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!
 

Malachi 1

Scripture 

Malachi 1:11-13   For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts.  “But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’  You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,” says the Lord of hosts, “and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the Lord. 

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The text ascribes authorship of this book to “Malachi.”  The name Malachi translates into “His messenger.”  Therefore, it’s possible the name is a pen name for the author, or it could be his actual name.  Malachi was influenced by the prophecies of prosperity found in Haggai and Zechariah.  But, despite these messages of hope and prosperity, the people of Israel had fallen into sin.  They had ignored acts of worship like tithing and honoring the sabbath.  In the opening of the book, Israel is told to look at their brother nation, Edom, who was also overrun by Babylon.  Edom had also forsaken their worship of the Lord, but God did not restore them.  This warning should evoke God’s greatness and bring them back to worship.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Tax season is here.  Oddly enough, it’s a time of year that I enjoy.  When we sit down with our tax guy, it gives me a moment to reflect on how much God has blessed us in the last year.  I don’t mean to sound like we are living with an excess of cash.  Rather, we get to see how God has been faithful in making sure our bills are paid, we are fed and covered.  Our tax guy looks at what we have tithed and comments on how he doesn’t know how we can afford to give so much.  Every time he does, we tell him it’s a miracle and that God doesn’t work out finances like we expect.  Without fail, we have received a return on our taxes and it feels unexplainable.  

When I was a young adult, I remember standing around with a group of men who were all a little older than me.  The subject of tithing was discussed and I clearly recall one of the younger men say, “I always pay my tithes, because I don’t want to test God in that way.”  Ultimately tithing is an act of worship, but one that God has called us to from the very beginning of time and one that he takes very seriously.  God asks for our first fruits.  Multiple times in the old testament, we see stories of when the first fruits were substituted with something less.  For example, Abel gave his first fruits, while Cain gave something less.  God found favor in Abel’s offering, but He was displeased with Cain.  Here in Malachi, we see a warning of what is to come if this worship is ignored.  


Life Application 

 
God, help me to not grow weary in worshiping you.  Help me to trust that when I bring my first fruits, you will be faithful to fulfill my needs.  Let me never forget your great works. 
 
-Tyler Galloway    


1 Corinthians___5

Scripture – What stood out?

1 Corinthians 5

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

 

Observation – What does it say?

The apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth was having to deal with a member of the church who was sleeping with his father’s wife. 

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

My wife and I have had an ongoing conversation about the tolerance of sin in the post Jesus world we live in today. I agree with her in that I felt even as a child growing up there was this “I’m saved, I know I’m a sinner, God saved me from all sin, God loves me…forgive me Lord but I’m about to sin but I know I’m saved” mentality. I would be lying if I said I had not thought that way myself for quite some time. 

 

Lately we have been hit with the genderless revolution here in LA and I’m just fascinated by how in a search to define identity we have lost so much of it. 

 

So it was almost with a breath of fresh air I read this. The apostle Paul makes things quite clear. Does this person claim to be a Christian, yet does a,b,c,d, or e?? They need to go! This is what he says in a previous verse same chapter:

 

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord

 

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

12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

 

But before I do that let me Mathew 7:5 myself, “5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

 

Lord I don’t want to be lost in a society that has no idea what male, female, right, wrong, or good and evil is. Grant me the wisdom to know what is good as well as evil to You. For my life application today I am going to do a quick soul check and see if my life aligns with You. I want to make sure I am none of these things: sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater, a reviler, a drunkard, or a swindler. If people label me a party pooper or wet blanket so be it. I would rather be labeled boring by the world than evil by You.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

 



Psalm_42

Scripture

Psalms‬ ‭42:11

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
This psalm was written by the descendants of Korah. In this psalm, the psalmist is in what we would call a “funk”. The psalmist is depressed and discouraged. He is homesick. His enemies are constantly taunting him. He remembers better days and how things used to be. He is overwhelmed with the trials of life and is very frustrated with God’s slow response time as he cries out to Him. Still, it was as if the psalmist said, “Those are not good enough reasons to be cast down when I think of the greatness of God and the help of His favor and presence.” Despite all the psalmist was going through, he chooses to put his hope in God, and give God all his praise.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Give God the glory and praise even during life’s storms.
 
We have all been there before. Some of us may even be in one right now. I’m talking about life’s storms, its troubles and worries. But the psalmist of this chapter had it right. He could have easily gave up, raised his fist in defiance to God, and said “I’m done with you.” But Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he focuses his attention on God and God’s greatness. He chooses to put all his hope in God. He gives God his praise and worship. By doing this I believe his mindset begins to change. His focus is no longer on his struggles, but instead his focus is on how great and awesome God is! And once ANYONE comes to that understanding and realization…all life’s problems seem so microscopic in comparison.
 
Life Application
 
small god, BIG PROBLEMS. BIG GOD, small problems. How big is your God?
 
My God is the God of the universe. He created the Heaven and the earth. He created the skies and the sea. He created all living things in it. He created everything, down to every intricate detail, and each designed with a specific purpose. There is nothing my God can’t do. I choose to put my faith and trust in Him. I will give Him all the glory and honor He deserves. Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_41

Scripture

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. The Lord protects and preserves them— they are counted among the blessed in the land— He does not give them over to the desire of their foes. The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” -Psalms 41:1-3 NIV

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This is a Psalm of Comfort, written by King David.

 
Understanding-What does it mean? 
 
Comfort and Deliverance comes from God alone.
 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of ALL comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

 

Life Application

Run to the One True Source of Comfort. 

Does anyone need any comfort right now? I feel like all of us can or did at one point or another, especially in this past year of quarantine, mental and physical hardships, illness, grief and loss. Let’s be like King David and run to God, our ever present help in any trouble and our only True Source of comfort.

Dear Lord, I pray that we would receive our Source of comfort from You  alone and nothing external that could be taken away from us at any moment. I pray that the comfort we receive directly from You would in turn cause us to want to comfort others in their grief or despair. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 40

Scripture

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Doubts and fears about the eternal state, are a horrible pit and miry clay, and have been so to many a dear child of God. There is power enough in God to help the weakest, and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust in him. The psalmist waited patiently; he continued believing, hoping, and praying. This is applicable to Christ. His agony, in the garden and on the cross, was a horrible pit and miry clay. But those that wait patiently for God do not wait in vain. Those that have been under religious melancholy, and by the grace of God have been relieved, may apply verse 2 very feelingly to themselves; they are brought up out of a horrible pit. Christ is the Rock on which a poor soul can alone stand fast. Where God has given steadfast hope, he expects there should be a steady, regular walk and conduct. God filled the psalmist with joy, as well as peace in believing. Multitudes, by faith beholding the sufferings and glory of Christ, have learned to fear the justice and trust in the mercy of God through Him. Many are the benefits with which we are daily loaded, both by the providence and by the grace of God.

https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=19&c=40

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

I love the picture of God putting our feet on a rock – solid ground.  When things seem uncertain, crazy, scary…God is (has always been, continues to be and will always be) able to place us on solid ground.

He puts a new song, new words, new heart inside of us…and, because of that, those that haven’t experienced this but see it, are drawn to it and potentially transformed by it. 

 

Life Application

Keep that “new song” ever present on our lips by actively choosing gratitude.  You can do something simple like taking a few minutes each day – at the beginning or end – to think of 3 things your grateful for…recognizing God as the source of all good things.

Other ideas for incorporating gratitude can be found here…

https://daringtolivefully.com/gratitude-exercises

-Rei



1 Corinthians 1

Scripture 

1 Corinthians 1:26-29   For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no [t]man may boast before God.

 

Observation-What does it mean? 

Paul is writing to the church at Corinth.  Corinth was a port city approximately 40 to 50 miles west of Athens.  It  was an important city on the trade route between the Aegean and Adriatic Seas.  It was a city of mixed cultures, where Jews, Greeks, Romans, Syrians, Egyptians, etc., came into contact with each other on a daily basis.  This unique location made it a strategic place to plant a church, due to the ability to spread the gospel message to the rest of the world.  However, this culture also posed a problem for the church, as it made the church vulnerable to outside influences and the blending of different doctrines.  

 

In the opening words of this letter, Paul makes a call to unity within the body of Christ.  He makes a bold statement, which is repeated to the body in other cities as well, that we are to focus our message on Christ’s crucifixion, which is our salvation.  To the world this message is foolishness and to the religious this message is a stumbling block.  Jesus himself gave us the message that his message of love was a point of division.  In Matthew 10:21-22 we read, “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”  The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

 

Understanding-What does it say? 

It’s strange that you sometimes don’t know the effect a person has on your life until you don’t have them anymore.  This was surely the case with Agnes, my wife’s grandmother.  I had the pleasure of having her be a part of my life for about ten years of my life.  She called me her “friend” in the most endearing way.  I would come over to spend time with Jen, while we were still dating, and I would often hear from the back room, “Is my friend here?”  I greatly enjoyed spending time with her.  But, it wasn’t until she was gone that I realized the depth of wisdom she had imparted on me.  Lessons like, it’s good to share a beer with friends, be passionate about the ones you love, clean up after yourself, and tell good jokes.  

 

Most of all, Agnes taught me the importance of sharing the gospel.  She was an embodiment of the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”  Her home and her heart was always open, and she was willing to share whatever she had.  She was patient and kind, and I can’t think of a time she was boastful.  She shared her love with whoever came into her life, which sometimes caused her to sacrifice greatly.  She was not a woman with great accolades or degrees to speak of, but, she loved all, the great and small.

 

The message of Christ is a message of love.  God loved us so much, he was willing to send Jesus to sacrifice for us (John 3:16).  He loved us before we were cool, while we were still deep in our sins (Romans 5:6-8).  His message asks us to show love for others (1 John 3:16-18), even if it means we need to act like fools, or be looked at as unintelligent because of a message of a savior who died more than 2000 years ago.  Our message cannot change, just like our savior is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8).  So hold fast, even as the world is becoming violent towards our message, because His love will be victorious and we cannot be separate from Him (Romans 8:38-39).

Life Application 
 
Jesus, give me the strength to preach your message, even as the world becomes more hostile towards You.  Help me to hold fast to your living word.  For you are my strength in this time of need.  Your foolishness is wiser than the world’s wisdom, and your weakness is stronger than the world’s strength.   
 
-Tyler Galloway




Romans___16

Scripture – What stood out?

Romans 16

3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert[b] to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia,[c] my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles,[d] and they were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus. 11 Greet my kinsman Herodion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcissus. 12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers[e] who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This is such an exciting time in the history of the bible. The apostle Paul continues to establish the church among the gentile nations. In this conclusion of his letter to the Romans the apostle Paul exhorts the believers to be wise in what is good and innocent of evil.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

We are getting ready to reopen the doors of our church beginning April. edit **I had written end of this month earlier in error. My apologies! ** end edit As part of the ushers we are now tasked with figuring out first impressions in the midst of the new post pandemic landscape we live in. At the heart of what our team does however is greet people. Whether you are new to our church or have been attending forever our goal is to greet you. That is part of the first impression that our ushers hope to imprint on people as they see us.

 

In Romans 16:3-16, the apostle Paul uses the word greet 18 times in reference to a fellow believer in Christ. Something tells me Paul was the consummate usher! Thousands of years ago when the church first started it was important to the apostle Paul to greet his fellow laborers and believers. Isn’t this just as important today as we look to rebuild our universal church post-pandemic?

 

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

 

I felt convicted after reading that portion of scripture to try harder to imitate Paul. It is now easier than ever to reach out. For my life application today I am going to text one person I normally wouldn’t. And I would like to let them know they are a believer in Christ like I am, they are loved by God, that I am grateful to be friends with another Christian, and that I wanted to say- hello.

 

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. -kenneth lee

 



Romans___15

Scripture

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

 

Observation– What does it say?

The Word of God gives us hope. It gives us hope that God’s character never changes, hope that Jesus Christ died, resurrected and imparted His Holy Spirit in each Believer’s life and also gives us hope of a life eternal after death. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Scriptures are trustworthy!

In a world that is constantly changing, very unstable, and passing away, we can put our hope in the One who never changes. We can put our hope in His Word, the Bible. We can trust those in the faith who have gone before us and are recorded in Scripture who gave their lives to the mission of Jesus Christ. We can trust that heaven and hell are real and trust the hope of eternal life where there are no more sin, sadness, sickness or death. We can trust that we will be completely pure, perfect and without sin just like Jesus in the next life. We can find encouragement and hope to never give up and continue to endure in the faith amidst pain, suffering, hardships and trials as a Christ follower, just like in Hebrews 11.

 

Life Application

We must put our hope in God’s Word!

We put our hope in the Lord by reading and meditating daily on His Word and applying it to our lives as we are taught from them. We stay connected to our Father through His Word because it is the way He communicates with us. I also believe the Holy Spirit does not work apart from the Scriptures. It is not just a book, but it is Spirit breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16).
Dear Lord, thank You for speaking to us through Your Word. Thank You that You not only gave us Your Holy Spirit, but also the Bible to instruct us on how to operate the way You created us to operate.  I pray that we would desire to spend time with You daily and continuously be taught from Your Word. Thank You for the hope and encouragement it provides to continue to press forward in the faith. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi
 


Romans___14

Scripture

Romans 14:8-9

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live live or die, we belong to the Lord.
 

Observation

Paul continues outlining what living in Christ looks like, and in this chapter he tackles common misconceptions about the “strong and the weak.” He says that faith should decide how a person should live, and that it should drive every decision that believers make. He then proceeds to make this bold statement about dying for the Lord.
 

Understanding

Although Paul is extending this idea of passing judgement on each other, he makes it abundantly clear that our goal as believers should be the same. He boldly declares that the Lord is master of everything, including us and the people that we judge. None of us are masters over the other no matter what part of life they may be on. Instead, we should be confident in our position in Christ and because of this honor the Lord with their life. So it begs the question: what am I laying my life down for, and is it obvious to others?

I think the tendency is to focus on the part where Paul speaks of death because death seems to be an alarming topic, but we miss the importance of living for God. One of my favorite quotes from a book we read in the high school perfectly captures this idea, he says: “The mark of an immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” Living humbly for a cause seems a lot more difficult than dying for one, but it’s what God calls us to do. Regardless of what we think about others and how much better we may think that we are. In humility alone do we boldly approach God’s throne and live life and to die to this life in a way that pleases God.
 

Life Application

Ask yourself: what does my life say to others, and am I living humbly for God? Then take time to listen for a response, actually listen. Take about ten minutes to sit in silence and listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Try to rid your mind of distractions like what your going to eat for the day, or all the things you have to do. I think you’ll be surprised how much God actually speaks to us.

-Allison Khan


Psalm__36

Scripture

Psalm 36:1-4

1 I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. 2  In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. 3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. 4 Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.

 

Observation-What does it say?

This is another Psalm from one of my favorite leaders, King David. In the beginning, he speaks about the wicked (those without God in their lives) and the last half of the Psalm, he gives praise for God’s love and faithfulness. Then in verses 10-12, he asks for God’s love to continue and that the proud would not come against him.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Unbelievers are blind and lost and need the Lord.

King David describes the sinfulness of the wicked as them having no fear of God. They flatter themselves (are so prideful) that they don’t detect or hate their own sin. Their words are wicked and deceitful. They commit themselves to a sinful course. Basically, their lives are so lost and dark, whereas the faithful are protected by the love and faithfulness of God. It is our job as faithful servants of the Lord to share His love and light with a lost and unbelieving world.

 

Life Application

We must continue our mission to the lost. Who are the people on your PII list?

For those who are new to DSC, PII stands for Pray, Invest, Invite. We keep a list of unbelievers who do not have a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and we pray for them, invest in their lives, and we invite them to church and/or a personal relationship with Jesus.

Dear Lord, I pray that you would continue to give us Your heart for lost sinners. Holy Spirit, help us to be bold to share our faith with those who need You. Help us to be strong and courageous, even in fear of failure or rejection. Please give us such a deep love for them that we would want them to be part of our family and may that love override any fear we may have to reach out. Amen. 
 
-Michelle Gaddi