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!
 

Psalm 52

Scripture

Psalm 52:8

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.
 

Observation

David warns against those who boast of evil, by informing those listening what God does with such people. He then reinforces His love for God by speaking of His unfailing love and grace to those whom God calls His own.
 

Understanding

I find it interesting that David chose an olive tree to depict himself in this verse. Traditionally in the Bible, and olive tree or branch depicts peace and comfort. I mean if we take a look at David’s ;life it was everything but peaceful, yet this is the tree that he chooses to be in the house of God. And not just simply there and present, but flourishing. I think this offers a very important idea: when we chose to flourish (not just exist) in the house of God we experience a peace unlike any other. It seem like a bit of a stretch for the meaning of this verse, but I think it is important to really talk about the very thing that we starved for right now: peace.

David offers an Idea that it comes form trusting in God’s unfailing love. So I think that’s exactly where we should start, even if that isn’t the answer that we want to hear. Trust leads to peace, and to truly trust we must flourish in the presence of God. Again I want to stress, we need to flourish in the presence of God, rather than just sitting in it and making God do all the work of speaking to us and calming our every insecurity.
 

Life Application

So what can flourishing in the house of God look like?

  • Reading His word
  • Journaling/meditating on His word
  • Praying daily
  • Taking time to be thankful for what God has already given you
  • Worshipping Him

The list is endless, so let the flourishing begin!

-Allison Khan


Psalm___51

Scripture

Psalm 51:17 NIV
 
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
 

ObservationWhat does it say?

Psalm 51 is a very powerful one, as King David wrote it after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for committing adultery with Bathsheba. Please read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 for the full exchange between those two men. It basically led to David being convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and Nathan assuring David that his sin had been put away. He will not die.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Do our mistakes lead us to Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow?

Godly sorrow leads us to repentance, true inward change of the heart. Worldly sorrow is sorrow that doesn’t lead to inward heart change because it is a momentary sorrow. It is typically a result of getting caught and not wanting to deal with the consequences of our sin. 

King David’s Psalm demonstrates true godly sorrow and repentance from his heart. Also, the consequences of his sin led to him to draw closer to the Lord, not further away. 

 

Life Application

Repent and be healed! Move on!  Go and sin no more, just like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

As Bible.org states, “The tragic death of David’s son is a consequence of David’s sin, but it is NOT the penalty David deserves for his sin.”

There are consequences to sin. David and Bathsheba suffered the consequence of their sin, which was that they lost their son conceived as a result of their affair. However, King David’s response to that was quite humble. (Please see 2 Samuel 12:14-21).

Too many of us, after suffering the consequences of our sin, don’t move on. Consequences are meant to teach us, just like a parent who disciplines their child. However, it should train us to be stronger and better, not continue in the same unhealthy sinful cycle. David had his son by Bathsheba taken away as a consequence of his sin. Did he keep mourning after that? No. He moved on. 

Jesus came, died and resurrected to set us free from the guilt of our past. Let’s truly live that out! The enemy no longer has a hold on us and his lies no longer have to keep us in bondage. We are conquerors because of Jesus, who is the reason why we no longer have to live defeated, but live grateful and victorious everyday! 

Thank You Jesus for You, the most precious gift we could ever ask for. Amen! 

-Michelle Gaddi



Hebrews__6

Scripture
 
Hebrews 6:12
 
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The writer of Hebrews had observed those who came before him and what they did to inherit what God had promised them, and he encourages his readers to imitate their example. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We inherit what God has promised, specifically speaking of the promise of salvation, through faith and patience.
 
What I find interesting is that the posture of faith and patience is contrasted with laziness. Our faith and patience must be active, not passive sitting around waiting to die or for Jesus to come again. He explains what this active faith and patience looks like a few verses prior:
Hebrews 6:10-God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
 
If we want to inherit what God has promised, we must be faithful to work, to demonstrate our love for God by helping other believers. And not just having stories of helping them in the past, but continuing to help them until the very end. 
 
Life Application 
 
Consider how I can demonstrate my love for God today by helping others. 
 
God, I long to inherit all you have promised me. I don’t want to forfeit it because I become lazy or self focused. By your grace, give me strength to endure and fill my heart with your love. May I never settle where I am but continually pursue you for more! Amen.
 
Levi Thompson


Hebrews___5

Scripture  Hebrews 5:12-14  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

 

Observation-What does it say?  In the beginning part of this chapter, the author is highlighting Jesus’ role as our great high priest.  Through Jesus, and his sacrifice on the cross, our debt for sin has been paid.  He fulfilled the old testament law requirements of sacrifice for sins, once and for all.  He is the perfect high priest appointed for God as mediator for all time.  It is through Jesus we have our freedom from the law.

 

At the end of the chapter and into the next, the author shows some frustration for the immaturity of his audience.  They have gotten stuck in a rut, which isn’t only hindering their growth, but also puts them in danger of falling away from the faith altogether.  A remedy to this is discipline in searching and studying God’s word.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  My commute to work is just a little bit under an hour.  Having this much time can feel like a bit of a waste, so I like to listen to educational based podcasts, so I feel like I am making good use of the two hours a day.  I recently started listening to a podcast by a former Navy SEAL.  One of his catch phrases is, “Discipline equals freedom.”  It seems contradictory, as the idea of discipline evokes the thought of being restricted to something.  Almost as though you have a ball-and-chain stuck to your ankle.  But, he points out the fact that pushing through times of adversity, becoming a master of our circumstances, allows us to become stronger versions of ourselves.  Discipline involves having a clear goal as to where you are going.    

 

Athletes attempting to qualify for the Olympics have a clear sight on their goal.  Despite going through days where they don’t feel the desire to work out, they discipline themselves to their cause.  Paul gives us a similar charge.  Having our sights set clearly on spending eternity with Jesus, he encourages us to have discipline in our spiritual walk.  To the Corinthian church he writes 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 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. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 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 9:24-27).


Life Application:  Jesus, in this world of instant gratification and convenience, help me to search daily for the narrow road.  Help me to dig down into the trenches of this spiritual warfare we live in.  Help me to hold the line.  When I have run my race and reached the finish line, I not only want to hear you say well done, but I also want to know that I helped bring my Christian family through this warfare as well.  

 
-Tyler Galloway


Hebrews__4

Scripture – What stood out?

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Chapter four of the book of Hebrews is the continuation and conclusion of chapter three. The author continues the train of thought centered around “entering God’s rest.”

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Does not the thought of entering God’s rest sound amazing? If you picture God kinda sorta the way I do (as a perfect loving Being) by default the resting place of such a Being naturally makes me yearn to be there with Him. I probably could write a very long journal about chapters three and four, but I will spare you! Essentially, the author urges us to seek to enter God’s rest.

 

I spend a lot of time dwelling on two things: that God is amazing and that I am not. One of my greatest struggles as I walk with God is to reconcile those two beliefs. I think it is easy for me to dismiss the above verse because I have heard much about how Jesus never sinned. But God reminds me, he is able to empathize with me. He was tempted in every way. Just like I am. Just like we all are.

 

In verse 14 Jesus is named as our high priest in heaven. And in verse 16 we are encouraged to “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

And this is the implication – Jesus loves me.

Jesus loves you.

 

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

As our high priest in heaven, Jesus has gone before God and he is lobbying on all of our behalves. As I remind myself of this, my prayer for myself is for the ability to approach Your throne of grace with confidence. Jesus has gone before me. So I am just following His lead.

 

Grant me confidence Lord, so that I am able to approach You. So that I may be able to encourage others to do the same. And one day, may we all be able – to enter into Your rest.

 

In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm 47

Scripture

Psalms‬ ‭47:7‬ ‭

 

“For God is the King over all the earth. Praise him with a psalm.”

 

Observation-What does it say?
 
This is a psalm of the descendants of Korah. This psalm encourages God’s people to worship and sing praises to Him. God has delivered them from their enemies. God has provided them a place of refuge. God is in control. God is the king of kings, and the king of all the earth. God is awesome and is worthy of all praise!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Remember who it is we put our trust in.
 
With all the bad stuff going on in the world right now, it’s easy for us to get caught up blaming others and pointing fingers. It’s easy for us to build up a heart of anger and fear. It’s easy for us to forget who we should be putting our trust in. That is why this passage really stuck out to me this morning. The Israelites were a people who constantly, (even to this day), had obstacles in their lives. They are a people who has been through a lot. But there is one thing they do know…they are God’s children. They remember all the miracles that God has brought them through. They remember just how mighty a God they serve. They serve a God who is in control over all situations. They serve a God who is the ruler of all. So why shouldn’t they sing and give praise?!
 
The same goes for the rest of us. We (through our faith in Jesus Christ), are all God’s children. The same God who miraculously rescued the Israelites, will rescue us too. I know for me personally, God has delivered me from certain health scares, provides for my family and I constantly, and protects us from the evil that surrounds us. He is definitely worth all the glory, honor, and praise!-(Please read Psalm 145 for more reference).😊
 
Life Application
 
Start the day with thanksgiving and praise.
 
Start the day off in prayer, giving God your praise. Let Him know all the things you are thankful for in life. Ask God to even reveal things to you that you may take for granted, and give thanks for that as well. Rejoice in Him today. Let that joy change your heart and your mindset, and set the tone for your day. And finally may I suggest ending this day with your church family. Come join us tonight for Worship Wednesday! Let’s celebrate with song and praise together! 😊  
 
-Moses Gaddi 


Psalm 46

Scripture

 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble….God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day…..The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress….He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46:1, 5, 7, 10-11 NIV

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

Most of the Psalms were written by King David, but there are different scholarly ideas about who wrote this one, Psalm 46. Regardless of the author, this Psalmist recognizes where his hope lies and wrote this song to encourage his audience to do the same. He describes His relationship with the Lord as one of refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble, as the One who keeps him standing firm, not able to fall. God is always with him/us and He is where we find true rest.  

 

Understanding– What does it mean?

 

A wise man (or woman) builds his house upon the rock.

 

When our foundation is built on Jesus Christ, we will stand firm even through life’s ups and downs.

 

““Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:46-48 NIV

 

Life Application

 

Put our hope on the One true Rock, Jesus Christ. 
 

“…and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:4 NIV

 

I love the hymn, “ My hope is built on nothing less.” 
 
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name….On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
 
Let’s rest in our true Rock-Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and King!
 

-Michelle Gaddi



Hebrews_1

Scripture:

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 

Observation:

I liked this breakdown from Enduring Word’s commentary.

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/hebrews-1/

  1. Heir of all things: This begins a glorious section describing Jesus, first as the heir of all things. This is the idea that Jesus is preeminent. It is connected to the Jesus’ standing as firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15).
  2. He made the worlds: The ancient Greek word translated worldsis aion, from which we get our English word “eons.” It means that Jesus made more than the material world, He also made the very ages – history itself is the creation of the Son of God.
  3. The brightness of His glory: Jesus is the brightness of the Father’s glory. The ancient Greek word for brightnessis apaugasma, which speaks of the radiance that shines from a source of light.
    1. In this sense, Jesus is the “beam” of God’s glory. We have never seen the sun, only the rays of its light as they come to us. Even so, we have never seen the God the Father, but we see Him through the “rays” of the Son of God.
    2. The ancient Greek philosopher Philo used the word apaugasmato describe the Logos, the being or intelligent mind who ordered the universe. The writer of Hebrews explained Jesus in terms that made sense to both first-century Jews and those familiar with Greek philosophy.
  4. The express image of His person: The idea is of an exact likeness as made by a stamp. Jesus exactlyrepresents God to us.
  5. Upholding all things by the word of His power: The idea behind the word translated upholdingis better thought of as “maintaining.” The word does not have the idea of passively holding something up (as the mythical Atlas held up the earth), but of actively
    1. In His earthly ministry Jesus constantly demonstrated the power of His word. He could heal, forgive, cast out demons, calm nature’s fury all at the expression of one word. Here we see that His word is so powerful that it can uphold all things.
    2. “The tense of the verb ‘upholding’ is significant of Christ’s constant work in relation to the world (Colossians 1:17).” (Griffith Thomas)
  6. Himself purged our sins: From the previous description, we know that the Son of God is a being of great power and wisdom. Now we know He is also a being of great love, who purged the guilt and shame of our sins. He did this Himself, showing that no one else could do it for us and we could not do it for ourselves.
  7. Sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high: This is a position of majesty, of honor, of glory, and of finished work. This position of Jesus sets Him far above all creation.

Understanding:

I just love the picture represented in this verse – the visual of God’s radiance shining through Jesus.

I love the character and expanse of Jesus.  This person – God incarnate, all God but in human form, all powerful yet wisely and selectively unleashing His power on Earth during His brief but eternity-bending time here. 

I especially love knowing that “His earthly ministry…constantly demonstrated the power of His word.  He could heal, forgive, cast out demons, calm nature’s fury all at the expression of one word.

https://youtu.be/qKWi6vqFb-0

And then, when the work was done (the work being purification from our sins…for generations to come), again taking his seat at the right hand of Majesty in heaven. 

It’s beautiful but a little crazy to wrap your mind around. 

Life Application:

All I can do is sit in gratitude.  Gratitude for the love of our Father.  Gratitude for the choice that Jesus made to stay on mission, completing the task at hand.  Gratitude for eternity being made possible because of these choices.  Gratitude that we can still live and walk in power as children of God.

Rei



Philemon_

Scripture:  Philemon 1:4-6  “I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective [d]through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.”

 

Observation-What does it say?  This is another letter written by Paul.  It was most likely written while he was imprisoned in Rome and at the same time as other letters, such as Colossians or Ephesians.  Philemon was likely a member of one of these churches and a convert directly under Paul.  Philemon owned a slave, Onisemus, who may have stolen from him and run away.  An offense which was punishable by death in the society of the time.  Paul appeals to Philemon’s hospitality and good character to encourage him to forgive Onisemus and accept him back as a Christian brother.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  We have all had those people in our lives who we feel have done something to us that we feel is unforgivable.  Whether it be a parent, a friend, some other family member, or even an enemy.  Sometimes that action may have even occurred when we were not living in Christ’s love and forgiveness.  And one of the most challenging things in life can be letting go of the pain of being hurt by someone who was close to us.  

 

I feel as though, even in my most difficult times, God has always been extremely gracious to me and I have been extremely blessed.  To be sure, at the moment it was not always fun.  Being in a wheelchair, on crutches, not having enough money to pay my bills, struggling through a time of insecurity, these were not fun.  But looking back, I see that God was directing my steps to where I am now.  Which makes it easier to find trust in God for the future.  Now, I find myself in a place where I can share the things I have with more and more people.  But, where the rubber hits the road is when I am asked to share the blessing with the people who have hurt me.

 

In Luke 14, Jesus challenges us in this exact area.  He asks us to use our blessing to reach people who are less fortunate than us.  “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment.  But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)  God gives us the opportunity to invest in others in order to harvest a great crop for him, especially when it comes to forgiving those who have hurt us.


Life Application:  Jesus, help me to see opportunities to bless others.  Give me eyes to see those around me with your eyes, with the love and compassion.  Help me to be sacrificial in my giving.  Thank you for forgiving me and allowing me to see what this looks like.  Thank you for giving me the knowledge of your love, so I can pass it on to others. 

 
-Tyler Galloway


Jeremiah_25

Scripture – What stood out?

Jeremiah 25:37  The peaceful meadows will be laid waste because of the fierce anger of the Lord.

Observation – What does it say?

Jeremiah is explaining to the various nations what is about to happen to them because they have not listened to God. It’s not very pleasant sounding. This is a chapter that highlights God’s wrath and His fierce anger.

Understanding – What does it mean?

A God of fierce anger…Is a tough pill to swallow for many of us Christians. We find it hard to imagine because we have seen what fierce anger, we have seen what wrath looks like and it is not pretty. We can’t imagine a just, merciful, loving God inflicting horrible pain and/or passing judgement on people. (See the book of Job)

May I encourage you however with the wise words of a pastor who has taught me a thing or two about God of both the old and new testament. He taught me that God is an infinitely powerful, all-knowing being without a speck of evil in Him.

The wrath, the fierce anger that you and I have seen and relate to is predominantly based on our experiences with people- with people of anger.  But that is not God’s wrath and that is not God’s anger. (See the book of Job again) 

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

I propose that God’s anger is actually perfect. Because God is perfect. His love is pure. His anger is pure. The closest thing I have experienced to God’s perfect anger is getting disciplined by my father growing up. I was punished (it always hurt). The reason for my punishment was explained to me. But then my dad would always end those sessions with a hug and a kiss, sometimes there were tears in his eyes as he explained it hurt him to discipline me, and he tried his hardest to communicate his love for me.

As you read about the God of wrath in the old testament I pray that you would be open to that same God of love. That perhaps His ways aren’t your ways. And that even in His judgement and discipline there are things to learn from an all-knowing, all-powerful God that is always good.

May I never stop believing and trusting in your ways O Lord. In the name of Jesus, amen.
 
-kenneth lee