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 10

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Scripture

Exodus 10:2

that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

Observation – What does it say?

God’s purpose in hardening Pharaoh’s heart and performing all these great signs, was that the Israelites would have a testimony to share with the generations to come and that they would know that he is God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s will is for his people to share the testimony of how he has demonstrated his love and power.

One thing I felt God impress on my heart toward the end of our month of prayer and fasting is the need for testimonies to be shared. God has done amazing things in the lives of those in our church family! Healing bodies and hearts, supernaturally providing financially, speaking through visions and dreams, and many other things. And it’s his will for you and me to share those stories!

In Mark 5, Jesus delivered a man who was possessed by a ‘legion’ of demons. The man’s life was completely changed. And when he begged Jesus to go with him afterward, Jesus told him no. Instead Jesus gave him the assignment of going home and telling his friends and family what God had done for him. What the man did next is incredible.

Mark 5:20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Decapolis means 10 cities. He couldn’t keep his testimony to himself or even to just his family! He had experienced God’s power and love in such a life transforming way that he had to share it with the world!

Life Application

How did God save you?

What has he done in your life recently?

When you have the answer, go tell someone!

God, may we be like the man in Mark 5. May we give you glory by sharing about all the things you have done for us and continue to do. And as we do, may it cause people to be amazed by you, to be drawn to you, and for their faith to be ignited. Amen.

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



Exodus 9

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Scripture

Exodus 9:16

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Observation – What does it say?

God declares through Moses that he could have easily destroyed Pharaoh and all the people of Egypt by now. But he has kept Pharaoh in power for a reason, to reveal to Pharaoh his greater power and to cause his name and reputation to be spread throughout the world.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Pharaoh thought he was the one in control. He thought he was the one with power over God’s people and had the final word on whether or not they would leave. But what he didn’t realize was that God was playing him like a game piece on his chess-board. Pharaoh, like every human being, had free will. But God, knowing how he would choose to use that freedom, positioned him in this specific time and place to be used for his glory.

God is always in control, working everything together for his glory.
Even when people think they have power and authority, they are still subject to God who is Lord over all.

Life Application

Don’t fear men! God is ultimately in control.

When looking at those in positions of authority and leadership around the world, it’s easy to get discouraged and to live in fear. But God is the Lord of Hosts. He is sovereign over all the hosts of men and is ultimately in control. Certain people may think they are in control and have power, but God is the one who gave them the power and will take it away when he pleases.

God, I put my trust in you today! Although there are wicked people in positions of authority, I believe that you are in control and using every one of them for your glory! Amen.
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Exodus 8

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Scripture

Exodus 8:19

…the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.

Observation – What does it say?

The magicians spoken of here are not like many of those performing in Vegas today who use illusion and slight of hand to wow people. Pharaoh’s magicians used ‘secret arts,’ and were summoning other spiritual powers to produce counterfeit miracles. Up until this point the magicians had attempted to recreate the same miracles of God by their ‘secret arts’ and been somewhat successful. I say somewhat because their staffs turned into snakes but were eaten by Aaron’s, and they were able to make frogs come up out of the Nile but they couldn’t make them leave! By the time the plague of gnats came, they couldn’t produce gnats and they finally realized, “This is the finger of God!” They recognized a greater power. And from this moment forward, they gave up trying to see if the demonic powers they were tapping into were as powerful as the God of Moses and Aaron.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Pharaoh is a picture of our enemy the Devil. He tries to keep God’s people in slavery, close to him, so they can’t go worship God. Despite witnessing all the beauty and greatness and wonders of God, he is incapable of repentance. His heart will always remain hard toward God and he will always seek to keep people in bondage. However…

Those who serve Satan are capable of recognizing the power of God and giving him glory.

After this exclamation of the magicians, we don’t read of any more attempts to use their secret arts. They seem to have given up once they recognized the activity of God among them.

Acts 8:9-13 records the story of a man named Simon the Sorcerer. With his sorcery, he amazed all the people and had a great following. But Phillip, a follower of Jesus, came to town preaching about Jesus and many believed and were baptized, including Simon.

Acts 8:13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

Many of those who get involved in demonic stuff (psychic powers, summoning the dead, witchcraft, the occult, etc) are drawn in by the power in the spiritual realm and often the sense of control it gives them over people. But I have heard of many stories of these people giving their lives to Christ. When God moves in power through his followers, these people are astonished by the great signs and miracles, recognize a greater power at work, renounce their ways and turn to Jesus!

Life Application

Pray for those modern day ‘magicians’ to recognize a greater power and to turn to Jesus!

Father, you are the Almighty God! Thank you for choosing to move in power through us your servants. Fill us with increased faith that we may witness an increase in great signs and miracles. God, reveal yourself, your power and great love, to those serving Satan. We know you love all men and desire that none should perish but all come to repentance. Help us not to fear those who serve Satan, but to love them as you do and to pray for their salvation. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 7

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Scripture

Exodus 7:6

Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them.

Observation – What does it say?

God tells Moses at the end of the last chapter to speak to Pharaoh. But again Moses complains to God about his weakness as a public speaker as though it disqualified him for the task God assigned him. But although he had reservations, he and his older brother Aaron obeyed God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Regardless of reservations and hesitations, God’s people should obey him.

No one would know about Moses or admire him today if he had held onto his excuses. The fact that Moses and Aaron did exactly as the Lord commanded them even though they had fears is what led to God using them in such powerful ways.

This reminds me of a conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter.

Luke 5:4-6

When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

Like Moses, Simon Peter thought Jesus’ idea wasn’t going to yield the best results. They had been fishing all night and hadn’t caught anything. Yet, Peter ended up with a crazy testimony of what God can do through simple obedience because he was willing to obey despite his reservations.

Life Application

Let go of my fears and reservations and obey God!

Recently I discovered our financial situation at home isn’t as good as I thought it was. I’ve been feeling the need to cut back and have been cringing at the thought of having to spend money. And yet, the other day I sensed God asking me to give someone money. I’ve been wrestling with that thought, and after reading this today I know I need to give anyway and trust that God knows what he is doing.

God, help us to trust you! May we be a people that walk in radical obedience to you. Today we release to you our fears, concerns, reservations and hesitations. Use us in powerful ways as we simply obey you. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 6

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Scripture

Exodus 6:9

 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

Observation – What does it say?

God delivers an incredibly encouraging word to the Israelites, but they missed it because they were too discouraged and focused on their present trials.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Don’t miss God’s word to you because you are too focused on your discouragement.

This word had incredible potential to lift the spirit’s of God’s people! It was filled with encouragement, hope and promise of freedom to come. But, the Israelites stayed discouraged because they weren’t willing to receive it.

Contrast the story of Elisha and his servant in 2 Kings 6. They were surrounded by an army that was there to kill them. Elisha’s servant was freaked out, certain they would die. Then Elisha asks the Lord, “Open his eyes that he may see.” And suddenly the servant sees that the hillsides are filled with horses and chariots of fire. As the enemy came to attack Elisha, God delivered them into his hands.

In both stories, God saved his people from their enemies. And in both stories, God offered his people encouragement that the battle was his. The difference between Elisha’s servant and the Israelites though, is that Elisha’s servant was able to enjoy the ride. He looked away from the enemy long enough to see the hills filled with chariots of fire. The Israelites on the other hand, refused to look up from their harsh labor to receive the word of encouragement from God.

Life Application

Listen to what God is saying!

It’s always easy to focus on the trials, the lack of fruit, the things still left undone and the prayers that still seem to be unanswered. But instead, look to God, his word, his promises, and ask him what he is saying about what is to come.
God, forgive us for the times we are like the Israelites. Forgive us for choosing to give in to our discouragement and missing out on living the life of rejoicing and peace you intend for us. We look up to you today. We remind ourselves that you are for us and that the story ends well. May we hear and receive your words of encouragement and comfort and promise. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 5

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Scripture

Exodus 5:23

“Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Observation – What does it say?

God informed the Israelite elders, through Moses and Aaron, that he had heard their cries and was going to deliver them from slavery. The elders were encouraged and believed God and fell down and worshipped. But then, before the deliverance came, things got worse. Pharaoh used to provide straw for the Israelites to make bricks, but after Moses and Aaron asked him to let the Israelites go, he stopped providing straw but forced them to make the same amount of bricks. Then they were beaten for not being able to meet their quotas. As a result everyone is discouraged and Moses is crying out to God and complaining that this isn’t what anyone expected.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The faith of God’s children gets tested as they wait for him to fulfill his promises.

Just as God revealed to Moses and then to the Israelites his plan to rescue them, he reveals parts of his plans to his children today… He gives them dreams and visions of being used by him in significant ways, he gives them prophetic words about how they will lead great ministries, be used by God to save many lost souls, or see God restore broken loved ones and relationships.

But there is always a period of time between God telling us what he plans to do and us actually seeing him do it. A waiting time. What we catch a glimpse into here in chapter 5 is the Israelites discovering that there is a waiting time. And we see that it isn’t easy! What happens when they try to reconcile the fact that things might seem to be getting worse instead of better? Things seem to be drifting away from the promise rather than toward it?
Pharaoh, a picture of our enemy the Devil, said, “Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” That’s exactly what the enemy desires in the waiting time. He wants us to get focused on the challenges and to convince us that God is a liar. But as we read the rest of the story we discover who the real liar is! And we discover that God is faithful to his promises, 100% of the time!

This reminds me of Abraham being promised a son. Talk about a long testing season where he and Sarah had to wait for Isaac to be born. But eventually God came through as he always does, at just the perfect time!

Life Application

As I wait for God’s promises for my life and for DSC to be fulfilled, don’t get discouraged!

God, I recognize that the enemy wants to convince me that I should pay no attention to your promises, that they are lies. But I choose to believe that you are faithful! I choose to look to you and worship in the waiting time. And, I choose to celebrate what you are doing rather than focus on any lack. Bless everyone of your children who is holding on to a promise from you with renewed and increased faith in the waiting time. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 4

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Scripture

Exodus 4:10

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

Observation – What does it say?

God has appeared to Moses in the burning bush and informed Moses that he has chosen him to be the one to lead his people out of Egypt. Moses expresses 2 fears in a row. “What if they don’t listen to me or believe me?” and “This seems like a public speaking job and I’m not good at speaking in front of people.” After this he finally asks God to send someone else. But, in the end, God still uses him.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God uses ordinary people, despite their fear and insecurities, to fill great roles in his great plan.

Before we put Moses on a pedestal because of all God did through his life, it’s important to recognize that he started out like everyone else – fearful and insecure, unable to reconcile God’s great call on their life with all their weaknesses and issues.
Here, Moses is really resisting the call of God on his life. God just showed him two crazy miracles turning his staff into a snake and then his hand leprous and back clean again. I can’t believe that instead of at least saying, “Wow, God! That’s incredible!” the first thing out of his mouth is a complaint about his speech problem. Even with the miracles, (not to mention the audible voice coming from a burning bush!) Moses still doesn’t trust that God will supply all he needs for this mission. But, praise God that it’s not in his character to give up on people so quickly and move to someone else! God still used Moses despite his whining and resistance, to lead the Israelites out of slavery.

This is what God does all throughout scripture! He turned whiny Moses into the leader of a nation. He turned discouraged and Christ-denying Peter into a rock he would build his church on. He turned timid Timothy into a great leader and pastor. And he still does the same thing with his followers today.

Life Application

Praise God for using me despite my fear and insecurities! Believe that by his power at work within me I will fill a great role in his plan!

Also, there is someone he brought to mind who I know is wondering how God could use them in a significant way. I am going to call them today and encourage them with this scripture.

God, thank you for using average people like me who struggle with fear and insecurity to be used by you in great ways! Thank you for the ways you have filled me with courage and shown me that you are with me. Please fill your church with courage to be obedient to you despite their fears. And, give me the words to say today as I make this phone call. Amen.
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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.
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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.
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