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!
 

Proverbs_14

Scripture

Proverbs 14:23

All hard work brings a profit,

    but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Observation – What does it say?

The son of King David, King Solomon, continues to share the wisdom God has given him. And he points to the results of both hard work and mere talk. One will always bring profit and the other poverty.

Understanding – What does it mean?

In 6th grade I got in one of the only physical fights I’ve ever been in. I was making fun of a kid on the bus who was in 8th grade. We got off the bus and a crowd gathered around expecting a fight. It wasn’t my intention to get into a fight. I was small for a 6th grader and he was big for an 8th grader. In front of everyone he said, “If you’re gonna talk like that, why don’t you back it up? Throw the first punch.”

Without going into the details, it didn’t end well for me that day. I walked home with a bloody nose and trying to pull my cheeks out of my braces. I was good at talking a big talk, but not so much at backing it up.

Talk without action is worthless.

I believe God is challenging us, through Solomon, “If you’re gonna talk like that, why don’t you back it up?”

It’s easy to make a plan. It’s easy to talk about all the things you’re about and that you plan to do. It’s easy to dream. But if standing alone, those things will lead only to poverty.

We talk day after day about “multiplying Christ-followers everywhere,” but how many of us are actually putting in ‘hard work’ to do it? We talk about the importance of spending time with God and devoting ourselves to prayer (like we read the other day in Colossians 4), but are we actually doing those things? 

Life Application
Work hard.
It’s been a while since I’ve set some personal growth goals, so I feel challenged to set some new ones and get some accountability. I’ve found that setting the right goals is critical. If you’re interested in setting some personal growth goals, I’ve attached a document that can help you with this.
For me, accountability looks like telling someone my goals and committing to send them a weekly update sharing specifically how I did with each goal. When I know I’m going to have to give specifics on how I did, I’m more likely to actually follow through. 
 
– Levi Thompson
 


Proverbs_13

Scripture
 
‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:20‬ ‭NLT
 
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
King Solomon is considered to be one of the wisest people in the Bible. He was said to be the wisest of all the kings. His wisdom was given to him by God. He uses the book of Proverbs to pass along this wisdom he was blessed with to future generations and to anyone who is willing to listen and take heed to it. Here is another one of Solomon’s wise truths.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.
 
It’s a saying we have all heard before. I think it derived from this verse too. King Solomon knew the troubles that would arise if you hung out with the wrong people. He also knew the benefits that associating with the right people can bring.
 
I can tell you from experience that this saying holds true. When I was younger, I hung out with knuckleheads. Needless to say, I was a knucklehead. I found myself doing things that I really shouldn’t have been doing. I was pretty much a sheep, following the lead of even dumber sheep. It was a life that probably would have had me ending up in trouble with the law, working dead-end jobs barely making ends meet, or even dead! I am glad that God got a hold of me before it was too late! It’s because of God, I was able to get my life together. He surrounded me with the right people, wise people; people in my life who would stick with me no matter what. He put people in my life who would challenge me to be a better person, a better Christ Follower. And let me tell you, because of these people God surrounded me with, (people I hang out with and call my friends), I am who I am today.
 
In order to be that person God wants you to be, you gotta have that great supporting cast around you. What kind of people are you choosing to surround yourself with?
 
Life Application
 
Be part of God’s family. Join a GROW Group, and let’s do life together!
 
You can only get so much on those Sunday mornings at church. Why not get plugged in, be part of our family here at DSC, and join a GROW Group. It’s there that you can get to know your brothers and sisters in Christ on a more intimate level. You can share what you are learning from your Bible readings/Sunday message, encourage one another, pray for one another, and (my personal favorite) break bread together. It’s a great way to surround yourself with people who want the same thing as you…to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
 
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”-‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17
 
-Moses Gaddi
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Deuteronomy_9

Scripture

Deuteronomy‬ ‭9: 25-27, 29‬ ‭NIV‬‬-

I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you. I prayed to the LORD and said, “Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your people, your own inheritance that you redeemed by your great power and brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overlook the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin…..But they are your people, your inheritance that you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.”

Observation-What does it say?

Moses told the Israelites that they were about to possess land from the Anakites, a nation greater and stronger than they were, but their possession of the land had nothing to do with their righteousness or integrity. He reminded them of how the Lord was angry with them for worshipping idols and not putting Him first. He also called them out for being a “stiff necked people.” Moses made them aware of how he had to intercede to the Lord on their behalf to save them because God wanted to destroy them all for their sin.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The prayers of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16).

Moses was a very humble man as evident through His relationship with the Lord and his conversations with Him. The Word even says that He was the most humble man on the earth at that time (Numbers 12:3). The Lord wanted to destroy the rebellious Israelites, but Moses fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights on their behalf. He interceded for them by reminding God that they were His people and to overlook their sin and wickedness. God relented from his anger and desire to destroy them (which was completely justified and what they deserved from a holy God), but because of His humble and righteous servant’s plea for them, God didn’t give them what they deserved, but rather the opposite.

Here’s another example of Moses’ humility and love for people. It was in the story of his siblings Aaron and Miriam in Numbers 12. God had consequences for Miriam because she and Aaron were talking badly about Moses’ choice of wife and God was having none of it. He was very protective over his humble servant. Moses pleaded with the Lord to heal Miriam’s skin disease, which was a consequence of her sin, but God said no. The fact that Moses didn’t want Miriam to suffer for the wrong done against him personally, proved how humble a man of God that he was. Sounds very similar to another story to take place about 1500 years later, give or take a hundred years. (Year of writing obtained from gotquestions.org-Book of Deuteronomy).

Life Application

Through one man or woman’s faithfulness and obedience to Jesus, a whole nation can be saved. Let’s be that person and take ownership of that responsibility!

-Let’s strive for holiness and righteousness through the Holy Spirit and give God the ultimate authority to tell us what to do.

-Let’s pray for unchurched and rebellious people to return to Jesus and leave their idolatrous ways behind.

Dear Lord, I pray these 2 verses over us today that were also part of our reading this morning on Colossians. May we devote ourselves to prayer, always being watchful and thankful (Col. 4:2) and help us to be wise in the way we act toward outsiders, making the most of every opportunity. May our conversations be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone (Col. 4:5-6). As a result, I pray that those who don’t know You seek and find You and may those who have turned away from You return to You again, their first love. In Your name we pray Jesus, Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi



Colossians 3

Scripture

Colossians 3:23

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Observation

Paul, speaking to the Christians in Colossae – where he had not yet been – is sharing the Christ-centered way of life, instructions for Christian households.

Understanding

This chapter is packed with good practical advice – basically rid yourself from sin and live with the fruits of the spirit. But what stood out to me, particularly now, was this verse.  A good reminder that regardless of what we find ourselves doing, remember who we are doing it for.  So whether its making coffee, filing, taking/making phone calls – whether it’s mundane or interesting – whether it’s something we love and are crazy passionate about or not…regardless of any of that, we are called to do it as unto the Lord. 

Life Application

Today, as I left my boys (again) for 4 days, I was feeling a little bitter about my work – which, in truth, is awesome, fun and truly a blessing…but I share this to say that we all have days where it’s easy to forget our purpose in all that we do – to known Him and make Him known, to glorify the God that created us, etc. 

Thank you, Lord, for your amazing grace and provision.  Help us, as we enter a new week of work, to honor and glorify you in the work we do.  Show me ways to share your love, to set myself apart, to honor you in each interaction on this trip.  I’m grateful for the opportunity, use me!

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Colossians_2

Scripture  

Colossians 2:11-12 

In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing this letter to the church in Colossae, which is in modern day Turkey.  They were apparently dealing with the church accepting and implementing influences and beliefs from other religions and philosophies, known as syncretism.  The church in Colossae included Jews, Greeks, and people native to the area called Phrygians.  And so they were beginning to practice traditions such as circumcision, food-laws, religious festivals and the worship of angels.  These things were deterring from the central message of dependence on Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

In my short time at bible college, I loved to learn about the church history.  We learned about the different icons of the Christian faith and their significance.  We learned about the buildings and the dates when they were built, as well as the significance of the shape of the building.  For example, the shape in which churches were built were in the shape of a cross, with the intention of encouraging one to think about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  As well as a church building having a vaulted area, which was meant to draw your eyes upward toward heaven.  And the pictures in the stained glass window were intended to help illustrate the story, for the parishioners that could not read. 

Unfortunately, I have retained very little of the real valuable information that was given to me in that time.  But the idea of the symbolism has always stuck with me.  The bible is full of uses of metaphor and symbolism that draw us to an understanding of our reality with Christ.   Communion is a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  Baptism is used as a symbol of our death to sin and rebirth in Christ.  These things are used as a reminder of our spiritual position and the future glory when we leave this world behind.

I remember my baptism.  I was in the sixth grade, and I was baptized in the same tub that sits in the front of the sanctuary now.  Many others have been baptized in it since.  My baptism was my public statement of how I intended to live, as a devoted follower of Jesus.  Have I made mistakes and sinned since then?  Absolutely, but I can always look at that as the a reference point in my life where I made the commitment to continually die to my sin.  

Paul gives us this explanation in Romans 6:  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? …Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Life Application

Jesus, there is not a day that goes by that I can comprehend the breadth of your love.  Your mercies are new everyday.  While I don’t intend to sin, I know I fall short everyday.  Help me to live with courage everyday.  To fall more deeply in love with you, and to express that love with my actions.  

-Tyler Galloway



Deuteronomy_6

Scripture 

Deuteronomy 6:11b-12

…when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Observation – What does it say?

Deuteronomy is a series of speeches that Moses gives to the people of Israel. And in this portion he is urging the Israelites to love God, which he makes clear is done by obeying God’s commands. And as they are careful to love and obey God, it will set them up for a great, long life in the Promised Land. 

Embedded in this talk of love and obedience is a very strong warning: Once in the Promised Land and enjoying all it has to offer, be careful not to forget God and what he has done for you.

Understanding – What does it mean?

If you aren’t careful, Comfort + Time = Forgetfulness.

I have been saved for 17 years. And while life hasn’t been free of struggles and challenges, it is nothing like my life before when I was dead in my sins, hopeless, angry, addicted, lonely and depressed!

As we also read in Colossians today, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”

When God encountered me, saved me, rescued me, I was filled with so much joy and love and gratitude toward God I couldn’t contain it! All I wanted to do was be with him, to please him, to worship him. Since that first day, I have found that the more emotionally in touch I am with those memories the more my heart is filled with love and gratitude toward God. 

However, after 17 years, it can be a challenge to remain in touch with what life was like before God rescued me. Without being intentional to frequently relive those experiences their memory grows stale and faded and, along with it, my love and gratitude toward God.

Life Application

Be careful not to forget all God has done for me!

The best way to do this is to retell my story. Tell others my story, recount it alone before God and give thanks, write it down to re-read later. 

God, I never want to lose sight of who I was before you saved me. I never want to get so comfortable with where I am that I forget I don’t deserve any of it. I want to live in continual awareness of what you’ve done for me, and for it to fuel the most radical love and passion for you! Remind all of us today of what you’ve done, and help us not to forget it. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Philippians_4

Scripture
 
Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT
 
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing the Philippians from prison of all places! Paul is the one who is reminding them to stand united in Christ, to be joyful in the Lord, and to constantly be praying to God about everything. If anyone should be feeling anxious and worried, or down and out, it should be Paul. But he continues to fight the good fight, and finds his purpose from Jesus.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Is life bringing you down? Then pray!
 
In this passage Paul reminds us to bring our worries and concerns to God. Then, and only then can you experience God’s peace.
 
I remember when I was a little boy and whenever something had me feeling anxious, and I began to worry, I would always take those concerns to my parents. Now they weren’t always able to fix my problems or even take me out of the troublesome situation, but they always found a way to calm me down with a gentle touch and some encouraging words. I knew that everything was going to be alright. I knew that once I shared my worries with them, I no longer had to worry about them. That they knew what I was going through, and they had my back no matter what. It made me feel like I can continue on with my day, and move on in life.
 
I believe it’s the same with God. We are His children. We can come to Him for anything. No problem is too big or too small. But we have to seek Him out in prayer. We need to receive His encouragement through reading His Word. We need to trust and believe that there is no problem that He can’t handle. We need to give it all to God. Then we will find the peace in our lives that only those who know Christ can experience.
 
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30
‬ ‭
Life Application
 
Just do your best, let God handle the rest!
 
It’s a motto I live by. It reminds me to not worry about the things in life that are out of my control. All I can do is my best over the things I do have control over. Give the rest to God, and let Him handle the rest!
 
Father God thank You for always having time for me. Thank You for always hearing my prayers. Lord, You are almighty and I give You all my problems and concerns to carry. May You give me strength today to do my very best for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Deuteronomy_4

Scripture

Deuteronomy 4:39-40 NIV

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.”

Observation-What does it say?

Moses is urging the Israelites to keep the commandments of the Lord and told them the outcome of their obedience.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Without the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives and His commandments to protect us, life would be utter chaos.

On Sunday, Pastor gave us an introduction into the life of Ruth. The back story was that Judah did not have an anointed leader, but was ruled by judges. These judges were corrupt and as a result, people started doing what was wise in their own eyes. 

Rewind to this chapter in Deuteronomy. Moses was urging the Israelites to keep the commandments of the Lord to prevent chaos and confusion that would happen in the future, which ended up happening anyway because Israel turned their back on the Lord. That’s a whole different story for another day though.

If Israel had kept the commands of the Lord and didn’t make idols for themselves, imagine the bad consequences that would have been prevented for that nation. 

Life Application

Obey His commandments and be led by His Word and the Holy Spirit. Do not rely on the flesh.

It is important to note and remind us all that we do not live enslaved to the law, but rather to Jesus Christ. The law keeps us in bondage, but Jesus gives us freedom, through His Holy Spirit, to obey His commands. (Please read what Paul says in Philippians 3 which was part of our reading today as well.)

Knowing that we are free from bondage to the law, it is also important to remember that when we accepted His invitation for salvation, we live by the Spirit who helps us follow His commands. Please see these New Testament scripture references about obeying His commands in Matthew 5, John 14 and 1 John 5. Let’s allow His Word to speak for itself. 

John 14:15-18, 21, 23-24 NIV-

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you……Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”……Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Matthew 5:16-20 NIV-

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

1 John 5:1-5 NIV-

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your Holy Spirit who enables us to follow Your commandments. Thank You that Your Word says that Your commands are not burdensome. I believe this to be true because of Your promise to never leave us or forsake us through Your Holy Spirit. We grab hold of your promise that our good deeds will cause others to glorify You in Heaven. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi 



Philippians_2

Scripture 
 
Philippians 2:3-4
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.  
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the Philippians – the people of Philippi in Greece, which is said to be the location of the first Christian community established in Europe. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As I read this I thought “what a diametrically opposed way to living to what we see today.” But, as I continued, it sounds like it was just as much in opposition back then. 
 
V 21 “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
 
So, perhaps, things have not changed much. People were selfish then as they are now. However, God’s character and call to His followers have not changed either. We are to live differently – to maintain humility, be obedient (even to death), honor others, “do everything without complaining or grumbling, so that [we] become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation’” (v 14-15). 
 
Life Application
 
May we “shine…like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (v 15-16). 
 
God, help me to look to your interests first, not my own. Help me to be an example of your character today – humble, loving, kind, patient, etc. Give me your eyes and your heart for those I meet today.  Amen.  
 
-Rei


Philippians_1

Scripture

Philippians 1:29 

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul is writing to members of the church in Philippi, a city in the northern part of Greece.  In this opening part of the letter, Paul encourages the Philippians to be unified in the cause of Christ.  In this encouragement he points out that, as members of the body of Christ, we will be united with him in suffering.  And so, we ought to act in a manner as worthy of this calling.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

I have never really been a typical sports fan.  My Sundays have never been devoted to watching grown men, wearing tights, fight over a ball.  No, my spectating has mostly been centered around the boring sports.  I prefer to watch men battle it out step for step, or pedal stroke for pedal stroke, over a long grueling course.  I have never really dreamed of being on the fifty yard line, but of being at the top of Le Alpe d’Huez.  Le Alpe d’Huez, in France, climbs over three thousand feet in approximately nine miles, and includes more than twenty one switch-back turns.  It has been made famous by names like Merckx, Hinault, and Pantani.  It is a climb that has been a part of Le Tour d’France regularly since 1952.  

Maybe it’s a little sadistic, but when I watch the people racing up this mountain I love the look, the grimace, the determination, the look of a man set not only on conquering an obstacle, but also tearing apart his competitors.  At the top of the mountain, it is the one who prepared to suffer better that is the victor.  When we look at the history books, we often don’t consider the time spent to prepare to suffer.  In the case of Le Alpe d’Huez, we see the forty minutes or less of suffering, and the glory that follows.

I can only hope for the same of my life.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  In comparison to eternity, this life is but a flicker, but it gives us an opportunity to prepare for the glory which we can have with Jesus.  I want my life to resemble the words of Paul later on in his letter to the Corinthians, “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.”

Life Application 

Jesus, I want to prepare my suffer a little bit better.  Help me to take joy in diving deeper into your word.  When I am tired or distracted, give me the grace to hear your voice.  Give me strength to overcome the things that entangle me.  Help me to discern when you are guiding me.

-Tyler Galloway