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

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

1 Corinthians_3

Scripture  1 Corinthians 3:18   Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise.

Observation-What does it say?  The city of Corinth was an important city to the ancient trade routes.  And, therefore, it had a thriving commerce and a cultural importance.  It was a place frequented by the social elite and there was a presence from multiple nationalities: Greeks, Asians, Egyptians, Syrians and Jews.  It was also a place that had a great wealth and transitory population, Corinth had a reputation for luxury, and uninhibited pleasures.  There was a temple of Aphrodite in the city, with thousands of temple prostitutes, adding to the reputation of the cities excess.  

All of this knowledge, culture and wealth created a feeling of superiority amongst the citizens of Corinth, which was apparently creeping into the members of the church.  Paul calls them out for their judgmental and argumentative attitude. God’s plan for salvation, through Christ’s death on the cross, is foolishness to the world.  In God’s body, there is no place for pride or looking down on another.  

Understanding-What does it mean?  Some of my most embarrassing moments came when I felt like someone was acting like they were better than me.  Especially when I was younger, if I felt someone was regarding me as less than them, I would make it my mission to prove that I was superior.  This sometimes ended in me lashing out and storming off like a toddler having a temper tantrum. This happened a lot with my brother, who is a highly intelligent individual.  More than once, if my brother proved that he was smarter than me in an area, I would use some type of brut force against him, proving his point further and landing me in trouble.

Luckily, God isn’t concerned with who is “better” and he doesn’t choose people based on their accolades.  God made us all as individuals, with an individual purpose.  God concerns himself more with the state of our heart, and our willingness to be used by him in what ever capacity he has for us.  Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:20-21 “ In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.  Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

Life Application  Jesus, help me to let go of my pride.  Help me to forget the part of me that wants to prove that I am better, or somehow more worthy of respect than those around me.  You are the ultimate example of laying down yourself, taking on the form of man in order to save us from our brokenness.  Help me to dress myself as a servant, and look for ways to give your love to those around me. 

-Tyler Galloway



1 Kings_3

Scripture

1 Kings 3:10-12

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.

Observation

Solomon was now seated on the throne of his father King David and had taken the role of King. His father had passed away and he inherited a great number of people. He had listened to his father’s instructions. God was pleased with Solomon and told him he could ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon felt the weight of the responsibility and asked the Lord for wisdom.

Understanding

Gratitude and humility are always the correct response.

First, Solomon responded to God with gratitude.

1 Kings 3:6-9   6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.

Second, the humility.

7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Solomon may have been around 20 years old when he took the throne. He was young and maybe it was obvious that he told God he was a child but it’s so much more common to see an arrogant 20 something that knows everything instead of being filled with humility. I definitely was! There was clearly a difference with him. Solomon’s brothers tried to just take the throne. They never asked their father or waited to be anointed by the prophet, they thought they should be king and took it.

God was so pleased with Solomon’s request as we read in 1 Kings 3:10-12 that he not only answered his request but gave him more than he could have imagined.

13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Application

Gratitude and humility are always the correct response.

I’m so grateful that he made a way for us to enter into his kingdom and bless us with all that we have no matter how big or small.

Recognize the responsibility of the task that God gives to us.

Matthew 22:36-40   36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Father show me how to love you the way you deserve to be loved. Holy Spirit empower me to love my neighbor, especially the ones that make it so difficult!

Oh the weight of the responsibility to LOVE God, our neighbors, and ourselves! This is just one example on how to apply this to our lives but the truth is that there is the weight of the responsibility to parent or to be a spouse according to God’s standards and commands. How about an employer or an employee? The list could go on.

Pride distorts our true condition, we are mere humans in desperate need of God!  Instead let’s put on humility. We don’t and can’t possibly know everything. Let’s remain teachable remembering that God is making us into the image of his Son.

Seeking the kingdom of heaven and all His righteousness pleases the heart of God…that should always be our goal!



Psalm 112

Scripture
 
Psalm‬ ‭112:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
This Psalm describes the blessings of those who follow God’s commands.

-Children will be Mighty in the land
-Generation will be blessed
-Wealth and riches are in their houses
-They are generous and lend freely
-They are never shaken
-They will be remembered forever
-They do not fear bad news
-Their hearts are steadfast because they trust in the Lord
-Hearts are secure and they have no fear
-They freely give gifts to the poor

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Those who follow God’s commands not only gain His blessings, but are a blessing to others as well.

As I looked over the list I generated from this Psalm, I noticed that it did not only describe a person’s blessings from the Lord (as a result of following and submitting to Him), but also how those blessings have transformed those around them. I have re-listed those blessings, but with “personal” and “others” next to it.

-Children will be Mighty in the land (transforms kids-others)
-Generation will be blessed (transforms next generation-others)
-Wealth and riches are in their houses (personal blessings)
-They are generous and lend freely (others)
-They are never shaken (personal)
-They will be remembered forever (personal)
-They do not fear bad news (personal)
-Hearts are steadfast because they trust in the Lord (personal)
-Hearts are secure and they have no fear (personal)
-They freely give gifts to the poor (others)

Life Application
 
To be a blessing to others starts with putting God first in our lives.

The two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with our whole being and love our neighbor as ourselves. The law can be summed up by those 2 commands, according to Scripture. (See Matthew 22:36-40).

We reap what we sow and others reap what we sow too. Just like how the consequences of sin never only affects the individual negatively, but also others, the consequences or outcome of putting God first and living a righteous and pure life also affects others, but in a blessed type of way.

Therefore, let us seek to put Christ first in everything we do so that we will be blessed AND be a blessing to others also!

-Michelle Gaddi



Matthew__28

Scripture

Matthew 28:16-17 NLT

“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!”

 
Observation-What does it say?

As both Marys went to visit Jesus’ tomb, they were greeted by a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the huge stone that lay in front of the door of the tomb, and showed both Marys that the place where Jesus’ body laid, was now empty! Just like Jesus told them…He would rise again! Jesus is alive! Now the angel told the women to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive, and to tell them to head to Galilee, because it is there that they will see him.

So when the disciples arrived in Galilee, they went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. It was there that they saw him and worshipped him, yet some of them still doubted.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?

Transformation does not happen quickly.

 
Even after all Jesus has done for them, all He has told them, all that they have seen with their own eyes, they still doubted?! We would like to think that the Resurrection alone would immediately transform these timid disciples into heroes of faith. But this particular verse is a great reminder that transformation does not happen overnight. Even after Jesus’ disciples saw him alive and heard him speak, they still doubted.
 
Now just when I was going to get down on Jesus’ disciples, I took a look at my own life. I looked back at all that I learned, all that Jesus has done in my life, and all that He has got me through. Yet when one of life’s roadblocks comes my way, what do I do? I find myself anxious, I begin to doubt God’s promises for me. Why?! I believe it’s a growing and maturing process we as Christ Followers all go through. Our lives as Christ Followers is a daily spiritual walk. A walk in which we should all be striving to grow and mature in Christ daily. I believe the “churchy word” for it is sanctification. It is our lifelong process as God’s children to become more like Christ each and every day. And it doesn’t stop either! It is something we all should be doing till the Lord calls us home.
 
Life Application

I must allow the Holy Spirit to make me be a better disciple each and every day, month, and year!

 
Too often we come across people who say they have been Christians for years and years. Yet they seem to be struggling with the same issues over and over. They tell you that they’ve been a Christian for 10 years, but it seems they’ve been repeating the same grade year after year with no growth. Or they can quote you scripture and know the Bible inside-out. Yet their lives contradict what they should already know. They have the information, but not the transformation in their lives. 

As Christ Followers we should be all about the transformation. We should be allowing the Holy Spirit to mold us and change us to be more like Jesus each day. We all need to start somewhere in our walk with God. The key is to make sure we don’t settle where we are at, but we continue to seek growth to become more and more like Him each day . 

-Moses Gaddi



Matthew_27

Scripture

Matthew 27:28-31

28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had [h]twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

Observation

In many ways, this is the beginning of the end…but also the end of the beginning.

Judas had basically sold Jesus off to his death for 30 pieces of silver, felt great shame and guilt and tried to return it then hung himself.

Jesus had been taken before the governor, Pilate, who did NOT find him guilty but upheld the custom of releasing only one prisoner of the crowd’s choice – of which they chose Barabbas.

Now, Barabbas has been released and they begin the process of crucifixion.

Understanding

The accounting of Jesus’ death is always heart wrenching. No one deserves a death like this, especially not an innocent, peaceful and loving man…for whom the governor could find no wrong. One thing to take away though, is Jesus’ example of humility.

I’ve always felt that spitting on someone was among the most disgusting and disrespectful things one could do to another. And here we see our Savior being mocked, subjected to pain, spit on, struck, stripped down, fed sour wine, hung, nail pierced…yet, even here – subjected to humiliation and holding the power to bring down whatever he wanted on to these people (fire and lightening come to mind for me) – he remains innocent, peaceful, loving and humble. Talk about raising the bar in living a life of example!

Life Application

God, I thank you that you have such incredibly high standards…but that in the short time you physically walked the earth, you set the best example of living up to those high standards. I’ll be honest, it still doesn’t possible and I know I fail daily…but make me more like you. May my humility, my love, my kindness, my attempts to bring harmony and peace be reflective of you in me and may it turn hearts towards you.

In your name I pray.

Rei

 

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



Matthew_26

Scripture:  Matthew 26:39  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Observation-What does it say?  Jesus is in the final stretches of his first mission on earth.  He has made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and is about to be betrayed.  In light of what is about to happen, Jesus stops to pray.  He prayed with fever and passion, as described in Luke 22:39-46.  “The prospect of his suffering fills Jesus with horror…Peter, writing later, says that Jesus ‘was bearing our sins in his own body on the cross’ (1 Peter 2:24)” (Zondervan Handbook of the Bible, p.575).   Despite his vehement prayers, Jesus ultimately submits and God’s plan is still carried out.

Understanding-What does it mean?  My son, Ezekiel, suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  He also has some food allergies.  And so, he really shouldn’t be eating certain foods that irritate his stomach and that he is allergic to, like wheat, dairy, and eggs.  We learned this when he was four years old.  And do you know what four year old boys like to eat?  I can give you a short list: pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly.  These all include at least two of the three foods he is allergic to, and I haven’t even begun on desserts.  

Having to suffer through this with Ezekiel has been a painful, but effective, object lesson in why we sometimes have to hear the word “no” when we earnestly pray for something.  It hurts to see the look on Ezekiel’s face at a birthday party when he can’t have cake.  It’s not fun having to forego pizza as a family, because of the way it hurts his stomach.  But, I know these are good things for him to abstain from.  Just like God knows the things that are best for us.  

Something else I have learned in having kids, is that I love to hear their stories.  I also love when they want to spend time with me, especially if it is doing a mundane task.  It can get really annoying if the only things coming out of their mouths is, “Can I have a…?  I want a…  I need it now.”  And so, I know our heavenly father feels the same way.  C.S. Lewis writes, “Prayer in the sense of petitions, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.  In it God shows Himself to us.  That he answers prayers is a corollary- not necessarily the most important one- from that revelation” (The World’s Last Night, p. 7).

 
Life Application:  Jesus I want to abide in you.  I want to know you and hear your voice.  While I still struggle with material desires, like wanting a bigger house or a nice truck, I know  these will ultimately leave me empty and still wanting more.  Help me to replace these with a longing for your voice.  Help me to thrive in waiting for you.  Most of all, help me to accept your “no” because you “know.”
 
 -Tyler Galloway


Matthew_ 25

Scripture

Matthew 25:40

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Observation

Jesus was continuing his conversation he was having with the disciples telling them what it would be like in the end times and at his return. In this particular parable Jesus told them that when the Son of Man comes in glory he would separate them, sheep from goats.

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

Understanding

We are ministering to the God that saved us.

The next time we have an opportunity to visit the sick or show hospitality to a foreigner trying to find their way in a new town, we are lifting their spirit and providing nourishment for their soul. We are reflecting the Father’s love for them, we are showing them the friendship and fellowship of Jesus Christ, that he would lay down his life for them.

We have a glorious opportunity to minister to God himself when we give to the poor, visit the widow, adopt the lonely, visit the prisons… God provides an opportunity for us to humble ourselves and care for those who may seem deplorable, unlovable, and unreachable.

Application

Recognize the opportunity to minister to God Himself

We know someone in our life, a family member, a neighbor, maybe someone at work or on our way to the market that needs to be visited, fed, or clothed. Practically, set aside funds, food, or clothes and prepare yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit. Expect a divine appointment to minister to God.

Holy Spirit lead us and empower us!

Deborah Lee



Matthew__24

Scripture

  • 36″No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father.
  • 42″Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
  •  45″Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Observation

We are certain of one very important thing in this passage…Jesus will come again to establish His Kingdom rule here on earth.  The time for that was not at the time of His life on earth but was in a distant future.  He gives us some signs that would point to His return but the other thing we know for sure is that no one but the Father knows when the return will be, not even the angels.  The other thing we recognize from this chapter is that whether we are ready or not He will return.

Understanding

Jesus says that He will return to establish His kingdom and to destroy those who oppose it.  He gives us four pieces of advice to help us navigate this event successfully.  He says that we as wise servants should…
  • Be watchful or alert
  • Be ready
  • Be faithful
  • Be wise

Life application

So are we being wise servants of the Master?  Are we living in such a way that we are being watchful, ready, faithful and wise?  What do those things look like in your life?  Would love to hear from you how those instructions are being walked out in your life today.
 
-PG


2 Samuel_20

Scripture
 
2 Samuel 20:16,19
 
16 “But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.”
 
19 “I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel. Why do you want to devour what belongs to the LORD?”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
Joab and his forces are in hot pursuit of seizing Sheba and his men. They find out that Sheba and his men were assembled and ready for battle in a town called Abel-beth-maacah. So Joab and his forces arrive and begin attacking the town, even building a siege ramp against the towns fortifications as they began battering down the wall. 
But a wise woman from the town calls out to Joab and questions Joab asking why he is destroying their town…God’s town. Joab replies his intentions of seizing but one man, Sheba, for Sheba spoke against the king of Israel and has tried to start a revolt against the king. Joab then tells this wise woman that if she hands Sheba over to him, he will leave their town. The wise woman talks it over with the rest of the town and they agree to Joab’s request. They cut off Sheba’s head and throw it out to Joab. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The wise woman stood up against the man (Sheba), who spoke against God’s anointed King, and helped spare her town from further destruction and ruin.
 
The town of Abel-beth-maacah had a person amongst them who had spoken bad against God’s anointed king, David. The town was under attack and on the verge of being devoured by the king’s army because of it, until a wise woman came out and took a stand against the destruction of her land, the land of God! She and the town literally took the thing that was causing her town so much war and destruction by the head and submitted it to the king’s men. Her town was spared from further damage that day.
 
Life Application
 
Take a stand against the things in this world that oppose God, His people, and His ways.
 
It seems this world put lots of things God considers important on the back burner. In some parts of the world, God’s people are being put to death because of their faith. Even in our own nation, God and His ways are being taken out of schools and our government. We as a church body (His bride), have let God down. Our world is being devoured and destroyed because of such things. Just look around us! It’s time we as THE CHURCH take a stand! We must be like the wise woman in this passage and take a stand. Fight to keep our home, God’s home, from being destroyed!
 
Lord give me courage and strength to take a stand against anything or anyone who opposes You or Your people. Let we, as Your bride, fight for its groom. Help us to show you the honor, respect, and love You truly deserve. In Your name Lord Jesus, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_105

Scripture

Psalm 105:8,42-44

He remembers his covenant forever,
    the promise he made, for a thousand generations,

42 For he remembered his holy promise
    given to his servant Abraham.
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
    his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
    and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—

 

Observation

Starting with praise, this book shares a summarized version of the story of Abraham, the story of the Israelites – from being set free (with the use of plagues) to the traveling by cloud and fire, to the provision in the desert (manna and quail from heaven, water from rocks)…and why?  All because God had made a promise.

 

Understanding

There was so much good stuff in today’s reading – especially in Matthew, with the “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21) and the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) – it was hard to choose just one theme.  But I think even those can be summed up with…  

God is faithful.

And Psalms brings it home with just how faithful God is…so much so that he remembers his covenant FOREVER, the promise he made for A THOUSAND GENERATIONS.  I’m lucky to remember something for a thousand minutes or a thousand seconds.  Yet the God who spoke us in to creation, who knew the beginning, middle and end of our stories before we took our first breath, He remembers the promises he made FOREVER.

 

Life Application

What promises are you holding on to?  What things have spoken to you and over you by God?  May today be a reminder that He hasn’t forgotten.  Stay the course, you serve a faithful God who remembers you and remembers the promises He’s made you.

God, I thank you that you are a faithful God…a follow through God.  Not one thing comes out of your mouth only to return void.  May I be faithful to you like you are to me. 

Oh, and give me opportunities today to exercise the greatest commandment – love.

In your name I pray. 

Rei

 

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