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!
 

Acts 7

Scripture:

Acts 7:1, 54-55

1“Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?””

54-55“When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Observation-What does it say?

Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin to give account and testimony for his faith in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. The Sanhedrin was a governing body in ancient Israel who were known for the mock trials they held that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus (gotquestions.org). While Stephen was brought before them, he basically accused the Sanhedrin Jews of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, due to their idolatry of the fathers that came before them and resistance to the message of the Gospel. (Verses 51-53).

Understanding-What does it mean?

Because Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit (vs. 55), he was fearless. He was able to speak confidently to the Sanhedrin, and he was able to stand boldly for his faith in Jesus Christ even if it meant losing his life as a result. The power of the Holy Spirit was evident in Stephen’s life all the way up to his last breath.

Life Application

Walk boldly in the Spirit and not in fear!

When Christ ascended to Heaven after resurrecting from the grave, He didn’t leave us alone. He left us His Holy Spirit as our counselor and helper. He also gives us the boldness to walk out our faith everyday without fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

As we are going through this Daring Faith series, we are learning to rely on faith, not on fear. The Holy Spirit is who gives us power to overcome that fear and live boldly in faith.

Dear Jesus, thank you for leaving us Your Holy Spirit. Please forgive us for neglecting the power we have so readily available to us. Please forgive us for missed opportunities to share the Gospel, to give extravagantly, to pray healing over someone, to speak truthfully to someone about a sin issue in their lives and to participate in ministry because we’ve been walking in fear instead of Your Spirit. I pray for more faith and for more dependence on Your Spirit everyday. We need You Jesus and cannot accomplish our mission without Your Spirit. Amen. To check out the discussion or join in click here.

‭‭


Acts 6

Scripture

Acts 6:10, 15

10“But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
‭‭
15“All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Stephen was known as a man “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Members of the synagogue were opposed to him. They tried to argue with him and falsely accuse him, but to no avail. The Holy Spirit was with him. (Verse 10)

Understanding-What does it mean?

God used Stephen to be part of spreading the word of God across Jerusalem (verse 10), however, it didn’t come without some cost. Despite the hardship, Stephen held on to his faith knowing that the Holy Spirit was with him. As a result, the opposition could not stand against him.

Life Application

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

When we remain in Jesus Christ and remain in the covering of His love (through abiding and obedience), the enemy is powerless. Dear Jesus, we know that opposition to our faith will come in both the physical and spiritual realm. We pray that we would not be discouraged, but instead be encouraged that nothing can stand against us when we remain in Your Spirit. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Acts 5

Scripture

Acts 5:42

42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostles had been arrested twice already for telling people about Jesus. Once they were flogged, and both times they were commanded not to teach about Jesus. Yet nothing could keep them from telling people about Jesus!

Understanding – What does it mean?

Nothing should keep followers of Jesus from constantly telling others about him.

The Apostles faced imprisonment and physical harm for preaching about Jesus. And on top of it, not everyone they shared with would even believe their message. Yet, they had been commanded to tell the world about Jesus and so they devoted themselves to it every single day.

There are many in the church who are passionate about sharing Jesus with everyone they come into contact with. But, there are also those who struggle to remember the last time they shared with anyone.

We either live to please people or to reach people, but one comes at the expense of the other.

Life Application

Live to reach people!

God, may we be more like the apostles! Help us to make the most of every opportunity and for sharing about you to become a daily part of our lives. We choose not to be ashamed of the gospel because it’s the power of God to save everyone who believes! Amen.
To check out or join the discussion click here.


Acts 4

Microphone Website Banner

Scripture

Acts 4:7, 10

They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”…

10 It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 

Observation – What does it say?

Peter and John were arrested after healing the lame man and put on trial before all the rulers, elders and teachers of the law. They asked Peter and John, “By what power or what name did you do this?” They replied by giving Jesus Christ all the glory.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When God does miracles through his people, the time always comes where they will be asked to give an explanation.

I’ve been amazed as I’ve witnessed people pray and ask God for healing or a miracle in their finances and when God comes through they give the credit to a doctor or employer. Peter and John made no mention of their obedience or their methods or their faith but used 100% of their words to point to Jesus Christ.

Romans 13:7 says to give honor where honor is due. As we grow in faith and witness God do miracles in our lives we will have the opportunity to take credit for what God has done. “I worked really hard.” “I prayed faithfully.” But while those things may have played a part, isn’t God is the one who gave you the ability to work and the desire to pray in the first place? Peter and John could have said the man was healed because they had learned to walk in obedience to God or had great faith. Instead they gave Jesus all the glory! They gave honor where it was due.

Life Application

Give Jesus all the glory!

God, you are worthy of all the glory and praise. Anything good in my life is from you, a result of you moving in me and through me! Praise you! You are the miracle worker. Without you we would have nothing good, experience nothing good. When you answer prayer, may we give you all the glory and praise! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Acts 3

Vision Website Banner

Scripture

Acts 3:6

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

Observation – What does it say?

This is one of my favorite stories in scripture! Peter and John are strolling up to the temple to pray and as they pass by the gate leading to the temple they saw the same handicapped man who was always there, begging. Over 40 years old now, he had been born unable to use his legs (Acts 4:22). And day after day people would pass by, some feeling pity and giving money while others shamefully tried to avoid eye contact and having to help. But today his life would be forever changed. And it was all because of 2 ordinary men who had faith in Jesus. Here come Peter and John filled with faith. When they saw him, rather than offering money they offered him something better: complete healing in the name of Jesus Christ! Instantly his legs became strong and he stood to his feet. Then he followed Peter and John to the temple, walking and leaping for the first time in his life and praising God!

Understanding – What does it mean?

When you’re filled with faith you see problems differently than the rest of the world.

When Peter and John were confronted by all the onlookers who witnessed what happened, they explained the simple reason for the miracle:

Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

They simply acted on their faith in Jesus and the man was healed! A man once called his Pastor and said, “Pastor! The doctors just told my friend he has cancer and only has months to live. Isn’t that great?! I’m just so excited!” He wasn’t joking or going crazy. He had faith. He was excited at this opportunity for a miracle. He knew God was bigger and knew God loves bring glory to himself through healing people. And sure enough, after being prayed for, God healed the man’s friend completely of cancer!

Faith changes the way you see things. When ‘terrible’ news comes, rather than feeling dread you begin to get excited! “I can’t wait to see what God does in this situation!” All miracles start as problems. All testimonies begin as tests. What problems and tests are you facing? Are you seeing them through eyes of fear or of faith?

Life Application

View every problem as an opportunity for a miracle!

God, fill us with faith! When negative news comes from the doctor or our finances look really bad, when most people would respond with fear or stress, help us to see with eyes of faith. When everyone else responds with, “That’s too bad,” may we believe you for a miracle! Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Acts 2

Entrusted With The Gospel Church Website Banner

Scripture

Acts 2:12-13

12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Observation – What does it say?

On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit filled all the believers who were gathered together in the upper room in Jerusalem, enabling them to speak in languages unknown to them. Many people from all over the known world at the time were staying in Jerusalem and heard these men from Galilee declaring the wonders of God in their own languages and they gathered around to figure out what was going on. Some in the crowd were amazed at this move of God while others made fun of them.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Whenever God moves, there are those who will be amazed and those who make fun.

In Matthew 9 Jesus went to Jairus’ house, a synagogue leader, per his request to heal his daughter. On the way, Jairus’ daughter died.

Matthew 9:23-25 23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.

According to the parallel passage in Luke, the crowd was put outside but Jesus’ disciples and the girl’s parents stayed with Jesus in the house. Those who laughed are the ones who missed out. But those that believed witnessed a miracle. I don’t want to be put out of the house because of my lack of faith! Every time the gospel is preached you have these two different responses:

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Those who believe are those who experience the power of God while those who mock miss it. Those who believe please God, while those who don’t are unable to please him.

Life Application

Ask God for more faith!

God, I don’t want to be among those who judge and mock when you move because it’s outside the box I’ve put you in. Rather, I want to be one who believes and experiences your power! I want to have the kind of faith that leads to experiencing you do miracles! Faith is a gift from you, something we are powerless to produce within ourselves. So please gift all of us with more faith! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Acts 1

I Love My Church Ministry Website Banner
Scripture
Acts 1:11-““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.””
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
Jesus’ disciples had just witnessed Jesus ascend into Heaven and continued looking up into the clouds where He had disappeared. Two men dressed in white came over and encouraged them of Jesus’ second coming as they continued to stand there.
Understanding-What does it mean?
Before Jesus ascended, Jesus had told His disciples that He wasn’t going to leave them alone, but was going to send a helper, His Holy Spirit, to help them continue to do the work of being His witnesses to the ends of the earth. In verses 6 and 7, the disciples questioned when He would return, but Jesus told them that it wasn’t for them to know the time or day. What the Lord wanted them to know was that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and they were to be His witnesses on this earth.
Life Application
While we wait for His return, we must keep serving Him on earth.
God never lies. He always keeps His promises and one of those promises is that Jesus is coming back! As Believers, we eagerly await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are not to be concerned about the day or the hour of His return. We are also not to do our own thing or sit around after being saved while waiting to be raptured or to pass on to the next life (whatever comes first). Instead, with the help of His Holy Spirit living in us, we must work and serve Him until He returns. Paraphrasing what those 2 men in white said to the disciples, basically, “Be encouraged and stop looking into the sky for Jesus. He is coming back, but it’s time to get to work!” Dear Jesus, we look forward to the day when we get to see you face to face. We pray that we would not be idle in the works You have called us to do, but rather work and serve You on earth until You call us home to our eternal residence. Thank You that You have given us of Your Holy Spirit to help us fulfill those works. It is all about You and all for You Jesus! Amen.
To check out the discussion or join in, click here.


Exodus 40

God of this City Church Website Banner

Scripture

Exodus 40:38

So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.

Observation – What does it say?

Once they completed the assembly of the tabernacle a cloud descended and covered it and the glory of the Lord filled it. Continually, from this moment on, the cloud remained on the tabernacle. The cloud was visible during the day and there were flames of fire in the cloud at night.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God dwells with his people.

The ‘glory cloud’ was a visible manifestation of God’s constant presence with his people. The tabernacle and cloud represented God with Israel. You see the tabernacle in Jesus, when John 1 says that he made his dwelling among us. And then at Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out and he now dwells within every believer. This is so amazing! This is the kind of God we serve. He draws near to his people and dwells among them continually, wherever they are.

When God first encountered me, he drained me of all my hopelessness, anger, sadness and pain and he replaced it with a love and joy so great I can’t explain it with words! In that moment, I realized that God isn’t ‘out there somewhere’ doing his own thing, but he is real, he loves me, and he wants to be intimately involved in my life! Since that day my life has never been the same. Life with the presence of God means I have assurance that he will provide, protect and guide me. It means I can have peace and joy even when the circumstances around me are crumbling. Why? Because I’m not alone!

The Psalmist recognized and declared, The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) And, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

Jesus promised his disciples, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20)

Life Application

Be aware of God’s closeness to me today.

God, thank you that you are with us! You are closer to us than the glory cloud was to the people of Israel. Thank you for your constant presence with us, for dwelling with us, despite our imperfections and weaknesses. Thank you for your great love! Help us to grow in our awareness of your closeness to us today. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 39

Valor Men's Retreat Religious Web Banner

Scripture

Exodus 39:32

So all the work on the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, was completed.

Observation – What does it say?

Following all the detailed plans God had given them through Moses, they completed the project down to every last detail.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The Israelites set a great example by completing the work God had given them to do.

That had to be such an amazing feeling for the Israelites. They gave of themselves and their resources, whatever it took, to complete the mission God had given them. They not only started strong but they finished strong.

I long to complete the work God has given me, to not lose passion or heart but to be on fire for God and faithful to the end. It’s so easy to start well but lose steam over time. It’s so easy to be mid-project and to get tired or discouraged or feel like the finish line is so far away. But like a marathon runner feeling the exhaustion and discomfort at mile 15, we have to look up, remember the finish line and keep going! It’s important we finish this race and complete the work God has given us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

When he looks at the works he prepared for me and how I lived my life, I long to hear the Master say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)

Life Application

Keep the finish line in mind!

God, I don’t want us to be a people that just begins the work you’ve given us but who finishes it! Remind us of the bigger picture and help us to work hard at the mission you’ve given us. I pray for those reading this who feel tired or discouraged. Refresh them today and renew their vision and passion. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 38

Why Should We Give Ministry Web Banner

Scripture

Exodus 38:24

The total amount of the gold from the wave offering used for all the work on the sanctuary was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.

Observation – What does it say?

The Israelites freely offered from their own possessions all the valuable materials needed for building the sanctuary. Considering the gold alone, they offered the equivalent of about 2,200 lbs!

Understanding – What does it mean?

God deserves the best of what his people have.

What amazes me is the sheer amount that was freely given by the Israelites. They received no donation receipt or other goods in exchange for their offering. As a matter of fact, they received something way better in return, God’s presence with them! Often times we learn from reading Israel’s history what not to do. But here they set an incredible example for us giving not only what was most valuable, but lots of it!

Consider what they gave. The price of gold this morning is $1250.90/oz. That means the Israelites gave the modern day equivalent of $44,031,680 in gold! That doesn’t include the silver, bronze, fabric, wood, precious stones and countless hours of labor offered by the most skilled workers in Israel.

Today, our God given mission isn’t to build a temple but to build disciples. I can only imagine how much more ministry would be possible, how much quicker we would be multiplying disciples, if all God’s people including me offered the best of what they had! (God gave his best for us!) What if we all offered the best of our time and not just what’s left over, the best of our talent and skill and the best of our resources to reaching lost people with the gospel and discipling them?

Life Application

Where have I been failing to give God my best?

Where have I been giving God less than he deserves?

God, I want to give you my first and my best. You are worthy of it all! We are going to spend our time and talent and resources somewhere and I can’t think of any better place than on the mission you’ve given us. Forgive us for the times we put other things before you. Move upon our hearts to put your kingdom first and to trust you to take care of our needs as we do. Fill us with love for you and others. Fill us with faith. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.