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_35

Scripture
 

Ezekiel 35:6b

Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Israel has no more implacable enemy than Edom. As the descendants of Esau, whose brother Jacob stole his birthright and his father’s blessing, the Edomites view the Israelites as illegitimate rulers and thieves. So shortly after Nebuchadnezzar razes Jerusalem in 586 b.c., Edom seizes its opportunity for revenge and swoops in to fill the political vacuum that results. The Edomites are not operating as God’s instruments. They attack Israel out of their own greed, thinking no one is left to oppose them. They are wrong. The land of Israel never belongs to the people themselves; it belongs to God. When the Edomites sneak in to pillage the land of Israel, they find the stewards of the land gone or severely weakened, but the true Owner is at home and is ready to prosecute them for their actions. (From The Voice Bible)

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The language God uses in his judgement against Edom is interesting. He doesn’t say, “Since you shed blood…” but “Since you did not hate bloodshed.” There is something about not just doing the right thing but actually loving what is right; not just avoiding sin because God hates it but truly hating it ourselves. In other words, it’s about our heart condition.

 

This makes more sense when you consider what Jesus said in Matthew 12:35, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” 

 

He also said in Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” Our actions, good or bad, flow from within; the outward actions are a reflection of the heart.  C.S. Lewis said something to the effect of, “God isn’t so concerned with the specific actions you take but with the kind of person you are becoming.”

 

Life Application

Ask God for more of His heart.

God, please change our hearts! May we not just try to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. Instead, may we truly love you! Please also give us your heart toward sin. May our primary motive in avoiding sin not be fear of punishment, but a hatred for it as we live in awareness of it’s destructive consequences and the suffering you endured to do away with it. Give us more of your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Go to this link for an overview of Ezekiel 34-48: https://youtu.be/SDeCWW_Bnyw

 

– Levi Thompson



Revelation_10

Scripture

Revelation 10:10 

I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

 

Observation-What does it say?   

In this part of his revelation, John sees an angel carrying a “little scroll.”  The little scroll is representative of the prophecy John must give to the people.  On one hand, John knows the sweetness of God’s good news.  However, included in the good news is the reality of the future of those who refuse to accept God’s free gift of grace.  In the Matthew Henry commentary, he writes, “Most men feel pleasure in looking into future events, and all good men like to receive a word from God. But when this book of prophecy was thoroughly digested by the apostle, the contents would be bitter; there were things so awful and terrible, such grievous persecutions of the people of God, such desolations in the earth, that the foresight and foreknowledge of them would be painful to his mind.”  When we draw our focus to the sweetness of the teaching of Jesus, it helps us to have a perspective on the bitterness we experience in this life.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

As a police officer, I’m sort of in the business of bad news.  I tell people they are getting tickets, that they are going to jail, or that they accidentally gave away their life savings to a very tricky person and they probably won’t get it back.  My least favorite bad news to give is when I have to let someone know their family member won’t be coming back home.  For whatever reason, it’s never gotten easier for me and always takes me a few hours to get back to normal.  The sense of permanent loss is always hard to take, even though I usually don’t know the people involved.  The sense of permanent loss is what seems to scare everyone.  Very rarely have I come in contact with a family who have their hope set in the next life.  It’s also this fear of the permanent that scares us away from sharing the gospel with others.  We fear how they will react to the news that their life is sinful and results in the permanent separation from God.  It gives us the same sourness in our stomach that John experienced.  

We don’t need to have fear like the rest of the world though.  “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” (1 Thesalonians 4:13-14)  This also reason for us to heed the call of the great commission.  To go despite our fear.  Throughout scripture, God gives us assurance he will be there for us.  “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,

And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.  “Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:1-2&4)

Life Application 
 
Jesus, help me to be bold.  Help me to hold so dear to the assurance of my faith that I fear nothing.  Set me on a path to encounter people who need to hear the goodness of your love, even though it means they will also hear of the permanency of their sin.  I love you and want to honor you with my whole life. 
 
 
-Tyler Galloway




Ezekiel_33

Scripture – What stood out?

Ezekiel 33

31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

 

Observation – What does it say?

In this chapter God compares Ezekiel to that of a watchman, who is supposed to shout warning in the event of impending danger. God then lays out a formula for understanding what is just and unjust. Who is in the right and who would be in the wrong when it comes time for God’s judgement.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Considering the heavy emphasis of God’s justice and His version of who is deserving of condemnation and not, I was pleasantly surprised by the verse that stood out to me. See for the past week, I have been trying so hard to work on the life application I prayed about last thursday. I have attempted to wake up, praising God no matter what. And I have found myself praising God no matter how I feel. And the results have been amazing.

 

I have learned so much from this church family. But what a joy it has been to work for a pastor who so firmly believes that it is the application of information that leads to transformation. The above verse is such a pleasing confirmation/reminder that we are on the right track.

 

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

So my prayer Father God : Continue to teach me Your word. Make it a part of my life. Help me to transform my spirit, my character, my heart, by showing me how to apply your word. Brick by brick, bit by bit, I am determined to get there – as stubborn and as slow as I am. Guide me Holy Spirit, by teaching me what to do every time you reveal something new to me or I am reminded of something I ought to be doing.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm__112

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭112:7-8
 
“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”

‭‭‬Observation-What does it say?

In this psalm, the psalmist, (more than likely David), writes just how blessed are those who follow and obey God. He writes how their children will be successful. He writes how they themselves will be wealthy, generous, compassionate, and righteous. He writes that they will have influence and honor, and their good deeds will be remembered forever. But what really stuck out to me when reading this is how people who follow and obey God, won’t fear bad news. They will be confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
No God, No peace. Know God, Know peace.
 
I remember driving and saw that the car in front of me had a license plate frame with that saying. It immediately hit home with me because I knew just how true it really is. And just like David writes in this psalm, those who know and obey God, will truly be blessed and find comfort and peace no matter what life throws at you. I know I have. When you truly know God, (by reading His Word, obeying His Word, staying connected to Him in daily prayer, and staying connected to His people), you begin to understand God’s character. You begin to understand His faithfulness, His provision, His grace and mercy, and His unfailing love us. You will begin to experience peace in your life. That no matter what life throws at you, God is with you. He knows what we are going through. God knows because He came down in the flesh as Jesus, to go through everything this world had to offer. And you know what?! Jesus conquered this world…and yes, even death! Meaning we too who put our faith in Christ Jesus can conquer this world and overcome all the fears that are in it!
 
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”-‬ ‭‭John‬ ‭16:33
 
Life Application
 
Finding peace and comfort through my faith.
 
A couple of months ago, I experienced some bad news. The news I received caused me to get so angry (to the point where my blood pressure went through the roof, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack)! It caused me to have sleepless nights and stress beyond belief. Then I remembered something. I remembered that God was in control and He must have a purpose behind this stress in my life. It was up to me to seek His purpose behind it. So on those sleepless nights I would wake up, go in the family room by myself, and just pray. I literally cried out to God for help and guidance. I basically gave my troubles and concerns to God and trusted that whatever came my way, He would be there with me, and provide for me. So every morning I would wake up a couple of hours before work and seek God in prayer, and do my Bible readings and devotions. My anger over the situation was gone, the stress from it was out of my life, and I could honestly say I found peace over whatever God decided to happen next. Then a couple weeks ago that bad news turned good. I received the restitution and justice I was praying for! I immediately praised God and to this day I give Him all the glory. I now, still keep that same “morning routine” and just spend my time with Jesus. I walked away from this situation with a deepened faith and a better relationship with God. Thank You Jesus! 🙏🏽🙌🏽🙏🏽
 
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”-‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm 111

Scripture

Psalm 111:10 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

 

Observation and UnderstandingWhat does it say and mean?

The world’s definition of wisdom is not God’s definition of wisdom. 

One of my favorite verses growing up was Proverbs 9:10-“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Because God is love, the word “fear” doesn’t imply being scared of Him. “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18a. God is not manipulative and He doesn’t use scare tactics to keep relationship with us. He loves us deeply, but He is not an insecure Father either. Fear of God means reverence, honor and respect. Basically, I respect that You are God and You are in control and I am not. I respect that You are sovereign (of supreme power and authority) and I am not. I respect that You are Omniscient (all knowing) and I am not. I submit to what You want for my life, even though it may not be what I want or I understand it. 

According to God’s Word, the beginning of wisdom always starts with Him, not us. 

 

Life Application

Is our daily lives showing TRUE wisdom in the Lord?

We must change our mindset of what it means to be “wise” in this world. God’s definition of being wise has nothing to do with what job title we hold, how much experience we have in an area, what degree(s) we possess, how many followers on social media we have, how much money we have in the bank, how big our house is, what car we drive, etc. Just a disclaimer that having an education, influence and success is NOT bad at all, but when we define wisdom and ourselves through it and think we are better than others because of it, then we are being foolish with our thinking. 

When God came down as man in the form of Jesus, He didn’t come with any of that. He came in the form of a servant, fully submitted to His Father’s will for His life.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” 1 Corinthians 3:19

What are some ways that we can show TRUE wisdom in the Lord? (Hint: prayer, bible reading, journaling, having a grateful heart, serving others, giving generously, forgiving and not slandering, loving enemies, being faithful in our marriage and taking care of our home/kids, etc.)

-Michelle Gaddi



Ezekiel_30

Scripture
 
Ezekiel 30:19
 

“’…So I will inflict punishment on Egypt,

    and they will know that I am the Lord.’”
 

Observation – What does it say?

 
In this chapter we find twice more God sharing the intentions of his actions. Over and over again throughout this book God makes it clear what he is after: that “they will know that [He is] the Lord.”
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
 
God is passionate about being known!
 

He longs to reveal himself, and is willing to use any means necessary to do so. It’s easy to look back and despise life’s challenges and the years I spent suffering the consequences of my sin. But, if it wasn’t for the hard times where would any of us be in our relationship with God? It was the hardest times that caused me to draw near to God and seek him. And of course, whenever I sought him he revealed himself.

 
It’s often hard to “consider it pure joy” whenever we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2). But it makes it a bit easier when we realize that every challenge is an opportunity for God to reveal himself to us. Even in discipline, God’s intent is that we come out the other side sharing a deeper intimacy with him.
 
Life Application
 

Rather than complaining, develop the habit of asking God, “How are you wanting to reveal yourself to me in this season/situation?

God, thank you that you’re passionate about revealing yourself. We want to know you more! In all that we experience, please help us not to miss what you’re trying to show us. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Revelation 5

Scripture  

Revelation 5:4-5 

Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The book with the seven seals is representative of seven plagues, which will be described in chapter six.  The only one strong enough to open the book is proclaimed to be the Lion of Judah.  This is a Messianic title, which originates in Genesis 49.  Judah was Joseph’s brother, the one who thought it would be a great idea to sell him into slavery.  Twenty years later, when all of the sons of Jacob travel to Egypt looking for food, Judah becomes the pledge of safety for Benjamin, the son of Rachel and only full brother of Joseph.  Joseph, having recognized his brothers, put them to the test to see if they were willing to abandon Benjamin, as they had to him.  But, upon seeing how readily Judah was willing to become a slave to save his brother, Joseph lavishes them with gifts, knowing their hearts had changed.  In a similar fashion to the relationship of Melchizedek, Jesus is compared to Judah in his willingness to sacrifice himself.  Through his sacrifice he is able to overcome the world.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Ask anyone who knew me when I was a kid and they will tell you I was not a model student.  I hated school and I don’t think it liked me much either.  I was easily distracted, overly social, fidgety and had way too much energy.  I would also daydream and doodle a lot.  Not to mention, my teachers didn’t know what to do with me and gave me the impression that I wouldn’t amount to much.  I failed classes, barely passed classes and had trouble retaining information.  To top it off, my brother was nearly a genius and scored 1460 on his SAT.  

But, as things go, I changed over time.  In my thirties, I learned how to be a student.  I learned that discipline and willingness to sacrifice a little of my time and a little of my fun meant I could accomplish something a little better.  As I approach the end of my college education at 36 (I’m on the 18 year plan), I am a little closer to the top of my class with a 3.88 GPA.  But, it took sacrifice, a lot of sacrifice to get there.

Like Judah, we all have the ability to change.  Our change, though, requires us to sacrifice.  To let go of our old self, and take hold of the new person we can be through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!   All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”(2 Corinthians 5:17-19)  Furthermore, when we accept this change through the free gift of grace, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of the King (Ephesians 1:3-14).  Beyond that, because of His ability to overcome, as displayed in Revelation, we have security for the future, in spite of how bad things get.  We have the authority to be bold and courageous like Joshua when he entered the promised land (Joshua 1:7-9).

 

Life Application

Holy Spirit, I ask that you help me with my confidence in you.  Remind me daily of your ability to overcome the enemy.  Thank you for your acceptance of me as your son.  

-Tyler Galloway


Psalm_108

 

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 108 

1 My heart, O God, is steadfast;

    I will sing and make music with all my soul.

2 Awake, harp and lyre!

    I will awaken the dawn.

3 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;

    I will sing of you among the peoples.

 

Observation – What does it say?

David figuratively tells his instruments to wake up so that together they can wake up the morning sun. How? By praising and exalting God to start the day. His heart for God was so steady and true. That desire to praise him remained such a constant throughout his day and consequently his life.

 

David knew that it was not humans who gave him victories. It was God. He was able to consistently make this a principle inside his heart. I wonder if he remained so consistent!

Understanding – What does it mean?

With the emotional ups and down of life, I marvel at King David’s ability to persistently pursue and praise God. No matter what. Not only praise God, but to sing His praises. Maybe it is because I am not much of a musician but I find this so hard to relate to! When I feel dead inside, and I feel dead inside a lot…I think the hardest thing for me to do is have any sort of emotional connection with, anything. 

 

It’s so easy to sing to God when I’m happy. Lord, I want to be able to sing to You, no matter what.

 

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

I want to start my day tomorrow praising God. Just like King David used to. Then I want to praise God. Because God is worthy to be praised. In all things. Under all circumstances. No matter how I feel.

Holy Spirit, I ask that you give me the ability to praise God, no matter what I am going through, no matter what I am feeling, no matter how dead I feel inside. Show me how to sing unto the Lord through all and in all. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm 107

Scripture

Psalm 107: 13-14

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.
 

Observation

This psalmist begins the chapter by saying that we should give thanks to Lord because of His goodness and mercy. Then they go into detail about different accounts of people who experienced the goodness of God. They talk about prisoners suffering in chains, yet when they called God answered, and more than that He broke away their chains.
 

Understanding

God answers us every single time.

I have always said that the love of God is so great because it has a response. God didn’t just say “I love you and want what is best for you,” instead he modeled what He wanted for us, and He then had His son pay the ultimate price for us. I think these verses solidify that notion. When we cry out to God, not matter what we have done, He does this amazing thing: HE ANSWERS! More than just that too, He breaks the shackles that bounded us to our sin. That’s the picture I got when I read this today, the chains breaking off, the clang as they hit the ground, and the realization of the fact that you are free! But here’s where I stopped today:

What then is my response?

I have been set free, not just to be imprisoned again. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I still make mistakes and cry out for forgiveness (and God answers), but that shouldn’t be what I fall back on. I should be living a life free forever! Also, I should be trying to take as many “prisoners” with me as possible. I understand that I can’t break their chains for them, only God can do that, but I can remind others that God is so real! He is someone who longs to answer when we call. In fact, He eagerly awaits to break our chains, all we have to do is cry out.
 

Life Application

So how exactly do we live a life worthy of being set free? It is already laid out for us in Jesus’ life, all we have to do is try our best to live like Christ in everything that we do. I know it seems daunting, but here is the good news: if we find ourselves in distress all we have to do is call on God. He answers, maybe not in the way we expect, but nonetheless every time. So rid of your shackles because victory is ours!

-Allison Khan


Psalm 106

 

Scripture
 

Psalm 106:13-15-

 

13 But they soon forgot what he had done

    and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;

    in the wilderness they put God to the test.

15 So he gave them what they asked for,

    but sent a wasting disease among them.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

Here’s a breakdown of this Psalm from Matthew Henry commentary (Christianity.com): The happiness of God’s people. (1-5) Israel’s sins. (6-12) Their provocations. (13-33) Their rebellions in Canaan. (34-46) Prayer for more complete deliverance. (47, 48)

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Even through everything God had done for them, Israel forgot, went back to their rebellion, God gave them over to their desires and they suffered the consequences of it. 

 

Life Application

Don’t forget the faithfulness of the Lord. Actively wait for Him!

It’s very easy to experience the goodness of God throughout our lives (such as His protection, provision and grace), but then easily forget when put in situations where our faith is tested. This Psalm starts off with praise to God and His goodness, but then a complete turnaround as Israel forgot and went back to their old ways of thinking because they got tired of waiting for Him. Here’s a few Scriptures that encourage me when I get tired of waiting on the Lord.

Gal. 6:9- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Ps. 69:3 I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

James 5:7-Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

Lamentations 3:25-The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Psalm 27:14-Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Ps. 130:5-6 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

Dear Lord, please help us to actively wait on You. Your timing is not our timing. When continual trials hit and we go through the wilderness like Israel did, it’s very tempting to go back to our old ways because the waiting period is hard. I pray that we would continue to persevere, remember Your faithfulness in the past, and hold tight to You and the promises in Your Word. Amen. 

 

-Michelle Gaddi