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!
 

James_3

Scripture:

James 3:13,17-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom… 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Observation:

James 3 speaks to the power of the tongue, the challenge in taming it and how we are called to show a living faith by watching what we say and using wisdom…but there are two wisdoms.

Understanding:

The timing is such that we are regularly seeing examples of the two types of wisdom play out – often times on news headlines.  So, based on the scripture, what should our response be in our daily interactions with others?

Listen to understand.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; – James 1:19

Respond with love.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10

Follow government mandated rules.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” – Romans 13:1-2

Put others first.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Life Application:

God is the way maker; but we are called to be peacemakers. 
 
Remember that in ALL things, we are representatives of the God we serve and love.  As such, we should be an extension of his love to those we know and encounter.  When we respond first with love, the rest often follows. 

And where constructive conversations cannot occur, do good (with your actions) anyway. 

For so is the will of God, that with well doing, you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. -1 Peter 2:15 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

– Galatians 6:9

Go love on somebody today! <3 

Rei



James____2

Scripture  James 2:12-13   Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

Observation-What does it say?  The book of James gives practical advice on Christian conduct and it covers a variety of subjects: rich and poor, pride and humility, wisdom, patience, prayer, controlling the tongue- and most importantly, faith and action.  James addresses works as a display of our faith.  Real faith shows in the way we behave and act.  The beginning of the chapter talks about the way we show partiality between the rich and the poor.  At the end of the chapter, James gives us examples of how faith is displayed in works, and people in the Old Testament who were honored because of the actions.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I have been with my department for nearly 13 years.  Like everyone else, I started my career working in the jail and also spent some time working in the courthouse.  I have been on patrol for over six years, making me one of the most experienced patrol deputies on the department.  Now, as newer deputies transition from working in the jail to working “on the streets,” I see some pretty strange decisions being made.  To be fair, I made the same type of decisions and had the same struggles when I was new to patrol.

 

One morning, while having coffee with one of my friends, who is also a more seasoned patrol deputy, he began to ask me why I was taking so much interest in two newer deputies who were struggling with the transition from jail work to patrol work.  Even though I have done my fair share of complaining about their behavior and work habits, something had clicked in my perspective that made me realize my tenure put me in a position of responsibility.  I had the responsibility to make my new partners better.  Realistically, standing around complaining about their behavior wouldn’t ever change anything.  But, if I humbled myself, knowing that I had made the same mistakes before, I could help them get better.

 

Similarly, if we take a look at people who are struggling in places that we are not, whether they be homeless, addicted to wine, frequent gossips, etc., and we judge them for their behavior, then we lose an opportunity to share God’s love with them.  Sometimes, we shy away from helping because we feel unqualified.  But, James uses the example of Rahab, who had been a harlot.  She put her faith above her past, believing that God could do good even through her.  


Life Application  God, your word tells us we are new creations in you (2 Corinthians 5:17).  With this in mind, help me to look at people through your eyes.  Help me find ways to be the love that people who are hurting need.  Give me the humility to remember that I am saved by grace and it isn’t a result of my works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

 
-Tyler Galloway


James _1

Scripture – What stood out?

James 1: 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

 

Observation – What does it say?

James, the brother of Jesus, writes this letter to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered throughout the known world at the time. 

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I have been having such intense dreams lately. This morning I woke up and it is so rare for me to remember my dreams but this one stood out to me. My house had been broken into by another family, a man with a gun, his wife, and a small child. Aware of that fact I quietly armed myself, the gentleman made eye contact with me, flashed his firearm to me as I maintained eye contact and flashed my weapon to him. At a veritable stalemate suddenly he pointed his weapon on himself. 

 

When I was younger I was slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry. Walking with God over the years I am much improved. In my dreams anyway! Verse 20 and verse 21 stood out to me because of what happened next in my dream. I began speaking to the young man who was still pointing the gun at himself and encouraging him that our meeting was not by chance. But as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t spit out what I really wanted to say. “God loves you! Repent! Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior!”

 

I have reached that stage where I am actively trying to rid myself of evil, I try my best to humbly accept the word planted in me, and I believe that I am saved. 

 

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

 

God I think about the peace, the warmth, the release, the love that flooded into me the day I accepted you as my Lord and Savior. I accept you, I accept your life giving words and I pray that they continue to take deep root and grow inside me. But I think about that young man in my dreams and my prayer is that you would give me courage to boldly proclaim and plant Your words of life in him, if ever given the chance to.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray, amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm 57

Sc‭‭ripture
 
Psalm ‭57:7‬ ‭
 
“My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
It’s hard to imagine, but David is writing this psalm in a cave, hiding from Saul and his men, and fleeing for his life! As David’s enemies are closing in on him, David finds comfort knowing that the God of the universe is on his side AND HIS GOD IS MIGHTY!!! So while most would cower, blame God, or turn their backs to Him, David worships Him and sings His praise.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Life’s storms wearing you down? Lean on God!
 
It could have been so easy for David to point the finger at God, turn His back away from Him, or even just plainly give up in life. I think many of us would under his circumstances. But instead of David having a self-pity attitude, David focuses his thoughts on God. By doing so, his heart begins to shift from being worried and scared, to one of confidence and strength. Because David knows his life is in God’s hands, and there is NOTHING in this world that God cannot handle!
 
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”-‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:27‬ ‭
 
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”-Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Rely on God for everything!
 
What a great reminder for me through this time! I guess you can say it’s a system reboot. But, it’s a great way to deepen my relationship with God and build that type of relationship that David had with Him. To be just as confident in God as David was, knowing no matter what life throws at me, my God will get me through it! Let’s see what God can do not only in our lives, but in our church, city, and nation as we seek Him earnestly!
 
-Moses Gaddi
‭‭‬‬


Hebrews__12

Scripture
 
Hebrews‬ ‭12:4-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
The author speaks about perseverance of faith, fixing our eyes on Jesus so that we don’t grow weary and lose heart and the importance of discipline from our Heavenly Father.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Loving discipline doesn’t destroy. It builds up.
 
Perseverance in faith comes through fixing our eyes on Jesus and also training. Part of that training comes in the form of discipline to build our faith and trust in the One who loves us with an everlasting love.
 
Life Application
 
Love is not only in the form of grace. It is also in the form of discipline.
 
I’m sure all of us have heard the quote, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
I like verse 4 that says, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” Obviously, that verse is talking about Jesus and being encouraged to persevere because Jesus had to endure so much more for us.
 
I went through a period of my faith where I can confidently say I was undergoing discipline from my Heavenly Father as a result of rebellion. It was so hard, that the sin wasn’t even worth the the cost and the consequences of that rebellion. God was teaching me a lesson. Even though I felt He was really hard on me, I was comforted by the Holy Spirit telling me that God loves me so much and that’s why He’s disciplining me this way. I am His beloved child. He had/has plans for my life that will be hindered if I continue in the path of rebellion.
 
Anyhow, the discipline didn’t pull me away from the Lord. It actually trained me, strengthened my faith and deepened my relationship with Jesus. I learned from it. It’s because of how lovingly He did it. He was with me through it all and I never doubted His love for me.
 
Let’s talk about it in terms of working out. When we are at the gym getting stronger, it hurts at first because we are not used to the discipline and new pressure being put on our bodies and muscles to grow it. BUT, the weights start getting lighter and we are able to lift more because we’ve embraced the pain for a short while and our muscles have developed what they call “muscle memory” to it.
 
If you are currently undergoing discipline from our Heavenly Father, usually in the form of consequences from sin and also testing of character, embrace it! God loves you. If you are a parent or a teacher or responsible for another human being in another form, I don’t have to explain this further. We want the best for our kids and that’s why we discipline them in love.
I’d rather be disciplined by my Heavenly Father than neglected by Him.
 
Thank You Lord that You love us so much that You don’t neglect us and throw us away when we rebel or sin against You. Thank You that You care so much about us that You stay involved as a loving parent. It hurts when we undergo discipline and even testing of character, but I know the end results will “produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” as Your Word says. It also produces deeper trust in You as our Heavenly Father. I Love You Jesus. Thank You loving me first though. Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Hebrews_11

Scripture:

Hebrews 11:1-3

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith.

By faith—by believing God—we know that the world and the stars—in fact, all things—were made at God’s command; and that they were all made from things that can’t be seen.a]

Observation:

This might be one of my most favorite chapters of the Bible – the nature and power of faith described.

Understanding:

What a powerful way to start the morning – with the definition of faith, followed by So. Many. Stories. of GREAT faith throughout the Bible.  This is both a reminder and an encouragement. 

Pastor Levi shared about seasons of doubt yesterday.  We all experience them.  And, I’m sure, many of us are or have experienced those doubts during this pandemic period that we are all in now – whether due to loss of jobs and/or income, loss of access to the things that fill us up and keep us sane, loss of SPACE to think as we are home-bound for days on end. 

The things that help me in these periods is getting out into nature.  Something about being in God’s creation, recognizing how big and varied our world is, remembering biblical references to the stars in the sky or sands on the beach…it brings me home, it brings me happiness and peace in my heart.  Last night, I had the opportunity to chase down starry night views to catch a glimpse of the Neowise comet – something they say won’t happen again (after the 23rd) for another SIXTY-EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS!  And as I sat under the dark canyon skies, seeing all the beauty of all the stars above, I was reminded of God’s hand at work.  God has known about this moment in time before any of us were born.  He hasn’t forgotten us, He hasn’t walked away from us.  He is here and active, even now…regardless of what circumstances in your life may show otherwise.     

We find here – in Hebrews 11 – a reminder of the many ways faith was rewarded throughout time.  I imagine in each of those stories, the circumstances felt big, impossible, unlikely…yet God “showed up.”

Life Application:

Let’s take time to build our faith.

TODAY: Use the comments below to share your favorite faith story, how/where/when you’ve seen God move.  It can be one from our reading today in Hebrews 11 or one of your own or of someone you know. [Justin’s Miracle Monday’s are a good weekly reminder of this…and, guess what, it’s Monday!  Check out @eaves05 on Instagram.]

THIS WEEK:  Let’s borrow the exercise the Pastor Levi shared yesterday.  Every time you think or say something negative, pause and thank God for 3 things.  Gratitude changes things, it reorients our brains…it’s science, it’s biblical and it works!

ONGOING:  Let’s look for his fingerprints.  Even when it seems like God may not be working in an area, look for where He is.  He’s ALWAYS in the details. 

May you be encouraged today.  May we share that encouragement with one another. <3

With love,

Rei

 

PS I liked this from the Enduring Word website…

  1. (1) A definition of faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  1. Now faith is the substance: Just as our physical eyesight is the sense that gives us evidence of the material world, faithis the “sense” that gives us evidence of the invisible, spiritual world.
  2. Faith has its reasons. The Bible doesn’t recommend a “blind leap” of faith. But the reasons can’t be measured in a laboratory; they have to be understood spiritually.
  3. “Faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses, and the author is saying that it has its reasons. Its tests are not those of the senses, which yield uncertainty.” (Morris)
  • “Physical eyesight produces a conviction or evidence of visible things; faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order.” (Bruce)
  1. Of things hoped for… of things not seen: If you have the substance before you or if you can see it, there is no use for faith. Faith is needed for what we can’tsee and can’t
  2. Faith does not contradict reason, though it may go beyond reason. One may objectively prove the Bible is the most unique book ever published and has impacted society more than any other book. But only faith can provethat the Bible is the Word of God. Therefore, this is a belief beyond reason but not in contradiction to reason or against reason.
  3. Faith is the substance… the evidence: Faith is nota bare belief or intellectual understanding. It is a willingness to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.
  4. Faith enabled people in the past to overcome.

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

  1. For by it the elders: The great examples of godliness all had different circumstances and personalities, but they all had one thing in common – faith.
  2. Obtained a good testimony: These Jewish Christians were discouraged and thought of giving up on Jesus and a distinctive Christianity. They needed a good testimony, and so they needed these examples of faith to break them out of discouragement.

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/hebrews-11/



Hebrews_10

Scripture:  Hebrews 10:35-36  Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

 

Observation-What does it say?  The audience in Hebrews is in an apparent crises of faith.  They are looking to go back to how things were before the good news of Jesus was revealed to them.  In writing to a group of Jewish believers, the author is reminding them that there is no longer a need to turn back to the ways of sacrifice.  Jesus, God’s son, was the ultimate sacrifice and did away with our need to cover our sin.  Because of the work done at the cross, there is victory for those who remain faithful to the end of this life.  Therefore, they are reminded that this life will pass and the rewards will come to those who endure.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Because of my experience in my recreational pursuits, I often associate the idea of endurance and suffering with a degree of choice.  I chose to run a marathon, therefore I also chose to learn to endure through training runs.  But, endurance and suffering also has another side.  In this life of uncertainty, people are often faced with suffering through pains due to simply being caught up in a circumstance they did not create.  Innocent bystanders tragically caught in horrible accidents.  Toddlers who get sick because their pre-school classmate decided to come to school sick.  The list could go on forever.

I remember being at work and a coworker of mine asked, “How can you believe in God when there are so many bad things happening in this world?”  At the time, I was twenty years old, I was a little bit stumped by his certainty that this was evidence that God did not care, or simply did not exist.  I would be lying if I did not admit that I haven’t had the same question at times.  Having suffered several tragic losses, I was tempted to turn away from the God I know to be so good.  But, every time I would hear God saying to me that He was near.

Through tragedy, I am often reminded of the story of Job.  Job was blameless in this world, and allowed to suffer for no reason.  Through the loss of his family and all his possessions, Job remained faithful.  At the end of his suffering, Job, speaking to God, says, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)  For Job, it wasn’t until he had endured such a great tragedy that he saw how great God truly is.  Ultimately, God restored Job greater than before the suffering began.  

 
Life Application:  Jesus, draw near to me in time of turbulence.  Help me to know that you are with me, so that I can draw nearer to you.  Help me to keep my eyes on you in times of uncertainty, for I know your reward is coming.  
 
-Tyler Galloway
 
 


Jeremiah_35

Scripture – What stood out?

Jeremiah 35:13  “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

The Rekabites were told not to drink alcohol, only live in tents, and never to build houses or sow seeds or plant vineyards. I can only imagine how hard that must have been, generation after generation living like that. Especially when you looked around and you saw people getting drunk, living wealthy, and living life. But you couldn’t because of something some old guy said hundreds of years ago to some other old guy and they continued that chain.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The Rekabites were told not to drink alcohol, only live in tents, and never to build houses or sow seeds or plant vineyards. I can only imagine how hard that must have been, generation after generation living like that. Especially when you looked around and you saw people getting drunk, living wealthy, and living life. But you couldn’t because of something some old guy said hundreds of years ago to some other old guy and they continued that chain.

 

But listen to what God says about these people in verse 14 and 15 of this chapter : ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.  Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me.

 

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

The working definition I have for other gods (idols) is “ anything that has displaced God as number one in your heart”.
 

Lord I have two prayer requests. First that you would help me to tend the pasture that nourishes my soul. Help me to guard against anything trying to take your place as first on my list of values. And second I pray that just like the Rekabites, I would simply obey as you have commanded. Help me to not trip over myself. Help me to guard against the tactics of the enemy. And help me to learn this lesson, and obey Your words.

In the name of Jesus do I pray, amen.
-kenneth lee
 


Psalm 52

Scripture

Psalm 52:8

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.
 

Observation

David warns against those who boast of evil, by informing those listening what God does with such people. He then reinforces His love for God by speaking of His unfailing love and grace to those whom God calls His own.
 

Understanding

I find it interesting that David chose an olive tree to depict himself in this verse. Traditionally in the Bible, and olive tree or branch depicts peace and comfort. I mean if we take a look at David’s ;life it was everything but peaceful, yet this is the tree that he chooses to be in the house of God. And not just simply there and present, but flourishing. I think this offers a very important idea: when we chose to flourish (not just exist) in the house of God we experience a peace unlike any other. It seem like a bit of a stretch for the meaning of this verse, but I think it is important to really talk about the very thing that we starved for right now: peace.

David offers an Idea that it comes form trusting in God’s unfailing love. So I think that’s exactly where we should start, even if that isn’t the answer that we want to hear. Trust leads to peace, and to truly trust we must flourish in the presence of God. Again I want to stress, we need to flourish in the presence of God, rather than just sitting in it and making God do all the work of speaking to us and calming our every insecurity.
 

Life Application

So what can flourishing in the house of God look like?

  • Reading His word
  • Journaling/meditating on His word
  • Praying daily
  • Taking time to be thankful for what God has already given you
  • Worshipping Him

The list is endless, so let the flourishing begin!

-Allison Khan


Psalm___51

Scripture

Psalm 51:17 NIV
 
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
 

ObservationWhat does it say?

Psalm 51 is a very powerful one, as King David wrote it after being confronted by the prophet Nathan for committing adultery with Bathsheba. Please read 2 Samuel 12:1-13 for the full exchange between those two men. It basically led to David being convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and Nathan assuring David that his sin had been put away. He will not die.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Do our mistakes lead us to Godly sorrow or worldly sorrow?

Godly sorrow leads us to repentance, true inward change of the heart. Worldly sorrow is sorrow that doesn’t lead to inward heart change because it is a momentary sorrow. It is typically a result of getting caught and not wanting to deal with the consequences of our sin. 

King David’s Psalm demonstrates true godly sorrow and repentance from his heart. Also, the consequences of his sin led to him to draw closer to the Lord, not further away. 

 

Life Application

Repent and be healed! Move on!  Go and sin no more, just like Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

As Bible.org states, “The tragic death of David’s son is a consequence of David’s sin, but it is NOT the penalty David deserves for his sin.”

There are consequences to sin. David and Bathsheba suffered the consequence of their sin, which was that they lost their son conceived as a result of their affair. However, King David’s response to that was quite humble. (Please see 2 Samuel 12:14-21).

Too many of us, after suffering the consequences of our sin, don’t move on. Consequences are meant to teach us, just like a parent who disciplines their child. However, it should train us to be stronger and better, not continue in the same unhealthy sinful cycle. David had his son by Bathsheba taken away as a consequence of his sin. Did he keep mourning after that? No. He moved on. 

Jesus came, died and resurrected to set us free from the guilt of our past. Let’s truly live that out! The enemy no longer has a hold on us and his lies no longer have to keep us in bondage. We are conquerors because of Jesus, who is the reason why we no longer have to live defeated, but live grateful and victorious everyday! 

Thank You Jesus for You, the most precious gift we could ever ask for. Amen! 

-Michelle Gaddi