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!
 

Matthew__6

Scripture  Matthew 6:25-27   “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

Observation-What does it say?  The book of Matthew sheds just a brief light on Jesus’ birth.  It then takes a rather quick jump into the ministry of Jesus.  After being tempted and fasting in the desert for forty days, Jesus gets right into the mix of his ministry.  Chapter six is right in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount.  This is one of the first times we see Jesus talking about our motives for our actions, warning us not to desire the adoration of men.  He tells us to tithe and give to the poor in secret, act as if you are not fasting when you are, and don’t pray in a way as though you were putting on a show.  Jesus then tells us how we ought to pray.  Interestingly enough, he tells us how to pray before telling us how to get rid of anxiety.  There must be a direct correlation here.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I learned to hustle pretty early in life and have always been proud of the way that I have been able to “take care of myself.”  My parents didn’t always have extra money for some of the superfluous things I wanted.  So I started looking for ways to make money for myself.  I roamed the neighborhood looking for cans to recycle, asked my neighbors to mow their lawns or walk their dogs.  One of my dog walking jobs went absolutely haywire once.  I was approximately nine years old, maybe 55 pounds soaking wet, and took my neighbors Labrador, of equal weight and much greater strength, for a jaunt down the street.  All of the sudden, the lab took off chasing another dog on the opposite side of a wrought iron fence.  For about two minutes, I was in tow, being dragged through the shrubs, back and forth as these two dogs battled it out to see who could bark the loudest.  When I walked through the door with twigs in my hair and green stains all over my clothes, my mom asked what happened, to which I replied, “You don’t even want to know.”

More than once in my life, I have found myself in the hospital for longer than anyone really wants to be in the hospital.  A few of those times were as a result of my own doing, and some as a result of things outside of my control.  You get a lot of time to think when you are in the hospital.  Every time I found myself getting worried that I would no longer be able to take care of myself, that I was right on the verge of my whole life coming down around me, because of my inability to get better miraculously.  But through these times, I got a glimpse of how small my faith can be that I don’t trust the God who made the universe to take care of me and my finances.

Throughout scripture, God shows himself faithful to his people, even when they are unfaithful.  He brought Israel out of the desert, even after the stunt with the golden calf.  He used Jonah in Nineveh, even after he ran away.  Jesus reminds us in Matthew 10:29 that not even sparrows die apart from His will.  We know from Psalm 139 that we are God’s craftsmanship and He cares for us.  If God can do all these things, then he can take care of me too.

Life Application  Jesus just like the father in Mark 9 asked, help me in my unbelief.  When things get tight, help me to know there is a bigger plan.  When it seems impossible, help me to find ways to give beyond my means.  And when I feel like all the odds are stacked up against me, just let me know you are there.

-Tyler Galloway



Matthew_5

Matthew 5:14- 16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus saw the multitudes, so he decided to go over to the mountainside and give  his Sermon on the Mount which include the Beatitudes and the fulfillment of the law. He then delivered the hard stuff like loving your enemies (ouch), divorce, taking oaths, murder, and adultery.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Your good deeds are the light!

I always thought if we were sitting on a hill, shining our light bright, we could shine on people’s darkness and reveal their sin to them so they could know what they needed to fix and how Christian we are to help them, after all, they are poor sinners.Today I read the  scripture with my new Holy Spirit led eyes and I noticed it says to let your light shine before others that they may SEE your GOOD DEEDS and GLORIFY the FATHER.

Ohhh…so it’s not about us and how Christian we are about seeing other people’s sin. (I’m so embarrassed I actually used to think like this. Father, please help me not be so full of myself!)

So here are some of the good deeds he spoke about in Matthew 5. Love your enemies, don’t lust, forgive and ask forgiveness, and have integrity. He’s raised the standard higher than what’s already expected of both sinners and Christians alike.

Your good deeds are the light! That is what makes you stand out! That is what puts you, the lamp, high on a lamp stand and when the people look up…at the light… They see our Father in heaven.

Application – How can I apply this today?

This is how we show our Good Deeds, that we’re not like what is expected of every fallen human being… but when you have every right to be upset, every right to be a lustful,every right to show hatred… we instead decide to show love, we decide to show respect, decide to humble ourselves and extend forgiveness.

Father thank you that you are not a critical God that shines light only to to condemn but that you are a God that shines light to draw us to your abounding love. Help me, help us, help DSC to be a people that will chose to walk in the opposite spirit of the darkness. Thank you Jesus for teaches us how to draw people to our Father. We want to become more like you and less of ourselves. Holy Spirit empower us to be the light and shine our good deeds on people so that they may see the Father in heaven. In Jesus name, Amen.

Deborah Lee



Matthew__4

Scripture

Matthew 4: 19-20 (NIV)

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
 

Observation

 
Jesus is in a state of regrouping and evaluation after learning that John has been put in prison. He’s been fasting (for forty days!), He’s been tempted, He’s been preaching, He is tired. Despite this while on a stroll He is actively looking for men who are willing to follow Him.
 

Understanding

When Jesus does speak, our first response better be to obey, and to obey immediately.

Ironically, my last post was about resting in the waiting. However, God ultimately doesn’t stay silent forever. Most of the time when He speaks He requires an action out of us. We must be willing to respond with first-time obedience! Simon and Peter easily could’ve questioned Jesus and He would’ve moved on. The Message translation puts it like this:

Matthew 4:20 (MSG)

They didn’t ask any questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.

“Dropping their nets” was equivalent to dropping their livelihood, dropping everything they knew, dropping their only stability. They were willing to give it up for someone they didn’t even know. When God called, they were willing and eager to answer. We know God’s heart for us and people, we know that God has plans and futures for every one of our lives. Yet we hold onto reservations that are otherwise unfulfilling in the place of an action God has called us to. If we want to get out of the waiting we have to be willing to move. God is asking for first-time obedience, not sloppy seconds, or thrashed thirds; He wants us to respond the first time! Drop your nets, I promise you it’s better wherever Jesus is. Now more than ever God is looking for a people who will stand before the world and declare that they are fishers of people. Listen for the call, answer the call, and act on the call. He’s not going to ask us more than once. At times we know the answer because He’s already told us, yet He graciously reminds us hoping we’ll act.
 
Life Application

Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Now is as good as time as any to drop our nets, and take up our cross. I want to respond obediently the first time, and I pray for strength to do this. I pray for a courage to leave everything behind for eternal life in a world beyond this one. We can do this!

-Allison Khan


1 Samuel_31

SCRIPTURE

1 Samuel 31:7

“When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.”

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

The Philistines have attacked the Israelites. They just finished killing Saul’s three sons and now they are in hot pursuit of Saul. Saul would rather kill himself than be caught,  taunted, and tortured by his enemy. So that is exactly what he does. After his armor bearer refuses to do Saul’s “dirty work” for him, Saul does it himself. He falls on his own sword, killing himself. Soon after, his armor bearer follows Saul’s lead and does the same. Once the people of Israel see all these things going on, they begin to flee and abandon their towns.

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

As Christ-Followers, we are called to lead. Whether it is leading our family, friends, neighbors, or even the people we work with, we are called to be leaders. We have to lead by example.

Saul’s lack of leadership, the way he led his people by example, was the reason the people of Israel were put into this predicament. Saul’s non-existent relationship with God had an effect on his own people’s relationship with God. Saul’s willingness to just give up in life (kill himself) when times got tough, reflected poorly on the people he was leading. His armor bearer followed his lead in committing suicide, his remaining army began to flee, and the Israelites started to flee and abandon their towns when things were getting too difficult.

LIFE APPLICATION

What kind of leader am I? What kind of example am I displaying to those I am supposed to be leading?

As Christ-Followers, we are not exempt from difficult situations. As a matter of fact, we should expect some hardships. But it is how we handle ourselves during these difficult times that is important. We have to remember that we have people watching us. They want to see how we react to life’s difficult circumstances. It’s easy to give praise to God when everything is going well for us. But it is during our hardships when our faith is tested-(Read the story of Job for example). So when those times come, how will I react? What will I do? Will I flee and cower in the sight of danger? Or will I stand firm in my faith, having confidence in God’s plan and love for me.

Father God, help me to be mindful of my actions today. Help me to be obedient to Your will. Help me to live my life in such a way that causes others around me to want to follow my lead. May it bring these people into a relationship with You. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_85

Scripture

Psalm 85:12 (NIV)
The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.

Observation

This book is thought to be written after the exile and return of the Jews out of their captivity in Babylon. It speaks to what God has already done – shown favor and restored fortunes (v1), forgiven their sins (v2) and set aside wrath, turning form His fierce anger (v3). David then asks for restoration.

Understanding

Once again, this verse stood out because I feel like this is being spoken over our church right now. We appear to be in a time of restoration, a time where we are experiencing God “giv[ing] what is good” and following through on His promises…a time that we will see a harvest. But just like yesterday’s message, it requires trust and obedience on our part. Will we trust that God’s plans for us are good? Not only good, but the absolute best. Will we show that in our actions – walking in obedience towards/in what He’s called us to do. There’s been a palpable presence, an awakening, a turning to Him. And, as we seek His face, He’s turning His face towards us. May we continue to walk in boldness and seek His face (not just the blessings of His hands) and obey.

Life Application

God, I thank you that you are a good, gracious and all-powerful God. I pray for boldness within our church body – a boldness and faith like that shown by Abraham. May we seek you, trust you, follow you. In Your Name, I pray.
Rei  
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Matthew_1

Scripture  Matthew 1:1  This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Observation-What does it say?  The author of this Gospel is Matthew, the tax collector, one of the twelve disciples.  “The author, a Jewish Christian writing for a church mainly composed of Jewish Christians, concentrates his skills on presenting Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah- the Christ predicted in the Old Testament” (Zondervan Handbook to the Bible, p. 549).  Matthew connects the covenants of the Old Testament to Jesus and his teachings.  He starts by mapping out the genealogy of Jesus, mapping him all the way back to Abraham.  

Understanding-What does it mean?  One day while visiting my mom, I found that she had put up a new family picture in the spare room.  It was an old black and white, with a few of my grandmother’s uncles.  The men were standing in the woods in front of a large metal tub that had some tubing coming out of the sides.  I yelled to my mom, “Where’d you get the picture of the moonshiners?”  Shortly after, she popped in and asked what I was talking about.  She had no idea that the contraption they were standing in front of was a bootleg whiskey still.  While my mom was a little embarrassed at the prospect of being related to a bunch of outlaws and black sheep, it made me a little more proud of my “Southern” roots.  

The first chapter of Matthew and the genealogy of Jesus has become one of the most exciting sections of scripture to me.  Not only is it the introduction of the one who would ultimately fulfill the covenants laid out in the Old Testament, but it also shows what God can do through people who might have been marginalized in society.  When you look through Jesus’ family, you see a group of people who look as though they weren’t good enough to cary out God’s ultimate plan.  Jesus’ great grandma, about twenty times removed, was Rahab the harlot.  There is also Ruth, a widower, and not Jewish by birth.  Jesus was also from the line of David, who was responsible for the murder of the husband of the mother of his illegitimate child.  And this is just a few of the most amazing black sheep of the family.  

Jesus’ family is a great reminder to me to trust in the reconciling power of His grace.  Throughout scripture, God made covenants with his people with the plan of wiping out the indemnity of our sin through the redemption brought through Jesus.  In doing that, God worked through people that would normally be seen as useless and not worthy.  In Isaiah, God speaks to us, reminding us that His ways are not what we would expect, nor are they the way we would do things(55:8-9).  In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Paul writes to us about how God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise things of this world.  And in Romans 3:21-26, we are reminded that our justification is only as a result of His gift of grace.

So while we may not feel “good enough,” we are reconciled to God only through His goodness. 

Life Application  Jesus, I am nothing without your grace.  Thank you for covering me, and casting away the debt of my sin.  Help me to always abide in your grace, to know that you are the only good I need.  Remind me that my past is not what you define me by, but you define me by your goodness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ferLIsvlmI

-Tyler Galloway



1 Samuel_28

Scripture  1Samuel 28:5-7 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6 He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.7 Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”

 
Observation– What does it say?
 
The Philistines were positioning themselves to come against Israel and when Saul saw the armies he freaked out. Not just “wide eyed” freaked out but “terror filled his heart”.

Understanding– What does it mean?

Humble yourself and go straight to God!  
 
Wow! Why wouldn’t Saul just go straight to God. He was going to God through different channels, “Well, let me see if God will talk to me through dreams, ugh, that didn’t work. Ok let’s try divination or are there any prophets in the room?” And when that didn’t work his fear was so great that he had to go back to the things he had gotten rid of and probably said he would never use again. A medium! To contact the dead no less!  Why wouldn’t Saul just call out to God!! “Oh Lord God of Israel, merciful and abounding in love. Help me! I am afraid and the armies surround your chosen people Israel. Would it be possible to find favor in your eyes? I was once the anointed king of Israel, I have fallen many times so short of ever coming close to being what you have desired. Even now I am not worthy of a drop of love from you and even still I am calling out to you for help! I am sorry for being afraid and not trusting in you. I am sorry for always pushing my agenda, never fully following through with what you ask of me, I am sorry for caring more about my own life than being fully devoted to you!” It was as if his heart was so hard, a heart of stone. He just could never accept David becoming king. Now, being filled with terror he still would not let the hardness of his heart soften.  Unfortunately, I do this 🙁  I have diabetes type 2. It doesn’t look like much when you see me but it causes a lot of pain, discomfort, and if left untreated I could lose limbs, kidneys, so on and so on…oh, and I could die. For years, whenever I had a challenge in my life I would use food to comfort me, especially sweets. Well, if your a diabetic, sweets is no bueno. Eating sweets is like swallowing little pieces of glass that tear my blood vessels to pieces (that does not sound good).  Anyway, I had finally conquered sweets. I gathered all of them like Saul did to the mediums and spiritists and cast them out. They were not entering my body! I was doing good! But then… I started to have challenges. I started to feel like I needed comfort. So what did I do, I went out looking for the thing I had expelled. I sunk so low in the hardness of my heart and let pride rule over me. Instead of humbling myself before the “Lifegiver” I went to a “mediocre life stealing scum sucking counterfeit” to make me feel better.  His pride kept him separated. Even while he had fasted all day and after he learned of his fate from the medium he still gave in to eat when he should have continued his fast and humbled himself may be the Lord would have relented but he gave in to the people around him and to his own self pity and pride. 

Life Application  Humble yourself and let God work in our lives. Let him lead us to life. Let him be our comfort. Let him be the final say.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
 
As much as I want to be like David I often find myself reacting like Saul, living my life as if God was so far away from me, wallowing in my self pity, and giving into the emotions that arise in my distress.  Pride keeps me from allowing God to restore me. We may weep, we may feel the pain, and have to go through the steps of God’s work to be healed and be made whole or getting back on track with him and be aligned. But weeping lasts for a night and Joy comes in the morning. 
 
Father, please forgive me for for not being obedient to your word. Please forgive me for trying to go to other sources to receive answers that will make me feel better. Bring down the walls of pride and may my heart always turn toward you first. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Deborah Lee 



Revelation__21

Scripture
 
Revelation‬ ‭21:7-8‬ ‭
 
“All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
John receives a revelation of the new heaven and the new earth…the new Jerusalem. John’s vision is glorious! No more sorrow, no more tears. Heaven’s gates made of pearls, the roads made of pure gold, no more sun and moon because God’s presence illuminates everything! No temples, because God is our temple who we will be worshiping! It sounds amazing and I can’t wait! However, there is another side of this vision. The side where the unbelievers go. The fiery lake of burning sulfur. A place Jesus describes as a place of torment (Jesus’ story of Lazarus and the rich man). This is their second death. A place we as Christians, who are called to love our neighbors, and are to have compassion for those in need, should be praying that no one goes to.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Born once, die twice. Born twice, die once.
 
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’”
John‬ ‭3:3-7‬ ‭
‭‭
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”-John‬ ‭3:16‬
 
So how do we avoid that fiery death (the second death) spoken of in this passage? It’s really quite simple actually. Put your faith in Jesus, repent (turn away) from your sins, and get baptized! God doesn’t want anyone of us to go to Hell. He actually created Hell to imprison Satan and his demons. God actually went out of His way for us to avoid Hell so we can be able to spend eternity with Him in Heaven…and the ONLY way is Jesus! So what are we waiting for?! I’m sure we all know someone in need of this message. Someone in need of saving. Another way to put it is if we saw someone about to drown to death, wouldn’t you throw them a life saver? Or would you just watch them flapping away, sinking, dying an excruciating death?! Wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were in that situation?
 
Life Application
 
Be more purposeful with my relationships.
 
After this past Sunday’s message from R.K. aren’t you motivated to share with others the gospel? I know I am. I need to find more ways to be purposeful with the people God puts around me. Whether it’s at work or in my neighborhood, I know God desires all to come to know Him through His only Son Jesus Christ.
 
Father God, give me Your eyes to see and Your ears to hear the people in need of You. May Your Holy Spirit fill me with courage and boldness to speak life into their lives as I rub shoulders and live life with them. Ultimately it’s You Jesus who saves. So help me to do my part and just pray and obey. In Your name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Samuel_26

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 26:10
 
“Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Once again Saul and his men are hunting after David… AGAIN!!! David learns about it, goes out one night, and what does he find?… Saul and his men asleep along the hillside.-(Saul and the commander of his army, Abner, were sleeping inside a ring, formed by the rest of the slumbering  army). So once again, God had delivered David’s enemy to him, and David shows mercy instead of vengeance. You see, while Saul and his men were caught napping on the job, David and his men were close enough to strike and kill them; but they chose to spare Saul and his men, and show them grace and mercy instead. 
‭‭
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David trusts God’s hands. David trusts in God ways, God’s vengeance for His people, and God’s peace in his life.
 
David had yet another opportunity to rid this thorn in his side, who is Saul. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, by killing Saul, which many of us probably would have done, David chose to show him grace and mercy. How can he do this we might ask? I believe it’s because of his personal relationship with God, his trust in God. It is through this relationship and trust he has in God, that David was able to demonstrate submission and obedience to God’s ways. 
Imagine if David would have took the opportunity to kill Saul. What then? Maybe it would have caused dissension among the people. Some might believe what Saul was saying all this time was true, that David was out to kill Saul because he was after the throne. David on the other hand, would have disobeyed God, blood would be on his hands, and the people may have thought of him a murderer. Instead David’s choice to trust God, brought him peace of mind. He knew Saul’s blood would not be taken from his hands. He would be innocent of that. He knew by showing grace and mercy to his enemy that God’s favor would continue to bless him wherever he went and whatever he did. 
 
Life Application
 
We could all learn and use the faith and trust that David showed to God in our lives.
 
People are taking matters into their own hands, going out for vengeance because of the injustice they feel,  and bringing even more violence and bloodshed into this world. I know this breaks God’s heart. 
Doing what David did here isn’t easy. It takes faith! It takes faith in God, knowing and trusting that it is God who will bring you justice and will be your vengeance when it’s all said and done! The world needs more David’s. Whose willing to stand up and lead?
Father God, we need you now more than ever. We ask that you bring strength and obedience to your people as we take lead and take a stand against sin! Help us to trust you in your ways and your will. Give us patience to let you play things out accordingly. Help your people be beacons of light into a world that seems to be heading into darkness. May the rest of the world benefit from it, and understand just how much they need you. May the world remember the most heinous injustice done was to your only son Jesus. May the world remember why it had to be done. To free us from our sins. Thank you God. Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalms_80

Scripture

Psalm 80:17-18 (NKJV)

17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.

 

Observation

David crying out once again. Feeling as though he’s on the outs with God and seeking, crying out for restoration. He recounts that they were set apart – pulled out of Egypt. Acknowledges the “wins” provided by God (v 9-11)…but then asks why God has now turned away and asks Him to return.

Understanding

Just like last week…this verse speaks to me because I feel it’s representative of our church and, in this particular case, of PG’s heart. He’s been so open and honest with us about his own crying out and how God has restored his hope and confirmed His word, His vision that He gave to PG long ago. And, perhaps, now we are in the time where God is resting His hand upon the leaders that He’s raised up in our church. He’s reviving us, breathing life into dry bones and we are calling on His name.

Life Application

As I read today, it came heavy on my heart to be praying for the leaders within our church. We are so crazy blessed with dedicated, solid, talented leaders – prayer warriors, passionate speakers and worshipers with their ears turned to God who exemplify the Christian walk. Let’s lift them up. Cover them. Bless them. God has cast a mighty vision over His people and over THIS church…so, of course, the enemy is eager to steal, kill and destroy that plan – whether through temptations or distraction or whatever else he may attempt. We know God is all powerful, but the human flesh is week. May we lift each other and all those on the “front lines” up.

God, thank you for your covering over your children. Thank you that you love us enough to call us out, set us apart, gift us, empower us…all for Your honor and Your glory. Put Your hedge of protection around us, rest Your hand upon us and help to reorient our focus to you as many times as it takes…so that Your will be done in the areas of influence where you’ve placed us.

 

In Your Name, I pray.

Rei