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!
 

Revelation 1

Scripture  Revelation 1:17-18  When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,  and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 

Observation-What does it say?  The traditional view of the author of this book is the apostle John, son of Zebedee.  Though some made an argument for another, the evidence seems to support the apostle as the author.  The book is written in a time preceding a great persecution of Christians by Rome, possibly under the leadership of Nero.  Because of the increasing persecution, some in the church were advocating for a compromise of their values and accepting the practice of emperor worship, as was common in Rome at the time.  This attitude of compromise needed to be routed out before the faith of the believers is undermined in hard times.  
In the first chapter, we see the introduction of how the book was inspired.  John, who is in exile on the island of Patmos, is in worship on “the Lord’s day.”  During his time of worship, God reveals this message to him. In the opening John shares the image of Jesus.  Seeing Jesus had a great affect on John, and he loses control of himself.

Understanding-What does it mean?  On a few different occasions, I have had the opportunity to meet different people of fame.  Every time, even though I know they put their pants on just like I do, I get a little weird.  I get a little nervous, start sweating on my hands, and then I can’t think of what to say. One time, a large production company came to film a major motion picture at the building where I worked and I acted as “security” for the day.  As part of the circus, there was a really big name actor. One of my female co-workers was walking through the building when she saw “Jake.” She later told me how their eyes locked as they passed each other in the hallway. Her heart started beating faster, she lost her breath, and she felt as though she was looking in the “eyes of an angel.”  A few hours later, I had the opportunity to have a brief conversation with “Jake.” I found out he was very paranoid, and rather odd, and all the amazement of what my friend told me faded away in a second. “Jake” was revealed as just another guy.
So it’s understandable that John, upon meeting the creator of the universe, fell down “like a dead man.”  This is a model worth following. Entering the presence of God in fear and trembling. It pains me to say, I often come to God, not as the creator of the universe, nor as the saviour of my soul, but more like a waiter or a cook.  I ask for things as though I deserve them, not considering my reality, that I am a sinner in need of saving. Multiple times through scripture, we are reminded of how great God is, and how we are only made clean through His sacrifice.  We are given the image of the burning bush (Exodus 3). In Isaiah 6 we see a vision God on his throne, and the angels singing “Holy, holy, holy.” Time and time again we see those who encounter the living God, and how they respond with complete awe and we ought to follow their lead.

Life Application  Jesus forgive me for not entering into your presence with reverence.  Help me to know that you are the only one worthy of my praise. Thank you for your sacrifice.    
 
-Tyler Galloway  


Jude 1

Scripture 

Jude 1:24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Observation 

Jude, a person bound in service without wages to Jesus Christ, and brother of James, a brother of Jesus, 

Encourages the church to persevere. 

Understanding 

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling – He is able to keep us grounded, able to stand firm in our faith and withstand the enemy

and to present you before his glorious presence without fault – we will stand in His amazing presence WITHOUT sin! Blameless! He will only see righteousness and holiness. 

and with great joy— with the most incredible, exhilarating laughter, jumping, clapping, shouting,  that comes from deep within us, beyond happiness!

to the only God – the creator of the universe! The One who always existed, all powerful, all knowing, all everywhere, One and Only God! 

our Savior, – our help in time of our need and in our darkest hour, our redeemer, our restorer, He saves us! 

be glory,-  we honor you, you are  magnificent, famous in all the earth, there is no one that compares to your splendor. 

majesty,- You are King of Kings, Lord of Lords, ruler of the entire universe and all creation! 

power – who is more powerful than you, at the sound of your voice you commanded creation to appear! You resurrected your son and conquered death forever! 

and authority, – all heaven and in earth are at your command! 

through Jesus Christ our Lord, – We are able to stand in His presence because of His son Jesus Christ, whom he had in his mind to send for us while in the Garden of Eden. He laid down his life for us, to be reconciled and redeemed to our Father in heaven. 

before all ages, – God the father, the creator, the source of all life, always existed before time 

now – in our present time, in real time, in our midst, every morning 

and forevermore! – and he will continue to exist tomorrow, one thousand years from now, one million years from now, from one millennium to the next and all eternity! 

Amen. – Yes!!! It is true !!! 

Application 

Now… Let’s say it again! 

To him who is able to keep me from stumbling

and to present me before his glorious presence

without fault and with great joy— 

to the only God my Savior

be glory,

majesty,

power

and authority,

through Jesus Christ my Lord,

before all ages,

now and forevermore! 

Amen.
 
-Deborah Lee


Settling for Half a Miracle

Pastor Levi shared beautifully on Sunday about the 10 lepers who were cleansed and of only one who returned and thanked Jesus.  As I was reading it during the sermon I was struck by something I had not seen before. When the one returned worshipping and praising God, Jesus said something to him that I had not really seen before, He said, “Stand up and go, your faith has made you well.”  Wait, I thought that he was already healed?  So how come Jesus is telling him now that his faith has made him well?  
 
I looked up the phrase “made you well” and the translation is “your faith has saved you from sin.”  This man alone, out of the ten who were cleansed of the outside infirmity of leprosy, received the complete healing – the second and more important miracle – salvation from sin.  
 
I am struck by how it parallels so many today who see Jesus as what He can do for them on the superficial level – heal my body, provide finances, bail me out of a mess – but as soon as He has done those things they are gone again and have no desire for true relationship with Him.  They don’t want to worship Him or get to know Him deeply and personally and it grieves His heart.  And God’s heart is grieved not for His sake but because He is so sad at what they are truly giving up.  They settle for a part when they could have it all.  Which of us would take $5.00 if we were offered $50,000,000?  Yet so many of us are doing that when we reject relationship with Jesus and want only what He can give us to make like here on earth more “enjoyable.”  
 
Come to Jesus and seek Him more than for what He can give us in this world.  Pursue relationship with Him – that is where the real miracles occur.


3 John_1

Scripture

3 John 1:5

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.
 

Observation

John the apostle continues to offer encouragement to many different people. This time he gives encouragement to Gaius by letting him know that his struggles he is facing for others is worth it, and to therefore stay diligent and strong. He even later refers to these “strangers” as friends near the end of the passage, as if encouraging Gaius to get to know the ones he is in ministry with.
 

Understanding

Be patient and steadfast, God places you in a specific place for a reason.

I recently had a conversation with a good friend of mine that really got me thinking. It went a little like this:

“We’ve known each other for a long time now…” *awkward silence on my end as I tried to figure out where she was going with it* She continued despite my silence, “It’s just that in all the time I’ve known you, I feel like I have changed a lot, and you… well you haven’t changed at all.”

“Well, do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?” I questioned.

Then she hit me with something that kinda stung, she replied with: “I feel I know everything I need to know about you, but you don’t know the ‘new me’ at all, I’m practically a stranger to you.”

How could one of my best friends change that much in the span of maybe 1.5 years to the point that she was past my recognition? How could I be so unprogressive that time stood still for me and my personality?

Honestly, I viewed unchanging as a bad thing, I saw myself as boring and unenthusiastic. Then I read “you are faithful in what you are doing… even though they are strangers to you.” Yes, I haven’t changed one bit, except I’ve grown in things unseen. My root system has dug deeper into the earth and where my friend didn’t see growth, God saw faithfulness. I was reminded by this passage that I am not done with her or others in my life yet, even if they have become complete strangers to me.

God hasn’t placed us in a certain place by accident or coincidence, He did it with a certain assignment in mind for us. Trust me, I know that sometimes it seems like our prayers or words to certain people aren’t getting through, but I promise God celebrates and rewards those who remain in Him. He even says that if we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit (John 15:5), meaning we can’t fail! So be patient!
 

Life Application

Stay connected to the source that gives you continuous strength. Develop a system that cannot be uprooted.

As Michelle said yesterday, when we cannot recognize false doctrine if we do not know the Truth of God’s Word. In this sense, we cannot understand who we are in Christ or are worth if we do not stay connected to the source that provides an assurance to who we are. Keep moving forward, invest in people even they don’t reciprocate it all the time. A practical way we do this at DSC is our PII cards. Be in a constant state of

Praying for a few people that you would like to see come to know Christ.

Investing in their lives with acts of kindness.

Inviting them to church or church events (like the Family BBQ).

God rewards our faithfulness, but only if we are steadfast enough to remain in Him and His people.

-Allison Khan



2 John 1

Scripture
 

2 John 1:5-6 NIV

“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”
 

Observation-What does it say?

Encouragement was given by John to a “chosen lady and her children” to walk in love. The definition of walking in love from the passage was to be in obedience to God’s commands. Being in obedience to His commands also meant watching out for those who were teaching false doctrines. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Love is walking in obedience to His commands according to His Word.
 
Everything we do as Christ followers needs to be driven by the truth of His Word. There are a lot of false teachings/doctrines about who Christ is and what love is. According to this chapter, some false teachings were that Christ only rose as spirit, but not in physical body. If matched up against Scripture, this is false. 
 
There is also a lot of false teachings about love. Love is portrayed in the media and the world (and has also creeped into our churches) as a butterflies in your stomach, happiness, heart racing, can’t live without the other person feeling, but Scripture says otherwise. If love was a feeling, how would we be able to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43-48)? If love was a feeling, how would we be able to forgive (Col. 3:13)? According to Scripture, love is an action and a choice (1 Cor. 13). Love is also discipline (Hebrews 12:4-13).
 
Life Application
 
Read His Word daily and Apply it.
 
We cannot recognize false doctrine if we do not know the Truth of God’s Word. The enemy is great at deceiving us through well meaning resources such as Christian books and literature, and well meaning religions that teach about Jesus Christ and even claim to be Christian, but are not. Even some worship songs have an “all about me” tune to it and teach false doctrine. Other ways the enemy deceives is through our own feelings and emotions, where we compromise our integrity and the Truth of God’s Word because we are “in love.” Our feelings and emotions can also have the opposite effect where we are so angry with someone that we are unable to forgive them from our heart, which Scripture teaches.
 
The best way to recognize the counterfeit lies is to be so familiar with His Truth found in His Word, that we don’t know otherwise. That’s also how we recognize His voice/the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us. 
 
Dear Lord, I pray that You would give us the desire to make it a daily discipline to be so familiar with Your Word and Your voice of Truth that we wouldn’t know otherwise. Please protect us from the deception of the evil one and help us to seek and run hard after You alone. Amen.
 
Resource: gotquestions.org
 

-Michelle Gaddi



Nehemiah 2

Scripture

Nehemiah 2:4-5

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” 

Observation

As a reminder, Nehemiah is in a key position in the kingdom – a cupbearer, the person who tests the wine before the king drinks it to ensure he is not poisoned. In this position, one acts as a protector, servant and advisor…someone who gains trust from the king.

He is in a position where he is found in the king’s presence often, often enough that the king noticed that Nehemiah was sad and asks why.

Understanding

Nehemiah was ready.

When asked the question, “what is it you want?” Nehemiah was ready.  He had prayed (for 4 months), he had thought through what was needed (time, safety, supplies) and he gave clear answers on what he wanted – how much time he needed, letters to secure safety and supplies, and army officers and cavalry to go with him as he traveled.

Nehemiah was honest.

When asked why he was sad, Nehemiah was honest.  He shared that his sadness was sorrow of heart and he shared why – gaining sympathy before revealing the name of the city.  And his ask was big – time and resources to rebuild a city!

Nehemiah was obedient. 

Nehemiah was obedient to God and the king.  He didn’t ask for more than he needed, didn’t take advantage of the situation and we later learn (Chapter 6) just how dedicated he was, not allowing any distractions to keep him from “doing a good work.”

Life Application

Would you be ready if someone asked you today, “what is it you want?” 
 
We serve a God who loves us and knows us well, a God who knows what burdens our hearts, a God that created us for a time, place and purpose.  And, because of all this, we find ourselves in times of His favor, just like Nehemiah.  In those times, we must be ready, honest and obedient.   
 
God, I thank you for the favor you’ve shown me thus far.  I know you’ve created me with a plan and purpose and have put me in positions of leadership over and over again…whether for a reason or for a season.  May I never forget that, but rather seek your face for how you want to use me here and now.  May I prepare in prayer for future opportunities, may I speak up honestly when given the opportunity and may I follow through in bold obedience when favor is given. 

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

-Rei Bailey

PS I think I found a new commentary that I love. 🙂  See the whole break down of Nehemiah 2 here ->

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/nehemiah-2/



1 John_4

Scripture  1 John 4:19-21   We love, because He first loved us.  If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Observation-What does it say?  The way we describe love, in sentimentality and romantic love, often falls short of the love we are called to through God’s word.  God’s love is infinite and is always good, and so we ought to try to reverberate this to those around us. In his commentary, John Clavin writes, “that as God has anticipated us by his free love, we ought to return to render love to him, for he immediately infers that he ought to be loved in men, or that the love we have for him ought to be manifested towards men.”  The love of the Father is through faith, while the love of men is evidenced through works. This echoes what is written in James (2:14-25), that we show our faith through our works.

Understanding-What does it mean?  Getting into an automobile and driving to work is, often times for me, an exercise in my faith.  Driving is a dangerous pursuit, especially in Southern California at commuting times. With the amount of time I am almost killed, I begin to wonder if I am the only one who knows how to drive.  And, there have been times when I feel it is important enough to tell the person who almost killed me that they don’t know how to drive. So, while driving, I am reminded of how well I love others.  More accurately, I am reminded of how I am completely inept at loving those around me.   

God often speaks to me while driving, especially in one area where I am lacking in showing His love to others, forgiveness.  As I start to yell at the person in front of me, I hear the Holy Spirit say, “What about the last time you did that?” My reaction to this has ranged greatly, from being upset that Jesus wants me to forgive others, to being grateful for how much I have been forgiven.  

Most nights, we pray the Lord’s prayer with our boys as they are going to bed.  Part of that prayer is “forgive our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”  Interestingly enough, this prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-7:29). The beginning of this message Jesus tells us where it all begins, we are saved through his grace.  In Matthew 5:13-16, we are reminded to be the salt of the earth, and that salt is worthless once it has lost its saltiness.  

How can we show our flavor (our faith and character), without acting it out?  How can we love without loving others, and forgiving them of the wrongs they have done to us?  Thankfully, because of the grace shown to us, we are able to go on loving others.

Life Application    Jesus, thank you for your grace.  Thank you that even when I fall short of your standard of love you forgive me.  Help me to live out this forgiveness, to show kindness to others. Give me practical ways to show love to others beyond forgiveness.
 
-Tyler Galloway


1 John _3

Scripture 

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Christian charity stands not in word but in deed, and proceeds from a sincere affection. (Geneva Study Bible)

Observation

John is speaking of our adoption into the family of God through Christ Jesus. He exhorts us to love as the Father and his Son have loved us. 

Understanding

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

“Showing” someone love always takes more time and usually sacrifice.

Application

Show our love to one another 

Laying down your life for our brothers and sisters might look like, not watching your favorite show so that you help them move, not purchasing a new toy for yourself this month so that you can meet a need, or staying a few minutes longer to talk after church.  

It may look like giving someone your sweater when its cold, or taking them to lunch, or praying together. 

How wonderful it is that we have a community of brothers and sisters that we belong to here at Desert Streams Church where we can give and receive love from one another. 

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King.











Psalm 51

Scripture

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

Psalm 51:17 NIV

Observation-What does it say?

Psalm 51 is a very powerful one, as King David wrote it after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for committing adultery with Bathsheba. Please read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 for the full exchange between those two men. It basically led to David being convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and Nathan assuring David that his sin has been put away. He will not die.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Do our mistakes lead us to Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow?

Godly sorrow leads us to repentance, true inward change of the heart. Worldly sorrow is sorrow that doesn’t lead to inward heart change because it is a momentary sorrow. It is typically a result of getting caught and not wanting to deal with the consequences of our sin. 

King David’s Psalm demonstrates true godly sorrow and repentance from his heart. Also, the consequences of his sin led to him to draw closer to the Lord, not further away. 

Life Application

Repent and be healed! Move on!  Go and sin no more, just like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

As Bible.org states, “The tragic death of David’s son is a consequence of David’s sin, but it is NOT the penalty David deserves for his sin.”

There are consequences to sin. David and Bathsheba suffered the consequence of their sin, which was that they lost their son conceived as a result of their affair. However, King David’s response to that was quite humble. (Please see 2 Samuel 12:14-21).

Too many of us, after suffering the consequences of our sin, don’t move on. Consequences are meant to teach us, just like a parent who disciplines their child. However, it should train us to be stronger and better, not continue in the same unhealthy sinful cycle. David had his son by Bathsheba taken away as a consequence of his sin. Did he keep mourning after that? No. He moved on. 

Jesus came, died and resurrected to set us free to the guilt of our past. Let’s truly live that out! The enemy no longer has a hold on us and his lies no longer have to keep us in bondage. We are conquerors because of Jesus, who is the reason why we no longer have to live defeated, but live grateful and victorious everyday! 

Thank You Jesus for You, the most precious gift we could ever ask for. Amen! 

-Michelle Gaddi



1 John__1

Scripture
 

1 John‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 

Observation-What does it say?
 

John writes in this epistle (aka letter or message), that light and darkness do not mix. We cannot claim to live in Christ, while still living in the darkness. But then, he goes on to say that those who claim to be without sin have deceived themselves. Living in the light is impossible without dependence and surrender to the One who gives light, and that is Jesus Christ our Savior. 

UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
A self righteous attitude leads us away from Christ, rather than towards Him.
 
I like to let God’s Word speak for itself.  I am reminded of 2 passages to support the above understanding.  The first one is in Luke 18:9-14.  To paraphrase, Jesus was addressing the crowd, specifically those who were confident of their own righteousness and looking down on everyone else. it is about a Pharisee and a tax collector. The first one was self righteous, thanking God that he was not like the other sinners over there, because he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of his wages.  The other man beat his breast and would not even look to heaven, asking God for mercy because he was a sinner.  Scripture says the one who was justified before God in this situation was the tax collector. 
 
The second passage I am reminded of is Matthew 19:16-26, where a man felt that it was his good works that would get him to heaven, and even told Jesus that He has kept all the commandments, and asked Him what he lacked.  Jesus knew the man’s heart and told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor.  The man ended up leaving sad because that was a sacrifice he couldn’t make.But then I love what Jesus told his disciples afterwards, when they asked him, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
 
Life Application
 

The only way to stand firm in our faith; to stand firm in our calling and stand firm when the devil attacks is to remain in the One who is unchanging and stands firm forever. Jesus Christ our Savior. 

I woke up one morning and the Lord gave me 2 words: STAND FIRM. I started doing a study in His Word looking for all the verses and passages where the word “stand” or “stand firm” is mentioned in Scripture. He was speaking to me personally to stand firm in the faith, stand firm when attacked by the enemy, stand firm in His Word, and stand firm in His work. After a day (or less) of feeling good about myself and trying to stand firm in my own strength, I admit that I started getting discouraged, telling the Lord that I was not strong enough and too weak to do what He was calling me to do. Then He brought me to this Scripture to remind me that it is only He who is able to stand firm. It is only His word that endures forever and as long as I stay connected, humbled and surrendered to Him and His Word, I will be able to stand firm. It is impossible without Him. 

“A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures (STANDS) forever.”” Isaiah‬ ‭40:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, I pray that we would all stand firm in being humbled and surrendered to You. May you take away all traces of self righteous pride in our hearts and may we be fully dependent on Your strength and righteousness alone. Teach us to live in the light as You are in the light and when darkness tries to overtake us or trap us, may we run to You for refuge. Purify our hearts Jesus and help us to repent and turn from our wicked ways for Your glory alone, so men would see our good deeds and glorify You (Matt. 5:16, 1 Peter 2:12). Amen.

 
-Michelle Gaddi