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!
 

Job 1

Scripture

Job 1:8

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
 

Observation

This chapter is the prologue to a dialogue between God and Job. It sets the stage for the chapter following and provides a good background and context to Job’s anguish. It describes everything he owns, and everything that is important to him (his family). Yet in a few swift verses, Job loses all of this because of a conversation between God and Satan, where Job is basically a bet.
 

Understanding

How would God describe you?

This is going to sound very depressing and maybe even worrisome, but Job is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Job’s words throughout the entire book are so poetic and moving to me. I love that despite losing everything he stands firm in his faith. With all that being said, I really got stuck on this verse. I got stuck on how God describes Job. He seems to have adoration for a man He’s about to bet on (that’s said in the most flattering way possible). It really got me thinking: How on earth would the God of the universe describe me? If Satan were to contact God right now, and say “I’ve been roaming the earth looking for a target. Any suggestions?” Would I even be on God’s list to His representative?

Here’s why I love the description that God gives of Job, and why I find it so convicting: God basically calls Job His number one guy. He basically says to Satan, “Take your best shot, you won’t even dent him.” I want my faith to be so strong that it doesn’t matter what comes my way. I want God to place every bet on me. I know that’s a dangerous ask, but it means God trusts me with the matters of His heart. It means He’s willing to risk one of His valuable children to prove a point to Satan. I want to be able to stick it to Satan.

Here’s my challenge to you: be the person that there is no one like on earth. Be so eternity driven that it doesn’t matter what comes your way. Instead of asking what you want written on your gravestone, start asking what God would say of you right now. Then live it out! Live it out boldly and courageously.
 

Life Application

I know that all sounds super awesome, but extremely impractical… but it isn’t. If we take note of Job’s living we can live in such a way that God would describe us as Job 2.0s. The first verse says that he “feared God and shunned evil.” That means we must live in a way that puts God first, and most of the time that means turning from worldly things (this helps in “shunning evil too). Job intercedes for his children regularly. Meaning, we are called to do them same for those around us. Lastly, and most obviously, Job praises and worships God through everything. After he loses everything, he drops to the ground in anguish and worship. No matter the circumstance choose to praise God.

Remember, your life may be difficult, but it isn’t as bad as Job’s! 

-Allison Khan



Revelation 18

Scripture
 

Revelation 18:8

“So in one day she will suffer great hunger, mourning, and death. She will be destroyed by fire, because the Lord God who judges her is powerful.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The great city of Babylon, the home of one-world government and global trade, will think she is all powerful. Babylon will control powerful weapons and armies. But compared to the Lord God who will bring judgement upon her, Babylon doesn’t stand a chance!
 

What no earthly army can do, God accomplishes in just one day! From the angel of death passing over her, to this rich city running out of food, and finally the city being burned to the ground, this once proud city which boasted that they will never mourn, will grieve bitterly from its losses. 

Understanding-What does it mean?
 

Will the things I stand for and value, hold up against God’s judgement?

Babylon believed itself to be almighty. They believed that they had the resources, the power, and the support from the other nations that made them invincible. They stood against God’s ways and His people. Babylon built great wealth and strength in armies and alliances. It gave them a false sense of security. Babylon was a city built on its sinfulness. And although God’s will allowed it, God was about to bring His swift and righteous judgment upon her. God would make an example of the city of Babylon. The message will be heard and seen around the world…just how great and awesome is God.

What is my life built on? What’s my underlying foundation? Is it built on material things, that like Babylon, give me a false sense of security? Or is my life built on the principles of God and His ways. If God put my life’s work and held it up against the fire, would it wither away, or would it be refined by it?

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.”

Matthew 6:19-20 NLT

 

Life Application
 

Focus on building His kingdom, not mine. The “kingdom” that we try to build on earth can be taken at any moment. Our hope and legacy should be built on a foundation that lasts forever!

The past 3 weeks, our family has dealt with illnesses and being displaced from our home due to the Tick Fire. When we were displaced, we had no idea what was happening with our home.  We didn’t know if we were going to have a home to return to or if we were going to be living out of bags for a long time. During packing for our evacuation, we couldn’t pack everything in our home, only what was most important and what we needed for survival. Also, I honestly didn’t care about all the “stuff” in the midst of packing.  All I cared about was that my family was safe and together. There was a moment of concern when my husband wasn’t home from work yet, but I still had to pack, stay calm for our kids and get them out, while praying that my husband would be with us soon.

When placed in situations where one’s stability is taken away, like one’s earthly home and health, you learn really quickly where your hope comes from and what’s most important. 

If you were to wake up and lose everything…your home, your health and God forbid even your family, would you feel secure? What if you lived your life everyday for His Kingdom purposes and for an eternal King/Kingdom instead?  How would your life look different? Even if everything was taken away, you would still be secure.
 
Recommended worship songs:
 
“Blessed Assurance”
 
https://youtu.be/Bsdl8DSZfRo
 
 
“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” 
 
https://youtu.be/Bd4reYgNEBg
 
 

-Moses and Michelle Gaddi 



Psalm_73

Scripture

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

Observation

“The title of this Psalm (A Psalm of Asaph) tells us that it was written by the great singer and musician of David and Solomon’s era (1 Chronicles 15:17-19, 16:5-7, 16:17, 2 Chronicles 25:6 and 29:13).”

Much like David in many of the Psalms, Asaph is here sharing his frustrations…frustrations that while he works hard to be a “good Christian,” the wicked are prospering and far better off than he.  We witness throughout the chapter his evolution of thought – from frustration, to resolution to abiding in Christ.

“This wonderful psalm may be best understood by the dominate pronouns within. When Asaph is troubled by the fate of the ungodly (73:1-12) the dominate pronoun is they. When he describes his own frustrated thinking leading to the resolution (73:13-17) the dominate pronoun is I. When he finds resolution of the problem (73:18-22) the dominate pronoun is You, in the sense of God. When He proclaims the assurance of his faith and fellowship with God (73:23-28) the dominate pronouns are a mixture of You and I.”

Italic quotes taken from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-73/

Understanding

I don’t know about you, but I know I’ve seen and felt what Asaph shares here.  Fortunately, though, God chases harder after us than we ever could Him.  Even at our most obedient, most hungry, most desiring of Him, His love is still perfect and ours is not; and, in His perfect love, He brings us back to Him, makes us whole, empowers us. 

Our heart, our human flesh – they fail, time and time again; it’s part of our human condition and along with that comes doubts, jealousy, scarcity thinking. 

But…and this is a BIG BUT…when we take our eyes off of ourselves, off of the earthly circumstances that surround us, and place them on God, that is when we find resolution, prayers answered, abundance, peace, joy.  May we abide in Him. 

Life Application

So how do we keep our eyes heaven bound?

Elijah shared with me last night that, at Surge, Pastor Levi talked about our human hunger vs. our spiritual hunger.  Our human hunger is full one moment and a couple hours later, we’re hungry again!  My human hunger clock is on an every 2-3 hour cycle…Must. Have. Food.  I know that and I plan for it.  I make/buy/pack snacks and I take the time when the hunger hits to go and grab those snacks – whether it be out of my bag, the fridge, whatever. 

As Levi encouraged the Surge group last night, why isn’t our spiritual hunger the same?  And why don’t we plan to fill that spiritual hunger just like we would our human/physical hunger?  His challenge to the kids was to “get that bread!” and commit to praying 3 times per day over the next 30 days.  So…that’s what we’ll be doing.  Join us? J

God, I’m grateful for a Father that chases hard after my heart.  For a gracious Father who scoops us up when our heart and flesh fail.  May my hunger, my desire for you be insatiable…even more so than my craving for Reese’s peanut butter cups. 🙂

And, as I seek you today, fill me.  Fill me to overflowing, with  love and graciousness; may it be tangible to those I encounter and may their hearts be turned to you. 

Rei

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



Psalm 72

Scripture:  Psalm 72:1-4  1 Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son.  2 May he judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice. 3 Let the mountains bring [e]peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. 4 May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, Save the children of the needy And crush the oppressor
.
Observation:   This psalm is a prayer for the King Solomon.  It may have been the prayer at the coronation ceremony, when he attained the throne from his father, David.  The prayer expresses characteristics of the ideal king, and looks forward to the reign of Jesus, the perfect king.  In the beginning of the prayer, we see a plea for the king’s righteousness, that he may reflect God. The prayer also expresses the desire of enduring righteousness, that people would benefit from the king’s wisdom.
  
Understanding:  It’s easy to get caught up in the speed of life, especially in Southern California.  In this age of instant information, we are constantly being bombarded with messages of the newest trends and of the newest life changing product.  Amidst all the new, is the pressure to keep up with the times. I can’t even tell you how often I get made fun of for having an “old” phone (iPhone SE, looks like the 5 but is actually newer).  It’s not like I am dragging around a rotary phone. As a byproduct of the pressure to keep up, we are often looking at situations in the light of how it will benefit us and help us keep up. And the question of “What’s in it for me?” looms in the back of our mind.
I am very guilty of this in my work environment.  There are many instances where I look at what I am doing and try to figure out how it will make me look for promotions, and special assignments.  The people I come into contact with become statistics, instead of people, and the problems they are encountering become statistics, instead of life events.  So, work becomes about the bottom line of promotion and accolade, instead of a way to serve people or as an act of worship to God.  
My paradigm is in need of a shift.  Scripture tells us that our focus should be on bringing worship to God.  In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  To the Galatians he writes, “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” (6:8-10). In other places, we find that God’s will for our lives is to be content with what we have (1 Timothy 6:6-10), and to serve widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to carry the example of King Solomon into my work.  Help me to put the needs of others before my own. Let me act in a way as to protect the dignity of the afflicted, and serve those who are struggling.  Most of all, give me a heart of worship. Let all the works of my hands bring you glory. May you increase and I decrease.    
 
-Tyler Galloway



Psalm _71

Scripture 

Psalm 71:14 But as for me, I will hope continually,

And will praise You yet more and more.


Observation 

The title of the Psalm is “Prayer of an Old Man for Deliverance.”


The psalmist has gone through hard times but he chooses to call on God and continue to praise him because he is worthy 


Psalm 71:4

4 Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked,

Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man,


Psalm 7:7

7 I have become a marvel to many,

For You are my strong refuge.


Understanding

No matter the circumstance my hope is in Him, my praise will keep going. 


Whatever we are faced with, we have hope in God who is more real than our reality. He speaks of the future and we know our future without a doubt. We have eternal life with Him to look forward to. 


He won and those of us who are with him win too!


He gives me the hope to believe that even though we face hardship on earth we still have the “goodness of the Lord” while we are still here.


He is worthy to be praised because he is good, because he first loved me and sent his Son to die for me while I was still a sinner, and made it possible for me to live in righteousness and wholeness and all his goodness that he has available for me. 
 

Application 

My hope is in Him to do what I know his love can and will do for me.


He is worthy to be praised regardless of how my life is going, good, not so good or just bad. 


When I’m in my car, at the park, getting groceries, on my break, making dinner…


Psalm 71:8 My mouth is filled with Your praise

And with Your glory all day long.


This year has been so crappy, so emotional, and so wonderful! And some things  haven’t changed for the better by much but … 


My hope is in HIM! 


He saved me! He saves you and he continues to save us from our sins! 

He is worthy to be praised!
 
Deborah :Lee
 


Revelation 14

Scripture
 
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”
‭‭
Revelation‬ ‭14:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
This chapter covers a lot, from the 144,000 believers, to the 3 angels, 2 voices and then the 2 reapers. Each individual entity has their meanings and role. Specifically, I am covering the 3rd angel and what he said regarding the fate of those who get the mark of the Beast. “And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name (verse 11).” Although those with the mark of the Beast will have to suffer literal hell at the hands of Almighty God, the people who become Christ followers after the rapture (based on a pre-tribulation view) and during the Tribulation will have to endure the hardships brought upon them by the Beast as well.
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
Don’t wait!  Surrender and have faith today!
 
The grace of our Lord is amazing, as those who rejected Him before the rapture will have a chance to come to the faith after. However, those who become believers after the rapture will have a much harder life to endure. It’s better to have faith in what He says today and share  with other unbelievers now so they can be part of the family, instead of wait until the unholy Trinity composed of the Dragon (Satan), the Beast out of the Sea (the Anti Christ), and the Beast out of the Land (the False Prophet), wreak havoc. The Tribulation period will not be a fun time, especially for Tribulation saints (aka those who become Christians during the Tribulation period). (Source: Gary Parker’s Higher Learning Revelation notes and discussions from a few years ago.)
 
Life Application
 
Wait on the Lord and keep enduring until the end.
 
Hebrews 10:36-Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
 
James 5:7-Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
 
Dear Jesus, strengthen our hearts and minds and help us to patiently endure in faith until the day of Your return. Help us to also share our faith and the Good News with loved ones, family members, friends and other unsaved people before Your return. Amen.
 
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Revelation 13

Scripture
 
Revelation‬ ‭13:9‬ ‭NLT
 
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this chapter, John tells us about the two powerhouses of the Tribulation Period-the Antichrist (political powerhouse) and the False Prophet (the religious powerhouse). These two will merge church and state, and the results will be disastrous! The Antichrist will become Satan in the flesh and will blaspheme God and mimic Jesus in things Jesus did. From performing miracles, to being raised from the dead, the Antichrist will have the world eating out of the palm of his hand. The people of this world (people whose names are not written in the Book of Life) will worship him (vs. 3-4) and wage war against God’s people. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
When God speaks, we better listen.
 
Everyone who has ears should listen to the things from our all knowing God. No one has to go through this Tribulation Period that John speaks of in Revelation. GOD LOVES EVERYONE! He is warning everyone. Will anyone be willing to listen and commit their lives to Jesus before it’s too late?
 
“So faith comes from hearing the Good News. And people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭ERV
 
Life Application
 
Share the good news with someone who needs it.
 
I will not be discouraged if they reject it when I do share it. I am there to plant a seed in their heart. It is God who turns and softens hearts. And even if their hearts are hardened, and they reject God’s grace and love all the way up till the Tribulation Period, maybe, just maybe, all the words I shared with them about the things I learned in God’s Word will begin to come to light as they see the things that were written in the Bible are now coming true. Then Lord willing, they can come to the realization that they need Jesus and need to repent from their sin.
‬‬
Father God I pray that your warnings, Your words do not fall on deaf ears. May the truth You speak set people free! Give me the courage, the words, and the opportunities to share with people the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray this in Your name Lord, Amen.
 
 
Moses Gaddi
‬‬


Esther_4

Scripture

Esther 4:12-14

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

 

Observation

Do not think in your heart that you will escape: Mordecai reminded Esther that she could not remain insulated from this decree any more than anyone else.

If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place: Mordecai’s trust was in the faithfulness of God, not in the faithfulness of Esther. He knows that God will not let His people down, even if individuals let God down.

But you and your father’s house will perish: Mordecai reminded Esther that though the fate of God’s people rested in God and not in her, her own fate depended on her own faithfulness to God.

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Mordecai knew that God had promoted this orphan in exile for a reason – and Esther must have the courage and wisdom to see that reason and fulfill it.

  1. This principle applies to us also. God promotes us or puts us in a place for a reason, and we need the courage and wisdom to see that reason and to walk in it.
  2. “You have been wishing for another position where you could do something for Jesus: do not wish anything of the kind, but serve him where you are.” (Spurgeon)

Taken from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/esther-4/

 

Understanding

I love the story of Esther – a story of bravery, trust, taking risks…but, ultimately of Esther’s obedience and God’s loving response.

We see over and over again in the Bible (and in real life), that God is all up in the details of life.  So much so that I don’t’ even believe in coincidence.  Our lives are a beautiful tapestry of God’s bazillion threads being pulled together into His masterpiece.  Esther’s story is just one example. 

What we see at play here is 1) the placement of Esther – perhaps the least likely candidate – in the king’s house in advance of when she would need to use her position for God’s good and for the good of her people, 2) an accountability partner in Mordecai – who lovingly challenged her, showed her the reality of the situation if she didn’t speak up (the loss of her family) and who was not just looking out for himself but for Esther, her family and ALL Jews.

 

Life Application

Where have you/I been placed?  What situations are we experiencing or lie ahead for which we could be placed for “such a time as this?”  Where do I/we need to be more bold and courageous…remembering God is the one that brought us here, not for our honor, glory or success but for His?  Who is my/your Mordecai and how will we respond when challenged?

God, thank you for your all powerful love.  Thank you for ALWAYS keeping the bigger picture in mind.  And I thank you for where you’ve placed me in it – within my social circles, in my work, in areas of leadership, as a parent, etc.  May I never, EVER take it for granted or think for a second that it was on my own accord.  May I walk humbly yet boldly in Your Name, using every success, every bit of power, every leadership moment, every gift for your good, your honor, your glory.  Use me today.  Open my eyes and heart to see people and situations through Your eyes and to pour out Your transformational love on others.   

Rei

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



Esther_3

Scripture:  Esther 3:2  All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down [b]and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.

Observation:   In this chapter, we see an edict from Haman aimed at destroying the Jews in Persia.  In pointing out Haman’s genealogy and giving him the title of “Agagite,” it is likely that this is showing him in the line of Agag, the king of Amalek.  In the story of the Exodus, the Amalekites attacked Israel as they were fleeing from Egypt. Because of this attack, “the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16)  Mordecai, a Jew, is exiled in a foreign land and refuses to obey the edict in obedience to God.  

Understanding:  In the major themes of the Bible, the story of Esther falls under the theme of redemption.  Throughout the Bible, we see both the nation of Israel and individuals go from creation to fall, from fall to redemption, and finally into unity with God in His kingdom.  God is in the process of redeeming us from our exile. And we find ourselves in a personal exile, exiled from the complete relationship with God.  

In our personal story, we face different trials that hinder us from experiencing our redemption.  Whether it be a struggle with addiction, believing a lie about our character from Satan, or our inability to accept the free gift of grace.  We are all in need of a character, or a moment in time, to help us realize we are made for more than what we are currently struggling with. We all need a Mordecai to remind us that we are God’s children and that He is longing for an intimate relationship with us.

Life Application:  Jesus, I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Thank you for your love and your grace which covers a multitude of sins.  And thank you for the process you are bringing me through, making me complete so I lack in nothing.  

-Tyler Galloway 



Psalm 66

Scripture 


Psalm 66:16


Come and hear, all you who fear God;

    let me tell you what he has done for me.


Observation


The psalmist speaks about going through hardships but God bringing him out of all of it and answering his prayers. 


Ps. 66:17 I cried out to him with my mouth;

    his praise was on my tongue.


Understanding 


God answers prayers! 


Remember the day you saw or heard that your prayer had been answered! And you were overwhelmed with joy, even “tears of joy”, and humility, knowing that you deserved none of this except for the fact that the LORD is a good God and does not withhold his love from us! 


 What about a prayer that was deep in your heart? A prayer that only you prayed, a prayer that only you and the LORD know about. 


God has been answering prayer for me this past year like crazy! I have been overwhelmed with how good He is! I have been able to share with those close to me and it has been building their faith also. 


God answers prayer. Let’s share it with those around us!


Application 


Keep on Praying!


As we have seen our prayers answered by God let our faith continue to grow and lets keep asking! 


Let’s ask for our families to be restored! 

Let’s ask for our children’s lives to be in God’s will! 

Let’s ask to be better neighbors! 
 
What will you ask for? 
 

Let’s ask for the impossible! 

Father, thank you for your goodness! Thank you for your love that keeps pursuing me! Thank you for the miracles that you have been doing this past year! Thank you for growing my faith! Holy Spirit speak to my heart what is in the heart of God. Help me to pray the will of God in my life and for those around me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Deborah Lee