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!
 

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



Ezekiel_15

Scripture

Ezekiel 15:5
 

If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred?

 

Observation – What does it say?

Because the people of Jerusalem had forsaken God and given themselves to idolatry, they had become useless, unfit for anything but the fiery wrath of God. God is pointing out to Ezekiel that they are already useless, but if possible to be any more useless, they will be after passing through the fire of God’s judgment.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

People become like the God (or gods) they worship.

2 Kings 17:15 They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.

The fate of those who worship idols is they become useless, without value. Jesus said if we get disconnected from Him we’re like a branch that is thrown away, withers, and eventually is thrown in the fire. He also said if we lose our saltiness we’re no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled by men.

However, those who purify themselves of idolatry and sin not only avoid the fire but have the incredible privilege of becoming a useful tool in God’s hands! I love this passage from Paul’s second letter to Timothy…

2 Timothy 2:20

20 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. 21 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

Prayerfully consider: Are there any idols in my life that are keeping me from being more useful to God?

God, I want to be useful to you! I want to be pure and holy, set apart for whatever You would have me do. Reveal to us any idols in our lives; any thing or any one we are turning to for comfort before You, any thing we are pursuing more passionately than You, any thing that is keeping us from fully obeying You. Draw all of us closer to You. Reveal the areas of sin and make us “instruments for special purposes.” In Jesus’ name, amen.

– Levi Thompson



2 Peter_1

Scripture: 

2 Peter 1:5-7 

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

 

Observation-What does it say?  

In Peter’s second letter, he continues in addressing practical topics.  While in his first letter he addressed dealing with persecution from outside the church, in the second letter, he tackles dealing with false teachers and medlers from within.  Peter encourages his readers in a combination of Christian faith and practice.  Throughout the letter, he also aims to stimulate Christian growth, combat false teaching, and encourage good behavior in light of Christ’s certain return.  The qualities discussed in chapter one, verses five through seven, are all virtues that produce a well-rounded and fruitful Christian life.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I’m not really a morning person, but I like to get up early.  It allows me time to get things done that would otherwise be disrupted with the rest of life.  So often, on my days off, I can be found on my bicycle before the sun is up.  On the days I work, I am up at a completely unholy hour, usually 3:00 or 3:30 AM), to fit in a workout in our little garage gym (honestly some of my friends are just getting to bed when I am doing reps).  Now, I could definitely go through life without doing these things.  But, I am convinced they make me a better person.  By supplementing my life with discipline and discomfort, I strive to become a more well rounded person.

 

The Message version of this passage states it in this way, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others.”  We can have faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and stay at that level, or you can supplement your faith life with practices that not only make you a more well rounded Christian, but they also help you to experience God’s glory and joy more fully before we are transformed at the time of our earthly death.  

 

To steal from Dan John, a fitness coach and Fulbright Scholar, the way we get better at things is simple, but it takes work.  “Little and often over the long haul,” is one of his statements as to how we build strength.  Or as Pastor Gary pointed out recently, “No pain, no gain.”  Like Paul said to the Corinthians, “I treat my body hard [discipline/subdue/pummel my body] and ·make it my slave [subdue it] so that I myself will not be disqualified after I have preached to others” (1 Corinthinians 9:27 EXB).


Life Application: 

Holy Spirit, help me with my discipline.  When I wake in the morning, help me to seek first after God’s word and after His presence.  When I find myself alone and can take a shortcut without anyone noticing, help me to have the integrity to do right in your eyes.  Help me to use this discipline as a way to be more gracious to others and help lead them to a life full of love for you.  
 
-Tyler Galloway


Ezekiel_13

Scripture – What stood out?

EZEKIEL 13:23 I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel 13 is a prophecy against the false prophets and diviners of that particular time in Israel’s history. Plagued by these false messengers of the Lord they had managed to lead the nation of Israel astray and confuse not just the wicked but also the righteous. This chapter was a notice to all false messengers as well as God’s faithful at that time that God was about to shake things up!

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

If you read this entire chapter the message is crystal clear that God is very very mad at these false prophets and “magicians”. They were clouding his people’s judgement. They were creating confusion and chaos. They were leading His people astray. And some of them were doing it for pennies on the dollar! 

 

I feel like this chapter was a reminder for me to be constantly testing the spirits by using the bible, the HS, my community of believers, my pastors to test the words and visions that may get sent my way. But I think the bigger takeaway for me was to take what comes out of my mouth very seriously. And not mince God’s message…especially when there isn’t one.

 

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

 

Lord continue to use me. Teach me when to speak your word and when not to speak…anything at all.

 

Help me to continue growing in your wisdom. Grant me your Holy Spirit to discern when something is from You. Help me to grow in my knowledge of the bible. Continue to surround me with faithful believers who trust in Your scriptures.

 

Thank you Lord. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee



1 Peter_4

Scripture

1 Peter‬ ‭4:10

 

“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

 ‭‬‬

Observation-What does it say?
 
Peter is writing the church and encouraging them to continue living their lives for God. Peter reminds them in this chapter to remain disciplined in their prayers. Peter reminds the church to most importantly, continue showing deep love for one another by using their God given spiritual gifts to serve each other.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus Christ came to earth to serve, not to be served.
 
What a humbling thought that is. That the God of the universe came down to earth to serve, and not to be served. Jesus definitely showed us the way and lead by example. From helping the sick and lame, to washing his disciples feet (yes,even Judas’ feet!), to ultimately laying down his life for this world’s sins. Jesus’ life of ministry was all about helping and serving others…no matter what obstacles he had in front of him!
 
So if I am to call myself a Christ Follower, I have to live my life the way Jesus did. That means serving others. Thankfully God has blessed not only me, but all of us with spiritual gifts and talents. Each of us has different gifts and talents too! It’s up to us to use these gifts and talents to go out in the world and help others. I know that by doing this each day, we can all do our parts by shining the light of Christ to others around us and make this world see in a tangible way the love Jesus has for them. 😊
 
“We love each other because he loved us first.”-1 John‬ ‭4:19
 
Life Application
 
Give someone in need a helping hand.
 
Father God, thank You so much for sending Jesus to lead the way. Thank You for Your many blessing in my life. Thank You for blessing me with the gifts and talents that I have so I can help others. I pray that I don’t let these gifts and talents go to waste. Be my eyes and ears to look and hear for opportunities to help others around me in need. May Your light shine in those that I help and serve. May You get all the glory and honor. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
‭‭‬
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm 91

Scripture 

Psalm 91:1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

The writer of this Psalm (who was believed to be Moses), talks about taking refuge in God. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Moses went through the wilderness for 40 years. During that time, his source of protection and strength was God.

 

Life Application 

What wilderness have you found yourself walking through? Find Rest and Comfort in the shelter and shadow of God’s wings.

 

Dear Lord, I pray that even through times of uncertainty, we would trust You and not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). May we find true rest, comfort and protection from You alone. Amen. 

Listen to this song that is based on this Psalm. When I read this Psalm, I immediately thought of this song, “On Eagle’s Wings” covered by Shane and Shane.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9JfJw6Wf-4

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Ezekiel_10

Scripture

 

Ezekiel 10:18

Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.

 

Observation – What does it say?

If Ezekiel has been a bit confusing for you, check out this short animated overview.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

God, in his holiness, will not dwell with unholy people.

The Israelites had worshiped idols in the very temple created for God to be worshipped and to dwell with his people. This intense idolatry led to the destruction of those Israelite idol worshippers and God’s glory departing from his temple.

There is nothing like God’s presence. We were created to dwell with him. It’s where we will find every desire of our heart fully satisfied. Moses pointed out in Exodus 33 that God’s presence with his people would be the only thing that set them apart among the nations. For that reason, he pleaded with God to not send him anywhere that God would not accompany him. 

Israel lost the battle at Ai because Achan had sinned, causing God to not go out to battle with them. But once Israel cleansed their community by removing Achan, God’s presence returned and they triumphed the next time they faced Ai.

 

Life Application

I recognize that I’m not that special. I don’t have any particular gifts or talents that would enable me to change the world. I don’t have tons of money in the bank or access to other resources that would enable me to accomplish significant things (I’m not depressed… lol. Just follow me.). Bottom line is that the only thing that is going to set me apart and enable me to accomplish anything of great eternal significance, is the presence of God in my life.

Therefore, I would be stupid to be nonchalant about dabbling in sin! Jesus calls us to be perfect as his heavenly Father is perfect. Paul commanded Timothy to cleanse himself of common practices so he could become an instrument for noble purposes. Jesus wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus commanding them to repent and return to their first love or else their lampstand (symbolizing God’s presence) would be removed from them.

God, forgive me for my sins! Please examine our hearts and bring conviction of sin. May we never see your glory depart from us because we are living double lives, worshipping you one moment, but giving ourselves to sin the next. May your glory never leave us! Amen.

 
-Levi Thompson


1 Peter_1

Scripture  

1 Peter 1:6-9  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The letters of 1 & 2 Peter were written by “The Rock.” Not the wrestler, but the apostle.  The one who was so zealous for the Lord, he was willing to cut off a man’s ear.  He was also the one who denied knowing Jesus, not once but three times.  He was the one who proclaimed the Lord’s salvation on the day of pentecost.  It is also believed that Peter was crucified as a martyr for his profession of Jesus.  Needles to say, Peter experienced his share of joy and tribulation as a Christian.   

 

In the beginning of his first letter, Peter writes to his audience about the joy to be found in following Jesus.  He gives us two reasons to be filled with joy in this life, despite the possibility of suffering tribulation.  “The first reason for our joy is the great future God promises us and his unswerving commitment to keep it for us and us for it. In other words, our joy is based on the happiness of our future with God and the certainty that we will make it there…The second reason is that God has a design for our distresses in this life”(John Piper).  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

For some reason, the phrase “the proof is in the pudding” has surfaced several times in my life recently.  Whether the source be from a pod-cast I am listening to, an article I’m reading, or a colleague of mine saying the phrase, it has been circling around in my life recently.  While I think it’s a strange phrase, and even though I like pudding, I always find it gross to think about.  It’s as if I have to reach my hand into a bowl of pudding to find some sort of clue or evidence of something.  I can be a little weird about textures.

But, in our faith, the proof is more than just in the pudding.  Our faith is evidenced by the way we love others.  Our love of others is in response to the great love that God bestows on us as adopted children and heirs to the kingdom (1 John 4:19, Romans 8:17).  It’s because we have our hope set on the kingdom of heaven that we can find joy in the unpleasant but temporary circumstances here on earth (James 1:2-4).  It is also this faith that is the evidence of heaven (Hebrews 11:1). 


Life Application  

Jesus, help me to show my hope through loving others.  In times of distress, uncertainty, or financial hardship, help me to seek out others to show your love to.  And when I start feeling as though I can’t make it, help me to know I can lean on your understanding.  
 
-Tyler Galloway


Ezekiel_8

Scripture – What stood out?

Ezekiel 8:6 And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.”

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel 8 is a very detailed description of a vision of God that the prophet Ezekiel had. The focus of this chapter is idol worship. The idol of jealousy, personal idols, sun worship, the mourning of the false god Tammuz are all mentioned in this vision.

Although this is a description of the spiritual state of the nation of Judah, and an extreme one at that, this is also an apt description of what goes on inside our own hearts where today – post Jesus – the temple of God resides. Cue the run on sentences!

Understanding – What does it mean?

I really wish I could post the entire chapter as my scripture portion. When I read this chapter I knew I was reading about actual idols being worshiped at that time in history, but I was really forced to ask myself again, “Ken, are you replacing God with anything in your life right now?” That is my working definition of idol worship today. Most of us don’t worship other gods outright anymore. Not in this country anyway. What we do instead is replace God with other things that in no way shape or form are anywhere near as dangerous as actual idols…right? I am talking to myself here. Seriously.

And then there is this verse from the same chapter: 16 He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.

Here is another gut check. These 25 men were in the inner court of the house of God, and they still chose to turn their backs on him and worship the sun! Can you imagine that? And so of course I had to ask myself…”What am I doing currently, inside my own heart (the current-day temple of God) where I have turned my back on God as I turn to glorify and worship something else.

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

God help me to identify areas of my life that I knowingly or unknowingly keep from you. Whatever I have labelled as “none of God’s concern” may I turn that over to you. Help me to grab hold of all the things that I have placed above you – jealousies, hurts, worries, sorrows, ambitions, lusts – and put them in their rightful place, far away from your number one spot in my heart. Help me today to identify one area of my life that I have placed above you somehow and help me to lay it before you today. In Jesus’s name do I pray. Amen.
 
 

-kenneth lee



John_20

Scripture

John 20:3-6

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there…
 

Observation

A lot goes down in this chapter, so here’s the main highlights to know:

  • Mary Magdalene comes to Jesus’ tomb to pay her respects, but sees that the stone is rolled away
  • She tells some of the disciples that Jesus’ body has been moved, and they go look for themselves
  • Jesus then appears to Mary Magdalene, and tells her to go and tell the others
  • He then appears to His disciples and gives them the Holy Spirit
  • He pays a visit to Thomas to make him believe
  • John tells us that this is the reason that this book was written, to help others believe that Jesus is the Messiah
 

Understanding

So I used to pass over this part of the story because I wanted to get to “the good stuff.” That is, Jesus appearing to HIs close friends and followers, and showing them that He’s not dead and all that jazz. But upon reading these verses today I had to stop. For a couple reasons… One: I’m really competitive and could identify with this race to the grave. Two: the other disciple stops just before the reason he was running. I know that I am about to take these verses out of context, but I think the disciples offer a really important lesson to learn.

Don’t stop at the entrance of your destination because you are too afraid to go inside.

Think about it. The other disciple could have been the first to see that Jesus wasn’t there. Not just the stone rolled away, not just the linens, the whole body: gone. Instead he stops and Peter rushes in. Now I don’t know what was going through the other disciple’s head. I don’t know if he was nervous that he might find Jesus’ body or he was worried about the smell. Regardless, this guy missed out!

I think that’s where most of us find ourselves right now though. God is calling for us to go deeper. And at the beginning of the year, when it was a bit more convenient in the world we went off running to whatever God is calling us into. However, as the year has progressed we stop at the entrance of where we are supposed to be, afraid to go inside. Afraid that it might not be what we expected. Here’s the danger of that: someone else may waltz right in your destiny because you were too afraid to seize it. Don’t get me wrong God used both these men in mighty ways, but I think this is a good reminder to finish the race full steam ahead.
 

Life Application

I want to be someone who is known for finishing every spiritual race I run with pride. I don’t want to stop right at the finish line because I’m afraid the medal may not be everything I expected. Here is something I do know: God loves to exceed every expectation that I may have. That seems scary, but it also gives me the courage to take a look inside the tomb. I hope you feel the same way. Let’s stop and take hold of our destiny, and get back to running fervently and to win.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to as to get the prize.

-Allison Khan