Bible Reading Plan
Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
January 15: Micah 6:8, Psalm 9
January 20: Joshua 6, Psalm 12
How To Soul Journal
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!

Joshua 9


Joshua 9:14

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.


God was making a name for himself through Joshua.  As the kings west of the Jordan heard this, they decided to come together to fight; but the people of Gibeon came up with a different plan.  Their intent was to essentially trick Joshua into making a treaty with them, protecting their people from the plight of what many others had faced.

They had gone through quite the effort of carrying out the trickery – making it appear as though they had traveled from far away.  It seems Joshua and his people knew something was up.  The Israelites asked in verse 7…

The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

And Joshua in verse 8…

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They had questioned the people and even tasted the provisions but as we see in vs. 14, they did NOT “inquire of the Lord.”

As a result, they made the treaty, only to find that they had been tricked and that the “far off travelers” were practically neighbors.


First, this is a reminder to me to ALWAYS inquire of the Lord.  Despite what “intuition” may tell me, as a Christ-follower, I must consult with, inquire of, seek God before and as I take action.

In this case, though, I have to question what would have happened had Joshua and the Israelites “inquired of the Lord.”  Would the deception have been made known?  Would the Gibeonites fallen to the same fate as the rest of the surrounding areas?  It’s unknown. 

But what we are able to see here, is that – because of the treaty – the Gibeonites were brought within the covenant community.  Because of the fraudulent way they got there, they were excluded from liberties and privileges of true-born Israelites.  BUT  their “curse” of being woodcutters and water carriers put them in a unique position to be exposed to Israel’s God-centered beliefs and rituals. 

It takes a lot of wood to keep the fire of the altar burning.  It also takes a lot of water to carry out all of the washing and cleaning that must be done in and around the altar.  As such, as woodcutters and water carriers, the Gibeonites would be required to personally attend the altar of God – which would bring them to the knowledge of the law of God.

In fact, as we read elsewhere in Lev 25:44 and Num 3:9, it seems that’s exactly what God designed the work of the altar for – to minister to the “heathens.”  This appears to be just another example of our holy and redeeming God graciously at work.  God desires to bring people into knowledge of and relationship with Him.  

Life Application

Dear God, thank you for always seeing the big picture.  Your redemption and grace are crazy beautiful and intricately woven throughout our lives.  THANK YOU! 

Help me to remember to seek you first in all I do so I may avoid the “trickery” of those who don’t have my best interest in mind; but, moreover, may I be reminded that, even in those moments, that you can and do work as The Redeemer. 

Use me today to show grace and mercy and to expose others to your redeeming love.  May you be honored and glorified in my thoughts, my words and my actions today.


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

– Rei

Joshua 8


Joshua 8:2

You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves.

Observation – What does it say?

When conquering Jericho, God commanded Israel to destroy everything in the city and not keep any plunder for themselves. But now in Ai, God allowed them to take all the plunder they wanted. If Achan would have waited just a few more days, he could have had all the riches he could imagine! Instead, he ran ahead of God and took what was forbidden and ended up paying the ultimate price.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Waiting on God and trusting him results in the greatest blessing!

Every sin comes from an attempt to meet a felt need. We don’t want to wait on God so we take matters into our own hands. And, as a result, we exchange the lasting pleasure God offers for the temporary pleasure of sin.

If we could just learn to wait on God and let Him lead and bring into our lives the things that need to be there, we would be far better off. Unfortunately, our flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now! It doesn’t want to wait. 

Consider Esau forsaking his birthright because he was hungry in the moment, or David committing adultery with Bathsheba when God had told him, “And if all I had given you had been too little, I would have given you even more” (2 Samuel 12:8). 
Regardless of the desire we have, we will be far better off if we wait on the Lord to bring that thing into our life – spouse, finances, ministry, etc. God’s timing is perfect, he knows exactly what we need and he is working everything together for our good.

Life Application

Learn to wait on God.

God, forgive me for the times I grow impatient and seek to take matters into my own hands. Help us to be a people who trust your goodness and wait patiently for you to satisfy our every need and longing. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope (Psalm 130:5). Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
– Levi Thompson

Joshua 7

Joshua 7:11
Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.
Observation-What does it say?
In the previous chapter, chapter 6 verses 18 and 19, the Israelites were commanded to keep away from the devoted things (silver, gold, bronze and iron) for they were to be given to the Lord and kept in a special treasury. Achan did not obey and as a result, the Lord’s anger burned against ALL of Israel.
Understanding-What does it mean?
One man’s sin had consequences for all of Israel. 
The Lord’s anger did not just burn for Achan, who was the one who had sinned by taking some of the devoted things, but for the whole nation. The Lord held all of Israel accountable. Joshua had to search for the source of the sin, the person responsible. In verse 12, the Lord said that He would not be with them anymore unless he destroyed whatever among them is devoted to destruction.
Life Application
As Christ followers, we are called to the business of restoration. 
Sin that is undealt with in the Body of Christ can spread like a cancer and destroy us.
I’m honestly thankful that God doesn’t call us to stone and burn each other, which was Achan’s fate, but rather restore each other gently. Also, this is not just the job of the Pastors and ministry leaders, but ALL who live by the Spirit.
Galatians 6:1 says,
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
‭‭The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He seeks to destroy our marriages, our church and eventually our relationship with Christ. If we allow our brothers and sisters to continue sinning, we are also susceptible to that same destruction and fate. That’s why we are called to gently restore that person, while at the same time watching ourselves so we don’t succumb to the same temptations. 
Dear Lord, please help us love our brothers and sisters enough that if they are caught in a sin, whether it be gossip, unfaithfulness, lying, immorality, etc., that we would love You, them, the church and ourselves enough to restore them gently back to the faith and back to abundant life with You. Use us to help them back on their path with You, so they live out their intended identity and calling and stop making unwise decisions. I also pray that I/we would continue to live by the Spirit so that we would be able to recognize the sinful behavior among us and save ourselves from destruction. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Michelle Gaddi

Joshua 6

Joshua 6:1-2
“Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the LORD said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.”
Observation-What does it say?
Now the city of Jericho and its people were a formidable foe for Joshua and the army of Israel. The people of Jericho were well protected and fortified behind these walls, which probably gave them a false sense of security. Meanwhile, the LORD already told Joshua that the city is his for the taking. God even gave Joshua a detailed layout on how to take the city. All Joshua had to do was to take God for His Word, instruct the people of Israel, and follow through with the LORD’s plan.
Understanding-What does it mean?
God’s way is not always the most conventional way of doing things.
When the LORD laid out the game plan on how to take down the city of Jericho, Joshua at first must have thought, “Are you pulling my leg God?” He probably thought that God had something a little more theatrical in mind.-(Maybe fire from the sky, a howling wind like no other, or even a mighty earthquake to bring the walls of Jericho crumbling down). But instead, God instructs his people to march around the walls for six days straight, (one time around the wall each day), as the priests blow on a ram’s horn. But on the seventh day, the people of Israel shall march around the walls seven times, and on that seventh time they are to wait for the priests to make a long blast of the ram’s horn, in which all the people are to make a great shout. This shout will flatten the walls of Jericho to the ground! 
As unconventional as this battle plan may sound, Joshua could move forward with confidence, knowing that God’s plan will work. He’s seen what God has done for His people before. So why would Joshua have any doubt now?
“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭NIV
Life Application
We are to take the LORD’s instructions for what it is, and we must follow them completely…one day at a time and one step at a time.
Joshua did not tell the people how many times they had to circle the city or precisely what would happen once their marching was done. The people received instructions from their leader one day at a time, one step at a time, and they obeyed them completely each day. The faith they displayed by following through with God’s commands allowed God to demonstrate His favor, protection, love, and provision for those who trust in Him.
Father God, I want to experience the great things You have in store for me. I want You to break down the walls in my life that are hindering me from experiencing them. Give me the faith to step out in this world each day and follow Your instructions completely. May I not question Your tactics, but instead choose to trust in them, because I know You have a plan for me and it is good. In Your name Jesus, I pray these things, Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Moses Gaddi 

Joshua 5


Joshua 5:7
So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.


As a result of God’s miraculous parting of the Jordan River, fear grips the hearts of the nations that occupy Canaan. All of the men of military age from the previous generation who had come out of Egypt died in the wilderness because of their unbelief (Numbers 14:26-30), so an entire generation does not bear the sign of the covenant. At Gilgal, God instructs Joshua to circumcise this new generation of sons. Following the circumcision, the Israelites celebrate the Passover at its appointed time. The day after the celebration, when the Israelites ate the first produce from the Promised Land, God’s miraculous provision of manna ceases. The chapter ends with Joshua meeting the “commander of the army of the Lord” in preparation for the battle of Jericho in chapter 6.


The world, our nation, our families and even the church suffer from the same dilemma that faced the Israelites – a generation has grown up not knowing that they are children of God. Because of sin, rebellion, apathy and compromise, parents (paternal and spiritual) have allowed their sons and daughters to not fully understand, embrace and fulfill their identity as being “In Christ”. We have neglected to pass on our faith to the next generations; forgetting God’s command to remember and recite the Law; to impress them on our children when we sit at home and when we walk along the road (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Void of this sense of self they have fallen prey to the voices of the enemy, society, the media and the fallen culture of the day and are being formed into an image other than that as children of the King (Romans 12:1-2). Just as was needed after the wilderness crossing in order to impart a sense of identity, legacy and election, our sons and daughters need to receive a sign of consecration. At the coming of age, we do well to invite our sons and daughters, through some significant rite and symbolism, into covenant relationship with God. We need to usher them into their own personal experience with the Living God, as God has no grand-children. God has to be their God and not just the God of their forefathers. Annie and I took advantage of the opportunity to bless Tim and Leah before the church where we offered each a token possession that would act as a symbol of remembrance and identity. We chose and spoke over each one a verse that communicated destiny and promise and then we invited the church to pray for them and to covenant with us in raising our children in “…the way that they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Just last week, at my son’s wedding, with tears in my eyes I was able to echo the sentiment of the Apostle John, who said, “it gives me no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth” and I praised God that the inheritance that He has given me live in light of New Covenant identity.

Life Application

May I be aware and purposeful in identifying and exploiting opportunities to be a spiritual father to the next generation and impart God’s wisdom, truth, love and a sense of identity to those whom God would raise up to be the next generation to possess the promises of God.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker

Joshua 4


Joshua 4:24

24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”


In Chapter 3, the Israelites experience a miracle – God dries ups the Jordan where they are to pass, carrying the Ark of the Covenant.  This chapter gives more details regarding this miraculous passage of Israel through Jordan and shows God’s desire to memorialize it.

What stood out to me is Joshua’s obedience.

Joshua listened and was obedient to God.  God says choose 12 men to pick up 12 stones (1 each) and put them in the middle of the Jordan River; Joshua responds by having 12 stones picked up by 12 men (1 stone each) and placed in the middle of the Jordan River. 


According to this account, there doesn’t seem to be any hesitation, any question, any argument…God speaks, Joshua responds in obedience…then Joshua speaks and the Israelites respond in obedience.

What is the end result? 

  • God’s provision is memorialized for generations to come…which is apparently very important to God because in a very short chapter, it’s mentioned twice. (v. 6-7 and 21-23).
  • Joshua is exalted (v. 14).
  • God is honored and glorified.
  • God’s power is shown and remembered.

Life Application

Sometimes I wish God’s hand in my own life was this clear and succinct…where, in less than a page of text, God asks that something is done and, by the end of the page, we see the results, the celebration/reward (Joshua is exalted) and the reason (so God’s power and provision is remembered).  But I think that’s where the trust comes in.  We have to move in bold obedience even when we don’t understand, even when we don’t see the end results in the near future, even when there’s not a logical explanation.

Also, we must take time to remember what God has done in the past…and share that with our family, our friends, our children…so that God can continue to be glorified and honored. 

God, I thank you that you’ve got the big picture forever in mind – that I don’t need to know or understand the details but to simply trust that you’ve got my best in mind.  May I move in steadfast obedience towards the things you call me to.

Also, may I remember the way you’ve shown yourself real to me in the past.  In a culture where we are constantly looking for the next best thing, may I take time to recognize, remember and share what you have done for me before and what you are doing today – in ways that honor and glorify you and draw others to you – not as some magical genie, but as an incredible seeker and lover of my soul who desires relationship with me. 

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

– Rei

Joshua 3


Joshua 3:7

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.

Observation – What does it say?

After Moses died, God called Joshua to assume leadership over the people of Israel and to lead them into taking possession of the promised land. When he was called, he was no one special; the Bible tells us nothing about his accolades or leadership experience that would gain him credibility as the leader of Israel. But those things weren’t necessary because after God called Joshua, he equipped him, exalted him in the eyes of Israel and granted him favor so that he could lead well.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

When I got my first offer for a paid ministry position, one year had passed since graduating from Bible College. I had been working selling paint and was minimally involved in my local church. When I got the offer, I literally laughed out loud. “No way!” I thought.

I felt unequipped to say the least. I always saw youth pastors as guys that were really cool, who had the answers and were great speakers and charismatic leaders. All characteristics I would never use to describe myself. I met with a respected mentor and asked him what he thought I should do, explaining clearly that I didn’t feel ready. I’ll never forget what he said. “Levi, when will you ever be ready?”

It was true. After much prayer, a visit to the church and several confirmations from God, we made the trip from Eugene, OR to LA for the position. I had said yes, not because I felt ready but because I felt called. I really had no idea what I was doing. Yet God caused me to be incredibly fruitful! He equipped me, gave me favor and used me to lead many young people to Christ and to teach them what it means to follow Jesus. It was incredible!

I have experienced first-hand that God doesn’t call us because we are particularly gifted or have great experience. On the other hand, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Life Application

Step into the things God is calling me to, trusting he will supply what I lack.

God, thank you for being pleased to demonstrate your power through us! May we be strong and courageous like Joshua, willing to obey you and serve in the areas you are calling us to. Thank you that you are always faithful to equip us with everything we need to serve and lead effectively. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
– Levi Thompson 

Joshua 2


Joshua 2:11

11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.


We often talk of God’s love…so big, so great, so expansive, so forgiving.  However, this same God is ALL POWERFUL – powerful to heal and provide, yes…but also powerful to reconcile and even destroy. 

The spies are sent to Jericho to “scout the land.”  They discover that the land is full of fear, dread and panic.  The people in and around Jericho have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea and destroyed the Amorite kings…the same Lord that I call my comforter and healer and provider was seen by these people as something to be feared BUT in that, they recognized that God was all powerful and reigned “supreme.”


We get a picture here that God’s will WILL be done. 

Exodus 14

The Pharaoh played games with God’s people – first holding them captive as slaves, brutalizing them, then going back and forth about whether or not he would let them go free.  Then when he finally let them go, they chased after them through the parted Red Sea and essentially got swallowed up and drowned by the sea once the Israelites had safely made their way through.

Numbers 21

Sihon refused to let the Israeliltes pass through his country. In response, Israel fought them and took their land.

Then Og – the last of the giants – tried to oppose them and were “utterly destroyed.”

Romans 8:31What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

There is no doubt that God is WITH the Israelites and there seems to be little doubt in anyone’s mind that if they seek to take over Jericho, it will be done.

Life Application

So, what does all this mean for me/us today?  As I’m reading this, two things come to mind.  First, I don’t know about you, but I want to be on God’s side in any battles; opposing Him does not seem to bode well for those who choose that path.  Second, I must be diligent in seeking out the lost who may currently be on the “wrong side” of those battle lines.  Though we may not be suiting up and physically walking into battle today, there is definitely a spiritual battle taking place all around us.  Am I doing may part to win lost souls for Him?  Am I doing it to the best of my abilities?

Heavenly Father, may my heart be on fire to serve you and you alone.  Furthermore, may I see through your eyes – as I see lost souls, may I be open to being used to win them to you.  Keep me ready, keep me humble.  May I remember that there is nothing more important during my time here on Earth than this.  Use me today.  Amen. 

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

– Rei

Joshua 1

Joshua 1:9
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
After the death of Moses, God speaks to Joshua and anoints him to be the one to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land the LORD has prepared for them. God reminds Joshua that He will be with him every step of the way, the way He was with Moses before him. God reminds Joshua to obey all the instructions that Moses gave him and to continually study the book of the law that Moses gave him. Finally, God drives home the point to Joshua “to be strong and courageous.” -(Those words were spoken at least 3 times to Joshua in verses 6,7, and 9).
Life has its many trials, but we as God’s people are called to be strong and courageous.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
As Joshua begins to lead the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the land God has prepared for them, there is surely going to be trials coming his way. So God calls him to be strong and courageous. How does he do that? By remaining strong in his faith in God, trusting God’s word and direction for him, and total submission and obedience to God’s ways. Now that takes strength and courage!
Life Application
 Living a life that is strong and courageous requires abiding with Jesus (through prayer, reading His Word, and obeying the prompting of His Holy Spirit).
Life is hard enough as it is. Why make it even more difficult by trying to get through it on our own. Why not trust in someone who already conquered all of it?..Jesus!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Thank You Jesus for always being by my side. Thank You for giving me the strength and courage to make it through each day. Please forgive me for straying from You at times and trying to do life on my own. I know now that I can’t do it without You. Help me to remain humble and submit to Your ways. May You continue to give me the strength and courage to fulfill Your will. In Your name Jesus I pray these things, Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Moses Gaddi

James 5


James 5:16
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.


In this last chapter of the epistle written by the brother of the Lord, James covers three issues.

He begins the chapter by condemning the selfish rich who oppress the poor, hoard their wealth and exploit their workers. He warns them that their self-indulgent lifestyle is a recipe for ruin and judgment. James then encourages the believers to be patient and steadfast as they wait for the Lord’s coming; even in the face of suffering. He lifts up Job and the prophets of old as examples of those who have been blessed as they persevered. He cautions regarding grumbling against one another and invites the brothers to deal with each other in the simplicity of honesty and integrity. Finally, James gives exhortation and examples of how to operate in fervent and effectual prayer. He spotlights Elijah’s ministry of power and miracles as an example to follow; closing the chapter and book by pointing out the profit and blessing of turning a sinning brother or sister back to the faith.


Elijah was nothing special

As I read the biblical accounts of those who performed great exploits and miraculous deeds, it’s easy to look at them as a select handful of people to whom God gave special wisdom, insight, courage and strength; supernatural gifts and empowerment that was only available to the elite – those few whom God culled out of the heard and anointed unto these mighty deeds. Yet James points out that Elijah, perhaps the boldest and most dynamic prophet of the Old Testament, and one who would surely qualify as one of the super-saints described above, was a mere human being. This prophet who challenged and defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, who defied evil Ahab and Jezebel, and whose prayers held back the rain from the skies, was nothing special; no different than any one of us. His only qualification was that he was willing to say yes to the call of God on His life. He had no special ability other than availability. All of the righteousness that made every miracle, every healing, every display of God’s power possible – even resurrection from the dead! – was provided by God to a surrendered servant. It reiterates the tried and true statement that God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.

Life Application

I can be as special as was Elijah

This truth is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it encourages me to know that, as I live a life that aligns me with the perfect will of God, I can position myself to be used by God in ways as miraculous as those chronicled in the pages of scripture. Yet, on the other hand, I am now without excuse; other than my own laziness, apathy and sin, for the reason why God’s power is not moving in and through me. Since I, like Elijah, qualify as a mere human being, I pray that I would believe, obey and act with the same faith he exercised that allowed God to bring such glory to His great Name.

John 14:12
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker