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!
 

Proverbs__26

Scripture

Proverbs 26:12

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Observation – What does it say?

The first 11 verses of this chapter illustrate the Bible’s negative view, and ultimately God’s negative view (as the Bible’s author), of fools. In many of the proverbs, the fool is portrayed as the person on the opposite end of the spectrum from the wise and righteous. For the past 25 chapters, we’ve seen that there is no benefit to being a fool. The person who is most despised and hopeless appears to be the fool. Then comes a major insight in this verse:

There is someone more hopeless than the fool. It’s the person who is wise in their own eyes.

Understanding – What does it mean?

As I read the first 11 verses of this chapter, I found myself thinking, “Dang, good thing I’m not a fool!” Then, as if wise Solomon knew this would be the thought of some, he delivers a tremendous blow to them (and me!) in verse 12. “If you think you’re wise in your own eyes, you’re worse off than the fool.”

Ouch! I fell into the trap.

These are the same people Jesus had the hardest time with. The religious leaders and teachers of the law thought they had it all together and complained about Jesus, “Why are you and your disciples always hanging out with sinners?!” Jesus replied, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus avoided those who thought they were healthy, thought they were righteous and thought they were wise. And he pursued those who realized they were sick, realized they were sinful and realized they needed wisdom.

Psalm 138:6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Life Application

Repent of pride!

God, forgive me for my pride! Humble me and remove any offensive way in me. I can’t bear the thought of you keeping your distance from me! You are my only hope for this life and for eternity. I desire you above all things and long for more of your presence in my life. Destroy my pride and make me more aware of my desperation for you. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Proverbs__25

Scripture 

Proverbs 25:21-22  If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This group of proverbs, written by Solomon, were collected and revived into worship during the reign of Hezekiah.  Hezekiah’s reign was documented in the books of 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 29.  He was the son of Ahaz, who robbed the temple of it’s gold and led Judah to be nearly destroyed.  Hezekiah’s primary concern was to bring the temple back to its purpose, which was the worship of the Lord. “He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary” (2 Chronicles 29:4-5).  In this particular collection of Solomon’s proverbs, comparisons are employed more than contrasts to display truths of God (i.e. a good word is like snow in the time of harvest, unexpected and refreshing).  These comparisons are coupled with instructions on how to live in a way that honors God.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I’m not a total weirdo, but I have been listening to Christmas music since December 26, 2019.  Not everyday, but a lot since I have had the “Charlie Brown Christmas” soundtrack in the CD player in my car that whole time.  It seems passe to even have a CD in a car nowadays, similar to having an 8-track player in a car in the early 90’s.  Nevertheless, I listen to the soundtrack of my favorite movie, by my favorite jazz group, which reminds me of my favorite time of year.  

 

Throughout the whole movie, Charlie knows something is missing from his Christmas experience.  We even get a visual contrast, in that tiny Christmas tree contrasted against the ‘big aluminum tree’, of what the world expects of the time of year of the celebration of Christ’s birth.  The climax of the movie, brought on by Charlie’s cry, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”  Linus steps up, “Lights please!”, and quotes Luke 2:8-14 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

 

Even amidst the craziness of Christmas, it is important to take the time to remember that we are called to adopt the attitude which was in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5-8), an attitude of a servant.  “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28).  Jesus embodied the spirit of this proverb and was constantly a thorne in the side of the Sadducees and Pharisees.  But it His love that draws us in close to him still, nearly 2000 years after his death.  In the movie, the moment Christ’s love is made apparent is the moment that the whole Peanuts gang begins to care for more than the glitz of the season and the tree comes into a new life.  

 

Life Application 

Jesus, beyond the presents and the songs, help me to be a servant during this time of year and this upcoming year.  Help me prepare myself for the upcoming season of fasting.  Fill my heart with your joy to a point of overflowing.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u3Ia6msMFw

 

-Tyler Galloway

 

  





Proverbs_24

Scripture – What stood out?

Proverbs 24

Saying 21

3 By wisdom a house is built,

    and through understanding it is established;

4 through knowledge its rooms are filled

    with rare and beautiful treasures.

Observation – What does it say?

Proverbs 24 continues the collection of sayings (the book itself being credited to King Solomon’s authorship) ending at saying number 30. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

This year was supposed to be many things and one of my greatest hopes for it was to get my house in order. Literally. I wanted to own a house by this year. That didn’t happen. I was never in position financially, and when the pandemic hit somehow real estate prices went even higher. I have tried to work really hard at becoming a better manager of my finances in preparation for one day possibly owning a home. And so I was not surprised when this verse stood out to me.

I am grateful for the work that I have put into fixing my finances. I look forward to one day owning a home. These verses however made me think how practical it would be to apply this verse to my “spiritual house” instead of just my literal one. Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are vital to a healthy home. As I walk through some of my past, my emotions, and my journey with God and I endeavor to build that spirit filled life – it makes me think that wisdom, understanding and knowledge are so important to the health of my spiritual house.

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

I have been grappling with my emotions lately. And thankfully I live in a society where I have a moment to reflect on my past, present, and future. I guess the question I am left asking God is what would my spiritual home have looked like if I was twenty years old again and seeking God’s wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Would not my soul as well as my heart be in such a better place?

And so God I seek you this day. May my pursuit of your wisdom be never ending. No matter how bad or how good life on earth may seem. May I continue to pursue Your knowledge that my home both literal and figurative may be filled with Your rare and beautiful treasures. In Jesus’s name. Amen.



Proverbs__23

Scripture

Proverbs 23:4-5 

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon warns people about chasing earthly riches. King Solomon knows the “Big Picture” here. He knows that our time here on earth is just temporary; that you can’t bring those riches with you when you die. And that at any given moment it can be all taken away from you. So don’t let greed get a hold of you. Be content with what you have and focus your attention on more important things.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Where are my priorities?

Where is all my time and efforts being spent in life? Is it chasing after that American dollar and the American dream, (big house, fancy car, and extravagant “toys”)? Or is it chasing after the mission that God has called me to do (helping others in need and multiplying Christ Followers everywhere)?

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

I am thankful that God has blessed me with a job that offers overtime and opportunities to make a little extra money to help out around the house, but I’m also aware that God doesn’t want me to lose my focus (on Him) while doing so.  I will work to make a living and even work overtime at times to bring in a little extra, but I do whatever it takes not to neglect my time with God, His family, and my family when doing so and I believe God has been faithful to me because of it.

 

Life Application

Build God’s Kingdom, not mine.

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21 

-Moses Gaddi



Jonah 4

Scripture 

Jonah 4:9-10 

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

 

Observation-What does it say? 

Jonah is very angry with God for his compassion over the city of Nineveh. (God relented from his anger towards them and did not bring the destruction he promised). Jonah became very depressed about it and asked the Lord to just take His life. So, God provided for him by giving him a shady plant to ease His discomfort and it made Jonah happy…until, God sent a worm and scorching heat, which withered the plant and led to Jonah being angry and depressed again. Then God asked Jonah if he had a right to be angry about the plant if he didn’t even take care of it, tend to it and make it grow.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

God was trying to teach Jonah about compassion and His specific compassion for the city of Nineveh.

Just like God tended to Jonah in his anger and depression, God was trying to show Jonah why He was concerned about Nineveh. They needed to be loved, cared for and tended to in order to continue to grow. 

 

Life Application

God is calling us to minister out of our comfort zones.

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that Jesus’ compassion and mercy is missing in this world and BOTH sides are guilty! I’ve found myself guilty of it as well. As a result of all the tension and fighting, guess who’s suffering? The people who God has called us to minister to.  Let us not be people who are pushing others away from Christ’s grace, mercy and compassion, but rather be an attractive presence in the life of someone who needs Jesus. Like Pastor says, we are called to be the “atmosphere changers.”

Luke 6:32- “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

Luke 6:36- “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”

-Michelle Gaddi



Proverbs_21

Scripture‭‭
 
Proverbs‬ ‭21:2-3, & 27‬ ‭NLT
 
“People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
 
The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives.”
 
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Another set of proverbs given by King Solomon. In these particular verses he writes of God knowing our true heart and motives behind our actions.
 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
You can’t fool God.
 
I remember when I was still new to my faith. Deep down I thought by me tithing, I can buy God’s favor and protection. I thought if I didn’t give back to God, something bad was going to happen to me. Maybe something breaking down with my car, in my home, or a family sickness. In a sense, some of that can be true. But we all know you can’t buy God’s favor. I mean what was I thinking?! Did I really think that I can buy God to be my personal bodyguard?! You see, although God is my protector, it isn’t because I paid Him to do it.
The same goes for a time when I would hear stories of someone like Pastor Rick Warren, (the author of A Purpose Driven Life and Lead Pastor at Saddleback Church), and how generous he was with his money. I would read stories of no matter how much he would give back, God would bless him with so much more money. I thought to myself, “Maybe if I’m generous like that, God will make me rich too?!” Now although Jesus does call us to be generous with others and our giving, I don’t think it was so that we can become filthy rich. For both scenarios that I stated, I had to ask myself, “What are my true motives behind my actions? “Was I doing these things to receive God’s presence? Or was I doing it to receive His presents?” 🤔
God knew my heart at that time. He knew my selfish ambitions behind my actions. It took the Holy Spirit to get a hold of me and remind me why I should be doing the things God tells me to do. Not because I want something in return, but because I love Him. I love Him because He first loved me.
 
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NLT
 
 
Life Application
 
Give generously what you can with your time or money, with no strings attached.
 
Tis the season! Be giving to someone today. No strings attached. No ulterior motives. Remember what God did for us and still continues to do for us. Remember why we do what we do as His children. Spread the true joy of Christmas to all!
 
-Moses Gaddi
‬‬
 


Jonah 1

Scripture 

Jonah 1:3 

But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This book was named after the main character and was likely authored by him as well.  At the onset of the story, Jonah is sent by God to the land of Nineveh to share the message of His love and tell them to repent.  Ironically enough, the name Jonah means “dove.”  Throughout the Bible, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and peace.  But, instead of bringing peace to the people of Nineveh, Jonah ran in the opposite direction of God’s calling.  Nineveh was a city, as described in the book of Nahum, who was set against the Lord and plotted evil against the people of Israel.  Even though Jonah was disobedient, God has a way of making sure his plans are carried out.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I will be having my “Virtual Graduation” ceremony tomorrow for my bachelor’s degree.  A degree that is intended to take four years took me a nice even 18 and a half years.  But, college and I have had a funny relationship.  The first time I tried to go full time, I was in a car accident that almost took my life.  The second time I tried to go full time, which was at Bible college, I got in another accident that totaled my truck and broke my mom’s back.  Later on in that semester, I found myself in the hospital in need of “exploratory surgery.”  Exploratory surgery is never a phrase you want to hear.  

 

After finding a career, I tried to go back again, but was interrupted by the birth of my three sons.  As time went on, I began to believe it was never going to be a possibility for me.  Looking at it now, I can see God was taking me on a different path than I was trying to go down.  Much like Jonah, I was trying to do things on my own terms.  But, God had a different way, which included a program he intended, which made me grow in ways I would never have thought possible.  And, also like Jonah, it changed my view of the Gospel message and who God wants to hear the message of His hope.

 

God has a way of making sure His plans are carried out, even when that means major accidents, being swallowed by a giant fish, or even the death of His son.  Because of this, we can find comfort in His words, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 

Life Application 

Holy Spirit, help me to have the humility to trust your plans.  Give me the patience to go through the hard times in life. In the good times, help me to give you the glory.  Help me to always remember your love is for all the earth.


-Tyler Galloway



Acts___14

Scripture – What stood out to me?

Acts 14:19-20

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Previously in Iconium Paul and Barnabas learn of a plot to stone them and they flee to Lystra. Unfortunately the Iconium Jews find Paul in Lystra, incite the crowd against him, and stone him. 

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

We have been asked to read the book of acts with the lens of the Holy Spirit as our filter. So you might be wondering why I felt led to highlight these two verses when I clearly had some amazing other options to choose from in this chapter. My defense lies in this vision I had of Paul when I had finished re-reading chapter 14 five or six times.  I was asking God to highlight some areas for me and I was slowly awestruck. 

He was stoned. He was stoned and then he got up and went back into the city that stoned him. Wait he did what? And the next day he left to go preach in Derbe.

The lack of emotional and spiritual details during this moment in Paul’s life might seem discouraging. What was Paul thinking when he was stoned? What did the group of disciples do when they gathered around him? What was Paul’s spiritual state? Was he mad? Was he sad? These are all questions we might ask. I think that the lack of such details is exactly the point that the author and God is ultimately trying to make here.

Paul was stoned, nearly to death. The disciples responded by gathering around him. Perhaps a small miracle was performed by God. Perhaps not. What did Paul do next? He got up. The next day was business as usual. On to the next city to continue his God given mission. No fanfare. No sob story. Paul and Barnabas sum up their response in part of verse 22, ““We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” 

I can’t stop seeing Paul shrouded in the Holy Spirit as these events unfold. As he was being stoned he was filled with it. As he was left for dead I see him shrouded still. I picture the disciples glowing as they gathered around him. I see him wrapped in the Spirit as he is revived. And I can’t help but picture him continuing to glow as he moves on to the next town. 

 

Life Application – How can I apply this today?

In Paul I see a man who was just so devoted to his mission in life. I see a man that constantly stayed connected to the Holy Spirit for as much as possible. That is what I want for my life. I don’t want the Holy Spirit once a week on Sundays or even twice a week. I want it all the time!

Father God, 

Please teach me Lord to live my life like Paul did. I feel like sometimes if a pebble is placed in my path I am grumbling and groaning. Instead would you teach me to live like a man always filled with the Holy Spirit every moment of every day for the rest of my life. For when the stones are thrown I want to simply get up and continue on like Paul did. For your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Your Son,

Kenneth Lee



Proverbs__18

Scripture

Proverbs 18: 21

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Observation

King Solomon continues his words of wisdom with highlighting the power of tongue. He speaks about knowledge and wisdom and tandem, however in talking about the tongue he gives practical ways to exercise both of these characteristics.
 

Understanding

You ever said something and then immediately regretted it? My dad says “well that didn’t go the way I thought” is going to be on his tombstone, but my mine will say “oops, didn’t mean it like that.” When we can just quickly apologize and move on, we don’t really hold ourselves to that high of a standard with our words. Because we convince ourselves that the issue is easily fixable, but in reality our words have the power of life and death as King Solomon points out. Think about it this way: if you said something to someone, that as its coming out you know you’ll regret, and then they keel over and die upon hearing it, you would most definitely watch your tongue.

I have been learning this process the difficult way in my workplace. What I say to one person is then disseminated to several other unintended ears and I then have to be held accountable for what I say (good or bad). So I recently have been speaking life to my workplace and my coworkers, I imagine I am giving them a boost of energy or happiness rather than them keeling over. Although small, our tongues have the power to alter the course of our destiny. In the right context this can transform people, neighborhoods, communities, cities, countries, and even the world. The tongue yields the most powerful and dangerous tool known to mankind: words. I implore youth consider this: do you use your words to kill or give life?
 

Life Application

The best place to start in filling your with life-giving words is actually knowing life-giving words. That begins with reading encouragement daily, and that begins in God’s Word. I also want to challenge you guys to speak life over places that you detest or don’t like at the moment, you’ll be surprised how your outcomes and outlooks shift when your words do.

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to respond to everyone.

Let’s be life-givers this week!

-Allison Khan


Proverbs___17

Scripture

Proverbs 17:12 NIV-

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues with sharing his wisdom in Proverbs. “Solomon wrote it with his descendants and the young men in Israel in mind (biblestudy.org-Who wrote the book of Proverbs?).”

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Bible is serious about choosing the way of the wise instead of a fool. So serious in fact that it says it’s better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly. 

Have you ever heard the term, you don’t want to see mama bear come out? As a mom to 2 kids, the protective nature of a mother to her child is extreme and I didn’t understand that until I became a mother. I’m not proud of this, but I’ve lost self control and yelled at a couple people (in positions of authority) because I felt my kids were being wrongfully attacked. It’s not wise to make a protective mama angry. 

My husband also used to work as a meter reader and he told me that the most vicious dogs were the female dogs who were protecting their pups. He would always have to find alternative ways to read those house meters because you were just asking to get bit if you entered their territory. 

As scary as a protective mama bear is, it’s not as scary as a fool bent on folly. For example, Scripture says that a fool gives full vent to his anger (Proverbs 29:11 NIV), so essentially, a fool’s anger is worse than a mama bear protecting her cubs. That same Scripture says that the WISE bring calm in the end. 

 

Life Application

Keep company with those who are wise, instead of those who continue to have a bent towards foolishness.

We must be careful with the company we keep and who we allow to influence our lives. Also, we must be aware of whether we are the ones acting like a fool. It’s important to make the necessary changes and learn from our mistakes. We don’t want to be the person that the Bible instructs others to run from. 

Dear Lord, You appointed King Solomon to write the Proverbs to offer wise counsel, not foolish counsel. It is clear that You make many distinctions between wise and foolish choices and the consequences of each. I pray that we would always seek to live our lives wisely so that others would be drawn to You instead of away from You. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi