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!
 

Esther_3

Scripture:  Esther 3:2  All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down [b]and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage.

Observation:   In this chapter, we see an edict from Haman aimed at destroying the Jews in Persia.  In pointing out Haman’s genealogy and giving him the title of “Agagite,” it is likely that this is showing him in the line of Agag, the king of Amalek.  In the story of the Exodus, the Amalekites attacked Israel as they were fleeing from Egypt. Because of this attack, “the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16)  Mordecai, a Jew, is exiled in a foreign land and refuses to obey the edict in obedience to God.  

Understanding:  In the major themes of the Bible, the story of Esther falls under the theme of redemption.  Throughout the Bible, we see both the nation of Israel and individuals go from creation to fall, from fall to redemption, and finally into unity with God in His kingdom.  God is in the process of redeeming us from our exile. And we find ourselves in a personal exile, exiled from the complete relationship with God.  

In our personal story, we face different trials that hinder us from experiencing our redemption.  Whether it be a struggle with addiction, believing a lie about our character from Satan, or our inability to accept the free gift of grace.  We are all in need of a character, or a moment in time, to help us realize we are made for more than what we are currently struggling with. We all need a Mordecai to remind us that we are God’s children and that He is longing for an intimate relationship with us.

Life Application:  Jesus, I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Thank you for your love and your grace which covers a multitude of sins.  And thank you for the process you are bringing me through, making me complete so I lack in nothing.  

-Tyler Galloway 



Psalm 66

Scripture 


Psalm 66:16


Come and hear, all you who fear God;

    let me tell you what he has done for me.


Observation


The psalmist speaks about going through hardships but God bringing him out of all of it and answering his prayers. 


Ps. 66:17 I cried out to him with my mouth;

    his praise was on my tongue.


Understanding 


God answers prayers! 


Remember the day you saw or heard that your prayer had been answered! And you were overwhelmed with joy, even “tears of joy”, and humility, knowing that you deserved none of this except for the fact that the LORD is a good God and does not withhold his love from us! 


 What about a prayer that was deep in your heart? A prayer that only you prayed, a prayer that only you and the LORD know about. 


God has been answering prayer for me this past year like crazy! I have been overwhelmed with how good He is! I have been able to share with those close to me and it has been building their faith also. 


God answers prayer. Let’s share it with those around us!


Application 


Keep on Praying!


As we have seen our prayers answered by God let our faith continue to grow and lets keep asking! 


Let’s ask for our families to be restored! 

Let’s ask for our children’s lives to be in God’s will! 

Let’s ask to be better neighbors! 
 
What will you ask for? 
 

Let’s ask for the impossible! 

Father, thank you for your goodness! Thank you for your love that keeps pursuing me! Thank you for the miracles that you have been doing this past year! Thank you for growing my faith! Holy Spirit speak to my heart what is in the heart of God. Help me to pray the will of God in my life and for those around me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Deborah Lee 



Esther_1

Scripture

Esther 1: 12 and 19

12 But when the the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger… 19 let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. And let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.
 

Observation

After a lavish party thrown by King Xerxes, he requests to see his queen, Vashti. Granted, he makes this request while drunk and disorderly, so Vashti refuses to come before him. This angers Xerxes, and he calls his advisors together to find a way to bypass the law. He then creates a royal decree, and begins his search to find a new queen.
 

Understanding

Your story is completed when you help someone else realize or step into theirs.

I’m probably going to take these verses way out of context, but I feel there is still an important lesson to be learned: if it wasn’t for Queen Vashti, Esther never would have been in the picture. Let’s face it, we would be reading and living a much different story than this one. For as strange as this encounter and situation was, it provided the necessary backdrop into the courageous queen we have all come to know and love (I won’t give away too much for those who haven’t read it). Let’s step into Queen Vashti’s shoes for a second. Imagine preceding the main event, or the main person that people have waited to see or didn’t even know they needed. You constantly live in the shadow of something that you’ve been told is greater than you. We see this kind of exchange again in the New Testament with Jesus and John the Baptist. However, these people are so influential to the rest of the story because without them, there really isn’t a story. Crazy right?!

Lately, I have been thinking about the whole idea of those I am “setting up.”  A lot of times I find myself thinking about the generations behind me, and I want to feel confident that I am treating them and their future well. This is so hard for me if I’m gonna be really honest. I love to feel appreciated and like I’m doing a great job, but the reality of setting someone up well is that often times you go unnoticed. You kind of get glossed over. But as depressing as this sounds, it means you are doing your job right.
 

Life Application

Our reward lies in Heaven!

So how effective are you in paving the way for those behind you? Are you being influential to the story, while still giving others their time to shine or are you simply looking for all the attention?

To the ones who feel they are being looked over or going under-appreciated: without you someone else’s “story” doesn’t begin, you are doing your job well (even if it feels like no one notices). God rewards those who earnestly seek Him, and lead others to His Kingdom. Your reward is far greater than the ones that this world have to offer. Finish your race, and finish it well. I believe in you!

-Allison Khan    



Revelation 8

Scripture
 
Revelation‬ ‭8:13‬ ‭ERV
 
“While I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying high in the air. The eagle said in a loud voice, “Terrible! Terrible! How terrible for those who live on the earth! The terrible trouble will begin after the sounds of the trumpets that the other three angels will blow.”
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
In this chapter, the seventh seal from John’s revelation is revealed. The opening of the seventh seal reveals the appearance of seven angels with seven trumpets. When the first angel sounds his trumpet, hail, fire, and blood come hurling down to earth, burning up a third of the earth’s trees and grass. When the second trumpet from the second angel sounds, something like a huge mountain gets thrown into the sea, killing a third of the living sea creatures and ships, and turning a third of the sea into blood. The third trumpet being sounded will cause a great star to fall from the sky and land on a third of the rivers, and contaminating a third of the earth’s water supply. Then when the fourth trumpet is sounded a third of the sun, moon, and stars are struck, turning them dark. This causes a third of the day and night to be without light. It’s then in John’s vision that he hears an eagle call out “Woe! Woe! Woe to the people of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!”
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
Just when you think it can’t get any worse…
 
John’s vision from God is a pretty scary thought. With all those calamities just from the first four trumpets being sounded, and then an eagle flying by pretty much saying “you ain’t seen nothing yet folks!” I don’t want to imagine what it would be like living on earth during these times. I mean it sounds like the weather is going to be really cold and dark, and food and water are going to begin to be really scarce. It’s a really scary thought for anyone who is left behind during the rapture. Something a person shouldn’t wish on anyone! But the good news is we still have time. We don’t know how much time we have left, but I think it’s best we better take advantage of what time we do have. Time to tell our family and friends the good news of the gospel of Christ. Time to share to anyone and everyone. The signs are upon us that time is counting down towards the end. We should take the Marine Corps attitude that we “leave no man behind.”
 
“And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”
‭‭
Matthew‬ ‭24:6-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Like a good boy scout, I must be prepared.
 
“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:45-51‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_63

Scripture

Psalm 63:3-5

Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

 

Observation

Because Your [lovingkindness] is better than life: This is the reason why David was so motivated to pursue God. The [lovingkindness] of God was better, more meaningful to David, than life itself. This means that David both knew and experienced something of God’s [lovingkindness] that many believers today do not know and experience.

  • People regard life as natural; David regarded God’s great love as natural.
  • People enjoy life; David enjoyed God’s great love.
  • People value life; David valued God’s great love.
  • People will sacrifice to live; David would sacrifice for God’s great love.
  • People want to give life to others; David wanted to give God’s great love.
  • People despair without the sense of life; David despaired without the sense of God’s great love.

David spoke of a satisfaction that too few people know, even among believers. He spoke of the deep satisfaction that comes in a surrendered seeking of God, of receiving His great love, of praising God without reservation.

Taken from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-63/

 

Understanding

Pastor Gary closed out yesterday’s message with a call to action – to step into our destiny!  He also spoke to how the “inoculated God” is how many people live…a little God here, a little there just enough to make us feel good but not enough to live in His power. 

But it is in His power, in our destiny that we get to experience what David is talking about here – a love better than life.  That power, that full satisfaction won’t come in the inoculated version, but only when we turn, about face towards God and seek Him fully. 

 

Life Application

God, I want to experience you fully!

May I stay unsatisfied with the pieces of you or the fragmented love of the world…may I turn to you – fully, wholly, completely – and may I be unwilling to settle for anything less.

In your name I pray, Amen.

Rei



Psalm 62

Scripture  Psalm 62:5-6  My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

Observation-What does it say?  The authorship of this Psalm is attributed to David.   In his life, David saw a lot of troubling times. Some of these were brought on by others, while some were a result of his own decisions.  In this song, we see David committing his plans to God. It displays trust in Him, despite all of the wickedness around. David reminds us that God is truly the One who wields power, not those around us who we perceive as holding power over our lives and who we allow to put burdens on us.  

Understanding-What does it mean?  As part of my job, I had to go through a formal field training period.  It was one of the most stressful times I have ever experienced. Everything I did for a five month period was observed, critiqued, evaluated and documented.  The rest of my career was dependent on my performance during this time. For the better part of the first two months I was failing miserably.  

One day, as I was driving into work, I was listening to a podcast that was discussing parenting and being a father.  During the discussion, the statement was made, “If you want to feel like a man, act like a man.” Essentially, sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.  I had heard similar statements before, but never really thought of a practical application. So when I made it to work, I started acting as though I was the most successful person in my department.  Eventually, I passed field training and, for now, the rest is history.

With as crazy as life can be, I find myself having to constantly remind myself of God’s goodness and His mercy.  Even though I know the Bible is true and God has a purpose and will that is righteous, I find myself in places where I don’t believe it to be true.  Which is why worship is so important, it is a verbal reminder of what is true and a way to put our minds in a place to accept God’s goodness and His will.  
God knows that we have a tendency to forget Him and His goodness.  In Deuteronomy 6, Israel was instructed to fake it till they made it as they were going into the promised land.  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

Life Application  Jesus, I will sing of Your love and greatness everyday.  I will talk about Your mercy with my friends. I will meditate on Your words and write them down in my life.  Help me make my actions a living book that people around me can read Your love and greatness through.  
 
-Tyler R. Galloway 



Nehemiah_10

Scripture 

Nehemiah 10:39 “We will not neglect the house of our God.”

Observation
 
The rebuilding of the wall was complete. There was celebration, worship, thanksgiving, prayer and fasting, consecration…and a new covenant between God’s people and the Lord.  One of the promises was how they were going to take care of the house of God by giving.
 
Nehemiah 10:39 The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and olive oil to the storerooms, where the articles for the sanctuary and for the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the musicians are also kept.
 
BETHEL – (beth ha-‘elohim), a designation of the sanctuary = “house of Yahweh”  Spiritually, in the New Testament, the “house of God” (oikos theou) is the church or community of believers
 
Understanding
 
God is so good and so worthy of our praise and obedience.  When I think of all God has done, how he has shown himself faithful to me, time and time again. He reveals his love for me by meeting my needs financially, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He continues to show love as he teaches and disciplines me. 
 
Using my church community at Desert Streams has been one of the main ways God has shown himself to me. My pastors teach the word so I am able to apply it to my life. Serving has created opportunities for me to be discipled by my ministry leaders. 
 
My friends in my church community have prayed for me when I’m in need, they have counseled and ministered to me when I need emotional support. They have been able to come alongside me and offer real life support when my family or I have had a need, whether it is financial or meals or just friendship. 
 
I couldn’t imagine neglecting it. 
 
Application
 
I am so grateful for the church body and all that it has given to me.  Yes, even the conflict with other people is good. Why? As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
 
In what ways has God used the church body in your life? In what ways has God been using Desert Streams church body in your life? In what ways can you bless our church community today? 
  • Be grateful:) Say thank you to our pastoral leaders who give their time to teaching the word, counseling, and praying for you. 
  • Serve:) Sign up to serve in one of our ministries. Even our house has work to be done. What better house to work in than God’s house:) and alongside our church community. 
  • Give:) Give your time, give your gifts and talents, give your finances. In our own homes we establish that all members of the family are contributing members. They give by doing chores, preparing meals, maintaining repairs, paying bills… “It’s always better to give than to receive.”

Should it be any different in our church home? We need all our church community to partner together with God.

We can only fulfill our mission together!

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27
 
Deborah Lee


Revelation 4

Scripture
 
Revelation‬ ‭4:8-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
”Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “ ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.””
‭‭
 Observation-What does it say?
 
The book of Revelation was written in a four fold type of communication (God, Jesus, the Angel and John). It was to reveal what would soon take place. Although John wrote it with his hand, he was essentially the secretary who wrote down everything that was communicated to him through visions and prophecies. In this chapter, the throne in Heaven is revealed to John and all that can be seen is praise and worship to Jesus. First there are 4 living creatures who are singing, then 24 elders, then both, then an innumerable host of angels, then a universal worship of the lamb of God!
 
(Source: Notes from Gary Parker’s Revelation class in Higher Learning several years ago.)
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The one thing we can be sure of in eternity is that unending praise and worship will erupt to the One who sits on the throne, which is Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior and King!
 
Imagine John’s wonder and amazement of being given the privilege and honor to see a chorus in Heaven shouting their unending praises to Jesus…it’s purely out of awe for who Christ is and because He alone is worthy. That must have been so humbling and overwhelming which is how I would’ve felt (in a good way), yet the most beautiful sight and powerful sound because it’s worship at its best with Jesus sitting on His rightful throne to top it off! Truly amazing!!
 
Life Application
 
If we were to picture Jesus sitting on His throne, how would that change the way we worship Him today?
 
When we speak about worship, we are not only talking about on stage worship or in the congregation worship, although that’s part of it. We are talking about our worship in our everyday going about at work, in our marriages, with our children, in our relationships, in the way we spend our time and money, and in the way we share our faith.
 
Let’s always be in a mindset of worship, prayer and praise because as the 4 living creatures, 24 elders and hosts of angels taught us in this chapter, He is worthy of it 24-7.
 
We give You honor and praise Jesus for the pure fact that You alone are worthy of all of it! Amen.
 
“…They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.””
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭4:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
-Michelle Gaddi 


Revelation 3

Scripture
 
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭NLT
 
“Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.”
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
Jesus tells the church of Sardis to, “Wake up, and stay awake.” He told them that there were certain aspects of their faith and practice that were still alive, but they needed to be more serious about their worship, devotions, and ministry. Jesus was tired of the church of Sardis  just going through the motions. He was calling for a spiritual overhaul. The church had received a revelation from God. Now it’s up to them to put it into practice…before it’s too late!
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
When God reveals to you a problem you are having, it would be a wise of you to fix it.
 
Jesus revealed to John His analysis of the church in Sardis. It would be wise for anyone who receives advice from God to make sure they follow it through. It reminds me of that television show Kitchen Nightmares. In it, a restaurant business isn’t thriving the way it can be. It has potential, but for some reason it’s just not working for them. In comes world renown chef, Gordon Ramsay. He doesn’t hold any punches back. He tells the owner of the restaurant exactly what’s wrong with their establishment, and what they need to fix. Sure the owner of the restaurant is set in their ways and are stubborn of change. But they understand the life of their restaurant depends on it. For the most part, the restaurant owners take the advice of Gordon Ramsay. They begin to see the business flourish. Then months later the show follows up with the restaurant to check up on them. The ones who took the advice and continued to follow through with it were the restaurants who succeeded. Then you have the restaurants who stuck with the advice for a short time, then fell back on their old habits. The same habits that put them in that mess to begin with! Needless to say, those restaurants either continued to struggle, or they flat out died completely. 
 
So are you going to take heed to what God reveals to you in His Word or through His people? Our lives depend on it.
 
Life Application
 
Pray to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you things in your life that may be causing a rift between you and God. Spend a couple of minutes in silence to listen and see what He shows you.
 
“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Be obedient to the Holy Spirit and follow through what He asks of us. Have faith that He knows what’s best for us, and watch “our business” thrive the way it should.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Nehemiah_7

 

Scripture

Nehemiah 7:1-2

After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers, the musicians and the Levites were appointed. I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do. 

Observation

Tbh (to be honest), I read through today’s entire passage…a few times…and was a bit at a loss of what to write; but the second half of verse two continued to strike me.As I dug into the commentary, I continued to enjoy what I found.So, here we go…but do understand that a lot of what is written here are not my words. <3

PS Don’t you just love how God takes you on a little journey from time to time? J

Understanding

Taken from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/nehemiah-7/, the bold for emphasis is mine.

(1-2) The appointment of Hanani and Hananiah.

Then it was, when the wall was built and I had hung the doors, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, that I gave the charge of Jerusalem to my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

1.Then it was, when the wall was built: Everything was in order – both practically (the wall… I hung the doors… the gatekeepers) and spiritually (the singers… the Levites); the work was completed and set right.

a.The singers and the Levites were there to lead the people in worship; the walls were not rebuilt so the people of Jerusalem could look at nice walls. They were rebuilt so they could worship God with greater glory and freedom than ever before.

b.Every victory in our life should take us deeper into praise. If we are not praising God more, and more deeply, with each passing year, are we really having much victory? Maybe we are making it through tough times – but coming out more bitter and sour than ever. That is not God’s victory. His victory leads to a sweeter spirit and to deeper praise.

2.I gave the charge of Jerusalem: Nehemiah wasn’t in this for political glory. He had done a work, and now he could let it go. God would still use him in Jerusalem, but he knew it wasn’t his place to stay in authority.

3.Hanani: This was Nehemiah’s brother, was the one who first told him about the sad state of affairs in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:2). His initiative and concern made him well qualified to govern.

4.He was a faithful man and feared God more than many: This described Hananiah, who was the co-leader of Jerusalem. This is what God needs in a man or a woman to use them greatly.

a.Many folks who aren’t all that gifted – they can’t sing, they can’t remember a bunch of Bible verses, they don’t have a knack for teaching, and so forth – can still be used greatly of God if they are faithful and fear God. On the other hand, many terribly gifted people may always be frustrated in serving God if they are not faithful and fearing God.

Life Application

 

Now we are back to my words. JMy takeaways from what I emphasized above.

 

It’s amazing what God can (and will) do with a faithful heart…doesn’t matter how prosperous, doesn’t matter how gifted.A faithful heart is what God is looking for, what he can embolden, gift, prosper, resource and use.

 

MAY WE LIVE IN FAITH, BUILD OUR FAITH, STEP OUT IN FAITH.

 

Sometimes there are practical things that must be done to better support a spiritual need/desire…but the focus must not linger away to long from the spiritual need/desire.[It’s not about the walls, it’s about the worship inside of the walls.]

 

KEEP FIRST THINGS FIRST…AND RECOGNIZE THAT THE FIRST THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS THE MOST PRACTICAL THINGS.

 

Every victory in our life should take us deeper into praise, deeper into obedience, deeper into love, deeper into alignment with the will of God.That is what true victory looks like – becoming more Christ like.

 

LIVE IN VICTORY…AND TAKE TIME TO EXAMINE THOSE VICTORIES, REMEMBERING THAT THE VICTORY IS NEVER OURS ALONE…NOT OURS ALONE TO CLAIM, NOT OURS ALONE TO USE.HOW IS GOOD MOVING IN THIS VICTORY?

 

Just because God calls us somewhere, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where he intends for us to stay. We serve an unchanging, but always moving God.

 

MAY WE KEEP UP WITH THE MOVE OF GOD…AND BE EQUALLY WILLING TO MOVE BOLDLY MOVE FORWARD AND LET GO.

 

God’s not looking for the most able bodied, the most gifted, the most…well, he’s not looking for the most ANYTHING.He’s only looking for faithful hearts that are willing to serve Him.He can fill in the rest.

 

SEE #1 [MAY WE LIVE IN FAITH, BUILD OUR FAITH, STEP OUT IN FAITH.

 

Now, let’s go out and put this madness in action…

 

Rei

 

PS Go love on somebody! <3

 

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