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!
 

Luke 10

Scripture

Luke 10:2-3

2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus was getting ready to go into different towns and villages to minister to people. In preparation, Jesus gathered a larger group of his disciples, not just the 12, but 72 others.  And he told them that the harvest was plentiful but the workers were few. In other words, there are many who are ripe and ready to receive the good news of salvation and accept Jesus. But the problem was a shortage of laborers who would go to them and share the good news. 

Jesus tells them 2 ways they can be a part of the solution: 1. Pray for God to send laborers into the harvest field. 2. Go themselves into the harvest field.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Pray and Go!

Often when I have heard this verse quoted, it’s only verse 2. There is a need for laborers so pray for God to raise some up and send them out. What stood out to me this time reading it is that is only half of Jesus’s command to his disciples. Don’t just pray, but go yourself! 

Often times I become aware of a need and think, “God, someone should do something about this.” There is nothing wrong with asking God to raise someone up to deal with it. Jesus actually commands us to ask him. But what I’m realizing more and more is that any need or problem I become aware of, God is usually allowing me to see it because he wants me to be part of the solution! 

Life Application

Don’t just pray for the solution, allow God to use me to be the solution.

God, forgive me for praying for someone else to fix things that you’ve called me to fix. Forgive me for the times I ask for a harvest and fail to go, fail to share with the people in my life. Help us to see ourselves as part of the solution and to make ourselves available not just to pray but to go. Amen. 

– Levi Thompson



Joshua_6

Scripture
 
Joshua‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NLT
 
“Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Joshua and the Israelites are on the outskirts of Jericho. In order for them to continue on to enter the land that God has promised them, they must enter and take over the city of Jericho. In their way was a huge wall that fortified the city. No worries though. God keeps His promises. And God promises Joshua that Jericho, its king, and it’s strong warriors are theirs for the taking. All they have to do is follow God’s instructions.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
It may be unconventional at times, but God’s grace and power is alive to this day!
 
Now I’m sure when God told Joshua that the city of Jericho is theirs for the taking, he had no doubt in his mind that God would follow through on His promise. He probably just imagined it going down a different way. I’m guessing he thought God would hail down fire and brimstone
to terrorize the town, kill its people, and break down the walls so the Israelites can enter and invade it. Or maybe he thought would send His army of angels to destroy Jericho and clear a path for them. But instead God instructs Joshua to take up the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, and have the people to march around the walls for seven days. Then on that seventh day, when they hear the priests sound a long loud blast from a rams horn, all the people were to shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the city would collapse and the Israelites would be able to take hold of the town. It may seem to be a pretty unorthodox way of doing it. But I believe God does things these ways to absolutely show that these miracles are no coincidence. It happens because of God, and Him alone. How else can you explain a small army like the ones the Israelites had, being “out-manned and out-gunned”, going up against a fortified city with mighty warriors within the walls, and being able to tear down the wall and take the city over?! How else can you explain a shepherd boy beating a giant with a rock and a slingshot? How else can you explain a man who once persecuted Christians to the fullest, and later became an apostle for Jesus Christ? How else can you explain a sinful man like me, repenting from my sins to, to follow Jesus? The answer to all those questions…it’s through the grace of God.
 
Life Application
 
Trust in God’s plan no matter how strange it may sound, and see amazing things happen.
 
As strange as God’s plan to overthrow Jericho may have sounded to Joshua, his obedience to God allowed the people of Israel and Joshua to witness something amazing.
 
Father God, allow me to hear your Holy Spirit speak and direct me. I believe You want to do amazing things through me today. Give me the strength to be obedient and follow through on Your direction no matter how strange it may sound, or how uncomfortable it may leave me. Because I know in the end, if I’m obedient to Your ways, You can do amazing things. Let me and those around me be witnesses to them. May Your name get all the praise and glory because of it. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Luke_8

Scripture

Luke 8:28 NIV

“When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!””

Observation-What does it say?

This section of the chapter describes Christ’s healing of the demon possessed man and His authority over the evil spirits. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Our God is greater than any darkness or evil around us.

The darkness trembles at the presence of Jesus. If we observe the interaction between Jesus and the evil spirits within the demon possessed man, we see how fearful they were of Jesus. The impure spirits were the ones begging Jesus not to harm them and put them in the abyss. They were the ones begging Jesus not to torture them. 
Life Application

Focus on the light of Christ instead of the darkness of the enemy. As we stay close to Jesus in faith, there will be no need to fear the enemy, because that same power that was used to drive out the demons lives in us! 

It’s important to know our enemy and who we are doing spiritual battle against. However, it’s more important to KNOW the One who is for us and focus on His goodness and light. It’s more important to put our focus on the One who conquered sin and death in order to be on guard and protect ourselves from the counterfeit.

Put in a real life example, I’ve heard it stated by a couple of pastors that people who have a career of spotting counterfeit bills do not study counterfeit bills. Instead, they study every detail of the real, authentic bill so that when presented with a counterfeit one, they are able to spot it right away. 

We need not fear our enemy when we put our hope and trust in Jesus. We need not fear when we put on His armor daily and are fed by His Word daily. We need not fear when we pursue a life like that of the Good Soil through hearing the word, retaining it and persevering to produce a crop. “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 NIV

Dear Lord, we pray for protection against the evil one, but more importantly, increased faith to pursue You intimately, the God who is greater than our adversary. Help us to pursue Your truth above the counterfeit and lies. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi 



Joshua_4

Scripture

Joshua 4:24

24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Observation

This chapter gives a further account of the miraculous passage of Israel through Jordan. I. The provision that was made at that time to preserve the memorial of it, by twelve stones set up in Jordan (v. 9) and other twelve stones taken up out of Jordan (v. 1-8). II. The march of the people through Jordan’s channel, the two tribes first, then all the people, and the priests that bore the ark last (v. 10-14). III. The closing of the waters again upon their coming up with the ark (v. 15-19). IV. The erecting of the monument in Gilgal, to preserve the remembrance of this work of wonder to posterity (v. 20-24). [https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/joshua/4.html]

Understanding

The miracles of the Red Sea and crossing the Jordan are some of the most fascinating to me.  I love water!  Watching it ebb and flow at its ends, where it meets the shore.  Hearing the sound it makes.  Seeing the way it has shaped rocks and land where it once “lived.”  Seeing it course through white water trails or drizzle out of hot springs sources.  To me, it represents life, peace, power, change…which brings me back to its creator – the source of life, the provider of peace, all powerful and unchanging.

And, when I think of these miracles, that God created DRY ground where seas and rivers once stood.  That the MOMENT that which He asked be done and accomplished was complete, that the water returned.  Something about that catches me every time.

To me, it speaks to God’s power and His response to obedience. 

OBEDIENCE

God gives some crazy directions some time – carry these rocks, walk this way, blow trumpets, build this ark (different ark than this story, of course)…yet, His response and provision as a result of that obedience shows His character – a God who knows what He’s doing, who’s working in the details, who desires our hearts, One who provides…a God that we can trust.

POWER

God’s power as shown in these physical examples of holding back or drying up water is cool…but, as I was thinking through why His power is so important to the lives of His children or to those that don’t yet know Him, it’s because people have tough stuff going on and, in those times may feel hopeless, seeing no way out.  But I think when we can point to a physical, tangible example of just how powerful He is and how that’s been shown in the past, it gives perspective.  The problems become minute when brought to a God that commands the sea, who does the impossible, who bore our sins through Christ.

Life Application

Be obedient. 

Live in and in awe of His power. 

Have His heart for people. 

Share the stories of how God has moved in my life. 

God, I don’t know that I’ve relayed well what you’ve put on my heart…but thank you for grabbing hold of my heart the way you have this morning and impressing upon it the way you have today.  I don’t know what you are preparing me for in my day but I’m ready to look for moments to live out obedience, to love on people and to share your truth.  Keep my eyes open, keep my heart ready. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Joshua_3

Scripture 

Joshua 3:13 

It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.

Observation-What does it say?  

This is an exciting portion of scripture.  The Israelites have left the desert and are about to cross into the land of Canaan.  Joshua was one of the spies originally sent into the land.  He believed in the Lord and His ability to deliver the Promised Land to Israel, while ten of the spies were in fear of the giants that inhabited the land.  I can only imagine his heart as he waits at the doorstep of a place that he had been waiting for most of his life. 

Here, as they are about to decamp from Shittim and cross the Jordan, God tells Joshua to have the priests walk into the river and He will stop the flow.  The river is flooded and is expected to stay that way for some time.  Israel has experienced a similar miracle in crossing the Red Sea.  But, as the Matthew Henry commentary points out, this was done with the Egyptian army coming right behind them.  They were trusting God out of desperation.  Here God announces the crossing three days ahead of time.  He is asking them to trust in expectation.  Additionally, the author of Joshua Points out that the water wasn’t stopped until the priests stepped into the water.

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Whenever I read this portion of scripture, I think of those horrible scenes from the news, of places like Louisiana or Mississippi, when they are experiencing a heavy flood season.  A row of houses with only the top half showing, people standing on top of cars waiting for someone in an aluminum boat to rescue them, and no end in sight.  This seems to occur once every few years, and all because of too much rain.  A teacher once described seeing the Columbia River in Washington at flood stage, and realizing the true strength of it when he saw entire oak trees, with the roots still attached, floating down stream. 

In Southern California, it usually only takes a few hours for water to disappear after the rain, but the Jordan River had been like this for some time.  If I had been one of the priests in charge of carrying the Ark of the Covenant across a raging river, I would definitely be a little apprehensive.  It sounds similar to those scenes in mobster movies where they give a guy concrete shoes and throw him in the East River.  But God was just showing a portion of his strength.  It was a foreshadowing of the other miracles that would follow.  God was about to take the nation of Israel through a large string of victories, all for His glory.  

In Isaiah 43:1-2 we hear a promise that harkens back to this moment, “But now, this is what the Lord says-he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.””  God is faithful to his children, and he always comes to the rescue.  And from time to time, he asks us to step out of our comfort zone and walk into an uncomfortable situation.  It’s a lot like teaching your kids to swim, “Jump to me.  I will catch you, nothing bad is going to happen.  I’m your father, I won’t let anything bad happen.”  As the parent, we already know how much fun swimming is, but getting a child to go past the fear of the unknown is difficult.

Life Application

Jesus when you ask me to take a step of faith, help me to remember the Israelites at the banks of the Jordan.  Help me to know that you will be there to catch me when you say to jump.  Give me the discernment to know your voice over all the noise around me.  Help me to rest in the confidence of your redemption.  For I know I can trust in your promises.  

-Tyler Galloway



Luke_5

Scripture 

Luke 5:5

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Observation – What does it say?

Simon (AKA Peter), had fished all night with his crew and they hadn’t caught a thing. Lots of effort expended, time and resources spent, and nothing to show for it. You can imagine the discouragement and frustration; the longing to just go home, take a shower, collapse in bed and attempt to forget it all. But instead, Jesus delays Peter by getting into his boat and asking him to push out from shore. And Jesus, from the boat, taught the crowd that had gathered. When Jesus was finished, I imagine Peter excited to finally go home, but instead, Jesus asks something else of Peter: “Put back into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.”

Peter hears “for a catch,” and I imagine him rolling his eyes. Peter expresses his frustration, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” In other words, “There’s no fish out there, trust me! It’s a waste of time! I just want to go home!”

But after venting, Peter obeys and it led to such a massive catch that their nets began to break and it put 2 fishing boats beyond their capacity! Wow.

Understanding – What does it mean? 

Venting is ok, as long as you obey.

You can’t call Jesus “Master” and then choose to do what you prefer. Do you want to be Jesus’ servant? …Then don’t get mad when he treats you like one.
 
It’s ok to disagree with God, to be honest about how you think his plan won’t work. But if you will obey anyway, there’s no telling to the miracle you’ll see.

Consider Samuel being asked by God to pass up well built and qualified young men to anoint the runt of the family, David, to be king. Consider God commanding the priests to carry the ark of the covenant into the raging waters of the Jordan River while it was at flood stage. Consider God asking Peter to step into the home of the Gentile Cornelius. Consider our Savior Jesus being asked by his Father to go to the cross. None of those things could seem remotely logical or appealing to the one facing the command.

Scripture and history is filled with stories of people being asked by God to do something that didn’t make sense, that they didn’t want to do. But every time they obeyed, something amazing happened! God showed up and giants were killed, seas were parted, sick people were healed and countless people were saved from Hell, all because people like you and me chose to obey when it didn’t make sense or we didn’t ‘feel like it.’

Life Application

Consider, “In what situation do I need to make the transition from venting to obeying?” 
 
The outcome isn’t up to me, it’s up to you, God. My role is to obey. Please forgive me for when I camp out in the venting stage and never progress to obedience. I want to be a man after your own heart, like David, who will do everything you want me to do. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Joshua_1

Scripture
 
Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT
 
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Moses has just died, and God calls on Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River, to the land God has promised their ancestors. God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous when leading the people, and to obey all the instructions that Moses passed along to him. If he is able to do that, he will be able to succeed in whatever he does. For the Lord God is with him wherever he goes.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
What’s there to fear if God has your back?
‬‬
Be strong and courageous. Words spoken multiple times not only in this chapter, but throughout the Bible. Words that I have spoken and verses I have used multiple times this month when praying over someone, or even when I was encouraging my daughter. So what’s the deal with the Bible using this phrase so many times? What is God trying to tell me? What it tells me is we have nothing to fear if we trust God, love God, and honor His ways. It tells me that as long as you’re His children, (adopted into the family of God by believing in His son Jesus Christ), we have nothing to fear because He is with us. It tells me since this phrase is used throughout His Word, it stands firm and true, and to know that God doesn’t break His promises.
 
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31‬b
 
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭
‬‬
Life Application
 
The safest place to be is wherever God calls you to be.
 
I would always admire people who serve in ministry overseas in dangerous parts of the world. Or those who chose to serve in prisons amongst the “evildoers”. I mean aren’t they scared? But if there is one thing this passage should remind me is if God calls me someplace, and I follow His calling, it’s the safest place I can be. God will provide me with my every need to fulfill His mission. Sure it may take me out of my comfort zone, but I know it will stretch me and grow me in my faith, as I heavily rely on Him for my every need. So what am I waiting for? There’s a neighbor He’s asking me to talk to, or a family member I need to share with. Time to be strong and courageous, and confident knowing that God is with me every step of the way.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_6

Scripture

Psalm 6:3-6 NIV

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”

Observation-What does it say?

David cries out to God for deliverance from his enemies. In the beginning, he even pleads to the Lord for mercy, for if he is being rebuked because God is angry with him or disciplining him for wrongdoing, He tells the Lord that it is more than he can handle.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The only way to persevere through difficult trials is to draw near to the Lord in the midst of pain. 

I love how raw and honest King David is in his Psalms. I think he is one of my favorite Bible characters, not just because he is a musician, but because of how transparent he is with the Lord. David was at the point of weeping so much that it was wearing him out. Even in the depths of his anguish, David doesn’t turn away from the Lord. He does the complete opposite. He draws near to Him and is completely honest about his pain and struggles.

Life Application 

Draw near to the Lord and the church family when trials hit. 

It’s interesting how the tendency we have as human beings is to retreat, not fight, when the storms of life hit. Sometimes we blame God, stop praying, and blame His bride, the people of the church. That’s what the devil wants. However, we are called to persevere through the trials and not give up. We are called to press in even more towards the Lord and relationship with Him; even more towards serving others and even more in fellowship with the Body of Christ.

When I went through one of the darkest times of my life about 16 years ago, I admit that I drew myself further away from the Lord and the church, instead of crying out to the Lord in my distress. I was upset with some church discipline/protection that occurred in my life because I didn’t understand it and it caused me to forget the true nature and character of God’s goodness. Not only did I stop going to church, but I stopped talking to and praying to Jesus. This did not make me feel better by any means! It actually made me spiral even deeper in depression as I cut myself off from not only Spirit filled relationships around me, but the MOST important Relationship in my life. My mom noticed it and called me out on it and I’ll never forget all the people who continued praying for me at that time to get me back to the place of faith I am today. I’m living proof that prayer works!

Anyhow, we must be completely transparent with the Lord when communicating (praying) to Him. He can handle it all..the good, bad and the ugly. The worse thing to do when struggling in life is to retreat from Him and His bride. Believe me. Been there, done that and thankful to have learned from it in order to change and continue in what God has called me to do.

Dear Lord, thank You that You hear us when we pray. Thank You for seeing us through trials in life and delivering us from them. Thank You that I could look back at my own life and see how Your hand was continually at work in me and how You never let me go. Thank You for seeing me through the past and continuing to take me through the present and future. I pray for others who may be going through hardships right now. I pray that they would not forget that You are with them and that they could come to You through it all. May we seek You with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength for You will never turn us away. May we be strengthened each day as we are reminded of Your love and goodness towards us. Amen.  

-Michelle Gaddi 



Psalm_5

Scripture

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

 

Observation

Psalm is the documentation of David – crying out, praising, pouring out His heart to God.  “It is a reflection of how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering, but to allow himself to be able to serve God without distraction.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalm_5

 

Understanding

Lately, the word “expectantly” has been reoccurring and heavy (in a good way) on my heart.  In preparation of our India trip, I am EXPECTANT.  But I’m finding myself expectant more and more often…and this verse brings light to the fact that we should be expectant EVERYDAY. 

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down and the mountains trembled before you.  – Isaiah 64:3   

God can and WILL do amazing things, whether we live in expectancy or not…but, to live in faith, means to live in expectation – knowing and believing God will provide, He will move boldly…this is when mountains move!

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20

 

Life Application

Be bold in faith! 

God, thank you for your ready examples of your faithfulness.  May we be eager and bold to call on you, to share you with friends, family and strangers alike.  Show me how to love on people today in a way that points them to you. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Luke_1

Scripture

Luke 1:68-69 

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”

Observation-What does it say?  

The gospel of Luke was written by a doctor, who was a friend of Paul.  He writes the most complete story of Jesus’ life, and it is written with very precise details.  Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke was most likely not a Jew, but is a well educated man and familiar with both Jewish and Greek culture.  The gospels are all generally written within the first century AD, almost four hundred years after the last book of the old testament.  Luke opens his book with the announcement of John the Baptist’s conception.  John is the cousin of Jesus, and the son of a Jewish priest, Zechariah.

Understanding-What does it mean?  

Since having kids, the type of movies that I get to watch have changed a little.  As to where I used to get to enjoy action and adventure, with great battle scenes with mild violence (sometimes heavy violence), I now try to make sure whatever I am watching will not send my boys into nightmares in the middle of the night.  And so, The Lord of the Rings has been replaced with The Lego Movie, or Surf’s Up.  

Surf’s Up is the tale of a group of surfing penguins who travel to Pengu Island for the Big Z memorial surf competition.  Big Z was the best penguin surfer, until he was overshadowed by a younger, more progressive penguin.  So instead of facing defeat, he fanes his death and goes into hiding, deep in the jungle.  One day he is discovered by an up and coming surfer, who is longing for a role model, but Big Z is unwilling to come out of hiding.   In the climax of the movie, Big Z reveals himself to the crowd at the competition to a sea of penguins in awe and shock that their hero is still alive.

Zechariah, the priest, was most likely well versed in the prophets and the future coming of a messiah.  But, God had been effectively silent to the Jews for almost five centuries.  Both he and Mary have similar reactions to being visited by God’s messenger, shock and awe.  I can imagine them saying, “I thought you were dead.”  They were dealing with the reality that all they believed in, the story of redemption and the coming messiah, was coming to fruition right in front of them, and they were involved in a big way.  Zechariah rightly praises God for his timely arrival.  

God, like Gandalf, is never late, nor is he early, He arrives precisely when he intends.  This is true not only in the grand story salvation, but also in our individual story lines.  The prophet Isaiah tells us that, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  And Peter instructs us, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Keep hope, even in the times where God seems to be silent, for His salvation and the comfort of His hand will arrive on time.  You may even be surprised by it. 

Life Application  

As we approach the holiday season, I don’t want to forget all that God has fulfilled.  May His praise be on my lips at all times.  For I know that He is worthy of praise, and when I praise Him, he brings His peace upon me.  For I am redeemed and my sins are forgotten, and this is the most important thing that I can share with those around me.

-Tyler Galloway