Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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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!
 

Galatians__3

Scripture:  Galatians 3:24-25  Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 

Observation-What does it say?  Galatia, part of what is modern day Turkey, was a large province, which consisted of many cities that Paul had visited on his missionary journeys, including Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.  After his missionary trips here, other Jewish-Christian teachers arrived in the area and instructed the new converts that, in addition to their faith in Jesus, they had to follow certain Jewish traditions, such as circumcision and observance of certain Jewish Holidays.  Here in chapter three, Paul points out that God made a covenant with Abraham before there was the law.  Therefore, it was always faith, not works, that has connected us to God and set us free.

Understanding-What does it mean?  A few years ago, when it was still affordable, and before I had three kids, I was an Annual Passport holder at the happiest place on earth.  I’m not one of the really crazy Disneyland fanatics, I like to be a little more subtle about my obsession.  Instead of having all of the shirts, lanyards and pins, I buy wall art and glassware, things that can be hidden but still display my appreciation for the magical kingdom.  

One of the things I love about going to Disneyland is the drive there.  I love the anticipation of the journey and the build-up of excitement during the trip.  As a kid, my family would leave before sunrise, so we could be the first ones in the gate.  Well, actually it was so my parents could skip the traffic, but I didn’t know that until I had kids of my own.  On the trip, as you get closer and closer to Mickey’s house, there are more and more signs that point you to the final destination.  Big signs on the freeway, signs on the side streets.  Even the street names let you know how close you are with names like Disneyland Drive and Magic Way.

But as exciting as it is to see these signs and to drive on Magic Way, these things aren’t the point of the trip.  It would be silly to go all the way and then hangout in the parking lot all day.  The law we are given, things like the ten commandments, are not the endgame, they are the signs.  Our goal is to make it into God’s Kingdom, not just the parking lot.  

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to keep pressing into you everyday.  Help me grow in my faith everyday, and not to be satisfied with simply being a good person.  I want to move mountains and I can only do that with faith in you.  I know that through following you, I am able to do more than I ever knew. 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm _143

Scripture

Psalm 143:1
 
Yahweh, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
 
Observation
 
“It is the outcry of an overwhelmed spirit, unable to abide in the highest state of spiritual prayer, again and again descending to bewail its deep temporal distress; yet evermore struggling to rise to the best things. The singer moans at intervals; the petitioner for mercy cannot withhold his cries for vindication. His hands are outstretched to heaven, but at his girdle hangs a sharp sword, which rattles in its scabbard as he closes his psalm.” Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David Psalm 143
 
Understanding
 
“It is the outcry of an overwhelmed spirit…”
 
Have you ever felt like you have been punched in the spiritual gut. The kind of punch that takes your breath away. As I write this i am still trying to catch my breath.
 
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And sometimes after you get punched he stands over you and dangles in front of you what he stole. It seems so utterly mean, to attack you when you did not see it coming. When you were trying to take care of important things, godly things, right things. Or maybe you were doing it all wrong but somehow what was stolen just doesn’t seem fair.
The enemy is not fair. He is not good.
 
Yahweh is good.
 
Application
 
Psalm 143:8 Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
 
Run to God. No matter what the enemy has hit you with, it is not too much for Him. Pour out your heart the way David did, cry in His lap. Let God restore. Let God defeat.
 
Years ago I would have blamed God and lost hope. I would have decided to do things my way.
Yahweh is good. Yahweh is life. Yahweh is love.
 
I put my hope in you, there is no other that will lift me from despair. No matter how close to the ground I fall, no matter how far I fall in the depths of my despair, you are not far from me. My hope is in you, My hope has to be in you!
 
My soul cleaves to you and your right hand upholds me – Psalm 63:8
 
Deborah Lee


Galatians__1

Scripture
 
Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NLT
 
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia. He reminds them that there is only one true gospel message… a message of grace and freedom found in Jesus Christ. Anyone who dares to pervert this message should be set aside for God’s destruction. However, Paul’s opposition accused him of preaching a gospel of grace and freedom from the law in order to please the Gentiles, so he can be more “popular” amongst the people. Paul insists that his desires is to please God only. He reminds his opposition of the man he once was, and it is only through a direct experience he had with Jesus Christ, (on his way to Damascus), in which the true gospel of God was revealed to him. And now his one mission is to please God and share this revelation of the true gospel to everyone!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Please an audience of One.
 
More than often I get caught up with what others may think of me. I struggled with this way too many times as a youth. I often fell into peer pressure just to try to fit in with a crowd. Some of the things I would do are things I’m not too proud of either. Fast forward to the present time. I still find myself struggling with these issues. Now like Paul, I too know my mission in life that God has given me, a mission of multiplying Christ Followers everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). But I hate to admit, sometimes I cower in those situations. The Holy Spirit will tell me to pray for someone, or provide an opportunity for me to share the gospel, and instead of boldly following God, I am passive and get too concerned what others around may think or say. “What a weirdo!”, or “He’s one of those Jesus freaks!” they may say. But this verse reminds me who cares what others may think or say?! There is only One person I should really care about pleasing. Am I doing whatever it takes to make sure that happens?
 
Life Application
 
Here is verse to ponder on this morning:
 
“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:33‬ ‭
 
That verse may strike home really hard for some of us. But here is a verse that should encourage you:
 
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”-‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7
 
I pray that we can all walk out our faith in this world being courageous and bold like Paul did. That we use every opportunity given to us, whether it’s an ideal situation or not, to share the gospel of Christ to others. May our father in Heaven welcome us in by name, and tell us “Good job my good and faithful servant.” All glory and honor to our God in Heaven! Amen.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 
 
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2 Kings 8

Scripture

“Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.”

2 Kings 8:19 NIV

Observation– What does it say?

The leadership in Judah were doing evil in the sight of the Lord. For instance, Hazael murdered Ben Hadad in order to succeed his throne as the new king. It was an event that Elisha had prophesied about. Also, Jehoram, king of Judah, did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Scripture stated that “he followed the ways of the kings of Israel”, which was not a good thing. Ahaziah was another king mentioned in this chapter who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (Verse 27)

Although all the evil warranted God’s justice and consequence of destruction, the Lord would not destroy them because of a promise He had made to his servant David. There is a parallel to 2 Kings 8:19 in 2 Chronicles 21:7, where yet again, Scripture talked about how Jehoram, king of Judah, did evil in the sight of the Lord, yet God was not willing to destroy the house of David.

“Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.” 2 Chronicles 21:7 NIV

Understanding– What does it mean?

God keeps His promises and His promises are always good.

“The Hebrew Bible makes it clear that all of the kings of Judah were descendants of David (Bibleodyssey.org).” Although he was a man after God’s heart, unfortunately, not all of his descendants were.  The worship of foreign gods all occurred after Solomon’s (his son’s) death. They did evil in the eyes of the Lord, yet God wouldn’t destroy them because He stayed true to His promise to not destroy the house or descendants of David.

God knew what He was doing. There was a purpose behind it despite all the evil happening around them and how hopeless the situation may have looked for Israel.

““Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.” Psalm 132:17 NIV (Commentary: “Horn” symbolizes strong one, that is king in this verse).

Life Application

All hope is not gone or lost.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a hopeless situation with no end in sight? Imagine how the people of Israel felt.

It really looked like a hopeless situation for Israel because of the corrupt kings in leadership. But (BIG but), God saw the bigger picture, as He always does and knew that His promise included a better King who would come through the line of David. That King is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The enemy’s job is to steal, kill and destroy and to make us lose all hope. However, even when it feels like all hope is gone, it never is when we trust that God is in control and knows what He’s doing.

Thank You Lord that You always see the big picture. May we trust that Your plans are always for the best and put our hope solely on You. Help us to put our faith on the unseen and not lean on our own understanding. Amen.

 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


2 Corinthians_12

Scripture

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

Observation

Paul speaks to the type of man he would boast about – a man he knows who was “caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell;” then he makes a clear delineation that he will not boast about himself, except about his weaknesses – “so no one will think more of [him] than is warranted.”  He recognizes God’s power and work in his life, but also recognizes the “thorn” that was given to keep him humble.    

Understanding

What a refreshing view of weakness in a world of social media highlight reels – with picture perfect poses, photo staging, filters, etc.  But God’s not looking for perfection…he’s looking for humble hearts, ready to serve.  In fact, it’s in our weaknesses, if we’re willing to be vulnerable and submit them to Him, that His power is made perfect.  His perfection takes all forms – healing, feeling loved, being known…the point is, it takes humble and willing hearts.  And our “worst” weaknesses can be the source of God’s greatest good, greatest power!

Life Application

May we boast in our weaknesses – for it is in our weakness that we are made strong in God.  

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



2 Corinthians_11

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 11:13-15  13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Observation-What does it say?  In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote to deal with some areas of sin that they desperately needed to uproot.  In 2 Corinthians, we see Paul praising them for their repentance (7:8-13).  In chapter eleven, we see Paul making a defense for his ministry to them, and in doing this he warns them to guard themselves and stay away from the false profits.     All throughout the Bible, we see the importance of guarding ourselves against the world.  In Proverbs 4:23-27 we learn to guard our hearts because from here “flow the springs of life.”  To the Ephesians, Paul writes about the armor of God and using the shield of faith to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (6:16).  Peter, the rock, tells his readers not to be surprised by the trials of fire which we will endure as the price of following Christ (4:12-19).  Suffering, attacks from the enemy, and false teaching are to be expected in our walk with Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the things I have learned, during the twelve years as a police officer I have had thus far, is that I have to enter every day being prepared to fight.  And that fight might possibly be for my life.  When I get ready for my shifts, I hide my body armor under my shirt, lace up my heavy leather boots, secure my gun-belt, and I check to make sure the ballistic shield and helmet are in my car.  When I am at home, I exercise my body to prepare it for a fight that may or may not  come.  I watch videos on tactics, both good and bad, in order to develop a plan on how to overcome an attack.  I have worked to develop the warrior mindset needed to protect those who cannot protect themselves. 

I often think of the language from Paul and Peter of our Christian walk, and know that we live in a world that is under siege from a spiritual enemy.  We are fighting a spiritual war, and if we are not careful we will be just another casualty.  We need to train our hearts and our minds to decipher the attacks, and we need to diligently train ourselves to be prepared for a battle that will most definitely come.  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” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). 

Life Application:  Holy Spirit, help me to develop my discipline.  Give me joy in storing up your truth in my heart and my mind, so I can discern a false teaching.  Help me to move beyond my feelings and know that joy can be found in suffering.  Most of all, help me to come to know you deeper.
 
-Tyler Galloway

 



2 Kings_5

Scripture
 
2 Kings 5:13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
 
Observation
 
2 Kings 5:5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
 
Naaman wanted to be healed so he went to see Elisha but when he got there he didn’t receive the treatment he has hoped for.
 
2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
 
Understanding  
 
Naaman wanted to be transformed into a new person free from all the disease that was causing decay. He wanted the clouds to part and the light to shine down from heaven, with all the fireworks, and angels singing, the whole nine yards, and poof your healed!
 
Yes! That’s what I want too! And why shouldn’t I have instant transformation? I’m a pretty good Christian (allegedly), I serve and do good deeds, I don’t want to have to do anything extra, just give me the “poof” so I can go on with my life…
 
Naaman had to wash seven times. He probably had to go into the Jordan, dunk, scrub, rinse, walk out of the Jordan, repeat.
 
It can become mundane and discouraging to have to do the same thing over and over until  you eventually see new growth. Like teaching your kids, over and over and over again. Like going to the gym, over and over and over again.
 
It’s interesting that he had to go to the Jordan River, the place where the Israelites had to change their mind before they had enough faith and courage to cross over and go into the promised land. They had to leave all of their old slave mentality behind in order to receive the new blessing God had already planned for them. A place of faith in God to move forward.
 
I believe Naaman’s faith was growing each time he dunked and washed. He had to have faith each time he followed the instructions and saw no change to keep going and not give up…because on the seventh time…if he just stayed obedient… he would see his transformation.
 
Application
 
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 
When I was a young parent I did not want to pass on ugly words to my kids the way I had experienced as a child. It was first nature to me. I was also a new Christian and I wanted it to be gone from my mouth. I remember being impressed by the Holy Spirit to control my tongue, just don’t say the bad words when the opportunity arises. Each time there was a stressful situation, as there are many when you have  a toddler and a baby, I would consciously make the decision not to curse, or degrade, but to speak with patience and good correction, or just not say anything at all. It was really hard!
 
It took awhile… but I had enough faith in my heart to believe that God had something better for my children and I. I believed that this was a curse that would be broken!
 
And so… I kept on dunking in the river, over and over, until one day, I was transformed! The disease that was causing decay was gone!
 
 
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

 
Scripture
 
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
 
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
 
Observation
 
Paul continues to write to the church of Corinth regarding the giving of finances, but in this chapter he emphasizes the heart behind giving. He highlights the the importance of what amount each person should give and how the attitude dictates the blessing.
 
Understanding
 
Heart dictates attitude, and attitude denotes blessing.
 
I know that Paul is directly relating this to the giving of finances, but this speaks volumes when also looking at our everyday actions. Personally, I have been struggling for the need of approval of others. I recognize that it is something I crave too much and too often, to the point that I overthink every action I make. This verse is a gentle reminder that I reap what I sow. If I long for the approval of others, I continuously put myself in a place of sowing anxiousness. In return my attitude reaps people-pleasing and not living for God. And as harsh as it sounds, why would the Almighty want to then bless me with an abundant harvest if I am sowing the wrong seed? In essence, I have not only wasted my time, but God’s time.
 
If I am to expect and overflow of blessing I’m all in! Not just that, I am all about sowing the right seed. Allow me to quote a well-known pastor I consistently listen to: “The difference between a tithe and an offering is the order.” In these verses, the difference between receiving a blessing and missing out is your heart. I don’t want to give all of myself to other people, just for the sake of being liked to only then give God the leftovers. In the same way I want to see the harvest come to fruition because I planted the right seeds. I want to give with my whole heart, and it be evident in the outcome. God longs to bless us, He’s just waiting for us to plant the right seeds and plant them abundantly.
 
Life Application
 
Trust that you’ve been equipped with the right seeds and get planting!
 
The harvest will only come if the seeds have been planted. If you are not at the place that you feel you have the right seeds then check your heart. Ask God to reveal to you His desires for your life. When He responds (because He will) make your attitude is cheerful, as it denotes what kind of blessing you will receive. Lastly, God loves a cheerful giver… but He’ll take it from grump as well.
 
-Allison Khan


2 Corinthians 8

Scripture 

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:2-5, 7-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us….But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is addressing the issue of stewardship in this letter, not just of money, but also of time (gotquestions.org). The Macedonians were pointed out as being generous givers and Paul encouraged the Corinthians to do the same.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God wants ALL of it, because all of it belongs to Him.

The Lord has given so generously to us because the only thing we are truly deserving of is hell. God wants our hearts and to give back our lives generously to Him. Our lives were bought with a price, Jesus’ blood. That’s why it belongs to Him.

I love how Paul mentioned that the Macedonians gave in the midst of a severe trial and extreme poverty. It was a privilege for them to partner with the church in ministry. It wasn’t a burden. They actually urgently pleaded to be part of giving and partnering with the church. It wasn’t when things were going well that they decided to be generous. It was when things were not going well that they remained joyful and generous. 

Life Application

Give generously. 

Have you ever wanted to take back your life, but then the Holy Spirit convicts you of why He saved you in the first place? That happened to me yesterday. Our lives are not our own. It belongs to Him.

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew‬ ‭10:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How are we managing and stewarding His resources? If we believe that it ALL belongs to God—our money, possessions, time, gifts/talents, lives, how are we doing with managing it for His glory, honor and Kingdom purposes? 

Dear Lord, I want to partner with You in ministry with a grateful and joyful heart, “urgently pleading for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people even in the midst of a severe trial or extreme poverty” as the Macedonians faced. Thank You for their example through Your Word. It is very encouraging. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_135

Scripture

Psalm 135:6

The Lord does whatever pleases him,

In the heaves and on the earth…

 

Observation

Psalm 135 is a call to praise.

“I. It begins with a call to praise God, particularly a call to the “servants of the Lord” to praise him… (v 1-3)

II. It goes on to furnish us with matter for praise.  God is to be praised,

1.     As the God of Jacob (v4).

2.     As the God of gods (v5).

3.     As the God of the whole world (v 6,7).

4.     As a terrible God to the enemies of Israel (v 8-11).

5.     As a gracious God to Israel, both in what he had done for them and what he would do (v 12-14).

6.     As the only living God, all other gods being vanity and a lie (v 15-18).

III. It concludes with another exhortation to all persons concerned to praise God. (v 19-21).

(https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Psa/Psa_135.cfm)

 

Understanding

God does WHATEVER pleases HIM. 

        WHATEVER – it may not make sense to us, it may not be what we want, but God does what pleases Him and what works into His greater plan.

        HIM – God does not do whatever pleases us, He does what pleases Him and, again, what completes His purposes and plans, HIS will.

Life Application

I love that the entire chapter is a call to praise – in good and bad, recognizing God for who He is (whether terrible or gracious).…in ALL things, PRAISE!

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