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 5

 

*Throwback post from Rei leading up to the 2018 India Missions trip, but it is still very relevant for today!*

 

Scripture
 

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

    in the morning I lay my requests before you

    and wait expectantly.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Psalm is the documentation of David – crying out, praising, pouring out His heart to God.  “It is a reflection of how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering, but to allow himself to be able to serve God without distraction.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalm_5

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Lately, the word “expectantly” has been reoccurring and heavy (in a good way) on my heart.  In preparation of our India trip, I am EXPECTANT.  But I’m finding myself expectant more and more often…and this verse brings light to the fact that we should be expectant EVERYDAY. 

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down and the mountains trembled before you.  – Isaiah 64:3   

God can and WILL do amazing things, whether we live in expectancy or not…but, to live in faith, means to live in expectation – knowing and believing God will provide, He will move boldly…this is when mountains move!

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20

 

Life Application

Be bold in faith! 

God, thank you for your ready examples of your faithfulness.  May we be eager and bold to call on you, to share you with friends, family and strangers alike.  Show me how to love on people today in a way that points them to you. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei



Psalm 4

Scripture 

Psalm 4:6-8 

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”  Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!  You have put gladness in my heart,  More than when their grain and new wine abound.  In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

 

Observation-What does it say?  

As the title expresses, this is a Psalm of David, whom we know as a man after God’s heart.  This was written as a song for Israel’s worship services.  It was likely written in a time of chaos and confusion, when people were turning away from the promises of God and turning toward the “wisdom” of men and foreign gods.  They were asking “who will show us any good?”  and seeking for answers outside of scripture.  David expresses the strength and joy he has found in the Lord.  In Biblical language the heart is the center of our spirit, the place where our emotions, thoughts, courage and action are derived from.  David tells the audience he found more security in God than when food was abundant (in today’s language, we might say when the stock market is doing well).  His safety was derived from his obedience to God’s commandments and his faith in God’s goodness.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

“Is–is he a man?” asked Lucy.  “Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly.  “Certainly not.  I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emporer-Beyon-the-Sea.  Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts?  Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”  Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man.  Is he–quite safe?”… “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?  Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

 

In “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, C.S. Lewis used a story geared towards children to express the same truths he saw in the Bible.  He drew from his experience of uncertainty during both the first and second World Wars, as well as the pain experienced by the death of his mother at an early age, while writing these stories.  He became one of the foremost lay theologians of the 20th century.  Through all of the pain and uncertainty he experienced during his lifetime, which included the Spanish Flu pandemic and the stock market crash of the 1930’s, Lewis clearly developed a deep trust in God’s goodness, evidenced by his writings.

 

There is a lot of talk now of “being safe.”  God never promised safety.  In fact, scripture gives us assurance that if we follow Christ we will most certainly not be safe.  Before sending out the twelve, Jesus warned them they would see a hard road and gave them the true meaning of discipleship.  Jesus said, “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.  What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.  Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:26-31)  Jesus also told his followers that they were blessed when they saw persecution (Matthew 5:11-12).  As David expressed, we only find security in God, not in the “wisdom” of this world.

 

Life Application 

Jesus, help me to find security in you, even when the world attacks and persecutes your church.  When the world seeks to keep us from worshiping you, help me to face the scrutiny with boldness and courage.  It is only in you that I find my life, only in you can I move and breath and have my being.  In you I am a new creation, and if I don’t cry out, surely the rocks will.        

 
-Tyler Galloway



Psalm_____51

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalms 51

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is[a] a broken spirit;

    a broken and contrite heart

    you, God, will not despise.

 

Observation – What does it say?

King David, finally convinced of his sin, continues to pour himself and his heart out to God in this moving and penitent Psalm.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Was King David ahead of the game, or what? In a culture and time where forgiveness of sins revolved around the laws of sacrifice for David to utter these words was probably a shocker to some, especially the sticklers for the rules. But he was the king. 

 

For me these words share so much insight into the tension that exists between what is required of the law, and what God actually wants. God does not delight in what needs to happen to sinners or the ways in which we try to make up for it, but instead  wants so badly for us to turn our hearts to Him. God doesn’t delight in our sacrifice. He delights in a heart that he can love. Isn’t it so interesting that sometimes it takes a broken spirit and a contrite heart in order to correctly view our place in the world? Or one step further, our place with God?

 

David was a king with absolute power…in THIS world. And yet he still chose to break his own spirit, and turn his heart to God. He chose to treat himself as lesser than in relation to the Lord. 

 

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

 

I am reading this fantastic book right now and I am admitting to stealing my life application from it. Pastor and author Gary Khan  writes in his book Reset on day 4:

 

Has God used your painful and sinful experiences to help others? How have you seen it? 

Take a moment to surrender your life before God. Give Him every part and ask Him to use you for His honor and glory.

Specifically ask Him to use you to minister His love and grace to the people around you.

 

Use me Lord. In the name of Jesus, amen.

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm____51

Scripture

Psalms‬ ‭51:10‬ ‭NLT

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” 

Observation-What does it say?
 
This is a psalm of David that was written shortly after the time the prophet Nathan came to David and exposed him of his adultery with Bathsheba.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Godly repentance vs. Worldly repentance.
 
The Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). This psalm continues to prove that point. You see, David messed up BIG time. David not only committed adultery, but he also murdered the husband of the woman he committed adultery with. David tried to hide his sin, until the prophet Nathan came to David and called him out on the carpet for that sin. David was mortified. How could he do this? After all God had done for him, he let his sinful desires get the best of him. Now what separates David from others is his admission of his sin to God. He not only confesses his sin, but he repents, (turns away), from it. Now everyone sins. But how many of us who sin are truly sorry for our sin and repent away from our sin? It’s like I tell my kids when they mess up, “Don’t just say you’re sorry, show me you’re sorry.” Because are you really sorry if you’re just going to do it again anyways?
 
David got the picture. He cried out to God, begging forgiveness, fasting, dressing in burlap, and praying for God to forgive him. But most importantly, he learned from his mistake and made sure it would not happen again and that is the key. That is what God is looking for in our lives. We are all going to mess up and make mistakes. It’s how we respond to them and grow from them that truly matters.
 
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.”-2 Corinthians‬ ‭7:10
 
Life Application
 
It is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
 
Let me leave you with this speech by the famous Rocky Balboa. It’s a scene in a movie when a father is talking to his son. Apply it to how sin can hit us in life and knock us to our knees and shake us to our core. But how will we respond to it, especially after learning from what David did in this passage? 🤔
 
https://youtu.be/_J0Ahh3UxbM
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm__1

 

Scripture
 
Psalm 1: 1-3
 

 1Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

 

Observation-What does it say?

The Psalmist compares the way of the righteous with the way of the wicked.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

The way of the righteous yields fruit and he/she is protected by the Lord; while the way of the wicked yields no fruit, withers away and is destroyed.

I was just talking to my husband about how funny God’s Word is sometimes (proving that God has a sense of humor too); specifically, the story about when Jesus was hungry. He went to a fig tree, but since it wasn’t bearing fruit, He cursed the tree and told it that no one would ever eat fruit from it again. (See Mark 11:12-14) I told Moses that it’s like Jesus got hangry, which is a term used for how we act when we get angry because we are hungry. However, Jesus always has purpose to what He does and He basically made a point to His disciples that this is what would happen to those who don’t bear fruit.

 

Life Application 

A great way to start bearing fruit is to delight in God’s Word. This is why we have daily Bible readings, a Soul Journal blog and Pastor’s “Reset” devotional. Here’s a link to it if you haven’t gotten your copy yet.

https://www.amazon.com/Reset-spiritual-challenge-Gary-Khan/dp/B08NZ1KBQS/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=gary+khan&qid=1608167274&s=books&sr=1-2

Dear Lord,

I pray that we would continue to be connected to You. I pray that we wouldn’t be trees who yield no fruit, but rather be trees who continue to bear fruit for You, regardless of what season we are in. Amen.

-Michelle 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 and/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



Nahum_1

Scripture  

Nahum 1:7 

The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The book of Nahum was written by Nahum.  The name Nahum means “comfort”, which relates to the major theme of the book, namely the fall of Nineveh.  Nineveh had become the capital of the Assyrian kingdom.  The Assyrian kingdom was brutal to Judah and Israel, as well as the other nations they conquered.  They were known to gruesomely punish the people of the nations they conquered and uproot them from their homes, sending them to far off places within the Assyrian kingdom.  Often the conquered rulers were beaten and mutilated before being executed.  We know from the book of Jonah that the people of Jonah had once turned to the Lord, but have since gone back to their sinful ways.  Nahum prophesied to the destruction of Nineveh and the redemption of His people.  God, we learn is slow to anger, but does not leave the guilty unpunished (1:3).

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Across the street, around the corner and up the hill in the open space, that’s where my fort was as a kid.  And it was an awesome fort.  We dug out a little flat spot to sit for about four of us.  We built up a frame from yucca plants and covered it with fairly thick walls of brush.  We would pretend to have wars and battles with imaginary forces.  It was there for years, and even when the older kids abandoned the place I would go to the same spot.  At the fort I could be wild and it allowed me to feel creative, yet I still felt safe.  However, my fort was no match for the rain or the cold.  Had I ever encountered anything really dangerous, I would not have run to the fort, I would have run home to the safety of four solid walls and my parents.

All too often, I think we build up “forts” in our lives, places of false security that do not compare to the real deal.  Our forts can be things that look healthy, like exercising, or they can be something that is perceived as detrimental, like alcohol or food.  Whatever it is, our forts are the things we run to in place of God when the world around us seems to be falling apart.  Throughout scripture, we see examples of what happened when Israel ran to their forts, also called idols.  Spending 40 years in the desert, for example, when they created an idol while waiting for Moses (Exodus 32).  This happens repeatedly in the story of Israel, they see adversity, they rely on something other than God and then they fall flat on their face.  It’s not until they return to Him, repent of their sin and renew their trust in Him that he wipes out their enemy.

As we have faced adversity in this last year, let us heed the warning to draw closer to God.  When we draw close to God, we are running toward our true place of security, our stronghold.  


Life Application 

Jesus, give me strength and courage to answer the call in my life.  Help me to learn from Jonah, who wanted to run towards his fort instead of to the people he was called to bring Your love to.  Jesus, help me to bring your love to a world that has set itself against you.  For you are truly patient with us, wanting all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  
 
-Tyler Galloway


Micah_7

Scripture – What stood out?

Micah 7

What misery is mine!…

2 The faithful have been swept from the land;

    not one upright person remains.

7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,

    I wait for God my Savior;

    my God will hear me.

Observation – What does it say?

Micah 7 is another moving, powerful and passion filled chapter regarding the nation of Israel at that time. The chapter is divided into 3 sections, the first describing the state of the nation (miserable), the second describing God’s favor on Israel which will lead the nation to rise again, and the third praising God for His character and for what He will do.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

What poetic chapter of the bible. I love reading about the nation of Israel, God’s people, because they are a depiction of all of us today, God’s people. I learned this week that yet another christian hero of mine has fallen from grace, albeit posthumously. So it wasn’t a stretch for me to understand how a nation of God’s people could be filled with “not one upright person” as dramatic as that sounds. It is so hard when we watch Christian leaders fall. Isn’t it? And yet as a once christian nation we are filled with the fallen, leaders and all.

 

Isn’t it so important therefore that we have hope for the Lord? The alternative is to stay in our misery. And while many of us do in fact choose that, I choose to turn to my Savior instead. I choose to hope in  a Lord that hears me.

 

I love how the rest of this chapter takes us up and down this roller coaster ride of emotions:

 

9 Because I have sinned against him,

    I will bear the Lord’s wrath,

until he pleads my case

    and upholds my cause…

18 Who is a God like you,

    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression

    of the remnant of his inheritance?

You do not stay angry forever

    but delight to show mercy.

20 You will be faithful to Jacob,

    and show love to Abraham,

as you pledged on oath to our ancestors

    in days long ago.

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

Doesn’t our relationship with God seem turbulent?? We are miserable people stuck in our own muck. God is required to discipline us, yet in His desire to show mercy, out of love for us, he pardons our sins. In verse 20 I believe Micah is not reminding God of His oath, he is reminding the rest of Israel. The rest of us. In Genesis 22 God speaks to Abraham, “18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.

 

So here I am, Lord. I am a mixed bag, probably just as bad as the original Israelites were. Help me to not stay stuck in the mire. Continue to remind me of your mercy. Continue to show me your faithfulness, though I am unworthy of it. And continue to bring me into your light in spite of myself. My hope is in you, who pleads my case and upholds my cause.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee

 



Proverbs__28

Scripture

Proverbs 28:13

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
 

Observation

King Solomon continues to give some phrases that wise people live by, and in this verse he somewhat speaks to community. More than that, he offers accountability as a viable solution for an area that a person may be struggling in, rather than keeping it to ourselves.
 

Understanding

Recently my mom, dad, and I decided to watch all of the Star Wars movies in chronological order. I’ve never seen them all the way through and I thought it would be a fun experience to go through together. We have gotten to the fourth movie, so by this time (MAJOR SPOILER IF YOU DON’T KNOW, but y’all should know because it’s Star Wars) Anakin had turned to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader. When he first decides to go on the path of Dark Side he’s given an assignment from his new Sith Master (Darth Sidious aka Chancellor Palpatine). Eventually, his Jedi Master (Obi Wan Kenobi) finds out and is heartbroken, but something I realized about Anakin the minute he choose a path of destruction. He hid from the Jedi Masters, the ones who were previously holding him accountable and in an upright regard. Almost as if he knew that he would be challenged in his decision, and that he didn’t want to face the consequences that awaited him. Ironically, the consequences find him and he is then resigned to a robotic body for the rest of his life, just to await the real “chosen one.”

I give this long-winded example because I think that’s the tendency of most of us when we sin or do something we know we aren’t supposed to: we hide. Rather than going to the ones that have invested so much of their lives in us, we would much rather sit with the guilt ourselves. In the end, as Anakin’s story shows we end up hurting everyone involved that much more. Anakin lost everything he cared about in one split second decision, and although our life doesn’t go to ruins, holding onto sin doesn’t help us much. There is one word in the verse above that makes confession of sin worth it: mercy. Simply put mercy holds the a powerful meaning; it means to show a person compassion especially when you have the power to punish. God grants us grace and mercy in that He sent His Son, the least we can do is confess our sins to those He’s placed around us.
 

Life Application

I fully understand that accountability is scary. But do not misplace accountability for judgement. As humans we can not pass (final) judgement on people, only God can do that. The people that God has placed around you are meant to keep you grounded no matter what you may have done. If admitting fault and sin still seems scary just remember:

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

But that’s not where the story ends 🙂

-Allison Khan


Proverbs_27

Scripture

Proverbs 27: 15-16-15  A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; 16 restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.

 

Observation and Understanding-What does it say and mean?

A quarrelsome wife is torture for a husband.

We had a huge thunder rainstorm yesterday, so the leaky roof analogy that King Solomon speaks about in parallel to a quarrelsome wife, is very relevant for today. I also like his parallel to restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand. Basically, he’s saying that it’s impossible to restrain a quarrelsome wife. 

 

Life Application

Women, we need to give our men a break. 

There was a period of time where I was being really mean to my husband and it was due to a combination of things, to the point where I distinctly heard the Holy Spirit tell me that he was not trying to hurt me, but rather help me, so I need to go easier on him.

Sometimes we need to practice more self control and submission in order for our partnership to work the way God had intended it to work. We are called to move together as one in flesh and one in Christ. The more we push our own agendas and want to live independently, instead of interdependently, the harder it will be for our marriage to work. Besides Christ, our spouse is our #1 human relationship, so let us not live as enemies living in the same home, but rather allies and partners in Christ. 

Dear Lord, I pray over marriages and specifically I pray for my sisters in Christ who are wives just like me. I pray we would work with our spouses as one flesh and love, honor, respect and listen to them more than we quarrel with them. I also pray for marriages that are struggling right now because of other behind the scenes issues. May we continue to put You first Jesus, continue to honor our vows and enjoy a marriage that is thriving, instead of just surviving. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi