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!
 

Isaiah 34

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Scripture

Isaiah 34:8

For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.

Observation – What does it say?

The Edomites had taken advantage of Judah during the Babylonian conquest and had depleted their resources. Edom was a place of violence and wickedness and had become like Sodom and Gomorrah. Because God is just and could not let that stand, Isaiah prophesies that God will respond and vindicate his people by taking this great civilization and reducing it to nothing. It’s a horrible, hellish picture for the wicked people of Edom and their land.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It’s such a dark picture that I almost wanted to skim over it, looking for some positive and inspiring truth to journal about. But I couldn’t. The truth God forced me to open my eyes to today, to not look away from, is that this is the horrible fate of all those who are not one of his covenant people.

Without warning the day of judgment will come. Suddenly the window of opportunity to repent and put their faith in Christ will close. When Jesus comes back with his army of angels, it will be too late for people to change their allegiance and those who are not one of God’s covenant people will be cast into a place of suffering. Eternal, forever-long, never-ending suffering. Starving but never being able to eat, parched but never getting so much as a drip of water, burning up but never able to back away from the heat of the flames, exhausted but unable to sleep, teeth grinding pain and nothing to numb it, always craving death but unable to die… zero satisfaction or relief for all of eternity. This is the future of those who haven’t repented and believed in Christ.

Life Application

Fear God.

God, thank you for your mercy on us who have chosen to repent and believe in you. I fear you, recognizing that you alone determine my eternal destination. I’m unworthy and so grateful. Please remove from us any feelings of entitlement and remind us what you have saved us from, what we deserve. May this truth cause the hard parts of our hearts to become tender. Fill us with compassion and love and use us to turn the world to you. May we live in light of eternity, your Spirit continually reminding us of what awaits us and what awaits the unbelieving. Amen.
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Isaiah 33

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Scripture

Isaiah 33:5

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.

Observation – What does it say?

In light of the darkness around them, people destroying and betraying one another, Isaiah calls upon God. And, he knew God would be faithful to answer. He is God, there is no other above him, and where he chooses to carry out his will he will do so completely. There is no force in the universe, human or spiritual, that can oppose him or frustrate his plan.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The nature of God’s kingdom is that is imposes itself wherever God chooses. And the existing rulership, no matter how powerful, is removed without a fight.
 
God’s kingdom coming to a place he chooses is like the light being turned on in that room. There’s no recognition of the darkness that once ruled. Without a struggle or fight, it just becomes light with no trace of what once was. Justice fills places that were unjust. Righteousness fills places and hearts that were wicked. Faith is deposited where there was doubt. God-worship completely fills places once used for idol-worship. Healing and wholeness comes fully, making sickness and pain just faded memories.
 
God doesn’t mix in with what’s existing, as if there are strands of light now next to strands of darkness. Rather, he FILLS.
God is not content with a little influence, a little justice or a little righteousness. He FILLS. And if a place or heart is FULL of his justice and righteousness, there is no room for anything else!
 
A similar analogy is in verse 14, referring to God as a consuming fire! Fire has no prejudice or preference. It burns anything in it’s way and consumes completely.

Life Application

Ask God to fill the earth with everything he is.

God, thank you that when you choose to fill a heart or a place there is nothing that can resist you. Your love melts the hardest hearts, your kindness turns the most stubborn around, and your arm is strong enough to defeat any enemy. We invite you to come to fill us, our church and our city and the world with all that you are. Let your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Fill us with your righteousness, your justice and your love. The world is desperate for you. Not just for a little of you but for you to come and FILL the earth like the water fills the seas.  Amen.
 
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Isaiah 32

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Scripture

Isaiah 32:1-2

1See, a king will reign in righteousness
and rulers will rule with justice.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

Observation – What does it say?

Isaiah prophesies of a good king, ultimately referring to the coming Christ, and others in places of leadership who will bring about incredible transformation in the lives of the people. Because they will seek to do what is right before God and to bring justice, they will be like streams of water in the desert causing life to come to people and things to be set right.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Although this is about a good king and just rulers, the principle carries over to the church today. The invitation to step up and lead and to make a difference is extended to everyone who chooses to follow Jesus. As a matter of fact, that desire to be used by God to change the world gets written into the spiritual DNA of each person who chooses to follow him. Those who choose to say yes to that invitation, those who choose to lay their lives down to serve others, those who seek to love others with the love of Christ, those who seek to do right before God and others, will be like streams of water in the desert that bring life and refreshing to people wherever they go.

Desert streams. It’s the identity of every Christian, but something God has especially emphasized with our local church family. We are called to bring life and refreshing to the spiritually dry, desert places.

Wherever we ‘flow’ throughout the week – work, home, running errands, etc – we are called to bring life and refreshing to everyone we come into contact with. Rather than complaining that the desert is dry, that the culture is ungodly and gossiping about people’s imperfections, we need to remember that is the very reason God has placed us in those situations and in those people’s lives! We are there to bring the opposite spirit; to usher in the presence of God and to bring change!

Life Application

What are the driest places God has placed you? What situations or relationships are the most trying, frustrating or draining?
What does it look like for you to bring life and refreshing there?

God, thank you for placing us each around people that need refreshing and to taste of your goodness and love. Help us to live on purpose today, to recognize the dry situations you’ve placed us in and what it looks like for us to bring your refreshing and life there. Amen.



Isaiah 31

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Scripture

Isaiah 31:4-5

This is what the Lord says to me:

“As a lion growls,
a great lion over its prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds
is called together against it,
it is not frightened by their shouts
or disturbed by their clamor—
so the Lord Almighty will come down
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
Like birds hovering overhead,
the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”

Observation – What does it say?

God is frustrated with Israel because they looked to the people of Egypt for help against their enemy, Assyria. Rather than looking to God, who has infinite power and strength and commands the armies of angels, they looked to mere mortals who cannot even protect themselves… not very wise.

Yet, because of his great love for his people, God


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Isaiah 30

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Scripture

Isaiah 30:22

Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

Observation – What does it say?

In the midst of God punishing his rebellious children, he longed to be gracious to them and show them compassion (verse 18). And so, after the time of experiencing the wrath of God the prophet speaks of a time when God’s people would experience his tenderness and grace. In this time God will be there when they cry out to him, he will answer them immediately, he will open their eyes to see him and will direct every one of their steps.

In response to experiencing the incredible love and grace of God, verse 22 says the people will toss the idols and things they treasured like the most repulsive garbage.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When you experience the love and grace of God, everything else you valued pales in comparison and He becomes the sole object of your pursuit, desire and worship.

We’ve all had those friends we were close to until they found a boyfriend or girlfriend. Suddenly they disappeared. They became so obsessed with their new relationship that they didn’t seem to care at all about anything they used to value, even their relationship with us.

It sounds a bit like Paul describing his priority shift after experiencing God:

Philippians 3:7-8

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…

Life Application

Take a moment to honestly reflect. Looking at how I spend my time and money, what are the things I’ve been valuing that need to be discarded? What needs to take a back seat so I can go after God?

Abstain from the acceptable to gain the unattainable.

Trash the useless idols so you can make room for the one true, living God!

God, thank you for your incredible love and mercy that you have lavished on me! Nothing compares to knowing you. I choose to go after you with all my heart, soul, mind and strength! Forgive me for wasting time watching tv or on my phone when I could be enjoying your presence and relationship with you! I choose to say no to those things and to choose you instead today. Amen.



Isaiah 29

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Scripture

Isaiah 29:13

 The Lord says:

“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

Observation – What does it say?

Isaiah, prophesying about Israel’s future, tells of a time that the Lord will make a declaration about the prophets, the learned and the teachers of his people. He will say that they are essentially hypocrites, play actors.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Hundreds of years after Isaiah penned it, Jesus


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Isaiah 28

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Scripture

Isaiah 28:11b-13a

God will speak to this people,
12 to whom he said,
“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;
and, “This is the place of repose”—
but they would not listen.
13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:
Do this, do that…

Observation – What does it say?

God had offered rest to his people but they rejected his offer. They refused to listen. As a result, they were left with just rules and commands, hoops to jump through; rules and commands they were sure to break without the strength and wisdom provided by relationship with God.
Understanding – What does it mean?

God offers the same rest to people today, rest that only comes through


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Isaiah 27

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Scripture

Isaiah 27:2b-3a

2 “Sing about a fruitful vineyard:
    I, the Lord, watch over it;
I water it continually.

Observation – What does it say?

The vineyard represents all those who believe in the Lord, including the people of Israel and the church today. Speaking about his vineyard, God declares that he personally looks after it and waters it without ceasing.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What struck me in reading this today was the


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Isaiah 26

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Scripture

Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.

Observation – What does it say?

Isaiah is prophesying about a declaration the people who live in the land of Judah will make. From experience they will say that it is possible to experience perfect peace. It comes from God, to those whose thoughts are fixed on him, because they trust him.

Understanding – What does it mean?

According to the YouVersion Bible app (used by millions of people all around the world), the most highlighted verse in all of the Bible is


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Isaiah 25

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Scripture

Isaiah 25:9

In that day they will say,

“Surely this is our God;
we trusted in him, and he saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Observation – What does it say?

When Jesus comes again, all those who trusted in him will see him and rejoice in their salvation. The world will see that their trusting was not in vain and that God is indeed faithful and did come to save them as he promised he would.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Some versions translate that word trusted as waited. The picture I imagine is of meeting


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