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!
 

Psalm_35

Scripture

Psalm 35:28
28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
    your praises all day long.

Observation

The entirety of Psalm 35 is a call to God to defend, to contend…

Understanding

I love David’s honesty…how many times have I had self-pity moments?  Thankfully, mine are usually exchanged in my mind, when sitting in traffic…not forever memorialized in a book as well known and spread as the Bible for people to read for years to come.  But, as we read to the end, and see David’s return to praise it’s a little encouraging, speaking to the God we serve – the ONE that we can rely on to fight our fights, come to our defense and provide even when circumstances seem impossible.   

Life Application

Always return to praise!  God has proven Himself – real, dependable, an ever-constant in an ever-changing world.  So, knowing that, may we always return to praise. <3

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



Psalm_34

Scripture  
 
Psalm 34:8-9 
 
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
This Psalm was written by David.  It was written in a time when David was fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 20 & 21).  The form of the Psalm is an acrostic, where the first letter of every line starts with one of the twenty two letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order.  http://www.basicsofthebible.org/psalm34/  In this Psalm, David praises God for His faithfulness.  He also shows us that when we honor God we find life.  Despite all of his misfortunes, God brings David through all of them.  
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  I can’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving to come, because that is when my wife allows me to finally put on Christmas music.  Though, if you were to ride with me in the car, you might hear it from time to time, sometimes all of July.  I really enjoy decorating, but I never go overboard, as I shoot for a look that is more akin to a 1950’s Christmas over the current trend of over decorating (you know who you are).  

I didn’t always find this time of year as endearing as I do now.  As a kid in high school, it was more like torment.  My family got split up right before Christmas my freshman year.  Each subsequent year meant splitting time in two different places, with an older brother who was spending the holiday break from college bossing me around.  Christmas can be a very polarizing time of year for those who feel like outcasts or alone, as I did for many of those years.

I don’t remember exactly when it was, but there was a year that I finally decided to stop feeling bad for myself at Christmas.  That year I decided to focus on the miraculous birth of Jesus, the Messiah.  I have learned to take refuge in Him, and the peace that comes with knowing that with the birth of a savior, also came His death on the cross.

Jesus was brought into this world in a time of relative chaos.  His parents were traveling for a census, and didn’t have a place to stay.  There was a lot of political unrest.  Once King Herod heard from the traveling wisemen, he was in search of Jesus trying to kill him.  And yet, despite all of this, Mary and Joseph were focused and submitted to God and His will.  A savior is born, amidst great turmoil, to bring us peace.  (Luke 2).  And that’s what this season is all about.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lA_Y35OY1Y

 
Life Application  
 
Despite the craziness of this season, I choose to focus on you Jesus.  In a time where it can be easy to become overwhelmed and depressed, I trust in you.  I know that only you provide the peace that I seek.  And this peace is only through you being the Lord of my life.  I choose to worship you alone.
 
-Tyler Galloway

 



Hebrews_6

Scripture
 
Hebrews 6:12
 
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The writer of Hebrews had observed those who came before him and what they did to inherit what God had promised them, and he encourages his readers to imitate their example. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We inherit what God has promised, specifically speaking of the promise of salvation, through faith and patience.
 
What I find interesting is that the posture of faith and patience is contrasted with laziness. Our faith and patience must be active, not passive sitting around waiting to die or for Jesus to come again. He explains what this active faith and patience looks like a few verses prior:
Hebrews 6:10-God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
 
If we want to inherit what God has promised, we must be faithful to work, to demonstrate our love for God by helping other believers. And not just having stories of helping them in the past, but continuing to help them until the very end. 
 
Life Application 
 
Consider how I can demonstrate my love for God today by helping others. 
 
God, I long to inherit all you have promised me. I don’t want to forfeit it because I become lazy or self focused. By your grace, give me strength to endure and fill my heart with your love. May I never settle where I am but continually pursue you for more! Amen.
 
Levi Thompson


Hebrews_5

Scripture
 
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this particular epistle to the Hebrews, the author is urging the people into spiritual growth. It seems they have been believers of Christ for some time now, but they seem to be stuck dealing with the same spiritual issues. The author compares them to “babies”, still in need of milk, not knowing how to do right. They should be maturing in their faith, eating the “solid food”, knowing the difference between right and wrong, which will continue to help them grow and get stronger with their walk with God. It’s time for them to grow up!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The study of God’s Word is more about transformation, than information.
 
Have you ever met someone who knows the Bible inside and out? They can tell you the history behind it, they even have scriptures memorized, and yet their lifestyle doesn’t reflect anything the Bible teaches? They may even claim to be a Christian for over 20 years, but it seems they have been “repeating the same grade” for 20 years. Shouldn’t we expect someone whose been walking with God for that long to be living a certain way? That is why the author of this passage gives such a great illustration by comparing these people to babies. Me being a parent myself, I would expect my kids to be walking by a certain age, talking by a certain age, and you better believe they should be potty trained at a certain age! If they aren’t, I may begin to question if something was seriously wrong with them. The same should be said in our spiritual development. It should be something we are continuously growing and learning from. It should be a constant, life learning and growing experience we need, as we share with others until God calls us home.
 
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”-James‬ ‭1:22-25
 
Life Application
 
Bring on the meat and potatoes!
 
I’m reminded of my own kids with this. They are so comfortable with eating their plain cheeseburgers, plain cheese pizza, or their mac and cheese with chicken nuggets. I try to have them venture out, try some different foods. One day, they took me up on my offer. They wanted a bite from my ribeye steak. I hesitantly let them get a piece. I saw their eyes brighten up, as they engulfed it, looking for more! Their eyes were now opened to so much more (better things) than they were so used to. All they had to do was step out and give it a try. I believe it’s the same way in our spiritual growth. We can get so comfortable doing the same thing, going through the same motions. God has so much more planned for us. His plan for us isn’t to be stagnant in our faith. He wants us to continuously grow. Just like any parent, you want to see your kid become the fully matured person you know they can be. There is so much more out there for us if we would just step out in faith, and follow. Yes it can be a little scary stepping into something new, trying something that you’ve never tried before. But I find peace and comfort knowing this: God loves me. God is always with me. God wants to give me His best. All I have to do is trust and follow Him.  The best is yet to come!  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Hebrews_4

Scripture Hebrews 4:12, 15-16 NIV- For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart…..For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 
Observation-What does it say? 
 
This chapter opens with entering God’s rest through the Sabbath, then speaks of the power of God’s Word and ends with how Jesus is our high priest, who understands every weakness and temptation we face because He experienced it Himself, yet remained sinless.  Therefore, we must approach Him with confidence and enter His rest. It is only through His Word that we could find true rest. Jesus was the Word and the Word was God and was with God from the beginning (John 1:14). Jesus continues to intercede and fight on our behalf in order that we could have a relationship with God.  As Paul has written, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
Approach God’s throne of grace with confidence because He is our Ultimate High priest. 
 
Please see this commentary from gotquestions.org regarding the role of a high priest.  “The most important duty of the high priest was to conduct the service on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month of every year. Only he was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the veil to stand before God. Having made a sacrifice for himself and for the people, he then brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat, God’s “throne” (Leviticus 16:14-15). He did this to make atonement for himself and the people for all their sins committed during the year just ended (Exodus 30:10). It is this particular service that is compared to the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest (Hebrews 9:1-28).” We have a high priest (Jesus) who not only intercedes on our behalf so that we could have a relationship with God, but who also understands every struggle and temptation we face, yet remained without sin. Why wouldn’t we run to Him? 
 
Life Application 
 
Run to Jesus. True rest is found in Him alone. 
 
Thank You Jesus that You are a loving high priest, that You are the Word of God in the flesh and that we can come to You unashamed with any and everything we face for guidance, wisdom and instruction. Amen. 
 
Please listen to this song “Come to Jesus” from Chris Rice. The message is about running to Jesus. https://youtu.be/PANiveIKVX0
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Joshua_24

Scripture

Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Observation

Joshua brings everyone together and delivers a message from God – basically the story of their people, from their lineage to the battles won for their freedom.

Understanding

We’ve been working on persuasive speech for Elijah’s English class with Ms. L – telling people about the book they’ve read in a way that convinces others to read it.You start out with the context – the title and author, the type of book and the intended audience – and end with a cliffhanger that is intended to entice the classmate to read it for themselves.

Joshua (delivering the message from God) has got this down!He calls all the tribes together and all the decision-making people of those tribes – elders, leaders, judges and officials.He reminds them of where they came from – descendants of Abraham and a people who once worshiped other Gods beyond the Euphrates.Then he talks about the journey their people have gone through – throughout Canaan, Seir and Egypt.He reminds them of the battles won on their behalf – from plague-afflicted and Red Sea-drowned Egyptians to defeated Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites and more…from creating dry land in the middle of the sea or river to sending the hornet ahead to drive people out – and the provision and blessings given along the way.

Verse 13 – “So I gave you land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”

And, now, the cliffhanger: you’ve seen life with God, that’s what got you here…and, “as for ME and MY household, we will serve the Lord.” But what about you, what will you choose?

Quite the convincing speech, if I do say so.[Ms. L would be proud! J] Even greater, is once they do choose to serve God, Joshua does a “take away” – nope, sorry, “You are not able to serve the Lord.”He goes on to remind them of God’s character, what serving Him would require and the consequences of not following through – “he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

Now they’re fighting for it!Ready to throw away their foreign gods!…And a covenant is made.

Life Application

 
I don’t mean to make light of this moment – as if it was just a sales pitch done well (hook, line and sinker) or persuasive speech done successfully.It’s actually a pretty big deal – the God of their ancestors became their God when the covenant was made because of their choice to serve him.But, like a good pitch or speech, there are things to garner from HOW it was done.
 
Joshua reminded them where they’d come from and how God had worked in their lives.  They remembered and recounted the details of how God had shown up.  And, there were likely some “oh, that’s right!  I’d forgotten about that!” moments as he did.  
 

We each have a story to tell – a love story of how God came after us, came after our hearts, proved Himself real to us and how our lives were changed as a result.We can all speak to the divine intervention that happened along the way, how God was working in the details of situations big or small, how he’s provided and/or blessed us.These “stories” have the power to create change in the lives of those around us.  I’m reminded, though, that I sometimes forget how much good God has done.  I need to keep my story fresh, front of mind, writing down the continued ways he shows me that I’m seen, heard and loved…so that I’m always ready to share when the opportunity comes.

 

God, you are so incredibly good to me.May I meditate on your goodness, not for my own peace and joy (which it surely brings) but so that I am ever ready to share your goodness and your love with those around me in a way that brings change.Use me today.I want to see lives transformed because of you.

In your name, I pray.Amen.

-Rei

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

 


Hebrews_2

Scripture  
 
Hebrews 2:18 
 
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
The author of Hebrews spends the first few chapters laying out a foundation of why we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior.  He begins with displaying Jesus is the completion of prophecy about the messiah.  He compares the words of Christ with the words of the angels and prophets.  If the words of the prophets were not to be disobeyed, how much more immutable are the words of God’s son Himself.  The author warns us to pay close attention to what Jesus said.   
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
I love to watch movies about wars and historical fictions, often called period pieces.  One of my all time favorites is Braveheart.  The story of William Wallace, the guardian of Scotland, and leader of an army that defeated the English at Sterling Bridge.  There really isn’t any better scene, in any movie ever made, than when Wallace enters the stage at Sterling Bridge.  He is astride a horse, bearing a giant broad sword, and with enough confidence to fill a football stadium.  He then rallies a rag-tag group of Scottish men, who would have otherwise conceded defeat and suffered loss of land and a myriad of taxes.  As some of the men stood in their fear, Wallace asks them (in summary), when you are on your death bed, would you rather die knowing you had given up, or trade it all for one last chance to fight for your freedom.

The author of Hebrews paints a similar picture of Jesus, albeit with much higher stakes, our souls.  You see Jesus, the savior of all mankind, has been in the same shoes as you.  He was tempted and tried, he was beaten and bruised, spit on, lied about and tried falsely.  He overcame all the obstacles set before him and arose victorious.  He wants to lead you into the battle of your life, and he wants to equip you with all the spiritual tools to overcome our enemy.  If the words of a great general and military leader can motivate men to dive headlong into a battle that will likely cost his life, how much more the words of a savior who first gave his life for us, before asking for us to give our lives to him.      

In Ephesians 6, Paul encourages us to dawn the full armor of God.  In 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, he tells us to discipline our bodies so that we will not be disqualified for the prize of eternal life.  We all suffer the same problem, we are born into a life of sin.  Fortunately, the cure for this disease is belief in the God who not only created the world, but experienced the same toil we do, and he experienced it more deeply than we ever will.

 
Life Application  
 
Jesus, you are my king, and for you I am willing to surrender my life. For your glory is all I desire.  I want to raise your banner in my life, and show my allegiance to you alone.  Help me to daily give up everything, for I know, you will give me my freedom in return.  

-Tyler Galloway



Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
 
God’s will for our lives – in every moment, every day, every circumstance –  is that we give thanks! There’s no better day to stir up gratitude within us than today. Below are some fun questions to consider that will help you live out God’s will for you to give thanks. Answer them on your own and give thanks to God, and consider presenting these questions around the table today as you celebrate Thanksgiving with those close to you.
 

1.What smell are you grateful for?

2.What technology are you grateful for?

3.What color are you grateful for?

4.What food are you most grateful for?

5.What sound you grateful for?

6.What in nature are you grateful for?

7.What memory are you grateful for?

8.What book are you grateful for?

9.What place are you grateful for?

10.What taste are you grateful for?

11.What holiday are you grateful for?

12.What texture are you grateful for?

13.What abilities are you grateful for?

14.What sight are you grateful for?

15.What season are you grateful for?

16.What about your body are you grateful for?

17.What knowledge are you grateful for?

18.What piece of art are you grateful for?

19.What touch are you grateful for?

20.Who in your life are you grateful for?

21.What song are you most grateful for?

22.What story are you grateful for?

23.What tradition are you grateful for?

24.What challenge are you grateful for?

25.What moment this last month are you grateful for?

26.What form of expression are you grateful for?

27.What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?

28.What friend/family member are you grateful for?

29.What talent or skill you have that are you grateful for?

30.What else we missed are you grateful for?



Psalm__27

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭27:13‬ ‭NLT
 
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, David writes of his confidence in God. David understood that no matter how dark a situation he may be placed in, that God was with him, and would never leave him. So why should he be afraid?! His enemies were the ones who should tremble in fear because Almighty God was with David. God was his fortress, his protector, and his savior. What more does a person need?!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my confidence!
 
David was a man after God’s heart. He was a servant of God. Yet that didn’t stop life’s struggles from happening to him. God allowed those things to occur in David’s life to mold him into the man we all know him as today. David had confidence! Confidence in knowing what kind of God he served. (A God who is loving, just, and mighty)! No matter how bad the odds were stacked against David, he knew when all the dust settled, His God would reign supreme. He knew God’s glory and power would shine to make the impossible, possible.
After all, God split the Red Sea to help His people escape from the mighty Egyptian army. God tore down the mighty walls of Jericho with one big shout from His people. God even used a lowly shepherd boy to bring down a GIANT of a warrior named Goliath.
 
So whatever mountain there is in my life that needs to be moved, or whatever giant I am faced with battling, I am encouraged with David’s confidence. I will wait patiently on the Lord, and expect nothing but His goodness to breakthrough in my life.
 
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”-Psalms‬ ‭27:14
‬ ‭‬‬
 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!”-‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:17
 
Life Application
 
My God is greater!
 
All I can do is give Him my praise and worship. Here is a link to a song of worship that came to mind: https://youtu.be/p-6YdT1DEO8
-Moses Gaddi‭
 
 


Luke_23

Scripture

Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Observation-What does it say?

Luke recounts the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The above verses show 2 criminals’ perspectives on Jesus and the outcome. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The criminal who hung on the Cross next to Jesus had an encounter with Jesus.  He understood the vastness of His love for mankind and himself through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It was a sacrifice because He didn’t deserve it.

The criminal understood that he was getting what his deeds deserved…death. However, Jesus was getting punishment for doing nothing wrong. The sins of the world had fallen on Him.

While the other criminal hurled insults at Jesus and challenged him to prove himself to them (which was what the rest of the crowd and religious leaders were doing) the other criminal recognized Jesus’ purity and innocence. Why would a man who committed no sin be put through a criminal’s death if He did no wrong? He must be the Messiah. 

Life Application

Share His good news with someone and share how He has saved your life today!

Regardless of the criminal’s past, the moment he met Jesus and gave his life to Jesus, his fate forever changed.

The difference between Christianity and all other religions is Jesus. We believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and not just a prophet. We believe that He is One with the Father. We believe that He died and resurrected. The grave and death could not hold Him. We believe that salvation is a free gift to all who would confess their sin and declare with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. It is NOT based on works. If it was, the criminal would have had no chance of salvation. 

Because Jesus is the only way to God and the only One separating Christianity from other religions, we must freely proclaim His name, sing it out in worship, and share Him with others! Every religion has a “god”, but not every religion has Jesus. 

Dear Jesus, Your Word and what You did for us is something we cannot keep to ourselves. I pray that we would continue to be grateful for saving us from the fate of hell that we were destined for. I pray that we would freely share Your testimony and our testimony with others with no shame. I pray that we would never stop being on mission for You until we take our last breath—for that is Your will for our lives. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi