Soul Journal
bible
BIBLE READING
 
October 16: Romans 8
October 17: Romans 9
October 18: Romans 10
October 19:  Romans 11
October 20: Romans 12
 
October 23: Romans 13
October 24: Romans 14
October 25: Romans 15
October 26:  Romans 16
October 27: Jude
 
October 30: James 1
October 31: James 2
November 1: James 3
November 2:  James 4
November 3: James 5
 
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Romans_12

Scripture

Romans 12:16 

Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Observation– What does it say?

In this chapter, Paul begins by encouraging us to offer ourselves to God as a sacrifice.  When we offer ourselves back to God, he will renew and transform us.  Paul continues by discussing how we are to be transformed in relation to the family of God.  We need to be acting in humility towards each other, and putting other’s needs above our own. 

Understanding– What does it mean?

I need to see other’s through the eyes of Christ, who laid down his life for other’s because he knew that his Father was the most important thing.

As a parent, it is easy to see when my boys are putting their wants in front of everything else.  Jed wants to be out of the car first.  Ezekiel wants to be left alone, all the time.  And Matthias wants to eat, even when the food is on someone else’s plate.  I know I did it myself when I was their age too.  My brother and I competed over everything, simply because we wanted to be first.  We both wanted to be the one who was the most important person. 

This desire to be important has probably been one of the most difficult things for me to dispense of.  I still want to be the best, at everything.  It affects my attitude at work, at play and at home.  I once got kicked out of a church league softball game because of this desire to be the best.  For that moment in time, winning the game became more important than the legs of the girl playing catcher that night.

Good sportsmanship is probably one of the most practical versions of God’s love that we can show to other’s.  When I learn to genuinely rejoice with other’s, instead of being upset that they got something I want, it can show the power of God changing us little by little.  Paul wrote about this same thing to the Philippians (2:5-11), stating that we nee to learn to lay ourselves down in service for one another.

Life application

I need to help people find the path to God, and that requires humility.

Jesus, remind me that your love is greater than all things.  Help me to see that my words can either lead people to that love or turn them away from it.  Most of all, give me the ability to see the joy in rejoicing with others.
 
– Tyler Galloway
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Romans_11

 
Scripture
 
“And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
 
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:33-36‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
“The Apostle Paul trusts that God won’t give up on His covenant people, the nation of Israel. God is not done with Israel and He has used their rejection of Him for His own purposes. God’s covenant family is described as a big olive tree and the rejectors of Jesus have been cut off. But, one day, Jesus will be acknowledged by His people (Romans 5-16, the Bible Project).”
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
God is patient and merciful. He keeps His promises and His mercy extends to the depths of sin.
 
As we read about the rebellion of the nation of Israel in the book of Ezekiel, we also read about the hope for the nation, hope for God’s chosen people, through a Savior, Jesus Christ, who would be the atonement for their rebellion and sin. His redeeming power had and has no limitations.
 
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Life Application
 
No matter what a person has done in their past, no one is too far gone for Jesus to save.
 
There is no such thing as a person who cannot be saved by God. That’s why we must keep pressing forward in faith to share the Gospel with the unsaved, the unchurched and the rebellious. It is a free gift that can’t be earned, but given solely because God loved the murderer, fornicator, adulterer, idolator, liar, cheater, drunkard, worrier, basically you and me so much. If He loved me and you so much to forgive and save us, we must also love sinners enough to forgive them and share the gift that Christ has so freely given to us.
 
Thank You Lord for the hope we have through Jesus Christ. I pray that we would never stop to be on mission to share Your Good News with those who need to hear it and receive it. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Romans_10

Scripture
 
Romans‬ ‭10:14‬ ‭NLT
 
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul has the heart and desire for not just all in Israel to be saved, but for EVERYONE to be saved by having faith in Jesus Christ. Paul writes,“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭NLT. And in verse 13 Paul writes, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Paul understands that it doesn’t matter if you are Jew or Gentile, because they both have the same Lord who gives generously to all who call on Him (verse 12). So Paul implores his brothers and sisters in Christ to help him with his crusade of sharing the good news, and bringing people to faith through knowing Jesus Christ.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Am I doing my part in sharing the good news to those who don’t know it yet?
 
The verse I picked today is a great reminder for me of my responsibility to be sharing the good news to those who may not have heard it, or even quite fully understand it yet. How will these people know any better? How can I expect them to be saved if no one is willing to share with them? 
 
I’m not going to lie, there were times I would get discouraged if I would share, and the person would reject the message. It would even harden my heart to want to do it anymore. I would carry the attitude of “I know I’m saved, but it sucks for those of you who aren’t!” Then I imagined “what if the person who shared with me the good news, carried that same attitude? Would have I been able to come to know Christ?” It’s a real humbling thought. So I have to continue to fight the good fight, and run the good race. I must continue to press on in this crusade to help others to hear the good news. It’s my mission as a Christ Follower.
 
L‬‬ife Application
 
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭NLT
 
I choose to do my part as a Christ Follower and share the good news to those who don’t know Him yet. I will not be discouraged if the person doesn’t accept the message instantly. It’s all about doing my part, and that’s sharing the good news to them. I will continue to pray for them, in hopes that the message they heard can Lord willing, someday bring change in their life.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans_9

Scripture

 Romans 9:27

 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
    only the remnant will be saved.”

Observation – What does it say?

The unthinkable is pondered.  Have the people of Israel with their distinction as the chosen people of God, been rejected by the wrath of God?  And, has Israel’s plight resulted in making a way for the Gentile masses?  Paul grieves for “those of his own race.’  History proves God faithful for the criterion for righteousness (a right standing before God) has been, is, and always will be for everyone who believes.  Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.  Christ brought the Law to completion by obeying perfectly its demands and by fulfilling its types and prophecies” (NIV Text Note).  It is here we are reacquainted with the principle of the Remnant.  Let me introduce you to a dear sister in the Lord by the name Joanie Martin.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  Matthew 5:17

Understanding – What does it mean?

Remnant – The word conjures up images of scraps, leftovers, remains, those left behind, refugees or a subgroup of some kind.  I was a new Christian in my mid-thirties.  The Bible was Aramaic to me but God showed great patience with me as I was introduced to biblical principles.  Around this time I was serving in a deacon type role and was assigned to the shut-in ministry.  That is how God brought Joanie into my life; a wisp of a frame, frail in statue but sharp as a whip.  She had come through Ellis Island from England, was sponsored by a family in California and employed as a mother’s helper (Don’t you dare call her a Nanny).  Joanie never married, never drove a car and never returned to England.   She may have been housebound in her later years but she still lived out a dynamic faith touching hundreds with the love of Christ. Countless times I would watch as she reached into a bag of mismatched pieces of yarn and crocheted what I affectionately called a “Joanie.”  Each afghan was a unique tapestry of color and design that was saturated in prayer and the promises of God.  From there they were off to a home for runaway girls; girls who would arrive with little more that the clothes on their backs; a welcome gift from an anonymous servant. As it was in Elijah’s time, God had preserved a faithful remnant amongst the Jewish people.  This “bag of thread” continues today and at any time could be assembled for God’s glory. 

Life Application

The lesson of the Remnant asks of me, “Who or what is the focus of my worship?  Has my knee bowed to someone or something other than Christ?  I am in this world by no choice of my own but, “am I of it?”  Have I adopted the ever changing standards of my surroundings or have I kept my eye on the prize?  Am I a piece of the fabric of this world or am I a piece of yarn awaiting the Master’s hands?  Father in heaven, I thank you for your Word that continually fits me for your plans and purposes for my life. 

-Warren

 

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Romans_8

Scripture

Romans 8:5-8

5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life.  Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them – living and breathing God!  Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.   Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.  Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.  And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

Observation

Romans 8 is a continuation of Romans 7…where Paul talks about Christians being free from the law of sin and death.

Understanding

In reading verse 5 and looking at today’s culture, it seems the majority of the world is “obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle.”  But we are called to trust God – trust His actions in us and put our focus on him.  And when we do, it “leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.”  But as Paul says, you can’t do both; in fact, “focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.”

Life Application

So, what does that mean for us as Christians?  How do we live this out?  As counter cultural as it sounds, we put our focus on God. 

God, I thank you for the gift of freedom you provide in response to the law of sin and death.  Help me to put you first – today and every day.  In a world that is self-absorbed, may I run counter; may I be focused on you and be a reflection of your love and sacrifice to everyone I meet.

In your name, I pray. Amen!

– Rei


Romans_7

Scripture

Romans 7:15  For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.

Observation-What does it say?

At the beginning of this chapter, Paul tells us that it is through Jesus’ death that we are united to him.  We were once slaves to the law, by which we understand sin, but we are now freed from it through the cross.  So if I am free from sin, why do I still struggle with it.  Paul states that we struggle with sin because we are alive in the flesh, despite how we want to live in our spirit.

Understanding-What does it mean?

I like to ride bikes.  It doesn’t matter much what kind, road bike, mountain bike, even beach cruisers from time to time.  I have even been known to ride a dirt bike from time to time (but that usually doesn’t end well #brokenleg).  One thing that I tend to struggle with when I ride my bike is turning as I am riding down hills.  I can’t seem to get over the fear of going fast and turning. 

Part of the problem is that instead of looking towards the horizon to see what I am approaching.  Instead, I get fixated on the obstacles that are directly in front of my front wheel, like small rocks, little patches of sand, an oil spot, etc.  All these things are so small that you naturally avoid them when you are focussed on where you are going instead of minute problems.  When you focus up ahead, you can avoid the larger problems, like cars and bends in the road, the things which can cause much greater harm.  This is the same lesson we learned in Driver’s Ed, look as far ahead in traffic as possible. 

In my life if I want to struggle less with my sin, I need to change my focus to what’s up ahead.  I need to set my sights on the eternal an not the temporary.  To paraphrase what Pastor Gary said on Sunday, we are aliens here, and our citizenship is in heaven.  My striving should not be for the temporary, or the things I want here, i.e. a new truck or a promotion at work (not that there is anything inherently sinful about those things).  My striving needs to be heaven bound.  Philippians 3:8-14 

Life Application

Jesus help me to set my eyes on you.  Help me to look to my future home in the light of your grace.  I want to let go of the things that are holding me back here, and take hold of the things that you want in my life.  For I know that you want my heart and to give you that I need to spend time with you.  Help me to take joy in spending time with you, even when I don’t “feel like it.” 
 
– Tyler Galloway
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Romans_6

 
Scripture
 
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Rom. 6:1-2
 
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 6:23
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is speaking to the Roman church to remind them that they are no longer slaves of sin and death, but rather alive in Christ and slaves to righteousness.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We are free from the control of sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.
 
Paul is writing to free the Romans from the bondage to their old life, encouraging them that they are no longer tied to that old life and no longer have to be slaves to their sin.  They are now free to live for Jesus and free to live a righteous life led by the Holy Spirit.
 
We do not live righteously in order to gain His approval or salvation, as we are saved solely by faith in Jesus Christ, but faith in Him will naturally produce a heart that longs to obey.
 
 
Life Application
 
Turn our eyes and focus on Jesus.
 
As Paul says in Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.”
 
There’s a great hymn with the words, “Turn Your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
It is so true.  If we want to stop sinning and being slaves to our former lives, we need to focus more on His light by spending time with Him in prayer, His Word, and other Spriit filled people. This will naturally produce works of righteousness where our former lives will start to fade away.
 
Thank You Jesus for the price You paid to free us from our bondage to sin and death.  Thank You for my resurrected life in You, all the new lives in You and the ones that are to come. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi 


Romans_5

Scripture
 
Romans 5:19
 
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this passage, Paul contrasts between Adam and Jesus. In verse 12 Paul writes, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” But 
‭‭Paul writes in verse 18, “Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”
‭‭
In this chapter Paul writes about the joy we as Christ Followers should have. I mean we were all once doomed and sentenced to death. But because of our faith in Christ Jesus, we have a new beginning, a new life, and get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. A reason to celebrate right?! 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
This free gift of God, (His Son Jesus), is not just meant for you and me, but it’s meant for everyone!
 
Aren’t you glad that God made a way for an “escape plan” from death and an eternity is Hell? I know I am! Because of Adam’s sin, all mankind were destined to sin. And the wages of our sin is death (Romans 6:23). But John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God provides a way for us to overcome our sin and ultimately, overcome death. Something we should all celebrate and share with others. 
 
Life Application
 
Do not let the fear of what others may think of me deter me from sharing God’s free gift with others. You just never know whose life it can save.
 
Father God, thank You for Your free gift, Your gift that brings life…Jesus! Help me remember the joy that I have in Jesus each day. Help me to have courage to share the good news about Jesus with others who really need to hear it. Help me Lord to have a sense of urgency in doing so because I know lives are depending on it. In Your name I pray, Amen.
‭‭
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans_4

Scripture

Romans 4:4 – Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

Observation – What does it say?

In this letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul touches upon no less than 10 important theological themes.  It is a letter that reads more like an “elaborate theological essay” (NIV text note).  In this day of emails, texts, tweets and blogs, you might say the book is more of a live feed; systematic and thorough.  In chapter four Paul illustrates the principle of justification by faith.  And for good reason.  The critics are blasting him for being against the law and rejecting the law’s essential part in salvation.  And these so called experts in the law have already taken up their position ready for Paul’s arrival in Rome.  Even more reason to unpack his teaching on the role of faith in our salvation. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness Genesis 15:6

In the classic style of “Which came first … the chicken or the egg?” Paul takes the reader back to undisputed Jewish history; all the way back to the beginning.  Abraham had kept no law, rendered no service and performed no ritual that earned credit to his account before God (NIV text note).  It was his belief in the God who had made promises to him.  It was this action of belief that was credited to him as righteousness.  Then Paul turns to a more current illustration to make his point.  Current in Paul’s day and just as current today.  How would you feel if after a grueling work week the boss came up to you on payday and said, “Please accept this gift in appreciation for all your hard work.”  Pretty good until you open the envelope and find your payroll check.  Obviously, the boss is confused as to what constitutes a gift.  Simply put a wage is earned and thus an obligation while a gift is, well, a gift.  Repeat after me, “I have been saved by grace through faith – and this was none of my doing.  It is the gift of God and not by any works of my own.  I have no boast except in Christ.

Life Application

In today’s self absorbed environment it is tempting to rewrite Scripture and veg on my own self importance.  My resume of “good deeds,” not to mention the time I gave with my right hand and my left hand didn’t have a clue, is certainly enough capital to warrant justification, right?  Not a chance.  My right standing before God is predicated on His grace alone.  As the verse in “How Great Thou Are” so beautifully puts it, “I can scarcely take it in.”  Lord, keep us from the miry pit that is of salvation by works.  Especially as we share the Good News with those who are lost.  In Jesus Name.

-Warren Vivian

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Romans_3

Scripture

Romans 3:9

What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 

Observation

Romans, written by the apostle Paul, serves the purpose of explaining that salvation is [only] offered through the gospel of Christ.

Understanding

There is a common conception that Christians are judgmental and hypocritical.  Even I – a Christian myself – have been known to think/feel that way about other Christians…and have had my fair share of experiences where I have been judgmental and/or hypocritical.  Quite frankly, it’s because we are imperfect humans and, even at our best, we fail. 

Being a Christian doesn’t make us impenetrable, doesn’t make us invincible to the pressures of our peers or the society around us.  Like the Jews and Gentiles of the Bible days and like the unsaved of today, we too can come under the power of sin…we all fall short.  But, there’s good news… 

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

Life Application

I think it’s important to remember humility in our everyday life…and especially in our salvation.  “Do we have an advantage?  Not at all!”  So, may we live humbly, love extraordinarily and lean on God to direct us and guide us as to where, when and how He wants to use us. 

God, burden my heart today.  May I see people and circumstances through your eyes, in a way that allows me to love more and love better…and, ultimately, that allows me to be a light in a dark world and a conduit of whatever you care to pass on to those I encounter.  Use me!  And show me where I can be more humble, kinder, more generous, more considerate…more like you. 

In your name, I pray. Amen!

– Rei

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.