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!
 

1 Samuel 29

Scripture

1 Samuel 29:5-6

Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?”

Observation-What does it say?

Because of fear, David hid out in the Philistine country and became loyal to Ashish, the opposing side and enemy of his people, the Israelites. David was planning to go to battle against Israel with Ashish and his men, but the Philistine commanders did not trust him. As a result, they rejected him from being part of their army.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God saved David from his unwise decision that was made due to fear.

It was the Lord who gave David an out from the Philistine army, to put him back on the path intended for him. His past reputation invoked fear with the Philistine commanders–fear of betrayal, and he was not able to fight with them. His past caught up with him, and in this case, it was a good thing.

Life Application

The Lord pursues us and puts us back on the path intended for us, even when we stray.

There are consequences to sin and unwise decisions. However, I am a true believer that the Lord pursues us, even when we stray,  just like the master who left his 99 sheep to search for his 1 that had strayed (Matt. 18:12, Luke 15:4). Some of the ways He has pursued me is through the prayers and encouragement of godly people. He picks us up and puts us back on the path intended for us. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Dear Lord, thank You for the ways You have pursued me back to the path You’ve intended for me…the path back to You and with You. You are so good and loving and there’s no place I’d rather be than with You. Amen.
 
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-Michelle Gaddi


1 Samuel 28

Scripture

1 Samuel 28:17b-18a

The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord…

Observation – What does it say?

Because Saul was unable to hear from God, he turned to another source for guidance: a medium. This woman, through demonic powers, would summon someone from the dead for Saul to speak with. A practice that God had clearly forbidden. Once Samuel was summoned, he declared that God had fulfilled his promise to take the kingdom from Saul because of his disobedience.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It is possible to fall short of God’s plan for our lives.

Chapter 13 reveals God’s intended plan for Saul:

1 Samuel 13:13-14a 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure…

It was clear that God’s intention was to establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel for all time. If he kept God’s command, Saul would always have a descendent on the throne and ultimately Jesus would have come from the line of Saul. However, his disobedience to God’s command led to him missing out. The kingdom was now being stripped from him and his family and being given to David.

I used to think that if God gave a prophetic word or dream about what he intended to do through a person, church or ministry, it would be automatic. God would make it happen regardless of if we ran from it or worked for it. But this shows that we have a role to play in the fulfillment of those prophetic words. 

God has a plan for every person. But it’s up to us to seek God to reveal his plan, and then pursue it.

Life Application

What does it look like for me to pursue God’s plan for my life today? In this season?

God, we want to experience the fullness of what you intend for us! Please, in your mercy and your grace, help us to experience all you desire us to. May we live completely surrendered to you, fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. For those of us who are drifting, bring us back. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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


1 Samuel 27

Scripture

1 Samuel 27:1

But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.”

Observation

David – often called a man after God’s own heart – was becoming discouraged. This verse shows that he had lost hope. The verses following this shows how he began to take things in his own hands and kind of fell out of the character of God.  He deserted his own country and went to live in the land of the Philistines (v 5-7).  He began to spend his time raiding the neighboring cities. (v 8-9).  He seemed to have lost his touch with his purpose…to the point that it was believed even his own people must “hate him bitterly” (v 12).

Understanding

For as long as time has existed, it has been our human nature to get impatient in the waiting. When things don’t look the way we thought or expected, it’s easy to get discouraged and to begin wanting to take things into our own hands. But, as we see here, that is not the solution. As I read through this chapter, I see David thinking to himself, deciding to move to a different area and beginning to attack the neighboring communities…what I don’t see is David seeking God or seeking counsel or encouragement from other believers…and the results are perilous.

Life Application

God, help us to remain steadfast in your ways. In seasons of frustration or doubt, may we continue to seek hard after you.  Thank you for the family of Desert Streams that you have placed us in; may we lean on them in this times – seeking community and encouragement.  May we not be so quick to take things in our own hands, but continually surrender our agenda to your will.  Also, give us the heart to speak into the lives of those who may be in this season of frustration now.  

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



1 Samuel 26

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 26:10
 
“Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Once again Saul and his men are hunting after David… AGAIN!!! David learns about it, goes out one night, and what does he find?… Saul and his men asleep along the hillside.-(Saul and the commander of his army, Abner, were sleeping inside a ring, formed by the rest of the slumbering  army). So once again, God had delivered David’s enemy to him, and David shows mercy instead of vengeance. You see, while Saul and his men were caught napping on the job, David and his men were close enough to strike and kill them; but they chose to spare Saul and his men, and show them grace and mercy instead. 
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Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David trusts God’s hands. David trusts in God ways, God’s vengeance for His people, and God’s peace in his life.
 
David had yet another opportunity to rid this thorn in his side, who is Saul. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, by killing Saul, which many of us probably would have done, David chose to show him grace and mercy. How can he do this we might ask? I believe it’s because of his personal relationship with God, his trust in God. It is through this relationship and trust he has in God, that David was able to demonstrate submission and obedience to God’s ways. 
Imagine if David would have took the opportunity to kill Saul. What then? Maybe it would have caused dissension among the people. Some might believe what Saul was saying all this time was true, that David was out to kill Saul because he was after the throne. David on the other hand, would have disobeyed God, blood would be on his hands, and the people may have thought of him a murderer. Instead David’s choice to trust God, brought him peace of mind. He knew Saul’s blood would not be taken from his hands. He would be innocent of that. He knew by showing grace and mercy to his enemy that God’s favor would continue to bless him wherever he went and whatever he did. 
 
Life Application
 
We could all learn and use the faith and trust that David showed to God in our lives.
 
You don’t have to look far to find someone who has experienced some sort of injustice in the world. You turn on the television and you see what is going on in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas. People are taking matters into their own hands, going out for vengeance because of the injustice they feel,  and bringing even more violence and bloodshed into this world. I know this breaks God’s heart. 
Doing what David did here isn’t easy. It takes faith! It takes faith in God, knowing and trusting that it is God who will bring you justice and will be your vengeance when it’s all said and done! The world needs more David’s. Whose willing to stand up and lead?
Father God, we need you now more than ever. We ask that you bring strength and obedience to your people as we take lead and take a stand against sin! Help us to trust you in your ways and your will. Give us patience to let you play things out accordingly. Help your people be beacons of light into a world that seems to be heading into darkness. May the rest of the world benefit from it, and understand just how much they need you. May the world remember the most heinous injustice done was to your only son Jesus. May the world remember why it had to be done. To free us from our sins. Thank you God. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Samuel 25

Scripture

1 Samuel 25:32-33

David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.

Observation

David sends messengers to Nabal, whose flocks and shepherds David and his men have been protecting, to ask for support and supplies. Nabal, whose name means “fool”, rebuffs the messengers and insults David. David, in his anger, prepares to seek revenge on Nabal. Only the intercession of Nabal’s wife Abigail saves David from sinning by avenging himself (Romans 12:19) and Nabal from suffering the wrath of David. When Nabal hears how close to death he had been, he has a stroke and dies days later; David then takes Abigail to be his wife.

Understanding

David showed great humility and wisdom in heeding the advice of Abigail. This was especially noteworthy in view of the status of women in the OT culture. In David’s time, women were second class citizens, just one step above a piece of property to be owned. Unmarried women were not allowed to leave the home of their father without permission. Married women were not allowed to leave the home of their husband, without permission. They were normally restricted to roles of little or no authority. They could not testify in court. They could not appear in public venues. They were not allowed to talk to strangers. They had to be doubly veiled when they left their homes and could be summarily divorced and left destitute over the slightest infraction. In fact, there was a prayer recited by men of this age that said, “Thank you, God, that I’m not a dog, a gentile or a woman.” For David to entertain, let alone follow, the counsel of a woman showed that he understood that God could deliver his truth in various ways and voices. He did not let the messenger invalidate the message.

Life Application

I am thankful for the Abigail’s in my life – Robin, Cindee, Sheila, DeLaine, and Charleen (to name just a few) – godly women through whom God so often delivers wise counsel, instruction and correction. Of course, I am most thankful for my “Annie-gail”; the wisest, most godly woman I know. Because of her discernment, sensitivity, and compassion she has been used by God countless times to keep my hands free of innocent blood. Where would I be without her? ((shudder)).

I pray that I would recognize that God is always talking to me and to be prayerfully alert not to allow preconceptions, prejudices or pride keep me from receiving all that He wants to speak to me by any means or person He so chooses.
 
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Gary Parker


1 Samuel 24

Scripture

1 Samuel 24:16

So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice my son David?  And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.

Observation-What does it say?

In this chapter, David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but he did not take it.  Instead, he returned good for evil. He proved to Saul that he was not seeking to harm him.  As a result, Saul’s mission to kill David ceased and Saul realized that David would surely become the next king of Israel (vs. 20).

Understanding-What does it mean?

David’s decisions were based on the Lord’s leading.

David was told that God was going to deliver Saul into his hands and that David may do to him what seems good to him (vs. 4).  David decided to submit to the uneasy feeling in his heart, which was from the Lord, and spare Saul’s life. David did not have to promote himself to be king.  He was chosen as the next king of Israel because he lost his life to the Lord’s will.

David embodied the characteristic of a good leader.  David sought the Lord in all he did, he proved faithful and trustworthy to King Saul, and he humbled himself by acting in meekness (strength under control). He had an opportunity to kill his enemy, but in his heart, he did not feel right about it.  Instead of returning evil for evil, he returned good for evil, which could only have happened by the grace of God.  It proved that God was truly with David and that he would make a great king of Israel.

Life Application 

We must lay down our rights in order to submit to the Lord’s leading.

If we want to find our life, we must lose it. Losing our life today means submitting to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God when “our rights” tell us otherwise.  

For example, if we are married and have an argument with our spouse, we must lay down our rights and humble ourselves by saying sorry in order to maintain peace in the home and maintain oneness in the relationship. 

If we have an unchurched friend in need, but we don’t feel like investing time into them, we are called to humble ourselves and give of our time to shine and minister the light of Christ into their lives.

If we hear that a friend had gossiped untrue things about us, instead of holding a grudge against them, we forgive and keep loving them to reconcile the relationship and prove their gossip false.

If we have a co-worker who got a raise or job promotion over us and we feel it was not right, we keep working hard as if working for the Lord (and not for man) and allow the Lord to take care of the situation. We trust God to take care of our every need and not a raise at work to take care of us.

Dear Jesus, Your ways are higher than our ways.  When our human nature tells us to save our lives and promote ourselves, You tell us to lose our life to You instead.  I pray for forgiveness for the pride in my heart that wants me to exercise “my rights.”  Instead, may I follow Your leading like David did and find my life in You as a result.  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 23

Scripture

1 Samuel 23:16

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.

Observation – What does it say?

David and his men continued to find themselves on the run for their lives from King Saul and his army. While David was hiding in the desert, his friend Jonathan traveled to him and helped him find strength in God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

We all need a Jonathan.

Jonathan made the long journey across the desert to find David and help him find strength in God. He encouraged David not to be afraid reminded David of his destiny. We all need friends to surround us in our time of need, when we’re tired and discouraged. That’s one reason why I’m so thankful for our church family! We don’t need friends who will go buy us a drink so we can escape our situation. We need friends who will point us to Jesus!

Not only do we need Jonathans in our life, but we need to be Jonathans to each other.

When we have friends that are struggling, it can be tempting to avoid them. When you’re looking to have a good time, no one wants to invite Negative Nancy or Debby Downer. But when you look at Jesus you see that the gospel is all about moving toward the hurting, the struggling and the ones everyone else avoids.

How easy is it for us to go to our friends and help them find strength in God? Jonathan had to make a long journey in the hot sun. All we have to do is send a text, make a phone call or take a short drive over to their house.

Life Application

Who am I surrounding myself with who can encourage me to find strength in God? (If you don’t have a good answer for this, I encourage you to consider participating in a GROW Group!)

Who do I know that is struggling? How can I encourage to find strength in God? 

God, thank you for surrounding me with some awesome men and women who love you and who are always there to support me. Show me, show us, the people in our lives who need some encouragement and show us how you want us to encourage them today. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Samuel 22

Scripture

1 Samuel 22:2

Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.

Observation

David was seeking refuge.

He couldn’t go to his house, he couldn’t go to the palace, he couldn’t go to Samuel or to Jonathan, he couldn’t go to the house of the Lord, and he couldn’t go to the ungodly. But he found refuge in a cave…and people began to follow him there.

Understanding

David drew the troubled, those in debt and the discontent…those who wanted something different, something better. I’m reminded of our church’s name – Desert Streams – and the desire for us to be like a refreshing stream in the desert. David was so different than what the people were experiencing with King Saul that over 400 people sought him out…in a cave! I’m sure David was amazing; but it was likely the anointing of God on David’s life and how he lived that out that drew them. And we have the opportunity to live that out today!

Life Application

God, may we (as individuals) and Desert Streams (as a whole) be a source of refuge and refreshing for people that are seeking…seeking something better, something different. May we draw the troubled, the distressed, the hurting and broken, the discontent and those in debt and may they find peace, love and joy in You.  May we recognize, today, our opportunities to be living examples and extensions of the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – in every situation and with everyone we meet.

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


1 Samuel 21

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 21:12-13
 
“David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
David escapes from Saul, and heads to Gath, to see King Achish. As he arrives, he feels uneasy about being there. The officers of Achish were unhappy with David being there, and made comments that made David feel very afraid. He was fearful of what King Achish would do to him. So what did David do?…He acted insane; scratching walls, and drooling down his beard!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Our fear can get the best of us sometimes. 
 
Here is David: A fearless and mighty warrior, a leader of armies,  a man of the people, a servant of God. So how did we get a man like we read about in the previous chapters, to the one we are reading about in this chapter? It seems that David forgot that God was still with him. He let his own fear take control of his actions. His fear made him do things that were out of character. He lied to the people of Nob in order to get food and a sword. Then he lied and pretended to be insane because he feared for his life!  All this from the man, who would eventually become king, and eventually write the book of Psalms…a book where he writes countless Psalms about how God helped him overcome his fear and helped him slay his enemies! So what happened here to David?
Before we jump on David for his actions in this chapter, we have to ask ourselves if we ever did anything out of character because we let fear get the better of us. Maybe it was a time at work, when God clearly spoke to you, and told you to stand up, and speak up, defend your faith; but we cowered in the corner because we were too scared of the consequences. Or maybe we let our fear have us act “insane”, (the way David did here), in a way we acted that was unbecoming of a Christ Follower, and a person of faith; just so we can save face with those around us, and fit in with everyone else. Whatever the case may be, we all had moments in life, where we let fear take over, and forgot to turn to God, and trust in Him in those situations. It happens to the best of them: David, Moses, and Peter to name a few. They all forgot what God had already brought them through, the power in the things He can do, and the power in the things He is going to do! But once they remembered and took grasp of it, they were changed for the better!
 
Life Application
 
Don’t let the enemy fill you with fear, and control you with it. Instead let yourself be filled with the Holy Spirit, and be reminded of the limitless power our God has! With God, all things are possible!-(Matthew 19:26).
 
Father God, forgive me for letting fear get into my heart. Forgive me for letting fear and doubt creep into my life, instead of running to You. May You continue to guide me and strengthen me as I stay connected to You in prayer and reading Your Word. Help me be obedient to You so that we may accomplish the “impossible”. Help me to walk in faith, and not in fear. In your name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 20

Scripture

1 Samuel 20:30

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him…”As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

Observation

David has gone into hiding as a result of Saul’s anger, jealousy and murderous intent. To dispel Jonathan’s disbelief that his father seeks David’s life, the friends devise a plan by which Saul’s motives may be determined. Saul’s rage at David’s absence from a feast, and his paranoia that Jonathan is in league with David to destroy Saul, results in an attempt by Saul on Jonathan’s life. This confirmation of Saul’s unjust persecution of David results in a renewal of their covenant of brotherly love and devotion.

Understanding

Love…is not proud…it is not self-seeking.”

If anyone had cause to be jealous and would benefit from David’s demise, it would be Jonathan. After all, he was Saul’s firstborn and therefore the heir to the throne of Israel. The only thing standing in the way of his ascension to the throne was the breath in David’s lungs. But instead of allowing the pride of the flesh (1 John 2:16) and petty insecurities to rule his actions (as they had his father), Jonathan submitted to the revealed will of God (1 Samuel 16) and acknowledged the future kingship of David by clothing David in his very own robe, tunic, sword, bow and belt; and entered into a covenant of friendship that would transcend familial ties (1 Samuel 18). Jonathan exhibited true humility, submission and love; as well as a commitment to building God’s kingdom over building his own empire.

Life Application

Is my cause is the cause of Christ?

In today’s reading, I find myself wondering how often the cause of Christ has been wounded, delayed or derailed due to petty jealousies and selfishness. Churches have split, ministries have been abandoned and the witness of the church destroyed as the people of God vie for supremacy, gain and notoriety. We have but one cause and one King – the Lord Jesus Christ – under whose reign and rule we must all joyfully bow and serve.

Lord Jesus, help me to crucify my prideful and jealous flesh. May all that I do result not in the exaltation of my name, but in honor and glory for yours. May I be passionately invested in the success of the ministry and mission of others. May I rejoice in the anointing, empowerment and success of anyone through whom you garner glory for your name. May I be so kingdom minded that I promote and celebrate the servanthood and sacrifice of others that bring them to the forefront to be recognized and rewarded.
 
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Gary Parker