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!
 

Romans 15

Scripture

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

Observation– What does it say?

The Word of God gives us hope. It gives us hope that God’s character never changes, hope that Jesus Christ died, resurrected and imparted His Holy Spirit in each Believer’s life and also gives us hope of a life eternal after death. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Scriptures are trustworthy!

In a world that is constantly changing, very unstable, and passing away, we can put our hope in the One who never changes. We can put our hope in His Word, the Bible. We can trust those in the faith who have gone before us and are recorded in Scripture who gave their lives to the mission of Jesus Christ. We can trust that heaven and hell are real and trust the hope of eternal life where there are no more sin, sadness, sickness or death. We can trust that we will be completely pure, perfect and without sin just like Jesus in the next life. We can find encouragement and hope to never give up and continue to endure in the faith amidst pain, suffering, hardships and trials as a Christ follower, just like in Hebrews 11.

Life Application

We must put our hope in God’s Word!

We put our hope in the Lord by reading and meditating daily on His Word and applying it to our lives as we are taught from them. We stay connected to our Father through His Word because it is the way He communicates with us. I also believe the Holy Spirit does not work apart from the Scriptures. It is not just a book, but it is Spirit breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16).
Dear Lord, thank You for speaking to us through Your Word. Thank You that You not only gave us Your Holy Spirit, but also the Bible to instruct us on how to operate the way You created us to operate.  I pray that we would desire to spend time with You daily and continuously be taught from Your Word. Thank You for the hope and encouragement it provides to continue to press forward in the faith. Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi
 


Romans 14

Scripture

Romans 14:19

 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul is teaching about “disputable matters.” There are things that scripture isn’t incredibly clear about when it comes to what we define as acceptable Christian behavior. In Rome, some of their “disputable matters” were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, viewing certain days being more sacred than others, eating certain meats and drinking wine. In the family of God, people have different convictions about these things the Bible isn’t explicit about. And Paul’s challenge is to stop judging one another over these “disputable matters,” and to do everything possible to promote peace and build each other up.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Disputable matters should never be allowed to cause judging or division among God’s people.

At the end of the passage Paul says, “whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” We must avoid the tendency to judge others or project our views onto the lives of others.

During my time in Bible College, God convicted me about owning some movies that contained content I didn’t think he wanted me to be watching. I responded by throwing away a bunch of those movies. A few weeks later I was in a friend’s dorm room and I saw on his bookshelf some of the same movies I had thrown away. I thought to myself, “I guess he’s not as far along in his spiritual journey. I’m sure God will speak to him about it at the right time.” I now recognize that in that moment I judged him. I judged him based on my person conviction about something that falls into the category of “disputable matters.”

As followers of Christ, our job isn’t to judge but to love, promote peace and build each other up.

Life Application

Don’t judge others, but make every effort to love and build others up.

God, thank you for placing me in your church family. Keep these “disputable matters” from causing judging and division among us. I pray unity, love and peace over our church. May we not waste any time arguing about “disputable matters.” Instead keep us focused on what’s really important: loving you and loving others. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


Romans 13

Scripture

Romans 13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments…are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Observation

Paul is sharing with the Jewish Christians in Rome that they need to submit to the governing authorities. Most of what is said is commonsense, logical, good ethical wisdom…pay your taxes, don’t maintain debt, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, give people what you owe them – including honor and respect.  On this same list, he encourages them to LOVE.

Understanding

We have been created and called to love others! The beauty of this, is it simplifies the “rules.” When love is the root and spring of all our actions, we’re usually “in the right.”

Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:18

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

I have a favorite phrase – “Always choose love.” Often times, in the midst of frustrations or dealing with difficult people or simply when I’m over my limit, this phrase will pop into my brain. And the truth is, it is always a choice! Every day and in every circumstance, we can choose love – whether it be in showing kindness, in looking for the good in a person or situation, to give, to NOT gossip, and a million other ways. 

So, with that, I’ll share my other favorite phrase…Go love on somebody! <3

Life Application

Dear God, please open my eyes to the ways I can be a reflection of your love today. In every situation, may I actively CHOOSE to love others. Help me when it seems difficult and open my eyes to your desire. May I see everyone I interact with today through your eyes – their intentional creator – and may I be used in whatever way you desire to show them that they are seen and they are loved.

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

 – Rei



Romans 12

Scripture
 
Romans 12:4-5
 
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing to the Roman church, to encourage them to continue to live a life serving Christ. But to do it by working together, in unity, humbly, and reminding them that God has blessed them each, with special gifts to accomplish this.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Our main mission as Christ Followers, (the body of Christ/His church), is to make disciples everywhere.

The most efficient way to do this is by working together with a group of fellow believers. Continue reading in Romans 12 and you will see that God has blessed each of us with certain gifts. Some with a gift to prophesy, some with a gift to serve others, some with the gift to encourage others, some with the gift to teach, some with the gift to give, and others He gives the gift to lead and show kindness to others. The bottom line here is that we are all striving for the same goal. We are all part of Christ’s body. We all need each other, and each other’s gifts and talents to accomplish Christ’s mission. So let’s all do our part to help accomplish this mission. Let’s not be lazy, but let’s serve together enthusiastically- (verse 11)! 

Life Application

I will continue to do my part and use the gifts God has blessed me with to serve His Kingdom.
 
I will do so humbly, and to the best of my abilities. I will continue to work together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish this mission God has entrusted us with.

Thank you God for partnering and entrusting me with this mission of yours. Thank you for blessing me with the strength, gifts, and abilities to do this. I know I can lean on you and your people if it ever gets too overwhelming. Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. It’s because of this and the promise in your word, that I know I can do this (through you)! Amen. To check out the discussion or join in click here.

 
Moses Gaddi


Romans 11

Scripture

Romans 11:5-6

So too, at the present time there is a remnant [of Israel] chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Observation

Paul is explaining that even though it appears that the Jews have forfeited the Abrahamic promise because of their rejection of Christ as the Messiah’ He (God) has, by foreknowledge, set aside a remnant of Israel that will be grafted back into the vine by grace through faith and not by keeping The Law.

Understanding

God keeps His promises.

Even though it may seem that God has forgotten a promise, a prophecy or a calling in my life, God has a plan to bring it to pass. My responsibility is to trust in the promises and wait on God’s perfect time and manner in which they will be revealed and fulfilled.

Life Application

There are times in my life where I will have to wait on God.

Lord, in the times of waiting, may I be faithful to trust and obey. May I not let doubt and fear cause me to question your character and faithfulness.

Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here 
 
– Gary Parker


Romans 10

Scripture

Romans‬ ‭10:3-4‬

Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Observation-What does it say? 

In this chapter, Paul continues to desire the salvation of the Jews, who still try to gain salvation through their own righteousness instead of the righteousness of Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?  

We do not work for our salvation. We cannot establish our own righteousness. Our works are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10) apart from the righteousness of Christ.

Paul continues to have a burdened heart for the people of Israel because they worked for God instead of accepting the work that Christ had already finished for them on the cross. 
They based righteousness on how well they were able to keep the law, instead of believing, confessing and submitting to the righteousness of Christ as Lord.  

Life Application

Let’s stay committed to praying for the lost to come to Christ like Paul did. In verse 1, Paul states that his heart’s desire AND prayer for the Israelites is that they be saved. 

Let’s stay committed to praying for the people on our PII list and be intentional about investing in their lives, inviting them into relationship with Christ and inviting them to church.

Dear Lord, there are so many people on earth who are still dead in their sins. Even people who call themselves a “good person” are not good apart from Your righteousness. I pray that You would give us Your heart for the lost and we would be so burdened as Paul was to pray that the lost are saved. 

To check out the discussion or join in click here

– Michelle Gaddi


Romans 9

Scripture

Romans 9:3

 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,the people of Israel.

Observation – What does it say?

I can’t help but think of the Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen volunteering as tribute, to face death, in place of her little sister. Paul is saying, if he had the option he would take the place of eternal death and separation from Christ if it meant his people wouldn’t have to.
The Apostle Paul changes his tone on a dime. He had just gone into detail about all the beautiful facets of our new lives empowered by God’s Spirit and celebrating the power of God’s love.  Then he suddenly begins to express his grief over his people, the Jews, who are missing out on all of it! He is so grieved he wishes that he himself could be cut off from Jesus and all these amazing promises if it means that his people could be saved in his place. What a statement! 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Understanding the benefits of salvation should cause us to long for everyone to experience it.

Salvation is the most incredible gift, changing lives not only for this life but for the one to come! The greatest heartbreak for the Christian, is when those we love have not chosen to receive that gift. 
 
Paul’s tone change is completely understandable. As he is going on about all the incredible benefits of this life in Christ, in the back of his mind he can’t stop thinking of those who aren’t experiencing them.  

Life Application

Who has God placed in the back of my mind as I’ve been reminded of this great life I have in Christ? Who do I need to get intentional about praying for and investing in and inviting into relationship with Jesus?

God, forgive me for the times I’ve just been so content with my salvation and haven’t had regard for those who aren’t saved. Break our hearts for the lost. And move us like you moved Paul, to share the good news with them and see them receive you. We don’t want to just get emotional but to open our mouths and urge people to believe in you. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or join in click here.


Romans 8

Scripture

Romans 8:29

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Observation – What does it say?

In this portion of the letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he is telling them about how their lives should be different now that they are Christians. He talks about living lives controlled by the Spirit of God instead of our sinful nature and about what it means that we are children of God. Among all the beautiful and wonderful implications of being children of God – being heirs of God and a heavenly kingdom, being free from our old life, having a future hope, and the ways God loves and fights for us as his children – Paul points out that God has a purpose for every one of his children: To transform us into the image of Jesus.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Christlikeness is God’s goal for every Christian.

Being formed into the image of Christ means we will look like him.  Obviously not physically. I don’t know any Christians who started looking more like a Jewish man the longer they had been saved. Being formed into Christ’s image means we resemble his character – His love and humility, his joy and his gentleness.
God is more concerned with the kind of person we are becoming than any specific things we might do ‘for’ him. Although God has prepared good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), the ultimate destination for every Christian isn’t a position or title or ministry role. Rather, the ultimate destination God has in mind has to do with character. And journeying toward this destination is a lifelong process. None of us are perfect yet. None of us completely resemble Jesus. We cant fall into the trap of setting false finish lines based on comparing ourselves with others who are less mature or with who we used to be. Being like Christ is the goal, not being better than we were or better than someone else. This “conforming into the image of his Son” is something God will be doing in each of us as long as there is breath in our lungs. 

Life Application

Do I look more like Jesus today than I did before God saved me? If the answer is no, I would doubt that I am in fact saved.

Do I look more like Jesus today than I did a year ago? …a month ago? …a week ago? How is my growth? Have I slowed in my transformation or can I point to recent evidence that God is continuing to transform me?

God, I am reminded that there is so much room that I have to grow. Please have your way in me. In the areas my growth has slowed I invite you to go to work. I want to look more like Jesus, to resemble his perfect character, to be holy, to love unconditionally, to be a servant of all. I surrender to you. Amen.

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



Romans 7

Scripture

Romans 7:2

 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul uses the illustration of the covenant of marriage to describe how those who are in Christ have been set free from the law. Like a woman whose husband dies is no longer bound to her husband, the woman (or man) in Christ is no longer bound to the law of sin and death. She is free to be bound to another. In this case, she is bound to Christ and the body of believers.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The Christian is no longer bound to the law but to Christ!

Our sinful man was bound to the law and it’s consequences. But according to 1 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 2:20, your old self was crucified with Christ on the cross and you are a new creation. Your sinful nature is dead. My sinful nature is dead. (Side note: Do I still sin? Yes. But that isn’t evidence my sinful nature is still alive. Adam sinned in the garden without having a sin nature.)

Now in Christ, our sinful nature has been put to death so we no longer have to obey it. We are no longer bound to it. And, we are no longer bound to the law’s consequences. We have been forgiven and made alive to God in Christ Jesus!

Romans 8 says, “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

Galatians 2:19-21 19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Life Application

Worship God for setting me free from the law and it’s consequences!

When temptation comes, remember I no longer have to give in because Christ set me free!

God, I worship you! Thank you for the riches of your grace, expressed in your kindness to us in Christ. Thank you for freeing us when we couldn’t free ourselves. Thank you for salvation and forgiveness and for new life! In view of your great mercy, we choose to no longer use our bodies to sin but we offer them as living sacrifices to you. Amen.

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



Romans 6

Scripture

Romans 6:16

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul is highlighting the transformation Christians experience at salvation, from being dead in sin to being alive in Christ Jesus. Before being saved, every person was dead in their sin, using their bodies to satisfy their sinful desires. But at salvation, we experience transformation and freedom from sin in Christ. Paul points out that you are slaves of whoever you obey, whether sin or obedience to God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

You are slaves of the one you obey.

God is worthy of our complete obedience. Failure to obey God’s word or even the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit means that we are obeying something or someone else. In other words, we all have a master. Either God, our sinful nature, another person, or the enemy. Or as Paul categorizes it: either sin or righteousness.

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

Life Application

This really made me think today. Who am I obeying? Who is my master? When I am faced with a decision to obey God or not, I must consider that disobedience to God means I am being obedient to someone/something else.
 
God, I want to obey you alone. I want to be a slave to you alone. I don’t want to be a slave to my sinful nature, which you freed me from, or to the enemy, whom you defeated. Give me the strength to walk in obedience to you today! Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.