of you who know me, this is a big deal.) Lebanon functions on a slightly later timeframe than my life back in Arizona, USA. Our wake up time each day is 9:00 AM, so when I made this commitment, it meant that I moved by wakeup time back to 8:00 AM. Then I felt convicted because I want to eat breakfast within an hour of waking up as part of my Potatoes not Prozac plan, so I moved my wake up time to 7:30 so I could eat and still have an hour or so with God all before Davy wakes up. As you can see, for many people this is a doable time, and for others even 7:30 is later than they start their day.

The way I typically do my morning quiet time:

  1. Pray.
    1. Talk to God, thanking him for the day
    2. I write down my high, low, and a God moment for the day before
    3. I write down at least 5 things I am thankful for today and I add to the day before as well
    4. I go through the thoughts buzzing around in my head. I write them down and give them to God.
      1. One note here. I am typing instead of using a journal right now because I didn’t bring any journals so that I could bring all of Davy’s books. When I was writing up my To Do and other buzzing thoughts in my paper journal I found myself not truly giving them to God because I carried that journal with me, and it stopped being a prayer and became another To Do list to carry around. On the computer I file the Morning Prayer separately than my thanks and highs and lows so that it is given to God. Those prayers I go through every now and then to see how God answered them, but not really to burden myself more.
    5. I find that writing out what I plan to do that day or things I am disappointed aren’t happening, helps me process and also give them to God knowing He will plan my day far better than I could.
  2. Open up my Study document. Once again, I just haven’t found a journal for study use yet, but I have documents for each chapter of Romans and Psalms prepared in advance. All you need to make your own notebook page or word document are these headings:
    1. Scripture:
    2. Date:
    3. Overview
    4. Main Characters
    5. Key Verse
    6. Cross References
    7. Conclusion
  3. Read the chapter 3 times.
    1. Yes, read it three times through completely.
    2. My favorite part is seeing verses that I have heard so many times and being able to put them in context of the chapter. Reading the chapter three times helps with this process because the first time through those verses stand out completely. By the third time through I am able to read them easily within the chapter and see how they connect to the chapter and book.
  4. Begin filling out the sheet with an overview of the chapter after you’ve read it 3 times.
  5. List the main characters.
    1. I list ever character which will let me search by words like blind man, unrighteous, etc. later.
  6. Choose one key verse.
    1. This is not a verse that is the most popular. As I said about reading through the text 3 times, verses that have been used over and over around us are not necessarily the verses that capture the chapter best.

One note I want to add is that with the Psalms I will be posting I will be sharing about how Jesus is shown in them also. It has been on my heart for a long time to share with others how Jesus really is in the entire Bible. I even bought a Bible that has commentary specific to that purpose. In my reading Psalms this past week in my ESV Gospel Transformation Bible I was encouraged and inspired by the introduction which shared about reading the Psalms with the words of Jesus in mind. Luke 24:44 says, “Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” There you have it, in Jesus’ own words the Psalms are about Him! So, I will include a section: “The Gospel in the Psalms” for each day of Psalms Study.

Blog Bible Study

In Tucson, I attended a weekly and monthly Bible Study. I met with two different groups of women each week to share about my highs, lows, God moments, and following God. These accountability and Bible sessions gave me life.

Knowing the life giving power of reading the Bible every day, and knowing I need to do it without my typical accountability, God has inspired me to blog my next Bible Study.

There are so many men and women in my life whose quiet time and prayer lives I look up to. So, as I type over the next few weeks, know that nothing I do is new or unique, but comes from those who came before me, and are still there praying for us and loving us from across the ocean.

I just finished a neat Bible Study reading through 1 Peter a few times. After I finished, I didn’t know what book to read next. So, I prayed, asked Louis, and used the notes from my 1 Peter study to determine what book to read next. We decided Romans would be a good book to do. Psalms was a close second.

Since Romans is not easy reading, I decided to do a blend. I have heard people say to read a Psalm a day, and I have never been interested in it until we did a Psalms Bible Study in Tucson. I loved that Bible Study! So, I am going to be doing a Psalm each day, but once a week a chapter of Romans. This is why I say you can join me every day on this journey or just once a week.

Reading Plan for June 23 – 28

June 23        Psalm 1

June 24        Psalm 2

June 25        Psalm 3

June 26        Romans 1

June 27        Psalm 4

June 28        Psalm 5

Receive Study Notes in your email by CLICKING HERE .

    I have been using Word to type out my study each day. I have not been using a journal because we didn’t pack any and I am picky when it comes to journals, so I have begun by keeping everything on my computer. This makes for light carrying for me since my quiet time location changes sometimes. Feel free to use this or make your own using these headings in your own notebook or journal:

  1. Scripture:
  2. Date:
  3. Overview
  4. Main Characters
  5. Key Verse
  6. Cross References
  7. Conclusion

As I post, please use your own notes to post comments. These comments will be a great encouragement to others. It will be neat to see what others see are key verses in a chapter.

The Day I Forgot The Rules Of Movies -Written by Louis

It was last Saturday when our team leader was helping us load all 10 of our bags into his car in route to our new apartment in Beirut, when he said, “I still can’t believe you carried all of this through the cobblestone streets of Rome for an hour at 1 in the morning looking for your hotel.” “It was probably the worst day of our lives,” I replied. He responded, “May it remain so.” Now any average film viewer knows that there are some cardinal rules to film such as: Never say, “Well at least it can’t get any worse,” lest you are immediately thrust plot first into an onslaught of tragedy. Little did I know that my declaration that our initial Rome experience was the most extreme stress we had ever encountered would jettison us into the actual worst day of our lives.

It was the trip from Heaven, which is to say that it was the trip from hell continually shown to be under the protective authority of God. It began by us realizing in Phoenix that our initial scale was inaccurate and our bags were extremely overweight. Annie’s dad was quick to jump to the rescue and help us move all of our heavy items to carry-ons which are never weighed at check-in. So we arrived at Sky Harbor Airport at 8:00 AM on Monday morning for a 10:45 AM departure only to find out that our plane was delayed for two hours. This meant that we were able to go have breakfast with our parents allowing them unexpected time with Davey that was greatly appreciated. We returned to the airport and loaded our bags only to be informed that our plane was broken, had to be flown to LAX and then to Toronto to be repaired returning to Phoenix at 8:00 PM for boarding. We were blessed with meal vouchers and so ate at the airport for free and we found a play place for Davey to spend the day waiting, though he was too stressed to eat or drink much. Then we were told that the plane was non-repairable and we were being transported to a new airline, rerouted to London, and would miss a whole day of our two day stay in Rome arriving there at 10 PM Tuesday. We e-mailed our bed and breakfast in the center of Rome to inform them and they told us the last thing we heard from them before boarding the overnight plane to London was that our new arrival time would force them to cancel our reservation. 10 hours later we touched down in London and began to try and contact the hotel owner, who did not speak English, over a payphone using credit card #1. We tried calling three times before our card was frozen having not informed the credit card company we were being rerouted to London. We then looked up on the board and saw that the connecting flight was also delayed so we rushed to the counter to see if we could get an earlier flight only to be told that the flight was not delayed but boarding right then in another terminal. After a mad rush we jumped on board at the last minute and landed four hours later in Rome at 10 PM.

We got on the phone with the hotel owner who said that he would hold the reservation for one hour. We picked up all of our luggage including 3 checked bags (50 lbs each), 3 carry on bags (30-40 lbs each), 2 backpacks (40 lbs each), a diaper bag, a car seat, and a stroller then rushed to catch the last train of the night to the center of town. We got off at the terminal at midnight and the Google Map 15 minute walk from the station to our hotel began to lengthen as paved roads quickly turned into cobblestones, sidewalks began to disappear, road signs became non-existent, and two carry-on bags broke their wheels. An hour later we arrived at the front of an apartment building in an ancient monastic section with one buzzer with the name of our hotel. Annie was in tears as we stood outside and rang the bell only to receive no response. Rang it again, no response. Time after time we buzzed the door at 1 AM with no answer. Finally a group of bikers in leather jackets came over and helped us call the number on the booking sheet. At last the owner came down yelling in broken English, “Why did you not tell me you had a baby!? I can’t have a baby staying in this room! You have too many bags, you can’t stay here with this many bags!” He eventually allowed us to come up on the condition that Davey makes no noise at all. We set Davey down in the room, and he took two steps back into a shelf corner and began to scream uncontrollably. After an hour of yelling in Italian and English from the owner and my child we all go to sleep in our bed.

We woke up the next morning to a group of Germans staying in the closely adjacent rooms who informed us that they were in no way bothered by Davey and were glad he got some rest. He could sense our anxiety and so had trouble eating and drinking that day as well. We left early with one bag and one stroller to see all of Rome in a day, and indeed we did! We went to the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, the Forum, Trevi Fountain, 5 Oblilisks, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, St. Angelo’s Castle, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. We hopped on the Metro to head home when we realized how close we were to the Spanish Steps so hopped off and I climbed all the way up to the church at the top of the steps which had a service in progress. After taking a moment of reflection I began to head down only to find that my wallet had been stolen. We then began retraced our steps and discovered it had been taken by a questionable 55 year old woman on the crowded Metro who pushed through to get on at one stop and off at the next. After a considerable amount of directions from half a dozen locals we were able to locate the police station and call Visa to cancel Credit Card #2 on the only phone in the station. The American number on the back of the card wouldn’t connect internationally from the landline, but thankfully the officer happened to have the number for Visa International with whom I was connected but who had no information related to my American account. The woman was kind enough to transfer me to American Visa while the officers yelled at me in Italian to get off their only phone. The American Visa people had to transfer me to my credit union who was of course closed, but I was able to contact stolen cards and cancel the card causing us to only be out of pocket $200, a driver’s license, and some Harkins gift cards. We finished the day at the top of the Spanish Steps overlooking the city of Rome at sunset.

I exchanged the last of our saved money at the hotel for taxi fare to save our luggage and our marriage after the previous “15 minute walk” from the hotel to the station. We arrived at the airport three hours early only to discover at check-in that when our tickets were transferred from Air Canada to British Airways, Davey’s lap-infant ticket under my name did not transfer. After an hour of the lady talking on the phone she began to take a good look at our luggage and correctly assumed that our carry-on bags were overweight, our stroller was too large, and our car seat wouldn’t be allowed. An hour later we had rearranged all our weight and even found a service that could shrink wrap two of the bags together. An hour after that we had paid the fees at the counter that was still using carbon copies for credit cards. The lady eventually scribbled something on our tickets and we ran through the “dear God please help us, we’re about to miss our flight” security and hopped on the bus that took us to our plane that after the tickets were transferred over no longer had us sitting together. Thank God for Arabs who had no patience for this inconvenience and moved us around three times until we got a row together to ourselves.

Four hours later we landed in Beirut. We breezed through immigration, which was a nightmare last time, and they didn’t check any of our bags at customs. We were picked up by an old friend and taken to the apartment of our team leaders, Pierre & Gigi. Davey promptly laid down in his car seat and fell asleep having not eaten or drank well for the previous four days only to wake up at 2 AM, crawl into bed with us, and throw up everything in his stomach. He spent the next day screaming as four new teeth came in, and he continued to throw up two more times at various places in Pierre & Gigi’s home every time we put anything in his body. He woke up the next morning and we gave him water on the couch on which he promptly vomited. I then declared that it didn’t matter if we had nothing in our new apartment except a mattress we were going to move in that day and he could throw up all over the house all he wants. So we began to load all of our belongings into Pierre’s car when He said, “I still can’t believe you carried all of this through the cobblestone streets of Rome for an hour at 1 in the morning looking for your hotel.” “It was probably the worst day of our lives,” I replied. He responded, “May it remain so.” Needless to say, it didn’t remain that way.

We unloaded our bags at our apartment that only housed a 100 cm mattress for Davey and went together to buy us a mattress downtown. We put Davey on my shoulders and were joking around when Davey asked for water. Having thrown up everything for the past two days we asked him to wait until we left the store and then 30 seconds later I was holding onto his legs as he fell limp down my back. We immediately picked him up but he was unresponsive. His eyes rolled back in his head and he began to foam at the mouth. His arms tensed and shook and then went limp. I ran outside and sat on the ground with him in my arms yelling and shaking him with no response and no breathing. A worker at the mattress store screamed for me to come with him. I jumped in the car with him as he drove like a maniac through the streets of Beirut towards the nearest hospital. All he could tell me in English was, “give him breath.” I began to perform CPR on Davey whose lips had turned blue and was completely limp. After two minutes of screaming, praying, and compressions Davey woke up. The color returned to his lips and he began breathing again, but he was still unconscious as we pulled up to the hospital. They took him in and took his vitals which had begun to return to normal right before making us leave to go to a hospital with a pediatric unit. We drove continuing to pray until Davey began to cry. The sound which had been a source of stress so many times before became the sound of life that brought tears to our eyes. We brought him in to the emergency room where they performed a CAT scan and took blood work before hooking him up to an IV. Six hours later he was diagnosed as having experienced a seizure brought on by extreme dehydration compounded by every other stress experienced in the previous five days. He was released that day and we took him home and cried for the rest of the night as he slept quietly between us. He has made a full recovery.

We’re sharing this story with you for several reasons. One is that you are our family and our support system. By sending us you share in both our joys and our sufferings as we do with you. We want you to know the reality and the cost of sharing the gospel in the calling of God on our lives, but also because this is a story of God’s unending provision in times of unfathomable, crushing pain. We’ve prayed for years that God would prepare us to go and do what we have now embarked on. In so doing He has prepared stores of resilience within us that we did not know were there. As we left the first emergency room in a foreign country without any Arabic to explain what happened, without a diagnoses, carrying our unconscious child in our arms we sang this song: “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.” That came from our most profound depths to which we know that the lamb of God is worthy of all of the honor and all the glory and all the praise forever and ever. No matter the circumstances and trials of this life the majesty of the cross cannot be shaken from its foundation. His love endures forever and his mercy is everlasting. We are ineffably thankful today that the grace of God was made manifest in such a way that we still have Davey with us. We thank you for your continued support of Jesus’ ministry here in Beirut. It is your love through Christ that sustains us and holds us as the darkness of the valley gives way to an impenetrable light of healing and salvation.

December Prayer Letter

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to theLord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.
1 Samuel 1:27-28

We love David Ezekiel Liss!

Family Ministry

David has been prayed over every day since we knew we were pregnant. We have read the Bible to him in the womb, and we have sought all of your prayers. Now he is here, and we have continued to strengthen our resolve that the most important thing in our lives is that David know Jesus Christ. Each day we read him a chapter of the Bible beginning in Genesis. Today, December 1st, David is 25 days old so we read Genesis chapter 25. In addition, we pray with him now, knowing that everything going on around him is making first impressions. David’s first prayer request was answered November 14th! When we went to the hospital to have David our cats were left somewhat freer than previously. We were not here to lock them up each night, and when we returned Judah was missing. We didn’t see Judah for the first couple days we were home, and so we all three prayed together that Judah would come home and then we told David that now we needed to trust that God would send him home. November 14th Judah reappeared! We are so blessed to have this child in our family, and we want to commit him to the Lord. We know that he truly belongs to God.

We Are Serious

Louis and Annie are some of the strangest people.
People thought this when our wedding was a tad bit peculiar, if they didn’t think so when we stopped kissing for a year and a half prior to getting married. We were serious about making our wedding point to Jesus Christ. We were married on a Saturday and we showed up at church the next Sunday. Our baby was born on November 6th and we were released from the hospital November 8th. We went straight home to pick up Louis’ mom to take her to Via de Cristo.  We took him to Saturday evening Buenas Noches (aka Mananitas). We drove up that night so Louis could preach at Concordia Lutheran on Sunday. Finally, we returned Sunday afternoon to attend Clausura at the end of Via de Cristo.
Of course, we brought Baby David.Why do we have these seemingly crazy, exhausting adventures? Because we are serious about bringing Jesus Christ to the nations, doing it as a family, and never looking back. Yes we were exhausted, but God called us to do these things and He, therefore, gives us the strength. Also, we want people to understand that we are not going to Lebanon just for fun. We are going to be working just as hard at bringing Jesus to them, reconciliation to the churches there, and living out the 4th day. We also want our baby to know his family: the community of believers all around us who we expect to pour just as much love (and more) onto David as you all do on Louis and I.

Middle East Moment

I’ve been to this point meaning to use our prayer letters to update our supporters on the spiritual side of what you may or may not have seen on the news. Right now Syria is in the middle of their continuing civil war. God is able to use these battles to inspire thousands of Syrians to pour over the border into Beirut where they can freely hear the gospel. Lebanon is one of the only Muslim nations where it is not against the law to convert to Christianity. Our Horizons center “Hope for the Nations” is suffering from an amazing problem: too many people. Pray that Christian leaders would lay aside their prejudices and reach out to the Syrian refugees with the Gospel in words and action.

Fundraising Update

Currently In Account: $389.60Need In Account: $25,000

Need Per Month: $5,816

The reason that we need such a large amount in our account to leave is for all of the initial one time costs of moving to Lebanon. Travel costs, an apartment (

they ask for several months in advance for rent, utilities, and water) , furniture, and a car.  All of these one time expenses total up to $19,000. After that we will be living at much the same cost of living as here in Arizona.Support Us Financially:
Click Here To Support Us

We are meeting with people who would like to know more. 
Call or email us to set up a meeting about specific projects we will be working on and a greater understanding of what you would be supporting with your investment.