Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Philippians___1

Scripture 

 

Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. 

 

Observation-What does it say? 

 

Paul is writing to the church in Philippi and verses 19-30 “speaks of Paul’s hope of being released from house arrest.” (bibleref.com)

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

Paul reminded the believers in Philippi that whatever situation they were placed in, their life must be conducted in “a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

 

Life Application

 

God will hold us accountable to how we respond in not just ideal situations, but also difficult ones.

 

Paul was one of the greatest apostles who also wrote a majority of the New Testament. However, he seemed to always be imprisoned for his faith. Regardless of his circumstances, he continued to find ways to not only be joyful, but stay on mission for Jesus Christ, even though in jail or house arrest. Does this sound familiar?

 

What are you doing to continue to be on mission for Jesus Christ even through quarantine? As the Apostle Paul’s life proves, there’s still a way to be on mission for Jesus Christ, even in lockdown quarantine.

 

Dear Lord, please reveal to us creative ways to continue to live a life worthy of our calling and mission to multiply Christ followers everywhere. Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 24

Scripture  Luke 24:38-40  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

 

Observation-What does it say?   When Jesus was crucified, the apostles and disciples were left with a feeling of loss, not only because their friend was gone, but also because they felt they had lost their hope of a savior of Israel.  Within a short period of time, Jesus had told the apostles, very clearly, he would be taken and crucified. He explained it was necessary for Him to suffer in order to fulfill the prophecies about him.  Yet, they were left with a feeling of despair when it all happened.  In a bit of irony, He shows himself to them without revealing who he was.  In doing this, he draws out of them their testimony and then he gives them the final piece of the puzzle, His resurrection.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Some of my favorite movies to fall asleep to are The Lord of The Rings.  I mean, I seriously love these movies, but without fail I will fall asleep about one quarter of the way through the movie.  One cause of this, is the fact that my kids are too young to watch these.  Therefore, we have a tendency to start them late in the evening.  Since I have a tendency to live as if I were already taking advantage of the 55+ discount, I am usually ready for bed by about nine pm.  So starting a three hour movie at 8:30 never goes well.

 

Of the movies, the second, ‘The Two Towers,’ is my favorite.  I would argue that it has the best battle scenes of any movie, ever.  In one of the most pivotal moments in the movie, the Battle of Helm’s Deep,  it appears as all hope is lost and the protagonists have their back against a wall, literally and metaphorically.  As the hero, Aragon, appears to be riding out to his death in a blaze of glory, in comes help from Gandalf the wizard, who had previously told him he would be there.  In the movie, you can see the expression of relief and the amazement that help was actually there.

 

Several times in scripture God gives us similar cliffhangers, like when the priests carried the Ark into the Jordan while it was flooding (Joshua 3), or when Jonah demands to be thrown in the sea, or when Jesus allows Lazarus to hang out in a tomb for three days before raising him from the dead (John 11).  But his death and resurrection is the ultimate cliffhanger.  While all of his closest companions are dumbfounded, Jesus comes almost satirically, “Hey guys, what happened, why are you so sad?”

 

Right now, it feels like we are in a bit of a cliffhanger moment.  What’s going to happen with church, with my job, with the economy and our freedoms?  More importantly, when will I be able to park at the beach?  But God knows what is next, He told us He wins and what happens at the end.  But he asks us to trust Him in the in between.


Life Application:  Jesus, I will lean on You and Your wisdom.  I will cling to You for my peace and my comfort, for you are my strength and my refuge (Psalm 46).

 
-Tyler Galloway


Isaiah_60

Scripture – What stood out?

Isaiah 60:1-3

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth

    and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

    and his glory appears over you.

3 Nations will come to your light,

    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

 

Observation – What does it say?

The title to this chapter in NIV reads “The Glory of Zion”. The prophet Isaiah speaks to God’s future blessing and provision over Zion. The words seem to pertain to the people of Israel, the future king Jesus Christ who descended from the line of David, but I believe that this is a word that is for all of us who trust and believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I have never felt so confused in a very long time. With media, scientists, doctors, politicians, and religious figures all at odds over how to best respond to covid-19, I officially feel like there is a darkness that has covered the land. Maybe if you have lived longer than the 40 years I have perhaps you can remember a time when darkness covered the land much like I feel it does now.

However…

I believe that God is telling his people “Arise, shine, for your light has come…”

“…the Glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

And “Nations will come to your light.”

 

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Arise.

Do you have the Love of Christ in you? Shine.

The glory of the Lord rises with you.

There are people living in darkness who need that light.

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Thank you Father for rising with me. Help me to share the light of Christ in everything that I do, from the mundane to the spectacular. Help me to be your light when times are dark. Help me to rise. Help me to shine.

 

In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Luke 22

Scripture

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
 

Observation

After celebrating the Passover with His disciples Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives to pray. Here He will be betrayed by Judas, yet He willingly and humbly prepares Himself for His capture and death. Not only does He do these things, He also verbalizes His surrender to God.
 

Understanding

“Dead End”

I always thought it was really interesting that Jesus prayed this prayer. He knew what HIs sole purpose was, yet He was also (wait for it) human. It is so easy to forget that Jesus was just like us, in that He experienced every range of emotion and He still asked His Heavenly Father for favors He knew the answer to. Jesus literally asks God “to take this cup” from Him. Meaning, He didn’t want to have to experience the weight of the world crashing in on Him. He didn’t want to beat, mocked, crucified, and killed. Crazy right?! The Savior of the world did not want to suffer. And if it were up to any of us, I think we would leave the prayer right there. But Jesus seals His fate by adding, “YET not my will, but yours be done.”

I’ll keep my question to you simple today: What is holding you back from surrendering? I recently read something that I think perfectly sums this beautiful yet difficult act called surrender:

“At the end of the street I saw a street sign. It said simply “Dead End.” There was heartache, heartache so great it cannot be put into words. If you think it’s easy to go to the cross, it’s simply because you’ve never been there.”

Jesus proves that the journey to the cross is full of turmoil. The same applies to us. We think surrender simply implies dumping our problems and insecurities at the feet of the cross and moving on, but it isn’t. The journey to the cross means that we have to accept the fact we are not enough. Then we have to the even more difficult act of bearing our cross, and bearing it daily! It means I choose to die to myself everyday because of the second half of Jesus’ prayer “YET not my will, but yours be done.” What “Dead End” Street have you ventured down too many times because you’re afraid to bring it to the cross?
 

Life Application

I am not implying that God does not redeem your sacrifice and surrender by neglecting your problems and insecurities either. I’m saying that surrender is not easy, especially when we hold the problem or insecurity close to our chest. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, it means that we long to see the Father’s will accomplished NO MATTER THE COST. I know I always come back to this, but you are not alone in your venture to the foot of the cross either. Just because the journey is difficult means you have to go alone. Jesus went alone, so that we could go together, He paved the way for us. It’s time to turn our “Dead Ends” into surrenders and victories.

-Allison Khan

PS I would care to venture to say, that stress and fear about the coronavirus is a “Dead End” street. I think it’s about time to bear this cross too…


Psalm__11

Scripture

Psalm 11:1-7 NLT

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in His holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see His face.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

In this psalm of David, David reiterates Who he finds refuge in (The Lord Almighty). As chaos and disorder begin to surround David, his counselors urge him to flee. But David stands firm. David knows that God is his protector, and that God is in control. David knows that he serves a God of truth and justice…and despises those who love evil. David understands the wrath of fire and brimstone that awaits the wicked. So David remains steadfast in his faith. David will fight his battles with the Lord God Almighty leading the way.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is in control.

You ever hear people ask the question, “How can God let this bad stuff happen in the world?!” It is even a question we as Christians can find ourselves asking. We as a people have managed to think that we know better than God!..that we can manage this world ourselves! Now where did that leave us?! Just turn on your local news or go on social media. I’m sure it won’t take long for us to see.

But there is good news. God is STILL in control. Even with all the evil in this world, God is in control. He is at the throne of Heaven, observing our every action, hearing our every thought and prayer. God is waiting on us. Are we as a nation ready to turn back to Him? Are we as Christ Followers ready to stand in the gap, and pray on behalf of this nation? I encourage you to trust God (the way David did). See what God can do through all of this. We serve a God of order and justice. Let Him lead our way!

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14 

 

Life Application

Pray for our nation and its leaders.

Father God, I pray for our nation today. I pray for our leaders. I pray that You may instill them with wisdom on how to lead the people in a way that pleases You, especially during this Covid-19 season. Forgive us God for thinking we know what’s better for us. Forgive us Lord for turning our backs on You. Lord God Almighty, You are in control. Help us trust in You and Your ways once again. Heal our nation Lord. Restore this nation to make us whole again. Make us one nation, under God, (under Your reign and protection Lord). We give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



Psalm_10

Scripture:

Psalm 10:17

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 

Observation:

David writes his lament over God’s seeming inactivity as evil and wickedness not only are able to carry on their wicked ways (rejecting God’s laws, being greedy and arrogant, lying and intimidating), but also seem to be rewarded with success – “always prosperous.”

Understanding:

Have you ever known someone like that?  Someone that seemed to be unfairly “blessed” while, perhaps, you’ve toiled away for average.  I think we’ve all had moments like that; moments where we take our eyes off of all the good that God has done / is doing in our own lives and began comparing…whether against where we feel we “should be” or against someone we know or against someone’s social media highlights. It’s true what they say, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

But this verse struck me in another way too.  So many people are hurting right now – whether from isolation, too much time quarantined in an unhealthy environment, in their finances or mental un-wellness.  The overnight change in our world, in our culture, in the way we interact, it impacts every person differently.  This verse is a reminder, though, that God “hear[s] the desire of the afflicted.”  Not only does he hear it, He’s knows exactly what is needed…never at a loss for words, never out of resources, never too busy; he encourages the afflicted and listens to their cry (silent or loud). 

Life Application:

“Don’t compare your life to others.  There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon.  They shine when it’s their time.” – Unknown

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.” – Zen Shin

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves – Phil 2:3

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. – Prov. 14:30

Don’t spend another second comparing yourself; when you’re tempted, take time to turn your heart to gratitude and humility. 

And, remember, God’s got your back.  He’s listening; so feel free to pour out your afflictions and allow Him to comfort and encourage you.  Also remember, though, you were placed in this family for a reason; you are not alone.  You have a community that loves you and can be that tangible sense of His love.

Lastly, go love on somebody!  We are here on this earth to be God’s hands and feet in this world; be present and aware, look for opportunities to share God’s love with those you encounter.   We can be the mouthpiece that shares His encouraging word, the ear that takes time to listen and hear their cry.

 

Rei



Psalm_9

Scripture  Psalm 9:9-10  The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

 

Observation-What does it say?  This psalm was written by David, and it is possible that both chapters nine and ten were written as one psalm.  Several things that indicate this include it’s structure being in the form of an acrostic, the first letter of every other line follows the order of the Hebrew alphabet, and it is the only psalm in chapters 3-32 that doesn’t contain a superscript.  Chapter 9 is mostly concerned with praising God for deliverance from Israel’s enemies, though none are specifically named.  Verses 7-10 are a celebration of God’s righteous rule, which evokes trust in those who seek the Lord.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I love to eat, which is largely why I exercise as much as I do.  Otherwise, I might look like Homer Simpson.  I have found that I have some emotional patterns in my eating.  When I am happy, I eat more savory foods.  This is when I like to have groups of people over, like at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When I am stressed or feeling insecure, I eat more sweets and desserts.  When I listen to the clues of my eating, I can use it as a time to reflect on my life.  

 

The other day, I ate almost a whole box of S’mores cookies before I stopped to question what was wrong. On top of everyone’s normal routine being completely upended, I have had four schedule changes at work since January.  For me, this includes having to cope with new supervisors, a different sleeping schedule, as well as adjusting for things like vacation. Of the biggest concern lately was the supervisor change.  My current supervisor is difficult and I feel like I am walking on egg-shells all day.  It makes it difficult to be motivated for anything while I am at work.

 

When I really consider the cause of my stress, I find it’s because I am trying to depend on my own strength to live day in and day out instead of relying on God’s provision for me.  If I were to look to God’s Word when I feel inadequate, instead of the comfort of a S’mores cookie (which never lasts very long), I would be quicker to remember and be filled with His comfort.  Sometimes, this means I need to praise God when I don’t feel like it, in order to practice the posture of praise.  In praising Him, I will be reminded of how He cares for me in my time of trouble.  

 

Life Application  Jesus, thank You for being a comfort in time of trouble.  Help me to remember that You knew me before I was made (Jeremiah 1:5), and that I am more important to You than sparrows (Matthew 10:29), and that You will make all things work out for good when I search for You (Romans 8:28).  Help me to come to You in my time of need, praising You for the goodness I have always experienced from You.    


-Tyler Galloway



Isaiah_55

Scripture

 

Isaiah 55
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake their ways

    and the unrighteous their thoughts.

Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,

    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Observation

 

It sounds like he was talking about Jesus in this chapter. I had noticed that the chapters before spoke of Jesus hundreds of years before he came to this earth. So cool how God speaks to us of what is to come in our future. Even now he speaks.

 

Understanding

 

Verse 7 tells the people who did terrible things to stop doing them and abandon the habits. And to the sinners to stop thinking their terrible thoughts and ideas. If they would forget about the evil ways and turn toward God He would have mercy and forgive them.

 

Immediately after, God says that he doesn’t think like us, like humans. He doesn’t have our wicked ways or our unrighteous thoughts.

 

Human beings are not prone to freely forgive or extend mercy. Our tendency is to take note, remember it, so it will give us power and control, so it will protect us.

 

 Our vision and insight is seen from the ground view, face to face with our offender.

 

But God sees from a higher perspective. God’s eye view sees things we cannot see.

 

He sees our value,

He sees who we could become,

He sees His Son.

 

Application

 

 Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

 

God is right here, ready and waiting to pour out in abundance his mercy and forgiveness. Holy Spirit is here waiting to empower us to change our thoughts that hold us captive to our bad habits.

 

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

 
-Deborah Lee


Luke 16

Scripture

Luke 16:10-15

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just told a parable about a shrewd manager and gave a lesson on the importance of being trustworthy in handling wealth and also trustworthy with managing someone else’s property, not stingy or wasteful with it. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

It ALL belongs to God.

All of our gifts, talents, time, abilities and resources belong to the Lord. His resources, such as money, which is specifically highlighted in this passage, must be steward wisely. Although only 10% is required to be returned, the rest of the 90% belongs to God as well. 

The more trustworthy we are in handling His money, His gifts, His talents, His time, His resources, etc., the more He will entrust to us to manage.

 

Life Application

Be a trustworthy servant of the Lord and steward what He owns (our lives) wisely. 

Our whole lives belong to the Lord. We would not be alive today or have what we have today without His faithfulness and grace. 

We must love the Owner more than the gift. We serve the Giver, not the gift. 

It’s interesting in this passage how it talks about the Pharisees’ love of money. I would think that men who followed the law and did things by the book would steer away from that, but it reminds me that God does not look at the outward appearance, but the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Their outward appearance would suggest that they were giving servants, but in their heart, they only gave to be seen (Matthew 6:1-4). They only gave out of what they already had, instead of giving ALL they had (Luke 21:1-4). They only gave out of obligation, not a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Dear Lord, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would constantly remind us that our whole lives belong to You. I pray we would be a church that gives of our lives freely and generously, especially when it comes to furthering Your Kingdom. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 15

Scripture

 

Luke 15:4 NLT

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?”

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

In this chapter, Jesus spoke to all the tax collectors and notorious sinners. The Pharisees and teachers of the law found that quite odd and began complaining amongst one another. Why would Jesus associate Himself with such people? So Jesus responded to them by speaking to them in parables. Each parable would drive across a single point…Jesus’ heart for the lost.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

God loves the lost.

 

Your average person probably thinks God is out to get them. That God is just waiting for that moment that we slip up and…BAM! He got ya! God caught us in the act and now He’s waiting to drop the hammer on us. We couldn’t be more wrong. God loves us…all of us. Now don’t get it twisted. He despises sin, but still loves the sinner. And there are consequences for our sinful actions. But for those who repent from their sinfulness and return to Jesus, there is grace, mercy, and love. These parables that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees here reminds me of that. That God’s desire is for ALL to come to know Him and repent from their sinful ways. For there is great rejoicing in Heaven when just one person turns to Christ! Imagine the celebration that occurs when we all do our part as Christians and multiply Christ Followers everywhere.

 

“As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” –Ezekiel 33:11 NLT

 

“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” –1 Timothy 2:3-4 NLT

 

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”-2 Peter 3:8-9 NLT

 

Life Application

 

When it comes to the Gospel of Christ, don’t discriminate!

 

Father God, may You give me Your heart for the lost. A heart that breaks over sinfulness. Give me Your eyes Lord to see and ears to hear. May You guide me to whom You would want me to be bold with and share with today. Help me remember how You shared with anyone and everyone. You didn’t discriminate. Instead, You loved all. Help me to be part of that celebration in Heaven when one chooses You and repents from their sinful ways. In Your name Jesus, Amen.

 

-Moses Gaddi