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

 
 
 
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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_23

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭23:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul was again before the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, having to answer for his ministry for Jesus Christ. There was also a plot to kill Paul; however, before Paul learned of the plot to kill him, the Lord encouraged Paul to be courageous and told him that he was still going to testify about Him in Rome. Basically, he didn’t want Paul to lose heart and told him he still had work to do.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The journey of faith is not always easy, but when we are in line with God’s will, His Spirit will always provide the encouragement we need to continue pressing forward.

Paul could’ve easily buckled under the weight of all the pressure on him. He could’ve easily been so discouraged and decided to quit the mission because the journey was too hard. But, Paul didn’t quit. He kept pressing forward and had hope in the Lord to complete the mission. Why? Because the Holy Spirit was in him and with him.

Life Application
 
Continue being filled with Holy Spirit and lean on His great faithfulness through the journey.

One of my goals during this fast is to memorize Ephesians 6:11-18, basically the passage on the Armor of God. One particular part of the passage talks about putting on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to take our stand, but after we have done everything, just keep standing.

We cannot keep standing without the Holy Spirit. Also, continually being filled with His Spirit is not an option, but a must, especially when we understand who is warring against our souls. Ephesians says that our struggle is against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. It is not just the B-team. It is the A-team heads of evil! The only One able to defeat them and the only One that they have no hold over is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So why wouldn’t we want His Holy Spirit residing in us and being filled with Him everyday? As Pastor explained on Sunday, the constant filling of the Holy Spirit comes through worship, prayer and fasting, God’s Word (which is our offensive weapon against attack), walking in obedience, serving and fellowship with other spirit filled people.

Please join us for 2 great evenings of worship and prayer this week on Thursday and Friday at 7p.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your encouragement to keep standing firm, to keep pressing forward and to keep being on mission for You despite hardships and opposition. May we seek to always be filled with Your Holy Spirit so that we can withstand the pressures that come with living a life completely set apart for You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Acts_22

Scripture

Acts 22:14-15

14 Then He said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.

Observation

Paul shared his testimony – that he used to be well known for persecuting and terrorizing Christians…but that an experience of being struck blind, hearing God’s voice, walked to a stranger who simply said, “receive your sight” and could suddenly see again; then, that stranger gives him the words above.

Understanding

Our testimonies our powerful. We should recognize them, refine them and share them regularly!….but being used in part of another person’s testimony is where it’s at!

I read in a book recently, that a man with an argument has nothing against a man with an experience. As Christians, we get the amazing honor and opportunity to engage people in God experiences, experiences that will speak to people’s hearts and bring reconciliation and transformation. God is the master facilitator – working in all the details, big and small – for the ultimate purpose of bringing people in to relationship with Him; but we get to be part of it.

Once we are saved, our whole role and mission is to stay connected to God and be used by Him over and over again – to love on others, to bless others, to lead others to Him.

Life Application

God, I count it an honor and privilege to be called Yours. But, even greater, I am grateful to be used by you. That even in my brokenness and complete IMperfection, you call me worthy and allow me to be used for the cause of Christ. Let me be a witness! Show me, today, how to share your love, in ways that brings you honor and glory. Help me be cognizant and obedient to that still small voice. And, may people EXPERIENCE you throughout my interactions today. Humbly yours, In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

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



Acts_21

SCRIPTURE

Acts 21: 13

“Then Paul answered, Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

Although urged on several accounts not to go to Jerusalem Paul insists on going for the cause of Christ. He holds to the promise of the unseen and looks forward to receiving the rewards of his faith.

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

What strikes me about this passage is the fact that he was urged by believers not to go to Jerusalem. It was not by people trying to dissuade him of his calling or take him away from God, but people who believed in him and God’s mission. Yet, full of faith, Paul urges to press on into the unknown. He literally “prepares for the worst,” which to him is seen as a reward.

The Message translates it this way “The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience.”

As Christians we are not called to live by consensus or live comfortably, we are called to live a life of obedience. Obedience often denotes action, and action requires moving from where we are to a place we’ve never been. God uses this obedience to do things we have never imagined. He takes our tiny faith and stretches it on forever. He takes us past the point of no return, the point in which death is seen as a reward and obedience comes easily. Paul expected that God was going to move in Jerusalem and he didn’t want to miss out. He went regardless of the warnings not to. With this kind of faith no excuse or reason was going to keep him from the cause of Christ. He had a gift too great to keep to himself.

LIFE APPLICATION

I want to go regardless of the circumstances. So be it if I must leave this world behind to attain a life I can only imagine. So be it I must sacrifice earthly possessions. I choose obedience! I want to see God show up everywhere, and I want to say that I was used by Him. I’m tired of the comfort, I’m tired of the excuses, I’m ready to travel to places I’ve never been, I’m ready. All for the name of the Lord Jesus, to Him be the glory, honor, and praise.

-Allison Khan


Acts__20

Scripture   

So much to say and so little time to say it … 

Acts 20:9

Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead.

Observation – What does it say?

The uproar in Ephesus has quieted down so the apostle Paul makes plans to leave Ephesus, preach in Troas on his way to Macedonia, and meet up with Titus, all the while continuing the collection for Judea. Sailing from Philippi Paul meets up with the disciples in Troas.  Knowing his time is short he loses no time in encouraging the believers.

Understanding – What does it mean?

He’s alive! Fortunate for Eutychus …

Imagine the setting:  A modest three story structure with “many lamps” casting dramatic shadows and filling the room with a smoky haze. It is Sunday, the ‘new” first day of the week.  A sense of urgency compels the apostle Paul to preach to the believers; perhaps for the last time.  No doubt he had been preaching to them in the morning hours as well but now it is nearing midnight.  Our attention is hijacked by a young man who was sitting in an open window.  Suddenly he dozed off and fell to his death.  Ironically, the boy’s name is Eutychus which means, “good fortune”.  Fortunately for him:  The purpose and activity that has befallen Jerusalem and its surrounding lands was not of “human origin” as suggested by Gamaliel (Acts 6: 33-40).  Fortunately, God’s redemptive plan did not end at the Cross.  Fortunately, the disciples “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).  Fortunately, the evening included the Lord’s Supper as commanded and that it was observed regularly. Fortunately, by faith, the disciples believed Jesus when he said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing …(John 14:12).  As Peter had raised Tabitha (Acts 9:40), so Paul raises Eutychus. Fortunately, Paul risked ridicule or at the very least being misunderstood and simply “threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him,” declaring, “He’s alive” (Acts 20:10).      

Life Application

Studying the Gospel and exercising the spiritual disciplines such as worship, teaching, prayer and the Lord’s Supper is not the exception but the norm for all believers.  These activities should be a regular part of our life experience.  When we are faithful in this we can expect the power of God to be present in signs and wonders.  As it was in the book of Acts so it is today.  God is crazy about people and wants to have a personal relationship with them.  We can’t do this on our own but must partner with God in his purposes and plans. Young Eutychus was very fortunate that the church of Jesus Christ was operating in the fullness of God. 

-Warren   

 



Acts_19

Scripture  Acts 19:2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 

Observation-What does it say?  While Paul is in Ephesus, he is introduced to Apollos.  Apollos was well educated in the scriptures (the old testament), but only knew of Jesus from the teachings of John the Baptist.  He had apparently missed the part of the story where Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended up to heaven.  During his time in Ephesus, Paul not only teaches Apollos of the miracle of Jesus, but he also converts many of the worshiper of Artemis to follow Jesus.  Paul catches Apollos up to speed on Jesus just in time to see major opposition from the silversmiths in the city, who made a considerable amount of money from the Temple of Artemis.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I’m not very good at video games, my brother was great at them.  He beat me so many times that eventually I just gave up the pursuit.  That is until I met my wife, she was really into a certain game, so I tried to like them again.  She too beat me so many times that I almost ruined the whole relationship at it’s infancy by being a poor sport.  There is something about the lack of actual physical space in video games that I struggled with.  But one thing I learned, in video games they only give you what you need to succeed in the moments before you have to use it.  You don’t even get time to figure out how to aim the snipper rifle before someone comes up behind you, then it’s like “Game Over.”

Before his death, Jesus tells the apostles how important it is for him to go, because he was going to send the Holy Spirit.  John 16:7 says,  But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  When we are saved through Jesus Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit, which is our new frame of reference on how to live and breath and move.  Paul writes in Romans 8:9-10 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 

Paul goes on to write in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  When we believe, we are equipped with the resources we need to overcome our trials and temptations in this world.  The Holy Spirit dwells in us, we just have to ask for His help.

Life Application When I am in need of your strength, I will run to you.  When I am lost and confused, I will run to you.  For in you I have my purpose and being.  Help me to overcome myself, for though in my mind I want to serve you, my body is weak.  Thank you for leading me to You.
 
-Tyler Galloway


Acts_18

Scripture

Acts 18:21

But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 

Observation – What does it mean?

As he was leaving Ephesus, Paul declared that his return would hinge on one thing: Not his personal preference, not convenience, not if they begged him to come back, but God’s will.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal to us the will of the Father. He will show us where God wants us to go and what he wants us to do when we get there. The decision we have to make is beforehand is, when God speaks, will we choose to obey? Will we do what we want to do, what we feel like doing, or will we surrender to God’s will and do what He wants even if it’s difficult?

Paul chose rightly, even when later it meant going to Jerusalem where he knew he would most likely be imprisoned and put to death. For Paul, the only option was joyful obedience. May it be the same for us!

Life Application

Seek God’s will and submit to him.

It is easy to make decisions based on personal comfort instead of purpose. You and I were created on purpose for a purpose. God has a plan for your life and mine. But we have to answer, “Am I ready to obey no matter the cost?”

God, thank you for your faithfulness to guide and direct us in all things! Help us to trust you and obey. Please forgive me for the times I make decisions based on personal preference or preservation rather than on what you are directing me to do. May I joyfully obey, regardless of what it may cost me. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson 


Acts__17

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭17:32-34
 
“When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this passage, Paul is heading from town to town sharing the gospel of Jesus. He starts off sharing in a town of Thessalonica, then to a town of Berea, and he ends this passage preaching to the people in Athens.‭‭‬ ‭‬‬Everywhere Paul went he shared the Word of God. Some took to the message and believed, while some laughed at his teachings and others were jealous and sought to bring him down. But no matter how many accepted or rejected the Word of God, Paul knew his mission was to GO and SHARE the gospel wherever he went!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you say, no matter where you go.
 
Paul was led by the Holy Spirit. He was obedient to the Holy Spirit no matter what the cost. Paul would go to foreign lands and share the good news to whoever would listen. He didn’t care about what the people thought of him and what he had to say. Paul was going to preach the truth even if it made him appear to be foolish to a room of Greek scholars. Paul knew that he would rather be a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10), than to be popular with others. At the end of the day, Paul was entrusted by God to share the good news wherever God would send him, even if that location was behind bars in a prison. It really didn’t matter for him. He had a job to do, and he was going to do it. Now that’s a man on Fire for God, empowered by the Holy Spirit!
 
Life Application
 
Like Paul, God has given me a responsibility to do.
 
Ezekiel‬ ‭3:18-21‬ ‭NLT
“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me. “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”
‭‭‬‬
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts__16

Scripture  
 
Acts 16:6-10
 
“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Holy Spirit had stopped Paul and his companions from preaching in the regions of Asia. However, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him for help, and he concluded that God had called them to go to Macedonia to preach the Gospel next. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The Holy Spirit speaks through visions and dreams. That’s one of the outward gifts that he gives believers. 
 
““ ‘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.” Acts 2:17 NIV
 
As a result of Paul being obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading through his vision, Lydia and members of her whole household were saved and baptized. Also, Paul and Silas became imprisoned, but God used that situation by giving them an opportunity to save the jailer from physical AND spiritual death.  This also led to his whole household being saved and baptized! These events would not have occurred unless Paul and his companions followed the Holy Spirit’s lead, which started with them not preaching in the province of Asia and then Paul’s vision from Him.
 
Life Application
 
When the Holy Spirit leads, whether through a vision or dream, a prophecy, a tongue, or a conviction of sin that we must turn from because it goes completely against the Word of God and His fruits in Galatians 5, listen and respond. Obey Him. 

Throughout the book of Acts so far, I’ve noticed the following theme and work of the Holy Spirit in the early church. 

  1. They were open to Him and the gifts He wanted to give them, both inward and outward gifts.
  2. They obeyed His leading. If He said stop, they stopped; if He said go, they picked up and went. 
  3. They witnessed people get saved and baptized and the church increase in numbers. 

As a church that believes that the gifts of the Spirit are still living and active for today, I pray over us (myself included) that what the early church experienced is what we at DSC would all experience too. I pray that we would see ALL the amazing things the Holy Spirit can accomplish in and through us individually, and as a church body as a result of being open and obedient to Him. 

Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday, 1/23, at 7p as Pastor Gary leads us into a time of prayer  geared specifically towards being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It’s something we do not want to miss. 

Thank You Jesus for leaving us Your Holy Spirit as a means to finish the work of Your Kingdom. May we all be baptized in Him so that His power would flow freely in our church body. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Acts_15

Scripture

 
Acts 15:8-11
8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Observation

People were sharing “fake news”…well, at least old and outdated news.

People had come from Judea and Antioch saying “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (verse 1). So the church sent Paul and Barnabas to share the truth. As they made their way, their message brought relief. When they came to Jerusalem, though, 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses” (verse 5).

Understanding

Lots of good stuff packed in here!

God’s heart for us is love and a desire for relationship.

The message that was being shared – having to live by old testament law and being circumcised – was raising up anxiety in the people. And, Paul’s message explains why – it was “a yoke that neither [they] or their ancestors [had] been able to bear” (vs 10). This reveals God’s heart for us – love. He doesn’t want us living in this low level sense of anxiety focusing on the legalisms of an old law. He wants us to seek Him, love Him and have relationship with Him. And, yes, He wants perfection; but knowing we cannot sustain that, He loved us enough to create a way that we may still be saved and still experience Him.

The Holy Spirit’s presence marks God’s children.

Like PG shared yesterday, the Holy Spirit is not just for a select few…it’s for EVERYONE! That’s the gift of salvation. And, that gift, shows God’s acceptance of someone.

Furthermore, experiencing the Holy Spirit CHANGES us. It’s a marked change, we are not the same. Also, as PG said, it’s not a one and done thing; there’s regular infillings of God when we walk in obedience.

Life Application

Know and tell the truth!

People share “fake news” about God daily. Like Paul and Barnabas, we are called to share the truth, with God’s heart behind it…so without judgement and for the cause of turning their hearts to God.

Check your Holy Spirit action.

We need to be LIVING IN the Holy Spirit…it’s Holy Spirit experiences that transform lives and we are called to be conduits of that! [Quite an honor!] It requires that we seek God’s face, that we turn our ears and open our eyes to where God wants to use us and we obey when we hear that still small voice. And we need to be dissatisfied with camping on HS experiences of that past…instead, pressing in for more and living with expectancy to be used by Him DAILY.

God, I’m grateful that you call me yours. I’m grateful that we get to experience your Holy Spirit – and the joy, the fullness, the power that comes with it! Use me today. Show me who you want to impact, give me the words, increase my boldness in you…and may you be known and experienced by all those I encounter today.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

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



Acts__14

ScriptureWhat stood out to me?

Acts 14:19-20

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Observation – What does it say?

Previously in Iconium Paul and Barnabas learn of a plot to stone them and they flee to Lystra. Unfortunately the Iconium Jews find Paul in Lystra, incite the crowd against him, and stone him. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

We have been asked to read the book of acts with the lens of the Holy Spirit as our filter. So you might be wondering why I felt led to highlight these two verses when I clearly had some amazing other options to choose from in this chapter. My defense lies in this vision I had of Paul when I had finished re-reading chapter 14 five or six times.  I was asking God to highlight some areas for me and I was slowly awestruck. 

He was stoned. He was stoned and then he got up and went back into the city that stoned him. Wait he did what? And the next day he left to go preach in Derbe.

The lack of emotional and spiritual details during this moment in Paul’s life might seem discouraging. What was Paul thinking when he was stoned? What did the group of disciples do when they gathered around him? What was Paul’s spiritual state? Was he mad? Was he sad? These are all questions we might ask. I think that the lack of such details is exactly the point that the author and God is ultimately trying to make here.

Paul was stoned, nearly to death. The disciples responded by gathering around him. Perhaps a small miracle was performed by God. Perhaps not. What did Paul do next? He got up. The next day was business as usual. On to the next city to continue his God given mission. No fanfare. No sob story. Paul and Barnabas sum up their response in part of verse 22, ““We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” 

I can’t stop seeing Paul shrouded in the Holy Spirit as these events unfold. As he was being stoned he was filled with it. As he was left for dead I see him shrouded still. I picture the disciples glowing as they gathered around him. I see him wrapped in the Spirit as he is revived. And I can’t help but picture him continuing to glow as he moves on to the next town. 

Life Application – How can I apply this today?

In Paul I see a man who was just so devoted to his mission in life. I see a man that constantly stayed connected to the Holy Spirit for as much as possible. That is what I want for my life. I don’t want the Holy Spirit once a week on Sundays or even twice a week. I want it all the time!

Father God, 

Please teach me Lord to live my life like Paul did. I feel like sometimes if a pebble is placed in my path I am grumbling and groaning. Instead would you teach me to live like a man always filled with the Holy Spirit every moment of every day for the rest of my life. For when the stones are thrown I want to simply get up and continue on like Paul did. For your glory. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Your Son,

Kenneth Lee