Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
August 24: Ezekiel 5, John 18, Psalm 80
 
 
How To Soul Journal
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soulj
 
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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!
 

Psalm 124

Application 

Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Observation 

Psalm 124. A song of ascents. A special song that was sung by pilgrims as they ascended uphill or as the priests climbed up the steps of the temple. 

1 If the Lord had not been on our side—

    let Israel say—

2 if the Lord had not been on our side

    when people attacked us,

3 they would have swallowed us alive

    when their anger flared against us;

4 the flood would have engulfed us,

    the torrent would have swept over us,

5 the raging waters

    would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,

    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird

    from the fowler’s snare;

the snare has been broken,

    and we have escaped.

Understanding 

There were so many times in my life when I would have been swallowed alive by fear or swept away by a flood of anxiety. If it had not been for the LORD, I would not be here today, I would not be here today serving Him. 

When I was a little girl left alone at night, I called out to him for help and he sent people to me. 

When I was a young adolescent lying in my bed scared, hyperventilating, and filled with disappointment, as my drunk father finally came home, breaking another promise, I called out to Him for help and I was instantly filled with peace. 

When I was 23 and waking up yet again with my stomach in knots, wondering if I would ever be free from the anxiety that had plagued me all my life, I called out to Him for help, and I when I awoke the next day, it was gone. 

When I realized my life was a mess from my own doing, I asked Him to come into my heart and be my savior, to forgive me of my sins. I asked Him for help to transform my life and he led me to Desert Streams Church. I went to every service, every class, every prayer meeting. I served, built relationships with people, and was discipled. I asked him for help and he saved me. 

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Application 

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Think of the times that you have needed help and he has saved you. He saved you. He will save you again and again. 

I think it is interesting that this psalm is called a song of ascent, meaning they sang this song as they went up to a higher elevation. 

Some of us are going through a hard time and cannot see how the LORD can help us. I think worship takes us to a higher elevation in the spirit. 

They started out singing the song as they climbed. At the end of the song they declare where their help comes from and who he is. 

Let worship take you to a higher elevation and when you get to the top declare where your help comes from!

Deborah Lee 



Romans__8

Scripture

Romans 8:36-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 

Observation

As Paul continues writing to the Romans, he seeks the opportunity to proclaim the Good News to them. Additionally, he extends the idea that freedom is granted to those who are in Christ, and that they are no longer slaves to their past selves. Instead, they are heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, and nothing can separate them from the great love of God.
 

Understanding

Freedom is FREE!

Ever since we read this passage during the fast I have gone back to it several times. Each time I read it I find myself getting so excited over the words that Paul so beautifully writes. He paints a wonderful picture at the end of this chapter too. The idea that once I am adopted into the sonship nothing can separate me from it. There’s one dilemma I find in this passage though. Somewhere along the way we are in this cyclical relationship of bondage and freedom. A relationship that we have created and placed on ourselves. Like Paul says in this passage you are free! However, actually grasping that core belief and living in it is a lot different than just saying it.

Here’s the main point I want to sit on before practically giving ways to living in freedom: freedom is paid for and there’s no “return policy.” Once it is granted and atoned for there is no reason to feel like you have to give it back or it has to be re-earned after you mess up (because let’s be real, we all mess up along the way). But the Bible says that:

God raised us up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 2:6

Meaning, we are seated at the right hand of the Father, and therefore nothing can come between us and His love. That is why Paul and we can be so sure that nothing is too hard for God’s love to overcome, and although we may be persecuted by this world God offers us part of His. Paul calls us “more than conquerors.” We don’t just come and conquer, but we are granted immeasurably more.
 

Life Application

How exactly do we walk in this amazing freedom?

  1. We have to know who are in Christ. This is only possible by reading His Word daily and being in constant communication with the one who made us.
  2. We must recognize that God is the one who is able, and we are simply to act in obedience with our own willingness. Sure, freedom is free and the most liberating feeling, but it doesn’t make you the ultimate earthly person. Instead this freedom is meant to empower you to carry out God’s will.
  3. Lastly, we must share this freedom with others. God doesn’t just want us to hoard all this freedom and love to ourselves. He longs for others to become “more than conquerors” as well.

When life seems difficult most of the time that means you are headed in God’s direction. Resistance means the enemy is scared, but you can rest assured that nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus. It’s free, paid for, and ready to be consumed by us.

-Allison Khan
 


Romans__7

Scripture

Romans 7:16-25-

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Observation-What does it say?
 

Paul is talking about the battle between his flesh and his Spirit. They wage war against each other.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus is our Rescuer and the One who gives us hope to overcome our fleshly desires.

Jesus lived the verse, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).” His obedience on the cross despite His own inward struggles as a man, is why we are able to conquer and defeat sin and death as well!

Life Application
 

When tempted to sin, RUN (don’t walk), to the One who rescues us from it-Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

I had a friend who used the above verses from Paul out of context to justify her sin of lust and having premarital sex with her boyfriend. I know someone who blamed the devil for a heinous crime he committed that landed him in prison. The first woman Eve, who we all descended from, blamed the serpent for eating the fruit, but God still held her personally responsible for her own actions and choice to sin.
 
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15 NIV
 

At one of our ministry leader’s meetings, Pastor basically broke down the above verse and said that we can’t blame the devil for acts that we do because it was our own evil desire that enticed us. The devil tempts, but he can’t make us do anything. Our own evil desires are what entice us away. So how do we defeat these evil desires?

Here are the 5 things that help me because yes, I am human and get tempted also. No one is exempt. Not even Jesus was.

  1. Run to Jesus and confess it. Don’t continue to meditate on it and don’t run away from Jesus due to shame. He understands temptation because He was tempted the same way we are. Confess to the Lord that you need His help. The Holy Spirit always comes through.
  2. Run to God’s Word. Encourage yourself away from the temptation through His truths. God’s Word is our offensive weapon against the evil one’s attacks. We must wash our minds clean daily with the Truth in His Word. Jesus always used God’s Word in the correct context when tempted by the devil and the devil left him.
  3. Put up safeguards to guard your heart and mind. Don’t go closer to the temptation. Run away from it just like Joseph in Genesis 39:12. He RAN away naked leaving his cloak behind when his master’s wife kept tempting him to sleep with her and she started becoming aggressive with it. Joseph’s integrity and pleasing his master (both earthly and in Heaven) was more important than sleeping with that woman.
  4. Remember the consequences of the sin, not the pleasure of it. We usually know the harsh consequences if it was a sin committed in the past or if it was a learned consequence from someone else’s sin.
  5. Confess your struggle to another Spirit filled person to pray for you and even consider going to a Christian counselor if needed. The more we shine light on the darkness, the less likely darkness will overtake and overcome us.

 

We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6)! We are God’s chosen and we are holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12).

Let’s live in that truth!

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Romans_6

Scripture

Romans 6:6-7

 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Observation

From https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-6/

Knowing this, that our old [self] was crucified with Him: The death of the old [self] is an established fact. It happened spiritually when we were identified with Jesus’ death at our salvation.

  1. The old [self]is the self that is patterned after Adam, the part of us deeply ingrained in rebellion against God and His commands. The system of law is unable to deal with the old [self], because it can only tell the old [self] what the righteous standard of God is. The law tries to reform the old [self], to get him to “turn over a new leaf.” But the system of grace understands that the old [self] can never be reformed. He must be put to death, and for the believer the old [self] dies with Jesus on the cross.
  2. The crucifixion of the old [self]is something that God did in us. None of us nailed the old [self] to the cross. Jesus did it, and we are told to account it as being done. “In us there was nothing even to sicken and to weaken our old man, much less to murder him by crucifixion; God had to do this.” (Lenski)
  3. In place of the old [self], God gives the believer a new man– a self that is instinctively obedient and pleasing to God; this aspect of our person is that which was raised with Christ in His resurrection. The New Testament describes the new man for us.
    1. The new man, which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness(Ephesians 4:24).
    2. The new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him(Colossians 3:10).

Understanding

However you want to say it or break it down, the bottom line is [the good news] that we are free in Christ, because of Christ’s death on the cross. 

Able to walk in freedom because of Jesus’s death on the cross.  Surrounded by Him, delivered by Him, liberated…children of God. This is the good news!…and there’s a world needing it, searching for, hungry for it.  So, let’s go share it! 

Life Application

Cool Stuff Does Require Bribing Some Friends. J

May we be purposeful today as we go about – whether within our homes, in our workplaces, schools, when we go to the grocery store…whatever we do, may it be for God.  With a heart bent towards His will, with heart/ears open to hear His voice and eyes open to opportunities to share God’s love with others. 

Rei

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



Romans_5

Scripture  Romans 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

 

Observation-What does it say?  As Paul opens up the letter to the Roman church, we see several instances pointing to our inability to connect with God on our own.  Paul even exposes a prideful attitude within the Roman church, who were in the practice of judging others for actions they were also committing (chapter 2:1-16).  In chapters three and four, Paul encourages them to seek God through faith, like Abraham did, and not to rely on works.  

 

In chapter five, Paul points back to the old testament, comparing Jesus to Abraham.  Paul highlights the foreshadowing of the story of Adam and how it was a metaphor for what Jesus would do through his death on the cross.  Adam, the first man, introduced sin and death into the world by not obeying God’s command. Jesus, the Son of Man, though his obedience to God’s command, reintroduced us to community with God.  But, the grace we receive through Jesus is much more abundant than the death we have in Adam.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I really struggled with English class all throughout school, especially grammar and spelling.  My spelling and grammar were so bad that I failed most of my writing assignments on that alone.  This became very discouraging and made me completely apathetic towards English. But this apathy made me miss out on some of the better parts of writing and stories, like the many literary devices, such as foreshadowing.  As I have gotten older, I love to read a book and be pleasantly surprised when I get towards the end of the book and have the “ah ha” moment. For me, the “ah ha” moment is when I read a sentence and finally realize why something else was written at the beginning.

 

What’s incredible about the Bible, is the amount of “ah ha” moments you can have.  The story, written by so many different authors, over hundreds of years apart, uses all kinds of literary devices to help us understand God’s awesome power and love for us.  In comparing Adam and Jesus, we get a taste of the foreshadowing that is used throughout the old testament. It’s a little glimpse of how much God loves us. He took such care, and paid so much attention to the little details.  

 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8  Before we were even a twinkle in our parents eyes, God planned out how he was going to tell us he loved us.  He orchestrated all the parts, all the players, to make this great story that we get to take part of.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=300&v=7_CGP-12AE0&feature=emb_logo


Life Application  Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for the love you have displayed since before I was aware of it.  Help me to use my life to share this story with those around me.  

 
-Tyler Galloway


Ecclesiastes 5

Scripture 

 

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

 

1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

 

2 Do not be quick with your mouth,

    do not be hasty in your heart

    to utter anything before God.

God is in heaven

    and you are on earth,

    so let your words be few.

 

Observation 

 

God is in the highest heaven and I’m just here on earth.

 

Understanding 

 

God is God and i am not

 

“Go near to listen…”

Listen. 

Listen until He speaks. 

Listen, even though there is silence. 

Do not move away from the silence or get frustrated. 

Let humility cover you and listen… for Him to speak.

 

“Do not be quick…”

Wait. 

Wait. Do not rush to say anything with your mouth or in your heart. 

Wait. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

His ways are higher than our ways.

 

What do i have to say that he hasn’t already heard?

What do i think that he doesn’t already know?

 

Let humility cover you and wait… for Him to speak. 

 

“God is in heaven…”

The creator of the universe is light years and light years away. He transcends time and space and dimensions.  

He created with His words, billions of galaxies and stars and the heavens, and the earth, and all of the millions of creatures… and little ol’, wonderfully made… humans. 

 

God is in heaven and i am not. 

God is God and i am not. 

 

“Let your words be few…”

What do i have to say?

 

I am here LORD.

 

Application 

 

Listening and humility go well together. 

 

Practicing silence and solitude is fairly new for me but something I have been enjoying as I search for spiritual disciplines that will bring me closer to the LORD. 

 

As we get older, many of us realize how little we know about so many things, lol! So weird because when I was younger I just knew everything!

 

When I read these scriptures i felt like humility was poured out over me like warm anointing oil or like a huge warm oversized blanket that covers every part of me. 

 

Oh, how I wish I would have put on humility so much sooner. Even so, I’m so grateful that Father God has allowed me many opportunities to try humility on, and I’m starting to like it, and more and more I feel like I should just wear it all the time. 

 

I feel that listening, being slow to speak and humility go together. Sitting in silence and waiting on Him is more easily done with humility. 

 

The God that is so high above us…came down to be with us… what do you have to say?

 

I am here LORD. 

Deborah Lee 



Psalm 119: 60-119

Scripture

Psalms‬ ‭119:105‬ ‭

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

  

Observation-What does it say? The overall message of Psalm 119 focuses on the truth of God’s Word.  It encourages us through every generation to stay close and focused on His Word no matter what swirls around us in this world. Living in the freedom and knowledge of God’s ways, obeying His law above all else, and keeping in step with His commandments is the only way to truly live wise, strong lives.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
A good acronym for BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
 
God’s Word is powerful, living, and active. It never changes, because He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His words are breathed straight from His heart to us, a love letter for life, not simply an old-fashioned, outdated book with no relevance for today. His Word is sharper than any two-edged sword.
 
Psalm 119 reminds us that God’s very charcter is reflected through His Word, He is Righteous, He is Faithful, He is Unchanging, He is True. The opening 2 verses remind us, that we are “blessed” as we walk in His Truth, and seek Him with our whole heart.
 
“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.-“Psalms 119:v. 1-2
 
Life Application
 
Read God’s Word daily! It is life’s instruction manual.
 
When I was a kid my dad would always encourage me to read my Bible. He would always say, “A chapter a day, keeps the devil away.” I always thought he liked saying that because it rhymes. But there is truth behind it . Staying in God’s Word daily, helps keep me focused on how I should be living my life. It is a light to our path (like the verse I chose today)! So I just want take this time to encourage you all to try some PB&J (Prayer, Bible reading, and Journaling). It is food for your SOUL! 😋
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm 119:1-59

Scripture 

Psalm 119:10-11

10 I seek you with all my heart;

    do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart

    that I might not sin against you.
 

Observation-What does it say?

 
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses in it and if we can sum up this chapter in two words, it would be God’s Word. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is God-breathed, which means it was written by human hands, but by inspiration of our living God. It is only fitting that the longest chapter of His Word speaks about itself.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The Word of God is our instruction manual for life.
 
Just like every toy, electronic, appliance and car has a manual for how it’s supposed to work properly, our Creator left us an instruction manual too for how He designed us to function, and that is His Word. It is not just a history book. The Word of God is living, breathing and active as Hebrews 4:12 states.  It is also our offensive weapon against the enemy’s attacks (Eph. 6:17).
 

Life Application

In order to experience the transforming power of God’s Word in our life, we must read it, study it and apply it to our lives.
 
This is why we encourage you to be in the Word everyday through PB&J and why we have our Soul Journal blog and encourage you all to participate in it. Being in God’s Word is a discipline that is vital to every Believer’s life. It is also important that we apply it to our lives.
 
As James says in ch. 1:22-24, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
 
Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect Word. Thank You that we are free to read it, study it and apply it to our personal lives. I pray we would continually meditate on Your Truth instead of the lies that the enemy and the world throws at us. I pray that if we are living a life contrary to Your Word, that You would bring us back to the Truth through Your Spirit. Thank You that Your Word is a lamp for our feet and a light on our path (Ps. 119:105). Please continue to direct our paths through Your Word. Amen. 
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Ecclesiastes_2

Scripture

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 

Observation

King Solomon seems to be documenting his struggle to find meaning in his life. 

He documents his pursuit of things other than God – projects, houses, properties (even beautiful ones), stuff (from slaves to animals to gold and silver), women, selfish/personal ambition, wisdom, etc.  Yet, he found the pursuit of pleasure to be lacking and “meaningless.” In part this is because it ultimately all ends in death – the great equator, making equal the wise and fool, the rich and the poor, the evil and the good.  [That is, if you believe that life ends when our time on this earth is up.]  He seemed to wrestle with the belief that death defeats all accomplishments and, if true, lends the time here on this earth nothing more than meaningless toil and trying to maintain some sort of positive air despite the despair.

Understanding

These verses struck me because it’s the complete opposite of anything that rings true in my heart.  Yet, it reminds me that there are people out in the world RIGHT NOW searching for meaning, trying everything they can think of to feel fulfillment, people that may be passing along the time in despair. 

The good news, though, is that WE have the answer to what they are searching for.  So, may we be about the mission…

“…to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

…to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve…”

“…everlasting joy [can be] [theirs].”

  • Isaiah 61:1-3, 7

Life Application

I’ve loved the focus on sharing the gospel these last few weeks.  May we embrace and implement what we are learning.  We don’t have to have it perfect; God is great at preparing hearts and taking over our tongue when we don’t know the words.  All we need is obedience and an open heart and eyes to look for, here and respond when God reveals opportunities or presses on our heart.  So, will you take action today?  May we Pray, Invest and Invite; may we be on mission to share God’s love in big and little, tangible and spiritual ways. 

God, thank you for calling me, finding me, pursuing me.  I know you have so many more than you want to encounter, so many more that you want to experience your incredible love.  Show me ways where, how, who you want me to do my part.  Impress upon my heart your heart for those I meet, see or spend time with today.  May I be humbly bold and obedient in my response. 

Rei

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



28 Days 2020: Day 27

Spiritual Battle

 

If we are to operate in victory over the evil one so that we can win the battle for people’s souls there are some things we need to know and do.

Yesteday we talked about putting on the full armor of God.

We also need to pray with faith and power.

We need to remember that the power and authority is from God and not from us so we pray with confidence that it is God at work in and through us.

 

Today I want to end with us realizing or reminding ourselves of who we are.  To be victorious in the fight we must know who we are.

 

Read them out and declare them today and everyday.

  • I am a child of God.  John 1:12
  • I am a friend of God.  John 15:15
  • I am the light of the world.  Matthew 5:14
  • I am Jesus’ personal witness sent out to tell everybody about Him.  Acts 1:8
  • God is my Father.  Romans 8:14-15; Galatians 3:26
  • I am a coheir with Christ.  Romans 8:17
  • I am a temple – a dwelling place – for God.  His Spirit and life live in me.  1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19
  • I am a new person.  My past is forgiven and everything is new.  2 Corinthians 5:17
  • I am a part of the family of God.  Galatians 3:26, 28
  • I am a saint, a holy person.  Ephesians 1:1 Colossians 1:2
  • I am God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do His work.  Ephesians 2:10
  • I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved.  Colossians 3:12
  • I am a child of light not of darkness.  1 Thessalonias 5:5
  • I am a citizen of heaven.  1 Peter 2:11
  • I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.  Ephesians 1:3
  • I have the mind of Christ.  He gives me His wisdom to make right choices.  1 Corinthians 2:16
  • I am free and no longer condemned.  Romans 8:1
  • I have been given a spirit of power, love and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7