Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

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

Psalm_76

Scripture
 
Psalm‬ ‭76:4-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game. The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands. At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still. It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet— when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

If I was to title this psalm, I would title it the greatness of our God. The Psalmist describes the Lord as radiant, majestic, the only One to be feared.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The greatness of our God is what makes Him worthy of our fear (aka respect).

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”`
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The definition of fear from the Oxford dictionary is: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
When used as a verb, the definition is: be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

When we hear the word fear, it emotes feelings of anxiety, being scared of something/someone, being manipulated to do something we don’t want to do, etc. However, God doesn’t want us to fear him in the sense of being afraid of Him.

God’s character is nothing like the traits of the type of people or things to be afraid of. His character is always motivated by love and as Scripture says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Because we are in awe of Who He is and His character, and because He first loved us, we choose to respect (fear) Him.

Life Application
 
Don’t be a slave to the fear of this world. Fear the Lord because we are His child. Just like the song goes, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”

Fear of the Lord can be likened to honor and respect towards someone we trust. Also, honor and respect is not just believable through words, but actual works. If my kids don’t honor or respect me, there will be consequences. If I don’t love my kids, take advantage of my authority over them and promote them to anger all the time, there will be consequences in the sense that they won’t trust me. Also, that type of parenting is more of a dictatorship and is discouraged-(see Ephesians 6:4.)
If I don’t honor and respect my husband, there are consequences, and vice versa if I don’t feel loved by my husband. If I don’t honor or respect by boss, there are consequences and vice versa if I feel mistreated as an employee. I’m sure you get the picture.

The God of this universe is not only amazing because He’s Creator and the Great I Am. He’s amazing because He loved us first and did all the work on the front end of our relationship in order to make it easier to fear/respect and trust Him. Let’s give Him all the fear, honor, glory, worship and obedience that He’s due! Let’s surrender our whole lives to Him and His Spirit’s work in us everyday!

Song: Great I Am by Phillips, Craig and Dean https://youtu.be/y_VR-zwp2KA

-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_75

Scripture

Psalm 75:1 (NKJV)

1 We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!

For your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.

Observation

I forever love David’s heart; he’s up, down, open, honest, raw.

In Chapter 75, he starts with giving thanks – written as plural, not just David but those in his kingdom, the congregation – and said twice for emphasis – that they gladly give thanks.

“We should praise God again and again. Stinted gratitude is ingratitude. For infinite goodness there should be measureless thanks.” (Spurgeon)

The second part of the verse give us the backstory…there’s ALWAYS stuff to give thanks for; but, here, it was because God was near and this was evident through His wonderous works.

“The name of God is said to be near, because it had come into public notice, and was in every mind and every tongue—opposed to what is unknown and obscure, which is said to be far remote.” (Venema, cited in Spurgeon)

“The reason for rejoicing lies in the manifest presence of God proclaimed and celebrated in the stories of God’s mighty acts. In remembrance and retelling of the history of salvation lies the comforting affirmation of God’s closeness to his people.” (VanGemeren)

The chapter goes on to speak of God’s judgment (in His time), speak to the proud and remind that exaltation come from God alone (stay humble).

Understanding

This verse stuck out to me because I feel it rings true for our church today. God is near! We’re seeing His wondrous works, experiencing His presence.

So it would follow that we must…

1) Give thanks!

2) Tell and retell of His manifest presence…not in a “hyped up” way but in the true, honest, raw way that David maintains throughout Psalms and in the way the “church of Acts” did.

3) Stay humble. Remember that God exalts and takes down.

Life Application

God, I’m grateful to be alive in a time where your presence is drawing near – a reminder that your power and presence are not just things from the past, written onto thin pages of a book from long ago, but that You are ALIVE TODAY! Thank You for using us, for moving through us and for showing us you are near. May we remain open, obedient and ready to be used in ways big and small.

In Your Name, I pray.

Rei

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



1 Samuel_19

Scripture:  1 Samuel 19:23  So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.

Observation-What does it say?:  David, having found favor in God’s sight, has become prosperous in everything he does.  Saul sees this and is threatened, to the point where he is now trying to secure his place as king through killing David.  But, God’s plans are not our plans, and He secures the leaders and governments according to His will.  So when Saul goes out to Naioth with the intention to kill David himself, he is captured by God’s spirit.  “So irresistible is the power of the Spirit of God that not only is Saul’s evil plan frustrated, but the king himself becomes ‘infected’.”*

Understanding-What does it mean?:  I was sitting there, drinking my shake and minding my own business, when this guy walks up and starts yelling at me and the group of high school kids I was with.  This guy was irate and apparently felt severely disrespected.  Not only that, he was completely concerned that one of our group was “looking” at him the wrong way.  I’m still not sure exactly what that means.   I was one of the adult “leaders” of the youth group at the church I was attending at the time, and had accompanied a few of the kids to In-N-Out that night.  

Not wanting to set a bad example for the kids, I decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and start a fight with someone who was clearly not using the soft tissue between his ears.  But, I still attempted to appeal to his more civilized side.  While sitting there, I looked at him and said, “We really don’t want any trouble, could you just leave us alone?”  The thing that stands out the most from that night was the loud and distinct sound my nose made as I blocked his fist with my face.  As red fluid began pouring out of my nostrils, the gentleman is running away saying “Peckerwoods!” (some fraternity he belongs to I guess).  This is when I realize my nose is broken.

Fast-forward about six months.  I walk into church with the same group of kids and who do I see, but the gentleman from the bird-watching society.  His hands are lifted and he is singing the same worship song as I am.  I could clearly see a peace on his face that was not there on the night he introduced himself so abruptly.  

God has a funny way of revealing himself to us.  His power can overcome any and all evil.  We have no need to fear those who can only kill us, because they can’t separate us from God.  Paul told us in Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Therefore, we know we can proceed to follow God through all the scariest of things, even crazy bird lovers and people who are trying to kill us with spears.

Life Application: Jesus, what do I have to fear?  There is nothing greater than your love for me.  You alone bore the weight of my sin in order to bring into your covenant.  Help me to be infected with the Holy Spirit in a way that will be contagious to those around me.  I pray that Your will be done in my life and in the world, as it is in Heaven. 

*Zondervan Handbook to the Bible (1999) p.262 



1 Samuel_18

Scripture 

1 Samuel 18:23

But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”

Observation – What does it say?

Saul intended to give David his daughter in marriage, and ordered his attendants to encourage David to marry her. However, David was hesitant. Not because she was ugly or annoying, but because he didn’t feel worthy of marrying royalty.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God exalts the humble.

David amazes me! He had killed Goliath and in turn saved a nation, the people sang songs about him, exalting him above the king, he led troops into battle and was victorious every time, everyone loved him (except Saul), he succeeded at everything he did (see 1 Samuel 18:14) and the princess was in love with him.

With all this, how did David not get prideful? He was the man! Most men in his position would not hesitate to marry her. In all their success most men would feel entitled to have whoever they wanted, and probably be eyeing the throne as well. But not David. He experienced time and again the truth of Jesus’ words, long before they were uttered:

Matthew 23:12 …those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The only way David could respond that way to Saul’s attendants, after experiencing so much fame and success, is because he recognized that God was behind it all. It wasn’t his gifts, strengths, talents or wisdom that led to his exalting. He approached every challenge the same way he approached Goliath, in the name of the Lord. And when he succeeded he gave the glory to God. 

Life Application

Be humble! Recognize anything good that has come from me or through me has been 100% initiated and carried out by God.

God is moving in our church. He is going to be using you and me in more and more ways and will increase our influence and favor. He is with us, as he was with David, and so we can expect to find success at the things we’re putting our hands to. After every victory, every success, every compliment, it’s so important that the next time we are alone with God, we get on our knees and give God the glory for all of it.

– Levi Thompson 



1 Samuel_17

Scripture
 
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:26‬b
 
“Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Philistines and Israelite armies are all about ready to wage war. As both armies face off, the Philistines bring out their “secret weapon” and send him in front of the ranks. His name was Goliath. He stood over 9 feet tall, wore bronze armor that weighed 125 pounds, and carried a spear (in which the tip of it was made of iron and weighed 15 pounds alone)! This was an enormous warrior! Goliath hurled taunts against the Israelite army. He challenged them to bring their best fighter to face him. If they were able to defeat him, the Philistines would be their slaves. If Goliath won, the Israelites would be the Philistines’ slaves. When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified.
 
Enter the lowly shepherd boy David. David was on the battlefronts one day to deliver supplies to his brothers who were serving in Saul’s army. David then heard Goliath hurling insults at the Israelite army, defying them and their God. This grabbed David’s attention. Who does this guy think he is to defy the God of Israel?! Game on!!! David volunteered to fight this giant. He had to convince Saul for a minute, but Saul eventually let David face Goliath. And the rest, (we all know the results) is history.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Nothing is too big or scary for God to defeat!
 
Anyone who knows me knows that I love sports and comic book stories. That is why this passage never gets old for me. It’s something straight out of the comic books! A big, scary bad guy who defies what is good, versus the noble hero who stands up for what is right and what he believes in; Or the undefeated team who goes through the whole sports season unscathed and unchallenged facing off against a team that barely got in the playoffs. It’s what they call David vs. Goliath. This Bible story lives on today! Everyone loves seeing the good guy beat the bad guy, or the underdog defeat the favorite in sports. But what makes this story so special is the faith that David had in God. When everyone around him saw a scary monster raised to be a warrior from birth standing in their way, David saw the God of the universe, the Almighty One, the God of Israel, who was on their side. David may have only been a shepherd boy. He may not have had any fighting skills, but what he did have was a God who would protect him, protect His people, and destroy anyone who defied Him.
 
“So what should we say about this? If God is for us, no one can stand against us. And God is with us.”-Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭ERV
 
Life Application
 
Is there a “Goliath” in your life that needs to be defeated? Lean on God’s power and might.
 
Everyone has something in their life that they feel is way too big to overcome or impossible to defeat. Maybe it’s financial struggles, health issues, or just something you’ve been praying for that you haven’t seen answered yet. Whatever the case may be, just know that God is in control. The God of the universe knows what you’re going through and wants to help you through it. The question is, are you willing to put your complete trust in Him? Just knowing that God loves His children, and is always faithful to keep His promises is enough for me to stand firm in Him. And if I begin to forget, go back to His Word and see what God did for those who remained faithful to Him. It worked for Abraham. It worked for Joseph. It worked for David. And I know it will work for me! 😊
 
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are have been called according to his purpose.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 
 
-Moses Gaddi 


1 Samuel_16

Scripture

1 Samuel 16:7

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

Observation-What does it say?

The Lord commanded Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the future king of Israel. When Samuel saw Eliab (one of Jesse’s sons), he thought he was surely going to be king. However, God told him not to look at the outward appearance, because God judges the heart. Seven sons were presented to Samuel, but none were who God had chosen. The one the Lord had chosen was David, who was Jesse’s youngest son. He was tending sheep! Totallyhistory.com said that David was between the age of 10 and 12 years old at the time. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God has a different criteria when choosing people for service. It’s not usually the best of the best. Sometimes, it is the unlikely and unqualified by human standards, but then He equips, qualifies, and provides opportunities and they become the best of the best!

God chose David because he had a servant’s heart. He was tending sheep while the rest of his brothers were in line to be presented to Samuel! He wasn’t the strongest, biggest, fastest or even old enough at the time! I love how God orchestrated King David’s life in such a way that opportunities chased him down. He didn’t have to chase them down. People also spoke well of him without him having to promote himself. For example, in verse 18 when Saul was looking for someone to play the lyre to help him feel better from the evil spirit tormenting him, “One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”” 1 Samuel 16:18 NIV

God orchestrated all of that in David’s life and it started when he was still a young boy! 

Life Application

Pursue being a man or woman after God’s heart. Pursue a life of servanthood. 

Some people like the prestige of the title of a leader; however, in God’s Kingdom, leadership is synonymous with servanthood. God is not impressed by our education, skills, abilities or titles. When we see Him face to face, He will say “Well done, good and faithful SERVANT”, not well done good and faithful________(fill in a leadership title). Pastor Gary once told me that when God promotes us to a leadership role, it just means we have more people under us to serve! 

Dear Lord, we know that you don’t chose your leaders based on our strengths or skills, but based on our heart after You. I know that I wasn’t chosen based on my confidence of being qualified to carry out your work, but rather an everyday reliance and dependence on You and Your Holy Spirit. I admit that a life of obedience and servanthood is not always easy, but in Your strength, grace and by Your leading, all things are possible! I pray for anyone who is intimidated by serving in church ministry and who feel unqualified and not good enough or strong enough to do work for You and Your kingdom. Please eliminate that lie from the enemy and let them be encouraged through the story of how you chose young David. Also, may we be (or continue to be) obedient to the call, instead of dismiss it. Thank You for the opportunities You provide us to partner with You in ministry. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



1 Samuel_15

Scripture

1 Samuel 15:29 29
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Observation

Saul was sent by God to destroy the Amalekites. He prepared and was successful…but did not complete the commission, sparing Agag and “the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good” (v9)…then came back and lied about it. “I have carried out the Lord’s instructions” (v13). Samuel, the same person who had initially told him of his anointment, called him out – on the animals that were spared and his mismanagement of the anointment and his disobedience. So begins Saul’s petition to be forgiven and to “come back with [him}, so that [he] may worship the Lord” (v24).

Understanding

Saul was disobedient and prideful – essentially using God’s anointing and his success as credit to his own name; however, he ultimately self-destructed. Then he says he’s ready to get right with God…but his anointing had already been stripped. God is forgiving, but his heart’s desire is to bring His children into relationship and He needs available people to move through. So He will forgive His children over and over…and over and over we can return to worship Him…but the anointing must pass to those available and willing to walk in it.

Life Application

God, may I be bold enough to walk in your gifting, walk in your anointing…do not let it pass over me. May I be available, may I be focused, may I be eyes-wide-open for God opportunities.

Rei

 

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



1 Samuel_14

Scripture:  1 Samuel 14:6  Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

Observation-What does it say?  The people of Israel are surrounded by the Philistines.  Out numbered and without weapons, Saul is afraid to act.  Moreover, Samuel is not in the camp for Saul to seek advice from.  Jonathan, Saul’s son, goes up with his armor bearer to the camp of the Philistines with the fire of the Lord in his heart.  The two of them attack and kill twenty men.  What happens next is a miracle, a great confusion comes over the camp of the Philistines, who begin attacking each other.  Thus, the Lord delivered Israel that day, not by the strength of many, but by the great faith of a few.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I am not a great baseball fan.  I don’t have the fortitude to keep watching week after week for almost an entire year.  I love to watch baseball, but I am just not very loyal to the team.  But my favorite team in baseball has got to be the Angels of 2002.  I have always loved a good underdog team, unless I’m playing on that team of course.  The suspense of watching a group of guys who work as a team to beat the odds.  

The Angels of 2002 were exactly that, a group of guys who were not the best, but they worked the best together.  That year was the Angel’s first World Series championship in the team’s first 42 seasons, and their only one in 59 years.  Something that team had, which isn’t present in most, is trust.  There were no super stars on the team, but the team trusted each other to fulfill their role on the team.  They each had to let go of control.  

I heard a pastor once compare a life of faith to sky-diving.  You have to completely let go of what you know (the plane) to experience the adventure, and you have to place your trust in something that you can’t control.  Much like the Angels who had to place their trust in their team-mates, whom they have no control over.  While most of the time I feel more secure in God than a parachute, I tend to act like I have only as much faith in Him as I do a parachute.  And I have never been sky-diving.  

God works through our faith in mighty ways.  When we trust Him, he does mighty works.  Through faith, Jonathan killed twenty men.  Through faith, Elijah prayed and stopped the rain for more than three years (1 Kings 17).  By faith, Sarah gave birth well after her age. The list of things done by faith is too long to list here.

Life Application  Jesus, help me to grow in my faith.  Help me to allow you to work through me, instead of striving to do things for you.  Help me to know you in a deeper way (Psalm 46:10).  Mostly, help me to stop doing things out of pride.  

-Tyler Galloway



1 Samuel_13

Scripture

1 Samuel 13:11-12

“What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

Observation – What does it say?

Samuel didn’t show up as soon as Saul had hoped, in order to offer a burnt offering to God. This offering was to seek God’s blessing and favor for the battle they were about to engage in with the Philistines. Saul felt the pressure, as his troops began to abandon him, to take matters into his own hands and so he offered the burn offering himself instead of waiting for Samuel (which God commanded him to do). He obviously knew what he did was wrong because, when confronted by Samuel about it, he went on the defensive and listed all these reasons that he hoped would justify to Samuel his foolish decision. 

The consequences were most likely far worse than Saul could have ever imagined. That decision revealed Saul’s character, that he was a man who couldn’t be trusted to obey God’s command, and so his kingdom would be stripped from him and given to another.

Understanding – What does it mean?

In disobeying God, we will forfeit the great destiny God has made available to us.

David, the one God stripped the kingdom from Saul to give it to, was declared to be a man after God’s own heart. And as a result his kingdom was established forever, as Jesus came from the family line of David and is now forever enthroned in glory. Why was David considered a man after God’s own heart?

Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Because he would do everything God wanted him to do! God is looking for men and women who will do everything He wants them to do. Obedience to God, even in situations that don’t make sense or where we feel pressure to take matters into our own hands, is what will lead to God promoting us and using us in greater ways.

Life Application

Obey God even when it doesn’t make sense!

  • When it doesn’t look like I can pay my bills and also tithe, obey God and tithe!
  • When it doesn’t look like I can find a job with hours that will enable me to attend church, quit or turn down that job and trust God to provide another job that will!
  • When someone wounded me so deeply and I can’t imagine letting it go, obey God and forgive them!

When we take matters into our own hands, we forfeit our own God-given destiny and rob ourselves of the blessings God intends to pour out on us. So, God, please give us the strength and wisdom to obey even when it’s hard! Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Psalm 67

Scripture
 
Psalm ‭67:2-3‬ ‭
 
“May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The psalmist is writing a song that declares just how great and awesome God is. The psalmist yearns for the whole world to know God, to fear Him, and to praise Him. Then the world, and every nation living in it will be able to reap all of God’s blessings as God’s favor rests upon them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
One nation under God.
 
Are we a God fearing nation who gives God His due praise? Are we receiving the blessings that God yearns to give us because of our obedience to Him? Are we doing our part by letting God’s ways be known wherever we go?
 
It’s sad to say, but as a nation, (even some of us as individuals ), I’m afraid the answer to these questions are “No”. You turn on the news, you see the direction this world is going, and you just know this world desperately needs God now more than ever. Our own nation seems to be more divided now than it was during the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s! You have schools teaching evolution and taking out basic Bible principles (the Ten Commandments) from its system. You have people who are confused about their own gender. You have people who are so easily offended by the word “God” and offended by billboards that have a Pastor holding a Bible. You have people who are so determined to push God out from our daily lives and then wonder why the world is the way it is. What’s wrong with these people?!
 
This psalm reminds me of how simple life can be if we all stand united under God. If we can be a God fearing people again. If we can let God back into our lives, homes, schools, and nation, God can restore order once again. If the world can turn from its wicked ways and follow God, we would see blessings poured out upon us that we can’t even imagine. If the world were to know God the way you and I do, they would be singing His praises, understanding His grace, mercy, and awesome power. Because to truly know God, is to love God. But the question is, “Will I do my part and let God’s ways be known?” Am I willing to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others? Will I be part of the problem or part of the solution to bring the healing this world needs?
 
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.”
2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14-15‬ ‭‭‭‬‬
 
Life Application
 
We reap what we sow.
 
If I want to reap all the blessings and benefits that God wants to give, it’s gonna take some work. I’m going to have to be willing to “roll up my sleeves, and get my hands dirty”. I can’t depend on others to do the work for me. I’m going to have to “get in the game” and plant seeds in people’s lives, showing them the love of Jesus in tangible ways, then nurturing them with the Word of God to bring them life. Finally it’s going to take lots of prayer because it’s not I who can save them, but only Jesus. Then when it’s all said and done, I will look to see what blessings God has me reap from the sowing that was done. 😊 
 
-Moses Gaddi