Bible Reading Plan
Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
August 24: Ezekiel 5, John 18, Psalm 80
How To Soul Journal
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!



John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Observation-What does it say?

One night Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to visit Jesus in secret. Nicodemus surely realized through Jesus’ teachings and the miracles he performed, that Jesus was sent from God. What Nicodemus failed to realize was he was actually speaking to God in the flesh. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about things of God’s kingdom, God’s love for people, and God’s redemptive plan for mankind. It is a verse that echoes throughout believers to this day.

Understanding-What does it mean?

If there is one verse to memorize and share with others…

The gospel of John will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first book of the Bible my father had me read when I was young. The verse that I chose today (John 3:16), was also the very first verse my dad had me memorize when I was a kid too. As a kid I could honestly say that when I memorized this verse, I just did it for the sake of memorizing it. They were just words to me. Then the more I went on in life, the more this verse seemed to follow me wherever I turned. I found it being referenced by the pastors who I listened to on Sunday mornings. I would hear it referenced on the radio stations in the car as my dad drove our family places. I even turned on the television to watch a sports game with my dad, and some fan would be holding a bright neon sign referencing this verse! God must have been trying to tell me something, and am I glad He did! All these “coincidences” of running into this verse wherever I went and whatever I did had me really question what this verse truly meant to me. 

The further I meditated and prayed over this verse, I realized just how much God loves me! No matter how sinful and unworthy I may be, He still loves me! He provided a way for me to spend eternity with Him. Others who may not understand the Christian faith see it as too much of a sacrifice on their part to leave their sinful lifestyle behind. But it is God, who sacrificed so much for us, that He was willing to die for us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”-Romans 5:8 NIV

And it is through this act of love in which I choose to follow Jesus.  He is my redeemer.  He is my Lord and Savior.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”-John 3:17 NIV

Life Application

As a Christ-Follower, I need to be less judgmental, and more compassionate and loving with others.

Thank you Jesus for your grace, mercy, sacrifice, and love. I’m thankful to serve a God like you. Thank you for providing this world an opportunity to spend eternity with you in Heaven. Thank you for choosing me God. May you help me to share your redemptive plan with others who may not know it. Give me the words to speak to them in a way that they can understand, so that you may open their eyes and heart to it. I lift these prayers onto you Jesus, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi 


“But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.”
‭‭John‬ ‭2:21-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?
Jesus was answering the Jews who asked him by what authority he was speaking (right after He cleared the Temple Courts). Jesus spoke about destroying the Temple and He would rebuild it in 3 days. The Jews thought he was speaking about the physical temple, but Jesus was speaking about His physical body. In verse 22, it states that the disciples recalled what Jesus had said when He was raised from the dead. It made them believe the Scripture and the words they had spoken.

Understanding-What does it mean?
The revelations of Jesus are not always gifted to the human mind and heart right away.

It took Jesus dying and being raised from the dead for His disciples to recall what He said and believe the words He spoke. That revelation wasn’t given to them when Jesus first said it.  They recalled it later.

Life Application
Persevere in reading His Word and seeking His face. Although a revelation may not come to you right away, it eventually will as long as you don’t give up.

The Lord reveals Himself to us everyday. Have you ever read a Scripture passage that you read several years ago, but you read it again today and something new pops out? Or have you ever read something that wasn’t applicable for that time, but then it pops up in your mind months, years or even decades later when you do need it? That’s how the Word of God is. That’s why His Word is timeless and we must not give up in meeting with Him through prayer and His Word and also meeting together at church every Sunday.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” 1 Chronicles‬ ‭28:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ ”” Matthew‬ ‭15:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, I pray that DSC would be a church that not only honors you with our words, but also our hearts as we spend time in prayer, the Word and worship. May we be so enamored by Your love for us, that our faith in You would be relationally based, not rule based. Thank You for loving us first Jesus and enabling us to draw near to You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


What a great chapter this is, filled with such quotable verses.  The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.  The promise that whoever receives  Christ has been given the right to be called children of God. And so much more.  One of the things that challenges me from this chapter is the response of three people who encounter God.
John encounters God and declares to everyone who He is.  John had a good thing going but his entire ministry was to introduce Jesus.  He did just that – twice in this chapter we see John pointing away from himself and pointing people to Jesus and introducing them to Him.
Then Andrew hears what John declares about Jesus so he goes to investigate.  Look at what Andrew did immediately after hearing and investigating – he goes and tells someone else about Jesus.  He doesn’t wait till he has been trained by Jesus.  He doesn’t fully understand all the theological implications of it all.  He goes and tells about Jesus within his relational networks.  Andrew tells Peter and Peter comes to investigate.
Next Jesus meets Philip and calls Philip to follow him.  Philip comes along with Jesus but he does exactly what Andrew did, he not only follows Jesus but he goes and finds Nathanael and invites him to come and meet Jesus.  All these guys did was invite them to come and meet Jesus, once they met Jesus, He did the rest and the men made a decision to follow.
I am challenged to go into my circle of friends and invite them to encounter Jesus.  The way I do that is to tell them the stories of what Jesus has done in my life.  I invite them to attend church with me as well.  These men were not highly learned, well trained and well versed men, but they were doing something that all of us can do – introducing their friends to Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3

 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13
We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
ObservationWhat does it say?
Paul was addressing an issue among some in the church in Thessalonica – idleness. In the Matthew Henry Bible Commentary, Henry says, “It is probable that these persons had a notion (by misunderstanding some passages in the former epistle) concerning the near approach of the coming of Christ, which served them for a pretence to leave off the work of their callings, and live in idleness.” In other words, Jesus is coming back soon, so we can just coast until then.
Understanding-What does it mean?
Jesus has saved us! But that is not the end of the story. He gave us a calling – to go out and make Him known. He doesn’t want us to rest until the whole world knows about His love for them. Matthew 9:35-38: Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Are we being spiritually idle, concerned only for our own salvation? Or will we accept our calling and get to work?
Life Application
Lord, change my self-centered heart and fill me with Your compassion for those that are harassed and helpless, sick and in need of You. Open my eyes to opportunities to share Your goodness with those I come in contact with. No more excuses – I’m too shy, that’s not my gifting, others will do it – and help me, and all of us, to walk in our calling to know You and make You known.
-Debbie Dunn

1 Chronicles _10

Scripture – What stood out?
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; 14 And enquired not of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
Observation – What does it say?
The chronicler gives a factual step by step account of how Saul and his sons die. The chapter then ends, with this juicy morsel that gives a very straightforward analysis of Saul’s death.
Understanding – What does it mean?
Saul died because he sinned against the Lord. He did not keep God’s word and even sought the counsel of a different spirit.
I am the first to admit I have a soft spot for King Saul. He had such an amazing beginning, didn’t he? He was called and anointed by God through the prophet Samuel. He was even given step by step instructions by God on how to achieve success during some of the most trying moments of his life. 
But for Saul, God’s word wasn’t enough.
He chose not to trust God.
And his penalty was death. 
Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?
King Saul reminds me of me. Do you sometimes hear God calling you – follow Me. Listen to Me. And you don’t. I didn’t for many years. King Saul died because he chose not to listen to God. Just like I haven’t. He died because he couldn’t trust God.
Just like I couldn’t.
The penalty of sin is death and I know I am no better than King Saul. And so in this moment I am grateful to Jesus. I am grateful to the Father. And I am grateful to the Holy Spirit.
When You speak, may I listen. When You instruct, may I obey. And when You call, may I follow.I love you Lord. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.
-Kenneth Lee


Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
King Solomon continues his “sayings of the wise,” which encapsulates not only different aspects of life but different actions for a successful one. Additionally, he places an emphasis on eating with dignity and a sound mind.
Enter with a happy heart.
As kids, whenever Ethan and I had a bad attitude about something or were sad about a certain situation my mom and dad would make us say the words “I have a happy heart.” Whether in the heat of the moment we did or not, they made us repeat it until we calmed down. If that wasn’t enough we are reminded to “enter with a happy heart” because a sign saying just that hangs outside our door. For my whole life this has been a constant mantra for me to live by, but it wasn’t until reading this passage that it just clicked. 
We can go through life simply repeating something even if we don’t believe it. Sometimes we repeat to believe it, or we repeat it to make someone else think we believe it (as the case when Ethan and I would say it to my parents sometimes). Life throws some pretty wild seasons at us, and change is only inevitable. However, where one door closes another always opens (as cheesy as it sounds), and we can enter that new doorway with a happy heart or a dried up spirit as Solomon points out.
Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
When we change our heart about certain circumstances our perspective makes a 180 as well, and the extra effort makes it worth it. It takes effort though… happiness is a choice and joy is an outward representation of an inward feeling. If I am to radiate the goodness of the Father I am called to enter every new season with a cheerful heart, not an angry one. I want the Father to receive my whole spirit too, not some broken crushed one (that wouldn’t be the best way to spend eternity).
Life Application
Have a happy heart!
Even if you takes you having to repeat to yourself an ungodly amount of times, make happiness a reality. It sounds easier said than done, but the extra effort makes it worth it. Steps to being happier always includes:
  1. Spending time with God and understanding His heart more.
  2. Understanding the calling on your own life and taking hold of it.
  3. Serving others with humility and grace (I promise it comes back around and is never only one-sided).
-Allison Khan

1 Thessalonians 5


‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is encouraging the church on how to live as a healthy Body of Christ. Paul states the reason Christ died for us, which is so that we could live TOGETHER with Him. We were not meant to live as an island and go through this journey of faith alone. We were meant to live TOGETHER in and with Christ. 

Understanding– What does it mean?

There is no such thing as a solitary Christian.
No Christian was meant to exist alone. Adam had perfect fellowship with the Father before Eve came along, but God still said it was not good for man to be alone. I don’t think God was only implying that to relate to marriage. 

Christ died so that we would love Him, yes, but He also died so that we would love each other in regular fellowship and meeting together. He gave several instructions on what we were to do when we met together:

  1. Encourage one another and build each other up.
  2. Acknowledge those who work hard for us, care for us and admonish us in the Lord (aka our Pastors/Ministry Leaders).
  3. Live in peace with each other.
  4. Warn the idle and disruptive. 
  5. Encourage the disheartened and help the weak. 
  6. Be patient with everyone and don’t pay back wrong for wrong, but always do good to each other.
  7. Pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances together.

Life Application

Choose 2 things from the above list to put into practice this week towards our brothers and sisters at DSC. 

During this July month of rest, even though we are scaling back from mission and ministry, let us not pull back from the family of God. Instead, let’s take the opportunity to draw closer to each other. I think it’s interesting that Paul’s exhortation to the church was focused on how to relate to and treat one another, beyond just ministering alongside each other. 

Dear Lord, thank you for our family at DSC. I pray that we would seek to operate as a healthy body of Christ and may it begin with me. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi

1 Thessalonians 4


 1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.


Paul urged the Thessalonians, and all believers, to excel in Christian living more and more, but only when believers nurture the new nature with its desire for God do they attain the kind of spiritual progress Paul had in mind.


There is always a danger of Christians thinking they have no further need to progress in becoming more like Christ; but this side of eternity, no believer has even come close to what God desires for him spiritually.  A strong church, like the one in Thessalonica, might have been tempted to settle for the spiritual status quo because thanks to Paul’s solid instruction when he was with them, the saints were living exemplary lives and he had commended them for that (1 Thess. 1:2–4, 7; 2:13–14). As a result, they might have thought their condition was ideal and in no need of improvement. But Paul knew they could do better and encouraged them accordingly.

He was not satisfied even with his own progress:

  • Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:12–14)


I want to encourage you, Desert Streams Church: Keep pressing onward and upward to know Christ.  Spend time in prayer and study of His Word.  Meditate on the things of God.  Put aside time just to be with Him.
Make spending time in with the family of God a priority.

1 Thessalonians 3

Scripture:  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13  and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

Observation-What does it say?  Thessalonica is in the northern part of Greece.  It was a port city on the Aegean Sea, and was part of the trade route that went to present day Istanbul.  The church was founded by Paul, who spent a few weeks there after leaving Phillipi.  After he left, the Thessalonians were facing persecution from the local Jews.  The Jews were upset at the rate the church was growing, and that they were making converts of those interested in Judaism.

The opening three chapters of this book are very personal to Paul.  He is concerned for the church much like a mother would be of her children.  He reminds them of his time there, as some of the persecution came in the form of name calling by the Jews.  He goes on to praise them for their continued faith, and expresses relief at the testimony of their love for one another.  He then tells them of his prayers for them.  To overflow with love for one another and for those who are not in the church.

Understanding-What does it mean?  One of the hardest things that we have done as parents, so far, is sending our children off to school.  During the first days and weeks of kindergarten, our nerves were about as heightened as they could be.  We worried about if they were ready, if they were going to survive without us, and about how they would behave.  It is like the first real evaluation of your parenting skills.  We were fortunate enough to have the same kindergarten teacher for our first two boys.  There is no way to express how proud I felt when we sat down for parent teacher conference the second time through.  She looked at Jen and I and said, “You are raising some good kids.”  My heart just about jumped out of my chest.  And that really is my hope, to raise boys who are well behaved, loving, and willing to serve others.  

Paul is similar in his relationship to the churches he planted.  He wanted them to continue in their faith more than anything else.  He wanted them to have a love that was abundant and overflowing.  Most of all, he wanted them to know the real saving grace of Jesus’s death on the cross.  He also wanted the same message to spread from them, not just stay in the little circle of people who had heard the message while he was there.

Paul had the same message for other churches as well.  In Galatians 6:8-10 he wrote, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Our behavior is sometimes overlooked in the process of sharing our testimony with the world.

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to be slow to anger, as this is most likely to be one of the ways I turn people away from you.  Help me to be better at listening, so I can more fully understand the struggles that others are going through.  Let me also be sparing in the words that I offer to others, so I won’t offer anything that is contrary to your word.   

-Tyler Galloway

1 Chronicles_5


1 Chronicles 5:18   …who were trained for battle. 19 They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20 They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him. 

22 and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s.


“The two tribes and a half who occupied the province east of the Jordan were naturally regarded with hostility or jealousy by their Arab neighbours. Conflicts arose, having reference especially to the possession of the rich pasture-lands.” – Commentary

And so… the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish,and Nodab.


The enemy can’t stand to see that we get to live in “rich pasture-lands” feeding on every word that comes from the LORD, being led by the great shepherd Jesus Christ.

We are always on the alert and ready with the full “armor of God” on so that when the enemy is scheming against us we can take our stand. 

And he does come against us. And we do get into battle with him. And when the battles seem too much we follow the example given in 1 Chronicles 5:19-22

God helped them

because they cried out to him 

He answered their prayers, 

because they trusted in him 

The enemy was defeated

because the battle was God’s


 Father! We need your help! There are battles we are fighting, we are armored up and using our weapons but still we need you! Help us with our finances, help us with our marriages, help our kids! Help us be people after your own heart! Help us with our relationships with our families! Help us! You know the needs of all of us at Desert Streams Church. We cannot be victorious without you! You are our shield and our salvation! We put all our trust in you, there is no other God! The battle is yours, we have the victory in you! In Jesus Name Amen! 

Deborah Lee