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!

Judges 2


Judges 2:10

“After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the LORD or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.”

Observation-What does it say?

The angel of the LORD had just finished scolding the Israelites for their disobedience of God’s command. God kept His covenant with their ancestors, delivered them from Egypt, and gave them the land that was promised to them. All they were asked to do is to tear down all the idols and alters of the people who were inhabitants of the land, and drive them all out. Instead they let these inhabitants live alongside them, and tolerated their customs and beliefs. This infuriated God.

Now Joshua and the people of his generation have now died, leaving a new generation to take their place. This generation did not acknowledge the LORD, or even remember the mighty things He has done for them.

Understanding-What does it mean?

 It is important for us to remember where we came from, where we are, and where we are going.

We as Christ Followers should remember where we came from. We too were once slaves to sin, on a path towards an eternity separated from God. But God sent Jesus to free us from our sins. God gave us an opportunity to have eternal life, and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. All we have to do is put all our trust and faith in His Son Jesus Christ. 

 As I reflect on this generation, I see similarities to the generation we are reading about in this chapter. It seems that this nation in particular is pushing God out more and more. We are letting the world dictate our beliefs. This nation is keeping God out of schools, workplaces, and we are being more tolerant, even catering to other people’s outside religious belief systems. Are we doomed to suffer the same fate as these same Israelites in today’s reading?

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalms‬ ‭103:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

 “But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”-Joshua 24:15

As the spiritual leader of my household, my first priority is to minister to my family. I want to ensure that they know the LORD, love the LORD, and serve the LORD wholeheartedly. I can do this by setting the example. I want my kids seeing me not only spending time with God, but enjoying my time with Him. I want to share with them all the great things God has done for our family. I want them seeing someone who turns to God when things get rough, instead of someone who “flies off the loose end”. I want them to see a man who cares for others, as well as their spiritual well being. Ultimately, I want to demonstrate to them the characteristics that Jesus displays to me.

Father God thank you for all you have done for me and my family. I pray that we can live lives that are pleasing to you. May the praise and glory we give you not only be heard within our household, but may it be heard no matter where we go in life. May you be glorified and remembered because of it from generations to come. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Moses Gaddi


Judges 1


Judges 1:27
But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land.


After the death of Joshua, God chooses the tribe of Judah to be the first of the tribes to continue the conquest of the Promised Land. Simeon joins forces with Judah to drive out the Canaanites. The Israelites enjoy initial victories, including the taking of Jerusalem and a rather ironic punishment exacted upon Adoni-Bezek. The incident where Caleb’s nephew Othniel wins the hand of Caleb’s daughter in reward for his success in taking the city of Kiriath-Sepher is recounted here from Joshua 15. Despite victory in the hill country, Israel could not dislodge the Canaanites from the plains because they had chariots fitted with iron. With the aid of information provided by a captured inhabitant, the tribe of Joseph attacks and takes the city of Bethel. Sadly, from this point on, the chapter is an inventory of the failure of several other tribes of Israel to drive out the inhabitants of the land.


Anything less than total victory ensures eventual defeat

The history of Israel from here on out is a repeating cycle of idolatry, harlotry and apostasy followed by judgement, repentance and God’s gracious deliverance. Israel’s compromise in not obeying the Lord’s command to utterly destroy the evil, pagan nations occupying the Promised Land would haunt her for the rest of her troubled history and lead her into the vilest sin and abominations before the Lord – culminating in conquest by multiple empires; the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple; and the exile of its people. Any return, rebuilding or revival would be short lived and half-hearted, and Israel would end its biblical history as a conquered, occupied people.

Life Application

Compromise with the enemy is not an option

Such is the case whenever I tolerate or seek any kind of compromise in dealing with the evil influences of the World. God wants me to totally destroy and erase from my life anything of this World that causes me to sin. Like the Israelites, I ensure my own spiritual destruction when I think I can cohabitate with the sinful things of this world or flirt with them and think I can keep it under my control. I must be willing to fight for as long as it takes, no matter what the cost, in order to absolutely eradicate any area of temptation or influence in my life that would lead me into modern day idolatry and bondage.

Holy Spirit, lead me in a searing, searching moral and spiritual inventory to discover any area of my life where I am not walking in total victory over sin and where I have invited the enemy to take up residence in my heart, my head and my home; then lead me (in your strength) in driving out the enemy from my midst. Lord, I remember your word that encourages me not to fear those who trust in horses and chariots; but to expect and enjoy absolute victory over my enemy because I trust in the Lord my God! (Psalm 20:7)
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker

Joshua 24


Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”


As Joshua comes upon the end of his life and reign, he wants to ensure he leaves the people of Israel in a good state – in the most important aspect of their lives, their spirituality.  So, he has called an assembly of the leadership to 1) recount all the things God has done for them, 2) challenges them to serve God and, perhaps the most important, 3) to dutifully choose for themselves how they will proceed – to serve God or the gods of their ancestors.


I love how this chapter shows Joshua’s heart for the people of Israel…which I believe is a reflection of God’s heart for His people.  Joshua truly desires to see the people of Israel love, follow and serve God.  BUT he doesn’t seek to accomplish that with force…He truly desires for them to CHOOSE God.  He appeals to their intelligence, their emotion (surrounding what God has done for them in the past) and their freewill.  And, while he shares His choice, it’s clear he does not want them to follow his footsteps…but to make a decision that they can and will stand firm in long after Joshua is gone.

 God is the same…he desires relationship with us, but as I always say “God is a gentleman.” He’ll never force His way into our hearts.  He created us with freewill with a desire for us to choose Him wholeheartedly.  He doesn’t want us to be “lukewarm” in our faith. 

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

So, just like Joshua asks the Israelites, we are asked…who will we serve?  Will we stand with God or against Him?  Will we choose Him wholeheartedly, or wander through our faith in a lukewarm fashion?  The choice is ours.

Life Application

Father God, thank you for the gift of freewill.  May we CHOOSE you, LOVE you and FOLLOW you with all of our hearts.  May we seek to know you and make you known.  May our hearts be so grounded in you that it draws others to your peace, your love, your grace. 


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

– Rei

Joshua 23


Joshua 23:14

14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

Observation – What does it say?

As Joshua neared his death he assembled all the leaders of Israel to give them final instructions. In this, he reminds them of God’s faithfulness and challenges them to be faithful as well.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is faithful.

Every action of God is not just a stand-alone act, but a revelation of his character. The fact that God was faithful to fulfill every single promise he made to Israel is a revelation of his character. In these acts of faithfulness, God was communicating to Israel that inherent in his character is faithfulness. He wanted his people to know that he is always faithful to fulfill his promises.

Because God is immutable (constant and incapable of change), we can count on him being faithful to us. Whatever promise in scripture we read, whether one of the following or one of countless others, be filled with faith today that God will be faithful to fulfill it:

  • “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8
  • “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
  • “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8
  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Life Application

Stand on God’s word, with faith that he will honor it.

God, I choose to come near to you because I’m confident you will come near to me. I choose to seek you and hunger for you because I’m confident you will reveal yourself and fill me. Thank you for always being faithful! Thank you for never giving me reason to worry or be anxious! When doubt or discouragement creep in, may I be reminded that you are absolutely faithful, all the time. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
– Levi Thompson

Joshua 22

Joshua‬ ‭22:30-31‬ ‭
When Phinehas the priest and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh spoke, it was good in their eyes. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the people of Manasseh, “Today we know that the Lord is in our midst, because you have not committed this breach of faith against the Lord. Now you have delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Lord.””
Observation-What does it say?
The Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh were just released by Joshua to return to their homes, because their mission was completed and they were faithful in it. Joshua blessed them and told them to keep God #1 by obeying, serving and loving Him with their whole heart and soul (vs. 5). On the way home, the two and a half tribes ended up building an altar by the Jordan. When the Israelites got word of the altar, they thought it was an idolatrous altar built to worship other gods.  As a result, they  planned to make war with them because it was built on the side that belonged to the people of Israel. (vss. 11-12) .
Understanding-What does it mean?
The Israelites were in protection mode and were willing to do whatever was needed to protect their country and keep it protected from impure influences.
Back in Joshua ch. 7, the Israelites had just dealt with the consequences of the sin of one man, Acahan, who had taken some of the Lord’s devoted things. If they (the two and a half tribes on the other side of the Jordan), were rebelling against the Lord, the Lord would become angry with the whole community of Israel. (Ch. 22, vs. 16) They were not willing to deal with that again.
They sent a priest and ten chief men to question Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh and found out their motives for building that altar was pure. Their heart’s motive for building it was not to worship other gods, but the One true God. Their exchange ended in peace. 
Life Application
When we have a misunderstanding with a brother or sister in Christ, we must communicate about it and be slow to speak and quick to listen. We cannot make assumptions.
Imagine if the Israelites and the 2 and a half tribes were both prideful in their assumptions. What if the Israelites chose not to listen to the other side of the story? What if the two and a half tribes got angry for being accused by the Israelites for idolatrous worship (which was a wrongful accusation)? Then the exchange would have resulted in a war and not peace. 

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Dear Lord, I pray that we would strive for humility and peace with our brothers and sisters in You. I pray that we wouldn’t make any wrongful assumptions without listening to and understanding their side of the story. Please forgive me when I am not slow to speak and instead quick to respond in anger without hearing the other side of the story, especially with those closest to me. Your Spirit desires unity and peace for all believers. I pray that it would begin with me in my marriage, church family and family relationships. May I also teach humility and peace to my children when they argue and allow pride to get in the way of their relationship with each other.  Thank You in advance for Your Spirit’s help and guidance in this struggle. Amen.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Michelle Gaddi

Joshua 21


Joshua 21:45

“Not a single one of all the good promises the LORD had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true.”

Observation-What does it say?

All the promises that God swore to the ancestors of the people of Israel were now fulfilled. The land He had promised them is now theirs. The people of Israel can now find rest on each side of their lands, knowing that God has helped them conquer all their enemies. All the Israelites have to do now is move their things and settle in, and give thanks to the LORD.

Understanding-What does it mean?

 Although it may not always be on the timing we desire, God always fulfills His promises.

 The people of Israel waited a long time until they finally entered the promise land. The person who was supposed to lead them there, Moses, didn’t even get to see it in his lifetime…and Moses was old!!!

 Abraham waited a long time until he received God’s promise of having descendants that would outnumber the stars in the sky, and being a father of many nations. 

 Although Abraham and Moses may have doubted God, or may not have lived to see God’s promises fulfilled, one thing is for sure. God always delivered every promise to them. 

“And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

Knowing that God fulfills all His promises, what will I do while I wait upon them?

It’s easy to be disheartened, lose hope and faith as we wait upon the Lord. But I encourage you to take heart, keep strong in your faith and trust in God as we wait. I believe it is during these times of waiting God builds our character, trust, and faith. And if we stay the course and continue to follow God during these times, not only will we be blessed from it, but our family will be blessed because of it because we are laying the groundwork for them to follow when the time comes for them to take our place.

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land;” Psalms‬ ‭37:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank You Lord for staying true to Your Word and keeping Your promises. May You grant me the strength and perseverance as I wait upon You. May I continue to search for You and follow You. May Your will and promises be fulfilled here on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Moses Gaddi

Joshua 20


Joshua 20:1-3, 6

Then the Lord said to Joshua: “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood…They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.”


After the land is disbursed by lot to all of the tribes of Israel, the Lord instructs Joshua to establish Cities of Refuge within which one who had accidentally killed another might find sanctuary from a family member of the deceased seeking revenge.


These Cities of Refuge, in addition to being an important part of the civil and legal system of justice in the community of Israel, also stand as an OT type and symbol of the forgiveness that Jesus will provide believers under the New Covenant.

Psalm 9:9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble

Proverbs 18:10
The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

This is a timely reading in light of Pastor Gary’s current teaching on the Ten Commandments. Like the perception of those who interpret God’s commands as petty, controlling and restricting, so might someone on the outside of one of the cities of refuge consider those held within its enclosure as being confined, imprisoned and punished. Yet to the one who is within the walls because they have sought out the protection that the city offers, he receives relief, liberty and mercy. The one who seems “imprisoned” experiences freedom from the guilt, fear and penalty of sin that still hang over the head of the one on the outside. The one within the enclosure and the protection it provides – submitted to its regulations and boundaries – is freer than the one outside of those boundaries and restrictions will ever be.

Life Application

The Word and commands of the Lord bring freedom and I can never know true freedom outside of obedience and submission to them. Within the boundaries they provide, I may freely roam and experience all that God intends for me. Safe within the limits meant to provide safety, security and protection from all that might befall me outside of their perimeter I enjoy true freedom and liberty.

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

To check out the conversation or to join in, click here.
– Gary Parker

Joshua 19


Joshua 19:32-39

32 The sixth lot came out for Naphtali according to its clans:

33 Their boundary went from Heleph and the large tree in Zaanannim,passing Adami Nekeb and Jabneel to Lakkum and ending at the Jordan. 34 The boundary ran west through Aznoth Tabor and came out at Hukkok. It touched Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west and the Jordanc] on the east. 35 The fortified towns were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Kinnereth, 36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37 Kedesh,Edrei, En Hazor, 38 

Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath and Beth Shemesh. There were nineteen towns and their villages.

39 These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the tribe of Naphtali, according to its clans.


This is a continuation of Chapter 18s allotments of the inherited land.  These particular versus cover the allotment attributed to Naphtali.


If you’re anything like me, these chapters are difficult to read and engage with…but I find that as I did into the details, read the commentaries and such, this is just another reminder of how

God is ALWAYS at work in the details.

Matthew Henry’s commentary states, “Naphtali lay furthest north of all the tribes, bordering on Mount Libanus. The city of Leshem, or Liash, lay on the utmost edge of it to the north, and therefore when the Danites had made themselves masters of it, and called it Dan, the length of Canaan from north to south was reckoned from Dan to Beersheba. It had Zebulun on the south, Asher on the west, and Judah upon Jordan, probably a city of that name, and so distinguished from the tribe of Judah on the east. It was in the lot of this tribe, near the waters of Merom, that Joshua fought and routed Jabin, ch. 11:1 . etc. In this tribe stood Capernaum and Bethsaida, on the north end of the sea of Tiberias, in which Christ did so many mighty works; and the mountain (as is supposed) on which Christ preached, Mt. 5:1

So, whereas I would probably skim through a chapter like this, the digging in is where we learn more of Christ’s story and how the areas that he walked and people that were present during his life came to be.

In the verses prior, we learn of Asher’s allotment…perhaps another ramble of facts, but commentary shares that “Anna the prophetess, who was a constant resident in the temple at the time of our Saviour’s birth (Lu. 2:36)” was from there.  

Every piece of the Bible is intentionally included for a reason.

So many times I’ve skimmed through things like land allotments and genealogies and considered them boring; but taking time to study the Bible is teaching me that these details are actually but valuable pieces of information that give context and meaning and history to the greatest story on Earth – God sending His Son so that we may spend eternity with Him.   

Life Application

Dear God, thank you for always being at work in the details.  I’m so grateful that you forever see the “big picture” and our place in it.  May I be quick to follow your lead and your will in ways big and small so that the bigger picture of bringing your salvation to everyone we know and love.  May I remember that even the seemingly inconsequential moments of the day could actually be a part of someone else’s story of ultimately encountering Jesus. 


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

– Rei

Joshua 18


Joshua 18:3

So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?”

Observation – What does it say?

The Israelites had only taken partial possession of the promised land. Although they had conquered and destroyed many cities and peoples and the country was under their control (verse 1), there was still much of the land yet to be taken. Joshua challenges Israel to stop waiting to take possession of it.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It is important not to delay taking hold of the fullness of what God has promised.

As I read this, I felt challenged to not grow content or complacent. It is so easy to look at all God has blessed me with and all the great things I have experienced with him and to lose my sense of passion and hunger to pursue more. Today I hear the challenge to battle luke-warmness. “How long until you fight to take hold of all God has promised?”

I am reminded that no matter how great past experiences with God have been, how clearly I’ve heard his voice or how significantly he’s used me in the lives of others, I’ve only scratched the surface of what God has made available!

I don’t perfectly resemble or represent Jesus yet. The mission has not been completed. The harvest is still plentiful and the workers still few. I haven’t reached the depth of intimacy with God that he has invited me to enjoy. How could I slow my pursuit now? Like the Israelites, we would have to be fools to stop now and settle for only part of what God has promised.

Life Application

Take hold of God and his promises!

God, forgive my complacency. I choose today to go after you and to cry out to you for more! Fill us, your church, with greater passion and hunger for your kingdom to invade the earth. Consume our hearts and thoughts with a vision of what you desire to do in us and through us. Amen.

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

 – Levi Thompson

Joshua 17

Joshua‬ ‭17:14-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?” And Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” The people of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.””
Observation-What does it say?
The land that was allotted to Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s descendants), are listed as a continuation from what we read yesterday in chapter 16.
In verse 14, the people of Joseph started complaining about the amount of land allotted to them, saying that it was not enough and that they deserved more. Joshua encouraged them that they are strong enough to take more land for themselves, but the people of Joseph had their excuses. At the end of this back and forth, Joshua ended up encouraging them that they will be able to take over the hill country despite the Canaanites being so strong. 
Understanding-What does it mean?

Joshua did not pity their complaints. He encouraged them to turn their complaints into action.

As the descendants of Joseph ( Ephraim and Manasseh) were complaining about their lot being too little, Joshua made them focus on the solution instead of the problem. In addition, he encouraged them by reminding them of their own words ( vs. 14) and stating that they were under the Lord’s blessing, they are a numerous people and they do have great power. Instead of griping about their situation, Joshua reminded them that they are able to get more lot with God’s help and blessing.

Romans 8:37 NLT-No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Life Application

We need to be reminded of who we are in Christ in order to turn our complaints into action.  
We say we know who we are and we go so far as to say we believe it, but it’s proven when put to the test. The descendants of Joseph were encouraged to take more land instead of complaining about their lot, but their initial reaction was fear, not faith. Joshua ended up reminding them what they already knew about themselves, and challenged them to walk it out. 
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When I get tempted to forget who I am in Christ, I not only get encouragement from His Word, but I go back to some encouraging words spoken over me by respected leaders of the faith. Those words are authority, encouragement, joy and wisdom. It helps me live out my life with authority as a leader and in the encouragement, joy and wisdom that He has gifted me with. 

Dear Lord, when we get tempted to complain and forget who we are in You, I pray that You would send someone to speak Your truth into our lives and we would listen to that wisdom instead of seeking out someone to have a pity/complaining fest with. I also pray that we would be those type of encouragers, as Joshua was, to others who have forgotten and continue to live their lives in fear, not faith. With Your Spirit, we are more than conquerors. We love You  and give all glory and honor back to You. Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi