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!
 

1 Chronicles _10

Scripture – What stood out?
 
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; 14 And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
 
Observation – What does it say?
 
The chronicler gives a factual step by step account of how Saul and his sons die. The chapter then ends, with this juicy morsel that gives a very straightforward analysis of Saul’s death.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
 
Saul died because he sinned against the Lord. He did not keep God’s word and even sought the counsel of a different spirit.
 
I am the first to admit I have a soft spot for King Saul. He had such an amazing beginning, didn’t he? He was called and anointed by God through the prophet Samuel. He was even given step by step instructions by God on how to achieve success during some of the most trying moments of his life. 
 
But for Saul, God’s word wasn’t enough.
 
He chose not to trust God.
 
And his penalty was death. 
 
Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?
 
King Saul reminds me of me. Do you sometimes hear God calling you – follow Me. Listen to Me. And you don’t. I didn’t for many years. King Saul died because he chose not to listen to God. Just like I haven’t. He died because he couldn’t trust God.
 
Just like I couldn’t.
 
The penalty of sin is death and I know I am no better than King Saul. And so in this moment I am grateful to Jesus. I am grateful to the Father. And I am grateful to the Holy Spirit.
 
When You speak, may I listen. When You instruct, may I obey. And when You call, may I follow.I love you Lord. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.
 
-Kenneth Lee


Proverbs__17

Scripture
 
Proverbs 17:22
 
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
 
Observation
 
King Solomon continues his “sayings of the wise,” which encapsulates not only different aspects of life but different actions for a successful one. Additionally, he places an emphasis on eating with dignity and a sound mind.
 
Understanding
 
Enter with a happy heart.
 
As kids, whenever Ethan and I had a bad attitude about something or were sad about a certain situation my mom and dad would make us say the words “I have a happy heart.” Whether in the heat of the moment we did or not, they made us repeat it until we calmed down. If that wasn’t enough we are reminded to “enter with a happy heart” because a sign saying just that hangs outside our door. For my whole life this has been a constant mantra for me to live by, but it wasn’t until reading this passage that it just clicked. 
 
We can go through life simply repeating something even if we don’t believe it. Sometimes we repeat to believe it, or we repeat it to make someone else think we believe it (as the case when Ethan and I would say it to my parents sometimes). Life throws some pretty wild seasons at us, and change is only inevitable. However, where one door closes another always opens (as cheesy as it sounds), and we can enter that new doorway with a happy heart or a dried up spirit as Solomon points out.
 
Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
 
When we change our heart about certain circumstances our perspective makes a 180 as well, and the extra effort makes it worth it. It takes effort though… happiness is a choice and joy is an outward representation of an inward feeling. If I am to radiate the goodness of the Father I am called to enter every new season with a cheerful heart, not an angry one. I want the Father to receive my whole spirit too, not some broken crushed one (that wouldn’t be the best way to spend eternity).
 
Life Application
 
Have a happy heart!
 
Even if you takes you having to repeat to yourself an ungodly amount of times, make happiness a reality. It sounds easier said than done, but the extra effort makes it worth it. Steps to being happier always includes:
  1. Spending time with God and understanding His heart more.
  2. Understanding the calling on your own life and taking hold of it.
  3. Serving others with humility and grace (I promise it comes back around and is never only one-sided).
 
-Allison Khan


1 Thessalonians 5

Scripture

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is encouraging the church on how to live as a healthy Body of Christ. Paul states the reason Christ died for us, which is so that we could live TOGETHER with Him. We were not meant to live as an island and go through this journey of faith alone. We were meant to live TOGETHER in and with Christ. 

Understanding– What does it mean?

There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.
 
No Christian was meant to exist alone. Adam had perfect fellowship with the Father before Eve came along, but God still said it was not good for man to be alone. I don’t think God was only implying that to relate to marriage. 

Christ died so that we would love Him, yes, but He also died so that we would love each other in regular fellowship and meeting together. He gave several instructions on what we were to do when we met together:

  1. Encourage one another and build each other up.
  2. Acknowledge those who work hard for us, care for us and admonish us in the Lord (aka our Pastors/Ministry Leaders).
  3. Live in peace with each other.
  4. Warn the idle and disruptive. 
  5. Encourage the disheartened and help the weak. 
  6. Be patient with everyone and don’t pay back wrong for wrong, but always do good to each other.
  7. Pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances together.

Life Application

Choose 2 things from the above list to put into practice this week towards our brothers and sisters at DSC. 

During this July month of rest, even though we are scaling back from mission and ministry, let us not pull back from the family of God. Instead, let’s take the opportunity to draw closer to each other. I think it’s interesting that Paul’s exhortation to the church was focused on how to relate to and treat one another, beyond just ministering alongside each other. 

Dear Lord, thank you for our family at DSC. I pray that we would seek to operate as a healthy body of Christ and may it begin with me. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



1 Thessalonians 4

SCRIPTURE

 1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.

OBSERVATION

Paul urged the Thessalonians, and all believers, to excel in Christian living more and more, but only when believers nurture the new nature with its desire for God do they attain the kind of spiritual progress Paul had in mind.

UNDERSTANDING

There is always a danger of Christians thinking they have no further need to progress in becoming more like Christ; but this side of eternity, no believer has even come close to what God desires for him spiritually.  A strong church, like the one in Thessalonica, might have been tempted to settle for the spiritual status quo because thanks to Paul’s solid instruction when he was with them, the saints were living exemplary lives and he had commended them for that (1 Thess. 1:2–4, 7; 2:13–14). As a result, they might have thought their condition was ideal and in no need of improvement. But Paul knew they could do better and encouraged them accordingly.

He was not satisfied even with his own progress:

  • Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12–14)

LIFE APPLICATION

I want to encourage you, Desert Streams Church: Keep pressing onward and upward to know Christ.  Spend time in prayer and study of His Word.  Meditate on the things of God.  Put aside time just to be with Him.
Make spending time in with the family of God a priority.


1 Thessalonians 3

Scripture:  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13  and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

Observation-What does it say?  Thessalonica is in the northern part of Greece.  It was a port city on the Aegean Sea, and was part of the trade route that went to present day Istanbul.  The church was founded by Paul, who spent a few weeks there after leaving Phillipi.  After he left, the Thessalonians were facing persecution from the local Jews.  The Jews were upset at the rate the church was growing, and that they were making converts of those interested in Judaism.

The opening three chapters of this book are very personal to Paul.  He is concerned for the church much like a mother would be of her children.  He reminds them of his time there, as some of the persecution came in the form of name calling by the Jews.  He goes on to praise them for their continued faith, and expresses relief at the testimony of their love for one another.  He then tells them of his prayers for them.  To overflow with love for one another and for those who are not in the church.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the hardest things that we have done as parents, so far, is sending our children off to school.  During the first days and weeks of kindergarten, our nerves were about as heightened as they could be.  We worried about if they were ready, if they were going to survive without us, and about how they would behave.  It is like the first real evaluation of your parenting skills.  We were fortunate enough to have the same kindergarten teacher for our first two boys.  There is no way to express how proud I felt when we sat down for parent teacher conference the second time through.  She looked at Jen and I and said, “You are raising some good kids.”  My heart just about jumped out of my chest.  And that really is my hope, to raise boys who are well behaved, loving, and willing to serve others.  

Paul is similar in his relationship to the churches he planted.  He wanted them to continue in their faith more than anything else.  He wanted them to have a love that was abundant and overflowing.  Most of all, he wanted them to know the real saving grace of Jesus’s death on the cross.  He also wanted the same message to spread from them, not just stay in the little circle of people who had heard the message while he was there.

Paul had the same message for other churches as well.  In Galatians 6:8-10 he wrote, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Our behavior is sometimes overlooked in the process of sharing our testimony with the world.

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to be slow to anger, as this is most likely to be one of the ways I turn people away from you.  Help me to be better at listening, so I can more fully understand the struggles that others are going through.  Let me also be sparing in the words that I offer to others, so I won’t offer anything that is contrary to your word.   

-Tyler Galloway



1 Chronicles_5

Scripture 

1 Chronicles 5:18   …who were trained for battle. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20 They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him. 

22 and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s.

Observation 

“The two tribes and a half who occupied the province east of the Jordan were naturally regarded with hostility or jealousy by their Arab neighbours. Conflicts arose, having reference especially to the possession of the rich pasture-lands.” – Commentary studylight.org

And so… the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish,and Nodab.

Understanding 

The enemy can’t stand to see that we get to live in “rich pasture-lands” feeding on every word that comes from the LORD, being led by the great shepherd Jesus Christ.

We are always on the alert and ready with the full “armor of God” on so that when the enemy is scheming against us we can take our stand. 

And he does come against us. And we do get into battle with him. And when the battles seem too much we follow the example given in 1 Chronicles 5:19-22

God helped them

because they cried out to him 

He answered their prayers, 

because they trusted in him 

The enemy was defeated

because the battle was God’s

Application 

 Father! We need your help! There are battles we are fighting, we are armored up and using our weapons but still we need you! Help us with our finances, help us with our marriages, help our kids! Help us be people after your own heart! Help us with our relationships with our families! Help us! You know the needs of all of us at Desert Streams Church. We cannot be victorious without you! You are our shield and our salvation! We put all our trust in you, there is no other God! The battle is yours, we have the victory in you! In Jesus Name Amen! 

Deborah Lee


1 Thessalonians 1

Scripture
 
1 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:7-9‬
 
“As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia. And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul and Timothy are writing the church in Thessalonica. They are continuing to pray for them and encourage them. They hear nothing but good things about the church over there. How they received God’s message, repented against their sinful actions (worshipping idols), and are now sharing the word of the Lord everywhere they are going. They have become an example to all believers.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Be a man of action!
 
The Thessalonians received the Gospel, allowed the power of the Holy Spirit to transform them, repented from their sinfulness, and shared the good news with others. They were being great examples for others to follow. In verse 3 Paul and Timothy write about the Thessalonians’ faithful works, their loving deeds, and their enduring hope. In verse 8, Paul and Timothy write about the Thessalonians’ willingness to share the word of the Lord to people everywhere! You can just read how Paul and Timothy were so proud of the people they have now become. Their actions were showing others around them about their faith in Jesus Christ.
 
It’s what Pastor Gary taught this past Sunday, faith without works is dead-(James 2:17). We can say we are Christ Followers. We can tell people all day long we are Christians. But what good is it if our actions doesn’t show it?! Would anyone even want to follow you?
If I can’t see results/transformation from you, why should I listen to you? It’s like a personal trainer who tells you to live a certain way, and do certain things in life, but they don’t even practice what they preach. Why should I listen to them?! I want to follow someone who leads by example. A person who walks the walk, and talks the talk. The way Jesus (God in the flesh), came from the comforts of Heaven, to become a lowly man, and live amongst sinners. Jesus not only taught us how to live life, but He showed us how to live by being a great example Himself.
 
I want to be a man of action. I want my faith to produce actions which point others towards the One who paved the way for me. The One who gave it all…my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
 
Life Application
 
Make sure people can see my faith.
 
I pray that I live a life where people can see my faith. That people will see my selflessness, my love for others, my openness to praise God through the good and the bad times, and my obedience to His ways over my own. I pray to live a life where people can see my Father’s image, and His fingerprints in my life each and every day.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Colossians_4

Scripture

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Observation-What does it say?

The theme of Colossians is the overall sufficiency of Christ for salvation and sanctification (gotquestions.org). It’s very important to point this out as some of the encouragement/exhortations that Paul gives the church in Colosse may seem like it was work they were to do in their own strength. Actually it was a result of who they were in Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”1 John 1:6-7 NIV

Christ’s light in us should not result in a double life of being a Christian on Sunday, but living a worldly, of the flesh life during the week. Outsiders (unbelievers) are always watching us, the way we conduct ourselves, act towards them and speak with them. They should be asking us where the purpose of our hope lies, instead of asking us why we claim one thing, yet still walk in darkness, aka are hypocrites.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NIV

Life Application

Walk in and WITH the Light, not in the darkness.

The world has enough darkness of its own. It is desperate for the light of Christ and the light shines brightest in the darkness.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would shine Your light in us. I pray that through our love for each other, they will know we are Christians. I pray that because of the love You’ve given us for them in the way we act and speak, they will know we belong to You. I pray that Your love in us would draw them to You. Thank You Jesus that it is Your power working through us through Your Holy Spirit that enables us to be witnesses in this world. May Your Name be praised because of all the people You will choose to draw to yourself as a result of our faith, surrender and obedience to You. Amen.  

-Michelle Gaddi



Colossians_3

Scripture

Colossians 3:11-14

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Observation

Written by Paul while he was in prison, Colossians written to the church of Collossae.  Some interesting notes about Colossians…

“The church at Colossae was under attack from false teachers who were denigrating the deity of Jesus; they were teaching that He was not actually God. Though Paul had never been to the church itself, he addressed these issues head-on.  The nature of Jesus Christ as Creator and Redeemer was nonnegotiable, so Paul wrote to them that he might bring his wisdom to bear on this difficult and trying situation. It was critical to him that this church know God in His greatness and glory, rather than in the deficient view given them by the false teachers (Colossians 1:252:1–2).” https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pauline-epistles/colossians

Colossians – along with other of “Paul’s epistles to various churches helped establish early Christian theology.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_to_the_Colossians

Understanding

God calls us to unity.

It was a time where people were divided – Gentile vs. Jew, circumcised vs. uncircumcised, slave vs. free; but Paul called for unity among the differences – to look at the thing that bonded them – Christ – instead of all the things that separated them.  Because…Christ is all, and is in all.

Perhaps the dividers are slightly different today, but I believe the call is the same: unity in Christ.  And what does that unity look like?  Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love.

Life Application

May we look for things that bind us, rather than those that separate us.  May we seek to find common ground…or, where appropriate, create it!  May we live out the qualities that Paul called the church of Colossae to; may we show compassion and kindness, live with humility, speak with gentleness, act with patience, forgive and…GO LOVE ON SOMEBODY! <3

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



Colossians__2

Scripture  Colossians 2:8  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.

Observation-What does it say?  Paul writes this letter to the church at Colossae, another city in modern day Turkey, while still in prison in Rome.  The letter was also intended to be read to the church in Laodicea.  Colossae’s population was primarily Gentile, however there was a large Jewish population, and therefore they struggled with problems arising from Jewish legalism and pagan mysticism.  “Colossians contains teaching on several key areas of theology, including the deity of Christ (1:15–20; 2:2–10), reconciliation (1:20–23), redemption (1:13, 14; 2:13, 14; 3:9–11), election (3:12), forgiveness (3:13), and the nature of the church (1:18, 24, 25; 2:19; 3:11, 15). Also, as noted above, it refutes the heretical teaching that threatened the Colossian church (chap. 2)” (John MacArthur).

Understanding-What does it mean?  I once worked with a man who told me, “You aren’t going to heaven because you eat pork.”  I also had another person tell me, “You aren’t really a Christian unless you have been baptized by a Catholic priest.”  And, there was the other one who said, “You aren’t really saved unless you speak in tongues.”  I’ve heard probably one hundred or more reasons as to why I’m not going to heaven, or why I’m not “really” a Christian.  Most of these statements have come from really well-meaning people, some of whom I really loved.  

I myself have fallen into this category of adding things to what the Bible says.  And I have the tendency to fall into a pattern of considering worldly “wisdom” above what the Bible tells me.  For me this wisdom generally falls into two categories: health and wealth.  I can be very religious about following the religions of health and wealth, trying to become the best and richest version of myself possible.  The problem with this is that it always leaves me empty and wanting more.  Additionally, because these are selfish ambitions, they can be completely contrary to what God has called us to.

I would rather have my life be defined by how well I represent the true message of Jesus, and his saving grace through his death on the cross.  To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).    So while it would be nice to have a six pack, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8.  

Life Application  Jesus, help me to remember to trust in you first.  In my finances, I want you to have control, so help me to give beyond my means.  Help me to remember that, ultimately, my time on Earth is short and that seeing you in eternity is more important than being obsessed with my health now.  Give me the right words to say and the knowledge of when to use them.  

-Tyler Galloway