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!
 

Acts__5

Scripture:  Acts 5:1-2  Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.  With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Observation-What does it say?  I read in a bible my friend had brought from Hawaii, called the Pidgin translation, the book of Acts was titled “The things the apostles done.”  I liked this title, because it brought the book down to a more human level.  Chapter five is after pentecost, when the group of believers, and the apostles specifically, were living together communally.  People were constantly giving up their possessions so that no one was left needing anything.  However, Ananias and his wife brought forth their gift not as a means of humbly providing for others, but as a way of gaining notoriety for their generosity.  Their consequence for trying to deceive God was death.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the hardest things I have ever been through was the police academy.  It required me to be fully committed to a lifestyle change, one that I was not ready for.  I had to learn new skills, like shining my shoes and cleaning a firearm.  I had to learn what seemed like a new language in the types of codes and legal jargon that is common with the profession.  And I had to get it all done perfect, or the academy staff would assign me “education memos” which were due the next day.  Once I got home, I would try to shine my shoes, iron my uniform, study my text book and finish 1000 word hand-written memos.  This would carry me so late into the night, that I had to continue standing while writing in fear of falling asleep and making a mistake.  

I was so overwhelmed with the work, and the level of commitment which was required of me, that I cried myself to sleep a lot of nights, and in the morning I would tell myself, “Today is the day I’m going to quit,” as I got into the car and drove to the academy.  And then, at some point several months into the process, it got easier without me noticing.  I began to enjoy the shoe shining and the ironing.  I made fewer mistakes on my memos and found myself with spare time that I was able to use to exercise more or study more.  I got better sleep.  And eventually, I graduated and the life changing event was all over.

Christianity, even more than the academy, is a fully encompassing thing.  It’s a life in which there are no short cuts.  It requires complete devotion.  In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us that the gate to life is narrow and few will find it.  In Matthew 19, Jesus tells us it is easier to thread a needle with a camel than for the rich to find heaven.  In Luke 14, we learn that we need to disown our family in order to become His disciples.  There is verse after verse telling us of the perils of following after Jesus.  

In all honesty, I can relate to Ananias more often than I care to admit.  With my mouth I say I have given my life to Jesus, but in my heart I hold back.  I worry about my finances, I fear the future, and I am jealous of all the material things I don’t have.  Thankfully, Jesus’ grace is deeper and wider than any ocean.  Jesus also tells us that his yoke is easy and our burden light when we trust in him (Matthew 11:28-30).  God promises to protect us (Isaiah 43:1-2), He provides a way out when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13), and He loved us enough to sacrifice His son for us.  So even though life can be overwhelming, and hard to truly commit to a life with Jesus, God provides for us through the Holy Spirit.

Life Application:  Jesus, I struggle with myself.  I know what I am supposed to do to be committed to you, but I have a hard time following through.  I sin in areas that I shouldn’t, and I try to tell you I love you, but I miss the mark.  Thank you for your love.  Thank you for your new mercy today.  Grant me the grace to trust you today, and I will let tomorrow handle itself.  

-Tyler Galloway



Acts_4

Scripture
Acts 4:31
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
 
Observation – What does it say?
What an incredible time to be a part of the church! The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached a message resulting in 3,000 people believing in Christ and getting baptized in one day!
 
Then shortly after, God healed a grown man through Peter and John, who had been unable to walk his entire life, causing another great crowd to gather in amazement. A crowd in the thousands! Peter and John, recognizing their opportunity, shared with the crowd that it was Jesus Christ who healed the man and 2,000 more people came to believe in Christ that day! In a very short period of time the church went from 120 people to over 5,000.
 
After getting arrested by the religious leaders and threatened to not speak about Jesus anymore, the believers gathered in prayer together. As they prayed, the place they were meeting was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (again) and went and spoke the word of God boldly.
 
Understanding – What does it mean? Two things stood out to me in this passage:
  1. The Holy Spirit fills believers so that they can be his witnesses. 
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses…”
 
It’s not about chills and thrills, it’s about bringing the good news to the world around us. And why would we need to be empowered to share? Because we are weak and cowardly if left on our own. We are all desperate for the Holy Spirit to fill us and empower us to share boldly with people about Jesus Christ!
 
  1. Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t a one-time thing.
The same believers who were filled and empowered in the upper room (Acts chapter 2), were filled again here!
 
Ephesians 5:18 “…be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 
 
The idea in the original language is “keep on being filled.” I don’t know about you, but I recognize that I leak. Over time, my passion and hunger for God has a tendency to fade. God designed us to be in a place of continual dependency on him, where we need to come to him not for monthly or yearly bread but for ‘daily bread.’ 
 
Life Application
I’m thirsty for a refill! For an encounter with God and a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit! 
 
And, I’m feeling challenged to be God’s witness. I want to be more like Jesus. Everywhere he went he was helping those who had needs and sharing the good news with them. What if that described my actions at the gym and the grocery store and the mall?
 
God, fill us all and empower us to be your witnesses everywhere we go! Amen.

 

– Levi Thompson


Acts_3

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭3:10
 
“When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!”
‬‬
Observation-What does it say?
 
Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray. At the front gate of the temple lay a crippled man from birth, begging for money. Peter and John didn’t have any money to give the man, but what they did give him was something far greater. They commanded the man to get up and walk in the name of Jesus! The man was crippled no more. He was instantly healed! The man went inside the temple walking, leaping, and praising God! The other people inside the temple realized who this man was, and they were filled with wonder and amazement.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
The people within the temple were filled with wonder and amazement of what they were seeing. These were people who probably came in to the temple regularly for prayer and worship. They were people who either witnessed Jesus in person perform similar miracles, or heard the stories about them, or even heard the stories from past family generations of the miraculous things God would do for the people of Israel. So nothing should really shock them when dealing with the power of God right? I mean, it didn’t even phase Peter and John to see this man get up, walk and jump, because they believed! They believed in Jesus! They believed in the power of the Holy Spirit! They knew it was because of their faith in Jesus, that He would empower them to do greater things than He did… through the power of His Holy Spirit.
 
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”-John‬ ‭14:12-14‬
 
So why not be like Peter and John? Do things in the name of Jesus to bring glory to God. Call on the name of Jesus expecting amazing things to happen. Believe in the power of the Holy Spirit and abide in it.
God wants to do amazing things through us. The question is, are we willing to step out in faith and be obedient to see all that He can do?
 
Life Application
 
Take time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you today.
 
Father God, thank You for leaving me Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit may You guide me in my thoughts and my actions today. Give me the strength and courage to be obedient to Your direction. Help me to be Your hands and feet out there today. Help me to give people a glimpse of Your power, mercy, and love through my actions. May Your name be glorified through it all. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts_2

Scripture

Acts 2:17-21, 38, 41 NIV 

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Observation-What does it say?

It was the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was the Greek name for a festival known as the Feast of Weeks in the Old Testament. The Greek Word means fifty and is the fifty days after the Passover. In the Book of Acts, it signified the beginning of the church age, after Jesus’ ascension, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Believers. (Source: gotquestions.org)

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Holy Spirit empowers our ministry and makes it more effective to the lost.

God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention and to make our ministry more effective to the lost. When the Holy Spirit came upon the Believers at Pentecost, they were able to speak in different languages. Although they were Galileans, the Word of God spread to those who spoke different languages because of the Holy Spirit’s work in each of their lives. A total of 3,000 people repented, were saved and baptized that day!

Life Application

Be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Whether it is speaking in tongues, prophecying or healing, God distributes the Holy Spirit’s gifts as He wills in order to edify the believer and the Church. We believe that those gifts are still being distributed today!
For the next couple of months, Pastor will be preaching on the book of Acts and the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. Every Wednesday evening starting tomorrow, we will have worship nights from 7-8p. On one of those nights, January 23rd, Pastor Gary will be leading a very special night of prayer geared specifically towards being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Please join us!

Dear Lord, we pray that we wouldn’t hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, whatever that looks like, and that we would be open to all the gifts of the Spirit that You desire us to have. Thank You that the power of Your Spirit is still alive and available to us today! I pray for an abundance of salvations and baptisms as a result of His work through us and that we would experience the same power of ministry and love that the early church did. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Acts_1

Scripture

Acts 1:11-““Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.””

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus’ disciples had just witnessed Jesus ascend into Heaven and continued looking up into the clouds where He had disappeared. Two men dressed in white came over and encouraged them of Jesus’ second coming as they continued to stand there.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Before Jesus ascended, Jesus had told His disciples that He wasn’t going to leave them alone, but was going to send a helper, His Holy Spirit, to help them continue to do the work of being His witnesses to the ends of the earth. In verses 6 and 7, the disciples questioned when He would return, but Jesus told them that it wasn’t for them to know the time or day. What the Lord wanted them to know was that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them and they were to be His witnesses on this earth.

Life Application

While we wait for His return, we must keep serving Him on earth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:7-8-He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will received power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

God never lies. He always keeps His promises and one of those promises is that Jesus is coming back! As Believers, we eagerly await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, we are not to be concerned about the day or the hour of His return. We are also not to do our own thing or sit around after being saved while waiting to be raptured or to pass on to the next life (whatever comes first). Instead, with the help of His Holy Spirit living in us, we must work and serve Him until He returns. Paraphrasing what those 2 men in white said to the disciples, basically, “Be encouraged and stop looking into the sky for Jesus. He is coming back, but it’s time to get to work!” 

Dear Jesus, we look forward to the day when we get to see you face to face. We pray that we would not be idle in the works You have called us to do, but rather work and serve You on earth until You call us home to our eternal residence. Thank You that You have given us of Your Holy Spirit to help us fulfill those works. It is all about You and all for You Jesus! Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



3 John 1

Scripture

3 John 1:4-6

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters,a]even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Observation

As a parent, verse 4 rung sweetly true; what a gift that would be – the joy of seeing my children walking in truth, living in a way that shares their love (an abundance and overflowing of the God-given love within) and living in a way that honors God.

Understanding

As a parent, verse 4 rung sweetly true; what a gift that would be – the joy of seeing my children walking in truth, living in a way that shares their love (an abundance and overflowing of the God-given love within) and living in a way that honors God.  And that starts with living a life of example – not just to our born and adopted children but to those we have leadership over or even just encounter. 

Life Application

We have an opportunity to start a ripple effect with each encounter…sharing God’s love with others, living in a way that honors Him, living in truth.  People are searching, let us be the answer!

God, use me today!  Give me your heart for others, may I honor you in speech and in action.  In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

 



2 John_1

Scripture  

2 John 1:5-6  Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.  And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.  

 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
In this letter, the author (presumably John the apostle) is writing to another church group.  He addresses this church as “lady” and its members as her “children.”  According to some scholars, this reference was common in the early church.  This letter, though short, covers man of the same topics as 1 John, including the false teachings and gnosticism which were present.  John is excited to hear that the church is acting rich in love to one another, and encourages them to pursue this effort even more deeply.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
“Is that how you want to be treated,” I say yet again, as one of my three sons takes a swing at another’s face.  I’m quite certain I heard the same lesson from my parents hundreds of thousands of times as a child.  Now I get to learn patience in the same way they did, slowly and agonizingly with the help of children.

I once had lofty goals of parenting.  My kids were going to change the world, be presidents and doctors etc.  I quickly learned the most two most important goals I have as a parent are simple: show them the love of Jesus Christ and teach them to show it to others.  There are other important lessons, but the ramifications of those really only last during this lifetime.  

Someone once asked Jesus what the most important commandment was.  In short he answered it like this, “Love God and love others.”  (Matthew 22:36-40)  The love that we show each other, and for those who are marginalized in society, displays the heart of God.  Jesus came to die for the whole world (John 3:16), even those we don’t necessarily want to show love to (Matthew 5:44).  This even applies to young siblings.

 
Life Application  
 
Jesus, let me hear clearly the words that you gave me through my parents and through your word, to love one another.  Help me to show this in both practical and extravagant ways.  Remind me to show it to my friends, family, and to those who I don’t care for as much.  Give me the grace to treat the ones I don’t like in the same manner as I would my mother or my children.
 
-Tyler Galloway   


1 Samuel_3

Scripture 

1 Samuel 3:7

Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.

Observation – What does it say?

Samuel ministered before the Lord in the temple under Eli. God called to Samuel 3 times, and each time he thought the voice was Eli’s. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Shortly after I surrendered my life to Christ, I was sitting in a church service in my parents church in Colorado where I grew up. My dad said something from the pulpit that struck me. “That was good. I should tell my dad later,” I thought. After service I forgot about it and didn’t say anything to my dad or anyone else about it.
 
Later that evening I visited another church, and during ministry time at the end of service, I went to the front for prayer. I was just hungry for more of God and wanted him to speak to me. The pastor began to pray for me, then he paused. “You don’t need another word from God. He speaks to you all the time.” I thought to myself, “Yea, right! This guy doesn’t know hat he’s talking about.” After a pause he continued, “God told you something earlier today about your dad.”
 
“What? How in the world could he know about that?!” I thought. I knew it could only have been that God revealed that to him.

Sometimes when God speaks, we mistake his voice for another.

As Samuel discovered that what sounded like Eli’s voice was actually God speaking, that day I learned that many times what I perceive to just be my own thoughts, are actually the voice of God. When I have ideas to do something good, to encourage someone, to pray for the girl with crutches at the grocery store, to share Jesus with someone at the gym, those thoughts don’t originate with me! And, I highly doubt Satan would be wanting me to do those things! So if it’s not Satan and it’s not me, it must be that God is the one speaking those thoughts and ideas.

Life Application

Ask God to help me discern his voice better. 

Whenever I think to do something good, recognize it’s most likely God and respond in obedience. 
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_57

Sc‭‭ripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭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
 
Relying on God for everything!
 
What a great reminder for me as I get ready to start the new month of prayer and fasting. A great way to start the new year is to re-focus my life and center it around God. It’s a great way to cleanse my life from all the things in life that have been distracting me away from Him. 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! How bad do I want that? How bad do we want that?! Are we willing to give up those distractions in our lives and call on the name of the Lord instead? Will you all join me this month with our prayer and fasting? 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
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Psalm__56

Happy New Year! 2019!

 
Scripture
 
Psalm 56:3-4, 10-13 NIV
 
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?……In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
King David wrote this Psalm documenting when the Philistines had seized him in Gath. It’s a very interesting story. David pretended to be insane in order to escape Achish, king of Gath. Please see 1 Samuel 21:10-15 for the full story. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Troubles in life cannot be escaped. They must be faced in the strength of the Lord.

King David had fled from Saul because Saul intended to kill him (See 1 Samuel 20:30-34). However, David had found himself in a similar predicament when he fled to Achish, king of Gath. His troubles had followed him. As a result, David pretended to be insane in order to be set free because he was “very much afraid of Achish..” (1 Samuel 21:12). This is when he wrote Psalm 56. He was crying out to God because his enemies were in hot pursuit of him. He was encouraging himself out of his fear by remembering Who he must put his trust in and how mere mortals can do him no harm when God is on his side.  

 
Life Application
 
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. 

Heading into a new year can be a joyous time, but also a fearful time for some. For some, it can mean new beginnings. For others, it may cause fear of what the new year may hold; Fear of the unknown. Regardless of the emotions that heading into a new year may bring, we must remember that as long as our trust and hope remains on Jesus Christ, it will be a great year and we can worship and be thankful because He remains good all the time!  Dear Lord, we invite You into this new year, of new seasons and new beginnings. We have faith that no matter what this year brings, it will be good because You are always good. Amen. Please listen to this song, You are My Hiding Place by Selah. https://youtu.be/_dR0H0tAYT8

-Michelle Gaddi