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_10

Scripture:

Psalm 10:17

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 

Observation:

David writes his lament over God’s seeming inactivity as evil and wickedness not only are able to carry on their wicked ways (rejecting God’s laws, being greedy and arrogant, lying and intimidating), but also seem to be rewarded with success – “always prosperous.”

Understanding:

Have you ever known someone like that?  Someone that seemed to be unfairly “blessed” while, perhaps, you’ve toiled away for average.  I think we’ve all had moments like that; moments where we take our eyes off of all the good that God has done / is doing in our own lives and began comparing…whether against where we feel we “should be” or against someone we know or against someone’s social media highlights. It’s true what they say, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

But this verse struck me in another way too.  So many people are hurting right now – whether from isolation, too much time quarantined in an unhealthy environment, in their finances or mental un-wellness.  The overnight change in our world, in our culture, in the way we interact, it impacts every person differently.  This verse is a reminder, though, that God “hear[s] the desire of the afflicted.”  Not only does he hear it, He’s knows exactly what is needed…never at a loss for words, never out of resources, never too busy; he encourages the afflicted and listens to their cry (silent or loud). 

Life Application:

“Don’t compare your life to others.  There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon.  They shine when it’s their time.” – Unknown

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.” – Zen Shin

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves – Phil 2:3

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. – Prov. 14:30

Don’t spend another second comparing yourself; when you’re tempted, take time to turn your heart to gratitude and humility. 

And, remember, God’s got your back.  He’s listening; so feel free to pour out your afflictions and allow Him to comfort and encourage you.  Also remember, though, you were placed in this family for a reason; you are not alone.  You have a community that loves you and can be that tangible sense of His love.

Lastly, go love on somebody!  We are here on this earth to be God’s hands and feet in this world; be present and aware, look for opportunities to share God’s love with those you encounter.   We can be the mouthpiece that shares His encouraging word, the ear that takes time to listen and hear their cry.

 

Rei



Psalm_9

Scripture  Psalm 9:9-10  The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

 

Observation-What does it say?  This psalm was written by David, and it is possible that both chapters nine and ten were written as one psalm.  Several things that indicate this include it’s structure being in the form of an acrostic, the first letter of every other line follows the order of the Hebrew alphabet, and it is the only psalm in chapters 3-32 that doesn’t contain a superscript.  Chapter 9 is mostly concerned with praising God for deliverance from Israel’s enemies, though none are specifically named.  Verses 7-10 are a celebration of God’s righteous rule, which evokes trust in those who seek the Lord.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I love to eat, which is largely why I exercise as much as I do.  Otherwise, I might look like Homer Simpson.  I have found that I have some emotional patterns in my eating.  When I am happy, I eat more savory foods.  This is when I like to have groups of people over, like at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When I am stressed or feeling insecure, I eat more sweets and desserts.  When I listen to the clues of my eating, I can use it as a time to reflect on my life.  

 

The other day, I ate almost a whole box of S’mores cookies before I stopped to question what was wrong. On top of everyone’s normal routine being completely upended, I have had four schedule changes at work since January.  For me, this includes having to cope with new supervisors, a different sleeping schedule, as well as adjusting for things like vacation. Of the biggest concern lately was the supervisor change.  My current supervisor is difficult and I feel like I am walking on egg-shells all day.  It makes it difficult to be motivated for anything while I am at work.

 

When I really consider the cause of my stress, I find it’s because I am trying to depend on my own strength to live day in and day out instead of relying on God’s provision for me.  If I were to look to God’s Word when I feel inadequate, instead of the comfort of a S’mores cookie (which never lasts very long), I would be quicker to remember and be filled with His comfort.  Sometimes, this means I need to praise God when I don’t feel like it, in order to practice the posture of praise.  In praising Him, I will be reminded of how He cares for me in my time of trouble.  

 

Life Application  Jesus, thank You for being a comfort in time of trouble.  Help me to remember that You knew me before I was made (Jeremiah 1:5), and that I am more important to You than sparrows (Matthew 10:29), and that You will make all things work out for good when I search for You (Romans 8:28).  Help me to come to You in my time of need, praising You for the goodness I have always experienced from You.    


-Tyler Galloway



Isaiah_55

Scripture

 

Isaiah 55
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake their ways

    and the unrighteous their thoughts.

Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,

    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

 

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways,”

declares the Lord.

9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Observation

 

It sounds like he was talking about Jesus in this chapter. I had noticed that the chapters before spoke of Jesus hundreds of years before he came to this earth. So cool how God speaks to us of what is to come in our future. Even now he speaks.

 

Understanding

 

Verse 7 tells the people who did terrible things to stop doing them and abandon the habits. And to the sinners to stop thinking their terrible thoughts and ideas. If they would forget about the evil ways and turn toward God He would have mercy and forgive them.

 

Immediately after, God says that he doesn’t think like us, like humans. He doesn’t have our wicked ways or our unrighteous thoughts.

 

Human beings are not prone to freely forgive or extend mercy. Our tendency is to take note, remember it, so it will give us power and control, so it will protect us.

 

 Our vision and insight is seen from the ground view, face to face with our offender.

 

But God sees from a higher perspective. God’s eye view sees things we cannot see.

 

He sees our value,

He sees who we could become,

He sees His Son.

 

Application

 

 Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

 

God is right here, ready and waiting to pour out in abundance his mercy and forgiveness. Holy Spirit is here waiting to empower us to change our thoughts that hold us captive to our bad habits.

 

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.

 
-Deborah Lee


Luke 16

Scripture

Luke 16:10-15

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? 

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just told a parable about a shrewd manager and gave a lesson on the importance of being trustworthy in handling wealth and also trustworthy with managing someone else’s property, not stingy or wasteful with it. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

It ALL belongs to God.

All of our gifts, talents, time, abilities and resources belong to the Lord. His resources, such as money, which is specifically highlighted in this passage, must be steward wisely. Although only 10% is required to be returned, the rest of the 90% belongs to God as well. 

The more trustworthy we are in handling His money, His gifts, His talents, His time, His resources, etc., the more He will entrust to us to manage.

 

Life Application

Be a trustworthy servant of the Lord and steward what He owns (our lives) wisely. 

Our whole lives belong to the Lord. We would not be alive today or have what we have today without His faithfulness and grace. 

We must love the Owner more than the gift. We serve the Giver, not the gift. 

It’s interesting in this passage how it talks about the Pharisees’ love of money. I would think that men who followed the law and did things by the book would steer away from that, but it reminds me that God does not look at the outward appearance, but the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Their outward appearance would suggest that they were giving servants, but in their heart, they only gave to be seen (Matthew 6:1-4). They only gave out of what they already had, instead of giving ALL they had (Luke 21:1-4). They only gave out of obligation, not a cheerful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Dear Lord, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would constantly remind us that our whole lives belong to You. I pray we would be a church that gives of our lives freely and generously, especially when it comes to furthering Your Kingdom. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 15

Scripture

 

Luke 15:4 NLT

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?”

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

In this chapter, Jesus spoke to all the tax collectors and notorious sinners. The Pharisees and teachers of the law found that quite odd and began complaining amongst one another. Why would Jesus associate Himself with such people? So Jesus responded to them by speaking to them in parables. Each parable would drive across a single point…Jesus’ heart for the lost.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

God loves the lost.

 

Your average person probably thinks God is out to get them. That God is just waiting for that moment that we slip up and…BAM! He got ya! God caught us in the act and now He’s waiting to drop the hammer on us. We couldn’t be more wrong. God loves us…all of us. Now don’t get it twisted. He despises sin, but still loves the sinner. And there are consequences for our sinful actions. But for those who repent from their sinfulness and return to Jesus, there is grace, mercy, and love. These parables that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees here reminds me of that. That God’s desire is for ALL to come to know Him and repent from their sinful ways. For there is great rejoicing in Heaven when just one person turns to Christ! Imagine the celebration that occurs when we all do our part as Christians and multiply Christ Followers everywhere.

 

“As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?” –Ezekiel 33:11 NLT

 

“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” –1 Timothy 2:3-4 NLT

 

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”-2 Peter 3:8-9 NLT

 

Life Application

 

When it comes to the Gospel of Christ, don’t discriminate!

 

Father God, may You give me Your heart for the lost. A heart that breaks over sinfulness. Give me Your eyes Lord to see and ears to hear. May You guide me to whom You would want me to be bold with and share with today. Help me remember how You shared with anyone and everyone. You didn’t discriminate. Instead, You loved all. Help me to be part of that celebration in Heaven when one chooses You and repents from their sinful ways. In Your name Jesus, Amen.

 

-Moses Gaddi



Isaiah_52

Scripture:

Isaiah 52:7

 How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!” 

Observation:

This chapter starts with a call to wake up to the Lord’s redemption of Zion, then a vindication of His name for those who had blasphemed his name. 

Understanding:

We are a called people, a redeemed people. 

Called to “proclaim peace,” even in the chaos.

Called to “bring good tidings,” even in a time where there is a lot of doomsday talk.

Called to “proclaim salvation” to those who may be lost.

Called to praise and worship, our God who reigns!

Life Application:

Our calling comes with some action steps.  May we be conscious of that today and be on mission!

So what does that look like?  I think it is sharing God’s love through bringing peace through prayer, through kindness, through the tones of our voices, through being a listening ear. Bringing good tidings through encouragement and positive news.  Proclaim salvation by sharing the good news of God’s love and desired redemption of hearts towards him.

…and all of that sounds an awful lot like love.  So, put simply, go love on somebody today! <3

Rei



Isaiah 51

Scripture  Isaiah 51:2-3  look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.  When I called him he was only one man, and I blessed him and made him many.  The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.  Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

 

Observation-What does it say?  Isaiah continues to call the nation of Israel out of captivity.  “This chapter is designed for the comfort and encouragement of those that fear God and keep his commandments, even when they walk in darkness and have no light. Whether it was intended primarily for the support of the captives in Babylon is not certain, probably it was; but comforts thus generally expressed ought not to be so confined”(Matthew Henry Commentary).  At the end of the chapter, God reminds Israel he has removed his wrath and it has been passed on to their tormentors.  However, it must not be forgotten that Israel had walked away from God and they suffered His disappointment because of that.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Sometimes raising three boys can be a challenge and sometimes requires much coaxing.  Teaching them to swim and jumping into the water, for example, was an interesting experience.  Jen or I would be standing in the pool telling one of them to jump into our arms, while they would be standing on the side of the pool telling us how afraid they were.  Waiting for what felt like an eternity, we would argue our point, “Have I ever intentionally let you get hurt before?”   Of course the answer is no.  But in their mind, the fear outweighed the danger.  And we, just like Israel, often act this same way.  We pull away from God out of fear, even though God’s security is greater than the danger we face.

 

In our world today, we hear a lot of fear being preached to us.  Fear of a virus, fear of a subversive takeover of the government, fear that food is going to run out.  But, God is still calling to us, saying, “Trust me, I will catch you.”  And it can be tempting to pull away, especially since we are experiencing something “new.”  However, God already told us there is “nothing new under the sun”(Ecclesiastes 1:9).  He has been there before, and taken others through this.  

 

It can also be tempting to spread this message of fear, especially when we feel we are right about a subject.  But, we are reminded that our message is to be one of hope.  In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul charges the church to preach only Christ crucified, which is in contrast to the knowledge the world looked for.


Life Application  Jesus, in this time of uncertainty help me to be a beacon of hope and song of comfort to those around me.  Help me to be focused on You and dispel fear.  For you are the one who made the foundations of the earth.  Who am I to question you?   

 
-Tyler Galloway


Luke_12

 

Scripture

 

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Observation

 

Jesus was speaking to the thousands that had gathered to hear him. 

 

Understanding

 

Greek definition of Treasure – a store-house for precious things;including (treasured) thoughts stored up in the heart and mind.”a receptacle for valuables”

 

Imagine you had a treasure box filled with valuable items to keep safe. What is in that treasure box?

momentos passed down from relatives, books maybe weapons, old pictures, chocolate 🙂 Jewelry, money. 

 

Treasure box is where you put things that have value to us. 

 

What do we have stored up in the treasure box in our hearts and minds? 

 

Memories of our kids, our wedding day, celebrations and mournings. Relationships with our family, friends, and community. 

 

If there was a fire in your house what would you make sure goes with you? 

 

When you leave this earth, what would you like to take with you? 

 

Application

 

While taking things with us to heaven may sound appealing we know it is not possible. 

 

Jesus said that we should store up treasure in heaven. He didn’t want us to store up possessions and money for its own sake. It would eventually be destroyed. 

 

We know that even now in our own country how quickly jobs and money can be taken away.

 

Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

What are we doing here on earth that is building up treasure for us in heaven?

 

Giving to people in need.

 

Loving people when it’s difficult.

 

Sharing the love of God with others. 

 

Luke 12:31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

 

We don’t have to worry about not having what we need if our “treasure box” is filled with kingdom valuables. 
 
-Deborah Lee
 


Luke 11

Scripture

Luke 11: 24-26

When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
 

Observation

Jesus just gets finished teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer and then he continues on to another village where He performs a miracle. He drives a mute impure spirit out of a man, to which the crowd responds contrary to what He expects or desires. Jesus then tells the crowd of people there this.
 

Understanding

Always be on your guard.

For some reason, I always skipped over this section of Luke chapter eleven because it scared me (which is why I don’t read Revelation often either, if I am being honest). Believe it or not this time I think I got a valuable lesson out of the scary bit I would skip over. I don’t think that Jesus tells these people this reality to scare them, but rather to warn them to always been their guard. The enemy loves to steal what the Lord has made whole, and he rests at nothing to do so. It sounds extremely foreboding, trust me I know, but the minute we let our guard down the enemy strikes. If he doesn’t succeed the first time either, he goes back for reinforcements as Jesus so joyously points out. To make matters even worse, I know for a fact that the enemy is attempting to strike us right now when we feel vulnerable. He strikes in ways that we least expect, he leaves us captive to ourselves with a seemingly impossible escape. He intensifies a spirit of apathy, rather than one of hunger and devotion. He always lurks, and he never rests.

But our God never rests or ceases fire either. As I read this passage today I was struck with that reality. Jesus drove out many impure spirits when He walked the earth, but more than that He empowered others to do the same. The enemy may come at one point in my life and “see the house clean and swept,” and he can go back for reinforcements all he want because I will too. Here’s what I am driving at: we are in a battle that is already won! Right now it is so easy to get caught up with the world and this overwhelming feeling of “What’s the point?” (as a best friend of mine put it), but all we have to do is put up our guard because Jesus does the fighting for us. We can’t give in right now or ever because too often we let the enemy win. But not anymore! It is time to fight back, no more waiting and complaining at home during quarantine. Let’s be people on our face in prayer contending for our world that is confused and scared. Let’s come out of this stronger than when it started.
 

Life Application

Keep up your guard, but remember to look around the ring.

We have to remember who is on our side and who is fighting against us, so familiarize yourself with your team. In other words, spend time in the word of God and understanding who He is, but also don’t neglect your brothers and sisters in Christ either. Let’s encourage one another, rather than cutting off communication from each other. We may be in separate houses, but that does mean that communication has to cease either. And when you feel discouraged and feel the enemy knocking on the door of your house remember:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

-Allison Khan 


Luke__10

Scripture 

 

Luke 10:41-42 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 

Observation-What does it say? 

 

Jesus was addressing Martha’s complaint against her sister for not helping her with the preparations. Instead of working to make everything perfect for Jesus, Mary was just sitting at His feet, listening to HIm. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

 

Martha’s focus on the wrong thing led her to become worried and upset.

 

Mary focused on Jesus and her relationship with Jesus. Martha focused on the work she needed to do for Jesus.   

Jesus is always great at digging at the heart. It wasn’t the fact that Martha was doing work for Him, because working for Jesus is what being on mission means. It was Martha’s heart that was wrong. Her heart is what Jesus had to correct. Jesus pointed out that she had become distracted, worried and upset about many things. What she needed to do was focus on their relationship, just like Mary was doing. 

 

Life Application

 

When we are worried and upset about many things, we must ask ourselves, “When was the last time I sat at Jesus’ feet in prayer and just listened?” “When was the last time I opened up God’s Word?”

 

The lesson we learn from Mary and Martha is very relevant to today. People are distracted, with their complete focus on Covid-19. They are meditating more on the news and media than God’s Word. People are worried. People are upset. This is why we need to point them to Jesus (if they don’t have a relationship with Him already) or remind them to fix their eyes back on Jesus, if they have a relationship with Him already. Jesus is the only One who can calm our storms and like the awesome message last Sunday, we just need to surrender and give up control.

 

Holy Spirit, Please forgive us for focusing on the wrong thing at times. Please continue to remind us that when we focus on You and our relationship with You, that all of our distractions, fears, anxieties, anger and many worries will dissipate. I pray that we would not keep our relationship with You hidden, but boldly share with those around us so that they could also experience Your love, joy and peace through this time. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi