Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
 
 
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 48

Scripture:  Psalm 48:9  Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.

Observation-What does it say?  The author of this Psalm is not known, nor is there an exact date or event to attribute it to.  However, according to Charles Spurgeon, it might be attributed to the overthrow of Moab, Edom, and Ammon, during the reign of Jehoshaphat (see 2 Chronicles 20).  This Psalm can be divided into three parts: Verses 1-3, a general praise of the Lord and His city; verses 4-8, a record of the confusion of Israel’s enemies attributed to God; verses 9-11, an invitation for God to reign over Israel forever. 

Spurgeon continues on in his commentary, addressing some of the intricacies of verse nine, pointing out the importance of mediating on God’s goodness.  If we allow ourselves, we could easily fall into the mundane routine of everyday life: wake up, go to work, eat dinner, go to sleep and repeat.  But when we take time to remember the good things God has provided for us, we find strength in times of trials.  Furthermore, when we meet together as a group of fellow believers, we act as a living temple.  And we, as living stones, have the ability to strengthen each other through sharing God’s goodness when we are together.

Understanding-What does it mean?  The other night I was scrolling through the pictures on my phone, trying to erase anything that was unnecessary because I refuse to pay for extra space in “the cloud.”  This is a process that always takes a little longer than I expect.  Inevitably, I end up showing my wife old pictures of our boys, her grandmother, family parties, vacations.  Reminiscing about the good times, often makes the struggles we have gone through seem much smaller.   

The holidays are going to be here before we know it and the same thing will happen.  We will get together with our families for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, catch up on life, remember the past and celebrate the things to come.  It’s through these times of fellowship that our family bond grows stronger.

In the family of God, we are called to do something similar.  Hebrews 10:23-25 reads, “23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  We can take the opportunity to gather together, remember the hard times that God has brought us through, the goodness that he continually bestows upon us, and the future glory we will see through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Life Application:  Jesus, remind me to be grateful, to gather and to worship.  I cannot share your goodness, unless I am willing to share my life and open my home.  Bless our home, and help us to be a place of safety and fellowship for others.  

 

-Tyler Galloway



2 Peter 1

Scripture 

2 Peter 1:8-9  8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Observation

The Apostle Peter a servant of God continues to encourage movement and growth to those who have been converted. 

2 Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

Understanding 

Do not be nearsighted. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Look past what we see in the flesh. Look past what we see in our present. Look past what we see in our current trials, not to dismiss or deny what is before us but to look to the Glory that awaits us, to see the victory that has already been won!

Remember what we lost! 

Sin, our old nature, fear, condemnation… We have been set free! 

Application 

Keep Moving Forward. 

We are not bound by our past. He has given the tools to be transformed into his nature. Everyday we can apply what He has instructed for us.

Add to your faith goodness; 

To goodness, knowledge; 

To knowledge, self-control;

To self-control, perseverance; 

To perseverance, godliness; 

To godliness, mutual affection; 

To mutual affection, LOVE.

Holy Spirit, empower us to Keep Moving Forward in our faith. To move from our past, to walk away from the chains that bound us. Holy Spirit, open our eyes to see what is in the Spirit, the true reality, victory! Empower us to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Deborah Lee



1 Peter_5

Scripture

1 Peter 5:5

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
 

Observation

Peter urges young generations to learn and listen their elders, and for everyone (young and experienced) to act with humility and grace when dealing with fellow believers. He even argues that the success of “the flock” or the church is contingent on connection and accountability with each other; as he follows up these verses with a warning against the enemy.

 

Understanding

God does not abide by generational boundaries.

True confession: I get upset whenever I hear the words “well your generation…” Yes, I am aware my generation is lazy, I am aware my generation lacks the important skill of putting in hard work, I am aware of almost every little thing said about my generation. However, I think the thing that bothers me the most about this phrase is that I know everything said is true, and most things said are more times than not negative rather than positive. Yet, my generation does nothing with this information. Rather than changing our ways and proving otherwise, we get offended and post about it on social media as if that makes a difference.

To young generations now and to come, if the Bible is your standard listen to this truth: the elders placed in your life are there for a reason. They teach you everyday whether you are aware of it or not. Learn from them rather than opposing them. I have seen too many people around my age march around like they have all the knowledge and experience in the world that they miss an important lesson, that is tough to swallow, but necessary: submission. We are called to respond to the will of God, but if we can’t submit to God’s people than we will never be able to submit to God’s standards.

To more experienced generations now and to come: I apologize for any offense we young people may have caused, but can I ask for one thing of you? Patience. Rather than being quick to anger when a young person fails to understand or respond in a way of your liking, drown them with grace and humility. One more thing, thank you. Thank you for investing in young people, it doesn’t return void (even though it seems like sometimes it may).

Bottom line: God doesn’t care what generation you come from, what background you come, or where you think your going all He wants is your obedience through submission to one another.
 

Galatians 5:13 (ESV)

For you were called to freedom. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

 

Life Application

Humility is a timeless fashion.

It isn’t an accident that Peter follows up his sentence about submission with one of grace and humility. Humbleness should follow every Christ-follower wherever we go, it is ultimately what draws people to the Father. If you want to see favor in your life, be humble before the Lord. If you want to see lives transformed, be humble before the Lord. May we never forget our upbringing in Christ, but may we choose to submit to the One who designed it.

-Allison Khan   



1 Peter 4

Scripture
 
1 Peter 4:1-6
 
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Peter speaks about living for God and suffering for being a Christian.
 
The book of 1 Peter “gives persecuted Christians a powerful reminder that they have hope in the midst of their suffering. From the time of Abraham, God’s people were a misunderstood minority and should expect to face hostility because they live under King Jesus’ rule (thebibleproject.com-1 Peter).”
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
When living set apart from the world, suffering and opposition are part of the package, but there is Hope!
 
“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter‬ ‭4:16-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Christ’s love and strength are sufficient to handle any suffering or opposition that the enemy/world tries to throw our way.
 
When I accepted Jesus’ invitation for salvation at 16 years old and it was no longer my parents’ faith, but mine personally, opposition happened immediately.
 
I was still in high school and I became very different. I was in my 2nd year and attended a public high school. I no longer had my hope in boys or looks. While a couple of my best girlfriends were sleeping around with their boyfriends, rebelling against their parents and having hope in worldly things, my hope shifted to more eternal things. I was listening to Christian music, serving in church ministry, working part time and concentrated on school. That was my life. I was also very vocal about my faith and brought a Bible to school. A guy that I had liked for the longest time got a hold of one of my best girlfriends and asked her what had happened to me. He said, “She is like a God-fanatic now!” He said it in a very negative way. That really broke my heart and after 7 years of crushing on him (knew him since elementary school), I IMMEDIATELY lost interest in him. My hope was now in Jesus Christ and Christ became completely sufficient. Christ gave me my worth and value. It didn’t matter how much I was made fun of, how people were gossiping about me behind my back, or even how it drew a wedge between me and my best friends. The Lord was changing me from the inside out and the joy I felt because of being loved by Him helped me through all that opposition and suffering in my high school years.
 
Fast forward to today and opposition and suffering still occur; however, through it all, God continues to build and strengthen my character and make me more into Christ’s image. Every step of the way, He has been with me like He was in the past.
 
Dear Lord, I pray that as we suffer according to Your will, that Your Holy Spirit would help us commit ourselves to You. Help us continue to do good. Help us to remain faithful to You as You are to us. Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


1 Peter_3

Scripture

1 Peter 3:8

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Observation

Peter is writing to “…those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”  He is writing to Christians in these various regions of the Roman Empire.  He starts with the duties (within the marriage, towards one another) of wives and husbands but then turns his direction to ALL of them and calls for…UNITY (sounds familiar, no?…maybe like something we heard yesterday??) and gives practical ways to create unity – being sympathetic and compassionate towards others, loving one another and staying humble.

Understanding

Just like PG talked about yesterday, we (the [global] church) are called to unity.

There’s many reasons God desires unity for his church…but I think the most critical are that 1) that’s what he designed us for – community, and 2) we are more effective when working together for a common goal.  God can use us to do more, reach more, provide more, love more, if we are working in unison.  Plus, as we know, he created us all differently for the purpose of working together.

In working together, we accomplish more but an additional benefit is that it builds us up.

Ephesians 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Working in unity, builds up the body, creates confidence, fosters consideration and kindness and sympathy, creates social/emotional wellness for the individuals involved, allows for refreshing (instead of burnout), etc.

EVERYONE WINS!
 

Life Application

May we live in unity, community, together. 

May we look for the things that bind us, rather than those that separate us. 

May we seek peace…even if it takes an uncomfortable conversation to get there.

Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

May we look for ways to destroy the barriers, tear down hostility and instead, lift and encourage one another, love one another and work together to accomplish the plans and purposes God has brought us together for.  Remember, you’re not here by accident! 🙂
 
Perhaps it’s time to revisit those NEXT STEPS from yesterday’s sermon…

 

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



1 Peter 2

Scripture  

2 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 

Observation-What does it say?  

In chapter two, Peter “The Rock” is encouraging believers to push forward in growth.  In doing so, he points out our status as being chosen by God.  But, we weren’t chosen by God for our good.  We were chosen by God for his purposes, to make known the goodness and richness of His love.  Also, as a result of Him choosing us and setting us apart, we become holy, which is not something we can do on our own.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I am a big fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.  I love the books, the movies, the action figures, all of it.  For my 33rd birthday, I was lucky enough to have a hobbit themed day, compliments of my wife.  It sounded great at the beginning of the day, because hobbits love to eat and so do I.  But, after breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon and afternoon tea, I was about to bust at the seams.  We still had two more meals to go!!  But I digress.

One of my favorite character developments in the stories was that of Strider/Aragorn.  Aragorn was the rightful heir of the crown of men in middle earth.  Yet he chose a life of exile of sorts because he felt unworthy to lead.  He had seen both the failures of his ancestors and his own, and decided to neglect his duty to a higher calling.  As the stories progress, Aragorn realizes his position is not for his benefit, but for the benefit of the people.

Often times I have felt stuck in the same place as Strider.  I don’t feel worthy of the goodness of God (which I’m not), so I allow myself to make poor decisions and act in ways that do not display the love of God to others.  But, as I wallow in self-pity about how I am not good enough to do anything good, God is calling me out and urging me to rely on His goodness. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Life Application  Jesus, help me to act in the newness you have given me.  Give me the courage and boldness of a son of the king.  In finding this confidence, help me to find new ways to serve others for You.  For I am no longer a slave to sin.

and just for fun.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6t9OF8_3n8  

 

-Tyler Galloway



1 Peter 1

Scripture 

1 Peter 1:16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Observation 
 
Apostle Peter is writing to the exiles that are scattered throughout the land, encouraging them while they deal with trials of their faith. 
He encourages them to be HOLY. 
Understanding 

Holy – Greek word “hagios”- sacred, holy- set apart by (or for) God.
How can I be holy? Without sin the way God is holy, On a consistent basis? I can barely stick to something “good” for a season.
I can do all the bad habits for years with consistency but good healthy ones… not so much! Do u know how many diets I start on Monday… I’ve gained 20 lbs since my last round of starting on Monday ! Lol!
It seems out of reach…
I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord and savior who washed my Sins away by his blood that was shed for my redemption, I am “blameless, without sin” in God’s sight. 
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9).
Holy also means set apart. 
Application 

Be Set apart. 
If I’m set apart unto God for his purpose then my intentions will be to look like the image of his Son and not like the world around me. 
2 Peter 2:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will continue to look in my spiritual mirror and check my reflection. Do I see goodness, self- control, godliness…
I will keep trying and trying and trying,  Doing again and again and again,  Until the Holy Spirit produces the qualities that will keep me set apart. 
We are called to be 
SET APART, UNTO GOD, FOR HIS PURPOSE
Deborah Lee 


James__5

Scripture
 
James‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭NLT
 
“You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter.”
‭‭‬‬
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this chapter, James warns the rich over their love of money. James rebukes the rich for hoarding their riches, investing in meaningless material things that corrode and rot away over time, and the ruthless ways they cheated others to obtain their riches. Judgement is upon them! How they utilized the riches they obtained will determine how they will be judged.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
How am I utilizing God’s blessings?
 
When it’s all said and done, and we meet God face to face, He is going to hold us each accountable on what we did with His blessings. Will God care if I purchased that nice house on the hills? Will God care if I bought that fancy sports car? Will God really care if I sent my kids to that Ivy League University? Ultimately, I’m going to have to answer to God regarding how I managed what He blessed me with here on earth, and how I used it to build His Kingdom and glorify His name. Did I use it to collect and hoard material things? Did I keep it all to myself? Or did I share it with the world to bring glory and honor to His name?
 
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Use your blessings to be a blessing.
 
We all have different gifts and blessings that God has given us. For some of us, it may be our finances. For some, it may be a heart of encouragement. And for others it may be wisdom from life’s experiences. Whatever the case may be, we all have something to offer others in their time of need, so why not share it with the world?Use the opportunity and platform God has given you to share and show His love today.
 
-Moses Gaddi


James___4

Scripture

 
James 4:5
 
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
James, the brother of Jesus, continues to write to Jewish Christians to “encourage them to continue growing in their new Christian faith (got questions.org).” In this chapter, James is encouraging them to submit to God and flee from the desires of the world, “for the Spirit that the Lord has caused to dwell in them is jealous for their affection (vs. 5).” The way the footnotes paraphrased it is “that the Spirit He caused to dwell in us longs jealously.”
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God is a jealous God.
 
The Lord will not settle for 2nd place in our lives. His Spirit wants to be the first and the only One in our hearts. He desires all of our affection, all of our time, all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. 
 
You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14 NLT
 
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.  Deut. 4:24 ESV
 
Life Application
 
Submit to Christ’s love for us.
 
When we submit to Christ’s love for us as our bridegroom, everything else pales in comparison. The Bible speaks about the church being the bride of Christ. In marriage, sometimes we think that jealousy is a bad thing, but honestly, if a spouse is not jealous for his bride and if he is okay with her giving her focus and attention to someone else (or vice versa), then there’s a problem. It’s no different with our relationship with the Lord. He loves and desires relationship with us and we break His heart when we choose the world over Him. There is an ongoing spiritual battle ensuing in the lives of believers (Eph. 6:12), but as we DAILY choose to submit to Him, be in His Word, pray, sing songs of worship/praise, stay connected to the Body and stand firm in the faith, the devil flees. 
 
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the many times I have broken Your heart when I’ve desired things not in line with my calling in life and identity in You or when I’ve complained instead of been grateful for Your love for me. Thank You that You are jealous for my affection and that You relentlessly pursue me as a result. With Your Spirit’s help, I commit to choose You everyday as You have chosen me. Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
 


James_3

SCRIPTURE

James 3:3-5

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

 

OBSERVATION

James 2 shows “how unprofitable and dead faith is without works” and goes on to say that “such a faith is, however, apt to make men conceited and magisterial in their tempers and their talk. Those who set up faith in the manner the former chapter condemns are most apt to run into those sins of the tongue which this chapter condemns. And indeed the best need to be cautioned against a dictating, censorious, mischievous use of their tongues.”

 

UNDERSTANDING

There’s lots of great guidance in this chapter; but a majority can be summed up with…

Watch yo’ mouth!

  • As Christians, we will be judged more strictly by what comes out of our mouths.
  • The tongue, left unchecked, corrupts the whole body.
  • The tongue is not easily tamed.
  • Praising the Lord, while cursing those made in is likeness is a sign of an unchecked, untamed tongue.

It also requires us to acknowledge the power of the tongue. It’s small but mighty! And it can just as equally (though perhaps, not just as easily) be used for good!

It can be used to praise, to lift others up, to silence the lies of the enemy, to speak life into people and situations, to encourage, to give honor, to show love, to speak truth, to stand up for those that need it…

 

LIFE APPLICATION

Just like a great forest is set on fire by a small spark, we can use our tongues to set fire to all the good stuff today!  This requires a bridled or controlled tongue; there’s two ways to bridle our tongue – watch our mouths and be controlled in what we allow to come out…but perhaps the greater or more powerful one is, to start with the heart.
 
Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.  
 
What comes out of our mouths is merely a outflow of what’s in our heart.  
 
May we guard our hearts and use our tongues for all the good that God intended them for; let’s blaze trails of kindness, truth, love, honor, encouragement everywhere we go today.
 
 
 
Join the discussion here.