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!
 

Galatians__5

Scripture

Galatians 5:22-26 NIV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul was encouraging the church that they were free from the law because they now walked in the Spirit. The church was trying to be justified by the law.  Paul was reminding them that they were now free from the law. Being free from the law didn’t give them a license to live in the flesh and bondage to sin, but rather, gave them freedom to be led by the Spirit.

Understanding-What does it mean? 

As Christ followers, we are led by the Spirit, not by the law.

The church was trying to gain their righteousness through following the law. Paul knew that justification through the law would make Christ’s sacrifice null and void. There would be no need for His grace if that was the case (Verse 4). Paul understood what he was saved from and the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice that had given him freedom from the law.  He was the most zealous religious person there was. He followed the law to a T. He was blameless if his righteousness was based on the law (please read Philippians 3:5-6). 

Life Application

Be led by the Spirit, not the law.

Once a Believer makes the decision to accept Christ’s invitation for salvation and makes a public declaration of it through baptism, the Holy Spirit enters his/her life. The Holy Spirit produces His fruits in us as we continue to be led by Him. He is the One who convicts us of sin. He is the One who enables us to follow God’s Word and apply it. We cannot mistake the law for the Spirit. The law keeps us in bondage. The Spirit frees us from sin and bondage. 

I’ve personally noticed that I feel a bigger burden on my life when I try to be a law abider and try to check off everything I need to do right as a Christian. Outwardly, I can sometimes pull it off, but in my heart and mind, it’s impossible. I tend to create an even bigger struggle for myself. However, when I allow His Spirit to lead me, there’s more love, peace and joy in my life because those are HIS fruits produced in me. We are not meant to produce our own fruits. That has always been His job, not ours. That has always been His burden to carry, not ours.

Thank You Jesus for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for His role in giving us faith in You and molding and making us to be more like You. I pray that we would continue to walk in step with Your Spirit and not the flesh. Thank You for being greater than the one who is in the world and that we are overcomers, as 1 John 4:4 says, because of that truth. Amen.

Here is the chorus of one of the songs we sing in church called “Freedom”. It fits today’s chapter.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is

There is freedom, there is freedom

Where the Spirit of the Lord is

There is freedom, there is freedom

Come out of the dark,

Just as you are

Into the fullness of His love

The Spirit is here

Let there be freedom

Let there be freedom  

-Michelle Gaddi



Galatians_4

Scripture

Galatians 4:4-7

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b]Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Observation

“The apostle, in this chapter, is still carrying on the same general design as in the former-to recover these Christians from the impressions made upon them by the judaizing teachers, and to represent their weakness and folly in suffering themselves to be drawn away from the gospel doctrine of justification, and to be deprived of their freedom from the bondage of the law of Moses.” [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+4&version=NIV]

Paul is speaking to the church communities of Galilee – basically working to undo the messaging they’d received about who they are and who God is.  The “Judaizing teachers” were bringing up the law of Moses in competition with the gospel of Christ and holding those in Galilee to legalistic ways of the Old Testament.  In other words, they were focused on the wrong things.

Understanding

Paul wanted the Galileans to recognize who they were in Christ – no longer slaves, but children of God. 

I feel like this same messaging needs to be undone today.  People view Christians as hypocritical and judgmental and Christianity as being bound to some legalistic set of rules geared towards perfection. 

Our message today should be the same as Paul’s then – you/we are no longer slaves, but loved by God…called His child and His heir.  I think many Christians today, myself included, struggle with image and recognizing who we are in God and who God has called us to be…not a lowly slave, but a son or daughter of the Most High.  Not someone bound to sin or to perfection, but set free and walking in victory as heirs to the kingdom. 

Life Application

Walk it out! 

We sang “You Are My Champion” yesterday and there’s a line that says “Let all the striving cease.  This is my victory!”  May we walk in victory today…but may we also live in a way that draws others into that victory.  People need freedom today and God has called us, placed us and equipped us to be part of His process of setting them free. 

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



Galatians_4



Galatians__3

Scripture:  Galatians 3:24-25  Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 

Observation-What does it say?  Galatia, part of what is modern day Turkey, was a large province, which consisted of many cities that Paul had visited on his missionary journeys, including Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.  After his missionary trips here, other Jewish-Christian teachers arrived in the area and instructed the new converts that, in addition to their faith in Jesus, they had to follow certain Jewish traditions, such as circumcision and observance of certain Jewish Holidays.  Here in chapter three, Paul points out that God made a covenant with Abraham before there was the law.  Therefore, it was always faith, not works, that has connected us to God and set us free.

Understanding-What does it mean?  A few years ago, when it was still affordable, and before I had three kids, I was an Annual Passport holder at the happiest place on earth.  I’m not one of the really crazy Disneyland fanatics, I like to be a little more subtle about my obsession.  Instead of having all of the shirts, lanyards and pins, I buy wall art and glassware, things that can be hidden but still display my appreciation for the magical kingdom.  

One of the things I love about going to Disneyland is the drive there.  I love the anticipation of the journey and the build-up of excitement during the trip.  As a kid, my family would leave before sunrise, so we could be the first ones in the gate.  Well, actually it was so my parents could skip the traffic, but I didn’t know that until I had kids of my own.  On the trip, as you get closer and closer to Mickey’s house, there are more and more signs that point you to the final destination.  Big signs on the freeway, signs on the side streets.  Even the street names let you know how close you are with names like Disneyland Drive and Magic Way.

But as exciting as it is to see these signs and to drive on Magic Way, these things aren’t the point of the trip.  It would be silly to go all the way and then hangout in the parking lot all day.  The law we are given, things like the ten commandments, are not the endgame, they are the signs.  Our goal is to make it into God’s Kingdom, not just the parking lot.  

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to keep pressing into you everyday.  Help me grow in my faith everyday, and not to be satisfied with simply being a good person.  I want to move mountains and I can only do that with faith in you.  I know that through following you, I am able to do more than I ever knew. 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm _143

Scripture

Psalm 143:1
 
Yahweh, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
 
Observation
 
“It is the outcry of an overwhelmed spirit, unable to abide in the highest state of spiritual prayer, again and again descending to bewail its deep temporal distress; yet evermore struggling to rise to the best things. The singer moans at intervals; the petitioner for mercy cannot withhold his cries for vindication. His hands are outstretched to heaven, but at his girdle hangs a sharp sword, which rattles in its scabbard as he closes his psalm.” Charles H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David Psalm 143
 
Understanding
 
“It is the outcry of an overwhelmed spirit…”
 
Have you ever felt like you have been punched in the spiritual gut. The kind of punch that takes your breath away. As I write this i am still trying to catch my breath.
 
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And sometimes after you get punched he stands over you and dangles in front of you what he stole. It seems so utterly mean, to attack you when you did not see it coming. When you were trying to take care of important things, godly things, right things. Or maybe you were doing it all wrong but somehow what was stolen just doesn’t seem fair.
The enemy is not fair. He is not good.
 
Yahweh is good.
 
Application
 
Psalm 143:8 Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
 
Run to God. No matter what the enemy has hit you with, it is not too much for Him. Pour out your heart the way David did, cry in His lap. Let God restore. Let God defeat.
 
Years ago I would have blamed God and lost hope. I would have decided to do things my way.
Yahweh is good. Yahweh is life. Yahweh is love.
 
I put my hope in you, there is no other that will lift me from despair. No matter how close to the ground I fall, no matter how far I fall in the depths of my despair, you are not far from me. My hope is in you, My hope has to be in you!
 
My soul cleaves to you and your right hand upholds me – Psalm 63:8
 
Deborah Lee


Galatians__1

Scripture
 
Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭NLT
 
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia. He reminds them that there is only one true gospel message… a message of grace and freedom found in Jesus Christ. Anyone who dares to pervert this message should be set aside for God’s destruction. However, Paul’s opposition accused him of preaching a gospel of grace and freedom from the law in order to please the Gentiles, so he can be more “popular” amongst the people. Paul insists that his desires is to please God only. He reminds his opposition of the man he once was, and it is only through a direct experience he had with Jesus Christ, (on his way to Damascus), in which the true gospel of God was revealed to him. And now his one mission is to please God and share this revelation of the true gospel to everyone!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Please an audience of One.
 
More than often I get caught up with what others may think of me. I struggled with this way too many times as a youth. I often fell into peer pressure just to try to fit in with a crowd. Some of the things I would do are things I’m not too proud of either. Fast forward to the present time. I still find myself struggling with these issues. Now like Paul, I too know my mission in life that God has given me, a mission of multiplying Christ Followers everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). But I hate to admit, sometimes I cower in those situations. The Holy Spirit will tell me to pray for someone, or provide an opportunity for me to share the gospel, and instead of boldly following God, I am passive and get too concerned what others around may think or say. “What a weirdo!”, or “He’s one of those Jesus freaks!” they may say. But this verse reminds me who cares what others may think or say?! There is only One person I should really care about pleasing. Am I doing whatever it takes to make sure that happens?
 
Life Application
 
Here is verse to ponder on this morning:
 
“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:33‬ ‭
 
That verse may strike home really hard for some of us. But here is a verse that should encourage you:
 
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”-‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7
 
I pray that we can all walk out our faith in this world being courageous and bold like Paul did. That we use every opportunity given to us, whether it’s an ideal situation or not, to share the gospel of Christ to others. May our father in Heaven welcome us in by name, and tell us “Good job my good and faithful servant.” All glory and honor to our God in Heaven! Amen.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 
 
‬ ‭


2 Kings 8

Scripture

“Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever.”

2 Kings 8:19 NIV

Observation– What does it say?

The leadership in Judah were doing evil in the sight of the Lord. For instance, Hazael murdered Ben Hadad in order to succeed his throne as the new king. It was an event that Elisha had prophesied about. Also, Jehoram, king of Judah, did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Scripture stated that “he followed the ways of the kings of Israel”, which was not a good thing. Ahaziah was another king mentioned in this chapter who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (Verse 27)

Although all the evil warranted God’s justice and consequence of destruction, the Lord would not destroy them because of a promise He had made to his servant David. There is a parallel to 2 Kings 8:19 in 2 Chronicles 21:7, where yet again, Scripture talked about how Jehoram, king of Judah, did evil in the sight of the Lord, yet God was not willing to destroy the house of David.

“Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.” 2 Chronicles 21:7 NIV

Understanding– What does it mean?

God keeps His promises and His promises are always good.

“The Hebrew Bible makes it clear that all of the kings of Judah were descendants of David (Bibleodyssey.org).” Although he was a man after God’s heart, unfortunately, not all of his descendants were.  The worship of foreign gods all occurred after Solomon’s (his son’s) death. They did evil in the eyes of the Lord, yet God wouldn’t destroy them because He stayed true to His promise to not destroy the house or descendants of David.

God knew what He was doing. There was a purpose behind it despite all the evil happening around them and how hopeless the situation may have looked for Israel.

““Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one.” Psalm 132:17 NIV (Commentary: “Horn” symbolizes strong one, that is king in this verse).

Life Application

All hope is not gone or lost.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a hopeless situation with no end in sight? Imagine how the people of Israel felt.

It really looked like a hopeless situation for Israel because of the corrupt kings in leadership. But (BIG but), God saw the bigger picture, as He always does and knew that His promise included a better King who would come through the line of David. That King is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The enemy’s job is to steal, kill and destroy and to make us lose all hope. However, even when it feels like all hope is gone, it never is when we trust that God is in control and knows what He’s doing.

Thank You Lord that You always see the big picture. May we trust that Your plans are always for the best and put our hope solely on You. Help us to put our faith on the unseen and not lean on our own understanding. Amen.

 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


2 Corinthians_12

Scripture

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  

Observation

Paul speaks to the type of man he would boast about – a man he knows who was “caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell;” then he makes a clear delineation that he will not boast about himself, except about his weaknesses – “so no one will think more of [him] than is warranted.”  He recognizes God’s power and work in his life, but also recognizes the “thorn” that was given to keep him humble.    

Understanding

What a refreshing view of weakness in a world of social media highlight reels – with picture perfect poses, photo staging, filters, etc.  But God’s not looking for perfection…he’s looking for humble hearts, ready to serve.  In fact, it’s in our weaknesses, if we’re willing to be vulnerable and submit them to Him, that His power is made perfect.  His perfection takes all forms – healing, feeling loved, being known…the point is, it takes humble and willing hearts.  And our “worst” weaknesses can be the source of God’s greatest good, greatest power!

Life Application

May we boast in our weaknesses – for it is in our weakness that we are made strong in God.  

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



2 Corinthians_11

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 11:13-15  13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Observation-What does it say?  In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote to deal with some areas of sin that they desperately needed to uproot.  In 2 Corinthians, we see Paul praising them for their repentance (7:8-13).  In chapter eleven, we see Paul making a defense for his ministry to them, and in doing this he warns them to guard themselves and stay away from the false profits.     All throughout the Bible, we see the importance of guarding ourselves against the world.  In Proverbs 4:23-27 we learn to guard our hearts because from here “flow the springs of life.”  To the Ephesians, Paul writes about the armor of God and using the shield of faith to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (6:16).  Peter, the rock, tells his readers not to be surprised by the trials of fire which we will endure as the price of following Christ (4:12-19).  Suffering, attacks from the enemy, and false teaching are to be expected in our walk with Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the things I have learned, during the twelve years as a police officer I have had thus far, is that I have to enter every day being prepared to fight.  And that fight might possibly be for my life.  When I get ready for my shifts, I hide my body armor under my shirt, lace up my heavy leather boots, secure my gun-belt, and I check to make sure the ballistic shield and helmet are in my car.  When I am at home, I exercise my body to prepare it for a fight that may or may not  come.  I watch videos on tactics, both good and bad, in order to develop a plan on how to overcome an attack.  I have worked to develop the warrior mindset needed to protect those who cannot protect themselves. 

I often think of the language from Paul and Peter of our Christian walk, and know that we live in a world that is under siege from a spiritual enemy.  We are fighting a spiritual war, and if we are not careful we will be just another casualty.  We need to train our hearts and our minds to decipher the attacks, and we need to diligently train ourselves to be prepared for a battle that will most definitely come.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27). 

Life Application:  Holy Spirit, help me to develop my discipline.  Give me joy in storing up your truth in my heart and my mind, so I can discern a false teaching.  Help me to move beyond my feelings and know that joy can be found in suffering.  Most of all, help me to come to know you deeper.
 
-Tyler Galloway

 



2 Kings_5

Scripture
 
2 Kings 5:13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
 
Observation
 
2 Kings 5:5 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
 
Naaman wanted to be healed so he went to see Elisha but when he got there he didn’t receive the treatment he has hoped for.
 
2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
 
Understanding  
 
Naaman wanted to be transformed into a new person free from all the disease that was causing decay. He wanted the clouds to part and the light to shine down from heaven, with all the fireworks, and angels singing, the whole nine yards, and poof your healed!
 
Yes! That’s what I want too! And why shouldn’t I have instant transformation? I’m a pretty good Christian (allegedly), I serve and do good deeds, I don’t want to have to do anything extra, just give me the “poof” so I can go on with my life…
 
Naaman had to wash seven times. He probably had to go into the Jordan, dunk, scrub, rinse, walk out of the Jordan, repeat.
 
It can become mundane and discouraging to have to do the same thing over and over until  you eventually see new growth. Like teaching your kids, over and over and over again. Like going to the gym, over and over and over again.
 
It’s interesting that he had to go to the Jordan River, the place where the Israelites had to change their mind before they had enough faith and courage to cross over and go into the promised land. They had to leave all of their old slave mentality behind in order to receive the new blessing God had already planned for them. A place of faith in God to move forward.
 
I believe Naaman’s faith was growing each time he dunked and washed. He had to have faith each time he followed the instructions and saw no change to keep going and not give up…because on the seventh time…if he just stayed obedient… he would see his transformation.
 
Application
 
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
 
When I was a young parent I did not want to pass on ugly words to my kids the way I had experienced as a child. It was first nature to me. I was also a new Christian and I wanted it to be gone from my mouth. I remember being impressed by the Holy Spirit to control my tongue, just don’t say the bad words when the opportunity arises. Each time there was a stressful situation, as there are many when you have  a toddler and a baby, I would consciously make the decision not to curse, or degrade, but to speak with patience and good correction, or just not say anything at all. It was really hard!
 
It took awhile… but I had enough faith in my heart to believe that God had something better for my children and I. I believed that this was a curse that would be broken!
 
And so… I kept on dunking in the river, over and over, until one day, I was transformed! The disease that was causing decay was gone!
 
 
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.