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!
 

Acts__26

Scripture  

Acts 26:28-29  Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

Observation-What does it say?  

Paul is sitting before King Agrippa, as part of his appeals process.  He is slated to go to Rome, to be heard by the Cesar himself, but before he goes, Governor Festus and Agrippa want to hear his story.  Paul expounds on his life as a pharisee, his attack on Christians, and his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He goes on to tell them that, through his extensive knowledge of the scriptures, he could not deny that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.  As they were listening, they were trying decide what notification they were going to give to the Cesar as to why he is appealing his case.  Both Festus and Agrippa agree that the Jews have no case to hold Paul.  During Paul’s testimony, Agrippa is apparently deeply affected by  his words.

Understanding-What does it mean?  

We all know that one guy, whether it’s at work or just an acquaintance, who is totally committed to whatever he is doing for about six months to a year and then onto the next thing.  Whether it’s mountain biking, or surfing, or snow boarding, it’s all you ever hear about from that guy for a period of time.  He gets all the right gear, spends a ton of money, and apparently masters the skill.  And what’s worse, he gets you interested in it too.  And now you have a new snow board, boots, pants, jacket, helmet, glove, an industrial tuning station in your garage, and you can barely make your way down the bunny slope.  Before you know it, your buddy is onto a new sport and you have just spent your life savings on a sport that you don’t really like that much, but are too committed to quit.

Paul is like that guy, except he takes it to the end.  He never lost interest, or moved onto something else, leaving his friends in the wake of a bored hobby.  Paul is the epitome of a true believer.  He takes the cause to the end, knowing that there is more left to the story.  Paul has the innate sense that he is part of something much bigger than himself.  He has tapped into that source that we are all looking for, and found his purpose.  Like the other apostles, his sense of resolve will carry him to lengths that would be unimaginable to most.  

Life Application  

Jesus, I want to know you and experience you like Paul.  I know that this means I must commit myself to taking the time to come to you and to hear your voice.  I must listen through constant time in your word and prayer.  Help me to have the resolve to overcome my weaknesses and to place my trust in you. 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 19

Scripture  

Psalm 19:7-10 

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.  The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This psalm is another attributed to the man after God’s heart, King David.  The psalm is written in praise of the goodness of God’s law, which is pure and clean, bringing joy and wisdom, instruction and enlightenment to our souls.  David highlights the seemingly contrasting nature of God and his wisdom, to the world’s view of wisdom and knowledge.  The simple, or childlike, are made wise.  Rules and discipline are not intended to hinder, but to bring joy.  David had the same view of God’s words, which was later expressed by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I had lunch with an old friend recently, someone who I have been close with for more than half my life.  He’s one of my closest friends, whom I can trust to be both good company and wise counsel, even when we go through times that our schedules prevent us from getting together.  As we caught up over a bike ride and lunch, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated and excited about life.  I was able to gain perspective on the problems that I was having and we could rejoice over the good things going on in our lives.  Almost anytime I get to spend time with old friends, I am surprised at the feeling of refreshing I get.  Proverbs 25:13 says these words are like a drink of cool water, “Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

 

If the word of a friend is so refreshing, how much more so are the words of our creator?  God’s words and laws bring us the life and fulfillment we are looking for.  But, when we go through times that are trying and grow our faith, what do we fall back on?  If we fall back on the word of God, we will be refreshed and find life.  How do you know God’s words unless we read them?  When we read and remember His words, then we can fall back on them.  

 

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 

Life Application 

Jesus help me to remember your words more readily.  Words like those spoken through Paul, when he reminded us we can do all things through Your strength (Philippians 4:13), and that you work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28).  Help me to spread the refreshing of Your words with my family and friends.  Fill me with joy to sing of Your kindness and mercy.

-Tyler Galloway   





1 Thessalonians__5

Scripture – What stood out?

1 Thessalonians 5

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

The apostle Paul having founded the church in Thessalonica continues to instruct them from afar in this letter. 

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

It has been a rough month of fasting to start off 2021. Which is odd considering 2019 and 2020 were amazing months of fasting. I think it’s safe to say I limped out of 2020 and I limped into 2021 lacking the impetus that I had had in the previous 2 years. And so it goes without saying that I am glad that every Wednesday night and every Sunday morning I have had the opportunity to engage in something that points me back to God. Over the past few years as I have observed the pastoral team and the church staff I am amazed at the level of energy and consistency everyone brings to their position on such a consistent basis. (I will admit I that if I ever transition into full time ministry I will mourn the loss of my sick days.)

I have had the opportunity over the past several year to see a lot of the behind the scenes work that goes into moving Jesus’s mission forward. I have seen a lot of the sacrifices that are made to move the mission forward. The above verse is a good reminder. In my times of spiritual weakness I have turned to various leaders within our church to keep my grounded. I can turn on worship Wednesday and Sunday morning service without fail. I can reach out to elders and request prayer whenever I need it and I know it will be done. The list goes on and on. 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

On day 25 in pastor and author Gary Khan’s devotional Reset, he asks us to reflect on who God has “placed over us in the Lord”. To reflect on some of those names and reach out and encourage, possibly even treat to dinner (deliver food for them> then request the person zoom you as they eat their food). When I am down and out spiritually and sometimes even emotionally these are the people I turn to. They work tirelessly in the background making sacrifices that most of us will never know about. They have taken our spiritual growth and placed it squarely on their shoulders. And as they strive towards deeper relationship with God, they take us along for the ride as well. Today I will bless those who work so hard to bless everyone else around them.

 



Matthew____28

Scripture

Matthew 28: 18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority on heaven and on earth have been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
 

Observation

After Jesus rose from the grave and made Himself known to Bis disciples and close follower He assigns them a very important mission. Jesus’ last commands to His followers are these verses above, we know them today has the Great Command or the Great Commission. He seems to save His very most command or mission for last, as after this He ascends into heaven.
 

Understanding

I know it has been a while since we’ve been in the actual building of church, but let me put a little throwback in here. When I was first old enough to go to “adult church” (I was like 12 or 13) I remember at the end of each sermon we would have to get up and recite the Great Commission verses. These verses became engrained in my head, and my heart for that matter. Here’s the deal, not only were they important to us (as they are church’s foundational verses, other than Isaiah 43:19), but they obviously are very important to Jesus and His followers! If we break these verses down, here’s what we can glean:

“Therefore go…”: this is a command! Meaning it is not optional or if you feel like it. Being a follower of Christ is not a sideline sport, we are called to go and minister to others. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant mission trip either, we can start in our own family, workplace, grocery store, gym, etc. The main objective is to GO, and not keep the Good News to ourself.

“Make disciples… teaching them to obey…”: Making disciples doesn’t mean you have a bunch of groupies following you around like Jesus did. Making disciples is as sharing the Good News and then keeping that person accountable in their walk with God. Now obviously everyone’s journey is different and discipling someone also requires teaching them the foundation of what Jesus laid out for u sin HIs life. The great part about teaching is that you learn along the way too (I think that part is pretty great)!

“And surely I am with you always…”: Now all of this seems pretty daunting, but Jesus reminds us that we are never forsaken. He is always with us, that’s right always! Even when we don’t see or understand the will of God, He works it together for those who trust Him and obey His commands. And this command in the verses above are pretty important.
 

Life Application

Another throwback from church in a building was P.I.I. cards. The acronym was as follows: Pray, Invest, Invite. The goal was to have a list of about three people that we were continually praying for, and investing in little ways. Then when the opportunity came we would invite them to church. I think the P.I.I. cards and the Great Commission work in tandem together. So take some time to revisit or create your own P.I.I. card if you forgot or haven’t already. Jesus gave us an important mission and I don’t want to let Him down.

-Allison Khan


Psalm_16

Scripture

Psalms 16:1-2, 7-8 NIV

“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

This Psalm was written by King David and my Bible says it is a miktam, which defined is “a literary or musical term,” so basically, this is one of his poems or songs.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Take refuge in the Lord.

I love King David’s humble heart. He acknowledges that apart from God, He has “no good thing.” He receives His counsel from God, keeps His eyes on Him and continues to be stable and secure regardless of what is going on around him, because the Lord is on His side.

 

Life Application

We are called to pray for our leaders and government, but they were never meant to replace our faith and security in the Lord. The only “savior” of the people is our One True Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Just like King David says in this Psalm, let us keep our eyes ALWAYS on the Lord. If we keep our eyes on Him, no matter what is going on around us or what unlikely circumstances we find ourselves in, we will continue to remain stable and secure, unable to be shaken. Thank you Lord!

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 15

Scripture 

Psalm 15:1 

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?”

 

Observation-What does it say?

King David writes this Psalm and lists the characteristics of people who can dwell in God’s sacred tent and holy mountain.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is concerned with our character, more than He is with our outward appearance.

If you look at the list in this Psalm (blameless, righteous, truthful, not slanderous, no wrong done to a neighbor, honors and fears the Lord, keeps oath even when it hurts, lends money to poor, etc.), there is nothing in this list that talks about outward appearance such as how beautiful/handsome someone is, what type of clothes are worn, the amount of money they make, education, how big their house is, type of car they drive, their profession, how many followers they have on social media, etc. It all has to do with the person’s character and integrity.

It is fitting that King David wrote this Psalm because God didn’t chose him based on his outward appearance either. For those who don’t know King David’s story, he was the youngest son tending sheep, while his older brothers “looked” more qualified than he did to be king. However, God still chose David because of his heart, not outward appearance.  This is what the Lord told Samuel (who was sent to anoint David as king):  

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

 

Life Application

Invest time in being a person of Godly character and integrity and be willing to go through trials with the Lord, which is how character is refined. (James 1)

Instead of trying to impress and prove ourselves to the world and people who don’t really truly care about us, why don’t we live our lives trying to impress the One who truly matters? The One who will always be there even if everything was taken away. The One who holds eternity in His hands and not only sees, rewards and will judge things done in public, but things done in private as well. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 14

Scripture

Psalm 14:5-7

5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

    for God is present in the company of the righteous.

6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,

    but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!

    When the Lord restores his people,

    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

–       New International Version

 

5 Terror will grip them,

    for God is with those who obey him.

6 The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,

    but the Lord will protect his people.

7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?

    When the Lord restores his people,

    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

–       New Living Translation

 

Observation-What does it say?

Although it’s unconfirmed exactly what Saul was facing when this Psalm was written, it’s clear he felt oppressed and/or opposed by unbelievers.   

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The message is clear…

–       God is with those who obey Him

–       The Lord will protect His people

–       The Lord restores His people

And the third (verse 7) is my favorite…

7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?

    When the Lord restores his people,

    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

It’s not a matter of if God will restore, but when; and we are reminded throughout Psalms that we serve a God who restores, who draws near, who heals, who rescues.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  – Psalm 34:18

The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.  – Psalm 41:3

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.  – Psalm 53:6

And, if we believe that our God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever more, then it’s safe to say, we still serve a God of restoration today. 

 

Life Application

God is the great restorer.

Restorer of relationships, hearts, people. 

Restoration can take many looks – healing, the righting of wrongs, forgiveness, being made whole, providing peace – all of which we need today.

May we cry out like David for the restoration we desire and need today – in our families, in our nation, in the hearts of those we love.

-Rei Bailey



Psalm_13

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 13:5

But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This psalm begins with these words in verse 1 “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” And it sets this despondent depressed tone for much of this 6 verse psalm until in verse 5 David changes course and takes a firm leap of faith – and trusts in God’s unfailing love.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I had a moment last week though that triggered in my memory as I read verse 5. I had just finished royally screwing up my part during a live-stream sunday service, so I’m beating myself up and  as I finished apologizing to my pastor, I stepped outside and was greeted by the most glorious breeze of my life. I stood there just trying my best to absorb and feel every bit of gentle wind on my face and body. And I remember taking a breath and just appreciating God. And I just knew things were going to be okay.

 

I still offered my pastor to exchange interns later on that week but much of the sting of my failure was gone and (it didn’t hurt that my pastor adamantly refused such an exchange!).

 

What a difference it makes once we shift in God’s direction. The pastors at desert streams church are constantly talking about our posture towards God. What position are you in? Are you ready to receive all that God is trying to offer you? How are you positioning yourself in relation to God?

 

I believe that king David begins this psalm filled with melancholy and doubt. By verse 5 however he has found his breath of fresh air and he changes his spiritual course, his attitude, his position, his posture. He resolves to trust in God’s unfailing love. 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

 

Day 18 in pastor and author Gary Khan’s devotional Reset asks us to head to city hall with a few fellow believers and pray for our administrators. He even suggests to write to our city’s mayor with encouraging life giving words. I already know how mine will begin, “You are a democrat and I am a christian. We live in the same city and for some reason God has chosen to put you in a leadership position over me. Why I am not sure. But of this I am – God’s love for you and myself is unfailing….”

 

May i finish that letter today Lord. And may my words to our city’s leadership be like you were for me just over a week ago, a breath of fresh air. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen. -kenneth lee

 



Psalm 12

Scripture

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.”  

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, David cries out to God for help. David is living in a shattered world where the righteous and faithful are quickly disappearing. The wicked seem to be flourishing and walking around thinking that they are untouchable. But David knows that God sees all. David knows justice will be served. David is standing firm on the promises of God.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Stand on the promises of God.
 
Have you ever felt like David? Have you ever been so discouraged with your life and the world around you? Have you ever felt as though God is letting the unruly rule? I know I have. But like David, I choose to find encouragement in God and His Word. Like verse 6 in this morning’s passage says, “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.” But what are some of God’s promises?
 
Here are a few promises of God I know of:
 
•He will be with you.
•He will protect you.
•He will be your strength.
•He will provide your every need.
•He will give you peace.
•He will love you unconditionally.
 
There are hundreds, if not thousands of promises found in the Bible. And if you’re like me, (or David here), and trust and believe that God’s promises are pure, you are sure to find strength and encouragement in them.
 
Life Application
 
Seek and you will find.
 
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”-Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NLT
‭‭ 
We worship the God of the universe. He is faithful and just. His promises never fail. Will you choose to stand on His promises when times are tough? I encourage us all to dive into His Word daily, seek His promises, and see just how faithful our God is.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_11

Scripture

Psalm 11:1-7 NLT

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in His holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see His face.”

Observation-What does it say?

In this psalm of David, David reiterates Who he finds refuge in (The Lord Almighty). As chaos and disorder begin to surround David, his counselors urge him to flee. But David stands firm. David knows that God is his protector, and that God is in control. David knows that he serves a God of truth and justice…and despises those who love evil. David understands the wrath of fire and brimstone that awaits the wicked. So David remains steadfast in his faith. David will fight his battles with the Lord God Almighty leading the way.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is in control.

You ever hear people ask the question, “How can God let this bad stuff happen in the world?!” It is even a question we as Christians can find ourselves asking. We as a people have managed to think that we know better than God!..that we can manage this world ourselves! Now where did that leave us?! Just turn on your local news or go on social media. I’m sure it won’t take long for us to see.

But there is good news. God is STILL in control. Even with all the evil in this world, God is in control. He is at the throne of Heaven, observing our every action, hearing our every thought and prayer. God is waiting on us. Are we as a nation ready to turn back to Him? Are we as Christ Followers ready to stand in the gap, and pray on behalf of this nation? I encourage you to trust God (the way David did). See what God can do through all of this. We serve a God of order and justice. Let Him lead our way!

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14 

Life Application

Pray for our nation and its leaders.

Father God, I pray for our nation today. I pray for our leaders. I pray that You may instill them with wisdom on how to lead the people in a way that pleases You, especially during this season. Forgive us God for thinking we know what’s better for us. Forgive us Lord for turning our backs on You. Lord God Almighty, You are in control. Help us trust in You and Your ways once again. Heal our nation Lord. Restore this nation to make us whole again. Make us one nation, under God, (under Your reign and protection Lord). We give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi