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!
 

Exodus 3

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Scripture

Exodus 3:11

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Observation – What does it say?

Moses has spent decades in Midian tending sheep, and one day God appears to him in a burning bush and informs him about what his people are experiencing in Egypt, that God has come to deliver them, and that God has chosen him to be the one to go lead them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. But Moses considers the assignment and considers himself and responds in essence with, “Why me?”

Understanding – What does it mean?

I hate taking out the trash. Ever since I was a kid and my dad used to make me do it, I’ve dreamed about having a son of my own some day so I can make him take out the trash. Finally I have one! Right now he is 5 years old and isn’t quite strong enough to handle the task yet. But oh baby, he’ll be there soon! And I know the day will come when he will ask me in a whiny voice, “But Daaad, why do I have to take out the trash?” In that moment, I will respond by asking him, “Why do you think your mother and I had you?”

Now of course that’s not why we had him, although it is a great perk. But in Moses’ situation, this really is why he was created! Moses has no clue! “Who am I that I should go?” had to sound like the most ridiculous question to God because it’s what he had been prepared for his whole life! Consider:

– Since he is raised by his Hebrew mother, he hears the stories of his people and learns to love them and identify with their suffering.

– Since he becomes part of Pharaoh’s extended family, he knows how to gain access to power.

– Since he spends these years in the land of Midian taking care of Jethro’s flocks, he has an intimate connection with a land through which one day he will lead a vast number of people.

God’s creates each of his people with a great purpose in mind. And, even though he prepares and equips them to fulfill it, they often feel unqualified and incapable.

God called me to be a pastor. I said no because I couldn’t speak in front of people. I failed speech in Bible College because I either was too afraid to show up on speech day or when I showed up I could hardly talk because of how nervous I was. I failed to see what God saw in me. But, I said yes anyway. And ever since, God has carried me through every situation and continues, by his great power, to turn my weaknesses into strengths!

Life Application

Choose to obey God, even when it seems someone else would be a better candidate for the task God has given me.

God, thank you that you have created each of us on purpose and have prepared works in advance for us to do. Even when we feel unqualified and unequipped for the tasks you call us to, may we walk in obedience and trust that you will give us success. Silence our fears. Remove our doubts. And help each of us to walk in the fullness of what you intend for us. Amen.
To check out the discussion or join in click here.


Exodus 2

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Scripture

Exodus 2:25

So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Observation – What does it say?

During the long period of time that Moses had been gone from Egypt in Midian, where he got married and had a son, the Israelites were groaning in their misery as slaves. In their distress they began to cry out to God for help, which of course God heard. He remembered his covenant with Abraham and looked at the Israelites in their bondage and was concerned about them. And, as we see soon, God’s concern always leads to him taking action! As a matter of fact, the previous 24 verses in this chapter show how against all odds, God has been raising up a deliverer for them all along.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God hears his people’s cries for help, he sees them, and is concerned enough to take action.

What an amazing God we serve! His isn’t indifferent to the problems of his people, but rather he listens intently to their cries and is stirred up with concern for them.

Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus Christ is the exact representation of the Father. And acting in perfect accordance with his Father’s nature, we see him in many passages “filled with compassion” and it leading him to action. Matthew 15:32 says it was because of Jesus’ compassion for the 5,000 that he didn’t send them away hungry but fed them with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Luke 7:13 says it was because of Jesus’ compassion for the widow that he raised her son from the dead. Jesus wept in John 11 before commanding the stone to be rolled away from the tomb and then commanding the 4 day old Lazarus to come out.

Friends! I pray we grasp more the compassion and love of our marvelous God! He doesn’t do miracles because he wants to show off like a magician on a stage. He does miracles because his heart is filled with compassion for his people when they are in bondage and distress! He does miracles and intervenes in normal, every day people’s lives because he wants them to be free! Because he wants them to know of his love for them first hand! Are you in distress? Have you been crying out to God? Be encouraged because God hears you, sees you and is filled with compassion that leads to action.

Life Application

Take heart because God is concerned for me!

Pray through the lens that God really loves me.
When I’m in distress for any reason I must remember that God sees me and his heart is filled with compassion for me. Pray with the understanding that God isn’t evil. He isn’t a jerk pondering whether or not to help. He is filled with compassion and even when I can’t see it, he is working and arranging and weaving everything together for my good. I may not see it yet, but today I choose to trust you God, that you see me, you love me, and you are concerned about me… the kind of concern that leads to you taking action. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 1

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Scripture

Exodus 1:17

The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.

Observation – What does it say?

God has done what he promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has made their children ‘exceedingly fruitful’ (verse 7) and their family of 70 has over time become a nation within the nation of Egypt. The Egyptians take notice of their rapid growth and strength and feel threatened. Because Pharaoh feared the ever-growing Israelites, he takes drastic measures to suppress them by forcing them into slavery and commanding the Hebrew (another term for Israelite that arose because Abraham lived for a time in Hebron) midwives to kill the baby boys they delivered.

The midwives however, feared God so they let the boys live. And as a result, God was kind to the midwives and blessed them with families of their own (verses 20-21).

Understanding – What does it mean?

God blesses those who fear him over anyone else.

Although Pharaoh could have ordered the midwives to be killed for their outright and deliberate disobedience, there was someone they feared more: God. They were more concerned with pleasing God than any man.

This verse struck me because of our tendency to want to please people. How many more souls would be won for Christ if we didn’t care what people thought at all and just shared the good news?! This reminds me of the words of Jesus and of the Apostle Paul:

Matthew 10:28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Galatians 1:10

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians show that a servant of Christ doesn’t try to please people. Ouch! But rather, every Christian seeks to win the approval of God!

Life Application

Choose to fear God over pleasing people!

Specifically when it comes to sharing my faith, choose to please God by reaching people instead of trying to please them.

After a month of prayer and fasting and going deeper in our relationship with God, my desire is that we move forward by going deeper in connecting with God’s mission! I want to be used by God and live to please him in every moment!

God, give us souls!!! Take away the desires we have to please people that hinder us from being used by you. May we live to please you and shine bright so people will see our good deeds and praise you. May our fear of God always be greater than our fear of man or desire to be liked or praised by people. May the amazing month of prayer and fasting we just concluded produce a season of us each bringing in a harvest of souls! Help us not to go back to life as usual but to continue pressing into you and seeking to please you in all we do! Amen.
To check out or join the discussion click here.


Day 26

Week 4:  A Challenge

Justpray_appFOR YOUR GLORY GODDaniel 9:16-19 (NIV) 16  O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17  “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18  Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19  O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
 Daniel worships by speaking of the character of God.
He confessed their sin and then He asks for mercy and restoration.
  • “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy” (v. 18, NIV).

But even more, Daniel desired the nation to be restored that God might be glorified. After all, the Jews were God’s chosen people, and Jerusalem was the place of His holy temple; the longer the people and the land were under God’s wrath, the less glory the Lord would receive.

  • “Your city and your people bear your Name” (v. 19, NIV).

Ask God to move among His people so that He will be glorified.  It is for His name’s sake.



Day 25

Week 4:  A Challenge

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INTERCESSION

Daniel 9:9-15 (NIV) 9  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10  we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11  All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12  You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13  Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14  The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15

 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.

 

Several times in Israel’s ministry, the intercession of one person brought about the nation’s deliverance from judgment.

  • Two times God was ready to wipe out the entire Jewish nation, but the intercession of Moses stayed His hand (Ex. 32:7-14; Num. 14:10-25).
  • God answered Elijah’s prayer and sent the rain that was so desperately needed (1 Kings 18), and He heard Jehoshaphat’s prayer and gave Israel victory over the large invading army of Moabites and Ammonites (2 Chron. 20).
  • King Hezekiah cried out to God when the Assyrian army surrounded Jerusalem, and the Lord sent His angel to slay 185,000 enemy soldiers (Isa. 37; 2 Kings 19).
  • James 5:16 (NIV) 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

God doesn’t have to wait for the entire nation to repent and cry out for mercy; He will start to work when He hears the believing prayers of one faithful intercessor.

In interceding Daniel assumes the sin of the people.  Instead of them he uses we or I.

He described how the people have sinned and asked God for forgiveness.

  • They had disobeyed God and walked away from commands.
  • They had a semblance of worship to God but it was outward and not an inward transformation.
  • They refused to listen to the messages of repentance that God had sent through His prophets.
  • They had taken on the ways of the nations around them. (Think about how we have done that and pray specifically for it when we pray)

 

Pray on behalf of our church and nation by praying in the first person as an intercessor.



Day 24

Week 4:  A Challenge

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WORSHIP

Daniel 9:4-8 (NIV) 4  I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 7  “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame–the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8  O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.

Too often we rush into God’s presence and ask for things, without first pausing to worship Him. Another way that Daniel prepared himself for prayer was to spend time in worship.

Listen to his words of worship woven into his prayer:

  • Great and awesome God who keeps His promises of love
  • Lord you are righteous
  • Lord you are merciful and forgiving
  • Lord you fulfill your promises to your people

It’s important that we focus on the character of God and not become too preoccupied with ourselves and our burdens.

What Daniel is doing is interceding on behalf of the people by asking God to move according to His nature and character.

Spend some time in worship today.

Don’t forget to join us at church on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7pm for Worship Prayer.



Day 23

Week 4:  A Challenge

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CONFESSION LEADS TO BREAKTHROUGH
  • Daniel 9:3 (NIV) 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

Daniel prepared himself to pray because a lot was on the line.

In the Old Testament the religious use of fasting is often in connection with making a request before God. The principle is that the importance of the request causes an individual to be so concerned about his or her spiritual condition that physical necessities fade into the background. In this sense the act of fasting is designed as a process leading to purification and humbling oneself before God.  It is not an end in itself, but rather it is the disciplined training in preparation for an important event.
Bible Background Commentary – The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

A lot of times the people were fasting but the fasting was an outward show of ritual.  While they were “fasting” they were sneaking around doing all of their business as usual.  As a result the fast was meaningless to God because their hearts were not in it.

God is not looking for some outward ritual, He wants the brokenness of our hearts.  He wants us to fast because we desperately desire Him to move in our lives and in our world.  He wants us to fast because we want to draw near to Him.

We cannot fast and continue to live in sin and expect that God will answer us.

So we must start with personal confession.  Rooting out areas of sin in our own lives.

Spend some time simply asking God to show you areas of unconfessed sin in your lives.  As He shows you be willing and open to repent.

  • Isaiah 58:6-7 (MSG) 6 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. 7  What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.

As you fast this week it is not just about abstaining from food, seek to do these things as well (not just as outward actions but because of the inner work of the Holy Spirit).

  1. Be open to the Holy Spirit as He points out areas of injustice and exploitation and be willing to do something about it…beginning with prayer.
  2. Allow the Holy Spirit to point out areas in your life where there is unforgiveness and then be willing to forgive and let go of the offenses.
  3. Actively seek opportunities to be generous to those who are hungry, homeless and in need.
  4. Take time to spend with your family (church family included).  Be present and involved in their lives.


Day 22

Week 4:  A CHALLENGE
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PREPARATION FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
  • Daniel 9:1-3 (NIV) 1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom– 2  in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3  So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

The year is 539.

The change of power in from Babylonian to Persian causes Daniel to look back at the prophecies regarding this.

Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied about the fall of the Babylonian empire and the rise of the Medes.

Daniel comes across a prophecy made by Jeremiah in 597BC.  In it Jeremiah prophesies that Israel would be in captivity for 70 years.

Why are they in captivity?  Why would God do this to them?

  • They had broken their covenant with God – that they would be His people and He would be their God.
  • They had taken to worshipping other gods and idols.
  • They became like the nations and cultures around them and instead of being the image of God to the world and bringing His light to bear on them – they were becoming more like the world.

When God sent them into captivity He was keeping His promise because He warned them that they would be punished if they persisted in disobeying Him.

  • The years in Babylon helped to cure the Israelites of idol worship.
  • The years in captivity also gave the land a chance to rest so that once again it could be fruitful.

The people had not heeded God’s command to let the land rest and had failed to honor the command regarding the sabbatical year.  There is an important component to prescribed rest – God demands it and when we don’t follow the command He will do what is necessary to ensure that rest is found.

So when Daniel makes the discovery about the 70 years the period of captivity was about to end.  If as Biblical scholars say the period of captivity started in 605 BC and it is now 539 BC it is a period of 66 years that have gone by.  It is not by chance that God sent Daniel to discover the prophecy of Jeremiah.  He did it because God had a job for Daniel.

The job was to begin to prepare the way for the new era in the life of God’s people.

That is where we find ourselves.

We are in a time of great political change – look at the world around us.

The church in America has been taken captive by big business.

We have become like the people around us and worship the same gods as the world all while calling it godly.

But God is getting ready to usher in the next era in His plan.

He has quickened the hearts of people with dreams and visions that point us to the fact that there is a move of God on the horizon and the reason He has revealed it to us is so that we can pray and begin to prepare the way for God’s move.

So what are we to do?

Daniel is a wonderful example of balance in the spiritual life, for he devoted himself to both the Word of God and prayer.   Some believers are so wrapped up in prophetic studies that they have little concern for the practical outworking of God’s will. All they want to do is satisfy their curiosity and then proudly share their “insights” with others. When Daniel learned God’s truth, the experience humbled him and moved him to worship and to pray.

 

Write down the areas you want to see God breakthrough in your lives, in your family and in our church family.  Our nation, our leaders.

Commit today to fast and pray this week.  Map out a plan for what you will do and how.  Ask God for strength and discipline to accomplish it


Day 21

Week 3:  The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed
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Jesus Prayed That the World May be Saved
 
SCRIPTURE
  • Luke 19:10 (NIV) 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

  • Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  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, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

OBSERVATION

Jesus’ mission was to seek and to save the lost and when He left earth He asks all of His followers to continue in that mission.  Anyone who becomes a follower of Christ automatically has been assigned the task of continuing Jesus’ mission.

UNDERSTANDING

Jesus prays that we will remain in the world.  Even though the world will hate us He does not remove us from this world because He has a job for us to do – He is sending us into the world to share the good news that God loves mankind and wants to restore them to relationship with Himself.  For everyone of us who are followers of Christ we have been given this mission – preach the gospel, leading people back to relationship with the Father, teaching them to obey the commands of God and encouraging them to go and do the same.  Sounds familiar?  At DSC the great commission is summed up in our strategy statement of…

Reaching out to lost people

Recruiting them into the family of God (salvation) and the family at DSC (fellowship with believers)

Resourcing (equipping) them so that they grow up in their spiritual maturity (teaching them to obey)

Releasing them to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

If you are growing as a disciple then you will be able to see the progression in these areas.  You will find that you are growing in your intimacy with God, His people and your desire to see people come to know God will also be increasing.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

We are “sent ones” sent by the Sent One.  This should be the priority of our life.  This mission is obviously close to Jesus’ heart, the question is, “Are you living on mission as a sent one of the Sent One?”

What changes need to be made in your life so that you can live more on mission?

Pray today and ask God to give you His heart for the lost. 



Day 20

Week 3:  The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed

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Jesus Prays for Unity 
 
SCRIPTURE
  • John 17:11 (NIV) 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.

 

  • John 17:20-21 (NIV) 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

OBSERVATION

In Jesus’ prayer we are given some insight as to what is near and dear to His heart.  He wants us to be holy and sanctified, He wants us to glorify Him and in so doing glorify His Father.  And now He prays for our unity.

UNDERSTANDING

All of the things Jesus prayed for like our holiness and our unity ultimately brings glory to the Father.  God has provided all the resources to glorify Him and to remain faithful to Him.  We have His Word and it reveals to us all that we have in Jesus. 

We have the Son who is interceding for us, and since the Father always answers the prayers of His Son we can live with confidence.

We also have the fellowship of the church.  Jesus prays that we will be one as the Trinity is one.  Nowhere in the New Testament do you see such a thing as isolated believers.  Wherever you find the church you find them in fellowship.  Why?  Because God’s people need each other.  We are to live in unity.  That does not mean we dress the same and have no opinions of our own or are simply clones of one another, but unity means that we are united around the same purpose – to glorify the Father in our lives.  We glorify Him in the fellowship by loving one another, putting the needs of others above our own, by choosing to sacrificially love like Jesus loves.  We are to pray for one another and to forgive one another.  

Unity is not the absence of disagreements but it is the presence of a reconciling spirit.  We are willing to contribute our points of view but we do not allow our disagreements to divide us because we look to keep the unity of the spirit by a bond of peace.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

Where are there places you have not been living in unity?  Where your disagreement has led to division?  Jesus prays that we will have a reconciling Spirit.  Take a moment today and ask Him to show you the areas where you are not building the unity of the fellowship and then go to those people and reconcile so that we can live the way Jesus desires we live, in unity.  When we are obedient to this God is glorified!