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!
 

Ephesians 5

Scripture 

Ephesians 5:15-16 

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus (in modern day Turkey).  He was most likely under house arrest in Rome while writing this letter.  It is similar in style and content to Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae.  However, it’s possible this letter wasn’t intended specifically for Ephesus, but as a circular letter, or meant for a group of churches in the region.  Throughout the letter, he emphasizes God’s “great mystery,” which is the inclusion of gentiles as heirs of Christ.  God reconciled all of humanity to Himself through the act of grace, bringing those “who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Starting in chapter 4:17, Paul transitions from discussing how we are all brought to salvation, to discussing our response to this salvation.  After salvation, we intentionally move away from our former way of life, which was full of evil actions, and move towards God’s plan for us, which is full of wisdom and righteousness.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Sometime near 2012, the term YOLO, acronym for “you only live once”, took pop-culture by storm.  It was used by reality TV stars, Twitter stars, and laymen alike.  During that time, the phrase became a call to arms for the young and carefree and was often an excuse to act in ways that would normally be considered inappropriate and unbecoming.  There was a similar phrase that emerged in the 16th century, “memento mori,” Latin for “remember you will die.”  During that time, the phrase carried a meaning more closely associated with the weight of responsibility for one’s actions.  Whether you say “you only live once,” or “remember you will die,” they both remind us of our mortality. 

 

Several times throughout his letters, Paul writes to remind us that we only live once in this world, therefore, we need to live in such a way that we are moving closer to the will of God and further away from the ways of this world.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;  but I [l]discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).  This response is not simply an obligation, but a response of gratitude for the great love that Christ poured on us.  

 

Life Application 

Jesus, help me to move closer to you every day.  As I move closer to you, help change my heart to desire less of this world and its lusts and more of your righteousness.  Help me to seek your discipline and wisdom, knowing that your love is greater than anything here on earth.  

 
-Tyler Galloway
     


Ephesians____4

Scripture – What stood out?

Ephesians 4

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil

 

Observation – What does it say?

The apostle Paul continuing to speak about what a new life in Christ may look like describes what anger should be for a Christian with a “new” outlook on life.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The apostle Paul implies that as a believer in Jesus now your anger must take on two characteristics. Your anger must not lead to sin and your anger must be short lived. 

 

Your anger must not lead to sin and your anger must be short lived.

 

It is hard to imagine that the apostle Paul lived alongside other humans and was still able to write those words! Righteous living comes with so much discipline, surely the Lord would let us stew for a little bit, right? WRONG! Though the cause of our anger may be completely justified, look at what the apostle says in verse 27, “and give no opportunity to the devil.” Anger exposes us to attack by the enemy.

 

I have lost track of the number of times I have gone to bed angry. Whether it’s an issue with my family, my job, friends, or my life,  I wonder how many times I have been led astray as a result. How many of these mind games with the enemy have I lost? 

 

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

I was having a hard day today as I wrote this journal entry. And I found myself getting angry. But encouraged by the apostle Paul I chose to give no opportunity to the devil.

I took out my ukulele, I cleared my throat, and began to worship the Lord…privately. And you know what? My anger disappeared. The situation that needed to be dealt with remained, but the anger was gone, replaced by love and hope.

 

May I never stop turning to You no matter the circumstance.

 

Great are You Lord!

 

In the name of Jesus, amen.

-kenneth lee 

 



Psalm__91

Scripture

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, the author writes about the safety and peace a person receives when they trust in God. The author writes just how safe a dwelling place you will have when you trust in God and reside in His presence. Those who trust in God will not fall into their enemies’ traps. They will be protected from their enemies’ attacks, no disease will ever harm them, and God will send His angels wherever they go to protect them from any harm. The Lord says “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.”-(verse 14).
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
There is no place I would rather be than in the presence of God.
 
I love this psalm. This psalm helped me through this Coronavirus season. When the world looked dreary and uncertain, this psalm raised my spirit and gave me confidence. It helped me put things in perspective. It helped me remember who I put my trust in. It reminded me Who is in control. This whole psalm is filled with these promises of God, promises for those who trust and love Him. These promises are my armor and protection as I walk out into this world-(vs 4). Just knowing that God is always faithful to keep His promises is more than enough for me to step out in faith each and every day, no matter what comes my way.
 
Life Application
 
Who is your trust in?
 
When you know what hits the fan, and the world seems to be going mad, who is your trust in? Are you going to let the media tell you how to act? Are you going to trust in your own strength to get you through? Is this world’s fears going to get the best of you? I hope not. I pray that instead, people can turn to God, turn to His Word. I pray that they can humbly ask God for help and guidance. I pray that God can send His angels to rescue His people from any harm. I even pray that God uses His people, (the Church), to go out in the world and be His angels for others in need. I pray we can live our lives boldly and faithfully, knowing that God has our back, and that nothing is impossible with God on our side. Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Ephesians____2

Scripture

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is addressing the Ephesian church by basically reiterating the Gospel message to them. He starts with their sin condition, their conversion by God’s grace through Jesus Christ and then the privileges that “both converted Jews and Gentiles receive from Christ.” (Reference: biblestudytools.com)

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God’s Grace is a FREE gift.

There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor towards us. It is a free gift (without conditions) that is available to all who would receive it. If we could earn this gift, then we would have a reason to boast about it, but because we cannot work for His favor, the only One we are able to boast about is Jesus Christ! 

 

Life Application

We do good works AFTER receiving His grace and Holy Spirit, not before. 

In Kids Church last Sunday, I taught the kids about Jesus and Nicodemus. This Bible story can be found in John 3.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a rule follower who believed that the only way to God was through good works, but Jesus explained to him about being born again. He had to be born again by “water and the Spirit” and explained how God’s plan was to send His son to die to save the world from their sins. It had nothing to do with works, like Nicodemus was accustomed to. (The Apostle Paul, writer of Ephesians is very familiar with that way of living, as a former religious leader and upholder of the law.)

God’s heart is that we put relationship with Jesus before rules. The good works we do as Christ followers is a fruit of our faith relationship with Jesus. I pray we would all live in the freedom and enjoyment of being in relationship with Him first and allow the rest to follow. 

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_89

SCRIPTURE
 
Psalm 89: 1
 

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.

 

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

This Psalm was written by Ethan the Ezrahite. In 2 Samuel 7:12-17, God promises King David that there would always be a king of the Jews. Ethan wrote this Psalm after the Jews were deported to Babylon. In it, he expresses a belief that despite what he sees, he has faith that the promises described in 2 Samuel 7:12-17, will still be fulfilled. (Reference: Wikipedia)

 

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

Ethan kept the faith.

 

The promise of God to King David didn’t seem like it was going to happen. However, this Psalm is the writer encouraging himself in the faithfulness of the Lord and His promises, despite the circumstances around him showing him something different.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV

 

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

 

Four things about faith in these two passages:

 

-It’s impossible to please God without it.

-We must believe He exists when we come to Him.

-We must EARNESTLY seek him. Definition for earnestly in Oxford dictionary is “with sincere and intense conviction; seriously.”

-We must be confident in what we hope for, even though we don’t see it yet.

 

What faith move or prayer is the Holy Spirit asking you to make today? 

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 88

Scripture

Psalms 88:13 NLT

“O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

This psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite. This was a very sad, gloomy, and hopeless psalm. When reading the book of Psalms, the author will write about their despair, but it usually follows with a glimpse of hope. Their hope in God. That God will bring justice to those who wrong them. But this author has lost all sense of hope. Life is pretty much kicking him while he’s down. He seems to have lost everything. He seems to be content knowing that darkness is his closest friend in life. That hope is gone and out the door.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

No God = No hope. Know God = Know hope.

As much misery as the author of this Psalm is in, there is one thing, (other than the dark cloud that seems to be hovering over him), in life that he doesn’t quit on…CRYING OUT TO GOD! Although life seems hopeless for him, and he feels God has forgotten him, that doesn’t stop him from calling out to the Lord. In verses 1, 9, and 13 he clearly calls out to God begging for help. I believe it’s because he understands no matter how difficult life can be, or no matter just how much life’s struggles are stacked up against him, as long as God is with him, he has hope. He has a chance.

I believe the same goes for us. There are going to be moments in our lives where we feel hopeless, defeated, and alone. But no matter what life’s circumstances bring us, our hope is in Jesus. And we know that with Him, ALL things are possible. We know that Jesus was able to conquer this world. He even conquered death! And it’s with that hope in Him that we hold on to, knowing that with Him by our side, we too can conquer it too. 

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”-1 Peter 1:6-7 

 

Life Application

Put your hope in Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” –Romans 5:1-5  

-Moses Gaddi



Genesis_41

Scripture – What stood out?

Genesis 41:57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

 

Observation – What does it say?

With Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream coming true slowly but surely the entire known world would have to turn to Joseph for salvation.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I have had part of this Charles Dickens quote stuck in my brain for the past several days (cue the melodramatic movie voice), “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” An apt description for the environment we find ourselves in during Genesis 41. There was a famine yet one nation, under the leadership of one man, under the guidance of the Spirit of God provided hope. 

 

Over the past several months I have read several books which asked me to look at the similarities between Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus. And so as I was re-reading this story verse 57 came alive to me in a different way this time. I have often remembered this story for Joseph’s role in redeeming the nation of Israel. Verse 57 however makes it clear – all, the, earth, – came to him for food during the famine. 
 
Although Joseph’s life is filled with tumult and peril we begin to see God’s work manifesting through all of it. I have read this story so many times and I come away always remembering how God looked out for His chosen nation. I mean Jesus would be born from the line of Abraham so they needed to be spared from the famine. That’s pretty important. But the Lord didn’t just stop there. He chose Joseph to feed the whole world! 
 

And now all I seem to be able to see is the foreshadowing that would point to Jesus. I believe that Jesus was most certainly sent to save God’s wayward nation. But there was a greater design at play. Jesus was sent to save the entire world. A savior who came not to save just one nation but all nations who would follow him. 

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

Lord thank you for bringing our old testament alive to me today!

For my life application I would like to share my journal entry with one person who would listen to me. Partly to see if they agree with me. But mainly to continue to spread my love for the bible in its entirety on to others. Thank you Lord.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Galatians__4

Scripture

Galatians 4: 28&31

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise… Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.
 

Observation

Paul continues his letter to the Galatians and looks to emphasize who we are in Christ. He speaks of Abraham’s children as a comparison and then furthers this analogy by calling the Galatians themselves “children of promise.” From here, he declares that anyone who believes in Christ and lives for Him is a new and free being.
 

Understanding

You ever thought about the weight that the word promise carries? Here’s how our good friend Miriam-Webster defines promise (n.): a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. That seems like a lot of words to say that a promise guarantees something, whether it be a service or an event, or even a person. Here Paul calls us “children of promise.” It has a nice ring to it, but the implication is so much more than just “having a nice ring to it.” Keeping a promise often requires an action. We can’t just passively sit and expect our promises to fulfill themselves, but in the same vein our promise was already fulfilled for us.

I came to a shocking realization the other day: I don’t have to do anything to earn the affection of God. I think that’s what Paul is getting at here; yes, you have promises to upkeep but those are simply out of being a good child of God. There’s nothing we can do to make God love or hate us more. We are free to experience the love of God simply by believing in Him. To be honest with you, for a little bit I thought I had to earn it, but I don’t I live in the freedom of being a child of the Most High. I am a child of promise, and rest-assured I will bask in that freedom so generously given to me.
 

Life Application

Something I realize is a deterrent in basking in this freedom though is the opinion of others. To that I say: just because we haven’t experienced God in a certain way yet doesn’t mean He doesn’t operate in that way. My concept of God may sometimes be small, but I know that He isn’t! I know that I know I have experienced God, and because of that I can live in His promises and freedom that He has set before me.

Take a look at your own life and remember the times that you experienced Him in such a tangible way. Hold onto it and use it as a tool in helping others to being children of promise and free in Christ.

-Allison Khan



Galatians___3

Scripture  

Galatians 3:2-3 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

 

Observation-What does it say?  

The book of Galatians was written to a number of churches in the region of Galatia, or present day Turkey.  Paul’s visits to this area are recorded in Acts 13 and 14.  Paul taught that repentance and faith lead us to receive God’s forgiveness and new life.  However, after he left the area, a group of Jewish-Christians came in and began preaching circumcision and adherence to the Mosaic law as a precursor to God’s grace.  Many of the believers in the area had begun following these rules in place of living by faith.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

“You can’t smoke.  You can’t drink. And, you can’t drink.”  These “rules” were very important not to break as a “Christian.”  Or at least that is how I understood it as a kid.  Being a Christian meant a life of abstaining from the things that were deemed “A SIN.”  Those three things were at the top of the list, and we didn’t even think about talking about sex.  It was like I lived in some alternate form of the movie “Footloose.”  Which, ironically enough, I remember my mom watching a lot.

These rules had been passed down from my great grandfather, who was a very charismatic preacher in the South.  And, although at a young age I had a real moment where, through the Holy Spirit, I came to understand that I was a sinner and needed God’s grace, shortly after I knew that I couldn’t break these rules.  I never quite understood why these things were so bad, but I knew those were the things “Sinners” did and I was not supposed to act like that.  I also remember feeling quite burdened by the weight of having to follow the rules.

I think this is largely still present in how Christianity is viewed.  We are seen as a bunch of hypocritical “goody two shoes.”  Later in Galatians, Paul encourages them to do away with the mindless adherence to laws, in favor of a life led by the Spirit, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (5:1).”  Even Jesus told us to do away with striving to attain all of the precepts of Mosaic law, stating that all the law is fulfilled in loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40).  

As it turns out, what I perceived as a bunch of rule following can actually be attained when we let go of the rules.  It comes as a result of my love for Christ.  We learn about this in the book of James.  The brother of Christ points out that a life steeped in the Holy Spirit leads to good works (James 2:18-25).  And so as we lean on the Holy Spirit, we naturally begin to abstain from things that would only hinder a close relationship with him (1 Corinthians 10:23).

 

Life Application

Jesus, ultimately I want nothing else than to be with you.  So help me to get a little closer to you everyday.  I want to walk away from the things that distract me from you.    And I want to thank you for taking the burden of sin away from me by dying on the cross.

 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 84

Scripture
 

Psalm 84: 1-2; 10-12

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,

    Lord Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints,

    for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

    for the living God…….

10 Better is one day in your courts

    than a thousand elsewhere;

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

    the Lord bestows favor and honor;

no good thing does he withhold

    from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,

    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

 

Observation-What does it say?

I love worship songs that are based in Scripture! The song” Better is One Day” is based on Psalm 84. The Psalmist is saying that there is no safer place to be than with the Lord God Almighty.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Nothing in life compares to being in His presence. 

Being safe in loving arms and care of our Heavenly Father is priceless. We have no better advocate and friend than Jesus and no better counselor than the Holy Spirit. 

 

Life Application

Spend time with Jesus.

Where and when do you spend uninterrupted time with the Lord?  Where is your secret place where you meet and communicate with Him? In a special prayer closet? In bed first thing in the morning or before you sleep at night? During your commute to work? Outside in your backyard surrounded by nature? 

I pray that we would always seek time with You 1st and may everything else be secondary. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousands elsewhere Lord. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi

 

Better is One Day (worship)

https://youtu.be/jdE03zRJtxw