Bible Reading Plan
bible
Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
August 24: Ezekiel 5, John 18, Psalm 80
 
 
How To Soul Journal
pencil
 
soulj
 
divider
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!
 

2 Corinthians 7

Scripture 


2 Corinthians 7:10 


10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.


2 Corinthians 7:10 (MSG)


10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.


Observation


Paul, in his writing, is expressing how in his previous letter has spoken quite “frankly” to them. He expressed his love for the church he was writing to and even if his previous letter caused some pain He is glad that it brought them to repentance and closer to God. 


2 Corinthians 7: 8 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.


Understanding


Have you ever had someone tell you something that hurt or stung you a bit. I think we all have. It may have made you feel a bit depressed for a minute and maybe just sad. But once you got over the initial pain of the sting then you were able to see what needed to be changed and now you are a better person because of it. 


In some ways I feel like the situation we are in now with the quarantine is providing a harsh word. We are able to see where a lot of our devotion has been; food, money, and of course toilet paper, among other things. 


For me I have taken for granted the comforts I have. 


Food. Money. Health.


I have been to countries where food does not come in abundance, it doesn’t not sit in a huge samsung refrigerator. It is sought out daily. 


Toilet paper is not even an option. It is for the wealthy and most of the people where I visited are not wealthy. In fact it was a way of life to not have toilet paper. Babies do not use diapers and wipes, it’s just a way of life. 


I have access to healthcare and even when I don’t I can take care of my health simply by making better choices in food and exercise.


I am starting to recognize the areas that need change. A change of my heart and my mind. 


I am filled with sorrow. 


“Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain…”


Application


The quarantine is causing some pain. Our comforts have been compromised. Our health is at stake. Now our finances are taking a hit. 


But don’t let it cause pain that leads to bitterness and discontent. Instead let it cause the pain that leads us to the presence of God in repentance. Let’s feel sorry that we have put other things above Him. 


The truth is that money is not my provider, God is.

He “owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”


Food does not sustain me, God does. 

He is the “bread of life.”


A virus does not determine my days on earth, God does. 

He is the “author of life.”


We have a great blessing that has been given to us, a chance to get alone with ourselves, reflect, and turn to God. Let us use our time of solitude from the outside world to draw near to God and open our ears to hear him and listen for his words that will bring about repentance and change. 


Deborah Lee 



Proverbs__3

Scripture

Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
 

Observation

King Solomon continues the proverbs by speaking about wisdom and how it applies to a person’s well-being. In this section though, he contends that our own well-being is reliant on giving honor where it is due. He extends this by urging people to act in love, so that they can then grow in wisdom.
 

Understanding

Gratitude leads to growth in wisdom.

I pride myself on being a student. It’s something that I use to define myself in everyday life just because I love learning so much. I love the idea that “knowledge is power” because I honestly think that it is, and with knowledge is this huge responsibility to impart it to others. Something that I recently discovered (that kind of crushed me) is that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. I figured if I was smart and had information I would impress upon people the desire to learn as well. However, something that Solomon knows really well and is trying to impress on people here, is that knowledge and wisdom are not equivalent. Knowledge is useless without the wisdom to yield it. A better way to explain this idea would probably be from my favorite book To Kill a Mockingbird: “Folks don’t like to have someone around knowing more than they do, it aggravates them. You’re not going to change anyone by talking right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves…”

I guess what I’m trying to get at, is that in order to share your knowledge and understanding with people, you have to let them know how much you love and appreciate them. If I simply start by telling all I know it threatens people and pushes them away from me. I’m still trying to learn this lesson, and believe me when I say that I have experienced this many times in my twenty years on this planet. Knowing this and applying this, Solomon argues, is the first step in becoming wise. So don’t withhold good, withhold what you may know. Calpurnia said it best, “they’ve got to want to learn themselves,” but sometimes just investing in them pushes them towards wanting to learn and listen to what you have to say. This is the secret ingredient to wisdom beyond understanding: appreciating people for who God created them to be. I once heard a wise old guy say that “good deeds leads good will that leads to the Good News.”
 

Life Application

Let’s be a people who are all about good things! Don’t withhold gratitude when it is due, especially because it is the first step in attaining wisdom. Also because Solomon ends this chapter by saying:

The wise inherit honor, but fools only get shame.

Think about what you are thankful for, if it is a person, let them know! Even if it isn’t a person share what you are thankful for with others, and maybe it will lead to them thinking about they are grateful for and so on. And from there your knowledge has done the amazing and turned into wisdom for others.

-Allison Khan


Isaiah_18

Scripture

 

Isaiah 18:4

This is what the Lord says to me:

“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,

like shimmering heat in the sunshine,

like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

 

Observation – What does it say?

 

All over the earth people have enemies, people who threaten to harm them, groups of people who instill fear. In the midst of it all, God declares that He is watching quietly from where He dwells. The following verse says that before the harvest begins, at just the right time, God will act.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

 

At times God watches “behind the scenes” quietly. He is in control, calm and at peace. Because, when the time is right, He knows where and how to act. Although nations rise and fall, God is constant. He is always good, always faithful, always working everything for the good of those who love him.

Often I find myself desiring God to act in certain situations. In my foolishness, I can think I know better than God and I know what God needs to do or should have done. But the truth is that He, in His infinite wisdom and love, knows exactly what to do. He is never indifferent. He is never turning His back on those who are hurting. Rather, He is completely aware, looking on at everything happening, and is working everything for the good of those who love him.

 

Life Application

 

Trust that God knows what He is doing.

 

God, even when I see tragedy in the world, rather than doubting You, I choose to trust that You see things I don’t see, that Your ways are higher than mine, that Your wisdom is greater than mine, and that Your love is infinitely deeper than mine. Amen.

 

-Levi Thompson



2 Corinthians_4

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

Observation:

Our light affliction: Why is our affliction light and not heavy? Because even the worst of it, by the measure of eternity, is but for a moment. This is partially true in the sense that most of our troubles come and go, and “this too shall pass.” It is also true in the sense that even a long life by this world’s standard is nothing on the scale of eternity. Even if one were to live for a hundred years and suffer every day, by the measure of eternity it is but for a moment. [https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/2-corinthians-4/]

Understanding:

Some may say the world – financially, physically, the job market, etc. – is “wasting away.” However, even in these times, we are told “do not lose heart.”  Our troubles are considered “light and momentary.”  Light because we’ve got a God with strong, broad shoulders that will carry the weight.  Momentary when compared with eternity.  So…

Life Application:

Do not lose heart! <3 

Turn and fix your eyes upon what is unseen, what is eternal.  Keep things in perspective, which may be hard to do at times (especially when media headlines are what they are and coming at you from all directions!)…so stay grounded, stay connected to the family, to the word, to God and Do. Not. Lose. Heart.  When you’re up, share your light and love with the world that needs it.  When you’re down, get connected. 

Go love on somebody today – with clean hands and from at least 6 feet away! 😉

Rei



2 Corinthians_3

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 3:17-18  17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

Observation:  In 1 Corinthians, Paul was dealing with a division among the members of the Corinthian church.  There were members at odds with each other over which teaching of the gospel was correct. In this second letter, the division seems to have gone from bad to worse for a period of time.  In chapter three, Paul writes in defense of the new covenant. He compares the old covenant and the new, the covenant of Moses with the covenant of Christ, striking an imagery of things written on stone (covenant of Moses, and the ten commandments) and things written on the heart (covenant of Christ).  We see a contrast of promises that are dead, to promises that are alive. Paul proclaims that we have freedom and life in the covenant of Christ, who freed us from the bondage of the law.  

 

Understanding:  One of my favorite rides at the magic kingdom is Pirates of the Carribean.  While it’s all in jest, at the beginning of the ride you are warned of what is to come and advised to abandon hope.  “Psst! Avast there! It be too late to alter course, mateys…and there be plundering pirates lurking in every cove, waitin’ to board. Sit closer together, and keep your ruddy hands inboard. That be the best way to repel boarders. And mark well me words, mateys…dead men tell no tales!”  Compare this with another boat ride. At the turn of the century (twentieth century that is), as boat loads of people were making their way to New York seeking a new life. One of the first things they see is the shimmering (at the time) Statue of Liberty. A promise of hope for change and freedom.

 

In Christ we get the same opportunity.  We take a boat ride down the way of the world, we see no other warning sign except to abandon hope, especially when times get tough.  But, when we accept the gift of the gospel, we are offered freedom. Freedom from chaos, and worry, anxiety, fear. We know, from the many witnesses that have come before us, that there is hope unending in Christ.  Scripture tells us, don’t be anxious (Philippians 4:6), we have hope unlike the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), God will take our worries (1 Peter 5:6-11). God is the beginning of all things and the end of all things, only in Him is there hope.  So abandon all fear, all ye who enter here.


Life Application:  Jesus, even though there is temptation, let me not lose sight of your goodness and grace.  Have your love flow through me in this time of need. Help me to be generous in the face of chaos.  Most of all, thank you for the peace that surpasses all understanding.

 
-Tyler Galloway


2 Corinthians 2

Scripture 

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

 

…and to God are thanks, who at  ALL TIMES 

is leading us in TRIUMPH in the Christ, 

and the fragrance of His knowledge 

HE is MANIFESTING through us in every place. (YLT)

 

Observation 

 

A believer’s triumphs are all in Christ. To him be the praise and glory of all, while the success of the gospel is a good reason for a Christian’s joy and rejoicing. In ancient triumphs, abundance of perfumes and sweet odours were used; so the name and salvation of Jesus, as ointment poured out, was a sweet savour diffused in every place. – Matthew Henry Commentary 

 

Understanding 

 

I love this! At all times we are being led by Christ in victory!  Even as we are socially distancing ourselves for safety reasons God is leading us at ALL TIMES. And HIS knowledge is being made known to the people around us like a fragrance. 

 

People can detect it.

 

 It may not be visible at first but it is pleasing to them. The way it would be when you are in the presence of something that smells amazing!

 

In this moment of our lives we have an incredible opportunity to move forward in our Christian Faith and principles with courage and LOVE. 

 

Our times may be uncertain 

But HE is “the same yesterday, today, and forever!” 

Our times may be scary 

But “He is my rock and my salvation of whom shall I be afraid?”

 

 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:15 (NIV)

 

Application 

 

Our mandate to “Multiply Christ Followers Everywhere” does not come to a halt, even in a pandemic. 

 

You can smell a fragrance even from a distance. Especially if there is a breeze that will carry the aroma to many places. The Holy Spirit is the wind we need to take the fragrance of His knowledge to the people it needs to reach. 

 

There are so many ways that we can share the love of Christ to those around us. Even when we are separated. 

 

How will you spread the fragrance of Christ to those around you?

 

  • Ask a grocery clerk how they are doing
  • Talk to your neighbors and find out if they need any necessities or prayer
  • Create a way to have face time with some of your friends
  • Write a letter or send a text to family members 
  • When your out shopping, look for ways to let someone have an item that maybe you were looking for too 

 

Be encouraged, strong and courageous! This is a unique time for Christians to put to practice all that we have been taught so that we can reap the harvest for God! 

 Deborah Lee



2 Corinthians 1

Scripture

2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭‬‬

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this epistle, Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. Paul has been put through the “ringer” in life. So many times as he has gone place to place, sharing the gospel of Jesus, and has ran into opposition. From physical attacks against his body, to attacks against his character, Paul has suffered dearly. But as Paul writes this epistle to the church in Corinth, he finds God’s purpose in his sufferings. Paul understands that God is always there throughout his sufferings. He knows that God brings him comfort during those times. Paul knows that it is through that comfort from God, that he can bring that same comfort to others who are suffering as well. And from this, all will experience God’s love, comfort, and answer to prayers that will ultimately bring glory to God our Father!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Finding God’s purpose during difficult times.
 
You ever wonder “why me God?!” Whether it is dealing with the death of a loved one, experiencing a grim health notice from your doctor, or even maybe experiencing financial difficulties. The truth of the matter is that God has a purpose for it all. But have we ever truly took the time to think about what that purpose is? I know the Apostle Paul has. Paul knew that the more he suffered in Christ, the more he would experience God’s comfort as well. He knew that others he came in contact with may have experienced similar sufferings in life, and that he may share with them that same comfort he experienced from God. It’s like a person who lost a loved one. Who better to bring comfort to that person than another person who experienced that same problem, and overcame that sorrow through the comfort of God? If anyone knows what that person is experiencing it would be him/her right? The bottom line is God has a purpose for everything in life. He shares with us the good times in life, but especially the bad times. His purpose is to make us grow, to be stronger in our faith, and to be more like His Son Jesus. And to be more like Jesus, we need to be more loving, compassionate, forgiving, and be able to bring comfort to those in need. So remember whenever those tough times hit us, God has a purpose behind it all. He wants the world to know Him. He wants the world to be able to experience His unfailing love, grace, and mercy He has for all who believe. So next time trouble hits, instead of asking “why me God?”, say “why not me?” Just know that God will give us the strength we need when we need it.💪🏽😊
 
“So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.”
 
2 Timothy‬ ‭2:10‬
 
Life Application
 
Being salt and light to the earth.
 
Like we learned this past Sunday, we as Christ Followers are change agents. We are called to be salt and lights to the earth. We should be illuminating God’s light/love to others. Or how Pastor Gary put it, we should be making an unseen God, seen. How do we do this? Through our actions and testimonies to others. What better time to do it than now? With the world living in fear and panicking over this Coronavirus, it is our time as Christians to shine bright. So while the world tells us we should be worried and scared, let us be the ones who bring peace and comfort. While the world fights in the lines at grocery stores, let us show love and grace. While the world hoards supplies, let us share with those in need. Let our lights shine so bright during these dark times so that all will see the glory of God.
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Corinthians 16

Scripture 

1 Corinthians 16:13-14

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
 

Observation-What does it say?

In this chapter, Paul addresses a few things. From verses 1-9, he’s talking about taking a collection for the poor in Jerusalem. In verses 10-12, he is commending Timothy and Apollos for their work and labor in the Lord. In verses 13-18, Paul is exhorting the church about being watchful in faith and love. Verses 19-24 are Paul’s final greetings. (Reference: Matthew Henry commentary on 1 Corinthians 16)

 

Understanding and Life Application

Please watch Pastor Gary’s video that he emailed the church family yesterday. It’s based on the above passage. In light of the current circumstances, there is not much more that I can add to it.

 
Here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/HztZrTITm58
 

Also, please worship Jesus in the midst of the fear and chaos surrounding us all. God continues to be good, unchanging, and with us through the storm. I love what Pastor’s wife DeLaine said at one of our worship nights. “The safest place to be is in the eye of the storm.” The eye is the calmest part of the storm.

Link to “See A Victory” by Elevation Worship: https://youtu.be/jEK6_rz26z0

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Isaiah_12 & Psalm_146

Scripture:

Isaiah 12:2, 5

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

Sing to the Lord for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Psalm 146:6

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—

He remains faithful forever.

Observation:

Both Isaiah 12 and Psalm 146 speak of confidence we can/should have in the Lord – as our strength, defense, salvation and forever faithful.

Understanding:

Circumstances have changed – worldwide – over the last few months. But our mission hasn’t changed. We are here to love, to serve and to make God known. Great news is that no matter the circumstances we serve an unchanging, consistent and faithful Father.

Life Application:

Keep calm and carry on.

Keep calm and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Keep calm and depend on Jesus.

Keep calm and trust in the Lord.

Keep calm and seek first the kingdom of God.

Keep calm and let God handle it.

…keep calm, God’s got this! <3 But do was those hands! 😉
 
Rei


Psalm 145

Scripture:  Psalm 145:17-21  The Lord is righteous in all His ways, And kind in all His deeds.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.  The Lord keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

 

Observation:  This Psalm, written by David, is titled as a song of praise.  Throughout this song, David uses the personal ‘I’ to declare his love for God, praising Him for His attributes and character: loving, forgiving, good and faithful, just and kind.  Of note in this song, is that it shows David taking action to place himself in a position of worship and humility. God’s goodness and patience is shown to those who place themselves in a posture of praise.  This is placed in contrast to those who choose wickedness, who will suffer death and separation from God.  

 

Understanding:  I recently read an essay regarding our actions of justice and mercy.  Generally, justice is understood as a punishment for wrongdoing. Whereas, mercy is understood as a remittance of that punishment.  The author of the essay, Matthew Myer Boulton, used the story of the Good Samaritan as a way to give an alternate definition of mercy.  

 

In the story, we are presented with the question of who our neighbors are.  We see the “insiders” of Jewish society acting in a way that is disobedient to God’s word, while seeing the “outsider,” who isn’t expected to hold up any part of Jewish law, acting in a way as to show love towards someone who, generally, would have treated him with contempt.  Boulton uses this act of love to display what mercy could be. “Rather than conceive “mercy” as the lenient remission of deserved punishment, this account invites us to conceive it as the practice of transgressive care, the humane and humanizing work of repair and reconciliation in human life.”

 

The Samaritan put himself in a position that honored God, even though he was not bound to any of God’s laws.  He acted in humility, and in doing so was offering praise to God. Much like David placed himself in a position of worship, realizing that he needed God and that in submitting to God he would find grace and mercy.  But, if David were to act wickedly, he would find himself receiving wrath from God instead. Many times throughout scripture, we are shown the things of God to be contrary to what we see in the world. Like when Jesus tells us “the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16).  A practical way to carry this out is by serving others before ourselves (Philippians 2:4-11). This helps to put us in the position of worship, where we will receive God’s goodness.  

 

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to look for ways I can serve others and place the needs of others before mine.  Especially in a time when people are in fear, help me to be gracious to others, help me to not get upset when all the toilet paper is gone, and trust that you will protect me when I am less than six feet away from others.  Help me to offer your peace to others when it would be easy to offer them impatience instead. Help me to be looking for my neighbor, so I can put myself in the position of worship.


-Tyler Galloway