Bible Reading Plan
bible
Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
 
 
 
How To Soul Journal
pencil
 
soulj
 
divider
Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

1 Corinthians 9

Scripture  1 Corinthians 9:26-27   Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;  but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

 

Observation-What does it say?  In chapter eight and nine, Paul discusses our use of liberty as Christians.  Throughout the new testament, we find that we have freedom from the law, but we are not to use the freedom as an opportunity or an excuse to continue in sin (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16).  In chapter nine, Paul expounds on this idea, making sure we know that our behavior should be geared at building up the body of Christ. In the end, he uses the example of competing to show the extent of our calling to discipline, as one who competes lets go of everything that would hinder him from gaining a prize.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  In our world of sports today, we see people going to extreme lengths to be known as the greatest.  Baseball players have filled their bats with cork, pumped themselves full of steroids, and even banged on trash cans to gain a slight advantage.  There are stories of runners hoping in cabs to get to the finish of marathons faster. Then there are characters like Lance, who involved a whole team of doctors, trainers, and teammates to hide a system of illegal injections.  In the end, a lot of these people have been stripped of their titles and left us to wonder if there is any integrity anymore.  

 

But then, every once in a while, there are other characters that come out of the sports world who repair our hope.  The Tillman’s and the DiMaggio’s, who gave up the fanfare to serve their country. There are also countless others who, through coaching and volunteering, have taught us to place others in front of ourselves.

 

As we draw near to Christ, Paul is encouraging us to have integrity in our walk.  We are called to let go of all distractions as we run to Him. But, not just consider this as a means for our benefit, we must acknowledge that the way we live affects the outcome of other’s.  Let us not turn others away from the gospel by living in a way that diminishes God’s grace (Philippians 2:3-4).

 

Life Application  Jesus, I’m sorry for where I have allowed my liberty to cause people to stumble.  Help me to trust in your calling on my life. Give me strength where I am weak, and grace when I need it.  Let me always tell the gospel story with my actions, and help me to line up my words with that.    


-Tyler Galloway



1 Corinthians 8

Scripture 

1 Corinthians 8:9,12,13

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak…12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

Observation

The Apostle Paul continuing his letter to the church at Corinth walks this particular church through a difficult topic that was causing division and strife within the fellowship of believers. The church was trying to figure out its position on the consumption of foods that had been dedicated to idols(false gods). 

Understanding 

I had to read and re-read this particular chapter. This is how I understand it. 

 

It is about God’s love.

It is not about being right.

 

He points out that the “more mature” Christians of the church are not wrong. They followed the true God- in their hearts food dedicated to idols had no power over them! However, the early church had members who had not built themselves up to this level of thought. To them watching their big brother or big sister Christians eat this type of food confused them. In their confusion they were also hurt. Again not because of any right way of thinking but because that was their level of growth in Christ.

In verse 12, the apostle Paul makes it very clear, when you sin against a brother or sister in Christ in this way, and wound their weak conscience you sin against Christ!

Is that not a sobering conclusion? 

Life Application 

Living in community isn’t always easy. In fact I would be so bold as to say it is hard.

In verse 1 of the same chapter Paul teaches us that “knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” And so here is my prayer:

Lord as my relationship and knowledge of you deepens,

May my exercise of that knowledge always be

Couched in Love, Love, Love.

May I be willing to sacrifice my rights

For the sake of those whom I love,

For the sake of Your kingdom,

For the sake of Your Love, Love, Love.

 

Love You Jesus,

Kenneth Lee

 



Psalm 138

Scripture

 

Psalms‬ ‭138:7-8‬ ‭

 

“Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
This is another psalm of King David. A psalm where he gives thanks and praise to God for His goodness and faithfulness. No matter how dire David’s situation was, he chose to give thanks and praise to God. David knew all too well from experience of God’s faithfulness, so he chose to give God all his praise and glory through all the good times and even the troubling times in his life. At the end of the day, God is in control, and God is good!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Trust God no matter what!
 
David was considered to be a man after God’s own heart. He was a man of faith. His life showed it. From the faith he had when he was just a shepherd boy, to be able to defeat the MIGHTY Goliath! To his stressful times of being chased by Saul, hiding in caves, fearing for his life. Then even when David messed up in life and slept with a married woman Bathsheba, got her pregnant, plotted and killed her husband, tried to hide his sin, and then faced God’s punishment for it-(the child that Bathsheba had from David’s adultery died)…David trusted God and accepted whatever came his way. Even as King, David knew who was truly King. He knew without God, none of the things he had experienced in life would be possible. God was and will always be…in control.
 
Life Application
 
Seek God’s purpose through life’s struggles.
 
God did not remove all of David’s troubles in life even though David may have cried out for God to do so. We aren’t supposed to treat God like that genie in a lamp who grants all of our wishes. We have to understand that sometimes God will take us out of trouble, but more often than not, God will keep us in it, but He is always there with us, walking us through it. God’s main purpose for us isn’t our own personal comfort. God’s main purpose for us is for us to be more like Christ. So whatever situation we may be in, understand this, God is trying to grow you in your faith. He is molding you into the person He is calling you to be. It is part of our life’s process (sanctification) till Jesus calls us home. 😊
‬‬
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”-Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬
 
So whenever life’s troubles are weighing you down, look up! Seek God! Seek God’s purpose for you through it. And I’m confident, like David, that God too will give you the strength, boldness, and courage to face it all. And you will be all the better and stronger because of it! 👍🏽
‭‭
-Moses Gaddi


1 Corinthians__6

Scripture
 
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
 
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is speaking to the Corinthian church who have given themselves over to idols and to the flesh and approving of those who do these things as well. Sin was rampant in the church and they were doing the very things that Christ came to die and save them from. Paul was exhorting the church specifically on the practices of sexual immorality in this chapter/section of his letter.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
 
I never truly understood what this meant until I taught in kids church about King Solomon building the temple for the Lord in the book of 1 Kings in the Old Testament. The physical temple was made from the best materials and where the presence of God was to be found. It was also where the ark of the covenant was moved. Anyhow, after Jesus came, we no longer needed a physical building or temple to house God’s presence. God’s presence, through the Holy Spirit, is able to live inside each one of us after submitting our lives to Christ! We are the Temple! This is why we are to keep it pure.
 
Life Application
 
We are the temple for the Holy Spirit to reside in. What are we putting inside of our temples?
 
Many people who eat healthy and exercise regularly use our bodies as being the temple of the Lord as the reason for the importance of doing those disciplines. While I’m not disagreeing with that, in context of Scripture, Paul is talking about sexual immorality. 
 
Just like King Solomon built the temple with only the best materials and it was so beautiful, we must take care of our bodies by keeping it pure. We must guard our hearts and minds and FLEE from sexual immorality. We are to honor the Lord with our bodies and use them for His purposes alone. We are not our own and Jesus bought us with a price, as verses 19-20 says.
 
If you are struggling with lust, fleshly desires or sexual immorality, please confess it to Jesus right away and ask for His help to conquer it. Tell another trusted Spirit filled believer about it to keep you accountable and also pray for/with you. I also want to take away the stigma that it’s only a struggle that men face in the church, because I personally know and knew of several women who also struggle(d) with it. Any shame or even justification associated with sexual immorality is the devil’s attempt for it to be kept hidden in the dark. Complete healing comes when we bring sin to light, so please invite Jesus into that darkness and impurity. Let us all have clean and pure temples for the Holy Spirit to dwell in! He deserves the best because He gave us His best, plus more!
 
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.””
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭5:9-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!….But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:15, 17-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Blessed are the PURE in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_136

Scripture:

Psalm 136:4-6

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
 

Observation:

Psalm 136 is a special Psalm, with each one of its 26 verses repeated the phrase, His mercy endures forever. Psalm 118 repeated that phrase five times, and through the Hebrew Scriptures the phrase has somewhat of a liturgical sense to it, as if the assembled people of Israel said or sung it in response to the direction of the Levites leading singing and worship. Ezra 3:11 indicates that this phrase was part of a responsive singing among God’s people: And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”

 

The phrase is used several other times in the Old Testament, each time in the context of some kind of public praise or declaration. The phrase, His mercy endures forever was used:

 

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-136/

 

Understanding:

Two things stand out to me: 1) a reminder of who God is – the one who alone does great wonders, made heaves and created this spinning Earth we’re standing on; and 2) His unchanging nature. Whether the version you read said “His love endures forever” or “His mercy endures forever,” one thing remains…His nature does not change.
 

Life Application:

Just as they did in David’s time, let’s declare God’s enduring, unchanging love and mercy. We don’t have to necessarily sing it in response…but let’s live as if we believe it and be purposeful about sharing that love/mercy with others. Therefore, go… <3

 

It’s a new month, may we be on mission today.
– Rei


1 Corinthians 4

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

 

Observation-What does it say?  As Paul opens his letter to the church in Corinth, he is dealing with the pride that has built up within them.  This pride, though, has taken on a distinct form, as they have divided themselves up into cliques. There were those who claimed to follow after Paul’s teaching or Apollos’ teaching.  The city of Corinth was near Athens and, much like Athenians, they took pride in their supposed intellectual superiority. Their proclivity to these things has shown they are still holding to the world’s way of thinking.  Additionally, it has made them ineffective in sharing the message of Christ, as they are not welcoming to others who do not share their point of view. Paul uses sarcasm in the later half of this chapter to display their behavior and attitude.  They were in need of a lesson in humility.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  We live in a world filled with “haves and have nots.”  What I mean by this, is all around us people are trying to fit into some sort of elite group of something.  Whether that group involves having the nicest of things, or being the best at your pursuit, almost all of us want to have something that someone else has not.  

 

For the longest time, my pursuit of being an elite was in the world of running, I wanted to be a “Boston Qualifier.”  While thousands of people run the Boston Marathon every year, many don’t know that there is a qualification process. The Boston Marathon has long been an event that sought the elite competition in the world.  There are two ways to “qualify” for Boston. The first way to qualify is by being a part of a charity group, essentially securing your spot through fundraising a large sum of money, or buying your way in like a cheater.  The second way, the real way, to qualify is to run a marathon in a certain time for your gender and age bracket and enter your name into the lottery pool. And the faster you run, the more likely you are to be selected.  

 

I wanted so badly to be part of the group that qualified by merit of time.  I would often talk about how “Finishers Medals” were making the sport of running less legitimate, and watering down the quality of competition.  I would go on to talk about how slow people shouldn’t be allowed to buy their way into elite events. Then my wife would look at me with disdain, as she cherished her finishers medals.  Having never been a competitive runner, she holds those as proof that she conquered a monumentally difficult task. Needless to say, she didn’t appreciate my elitist attitude.

 

The incredible thing about our redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross, is no one can earn it.  It can not be bought, worked for, cheated for, or held as a means of elite status. We know from John 3:16 that Christ loved the whole world so much he was willing to die.  In Ephesians, Paul writes this idea in a very concise way.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).  

 

Life Application  God, help me to let go of any pride that would hinder your message.  May I not hold myself in high regard because of any bit of minutia, like denomination, church building, or status within any organization.  Help me to only boast in Christ and the cross. May my life be an extension of your love.  


-Tyler Galloway


Song of Songs 8

Scripture 

Song of Solomon 8:5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness

    leaning on her beloved?

Observation 

Total trust and dependence 

Understanding 

We all have experienced times of being in the wilderness, circling around the same mountain again and again. Some of us have experienced being in the desert, dry and scorched, nothing in sight, and it seems the end is so far off. 

There are many things we can do while being in the wilderness . We can complain, get mad, make our own idols, or even just lie down and die. 

But  I am convinced that He is hoping we will turn to him. 

Maybe sometimes the wilderness is not just a bad place, maybe it was supposed to be a place of transition. A place of “reboot”, a place of “start over” and “clean the slate”. 

Maybe it was supposed to be a place of getting closer to the One who delivered you from slavery, sin. 

Maybe It’s the middle place between freedom and new beginnings. It’s the place where your communication barrier is gone and now there is nothing to keep you from having intimate communion with him. 

Maybe it’s the place where He is calling for you to come up the mountain to meet him face to face. 

Will you call on Him? 

Will you choose to see Him?

How will you come out of the desert? With regret because you didn’t go deeper, with sadness because you could have seen his face and chose to hide?

Will you come out scorned,

mad, 

never acknowledging the manna that was sent down 

or the water that came from the rock?

What will you do?

Life Application 

Choose to Lean

I love the way the scripture asks the question, who is coming up from the wilderness? 

I imagine they looked different coming out than when they went in. Isn’t that the point? For you to be changed! 

When you enter the wilderness, God calls to you, 

you experience him, 

your transformed.

Then when you come out of the wilderness, 

You look different! 

Israel experienced God while they were in the wilderness!

Moses met with Yahweh face to face while he was in the wilderness!

Elijah was in the wilderness when he heard God whisper!

The second part of the scripture takes notice that they are leaning on their beloved. When you lean on someone you trust them, you depend on them, you find comfort in them. 

When you walked in the wilderness with anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, control, pride… You did not lean on God. 

When you are in the wilderness, the harsh or dry times of life, call on Him. Go to his word. Seek Godly counsel from fellow believers in your church family. Choose to walk toward the things of His world and not ours. 

No one can be in the presence of God and not be changed. The more we walk closer to him the more we will change. 

And when you come up from the wilderness, Will you be leaning?
 
Deborah Lee


Psalm 133

Scripture

Psalm 133:1

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.
 

Observation

The person writing this psalm extends the idea that the body of believers are to live together in unity to be effective. Additionally, they extend that unity leads to goodness in the presence of others, rather than stress and anxiety.
 

Understanding

Goodness follows unity.

Recently I’ve discovered something truly wild: relationships take work (SAY WHAAAT?!). How crazy is that? So I find it kind of ironic that this verse mentions the goodness and pleasantness of living in unity, while not saying whether or not that’s easy. I know that’s not the point of the verse to tell us whether it is easy or difficult, but the point is: the work is well worth it. Take it from someone who thought relationships with people were kind of cliche, shallow, and necessary. Another thing to note here to… although we say or identify with a specific ministry or group within that ministry. As Pastor Gary mentioned a few Sundays ago: ministry is simply a chore in being a part of the family.

What does that mean, you may be wondering. Well let’s put it this way: it isn’t just a job to do on a Sunday. Serving goes way beyond that, and I would like to tie that in with today’s verse. Ministry goes ways beyond a single person or the job they execute. When ministry is run effectively being God’s people is so pleasant! Paul calls that the body of Christ an actual body that needs all its body parts. That after you’ve put in the hard work to achieve unity, goodness wherever you go will surely follow.
 

Life Application

I implore you to please look past your area of ministry as just a one and done deal. Jesus did not say that, that is what being a Christ follower is about, he and his disciples demonstrated it. The application of this verse is definitely easier said than actually done: be good to your fellow Christ followers. Put in the work and effort in getting to know them because God placed you in a particular situation for a reason. Most of the time that is to learn and grow from those around you. Let’s stand as one united front!

-Allison Khan


Song of Songs 6

Scripture
 
Song of Songs 6:3
 
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon) is a celebration of love between a husband and wife, most specifically King Solomon with a Shulamite woman. It is a beautiful picture of marriage, where a husband and wife love each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The marriage relationship between King Solomon (aka lover) and his Shulamite wife (beloved) is a direct picture of how Christ loves us, His church, His bride.
 
Life Application
 
I am Christ’s beloved and Christ is mine.
 
Even as a married woman, some parts of the Song of Songs makes me blush because of the written account of the intensity of the love relationship between the lover and his beloved. However, that is the purest form of love there is within the context of marriage.
 
In parallel, Christ’s relationship with us, His bride, is the most intense and relentless love story there is. God loved us to the point of leaving His throne in Heaven to die so that He could have a relationship with us.
 
Just as we are to protect the sanctity (or purity/holiness) of our marriages, we must continue to live in the truth of God’s deep love for us and protect it against the enemy’s attempts to destroy it. Living in the purity of God’s love is what changes people. It’s what changed me.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
References: gotquestions.org and christianity.com (Matthew Henry commentary-Song of Solomon 6)


Romans_16

Scripture:

Romans 16:20

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Observation:

“God’s given us mighty weapons to live life in victory, to stomp on the devil and walk mightily…”

Understanding:

God is still bigger, stronger, mightier, more powerful than Satan. And, knowing that, He becomes our God of peace and grace – graciously loving us towards better versions of ourselves and providing peace beyond understanding despite whatever circumstances may arise.
 

Life Application:

We just need to live in this knowledge. Despite what may surround you, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” and He is with us ALWAYS.
“…So put on the full armor and don’t be afraid no more, no, no more. Cause you’ve been chosen by the Mighty One and now it’s time for war.”
 
Rei
PS I’d include a link for the song I referenced…but I’ve not been able to find one. Call me and I’ll sing it to you. 🙂 An awesome anthem to walk through the day repeating.
UPDATED: Check out the link here -> https://soundcloud.com/hanslerch/05-mighty-weapons