Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
 
How To Soul Journal
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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!
 

Proverbs_6

Scripture

Proverbs 6:6

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

 

Observation – What does it say?

Solomon encourages his listeners to observe the ants’ hard working and disciplined behavior and to learn wisdom from it.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Last summer I had an ant problem. They had been coming in around the sun window by the sink in our kitchen. At first I tried killing them with bleach cleaner, but new ones would come back after it dried. Katie got on Pinterest and looked up solutions. She tried baking soda and powdered sugar which I guess is like poison. Didn’t work too well. She tried peppermint essential oil. It only worked a short time and the ants would be back as soon as it dried and the smell dissipated. Then I thought, I’ll just figure out where they’re coming in and block it off. They were coming in behind the window sill so I got my caulking gun from the garage and caulked it. No more ants… At least for a few hours. All of a sudden they were everywhere again, all over the wall and countertop. They were coming from the other side of the sill where it meets the drywall. So I caulked there. No more ants… At least for a few more hours. Then I found them coming in a little crack in the window. I caulked about 5 different spots and after each one, within a few hours, they just kept finding another way in. I ended up just leaving the caulking gun on the window sill and had come to expect them to find another way in. We had been playing this game almost a week, when finally, after what I hoped would be the last caulking job I saw them coming in from a different place. I exclaimed, “Those little fools!” And in my anger, started squishing them with my finger. Any I could see. In that moment of irrational rage I heard loud and clear in my mind: 

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

Woah. Those “little fools” are actually wise. Lol What wisdom can I learn from ants, I thought? Well, they are incredibly persistent. They won’t give up. They aren’t easily deterred. They keep at it and have no plan B. Just plan A: get in Levi’s house and drive him crazy. 

How big can an ant brain possibly be? I don’t know that they have the capacity to think hard about what to do. They know what to do and do it. No excuses. They see no roadblocks, only obstacles they will overcome. 

 

Life Application

If I’m going to apply that wisdom to my life, there can be no, “God will work it out” attitude while I sit here passively.” There can be no, “I’m just not feeling very motivated.” “I’m too busy.” “I’m tired.” “God sees all the obstacles the enemy is placing in my way. He’ll understand why I’m not going to try hard anymore.”

What areas have I been a sluggard? Where have I lacked persistence? Discipline? Where have I been making excuses instead of just knowing what’s right and doing it?

God, forgive me for the ways I’ve lacked discipline and persistence. Please help us to be a people that passionately pursues you and your mission, who don’t shrink back and get destroyed by our circumstances, but who believe and overcome. Refuel us where we’ve been drained by hurt and discouragement and fan the flame of passion within us to know you and make you known. Amen.

 
-Levi Thompson


Matthew___28

Scripture

Matthew 28:16-17 NLT

 

“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!”

 

Observation-What does it say?

As both Marys went to visit Jesus’ tomb, they were greeted by a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the huge stone that lay in front of the door of the tomb, and showed both Marys that the place where Jesus’ body laid, was now empty! Just like Jesus told them…He would rise again! Jesus is alive! Now the angel told the women to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive, and to tell them to head to Galilee, because it is there that they will see him.

 

So when the disciples arrived in Galilee, they went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. It was there that they saw him and worshipped him, yet some of them still doubted.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?
 

Transformation does not happen quickly.

 

Even after all Jesus has done for them, all He has told them, all that they have seen with their own eyes, they still doubted?! We would like to think that the Resurrection alone would immediately transform these timid disciples into heroes of faith. But this particular verse is a great reminder that transformation does not happen overnight. Even after Jesus’ disciples saw him alive and heard him speak, they still doubted.

 

Now just when I was going to get down on Jesus’ disciples, I took a look at my own life. I looked back at all that I learned, all that Jesus has done in my life, and all that He has got me through. Yet when one of life’s roadblocks comes my way, what do I do? I find myself anxious, I begin to doubt God’s promises for me. Why?! I believe it’s a growing and maturing process we as Christ Followers all go through. Our lives as Christ Followers is a daily spiritual walk. A walk in which we should all be striving to grow and mature in Christ daily. I believe the “churchy word” for it is sanctification. It is our lifelong process as God’s children to become more like Christ each and every day. And it doesn’t stop either! It is something we all should be doing till the Lord calls us home.

 

Life Application

I must strive to be a better disciple each and every day, month, and year!

 

Too often we come across people who say they have been Christians for years and years. Yet they seem to be struggling with the same issues over and over. They tell you that they’ve been a Christian for 10 years, but it seems they’ve been repeating the same grade year after year with no growth. Or they can quote you scripture and know the Bible inside-out. Yet their lives contradict what they should already know. They have the information, but not the transformation in their lives. As Christ Followers we should be all about the transformation. We should be allowing the Holy Spirit to mold us and change us to be more like Jesus each day.

-Moses Gaddi



Proverbs_4

Happy Thanksgiving church family!

 

Scripture

Proverbs 4:5-7

“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

In this chapter Solomon gives some fatherly advice and reminds those who are willing to listen  the importance of gaining wisdom in life. He expresses that wisdom is a life saver. That those who obtain it, will live a righteous life, and glory and honor will be delivered to them. Solomon has seen it all and lived through a lot. Solomon now wants to share the wisdom he was able to obtain through his life experiences, and the wisdom he received from following God.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

No one is born with wisdom; God is the One who provides it.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,” 1 Corinthians 1:25a NIV

The key to getting wisdom is understanding that no one has it to start with. Ultimately it is God who provides us with wisdom. It also means that anyone can acquire wisdom…if you decide to pursue it.  Wisdom also is not something we achieve through one choice we make in life. It is a journey, a series of many steps in life, in which we receive the truth of God’s Word, and apply them into our lives each and every day. Jesus often spoke of people who had ears but did not listen. The wise will be the ones who choose to listen wholeheartedly to God’s Word, both with their hearts and minds.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-James 1:22 NLT

 

Life Application

Ultimate wisdom is within the grasp of our hands. So reach out and obtain it through reading God’s Word.

Life is hard enough as it is. So why try to figure it out all on our own?! Why not take advantage of life’s “instruction manual”?..The Holy Bible! Whether it is taking the advice from someone who was granted wisdom from God, like Solomon, or following the One who overcame everything the world tried to throw His way, Jesus. The Bible is the key to have access to living a wiser life…a life that will grant you wisdom. Will you choose to follow it?

Thank You God for Your Word and the wisdom it brings. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that speaks to me through it. Thank You Lord for always having my best interest in mind. May the wisdom You grant me allow me to make the right choices today, and may I share that wisdom to those around me. In Your name Jesus, Amen 

-Moses Gaddi



Matthew___26

Scripture

Matthew‬ ‭26:13‬

“I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

  

Observation-What does it say?
 
Jesus is in Bethany. He is having dinner at a man named Simon’s house. Then a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume and poured it over Jesus’ head. The disciples were baffled with this action. Why would she waste such an expensive item for that?! The disciples thought she could have at least sold the item for lots of money, then gave the money to the poor. But Jesus told his disciples not to criticize her. This woman had done a beautiful thing for him. Jesus tells his disciples that wherever the gospel is preached in the world, that this woman’s story will be told as well.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Put value in the right things.
 
This woman gave up something very valuable and gave it to Jesus. Scholars believe the worth of the alabaster jar of perfume she anointed Jesus with was worth about a year’s wages! And this woman didn’t even think twice about using it! It takes true devotion and selflessness to do something like that. But that just shows you how much Jesus means to her. She probably spent her life savings on it and was planning on using it on the day she was to be buried. But instead she gives it freely to Jesus. Wow! I think it would be difficult for anyone to do something like that today. In the world we live in now, the value or cost of something can often times overshadow or distort the moral or meaning of something. The question is, what am I putting my values in?
 
Life Application
 
How much does Jesus mean to me?
 
So…how much does Jesus mean to me? Am I willing to honor Jesus with everything I have? Am I willing to look foolish to others around me because of the love I want to show Jesus? Will my story be told for generations to come because of my devotion to Jesus? 🤔 Something to ponder on as we go out in the world today.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Matthew__25

Scripture

Matthew 25:37-40 NIV

““Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus tells 3 parables to illustrate what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. The verses above come from the parable that Jesus explained regarding sheep and goat. He put the sheep (righteous) on his right and the goats on his left. The righteous were rewarded because they loved and did something about the needy, hungry, sick and the imprisoned, which Jesus said was the same as doing it to Him. However, those on his left were not rewarded, but instead punished for neglecting to love in action those who were in need.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

There is always action associated with loving people, just like there is always action associated with loving God.

It reminds me of what James said in James 2:15-17-“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Also, the people that Jesus points out in this parable are not those who are well off or have their lives together. They are people that society tends to shun. People who are hungry, thirsty, needing shelter, needing clothing; those who are sick and in prison. Those are the people that Jesus points out for us not to neglect.

 

Life Application

How can I show love to someone today? 

Let’s do one practical thing to show love to someone today, whether it is buying a homeless person a meal, being a pen pal and encouragement for someone institutionalized/imprisoned, feeding a hungry child, blessing a family with a gift card or meal who is going through grief, following up on someone’s health issue, blessing someone with a fridge full of groceries, taking a friend out to a meal who is struggling, etc. 

There’s a lot we can do to practically show love to people, specifically the broken, hurting and needy, which in turn is how we show love to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Dear Jesus, you didn’t hang out with the prestigious and righteous people of your day. You hung out with the broken, the hurting, the sick and the unrighteous sinners. Most importantly, you loved us so much to leave Your throne in Heaven to save us, and You did it in the most humble way. Thank you! May Your heart for people be ours. May we be intentional about loving people, “the least of these”, through action and as Pastor says, be more outward focused instead of inward focused. Amen.
 

-Michelle Gaddi



Matthew____24

Scripture

Matthew‬ ‭24:42‬ ‭‬‬

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” 

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives, telling His disciples about the things to come in the future, the “birthing pains” that this earth will have before His second coming, and the end of the world. He urges His disciples to always be prepared and to be ready. In this particular verse I chose today, Jesus uses the example of a homeowner being prepared as if he knew a burglar was coming. The homeowner would keep watch and not allow his house to be broken into. The same goes for us. We must all be prepared because Jesus can come back at anytime.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Be prepared. Don’t procrastinate.
 
We have all done it before. Whether it’s studying for a test or interview, paying a bill, or doing a household chore. We put it off until the last minute. Why do we do it?! Because WHEN we do it, we always seem to overload our plates, cramming to get the task done, and most of the time what needs to get done is a poorly executed result. Even if we’re lucky enough to get the job done, the stress leading up to it can be overwhelming, all because we choose to take time for granted and wait for another day.
 
That is why Jesus is pleading with His disciples, (that includes us), to be prepared, and be ready. Each day is a gift from God. Nothing is guaranteed. This passage reminds us that not even the angels in Heaven know when Jesus will return. Only God knows (verse 36). So don’t procrastinate on living godly lives or sharing with others the Gospel message and importance of living lives for Christ. This passage tells us what happens to those who are not prepared.
 
“The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew‬ ‭24:50-51‬ ‭
 
And I think we all know the place that these unprepared people will be going. And if you truly understand what this place is, we wouldn’t wish for anyone to go there. So let’s get our “house in order”. Let’s help others to do the same. Let’s not get “caught with our pants down” doing something we shouldn’t be doing when Jesus arrives. Let’s be prepared for our Master’s return so He can welcome us by saying “Well done my good and faithful servant.” 😊
 
 
Life Application
 
What would you do differently if you knew Jesus was coming tomorrow?
 
I once heard a well known pastor, (although I don’t remember who at the moment..LOL), ask this question. His response was…
“nothing.” Now that was a man who was prepared, who lived each day as if it was his last. A man who lived each day for God, seeking and doing His will. I can’t help but admire and respect that. I pray that I can be that prepared. I want to know without a shadow of a doubt, that I lived each day for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I want to live each day knowing that I did all that I can do for Him. I want to please Him as a player wants to please his coach, or a son wants to please his father. And I know He is “cheering me on in the stands” each and every step of the way. 😊
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm 150

Scripture  

Psalm 150:1-2 

 

Praise the Lord.  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.  Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The fifth book of psalms includes Psalm 107-150, many of which are attributed to David.  The last five psalms, 146-150, are attributed to other authors.  This particular psalm may have been specifically written to close out the book.  It is like the climactic closing of a story.  It encourages all of creation to praise God, not only in the sanctuary, but also in all of the earth.  He is worthy of praise because of His great works.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

A few years ago our middle son was having some serious issues with his digestion.  At one point, he was only eating a few bites of food at any meal, he wasn’t gaining weight, and he had very little energy.  It didn’t take an advanced medical degree to tell something was majorly wrong.  So, we began seeking expert help.  As we began going to gastroenterology specialists, the answers we were getting neither made sense nor seemed to be working.  They all stated he had Colitis and would need to put him on medication, which would eventually adversely affect his digestive system.  So we began looking into “alternative” medicines and more holistic remedies, like alternative diets.  During our research, we found several people who had a similar diagnosis who were having good results with chiropractic care.  As it turns out, there are nerves in your spine that connect to your stomach and can cause inflammation when the spine is out of alignment.  But when the spine is in alignment, the body can heal itself of many ailments.

 

Similarly, when our spiritual life is out of alignment, it can have negative impacts on our life.  All throughout the old testament, Israel walked away from God and worshiped other gods.  They would turn to man made things, and walk away from God’s blessing.  Despite all God’s great acts, like clearing the Red Sea, bringing down manna from heaven, knocking down the walls of Jericho, etc., Israel would turn to other things.  But, when they repented and assumed a posture of worship, God would gracefully bring them back into His blessing.  When we offer praise and worship to God, we work on our own posture, gaining the humility to hope in Him and accept his greatness and control in our lives.

 

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Life Application 

Holy Spirit, when my life gets out of alignment, help me to assume a posture of worship.  Help me to remember your faithfulness in my life, the evidence of Your great works.  For when I am low, You will carry me and lift me up.  You are glorious and worthy to be praised.

-Tyler Galloway


Hosea_8

Scripture – What stood out?

Hosea 8:11

“Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,

    these have become altars for sinning.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Hosea chapter eight continues to deliver God’s message to the nation of Israel. The message contains elements of what God has in store for Israel’s future as well as the current spiritual condition of Israel. As an example of what is going on within the nation God singles out one of Israel’s tribes, Ephraim.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

When I read verse 11 of this chapter I was able to envision the opening day for these altars. They were intended for so much good. And I believe there must have been this great sense of not only celebration but also of relief – because this was how they were going to get into a right relationship with the Lord.

 

Upon asking an acquaintance why he chose not to believe in Jesus, my aunt’s newfound friend explained, “I just don’t trust the people in church.” With the recent spotlight on several mega church pastors and their indiscretions, it is not difficult to see why a person may think this way. 

 

And much like the tribe of Ephraim, I am sure, that it all started off right for these pastors. The altars they built were being used for what they were intended for. Until somewhere along the way they were used for the exact opposite intention. Where did Ephraim go wrong? Where and when did these pastors, who had labored so long for God allow evil and sin to enter their souls. (Assuming the allegations are true.) With so much at stake, I am reminded of an old belief I have held onto since my 20’s – that the human spirit is so fragile.

 

And yet we build upon it so heavily. Relationships, businesses, communities, countries, are all built on something that consistently falters, people. 

 

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

 

If I had the opportunity to talk to my aunt’s acquaintance I would have asked that he put his trust not in people but in Jesus. And while I am sad to see pastors fall, whether they are mega or not, I am still hope filled that the mission I chose to carry out is worth the labor and worth the risk. While God uses us flawed people to carry out his mission, Our responsibility still remains the same – to spread the gospel of Jesus and make disciples of all nations.

 

Lord I put my trust, my faith, and my hope in you today. Help me to remain on mission. Whatever you help me to build in Your Name help me to be faithful in using it for the purpose and plan you intended it to be. Always. In the name of Jesus do I pray, amen.

 

-kenneth lee


Matthew____21

Scripture

Matthew 21: 28-30

What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard.”

“I will not,” he answered, but later changed his mind and went.

Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing . He answered. “I will, sir,” but did not go.
 

Observation

After Jesus drives people out of the temple, He begins to preach parables to those who are gathered there. He starts by telling the parable above and then follows it up with a similar story. Jesus, however, uses these parables to get a very specific point across to everyone (including the Pharisees) there.
 

Understanding

Ever been friends with someone that didn’t stay true to their word? Like they promised to do something for you or to hang out with you, but when the time comes for you to “cash in” on your favor or time spent they are nowhere to be found. And time and time again they give you their word that they will make it up to you, but their actions never match it.

Call me crazy, but I think that is what Jesus is getting at here. The heart attitude of both the sons did not match their action and results. While one said no, he thought better of himself and went out to work in the vineyard. While the other son said yes, but backed this with zero action. It makes me wonder of how many times I’ve told God I would do something and I still haven’t done it. But here’s the bottom line:

God’s a gentleman, and will not intrude on your busy schedule.

As harsh as this sounds, if you aren’t willing to match your words and promises to God with action then He’ll find someone else who’s available. God wants you to take your “yes” to Him seriously! Though He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20)… you have to let Him in! And that requires action! Not just “Oh yeah, someone’s at the door. Open sesame!”
 

Life Application

What’s the last thing that God told you to do that you still haven’t gotten around to? Let’s be people of our word and back it with action. I feel God saying: “If you would just do the last thing I told you, breakthrough happens.”

Trusting God and following Him are not sideline sports, it requires the belief that whatever action you have to take is worth it! I know it’s difficult, believe me… so God I pray for that you lift the spirit of apathy and replace it with one of praise in doing. May we be people that selflessly make room for you, so that we can carry out what You have designed us for. Amen.

-Allison Khan


Matthew__20

Scripture

Matthew 20:15-16

 

15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus tells another parable to His disciples about workers in a vineyard that were hired at different times, yet promised the same wage. Those hired first were grumbling because of all the work they put in from the beginning, yet the owner (parallel to the Lord, our Master), paid them the same wage as the workers who started work later. He says to stop being envious of His generosity and ends that parable by saying, “The last will be first and the first will be last.”

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

In Jesus’ parable, He was saying that it doesn’t matter when or how we started in terms of our faith. It’s how we finish. 

 

For example, those who were hired first can be parallel to those who’ve been living their lives for Jesus all their lives.  The ones hired last can be parallel to someone like the thief on the cross, who never lived a day for Jesus, except for his acceptance of Him seconds before he took his last breath. In both scenarios, both were promised and given the same reward.

Jesus said these same words in our Soul Journal reading yesterday of Matthew 19. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” He did it to describe the Kingdom of Heaven and having a humble heart towards acceptance of Jesus. (The unwillingness of the Pharisees and Religious Leaders of the day to have a humble heart like a child is why they couldn’t accept Jesus.) I am also reminded of the Parable of the Prodigal son in Luke 15, where the other son was envious because the rebellious one who came back got a big party, but he didn’t.

 

Life Application

We must stop judging God’s generosity and grace. At the foot of the cross, we are all the same.

 

Have you ever been so prideful that you thought you were better than others or deserved more than others because you’ve been a faithful servant of Christ all your life? True confessions-I have, 18 years ago, and you know what happened??? God humbled me, broke me and brought me to a place where I was no longer the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, but the tax collector, in need of His mercy and grace and no longer reliant on my works for Him.

A lot of inspirational speakers, ministers and Pastors say this, so I don’t know where it originated from, but it’s true! “It doesn’t matter when or how you start, it’s how you finish.” That’s the mindset we must have when reaching out to others. May we never forget where we came from or judge the generosity of Jesus towards others. That same generosity is why many of us are who/where we are today!

-Michelle Gaddi