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!
 

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



Psalm_25

Scripture

Psalm 25:3, 15

No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,…


15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Observation

Such an expressive book – David pouring out his heart, to and about God. 

Understanding

About half of this book tugged on my heart but as I whittled it down, these two stood out most. 

No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,…

I don’t know about you but lately it feels there’s been more darkness.  Holidays, in general, can be hard or busy or stressful…or all of the above.  But feeling the weight of the most recent tragedies – both of the recent shooting and the fires – my heart has been especially heavy for those directly impacted as we quickly approach Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And, in these moments, it can feel foolish or insensitive to be hopeful; but for now, I’ll focus on the “foolish.” 

I think the reason this verse stood out to me is – sometimes known as a “ray of sunshine” (because of my name and my typically positive outlook), I actually have been shamed for my hope…but as I sat with this verse, I recognized its truth.  Even when people have tried to shame or shut down my hope, I was never put to shame. 

“Put someone to shame” means to “embarrass someone; to make someone ashamed.”  Despite best efforts, their attempts could not embarrass me or make me ashamed…but when I allowed them to speak, made space for their feelings, it opened my heart to (usually) their grief, hurt, insecurities, their search for something REAL AND TRUE AND DEPENDABLE…and, guess what.  God is all of those things.  God is the answer, the comfort, the healer, the strength.  So, being the bearers of light, we must remain hopeful and share that hope because, well, people need it. 

15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

This to me was just a quick reminder to look up.  When we are stuck, we often look at what we feel has us stuck; so, in this case, ensnared feet…but that takes our eyes off of the path, off the solutions that may be all around us, off the one who called us.  So…may my eyes be ever on the Lord. 

Life Application

Shine bright and look up!

God, I am grateful for who you’ve called me to be, how you’ve gifted me, where you’ve placed me…I’m grateful for it all.  May I recognize the opportunity that surrounds to shine bright, to maintain and give hope, to be a conduit of your love, a helper to those in need.  But, I know all of that comes from staying close to the source – seeking you and being filled to overflowing by you so that I can be used by you.  Fill me up today.  Redirect my heart, my eyes to you…then give me your heart for those around me.  Use me.

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Psalm_24

Scripture  
 
Psalm 24:1-2
 
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
This is a Psalm of David.  It was possibly written as a processional song for when the Ark was first carried into Jerusalem.  It begs the question of who is worthy to be in the presence of God.  If it weren’t for the covenant that God made with his people and the eventual sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, no one would be.  
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
The other day, as I was getting ready for work, I began to feel overwhelmed with the week to come.
I began to think about some of the other stressors that accompany my job, the jockeying and striving for recognition, the constant pull to fit in, as well as making sure I do my job within the policies laid out for me (even the ones I don’t agree with).  In a rare moment of clarity, I knew I needed to lean on God’s strength instead of my own.  I stopped my family and prayed for peace and strength for the upcoming week.  

After praying, I was able to reflect on some of my past failures.  Or at least what I took as failures.  Jobs that I applied and didn’t get, auxiliary assignments that I was denied, and transfers that did not go through.  As I was doing this, I was also listening to a sermon pod-cast, and encountered what I like to call God’s sense of humor.  The pastor was speaking about Paul during one of his missionary trips.  In Acts 16:6-10, we encounter the story of Paul trying, and being denied by the spirit, to go to Asia and Bithynia to share the good news of Jesus.  However, he then received a very clear message from God to go to Macedonia, which was the first missionary journey into Europe.  This was the jumping point for Paul to go to Rome.

The pastor aptly pointed out that, often times, a “no” from God will lead to an even bigger “YES!”  On that day, God showed me His peace by shedding light on the fact that he is ultimately in control.  When I trust in His wisdom, he will ultimately guide me to what His will is.  So when I look back on my “failures,” I can see the “no’s” that I was hearing as God leading me to a bigger yes.

 
Life Application
 
Jesus help me to trust in you everyday.  As you taught the disciples how to pray, “Your kingdom come, and Your will be done,” let me learn to pray this earnestly.  Help me to trust that you have plans for me to prosper, as you tell me in Jeremiah 29:11.  I know that if I seek to bring You glory, You will work things out for good (Romans 8:28).
 
-Tyler Galloway


Psalm_23

Scripture 

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Observation – What does it say?
David paints one of the most beautiful pictures of God.  In the same way that a good shepherd cares for his sheep – leading and guiding and providing and protecting -God cares for his people. This opening statement sums up the entire Psalm. All the following verses unpack this declaration, listing the ways God supplies every need. 
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Those who follow Jesus lack nothing. Complaining is easy.
 
It takes no effort to imagine the ways we wish things were different or better, to wish we had more money, more joy, more influence, more ________.  While we may perceive a lack, it’s only an illusion.
 
Consider these verses:
Ephesians 1:3 [God] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
 
Ephesians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
 
We who follow Jesus lack nothing! 
 
That means right now…
  • We have all we need to fulfill the plan of God for our lives
  • We have all we need to overcome sin and temptation
  • We have all we need to impact the lives of those around us for God
  • We have all the strength we need to face our present challenges
  • Any need we can imagine, God will supply
Life Application
Stop focusing on what we think we lack and thank God for supplying all we need! 
Stop waiting for God to give us something else before we obey him. 
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_22

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭22:2-5‬ ‭
 
“Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
David writes this psalm in the midst of being under constant attack from his surrounding enemies. He is constantly crying out to God for help, but he is getting no response. David finds comfort remembering how much he already has overcome because of God. David remembers how his ancestors trusted God, and God rescued them. David trusts that God is holy and just. David stands on God’s promises to His people, knowing of God’s unfailing love.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
In God we trust.
 
David was being put through a crucible in life. He was under constant scrutiny and attacks. His life was in constant danger. David called out to God for help, but it seemed God didn’t answer. What was David’s response? He trusted God. He remembered all the things God had gotten him and his people through. He is anticipating God’s mighty hand to rescue him once more. David vows to God that he and his people will praise His name for generations to come because of His faithfulness.
 
How many of us have been in David’s shoes? We feel life closing in on us. We feel that God isn’t hearing our cries for help. How do we respond? Do we turn our backs to God? Do we have the attitude of “Fine, I’ll do it myself!”? Or do we respond the way David did?..(Trusting in God’s goodness and holiness). We must understand that God has a reason behind everything. We may not understand it, but we must trust in Him, and know that He is good. God may be using that situation to strengthen you/your faith, and using it to reveal His strength, power, and unfailing love when it’s all said and done.
 
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Stand firm in God’s promises and seek Him during life’s storms.
 
How can I know God’s promises for me? I must continue to read and study His Word (SOUL Journal). How can I seek Him during those difficult times? By spending time with Him in prayer and worship (PB&J-Prayer, Bible reading, and Journaling). Being a Christ Follower doesn’t exclude me from life’s hardships (look at David’s life). But I am encouraged knowing that God hears our cries and is always faithful to those who constantly seek Him. 😊 
 
-Moses Gaddi