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.

SAVE THE DATE!

Lebanon Send Off & Launch

Phoenix:

April 27, 2014
5:00 PM
St. John’s Lutheran Church

 

Tucson:

May 3, 2014

11:00 AM

Mt.Zion Lutheran Church

Come and bring anyone who might be interested in partnering with us to fund our mission work in Lebanon or find out more. Our team is desperate for us, and we are leaving this May in faith that God is going to provide the remaining funds.

Our team leader sent us a list of just a few of the things happening there and we want to be able to tell you the stories first hand from that country. So, the week following this Launch we are getting on a plane and leaving. (I am publishing this blog post as we are looking at plane tickets.)

Pierre, our team leader just sent us this encouragement in our email correspondence with each other:

Once you arrive you will be able to send back tons and tons of stories of God doing miracles and changing lives. This week a man’s shriveled hand was mostly healed and he’s writing with it, which he couldn’t do before , a woman’s face that had been saggy from her stroke was restored , a kid came out of a coma, Jihan came to Christ 6 days after she came from Syria and is eating up the word if God. A teenage kid named Roksha prayed to accept Christ last week, Boutros has a carpenter’s assistant named Ahmed who came to Christ a couple weeks ago, my dad preached last Thursday and over 30 people responded to the altar call. There are more new believers than we can follow up on.”

We need to be there. Right now those are just stories that are happening there, but that is just a taste of what is happening and our team needs us. We have a heart for discipleship to follow up with these people. We are being called, and we are changing our strategy from asking for money to just leaping out in faith. God will provide. Plenty of people know the need, and it is time to GO!

For many of you who have been with us along the way you are sharing our mix of emotions: Excitement, apprehension, nerves of all sorts. We are finally going! Now is the time to pledge a monthly, quarterly, or annual amount. We are running low on time for one on one meetings, and if you want to meet or visit with us, please contact us!

Many of you are giving to other short term missionaries, and we are thrilled because we have not been able to pour into those people (e.g. Charlie Wheeler). Please continue the commitments you have made. If you are considering giving to us after these short-term commitments end, let us know so we can keep track of the pledges.

Obedience

I woke up this morning longing for friends who are all overseas doing mission work. I prayed for them, thanked the Lord for their work, and then cried a bit from missing them. As I began looking at Bible verses about community, I cried again realizing that soon I would be the one closer to those friends, and farther from most of you. What an adventure this crazy life is, always moving when God moves, following His word. It isn’t all roses, but the suffering is small compared to the joyous glory that is to come.

Obedience to God has been the theme of our lives lately. Of course, we always want to have obedience to God, but of late it has been a constant. Serving on this upcoming TIROSH youth retreat (http://www.soazviadecristo.org/) was a large step of obedience for Louis and I and has a large impact on David Ezekiel as well. For myself it is a real struggle to commit to something that will take me away from my baby for even a few short days. For Louis it meant giving up his dream of leaving for Lebanon in February and as he continues to listen to God, the “background work” he was planning on doing for the retreat has become a myriad of talks, leadership tasks, and spiritual directing.

This morning I was sitting with my runny-nosed, coughing, teething boy and watching Veggie Tales. The story of Gideon had a funny line, and as I have struggled for the past fifteen days of this month to put into words the presence of obedience in our lives right now, Larry the Cucumber aka Gideon the Tuba Warrior, said what I have been feeling. He is speaking to the angel who has come to tell him to fight the Midianites and says, “I thought you were coming to give me a pep talk, a little ‘well done, good and faithful servant.” To which the angel responds, “If you want to hear the Lord say, ‘well done,’ then you have to do what he asks.”

The more time I am spending in Scripture and prayer, the easier it is to follow God’s To Do list throughout each day. I can go to sleep knowing that I did what He asked of me, and I am experiencing that peace that flows deep inside of me.

In obedience we are continuing to prepare for Lebanon. As with Gideon, I find myself needing to rely on God to supply. We are still in need of most of our monthly funding, and we are running low on people willing to meet with us and give. We continue to pray for God to place people in our path whom he is calling to share with us in this ministry. We are continuing to call everyone we know to meet and share our mission. In confidence that God will provide, as he did with our startup fund, we have registered for a training in April that will prepare us to go overseas.

Please join with us in prayer: Lord, please clarify Your will each and every day as we prepare to act on Your commands. Fill us with Your love, patience, peace, and joy that we may bring glory to You in all we do, say, and think. Continue to bring the commitment of our partners to supply our monthly amount so that we can fulfill Your plans for us in going to Lebanon.

February Prayer Letter

5% Raised

4.7% of our $40,000 total amount to go and 5.6% of our monthly $5000 goal has been reached!Total in account: $1,889
Total monthly pledges: $280

Back in the beginning of this prayer letter we asked for prayers that we would not over-commit here while fundraising. While all of the ministry we are doing here in Arizona may be what God is calling us to do, we need better time management skills in order to make appointments with people and begin asking people for money. We have gone from Chayah, to baby showers, to Chayah, to Via de Cristo, to Tirosh with each of those being the main focus. Fundraising has been on the back burner and needs to be a priority.

At the same time, we see God’s great blessing in providing people willing to give. What a blessing each donation has been. Thank you to all who have donated money, time, hugs, love, or any other form of Agape. We are truly blessed to be in the family of God.

DONATE / VOLUNTEER

You can be a part of our ministry. To find out more about Horizons International and what we are doing, CLICK HERE.To give some money to our account or become a monthly contributor, CLICK HERE.

Make sure to use our names, Annie & Louis Liss for any donations.

We also still need someone willing to mail out a print version of this newsletter each month. I will provide addresses and names and you will donate postage, printing, and envelopes. This is such an important piece that we want to make sure is taken care of by someone in the USA before we leave. CLICK HERE to add this option to your profile.

Middle East Update

Louis feels strongly that he should update our supporters about the Middle East. However, our communication is still in a young marriage stage. Due to still learning about each other’s communication styles and needs this February newsletter has come out a little late. Please forgive us and keep praying for us. Great things are happening and we want to let you know all about them.  Therefore, the Middle East Update by Louis Liss will be moving to its own newsletter. This way Louis can update you as events occur or questions are asked instead of being restricted to a monthly letter. We have changed the options, therefore, on our sign up list. We promised that we would not burden your inbox with many emails, so you will not be automatically opted in. If you would like to receive Louis’ Middle East Update, pleaseCLICK HERE to change your preferences.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Louis and I have been together 8 years from beginning to date December 14th, 2005 to now. The challenge I want to present is to pause and consider this verse again: “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Often we pass over this verse faster than others in our readings because we know it by heart. Think on the sacrifice of Jesus to give you eternal life, an undeserved life better than your best day here on Earth. Yes, there is suffering, but God only requires momentary suffering of you; it will only last zero to a maximum of 120 years and then you will never suffer again. I have been reading an excellent book called The Well, by Mark Hill the lead singer of Casting Crowns. It reminded me this month that I am not entitled to anything just because Louis and I are still in America.

“Do you understand what you signed up for when you asked God to forgive your sins and save your soul? Do you understand who God is in your life? Do you understand you don’t get saved so life will be easier? Do you understand Christ purchased you with a price and you belong to him? You are not your own, and when you are not your own, you don’t have rights. On this earth, we are entitled to nothing but the hope of glory…Jesus didn’t endure everything he endured so we wouldn’t lose our jobs or not get cancer. We don’t need to be saved so we’ll be happy. We need to be saved because we’re dead in our trespasses and bound for hell. Believers still have some pretty cruddy days. But the anchor of the soul is the truth that Jesus walks them with us.” (pages 140, 141)This lesson has been extremely necessary to me this past month. I have not been that fun to be around because I have a list of things to do that keeps getting longer, my life isn’t entirely comfortable all the time, my plans fall apart. It’s tough in the middle of my circumstances to keep my eyes fixed on the goal for which Christ calls me heavenward. When I focus on the stresses of life it is easy to lose focus on what the big picture is: That God sent His only son for me and the battle is already won. Pray for us that we may remember that the Gospel is not only for us to share with others but an essential piece of our everyday practical relationships with each other, -Annie

First Babysitter: A 5-year-old?

The beautiful Liliana was David’s caretaker for an evening of missionary discussions. In truth we were with her the entire time, and it was amazing how much the two of them enjoyed each other. She told him stories and he smiled and laughed. She was overjoyed to change his diaper, and did quite a good job of it, too. I was quite amused and entertained by her joy and passion for caring for David.

However, more recently I had to leave my baby for the Tirosh weekend. It is all well and good to say that I have committed my baby to God and leave my fears at His feet until I had to leave my baby for approximately 60 hours. I was an anxious wreck leading up to Tirosh. Even when there was a plan, I didn’t feel better. Even when I had pumped enough bottles for him, I didn’t feel better. I kept telling people, including Louis, that I had given it to God, but I did not. In reading John again I realized once again the importance of not just “playing religion”. When the woman at the well tries to impress Jesus with Samaritan religious practices, and when the 5,000 come across to Capernaum and do the same, Jesus’ response is to draw them to Himself. I need to draw near to Jesus. As I realized this, I felt greater peace flood over me. I told David, “I want you to know that ministry is worth it. I want you to know that you are loved. These youth might not know that. I have years and years with you to tell you, show you, and even send you to Tirosh so that you know you are loved. These kids are only going to be in my ministry radius for a few days. You can show them Agape by staying with your Cadee while I show them Agape by being on the weekend.”

“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Luke 4:35b-38
The youth who just attended Tirosh still need your prayers. When Louis went through Tirosh 13 years ago he received Jesus as his personal Savior a few months after the Tirosh retreat weekend. That could be the story for any of these kids. The time after a mountain top experience is often harder than other times, so please lift up these youth in your prayers. -Annie

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.