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!
 

Matthew _28

Scripture 

Matthew 28:8-10

 

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

 

Observation

    Jesus had been crucified and laid to rest in a tomb with a stone rolled in front. There were guards stationed in front of the tomb to ensure that the body was not removed. But… God had other plans 🙂

 

Understanding 

 

Matt. 28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

 

Hear. Hear the good news, there is a savior that conquers death and redeems us from our sin. The women heard what the angel said to them, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 16:21,Mark 9:31). 

 

Matt. 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will SEE him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 

 

See. Let your eyes be open to SEE Him! They had an encounter with Him. They experienced him for themselves. They knew he was real. 

 

Matt. 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. GO and TELL my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

 

Speak. GO and TELL the good news! Jesus is alive and because of him we are transformed! Do not be afraid to share with others what God has done for you. He saved you from the eternal grave, he calmed your anxiety, he saved your marriage, he healed your body, he protects your children, he provides for you! 

 

And they too will have an encounter with Jesus! 

 

Application

 

Hear. See. Speak. 

 

As Christmas is approaching we are reminded of the good news . 

 

Mankind heard on the first Christmas, 

“Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!” Luke 2:11

 

They saw Him lying in a manger.

“And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

 

Then they told of the Messiah who was born to take away the sins of the world. 

“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had

  been told them about this child,” Luke 2:17

 

As we celebrate this season, let’s take the opportunity to hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit to tell our family, friends, or neighbors about the Jesus we see in our lives everyday. 

 

I implore you to encourage them to meet Jesus. Invite them to our Christmas Eve Celebration. Let them hear the beautiful story of the greatest Christmas gift, God’s love. 

Deborah Lee



Matthew__27

Scripture

Matthew 27:37

Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
 

Understanding

What will be written on your wooden sign?

I don’t know why, but as I read the chapter this verse really struck me. It struck me for several reasons. One, Jesus had no clear charge against Him except “King of the Jews,” which served more as a term of mockery in this case. Two, reading this verse today revealed the sheer gravity of what Jesus did for us. On Sunday Pastor Gary talked about how Jesus became less for us. He sought us out by stooping to our level, He saw us fit for redemption. So, in His perfect love He was willing to die on the cross for our sins. It’s nice to hear, but when you stop and think about it, you may find that this perfect love is unmatched.

What hit me the hardest was the sign. It said: “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS,” when in reality it should have said THIS IS JESUS, HEIR TO THE THRONE/PRINCE OF THE WORLD.” I get that they were trying to keep the sign short and sweet, but they got it all wrong. If they thought that one tiny piece of the world was all Jesus was fit for then they really underestimated the maker of the universe. They really underestimated Jesus’ Father. Because “King of the Jews” really is not a fitting title whatsoever.

So here’s my point: what will be written on your sign? If your life was to be represented in a little wooden sign placed above your head, what would it say? Now hopefully you and I won’t be crucified like our main man Jesus, but I think the concept is one to think about. Don’t think about what you want written on your tombstone. You to some degree have a say in that, your loved ones get to write it for you. What do you want written on your wooden crucifixion sign? Because news flash: that’s written by the people who despise you. So if “King of the Jews” was the worst they could do… then they really need to sort out their priorities, and you and I should really start thinking about how we treat those who don’t necessarily like us.
 

Life Application

Here I am, a child of God. 

Today the story ended on a sad point, but don’t worry it’s not the end. I know that during Christmas we focus on Jesus’ life, but without His death and sacrifice there would be nothing to celebrate at all. So here’s to our forever “king of the Jews.” Here’s to our own little crucifixion sign. Here’s to being a loved work in progress. Here we are God, use us for Your Glory.

Heavenly Father,

Use us, mold us, and help us to live like You. May we be challenged to love everyone, including those who may not love us. Thank You for deeming us worth it, thank You for dying to save us. May we be recognizable as Your children

Amen.

-Allison Khan


Matthew__26

 
SCRIPTURE
 
Matthew 26:33-35 and 41
 
33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same….41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
 
OBSERVATION-What does it say?
 
Jesus had just finished having his last dinner (supper) with His disciples and introduced the first communion. He also brought to light Judas’ future betrayal and Peter’s denial of Him. Peter profusely refused that he would ever disown Jesus. All the other disciples said the same thing (vs. 35). Jesus then asked them later to go to Gethsemane with Him and stay alert and awake in prayer so that they don’t fall into temptation. Although it was part of God’s bigger plan, they still fell into it.
 
UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean? 
 
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (verse 41).”
 
Jesus was tempted to leave the cup of death behind as evidenced in the couple of times He asked God to take the cup from Him; but because of prayer, He knew that He had to do God’s will instead of His own. Prayer gave Him the strength to move ahead with God’s will instead of leaving it behind.
 
If Jesus was tempted in this way, He knew His disciples would be struggling with the same thing, especially due to their overconfidence and pride that they would NEVER deny Him. He invited them to prayer with Him, but instead, they fell asleep and gave into the temptation of disowning Jesus, instead of overcoming it!
 
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
Prayer keeps us humble.
 
Our faith is dependent on Him and His Spirit alone, not our own strength. Overconfidence, pride and being “sleepy/lazy” with our personal communication with Him is usually what’s at the root of rebellion.
 
Being raised in the church world and attending since I was in the womb, I can tell you that the reason why we need Jesus as the Head of the body is because the bride is not perfect. We even hear of stories of ministry leaders and people we trust have moral failures. Some of us can attest to our own. For those who know my 2nd testimony, I will be the first to personally admit that. 100% of the time, overconfidence and pride is at the root of the rebellion.
 
We need Jesus, His Word, prayer and worship EVERYDAY, not just on Sunday or on our Sabbath rest day. We can’t just rely on the label of “Christian” or rely on church leaders to protect us. Our everyday relationship and having Him as Lord (aka giving Him the right to tell us what to do as Pastor says), is what will keep us standing firm in the faith. We have to stay alert and can’t get sleepy with it. The principalities and powers in the spiritual realm are the devil’s A-team, but they don’t stand a chance against our Mighty Warrior Jesus!  We must stay connected and plugged in to the Vine! We cannot do anything apart from Him (John 15:5).
 
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Take my heart, Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above.” -My favorite part of the hymn “Come Thou Fount” that can be read as a personal prayer too.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_103

Scripture

Psalm 103:13-17

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 

Observation

The below is taken from the Enduring Word Bible Commentary:

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-103/

This psalm is simply titled A Psalm of David. We don’t know the circumstances in which it was written, but since David was a man who knew the grace and deliverance of God many times, it could have been written at many different times of his life.

  1. The Lord pities those who fear Him: David continues to describe the abounding mercy and goodness of God. The way that a good father cares for and even [has compassion for] his childrenin their frailty and weakness, so the Lord [has compassion for] those who fear Him.

  1. For He knows [how we are formed]: The pity and compassion of God towards those who fear Him are rooted in His knowledge and understanding of our inherent weakness and impermanence, our transience.

  1. As for man, his days are like grass: David expanded the thought of man’s weak frame and dust-like nature. Humanity is so transient that his days are like grassand like a flower of the field that blooms one day and withers the next. When the flower is gone, virtually nothing remains – its place remembers it no more.

  1. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting: This is true of God’s mercy and of God Himself, the source of mercy. His hesed – covenant love, loyal kindness – endures from all ages to all ages. Those who fear Himreceive the benefit of this everlasting mercy, as do their children’s children.

Understanding

I read things a little different than the commentary I shared from above.

First, I’m struck by the fact that God has such compassion for us, even that He calls us His children when our lifespans are just passing wisps in the line of eternity.  I loved how the commentary calls out the scriptures focus on our transience versus God’s permanence.  Like Pastor Gary shared yesterday…given all that, why would He make the choice He did to step away from His throne and become man to endure death on the cross?

Because of His love – His deep, wide, incredible love for us.  To bring it back to the scripture, I “love” seeing green grass and fields of flowers, but not once have I thought to take the place as a blade of grass or one of those flowers amidst the many on a hillside.  I don’t give a second thought to their permanence or transience; I just enjoy them while they are here.  But that’s not what God’s love looks like; His is a love that knows us inside and out, know how and why and where we were formed, knows the number of hairs on our heads.  A bit overwhelming isn’t it?  In the best way of course, but overwhelming just the same. 

Life Application

So what do we do with that love?

We are called to soak it up and pour it out!  Return often to the well, draw close to Him so we can experience Him drawing close to us…but then go and pour it out in crazy, generous, refreshing ways to everyone we meet. 

God, as I sit here overwhelmed by your love my heart is beyond full.  There’s a stillness, a peace a joy that comes with knowing I am loved just as I am…in all my imperfection, in all my transience, in all my failure to be all you’ve called me to be.  While I love that feeling of knowing that I’m “perfectly and wonderfully made” in your eyes, let that not be where it starts.  May I be used to let people know that they are seen and known and loved by you.  May I be intentional in my interactions as I go throughout this day, this week, this season.  Soften my heart to your voice, to your tugging…that I may share your love in personal ways that only you can facilitate.  And may hearts be turned to you as a result. 

In your name I pray, Amen.

Rei

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



Matthew___24

Scripture  Matthew 24:6-8 & 13  You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs…But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 

Observation-What does it say?  Before sacrificing himself on the cross, Jesus prophecies about the second coming.  He talks about things to expect as the precursors of this age, like war and famine. He warns of the false teachers and prophets that will come.  Finally, he tells his followers that they would be tortured and killed for following him.  

Some of Jesus’ predictions, like the destruction of the physical temple, have already come to be.  Additionally, we live in a time where we are already seeing many of these tragedies, like wars and famines, take place regularly all over the world.  This, then, poses the question of whether or not to expect the second coming sooner rather than later?

Understanding-What does it mean?  I saw a friend post a funny picture (read meme), and the comment in the picture read, “I have to workout in the morning, before my brain realizes what is going on.”  I really appreciated this, as it can be really difficult to convince myself that exercise is a good idea after I get off work. Other times, I have to warn myself of the pain that will be associated with the exercise that I am about to undertake, knowing that not only do the ends justify the means, but that the suffering during is part of what makes me a better person.  You have to embrace the suck.

While I am not schooled well enough to take a stance on whether we live in a premillenial, postmillenial, or amillenial world, I can tell that these end times sound both scary and horrible.  But is fear the stance we should take in approaching these times? Should we be concerned when Jesus will make his return? I think the simple answer is no. But, knowing what is to come makes the inevitable suffering easier to understand.  It helps me to embrace the suck.  

Multiple times in scripture we are warned that we will need to be prepared for trials associated with the choice of following after Jesus.  Jesus clearly tells us of this here, but we also hear it from Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, and from Peter in his letters. But, we are not expected to have the strength to endure these hardships on our own accord.  The Holy Spirit was sent to us as our helper for exactly this reason. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)  And in the Holy Spirit, we can rely on the body of Christ to give us strength to endure as we approach the end of times.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Life Application  Jesus, help me not only to rest in the peace of your strength, but also a catalyst of encouragement to your body.  Help me to clearly hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and trusting the prompts he gives me. Help me to live out of love and not fear, for your perfect love casts out fear.  

-Tyler Galloway





Psalm 101

Scripture

Psalm 101 NIV

I will sing of your love and justice;

    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.

2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life—

    when will you come to me? 

Psalm 101 MSG

My theme song is God’s love and justice,

    and I’m singing it right to you, God.

I’m finding my way down the road of right living,

    but how long before you show up?

Observation 

A psalm of David. 

Understanding 

I live my life as worship to you.

With my mouth I will worship you. 

I discipline myself daily to live a life that follows after you, in your ways. 

When will you come to me? When will you fill me with your spirit? When will I have an encounter that will ruin me for anything this world has to offer? When will I experience you in a way that gives me what I need to keep persevering? 

Do you ever feel this way? You are doing all that you can do live right. You know who God is, “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” You have seen it evident in your life. 

And so, you speak of his love. You worship Him for who he is and what he has done. And yet, you need him to come. 

You need Him to come in a way that you have never experienced before. 

You need Him to come in a way that will inject you with His power, love, and joy! 

You need Him to come in a way that will bring dead things to life, restore vision, and keep you moving forward! 

I think we all feel this way at different times. I imagine that’s how Simeon felt waiting in the temple waiting to see the Messiah (Luke 2:25-35). He had been a righteous and devoted man. He had been doing what was right, at home I’m sure and also in the temple worshiping. After all, he had an encounter with Holy Spirit who revealed to him that he would see the Christ.  Even though he had that encounter, he wondered…when will you come?

Or what about the 120 in the upper room?( Acts 2 ) Many of them had already witnessed Christ and experienced him in a profound intimate way, that clearly changed their life. But they gathered and worshiped and prayed and they wondered… when will you come? 

Application

Be expectant. He is coming! 

I can’t help but imagine how the righteous felt the months and years before the first Christmas. All of the political, religious, and moral upheavals that were surrounding Israel and the gentiles. The prophecy from Genesis that spoke of the Messiah that was to come and save the world had been passed down and repeated for centuries. 

The righteous generations had waited. And now… they had encounters with God. They knew who He was, they spoke and worshiped about his love and justice. Their homes were filled with integrity and discipline and they wondered… when will you come?

Emmanuel, came to us in the time we needed him! He knows exactly when we need Him. He came in a way that was real, and intimate, and full of power, love, and grace and mercy! 

God, came to earth, with us! He spent 33 years in the flesh with them to give them what they needed for then and all eternity! 

Keep asking God for a deeper encounter with Him. He will come to us on time. 

I will sing of your love and justice;

    to you, Lord, I will sing praise.

I will be careful to lead a blameless life—

    when will you come to me? 

“oh come, oh come, Emmanuel” by King and Country. 

Deborah Lee 

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.  Rev. 22:20



Matthew_22

Scripture

Matthew‬ ‭22:37-40‬ ‭

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus with some questions. They are trying to catch Jesus slipping, so they can arrest him. One of the Pharisees, who was an expert in religious law, tried to trap Jesus with the question, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
‭‭
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus keeps it simple.
 
Jesus basically boils down the Ten Commandments into two simple ones. If one can obey them both, it makes following the other eight commandments simple.
 
By loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, you are putting God first in your life. Which means we are putting His Will, above ours. Which ultimately leads to doing things in our life that pleases Him, rather than upsetting Him. Then by loving others as we love ourselves, we are putting others needs before our own (the way Jesus did). When we follow these two important commandments in life, it just makes following the other commandments come naturally. (Please read
Exodus 20: 2-17 to refresh your memory on these Commandments).
 
Life Application
 
Finding true joy in your life is simple.
 
Just like the way Jesus made following God’s Commandments simple, I learned a really simple way to experience true joy in my life. It’s basically the same principles Jesus taught in this passage. So you want to find true joy in life?! Follow this acronym: J-O-Y (Jesus-Others-Yourself). Easy to remember right?! Put Jesus first in your life, then others, and finally yourself. I believe by following these basic principles in life, you will experience God’s many blessings, and you will be able to find joy in whatever circumstance you are in! 😊 
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Matthew___21

SCRIPTURE
 
Matthew 21:31-32; 43-46
 
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him……43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44 Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46 They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
 
OBSERVATION-What does it say?
 
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and chief priests in most of this chapter. Through His actions and parables, He exposed their love of money, their judgment of children, their lack of integrity, their lack of bearing fruit, their pride, their fear of what others think of them, and their poor treatment towards Himself.
 
UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?
 
Jesus is concerned with the heart, not the outward appearance.
 
Pharisees were very good at following the law. The Apostle Paul even spoke on his integrity towards keeping the law fully when he was Saul. However, what was missing in their lives were their hearts for Jesus. They refused to lose their lives to Him due to pride, fear of man and love for the world. As a result, none of the fruits of the Spirit were evident in their lives. They refused to repent (seek forgiveness and turn from their sin) and believe/have faith in Jesus. Instead, they chose to look down on everyone. Jesus said that the tax collectors and prostitutes would be entering the Kingdom ahead of them.
 
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
Jesus is our Savior, but He must also be our Lord and FIRST place in our lives.
 
Pastor Gary made a bold statement in one of his sermons. He basically said that he didn’t believe everyone in our church would be entering the Kingdom of heaven. Was that an unjust and cruel statement to make? Not at all because I completely agree and it’s based on Jesus’ words! Jesus said that not everyone who comes to Him saying, “Lord, Lord…” or claiming to do works in “His name” will enter the Kingdom, because He never knew them (See Matthew 7:21). They never had a true relationship with Him from their heart; the type of relationship that changes someone from the inside out; the type of relationship that bears fruit.
 
What are you holding on to that you are refusing to lose completely for the sake of Christ? What is taking God out of the first place throne of your life? Money/greed, anger, comfort, lust, fear of people, reputation, pride?
 
Let us be individuals who repents, has bold faith and bears abundant fruit for the sake of the Kingdom. It starts with us individually first in order to be contagious towards the whole church.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
 
 


Psalm_98

Scripture

Psalm 98:1

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

Observation

The below is taken from the Enduring Word Bible Commentary:

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-98/

Praising Yahweh with a new song.

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.

  1. Sing to the Lord a new song: The idea of a new song is found in many places in Scripture (Psalms 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 144:9 and 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; and Revelation 5:9 and 14:3). The concept of the new song means there should be something fresh and dynamic about worship and the songs we sing to God.
  2. For He has done marvelous things: The new song has a reason – to extol the great works of God, His marvelous It isn’t empty praise or singing for the sake of singing. The worship is connected to life experience of His marvelous things.
  3. His right hand and His holy arm: These are the instruments of God’s victory, the expressions of His skill and strength. As in Isaiah 52:10, the idea of His holy armis that God has rolled up His sleeve to do His mighty work. Together, His hand and arm have gained Him the victory.

Understanding

Elijah came home from Surge tonight singing a new song and with something “fresh and dynamic” in his energy.  It was a fight to get him out the door; but it was clear, when he had returned, that something had shifted.  He was talking about wanting to fast and the things that God had put on his heart.

I share this because it’s an example of the palpable refreshing that happens when we’ve been with God – we sing a new song, our hearts our filled and refreshed, our attention is reset and turned towards something far bigger and greater than ourselves or the immediate circumstances.  And why?  Because “he has done marvelous things.”  We don’t have to think to far ago to find some way where God has shown up in amazing ways – whether big or small.  Because He IS marvelous!  That’s His nature.   

Life Application

Get filled up!  As for a “how to” on getting filled up, a repeat from last week…

  • Fast, Pray, Remember, Catch it, Hear it, Act on it

God, I’m in awe of you and your marvelous ways!  Even while I’m sick and feeling so far from refreshed, I still see at work.  May I sing a new song.  May I be filled to overflowing and pour it out.  May I carry that palpable refreshing that only you provide everywhere I go.

Amen.

Rei

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



Matthew___19

Scripture  Matthew 19:23-25 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

 

Observation-What does it say?  Jesus enters into a series of short lessons that hit some points that are hard, and very contrary to popular belief.  The beginning of this chapter opens with a discussion about the lawfulness of divorce. Jesus makes a hard statement, that it is better to stay single than to get married and succumb to divorce, knowing that this is too hard for most people.  The next conversation flips the idea of societal status on its head. Jesus lived in a society that did not give much regard to children. Jesus tells his disciples that they should learn to be like children in order to accept the Kingdom of Heaven in their lives.  He then moves onto money, or whatever it is that we put in front of Jesus. For the rich young ruler, though he lived a chaste life, he still held his money in higher regard than a relationship with Jesus. Jesus made a point of showing that we must let go of that which is our most precious possession.  (For some of us, that might be our children).     

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  When we moved recently, I quickly found out how many things I really didn’t have as much attachment to as I thought.  As the moving process began to come to a close and we were running out of time, I found myself ruthlessly discarding items that I had held onto for years.  As we started unpacking, I found myself asking the same question over and over again, “Why did I keep this?” Hearing this enough times, I began to wonder what it was that I valued the most.  

 

The saying goes, “He who has the most toys wins.”  And it has become clear that this mentality is getting harder and harder to shake.  If one were to look at research into what Americans think are necessities now, which were once considered luxuries, you get the sense that we are clinging tighter and tighter to our toys.  Research has shown that the average American now finds things, like high-speed internet, phones and personal computers, as “necessities” instead of luxuries.      

 

God operates in a different economy than we do.  Throughout scripture, we hear that the first will be last, the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of heaven, that God gives strength to the weary.  He warned us that this is not our final home, and that we should not look to be storing treasure here (Matthew 6:19-21). We are also told, through Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that we are not to be selfish, but to look after the interest of others (verse 2:3-6).    

 

Life Application:  As we get closer to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I know I need to look past the usual rush for getting the perfect present.  God help me to look for situations that I can give an unusual blessing. Help me to seek out the ones who are in need of a kind word.  Give me the opportunity to use my time and resources to bless those in need today. But mostly, help me to remember to put you in front of my possessions.

 

-Tyler Galloway