10 Ways to Give Solid-As-A-Rock Support to Your Missionaries

Give Us Solid-As-A-Rock Support

We have not been the best at updates over the years. We have been learning to parent two kids, how to balance language classes and ministry and communication and rest. Now that we have reached the end of our first 3 years in Lebanon, we have taken a step back to reevaluate some of the Moral Support needs we have.

No Money Down

These first 8 ways to give us Solid-As-A-Rock Support living in Lebanon are Absolutely FREE! Nothing feels better than free. The first thing I want to emphasize is that we desperately need the partnerships that are not financially based in addition to the financial partnerships from many of you committing to donate to our ministry. We need relationships, in English, with people who have been there for us, who know our hearts, who we miss desperately, who have the chance to see saguaros right outside their windows, or eat at Eegee’s, or watch football the same day it is being played. We miss this part of our old life, and we miss all of you!

So, here are 10 ideas to give us, your very own missionary family, rock solid moral support:


#1: Download
Whatsapp and/or Skype to stay in communication with the Lisses

#2: Sign up for the Prayer Letter and commit to reply when you get a newsletter in your inbox.

#3: Join our Prayer Warrior Team and commit to reply when you get an alert by writing out your prayer in an email.

#4: Email the family. You can send letters to Louis, Annie, David, or Kyrie through email. You can even write letters to the other people we are working with that God puts on your heart. Don’t have our emails

#5: Share what we are doing with your small group and church. This is something that we cannot do on our own. If we write a blog post every week, we still cannot gain new partners or let new people to churches that support us know what we are doing. The only way we can do this is through people declaring that we are a part of their ministry.

#6: Share a mission moment for us. Please ask your church to let you speak once a month or once every other month for 2 minutes to share about what we are doing.

#7: Share our link to sign up for our prayer letter. Become an advocate for our ministry. Due to limited internet and time, we do not have a great social media presence. But many of you do. Use your network to share our posts and pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, facebook, Twitter, etc. (An extra way you could help would be to help us figure out how to add those links to our blog)

#8: Encourage others to use this list. Ask your small group to come together to write letters or share with their own communities about the ministry you are helping us accomplish in Lebanon.

On The Cheap

Some of you out there want to give money to something tangible, gifts rather than just deposit money into an account. We are happy to share different small gifts that we could use, for those of you who love to give gifts.

Gifts

#9: Clothing for the kids.

This is so fun to buy for many people, and we have been receiving multiple requests for the kids sizes. When we are returning to the States for visits this is a wonderful opportunity to stock up on reasonably priced clothes for the kids. Clothing here in Lebanon is about 3 times what we would pay in America.

Kyrie is ready for size 4T and 5T summer and fall clothes.

David’s only clothing needs are for his school uniform because he is fully stocked with everyday clothing. He is in size 7, moving into 8. His school uniform is currently a white shirt and navy blue or jeans bottoms.

These sizes are subject to change, of course.

#9: Amazon Gift Card / Books

We have an Amazon Prime account, so there are many forms of media we can get for free. You could give toward our Amazon account by buying us a digital gift card. This way we can purchase ebooks such as the kids’ homeschool books, and a few authors not available through our libraries. Louis would be able to get movies as well.

If you read an amazing book and want to recommend it, why not gift it to us via Kindle? We have a Kindle as well as the Kindle app on all of our devices. When you find the book on Amazon ebooks choose the option “Give as Gift” and you can email us the gift!

We do also love holding actual books in our hands, and the kids love reading so buying real books is a wonderful gift as well.

I know there are other gift ideas out there, and we can always use medicine, vitamins, and odds and ends from America, so send us an email if this is the type of support you are interested in offering.

#10: Save this list!

Maybe these things are not all possible for you right now. But in the future, as you want to get more involved, or someone near you wants to know how to stay connected to us and help us, you can pull this list out and share it all over again. Print it out to file, bookmark the page, or save it in your email as important.

A Few Bonus Ideas:

#11: Meet with us. Annie will be in the States in just a few days! Please sign up to meet with her to encourage each other in all that the Lord is doing! CLICK HERE to make an appointment, or reply to the email when you subscribe to our newsletter.

#12: Financial Commitment. If God is leading you to become a financial partner, CLICK HERE to donate through Horizons. Write Louis Liss in the designation / memo.

Join Us For A Week of Prayer

Annie travels in just 10 days!!!

In preparation for the trip we want to invite you to join us for one week of prayer about the biggest things happening in our lives in this season.

SIGN UP for this week of prayer by CLICKING HERE!

Each day we will email you with how to pray with us and for us on topic that day. Because this blog is a public forum we will be putting our specific prayers only in the email version for the week, so please join our Prayer Team to get the details of our prayer needs.

The added benefit of signing up for these rather than stopping by our blog each day is that you can reply. Please let us know that you are praying with a quick reply each day. Even just a quick, “I prayed for you,” reply will encourage us greatly.

Want to start praying now? Here are the topics:

In addition, if you haven’t already, SIGN UP to meet with Annie in the States to hear more stories and upcoming ministry here in Lebanon. This isn’t just about giving money or raising money, but about continuing to build relationships with all of you.

We need more than just funding.

What we need the most is prayer!

How To Use Your Pen in the Battle

The Power of Prayer

Many of you really do pray for us, and we are so blessed. We have had a few times in our lives when we went on trips without asking for prayer, and we could always feel the difference. It was not a good feeling to feel that we were spiritually disconnected from our global community, and now we always make prayer the first requirement we tell interns and new staff to gather in their partnership development.

We can go without money. God has ways of providing food and shelter and clothing and supplies when we have a low month. Prayer is something we cannot live without. Especially with the call to prayer from the local mosque coming in through our windows throughout the day.

Join Our New Prayer Chain

If you haven’t already signed up for our quarterly Prayer Week Challenge, please CLICK HERE to sign up. Four times a year we take one week to pray and fast, and we encourage you to join us. On this list you will also be informed of anything urgent or personal that needs immediate prayer but we do not feel comfortable or appropriate to post in the public setting. If you are serious about prayer for us, you have to be on this prayer chain list.

The Pen Is Mightier

I am sure that you have all been there, when you share a prayer request and then go home, but you still feel hopeless or lost. It is so important to pray together, and to be able to share encouragement with each other in our prayer lives. To make prayer an outpouring instead of just a time of filling up.

Although we know many of you are praying for us, and we can feel the love and blessings of those prayers across the ocean, we would be so much more blessed if we could hear from you as well. When you pray for us, it would be wonderful to get a little message from you as simple as: “Just said a prayer for you.”

In our time of living in Lebanon it has been a steep learning curve of how to balance communication home and the work here. It has been especially hard because we are not the most tech-savvy, and we love to live as simply as possible. However, we are turning over a new leaf with a renewed commitment to letting you know our needs, prayers, adventures, and stories.

Please join us in this commitment by recommitting to being in communication with us.

You Can Help

Share our newsletter at your church and small group.

Prepare a place at your church or a time in your small group to share what we post about. Pray with others for our needs. So often we are working through things that many people back home have skills and ideas to help with. We would love to be in conversation with you about the pieces of our ministry you feel invested in or interested in.

Print our newsletter and put in the narthex or hand it out to your small group.

Most churches are willing to put our posts in their own newsletters or as a bulletin insert. However, we have not had the time or energy to figure out how to do this, so it has fallen by the wayside. A person willing to take the blog posts appropriate for these mediums to format them for these places would be so appreciated. Please let me know if this is you!

Please send pictures, video messages via Skype or Whatsapp, news of life.

We are out of touch with our families, Annie doesn’t use facebook or other social media, and we feel like we have lost many of you. Whatsapp is a completely free app on your phone that allows for texting, video and audio messages and calls. Download it to your phone and email us your phone number and we can connect via Whatsapp. Skype is the other way we communicate with people, so share your info with us and set up a weekly or monthly time we can chat with you.

Email

Email is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with us because you can commit to replying when a new post comes to your inbox. The replies get sent directly to our email. If you do not receive these blog posts in your email CLICK HERE to sign up for the daily, weekly, or monthly email from the blog. Additionally, you can sign up for Annie’s Blog HERE.

Meet With Annie

Sit face to face with Annie and pray with her and talk through how you can commit to communicate with our family, stay in the know about our ministry, and help us stay connected to all of you.

Why Am I A Missionary?

My Call To Be A Missionary

When I was in 4th Grade we did a unit on countries. My teacher gave us a booklet with the most basic information about a country in Africa where they speak Swahili. We learned maybe five words in Swahili, saw where the country was on the map, and learned about food and the safari type land in the area. I obviously didn’t master the material because I don’t remember the country, words, or food.

When it came time to pick our own countries I ended up doing Peru.

Why do I remember the day we learned about that country at all? Because sitting in my seat, holding that grey cardstock booklet, God called me. It was a clear call, and I was so sure of it that I didn’t get excited at all. It was as normal as my teacher saying, “You’re going to need a pencil, so please get one out now.”

Except God didn’t say now.

The call sat like a stone in my stomache for years. I remained as sure of it as in that initial moment, and have never wavered from believing God would accomplish His Call. Along the way I have been annoyed at the timing, confused by the places I have ended up, but I still know that God called me to be a missionary in Africa.

I am not in Africa.

When people come to Lebanon we want to know their expectations, what they hope to get out of the trip, why they feel the need to come. My answer is that God called me. Beyond that I usually can’t think of a reason. I don’t have the attachment to a people group or socioeconomic status or refugees, I only have God’s call sitting firmly inside of me.

Perhaps you are called to women, youth, artists, peers, large groups, small groups, unreached, ill, or battered people. Maybe you aren’t in a position to do what you have been called to do yet. Is there a way to equip yourself for that call where you are right now?

In my years here in Lebanon I have learned so much about loss. How could I have gone to Africa, a continent torn apart by wars, racial divides, and illness without empathy? I did not come to Lebanon with empathy. But now, this past month, I finally celebrated victory in that area. As we have been doing trauma counseling, I am finally learning the precious gift of empathy.

I needed these years of learning empathy and a vast number of other lessons. In addition, God has given me the gift of having the time to raise my children and to learn how to do that in a similar environment to America so that I would have a little less adjustment. I am blessed to be in Lebanon for this season. I am storing up lessons for the calling.

If you want to hear more stories about how Louis and Annie became missionaries, ended up in Lebanon, and what we are doing to help the refugees and Lebanese, please sign up to meet with Annie while she is in the States. This is the perfect time to connect with our ministry and be a part of our story.

How can you dig in where you are right now and get the most out of life?

10 Days & Counting! America, Here We Come!

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I really love this picture of Davy looking out over Lebanon and seeing the song he made up, “Our City”! What a beautiful moment.

If you want to receive our contact information when we get American phone numbers for the month we are in the States, make sure you are on our email list by CLICKING HERE!

This week we so appreciate those of you praying with us. If you are on our prayer team (which you can join by CLICKING HERE) you have been receiving detailed prayer requests straight to your email each day. Next week we are going to continue praying about these same 7 topics, and I will report a little bit on what we prayed about this current week. If you would like to receive our prayer letters in your email, please CLICK HERE!

kyrie-surgery-fundraiser-main-picture

Our fundraising site for Kyrie has been such a success! Because we budget to travel every 3 months and this trip comes after only 2 months, and it is much more expensive to fly to America than Cyprus, our budget is struggling to manage this lurch in timing. On the site we asked for people to provide meals by either having us over to eat or by bringng a freezer meal to one of our parents’ houses. However, the link has not been working for people. Please don’t despair. You can just send us an email or comment below and we can coordinate with you. If you would like to give toward the travel costs and appointments surrounding the surgery, there is still time to donate on the GiveForward site (you can give on the site up until the day of the surgery, December 28th).

food

Of course, if God is putting it on your heart in these times of prayer to join with us financially for a one time or repeat donation to support our ministry here in Lebanon, the high schoolers and visitors we hope to increase our time with and curriculum for and the expenses of life, you can always become one of our financial partners through the Horizons Donation Page, which has many options for joining with us as well. Just put Louis Liss in the memo. This will go towards our future here in Lebanon.

The final plug I have for today is about an upcoming Writing Challenge Annie is putting on. The purpose is to kickstart the blogging habit in the New Year. If you would like to Join this FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge, CLICK HERE! If you want to follow Annie’s blogs through this challenge so you can pray and stay up to date during our month in America, or if you are hoping to finish that Christmas letter by February, or if you also want to kickstart a writing habit for a journal, prayer life, or blog, this Challenge is for you, too! Please join Annie. You will only get the Prompts if you CLICK HERE! The Challenge begins December 15th!

Serving as Senders Introduction


Over the next 8 weeks we will be walking through the book Serving as Senders by Neal Pirolo. We have found that many people on our sending team have been amazing at sending us to the mission field but were left asking, “What do we do now? How can we support the Lisses now that they are in Lebanon?” Each week we will be sharing stories and how we are personally in need of help from our local churches. If you have already purchased a book they are available in the church offices at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church and Streams in the Desert Lutheran Church. If you want a book they are available at these locations as well as available to be purchased at Amazon.com and for Kindle download. You can also follow this blog each week for practical applications.


Early in our marriage Annie would come home from teaching and I would usually be studying for class. She would politely ask me a question about my day and how seminary classes were going and I would answer congenially. She then went into the bedroom to shower and change for the evening. When she returned she would ask me a follow up question from before she left, and I would strain to remember what she was talking about. She then would ask, “Do remember what we were talking about?”

I had moved on in my mind and panicked to try and recall the simple exchange we had just had. Seeing the blank look I was giving her she continued to ask, “When I leave the room do you still think about me?” I was too young to understand that this quickly went from a harmless interchange to an emotionally charged snare that I was about to barrel into. I innocently shared that, “I am intently focused on you when we are together, and once you leave I give the same laser focus to whatever is in front of me then.”

My young bride obviously did not receive this with the same calm composure that I was trying to encourage. Instead she felt hurt. She shared that when she left in the morning she thought about what I would be doing that day. During the day she was thinking about what we would be doing when we reunited. When she came home she checked in with me and then began to reevaluate how my check in affected the plans for the evening.

I had to confess that I thought about her much the way that I think about most people: When they’re in front of me. Our challenge for this study is to be more like Annie and less like me. We are so blessed by everyone in the states when we are there but feel the void when we are overseas. Most missionaries update their supporters 2-4 times a year, but we have made a commitment to stay in contact every month so that we can build up community. We have tried to make this study as practical as possible with clear applications. If you have any thoughts or questions in the coming weeks please share them with us so this can be as interactive as possible.


Jesus frequently uses questions to help us understand His teachings. Each week we will have three questions for personal reflection. Use these to help guide and challenge your own personal application for the section.

  1. In what ways do you feel like you are already blessing those who serve cross-culturally?
  1. How has having a global view of God’s work affected your own walk with Christ?
  1. Who are people in your own church & community that would benefit from seeing what God is doing around the world as well as across the street?

Pray For The Middle East

Today was supposed to be a Bible Study post on Romans, which is the Bible Study Louis and I are doing, but he is sick. Instead, I was thinking about the amazing things happening here, and wanted to make sure people knew about them. Additionally, this week the emails and Skype calls asking about The Situation over here have increased dramatically. I am not sure why this week was different, but I wanted to share with you again that Pray4MENA.org has daily and weekly updates on prayer requests and praise reports happening all over the Middle East. We have had not just 1 but 2 people in ISIS come to Christ recently!

With all the exciting things God is doing, there is still desperation for prayer every day. Please be in prayer for those people coming from war-torn, traumatic situations. They are on our heart as we meet them, pray with them, and minister to them at the center.

Psalm 8

Overview

    A psalm of praise, Psalm 8 is honoring the majesty of God apparent in all the earth. Here is the true use of “out of the mouth of babes”. This psalm is also sharing of the uniqueness of humanity, that we are made higher up within the hierarchy than evolution would place us. We are just under the heavenly beings, but above all the other works of God’s hands.

Characters

Our Lord, all the earth, the heavens, babies and infants, God’s foes, the enemy and the avenger, David the Psalmist, man and the son of man, the heavenly beings.

Key Verse

Verse 4-5 “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Cross References

Hebrews 2:6-9 “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”

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

Job 7:17-18 “What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment?”

Job 25:6 “how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”

Genesis 8:1 “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.”

Psalm 80:17 “But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!”

Psalm 65:9 “You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.”

Genesis 21:1 “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised.”

Genesis 50:24 “And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Psalm 21:5 “His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.”

Conclusion

    It is important what we do with Scripture. To know that God has placed us almost equal to the angels, and somewhere else it says we will be over them in heaven, can go to our heads and we can build the Tower of Babel. Or we can realize with awe what God has done for us, that we fell so far and hard as to make it impossible for us to pick up the pieces and restore our lives to deserve eternal life in peace with God. Yet, God picked us up, put us back together, and accepts us back into his home with a party. This should humble us and draw us closer to him that he shows such redeeming love.

Louis and I saw the new Noah movie. It did a very good job of showing the sin of man, and that that sin resides in all mankind. It had stunning and horrifying sequences of the death that occurred all around that ark as the rain fell and everyone died. And it shows a Noah that realizes everyone deserves to die. I am sure that not all Christians who see it find it to be a movie worth watching, but to me it was a movie that proved my earlier point. The writer and director of this movie did not have the relationship with God that could move beyond the question, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” and so the movie ends in a quandary, and not in Scriptures truth of the story and what actually happened. Perhaps we think, as many in Scripture say, it would have been better if I was never born. But God put you here, created you, and made so many things in this world just for you, out of love. We live in false humility if realizing our own depravity does not send us running into the arms of Christ.

We are not merely extras in the movie of life for important people, but are the main star of the movie that God is making about and for us. He is an extravagant lover, pursuing us with zeal.

Jesus in the Psalm

    This Psalm follows the Cosmic Drama from creation to the fall to redemption to perfect completion.

Romans 1:18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

The Hebrews passage above in the cross references clearly connects this Psalm directly to Jesus. “The One through whom the world was created (John 1:3; Heb. 1:2) came to restore the image marred at the fall (Col. 1:15). He empowers even the weakest to participate in his redemptive plan (1 Cor. 1:26-31). Verses 1 and 9 of Psalm 8 serve not only as bookends for the psalm; they also anticipate the end of all things, when Christ’s enemies will be made a footstool for his feet, and his name will be majestic through all the earth (Eph. 1:22).”*

John 1:3 “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

Hebrews 1:2 “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether or earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.””

Ephesians 1:22 “And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,”

I just pray that as you read these passages of Scripture linking to the New Testament that your heart is as lifted as mine. I just want to keep reading and sharing with you because I am bursting with the good news that this all entails. God’s blessings on all of you. I pray that you are growing in Your Lord daily, and that your hunger for Scripture becomes famishing.

Tomorrow: Romans 2

*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.

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

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

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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