Bible Reading Plan
bible

Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

1 Thessalonians 3

Scripture:  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13  and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

Observation-What does it say?  Thessalonica is in the northern part of Greece.  It was a port city on the Aegean Sea, and was part of the trade route that went to present day Istanbul.  The church was founded by Paul, who spent a few weeks there after leaving Phillipi.  After he left, the Thessalonians were facing persecution from the local Jews.  The Jews were upset at the rate the church was growing, and that they were making converts of those interested in Judaism.

The opening three chapters of this book are very personal to Paul.  He is concerned for the church much like a mother would be of her children.  He reminds them of his time there, as some of the persecution came in the form of name calling by the Jews.  He goes on to praise them for their continued faith, and expresses relief at the testimony of their love for one another.  He then tells them of his prayers for them.  To overflow with love for one another and for those who are not in the church.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the hardest things that we have done as parents, so far, is sending our children off to school.  During the first days and weeks of kindergarten, our nerves were about as heightened as they could be.  We worried about if they were ready, if they were going to survive without us, and about how they would behave.  It is like the first real evaluation of your parenting skills.  We were fortunate enough to have the same kindergarten teacher for our first two boys.  There is no way to express how proud I felt when we sat down for parent teacher conference the second time through.  She looked at Jen and I and said, “You are raising some good kids.”  My heart just about jumped out of my chest.  And that really is my hope, to raise boys who are well behaved, loving, and willing to serve others.  

Paul is similar in his relationship to the churches he planted.  He wanted them to continue in their faith more than anything else.  He wanted them to have a love that was abundant and overflowing.  Most of all, he wanted them to know the real saving grace of Jesus’s death on the cross.  He also wanted the same message to spread from them, not just stay in the little circle of people who had heard the message while he was there.

Paul had the same message for other churches as well.  In Galatians 6:8-10 he wrote, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Our behavior is sometimes overlooked in the process of sharing our testimony with the world.

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to be slow to anger, as this is most likely to be one of the ways I turn people away from you.  Help me to be better at listening, so I can more fully understand the struggles that others are going through.  Let me also be sparing in the words that I offer to others, so I won’t offer anything that is contrary to your word.   

-Tyler Galloway



1 Chronicles_5

Scripture 

1 Chronicles 5:18   …who were trained for battle. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20 They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him. 

22 and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s.

Observation 

“The two tribes and a half who occupied the province east of the Jordan were naturally regarded with hostility or jealousy by their Arab neighbours. Conflicts arose, having reference especially to the possession of the rich pasture-lands.” – Commentary studylight.org

And so… the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish,and Nodab.

Understanding 

The enemy can’t stand to see that we get to live in “rich pasture-lands” feeding on every word that comes from the LORD, being led by the great shepherd Jesus Christ.

We are always on the alert and ready with the full “armor of God” on so that when the enemy is scheming against us we can take our stand. 

And he does come against us. And we do get into battle with him. And when the battles seem too much we follow the example given in 1 Chronicles 5:19-22

God helped them

because they cried out to him 

He answered their prayers, 

because they trusted in him 

The enemy was defeated

because the battle was God’s

Application 

 Father! We need your help! There are battles we are fighting, we are armored up and using our weapons but still we need you! Help us with our finances, help us with our marriages, help our kids! Help us be people after your own heart! Help us with our relationships with our families! Help us! You know the needs of all of us at Desert Streams Church. We cannot be victorious without you! You are our shield and our salvation! We put all our trust in you, there is no other God! The battle is yours, we have the victory in you! In Jesus Name Amen! 

Deborah Lee


1 Thessalonians 1

Scripture
 
1 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:7-9‬
 
“As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul and Timothy are writing the church in Thessalonica. They are continuing to pray for them and encourage them. They hear nothing but good things about the church over there. How they received God’s message, repented against their sinful actions (worshipping idols), and are now sharing the word of the Lord everywhere they are going. They have become an example to all believers.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Be a man of action!
 
The Thessalonians received the Gospel, allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to transform them, repented from their sinfulness, and shared the good news with others. They were being great examples for others to follow. In verse 3 Paul and Timothy write about the Thessalonians’ faithful works, their loving deeds, and their enduring hope. In verse 8, Paul and Timothy write about the Thessalonians’ willingness to share the word of the Lord to people everywhere! You can just read how Paul and Timothy were so proud of the people they have now become. Their actions were showing others around them about their faith in Jesus Christ.
 
It’s what Pastor Gary taught this past Sunday, faith without works is dead-(James 2:17). We can say we are Christ Followers. We can tell people all day long we are Christians. But what good is it if our actions doesn’t show it?! Would anyone even want to follow you?
If I can’t see results/transformation from you, why should I listen to you? It’s like a personal trainer who tells you to live a certain way, and do certain things in life, but they don’t even practice what they preach. Why should I listen to them?! I want to follow someone who leads by example. A person who walks the walk, and talks the talk. The way Jesus (God in the flesh), came from the comforts of Heaven, to become a lowly man, and live amongst sinners. Jesus not only taught us how to live life, but He showed us how to live by being a great example Himself.
 
I want to be a man of action. I want my faith to produce actions which point others towards the One who paved the way for me. The One who gave it all…my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
 
Life Application
 
Make sure people can see my faith.
 
I pray that I live a life where people can see my faith. That people will see my selflessness, my love for others, my openness to praise God through the good and the bad times, and my obedience to His ways over my own. I pray to live a life where people can see my Father’s image, and His fingerprints in my life each and every day.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Colossians_4

Scripture

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Observation-What does it say?

The theme of Colossians is the overall sufficiency of Christ for salvation and sanctification (gotquestions.org). It’s very important to point this out as some of the encouragement/exhortations that Paul gives the church in Colosse may seem like it was work they were to do in their own strength. Actually it was a result of who they were in Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”1 John 1:6-7 NIV

Christ’s light in us should not result in a double life of being a Christian on Sunday, but living a worldly, of the flesh life during the week. Outsiders (unbelievers) are always watching us, the way we conduct ourselves, act towards them and speak with them. They should be asking us where the purpose of our hope lies, instead of asking us why we claim one thing, yet still walk in darkness, aka are hypocrites.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV

Life Application

Walk in and WITH the Light, not in the darkness.

The world has enough darkness of its own. It is desperate for the light of Christ and the light shines brightest in the darkness.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would shine Your light in us. I pray that through our love for each other, they will know we are Christians. I pray that because of the love You’ve given us for them in the way we act and speak, they will know we belong to You. I pray that Your love in us would draw them to You. Thank You Jesus that it is Your power working through us through Your Holy Spirit that enables us to be witnesses in this world. May Your Name be praised because of all the people You will choose to draw to yourself as a result of our faith, surrender and obedience to You. Amen.  

-Michelle Gaddi



Colossians_3

Scripture

Colossians 3:11-14

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Observation

Written by Paul while he was in prison, Colossians written to the church of Collossae.  Some interesting notes about Colossians…

“The church at Colossae was under attack from false teachers who were denigrating the deity of Jesus; they were teaching that He was not actually God. Though Paul had never been to the church itself, he addressed these issues head-on.  The nature of Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer was nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation. It was critical to him that this church know God in His greatness and glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers (Colossians 1:252:1–2).” https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/colossians

Colossians – along with other of “Paul’s epistles to various churches helped establish early Christian theology.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Colossians

Understanding

God calls us to unity.

It was a time where people were divided – Gentile vs. Jew, circumcised vs. uncircumcised, slave vs. free; but Paul called for unity among the differences – to look at the thing that bonded them – Christ – instead of all the things that separated them.  Because…Christ is all, and is in all.

Perhaps the dividers are slightly different today, but I believe the call is the same: unity in Christ.  And what does that unity look like?  Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love.

Life Application

May we look for things that bind us, rather than those that separate us.  May we seek to find common ground…or, where appropriate, create it!  May we live out the qualities that Paul called the church of Colossae to; may we show compassion and kindness, live with humility, speak with gentleness, act with patience, forgive and…GO LOVE ON SOMEBODY! <3

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



Colossians__2

Scripture  Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

Observation-What does it say?  Paul writes this letter to the church at Colossae, another city in modern day Turkey, while still in prison in Rome.  The letter was also intended to be read to the church in Laodicea.  Colossae’s population was primarily Gentile, however there was a large Jewish population, and therefore they struggled with problems arising from Jewish legalism and pagan mysticism.  “Colossians contains teaching on several key areas of theology, including the deity of Christ (1:15–20; 2:2–10), reconciliation (1:20–23), redemption (1:13, 14; 2:13, 14; 3:9–11), election (3:12), forgiveness (3:13), and the nature of the church (1:18, 24, 25; 2:19; 3:11, 15). Also, as noted above, it refutes the heretical teaching that threatened the Colossian church (chap. 2)” (John MacArthur).

Understanding-What does it mean?  I once worked with a man who told me, “You aren’t going to heaven because you eat pork.”  I also had another person tell me, “You aren’t really a Christian unless you have been baptized by a Catholic priest.”  And, there was the other one who said, “You aren’t really saved unless you speak in tongues.”  I’ve heard probably one hundred or more reasons as to why I’m not going to heaven, or why I’m not “really” a Christian.  Most of these statements have come from really well-meaning people, some of whom I really loved.  

I myself have fallen into this category of adding things to what the Bible says.  And I have the tendency to fall into a pattern of considering worldly “wisdom” above what the Bible tells me.  For me this wisdom generally falls into two categories: health and wealth.  I can be very religious about following the religions of health and wealth, trying to become the best and richest version of myself possible.  The problem with this is that it always leaves me empty and wanting more.  Additionally, because these are selfish ambitions, they can be completely contrary to what God has called us to.

I would rather have my life be defined by how well I represent the true message of Jesus, and his saving grace through his death on the cross.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).    So while it would be nice to have a six pack, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8.  

Life Application  Jesus, help me to remember to trust in you first.  In my finances, I want you to have control, so help me to give beyond my means.  Help me to remember that, ultimately, my time on Earth is short and that seeing you in eternity is more important than being obsessed with my health now.  Give me the right words to say and the knowledge of when to use them.  

-Tyler Galloway



Colossians_1

Scripture

Colossians 1:13-14 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Observation

Paul is encouraging the Colossians, letting them know he prays for them because of their faith in Christ and love for God’s people. He again reminds them that he is praying for them that the Holy Spirit would continue to fill them with wisdom and understanding and reminds them that they share in the inheritance of his holy people.

Understanding

God rescued us! We were living in the dark! Being ruled by the darkness! We were headed for eternal separation from the light, from God, from His love.

Its interesting how we like to say that we found Jesus. Did we really…? Think about it. We have all those moments where we know God was there speaking to our hearts, bringing people in our lives to speak the truth to us, wielding circumstances in hopes that I would turn to him.

We all have moments when our eyes finally open and we see HIM but did we really find him?

He was always in pursuit of us.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely His goodness and steadfast love will pursue me relentlessly all the days of my life.”

The Holy Spirit was always there speaking to my heart, to my spirit, waiting for that moment when my eyes would open, I would see him, then he could rescue me!

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Application

Follow hard after Him! Psalm 63:8

He relentlessly pursued after us to save us from the kingdom of darkness. Let’s make a commitment to relentlessly pursue Him.

If we seek Him we will find him when we seek him with all of our hearts. Jeremiah 29:13

Holy Spirit lead the way. Empower us, teach us how to love and pursue the Father the way he deserves. In Jesus name, Amen.

Deborah Lee



Philippians_3

Scripture

Philippians 3:7-12 NIV

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

Observation-What does it say?

I love this chapter! First, Paul talks about putting no confidence in our flesh, and instead consider those accomplishments loss for the sake of knowing Christ. There would be no need for Christ if all we had to do was follow a set of rules and regulations. Next, Paul encourages the church to keep pressing forward no matter what was behind, as they continue to be perfected in Christ and look above to their citizenship in heaven, not on earth. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Less of me equals more of Christ. 

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39, Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25).

As Paul noted, his long list of accomplishments meant nothing and he would lose all of it just to have more of Christ in his life. No wonder God chose to use him for great things! He was more concerned about taking the focus off of his own needs, wants, desires, pride, and security, and laid it all down for the Lord, to put the focus of his life on what pleased the Lord and giving Him glory for all of it alone.

We can be the most beautiful/handsome, popular, wisest, gifted, talented, richest, best dressed, charismatic, healthiest, happiest, most perfect, law abiding citizen on this planet, but without faith in Christ, it means nothing. Without love for others and the heart of a servant, it’s just outward works that God is not impressed with. 

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4 NIV

Life Application

Take on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. 

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-8 NIV

What is the practical application of losing our life for Him? It’s taking on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. He left all the riches of heaven for you and me. He came not to be served, but to serve. (Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45).

When we think of our own lives, what must we surrender to Him in order to be a better servant to Jesus in our marriages/relationships? In our church? With our finances? With our time? To our supervisors? To our children? To the lost and broken? 

Dear Jesus, you are a prime example of someone who gave up everything, even your own life, for the people you loved and were called to serve. And as Scripture says, You didn’t even use your equality with God to your advantage, but lost your life completely for our sake. I pray that You would give us Your heart of servanthood, and break us of any pride within ourselves that would make us boast in ourselves. May our lives boast in You alone because without You, we are nothing. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



Philippians_2

Scripture

Philippians 2:2-4

then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

Observation

Paul and co-author Timothy address the church of Philippi.

Understanding

Paul says “then make my joy complete by…”

And, while the church of Philippi living out humility may have brought Paul joy, humility most often brings joy to the one who lives it out.  With humility there is no pride, no expectation, no entitlement.  When we set aside these things, it becomes much easier to be “like-minded, having the same love, being in one spirit and of one mind.”

Humility is exemplified by Christ who stepped off His throne in heaven to come to earth and heal, love, care for the outcasts.  Who – of ALLLL people – is, was and always will be better than us or above any human form.  Yet, he humbled Himself in order to love people, teach them and turn their hearts towards God.  May we do the same!

Life Application

Be humble.

Like Christ, value others above yourself.

Like Christ, love others.

Like Christ, honor others.

Like Christ, put the interests and needs of others – especially as it relates to relationship with Christ or eternal life – above our own. 

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



Philippians__1

Scripture  Philippians 1:29-30  For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

Observation-What does it say?  Philippi is a city on the Egnation way, an east and west highway in the northern part of Macedonia.  Because of it’s geographical location, Philippi was subject to various ideas and schools of thought influencing and disrupting the church.  Therefore, in opening his letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages the church to work on their unity. Part of the need for unity is to live a life worthy of the church.  Paul also encourages us in our suffering. Our life in Christ is not only believing, but also suffering.

Understanding-What does it mean?  Something I never want to do again in my life is go through a police academy.  The five and a half months of intense learning and training were some of the worst months in my life.  But, whenever I think of my time spent in that classroom, in the PT field, and at the range, I laugh and smile, knowing it was some of the best time in my life.  I made some great friends, and most importantly, I grew as a person. Like anything difficult to complete, whether it be a marathon, a college degree, or climbing a mountain, the joy is not only in the outcome, but in seeing how far we have come.  Some of the worst or hardest times I’ve ever gone through in life are often the times I look back at with the most joy. When I think of suffering, Job almost always comes to mind.  In everything Job lost, he grew closer to God and his dependency on God grew as well.  In our own suffering, the joy comes not only in knowing that some day we will be with Jesus, but joy also comes in knowing that we are separating ourselves from this world of sin and pain.  As we all know, life is not pretty or well put together. At the worst times we will have car accidents, or loose a job, we might even find out we have a disease with a grim outcome. But as we learn to trust in God and to suffer with Him, we can sing like David did in the wilderness.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You ]earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh [c]yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul is satisfied as with [d]marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.  Psalm 63:1-5
 
Life Application  Jesus, teach my heart to know that your love is better than life.  When I am low and hurting, I know your word restores my life and my bones.  Send your peace on my heart when everything seems to be falling down around me.  I love you, and I know in suffering I am being drawn closer to you.
 
-Tyler Galloway