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

 
 
 
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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!
 

Psalm 9

Psalm 9:9-12 (ETRV) 9 Many people are suffering- crushed by the weight of their troubles. But the LORD is a refuge for them, a safe place they can run to. 10 LORD, those who know your name come to you for protection. And when they come, you do not leave them without help. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits as King in Zion. Tell the nations about the great things he has done. 12 He punishes murderers and remembers those who are in need. When suffering people cry for help, he does not ignore them.
 
I am always shocked when there is a mass killing anywhere in the world, but even more so in America it seems to be picking up momentum.  The latest one in El Paso has left me feeling even more vulnerable than ever because I am struck by how many of us go to Walmart all the time, never expecting that someone would open fire on us.  I read this Psalm this morning and I felt that God spoke it to my heart – God is a refuge, when we His people call to Him he does not leave us without help – He does not ignore us.  
 
Will you call out to God on behalf of our nation.  Come to Him and pray protection over America and this world.  David reminds us that God will hear and do something about it.  
 
Pastor Gary


2 Chronicles 2

Scripture
 
2 Chronicles 2:6
 
But who is able to build a house for Him, for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain Him? So who am I, that I should build a house for Him, except to burn incense before Him?

Observation-What does it say?  The book of 2 Chronicles was written covering the same time period of 1 & 2 Kings. While the books paralleled each other, they differ in focus of the message. Where Kings focuses on the failings of men and morality, 2 Chronicles is more concerned with God’s faithfulness and redemption. Near the end of chapter two, we see that the aliens in the land of Israel were summoned to assist in building the temple. This further displays the redemptive heart of God, bringing all people, no matter their heritage, into His household and under His name. The theme of redemption is carried into the new testament. “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”(1 Peter 2:4-5) Everyone who comes to Jesus is being fitted together as one unit, working as a small piece of God’s bigger will and story.

Understanding-What does it mean?Being involved in sports was a big deal in my household. My dad had been a star football player, and there was an unspoken expectation that my brother and I would continue the legacy. While I definitely enjoyed playing different sports growing up, I never really felt as though I belonged. I was athletic as a kid, but didn’t quite fit the mold of the “athletes.” I was a little goofy and had a hard time paying attention. I never really felt accepted. As I entered high school, I knew I wanted to be a part of a team, but not associated to the kids that had made me feel isolated elsewhere. When I showed up to the first day of summer cross country training, I found a group of misfits that all accepted me for who I was. If nothing else, I would have stuck with the team because I liked the way they treated me. God accepts us in an even more elaborate way. His love covers all of our sin, not just the little ones. He has called us out of our sin and redeemed us as sons. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”(Galatians 4:4-7) With Jesus, it doesn’t matter where we came from, who our parents are, or even that we like acid wash jeans. He still loves us and wants us to be apart of His family.

 
Life Application 
 
Jesus, help me to treat others in a way that shows they are accepted into God’s family. No matter what our differences are, it is universally true that we need Jesus’blood to cover our sins. I know that I am just as broken as those around me, and I want to help them run the race that is set before us.
 
-Tyler Galloway


2 Chronicles 1

Scripture 

2 Chronicles  1:11-12

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

Observation 

Solomon was now seated on the throne of his father King David and had taken the role of King. His father had passed away and he inherited a great number of people. He had listened to his father’s instructions. God was pleased with Solomon and told him he could ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon felt the weight of responsibility and asked the Lord for wisdom. 

Understanding 

Gratitude and humility are always the correct response. 

First, Solomon responded to God with gratitude.

2 Chronicles 1:8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 

Second, with humility. 

2 Chronicles 9 Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Solomon may have been around 20 years old when he took the throne. He was young and maybe it was obvious that he told God he was a child but it’s so much more common to see an arrogant 20 something that knows everything instead of being filled with humility. I definitely was! There was clearly a difference with him. Solomon’s brothers tried to just take the throne. They never asked their father or waited to be anointed by the prophet, they thought they should be king and took it. 

God was so pleased with Solomon’s request as we read in 2 Chronicles 1:11 that he not only answered his request but gave him more than he could have imagined.

God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

Application 

Gratitude and humility are always the correct response. 

I’m so grateful that he made a way for us to enter into his kingdom and bless us with all that we have no matter how big or small.

Recognize the responsibility of the task that God gives to us. 

Matthew 22:36-40   36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Father show me how to love you the way you deserve to be loved. Holy Spirit empower me to love my neighbor, especially the ones that make it so difficult! 

Oh the weight of the responsibility to LOVE God, our neighbors, and ourselves! This is just one example on how to apply this to our lives but the truth is that there is the weight of the responsibility to parent or to be a spouse according to God’s standards and commands. How about an employer or an employee? The list could go on.

Pride corrupts our true condition,we are mere humans in desperate need of God! 

Instead let’s put on humility. We don’t and can’t possibly know everything. Let’s remain teachable remembering that God is making us into the image of his Son. 

Seeking the kingdom of heaven and all His righteousness pleases the heart of God…that should always be our goal!
 
Deborah Lee
 


John_18

Scripture
 
John 18:37
 
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of the truth listens to me.”
 
Observation
 
After being betrayed, arrested, and denied, Jesus faces Pilate who questions Him as to who Jesus is and why He has been brought before him. Even though Jesus faces a certain death if He is not released, He still answers Pilate’s questions with grace and humility. In the end however Jesus is not released and must face crucifixion. While speaking to Pilate, Jesus poses a very important principle.
 
Understanding
 
Even though this has nothing to do with the verse or the context of the story, I have always despised Pilate. Even as a kid, I thought that he was the actual worst person ever, not because he technically did his job, but that he still handed Jesus over knowing He did nothing wrong. Anyway, tangent over.
 
Jesus could so easily look at Pilate and say “I’m totally royalty, and you know what I’m not gonna take this from you” and then magically ascended into heaven. Instead, He responds to Pilate’s questions without losing His patience. He has a full understanding that His life’s work is coming to a close and He is about to fulfill everything that was said about Him. However, Jesus leaves a challenge to us that I feel could have so easily been missed and that entails testifying the truth. After reading this passage I couldn’t help but to wonder “Am I on the side of truth?”
 
Sure, Jesus uses the word truth loosely here, but He explicitly says that anyone who is on the side of truth listens to Him. “Being on the side of truth” simply means you lay down your own comforts for the cause of Christ. It means that instead of denying the Father because you with to say warm and comfortable by a fire (Peter in this chapter), you proudly proclaim the good news and act as His witness. It means when God commands, you obey… NO MATTER THE COST. That’s what Jesus did. He gave His life for the sake of truth, He died so that we could not only live but testify and listen to what He tells us to do. I understand it’s hard and sometimes uncomfortable, but I don’t think hanging on the cross was easy or by any means comfortable, yet Jesus still did it. The least I can do is obey when He asks something of me without second-guessing or telling myself that I’m just imagining things.
 
Life Application
 
Be on the side of truth!
 
God, I ask that you fill me and others with boldness to speak your truth. May we not hesitate in the face of adversity of being stretched out of our comfort zones but instead rise to the occasion. May we mirror Your humility and grace in the face of other’s uncertainty, but may we above all learn to love others the way You love them.
 
Amen.
 
-Allison Khan


1 Chronicles 28

Scripture  1 Chronicles 28:20-21  20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. 21 The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing person skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.”

 
Observation-What does it say? 
 
King David summoned all of Israel and explained that he had planned to build a Temple for the Lord. However, God told him that he had done enough work already, is getting up there in age and has shed so much blood for the cause of the Lord. Instead, the Temple will be built through the leadership of his son, King Solomon.  King David knew his son would be too young and inexperienced for the task, so he made sure everything was planned out and prepared for him before he handed off the task to him. (‘“David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.”’ -1 Chronicles 22:5)  I encourage you all to read 1 Chronicles 22 again, which is 6 chapters back, because God had already told King David that Solomon would do the job and David started prepping his son in that chapter.  He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’” 1 Chronicles 22:10 NIV

Understanding-What does it mean? God anoints and gives the directions, but it is our responsibility to work and plan to make sure it is completed successfully.  I love this chapter! It shows King David’s love for the Lord and his love and dedication to mentor his son for a big project that God had chosen Solomon to do instead. King David made sure everything was in place before He released his son to the task that the Lord had called him to. He did 4 things for his son before he handed off the job:

  1. King David informed the officials, officers, commanders and warriors of Israel what God had told him regarding the building of the temple and that his son, Solomon would be overseeing the project, not him, per God’s direction. The purpose of this was so that the people would give his son the same respect and submission that they’ve given King David. (Verses 1-4)
  2. King David encouraged the people to continue to follow God’s commands so that He would bless them and their descendants. (Verse 8)
  3. He passed on the plans he had been working on, to his son. (Verses 11-19)
  4. He gave encouragement to his son. He told him to do the work, be strong, be courageous, not to be afraid or discouraged, that God will not fail him or forsake him until the work is finished, and encouraged him that all his help is in place and they are ready to obey his every command. (Verses 20-21)

Life Application

Pray and ask the Lord who He would want you to take under your wing to train and disciple so that the work of God would continue successfully.

I recently finished a good leadership book called “Becoming a person of influence” by Pastor John C Maxwell and Jim Dornan. They said that the mark of a great leader is how they are able to empower others. “When you empower people, you’re not influencing just them; you’re influencing all the people they influence.”

God’s Word shows this in action in King David’s life. He was not only influential as King over Israel and empowered them to put God first, but also influential in empowering His son to take over God’s plans for the Temple.

Dear Lord, You have called us all to be leaders (aka influencers), whether we are leaders in our home, church or workplaces. You have also called us all to be ministers of Your Gospel message. If we are saved, we are already a couple steps ahead of someone who doesn’t KNOW You.  I pray that we would embrace our calling as influencers for Your Kingdom and live it out fully in our daily lives. Also, just like David encouraged his son, may we be strong and courageous, and do the work. May we not be afraid or discouraged knowing that You are with us and that You won’t fail or forsake us until the work is completed. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



John_16

Scripture

John 16:1, 33

1 “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Observation-What does it say?                                      

John 16 continues Jesus’ farewell sermon to the disciples. He warns them of the troubles to come, what they can expect in His absence; but He also provides hope – letting them know “the Advocate” will come in His place, He would visit them again at His resurrection, that He will provide peace, that He is returning to his Father and, finally, that despite worldly troubles, they will have peace for He has overcome the world.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Beginnings and endings are powerful things. 

In this farewell discourse, Jesus begins and ends with hope and intention and encouragement.  He shares openly about what will come so His disciples will not be surprised, caught off guard and, ultimately, so “that [they] will not fall away.”  I think this shows God’s heart and consistency with us as His children.  Though we may go through ups and downs, He desires that we stay the course.

And then, as He ends His farewell, He reminds us again “you will have trouble;” but, along with those expected troubles, we are reminded of His strength, His peace and His victory.

Life Application

Dear Lord, thank you for sending your Son.  Thank you setting fair and honest expectations of our walk as Christ-followers…that, yes, there will be trouble.  But, in that trouble, we are never alone, never forsaken.  Thank you for encouraging us, for sending your Holy Spirit to us, for allowing us to feel your presence…that we may know your peace, we may experience your victory.  And, most of all, thank you for the cross that makes all of these things possible.

May we live victoriously, live peacefully, live honestly…in a way that refreshes the spirits of those around us.  Use us!  Give us opportunities to share your love and your Word with those around us today…so that many more may come to know your peace and victory! 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

– Rei



John_15

Scripture
 
John 15:14-15
 
You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this chapter, Jesus is talking about the importance of relationship and staying connected with Him. He says if we don’t stay connected, like any branch or flower cut from the vine, we will wither and die spiritually. But, if we stay connected, we will bear much fruit and we can ask anything and He will answer. How do we stay connected? I like how Matthew Henry describes it as, “… a dependence upon Christ and communion with him, habitually to adhere to him, and actually to derive supplies from him.” I need the supplies only He can give: power, faith, love, grace, wisdom. And if that’s not enough, there’s more! Jesus goes on to say that if we follow His commands, if we press in and grow in relationship with Him, He calls us friend and allows us to know His business and to join with Him in accomplishing it. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Two definitions for friend: 1) one attached to another by affection or esteem, and 2) a favored companion. How amazing and humbling is that – that Jesus would call me His friend! The idea of being so connected to Jesus that He is my favored companion and He would view me with affection and esteem brings me to tears. 
 
Life Application
 
Jesus, thank you so much for Your love and Your patience with me. You ask me to adhere to You and in return You promise me great rewards. Help me to remember that only You are the source of my strength and without You I can do nothing. I want to grow closer to You, learn Your business, and be called Your friend. 
 
-Debbie Dunn


Psalm 2

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 2 

12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry

    and your way will lead to your destruction,

for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Observation – What does it say?

David continues to prophesy (with the power of the Holy Spirit in him per Acts 4:24-26 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Do you ever read some of the prophecies that point towards Jesus and ever wonder if the prophets every fully knew what they were saying? There is a part of me that wants to hop into the Delorean, travel back in time and ask king david, “Excuse me, anointed sir? Does the word “son” have a double futuristic meaning in the verse, even a little???”

My Jesus filtered interpretation of this verse:

Accept Jesus as Lord, or ELSE.

Blessed are those who believe in Him.

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

The truth is… there is an “or else” to all of this: 

John 9:39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

In conjunction with: 

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

LORD, I have a really tough time sharing with people that they are sinners and that the path without Jesus leads towards a really really crappy ending. Show me a way to share that particular truth with a touch of your amazing grace!  Thank you for your prophets who paved the way for our Lord, Your Son. Help me Lord to proclaim at the top of my lungs, that Jesus is Lord, worthy to be believed, and the way the truth and the life!



John_13

Scripture

John 13: 34-35

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus knows that his time in the world was soon coming to an end, and that he would be retuning to his Father in Heaven. So Jesus spends his last night with his disciples, eating with them, and washing their feet. Jesus was demonstrating to the very end the love he has for them. And now before he leaves them, Jesus instructs them with one final command, to love each other the way he has loved them.

Understanding-What does it mean?

If we as Christ Followers are called to love the way Jesus did, we must love blindly and unconditionally.

As I read this chapter, I am in awe of how loving Jesus is. Jesus knew who He was, where He came from, and where He was going. Still, Jesus had no sense of entitlement about Him. He served humbly all those in need, and willingly laid down His life for all. Jesus especially demonstrated this love the night He washed His disciples feet. I mean here was God in the flesh, and here He was in a lowly servant’s position washing His disciples feet. Not only that, but Jesus was still willing to wash the feet of Judas…the one who was going to betray Him! He shared an intimate dinner with Judas, and He washed his feet. He showed the same love to Judas, as He showed to the rest of His disciples. Now that is what I call a blind and unconditional love! How many of us can do that?

“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”-1 John‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

 “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:46-48‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I try to remind myself of this verse every time I find myself heading down the path of anger and revenge towards the “unloveable”. I’m not going to lie, but it is something I struggle with. I tend to lean towards cursing my enemy instead of blessing them. It’s something I know God is trying to work in and through me as we speak. Doing today’s Soul Journal is a great reminder for me that I am far from perfect, and that I need to abide with the Holy Spirit in order to overcome this fault of mine.

Dear Jesus, forgive me for letting anger and pride get in the way of loving those you have called me to love. The grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love You have shown me countless of times is what I know I should be showing others around me. Jesus, I need You. I need Your strength and love to do this. Help me to do this. May You soften my heart to do so. I pray this in the power of Your name Jesus, Amen.
 
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Proverbs_31

Scripture Proverbs 31:2 NIV “Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!”

Observation-What does it say? 
 
King Lemuel shares wisdom his mom gave him regarding his role as king. The first 7 verses, she gives advice on ways to protect his role as king. Verses 8-9, she speaks on how to treat the people, especially the poor, needy and those who cannot speak up for themselves. However, a bulk of this chapter, Verses 10-31, his mom gives him advice on the type of woman he should look out for to take as his wife, a wife of virtue and noble character. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Listen to the advice of those who love us, protect us and want the best for us, such as our parents, spouses or spiritual parents/mentors. God gave them to us for a reason. 
 
King Lemuel’s mom is protective of her son as evidenced by the advice she gives him in this chapter. She wants to protect his professional life, but most importantly, his personal life. King Lemuel’s life as a king, which is a public influential figure and I’m sure attached with many riches, can be ruined by the wrong choice in wife. Therefore, the wife he chooses needs to be trustworthy, a hard worker, loving and a servant to the people, a good manager of the home, worthy of respect and wise. Most importantly, she must fear the Lord. He cannot only look for the most charming and beautiful woman, because that is fleeting and deceptive. All those good character traits are the fruits of being a Godly woman. 
 
Life Application
 
Seek to be a Godly woman (or man) and attract the same in the process. 
 
What I find interesting about this chapter is that it not only describes what a good woman is like. Many of those traits are equally important for the male as well.  The King has to be trustworthy. He has to be loving, a servant to the people, a good manager of the home, wise, worthy of respect and most importantly have fear and respect for the Lord, allowing the Lord to tell him how to lead as king and lead his family.  I hear many singles (and I admit I did this myself as a single person before growing up a little), have a list of the type of person they want to marry; however, they don’t look at themselves to see if they are the type of person someone else would want to marry. I truly believe we should be the person we want to attract. I’m not talking about having the same likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. Our differences are what make us unique. Our focus must be on the most important things which matter, which is our character and relationship with Jesus.  Also, for marrieds like myself, this doesn’t end after the ring is on the finger. It continues afterwards as well.
 
Dear Lord, whether we are single, engaged or married, I pray that we would be and continue to be the type of person our future and current mates would want and the type of person our friends would be refreshed to be around. I pray we would be men and women of godly character whose substance doesn’t only go as far as outward appearance, but one who is trustworthy, faithful, hard working, loving, a servant to people, a good manager of our home and finances, wise and worthy of respect. Help us Holy Spirit to live our lives in pursuit of Your fruits as we seek You first in everything we do. Amen. 
 
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:30-31 NIV  

Michelle Gaddi