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_25

Scripture

Ezekiel 25:3-4

3 Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Sovereign Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you said “Aha!” over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile, 4 therefore I am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

God executed his judgment on his people for their sin and idolatry. Their Ammonite neighbors watched down their noses as the people of Judah were carried off into exile. And, rather than feeling any sense of compassion, they laughed and mocked at Judah’s misfortune. As a result, God was now bringing judgement against Ammon.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Do you ever find yourself lacking compassion?

This convicted me this morning particularly in regards to my kids. I’ll often lack compassion. For example, I’ll ask my son not to jump on the couch and he jumps anyway and hits his head. He doesn’t usually get from me a, “Oh bud, I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” More like a, “I told you not to! That’s what you get.” And after a few seconds, “You alright?” I could definitely use a shift from being a bit less like Ammon and a bit more like Jesus.

Don’t make fun of people’s misfortune, even if they deserve it.

Even though Judah deserved it, from God’s perspective it didn’t give the Ammonites the right to mock and rub it in.

In Psalm 1, the godly, successful man is contrasted against the man who “sits in the seat of mockers.”

James 3:9-10 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Jesus spoke of those who will be rewarded and said, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 26:36) Then he clarified, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

In other words, following Jesus is about bringing your sick co-worker a meal rather than saying, “I’ve been telling them to take better care of themselves.” It’s about visiting those in prison rather than saying, “They committed the crime and deserve to be in there.”  And it’s about offering something to the cardboard sign holder on the corner rather than rolling up the window and making a judgmental comment. 

 

Life Application

God, forgive my lack of compassion! May we be people who are quicker to love than to judge, quicker to help than to laugh! Make us more like you. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Psalm 104

Scripture  

Psalm 104:31-33 

 

Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works; He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke.  I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This psalm is a hymn to the creator.  The author uses the story of creation to demonstrate the glory of God, using the earth as a vision of God’s glory.  “The poem contains a complete cosmos sea and land, cloud and sunlight, plant and animal, light and darkness, life and death, are all proved to be expressive of the presence of the Lord”(Spurgeon).  Using the imagery of earth, we get an understanding of God as the sustainer of life.  All of His creation depend on His unfailing goodness and provision for life itself.  Contemplating on His creation helps us to gain perspective on His glory, so we can praise him properly.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

As a kid, my favorite part of the year was summer.  Though it had little to do with being out of school.  Well, maybe that was some of it.  But, my love of summer really revolved around summer camp.  I started going to our church’s summer camp pretty young, I think my first time to summer camp was when I was seven, just after finishing the first grade.  It was the first time I can remember seeing the forest, or having a bonfire.  But what was most important and impactful on my life was the ability to connect with God, which is what drew me back every year.  And that was the whole idea of summer camp, getting out of our normal routine, into a beautiful setting, with the intention of worshiping Jesus.  

As I got into high school, winter camp became an option as well.  MIND BLOWN!!!  I was like, “You mean I get to go to the mountains, in the snow, and worship God  in the winter?”  I didn’t know what part of the year was my favorite anymore.  While times have changed, and camps are a fading trend, I still find I have a need to get out into the wilderness to reorient my perspective.  I love to hike and mountain bike.  These moments in the woods and desert, having the time to look at God’s creation, helps me to remember how powerful He is and of the beauty of his wisdom.  

We live in a culture that doesn’t encourage rest.  Phrases like “time is money” and “you can sleep when you’re dead” encourage us to be working continually.  Which draws us to focus on problems.  When we take time away to gain perspective, we can focus on the bigger picture and the solution.  Jesus being the ultimate solution to life.  Jesus himself retreated for times of prayer.  In Matthew 14, Mark 6 and Luke 6, we see an example of Jesus drawing away to gain perspective and, most importantly, meet with the Father.  

 
Life Application 
 
Holy Spirit, help me to have an attitude like Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).  Help me to gain perspective when I can.  Most of all, help me to worship God because he is the creator and sustainer of my life.  It is only from this perspective that all the hard things in life can have meaning.     
 
-Tyler Galloway




Psalm__103

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 103

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

    slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,

    nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve

    or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

    so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,

    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Another beautiful psalm of David. This psalm reveals the counterpart to God’s Wrath – His Compassion. I have read the old testament many times now and here is a verse that has always stuck to me, Deuteronomy 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,”

But in psalm 103 we find the counter measure to that in verse 17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children-”

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Author Lois Tverberg, in her book Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus writes:

 

Our English word fear narrowly focuses on being afraid. To us, fear is the opposite of trust and is synonymous with worry, dread, or fright. But yirah encompasses a much wider range of meanings from negative (dread, terror) to positive (worship, reverence) and from mild (respect) to strong (awe). Whenever you read “revere” or “reverence” in your bible, the word yirah is most likely behind it.

 

What a wonderful explanation for the word fear in psalm 103:11, and 17. My whole life I have interpreted the english bible’s interpretation of the fear of the Lord one and only one way, and that was the “tremble in dread and terror” definition. But here we read that the same root word for fear in hebrew was also used to mean reverence and awe

Doesn’t that open up a totally different perspective? The picture of God I have in these verses is no longer the angry, terrifying destroyer of men, who instills fear but instead it is that of a Holy and Just God who is capable of applying both justice and mercy who instills reverence and awe. And what does God do to those who revere him with awe – he loves them…with a love so great says David. He does not treat us as our sins, as our bad decisions, as our bad desires deserve. Instead he removes our transgressions. He removes our trespasses from His ledgers, from the column that reads “must pay in full for the wrongs you committed this time and that time and that time”.

 

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

I would like to be somebody who reveres you with awe Father God. Teach me how to do that appropriately given my own limitations Father God. Show me what it is to have a healthy fear of You. Perhaps it is similar to the fear a man has of his 64 year old, 115 lb, immigrant mother that he outweighs by over 150 lbs. Perhaps not. Show me how to properly revere You, Lord, so that my children’s children would be faithful recipients of Your Love and Your Righteousness.

What can I do to increase or to work on my healthy fear of the Lord today? Father I will try my best not to use Your name in vain today. That is one small way I can begin to improve on developing a reverence for You! Love You Lord.

 

-kenneth lee

 



2 John__1

Scripture

2 John‬ ‭1:5-6

‬ ‭

“I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”

 

Observation-What does it say?
 
In this second epistle, John is writing to the church, reminding them to be mindful in three things:
 
Discernment: The church needed the ability to separate the truth and error when it came to false teachings.
 
Love: According to John no one can claim to love Christ or His church and then not walk faithfully in the truth. Love and truth distinguish God’s people from those who do not belong to Him.
 
Hospitality: The apostles Peter and John both agreed that hospitality is the Christian’s duty and joy, as well as an act of love (1 Peter 4:8-9). But John in this chapter reminds the church that hospitality does have boundaries. God’s people must not welcome, accept, associate with, or support anything or anyone who undermines the truth of the gospel (2 John 1:9-11).
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The power of love.
 
No!..I’m not talking about the song by Huey Luis and the News from the 80’s movie, Back to the Future.😆 I am talking about God’s love. Let’s put it this way, Jesus simplified following the entire Ten Commandments by doing these two things that involve love.
 
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””-(Matthew‬ ‭22:37-40)
 
So as you can see, love is the foundation of what we are to do as Christ Followers: My love for God, and my love for my fellow man. It really sounds quite simple. But keep in mind, Jesus calls us to love the unlovable and even calls us to love our enemies. So it can be quite challenging at times. But it’s through our love for one another, that people, especially non believers, can experience God and His love first hand.
 
Life Application
 
God is love.
 
Because God is love and we are His children, we are an extension of His love when we go out into the world and love one another. So let’s go out into this dark world right now and share God’s love. Buy someone in need a gift card, send someone an encouraging text, give someone a helping hand, or let someone know that they are loved. Let people see the light and hope in His people, so that they too, can yearn for that love and experience in their lives as well.😊
 
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”-‭‭John‬ ‭13:35
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


1 John_5

Scripture

1 John 5:4-5 NLT

“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

John presents the true foundation to see if one is a true Christ Follower. First they must believe that Jesus is the Christ and is born of God (vs. 1). Next, they must be living lives loving one another and keeping God’s commandments (vs. 1-3). Finally, they must be continually walking with God, overcoming any obstacles that may come their way because of their faith in Christ Jesus (vs. 4-5).

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus already secured the victory for us, but are we secured in Jesus?

This passage is a great reminder for me that I am a child of God, and as a child of God, I have to live my life according to His standards and not this world’s standards. It reminds me that I have a responsibility to show the same love towards others, the same way Jesus showed me when He died for my sins. Finally, it reminds me that the One I put my faith and trust in, is the One who will help me overcome this world and all its pitfalls.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16 NIV

“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 NLT

 

Life Application

Seek someone in life who you know that can benefit from hearing the good news; The good news of overcoming this evil world as long as they put their faith in Jesus!

Father God, give me direction to whom you would like me to share the good news with today. Help me to live the life of a Christ Follower that John describes in this passage. Help me to show the love that You have shown me to others around me. May they see Your light shine through me, and may it lead them towards a life with You. May it give them a new strength and hope knowing that their faith in You can help them overcome anything in this world. In Your name Jesus, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



Ezekiel_20

Scripture

Ezekiel 20:11

I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.

 

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel is in the middle of declaring these prophetic parables about what Israel has been like. He depicts Israel as a burnt useless stick, a rebellious wife, a dangerous lion that has been captured and then as two promiscuous sisters. As he paints these various pictures of Israel, he pauses at times, one of which is here in chapter 20, to argue that the judgment coming on Israel is deserved. Here, God explains through Ezekiel how he rescued his chosen people even though they rebelled against him. And, after rescuing them he gave them his commands. Yet they only continued to rebel.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

What hit me in this verse is the reason God gave his people commands and ‘rules.’

The words ‘rule’ and ‘command’ have such negative connotations in our culture today. There is a lie that if we follow God’s commands we’re going to be restricted and kept from what’s truly going to make us happiest. But here, the truth is revealed.

Rules and commands aren’t designed to keep us from really living, but rather, to enable us to live life to its fullest!

This must be why David said things like this:

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul… The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 119:97-98 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.

[side note: Because we could never follow all God’s commands perfectly and therefore all sin, God sent his Son to die for our sins so that by believing in him we could receive the life we could never earn. Under the New Covenant, under grace, we don’t follow God’s commands in order to earn salvation or life, but as a loving response to the salvation and life we’ve already received.]

 

Life Application

Joyfully follow God’s commands. Understanding it will result in a much richer, fuller, God-glorifying life!

God, thank you so much for your commands! Thank you for blessing us with your word that instructs us in how we are to live. The essence of being a Christian is learning to obey all you have commanded us to do. And we know that the Christian life, though not always easy, is filled with joy and fulfillment! May we obey you, even when it’s hard, knowing that our obedience is what will lead to a richer and fuller life with you. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



1 John_3

Scripture 

1 John 3:23-24 

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.  The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

 

Observation-What does it say?   

John, the Apostle and friend of Jesus, is the author of this short letter.  He had two purposes in mind to address with the readers: to expose false teachers and to give believers assurance in their salvation.  The church he wrote this letter to was experiencing a form of gnosticism, which is the blending of other beliefs or religions with the Gospel.  We know from other parts of scripture, the devil lies to us and wants to steal our life (John 10:10).  Gnosticism is one of his tricks to steal the truth of the Gospel.  In chapter three, John points to the evidence of our faith and how our actions show our alignment with God or the devil.  The love of others is proof of our devotion to and love of God.  But, the practice of sin and lawlessness is evidence of abiding in the devil.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I’ve never been a big fan of magic shows, mostly because I can’t figure out how they perform the tricks.  The slight of hand, or distraction they use, makes the audience look one way, while they are moving something out of view.  But, it’s all happening right in front of you.  I realize that is part of the show, and they use deception to make the trick work.  To make it worse, magicians aren’t fond of telling you their secrets.  They lie to you and somehow make you enjoy it at the same time.  But as they say, “the devil is in the details.”

The devil will work to deceive us in any way he can, including telling us a lie that sounds right.  He tells us lies like “love is love,” or “addiction is a disease,” making the decisions of people a product of “how they were made.”  But God gave us clear standards on our behavior (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  Along with these standards, God shows us that he is the one who saves us from our sins and makes us whole with him (1 Corinthians 10:13-22).  Which is why the way we treat others, with love and compassion, is so important and one of the best ways to minister to others.  Additionally, the actions of love and caring help us to focus our intentions on serving Him and keep us away from sin.  


Life Application 

Jesus, help me to turn away from sin.  Give me a discerning heart to know good from evil.  Help me to keep my words full of grace and truth, and my actions prompted out of love for you in a way that professes your name.        
 
-Tyler Galloway


Ezekiel_18

Scripture – What stood out?

Ezekiel 18:4 For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel chapter eighteen is an explanation of God through his prophet on just exactly how people will be judged by him. God lays out a very full explanation for the righteous person who turns to him will be saved, regardless of what the parent or the child does. And that the sinful person will die…regardless of what the parent or child does.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Doesn’t that suck?

Essentially God is saying that we are powerless to save our loved ones! Right? I mean we can try as hard as we can to convince, cajole, and coax a person into giving their lives to Jesus but at the end of the day if their hearts are not right with God there is nothing we can do about it. 

How did my christian mom feel when she knew she had to let me choose between God…or not. 

I often think about my relationship with my mom, from the perspective of the widower single parent who continued to raise me. I often wonder when the right time to draw that line between child and adult should have been for me. I wonder where her responsibility for my salvation began and ended. I think for any parent or child who has family that are still lost sheep this is a source of great conflict. Where are the lines drawn between messenger of God, parent, child, family member and individual? When is enough enough? When is what you have done too little? 

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

Ezekiel 18:20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

Lord as you have made it clear to me that we all have individual relationships with you I pray for wisdom and guidance. I pray that you help me to know when to press down on the gas and start feeding my loved ones as many bible verses as they can handle. I pray that you teach me when to just be there for them. Show me Lord how to teach others how to have relationship with you. And show me Lord, how to let go.  In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

 



1 John___1

Scripture

1 John 1:5-6

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.
 

Observation

John’s reason for writing this letter is clear: to bring unbelievers into a relationship with God. However, the way he goes about this is very direct, and somewhat challenges those who consider themselves to be believers. He simply begins his letter by stating who God is, and who we should therefore be in Him.
 

Understanding

I’m going to be really honest with you guys: I read those verses and felt really convicted. Am I living a life worthy of the light? I want to be living in truth and walking in that truth every single day, but John makes me reconsider. I think he makes me reconsider this because he makes the distinction super clear. He reminds us that fellowship with God means turning from the thing that God deems darkness. It means taking up our cross and bearing it daily. It means that despite falling short, we come to Him and ask for forgiveness anyway. All these things considered, his use of language still makes me feel like a phony. I know that I fall short and that I am by no means perfect, which makes looking at these verse so difficult, but here’s what I also realize.

Brokenness is what allows light to flood in.

My brokenness allows for light to flood through my cracks. That despite having these cracks and mistakes God still chooses to partner with me to accomplish His will. My job is not to be perfect, but rather choose to have fellowship and communion with God. John uses this strong wording on purpose. He wants us to realize that despite the brokenness we give to God, He is still light that overpowers darkness. This way, I too, cans shine like the one who sent me.
 

Life Application

How do we have fellowship and communion with God?  It’s easy! Read His word, and talk to Him daily. But I want to take it step further by saying communing with God’s people is also fellowship with the heart of the Father. He doesn’t ask us to keep our light to ourself, but rather share with others so that we can shine even brighter in a dark world around us. That being said watch our livestream on Sundays at 10:17, it is a great way to connect with God’s people while staying safe.

-Allison Khan

PS If you come at 10:00, you get to see some fun stuff 🙂


2 Peter 3

Scripture 

2 Peter 3: 8-10
 

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This chapter is about the Lord’s return and how we should live, knowing that His return is imminent. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

We must be good stewards and managers of the life that the Lord has given us, so that when our Master returns, we can hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Please read Luke 12:42-48 regarding being a watchful, faithful and wise manager while we await His return).

 

Life Application 

We don’t know the time or day of the Lord’s return, however, while we eagerly await His return, we must live as though we know He is coming back.

During Sunday livestream, Pastor preached a great sermon on guarding our hearts and minds. I love a comment that his daughter, Allie, posted during the chat. She said eternal vs. immediate. What things are we focused on with this life that only offers immediate gratification and rewards, not eternal rewards? 

We must pray to the Lord to reveal any areas of our heart, mind and life where we are pursuing immediate, instead of eternal gratification/rewards. Let’s repent of it and start by guarding our hearts and minds away from those thoughts, as Pastor preached on Sunday. If you missed it, you can find it on our DSC Facebook page or our Desert Streams Church YouTube channel. Here’s a direct link to our channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-OoOPkSrGKI1M_AxaAOFjw

-Michelle Gaddi