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 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



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