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!
 

Ezekiel_45

 

Scripture

Ezekiel 45:21

“‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a festival lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This new temple after the Israelites are brought back from exile is described with many changes. But one of the things that remains the same is the command of God to observe the Passover. The Passover festival had a very specific purpose of remembering and celebrating the miraculous way God delivered his people from Egypt.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

It’s interesting to me that remembrance and celebration of what God has done is a command.

Those people I’ve met who are the most passionate about loving God and loving others seem to all have something in common: They haven’t lost sight of what God has done for them. Their conversion experience hasn’t become old news. There results of continual remembrance are huge!

 

Psalm 22:27

All the ends of the earth shall remember

    and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations

    shall worship before you.

 

That verse shows us that when we remember, the result is turning toward the Lord and worship springing up from our hearts. If we find the joy of our salvation fading and feel a bit stale or complacent, it would do us well to set aside some time to remember and celebrate. Relive in your memory where you were when God found you and the transformation He has brought to your life through Jesus Christ.

 

As we remember and celebrate, we’ll find our hearts echoing heroes of the faith in scripture:

 

Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 22:22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

 

Life Application

Set aside some time today to remember and worship.

God, forgive us for losing sight of all you’ve blessed us with. I know that the enemy would love for us to believe that our life is nothing more than our present struggles. But you have been faithful! You’ve never failed us. Never. Help us to be more intentional about remembering your wonders and declaring your praises. Amen.

 

– Levi Thompson



Psalm 125

Scripture  

Psalm 125:1-2 

 

Those who trust in the Lord Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

Psalm 120-134 are a series of songs known as the Songs of Ascents.  These songs may have been sung as people were climbing the stairs to the temple.  Some scholars believe they were written in a Post Exilic time period, the period after Israel’s exile to Babylon.  Other Post Exilic writings include the five books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  During this time, under the rule of Cyrus king of Persia, Israel was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple.  

 

Even though Israel has returned from Babylon, it is not the complete end of their exile.  One of the major themes in the Post Exilic writings, the continued trust in the Lord.  These prophets warned against Israel’s doubt in God.  The Songs of Ascents may have been used as a way to remind those entering the temple to put their trust in God, who protects those who serve him.  

 

Exile, one of the major themes of the Bible, is a way to represent our position to God.  We are in constant exile, sojourners in this life, waiting to enter our heavenly home.  Those who have put their trust in God, and accepted the free gift of forgiveness through Jesus’ death on the cross, are constantly making their way towards that home.  Our future is secure in Jesus, even though we are in a world that seems insecure.  In John 17:14-16, Jesus prays for us, who are not of this world, but in it for the good of others, that they may come to find the way home through us.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSua9_WhQFE

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I remember having days as a kid where school seemed like the most exhausting thing in life.  I was forced to be in an environment where I didn’t feel at home.  The kids around me were mean, they made fun of me for being skinny and having big teeth.  I was overwhelmed with the instruction from the teacher and felt as though I would never be smart enough to make it.  There were days that it was all I could do to hold back the emotion of wanting to go home.  But, that moment would always come, when I would open the door and find my mom waiting there, and I would finally feel as though everything in the world was right again.  

As I got older, as with all kids, I had a better perspective that the school day was only temporary and the emotion I felt was also fleeting.  Through the scriptures, like the Songs of Ascents, God helps us find that perspective.  When we sing, the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever, it is a way of finding the perspective of God’s everlasting joy and fulfillment in our lives.  

 

Life Application  

Jesus, you have promised to make my burden light when I come to you (Matthew 11:28-30).  In you I live and move and breath (Acts 17:28).  Help me to always find this perspective when I feel lost and overwhelmed in this world that is not my home.  For you are the mountains around me, my stronghold, the place where I find rest.


-Tyler Galloway

 


Ezekiel_43

Scripture – What stood out?

EZEKIEL 43

25 “For seven days you are to provide a male goat daily for a sin offering; you are also to provide a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. 26 For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus they will dedicate it. 27 At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel 43 is about God’s home in Israel, His temple. The second half of this chapter pertains to the restoration of God’s altar, where priests would perform sacrifices on behalf of God’s people and themselves. Verses 25 to 27 are the finishing instruction for the dedication of the altar of God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

First of all, thank you Jesus for so many things, but I am glad we no longer have to trade blood for our sins. The ultimate trade by Jesus was made close to 2000 years ago. Reading about the dedication of this altar where atonement was made…really made me think about how much went into the dedication and purification of it. The altar itself was atoned for and cleansed…so that the priests could properly perform the necessary sacrifices on behalf of the people and God.

So when we repent today in a post-Jesus world what is that altar? If Jesus is the once and for all high-priest that intercedes for us, his blood covers all forms of atonement, what is the modern day parallel to that altar? Does it exist? And if so shouldn’t we atone and purify it for 7 days at least? These are the thoughts running through my head.

Is it possible that this altar is the – altar of our heart? If so, I would like to dedicate at least 7 days to atone for and purify it.

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

I do believe that Jesus died for all of our sins once and for all. But I consistently ask God to forgive me for our sins. I have committed myself to Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have been baptized. Why does my soul feel like it is crying out to do something that was done years ago in a pre-Jesus time period. This doesn’t feel like tension between something old and new, but instead a synergy of what once was and of what is.

Lord teach me how I would properly cleanse and purify the altar of my heart, if such a thing even exists. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

-ken



Revelation__18

Scripture

 

Revelation‬ ‭18:14

“The fancy things you loved so much are gone,” they cry. “All your luxuries and splendor are gone forever, never to be yours again.”

 

Observation-What does it say? 

 

In this chapter John is given the vision of the fall of Babylon. Although biblical scholars debate if John is writing about the literal city of Babylon here, it is in agreement that John is writing about the 7 year tribulation period after the church’s rapture. During this time the Bible tells us the world will have one political and economic system ruled by the Antichrist. More than likely the city of Babylon spoken of in this chapter is the city where the Antichrist will be “setting up shop”. This city built such great power and wealth on its sinfulness and immortality, will soon receive God’s judgement. It will literally be burned to the ground, and receive plagues of famine, death, and mourning. All in one day! The whole world will see what has happened to this once proud and great city, and mourn, weep, and tremble to what’s to come.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
 
The Lord gives it. The Lord takes it away.
 
And just like that (snap of a finger) it can all be taken away from you! This is what happened to Babylon in this chapter. Not only did it affect Babylon, but it also affected the merchants who did business with them. With Babylon out of the picture, how were these merchants going to make their money? These merchants wept and mourned for Babylon. They trembled in fear knowing if this happened to a great and powerful city like that, what would happen to them?! Their faith and livelihood was based on their riches. And if that is all they have to look forward to, what do they do once that is taken away from them?
 
Living in Santa Clarita, my wife and I have grown accustomed to the Fire seasons here. Every summer, or whenever it reaches a certain temperature, we have to keep a lookout for these crazy wildfires. On a couple of occasions we already had to evacuate our home, pack our necessities, and leave everything else behind. It’s really quite scary and quite humbling. To know that everything you worked so hard for, that took years to accumulate, can be taken away so fast. What brought my wife and I comfort during those times was our faith in Jesus. We knew that whatever happened, Jesus was with us. He would provide for us, protect us, and comfort us. We knew He already surrounded us with family and friends to help us if needed. Our material possessions will come and go, and they can be replaced. But our faith will never be taken away from us! All that really mattered to us was that our family was together and safe. Because at the end of the day, where do we put all our hopes and trust in life? I hope and pray it’s in the eternal things, and not the temporary ones.
 
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21
 
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
‭‭‬ Luke‬ ‭12:20-21
 
 
Life Application
 
Put God back on the throne of our lives.
 
Father God, Thank You for Your faithfulness, provision, and protection. I pray that my faith, hope, and trust in You grow each and every day. Please forgive me when I get sidetracked in life. Forgive me when I chase after material things instead of chasing after You. Give me a heart that is more concerned with building Your kingdom, and not my kingdom. Help me Lord to live a life that is built with Your principles and foundations. A life of faith that can never be broken no matter what happens. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm 121

Scripture
 
 
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
 

Observation-What does it say?
 
 
The Psalmist writes that true comfort, safety and protection comes only from the Lord.
 

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
 
Relying on human beings (and even ourselves) for what only God can provide will always leave us disappointed.

God works through people and we need people, but people are still faulty because we have limitations. We have limits on our time, resources, emotional and mental energy and strength, limits on wisdom and limits on what we can control. Perfection is found in Jesus Christ alone. Our only hope is in Christ.
 

Life Application
 
 
Look up.

Are you mourning and need comfort? Go to Jesus. (Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matt. 5:4)

Need wisdom? Ask the Lord. He gives freely to those who ask. James 1:5

Need encouragement? Go to the Lord through His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Need protection from the evil one? Run to Lord. 2 Thes. 3:3

It is promised that we will have trouble in this world. But He has overcome the world, so let’s keep looking up to Him! (John 16:33)

Thank You Lord that Your eye is always on us. Thank You that You are always available and know the depths of our heart. Thank You that whatever we are walking through in life, You are right beside us celebrating with us, leading us or even carrying us through it. We are nothing without You and thank You that Your love never fails or ends. Amen.
 

-Michelle Gaddi


Ezekiel_40

Scripture

Ezekiel 40:46b

 

These are the sons of Zadok, who are the only Levites who may draw near to the Lord to minister before him.”

 

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel is given this elaborate vision of a new temple and new city. He has this heavenly tour guide who guides him through the new temple complex. As he measures everything, he finds it’s much larger and more majestic even than Solomon’s temple. It is all part of this redemptive picture of hope; a picture of God’s presence finally returning to his temple, to dwell with his people.

 

There are new priests serving in this temple, and consistent with the previous temples in Israel’s history, it is only a select few who have God’s permission to draw near to God and minister to him there.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Under the New Covenant, the priesthood isn’t a select few ‘super-spiritual’ Christians, but every single believer.

 

1 Peter 2:5 NLT And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

 

Because we are all priests, we can all take advantage of Hebrews 4:16- Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

Life Application

Take advantage of what Jesus has done for us! People under the Old Covenant could only come so close to God’s manifest presence, no matter how much they longed to come closer. But we have unlimited access to the throne! We can come boldly to God, confident that we will experience His great mercy and abundant grace to meet all our needs.

 

– Levi Thompson



Psalm 119

Scripture 

Psalm 119:9-11 

 

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your word.  With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The author of this psalm is unknown, but some suspect the priest Ezra as the author.  This psalm is the longest single chapter in the whole Bible, and it is 176 verses long.  It is written in the form of an acrostic poem.  “The psalm is arranged according to the Hebrew alphabet. The first eight verses all begin with the Hebrew letter aleph; the next eight verses start with beth; the next eight, gimel; and so on. It’s as though God were saying, “Here are the ABCs of how to use the Word of God in your life.”(Wiersbe)  In verses 9-16, the psalmist ponders the life of holiness.  While he most likely was a young man when writing this, the application can be for all who are new in their Christian life.  The path to holiness takes devotion to God’s word.  Chalres Spurgeon writes, “No nobler ambition can lie before a youth, none to which he is called by so sure a calling; but none in which greater difficulties can be found. Let him not, however, shrink from the glorious enterprise of living a pure and gracious life; rather let him enquire the way by which all obstacles may be overcome.”

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

We live in a world that is besieged by the lies of our enemy, the devil.  This feels more evident now than ever before.  The freedom we see as believers in America seems to be under constant attack.  I once read that the Christian life is like a military mission behind enemy lines.  Almost like espionage, we are trying to rescue those held captive under enemy control through the spreading of the message of hope found in Jesus Christ.  In order to be fully effective as spies for Jesus, we must believe in every part of the message(mission) in order to be a more effective witness(soldier) of this truth.  Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL commander, wrote this on the need for belief within a military unit: “The leader must explain not just what to do, but why. It is the responsibility of the subordinate leader to reach out and ask if they do not understand. Only when leaders at all levels understand and believe in the mission can they pass that understanding and belief to their teams so that they can persevere through challenges, execute and win.”

 

Challenges within our faith are natural and to be expected.  But, just because we see adversity, doesn’t mean God has abandoned us.  In many ways, the adversity is God’s way of bringing us to a more perfect relationship with him.  In James 1:2-4 we read, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  So when the psalmist prays, “Do not let me wander from Your commandments” he echoes the struggle we all share.

 

Life Application

Jesus, when I struggle, let me know you are near.  Help me in my unbelief.  Help me to have the discipline to stay in your word, even when there seems to be reasons to leave.  Help me to have a view on the mission, your mission of bringing others into the fold of your love.      


-Tyler Galloway

 


Revelation__14

Scripture – What stood out?

Revelation 14

19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This portion of the chapter provides powerful imagery for what will happen when the earth is finally harvested by God. Some will be harvested and ushered into God’s kingdom. And some will be harvested and ushered into God’s wrath which is described as a great winepress.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

As I wrestled with why God highlighted this verse for me, I was immediately hit with sympathy for those who will be gathered to the great winepress. I think when I was younger and I read these verses I likely read this passage, with a “phew! glad that won’t be me!” mentality. Perhaps I am getting older, or growing closer to God, or both, but I have begun to feel a deeper than expected sorrow for those who won’t choose to believe in Jesus.

There is just so much more joy, peace, and comfort on this side of the harvest field!

It is my belief that as God revealed this to John, He was filled with a great unimaginable sorrow. Have you ever been perfectly sad? A sadness that knows no malice, bears no ill will, a grief that is burdened only by love? That is how I picture God’s sadness. It is a picture of a grieving father, mother, son, or daughter that mourns in perfect harmony with love…because My God loves. Always. And I believe that His greatest desire is that all would turn to him – it is why he leaves the 99 to go after the 1.

 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

 

Lord, please build me  up to have a  heart for all your people. Give me a heart for both sinner and saint, peacemaker and terrorist, democrat and republican, abortionist and pro-lifer, pro-maskers and not- Lord fill me up with a compassion that helps me to see the great winepress at work the way you do.

 

The next time I meet somebody who is so opposed to my faith and my beliefs, may I not be filled with my very human and “un”righteous anger. Instead may I look at them as one you love standing on the wrong side of the harvest field. In the name of Jesus, do I pray. Amen.

 



Psalm 117

Scripture

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.
 

Observation

The psalmist of this chapter really keeps it “short and sweet” and emphasizes praising the Lord. They argue that God is good all the time, and that His love endures forever. In addition to this His faithfulness has no end.
 

Understanding

Arguably one of the shortest books of the Bible, but packed with a lot of meaning. “Praise the Lord” alone offers a whole array of ideas and actions that we can take, but I thought I’d break down what some of the important words in these verses are:

  • Praise: expression of approval or admiration for someone or something
  • Lord: having power authority or influence; a master or a ruler
  • Extol: praise enthusiastically
  • Faithfulness: quality of being faithful; fidelity
  • Endures: remain in existence; lasts
These words show up in the Bible on many different occasions, meaning that they must be pretty important. To EXTOL/PRAISE God is so important in our daily living, as it reinforces the idea that God’s love and FAITHFULNESS ENDURES long after we leave this earth. But I think that a lot of times we overthink what to do or say to God. Whether we’ve run out of things to say, we think God has grown tired of our voice, or we just don’t feel like talking to God, He remains faithful to listen. In addition, He is the LORD above all, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
 

Life Application

Praising God does not have to be an elaborate process.

A lot of times we put pressure around talking to God that we just don’t do it. But as this psalm demonstrates its super easy! Also, it’s already done for us. So read this chapter again and through the perspective of you actually believing it and doing it. God doesn’t have a time frame for spending with us and neither should we!

-Allison Khan



Psalm 116

Scripture: 

Psalm 116: 5-7

 

5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

 

Observation-What does it say?

This whole Psalm is awesome, but I decided to choose the part about God’s character. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

When we meditate on the perfect character of God as revealed in His perfect Word, it brings us peace and comfort.

 

Life Application

Katie Thompson did a great job speaking on “Overcoming Anxiety” last Sunday night. Please check it out! You can watch it on YouTube at this link:  https://youtu.be/JIjuniF2eB8

 

On the physical level, anxiety is basically a build up of adrenaline in the brain and body that has no place to go. That’s why mental health professionals say that exercise is important for very anxious people. However, on the spiritual/soul level, it is a lack of peace and rest. A few of the ways to counteract that lack of peace and rest is by going to Jesus, through Prayer, His Word, and Worship, which Katie so eloquently spoke about. 

 

As we meditate on the Word of God and His amazing character of saving grace, righteousness, compassion, protection, and goodness (as this Psalm talks about), our soul comes to a place of rest. Let’s thank Him today for all of His amazing qualities, that we as His children, filled with the Holy Spirit, have direct access to. 

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

 

-Michelle Gaddi