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!
 

Numbers_27

Scripture

Numbers 27:15-23

15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,[a] and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. 21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.”

22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the Lord instructed through Moses.

Observation-What does it say?

Zelophehad’s daughters had a dilemma that they took up to Moses, Eleazer the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the Tent of Meeting. Moses ended up going directly to the Lord FIRST for wisdom. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Moses went to the Lord for wisdom and then obediently followed through with God’s directions in faith.

Instead of making a decision based on his own knowledge or opinion, Moses went to the Lord.  Not only did he go to the Lord to obtain direction, but he was obedient to His response. 

Life Application

Go to the Lord for wisdom and direction. Follow through with His directives in faith. 

We get wisdom and direction through staying connected in prayer, His Word, and through Spirit filled people/leaders in the Body of Christ. In everything we do, we should seek the Lord. 

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

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” -John 10:27

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”-John 14: 15-17”

Dear Jesus, I pray for humble hearts so that we would constantly seek You for wisdom and be faithful to obey when You give us direction.  Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Galatians_1

Scripture
 
Galatians 1:10
 
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia. He is reprimanding them for falling so easily away from God. They were being fooled by people who were preaching a “counterfeit” message of the gospel. These people were twisting the words of Christ for their own selfish benefit. Paul understands his letter won’t be winning him any popularity contests with the people of Galatia, but he knows it is something that has to be addressed. It’s God’s way over his way.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Playing for an audience of One.
 
Paul knew he wasn’t going to be liked by these people who he was calling out on the carpet. I mean, who in this world likes to be thrown under the bus like that anyway?! But Paul understood the importance of his mission. His mission was to build God’s Kingdom. He knew that God put this responsibility on him. A responsibility to shepherd these people and grow these people to become more mature Christ Followers. He didn’t care whose feelings he hurt along the way, as long as the message of Christ was being upheld with integrity and honor, and Christ’s people were being brought up in that same manner. The truth had to be told! And let’s face it, sometimes the truth hurts!
 
Being a Christ Follower isn’t about being popular with others. As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us that the world will hate us because we follow Him.
 
“And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭NLT
 
Being a Christ Follower is about living a life that is pleasing to God and no one else! Making the right choice in life can be a difficult decision to make. It may cause us friction amongst our family and friends. But at the end of the day, God is going to hold us each accountable for our life’s choices. It is Him alone that I need to be concerned with pleasing.
 
“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”-Proverbs 3:6 TLB
 
Life Application
 
Called to a higher standard of living.
 
With being a Christ Follower, a leader at home, work, and church, I am called to live my lifestyle a certain way. God demands my excellency in each aspect of them. People are watching. They’re seeing how I react and behave in certain situations. I am called to a higher standard because of who I am in Christ and what he has entrusted me with. I must set a Godly example the way Jesus did for his disciples. How did Jesus do it? By staying connected with God, His people, and showing love to others along the way. No matter how much people hated Jesus for doing it, Jesus followed God’s will ’til the very end, which is something I should be striving for each day.
 
God, give me the strength to follow You no matter how difficult a choice it may be. May You give me the courage and the boldness to stand firm and strong in my faith. May the love I have for You come first and foremost in every decision I make, and may I have no hesitations because of the repercussions it may result in. I love You Lord. May my actions prove it. In Jesus name, Amen.  
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_142

Scripture

Psalm 142:1-2

I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.
Observation – What does it say?

David was on the run, now hiding in a cave. The man he had devoted himself to honor and serve, King Saul, was after him. In his fear, discouragement and exhaustion, he cries out to God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Go to God with your complaint.

David could have complained to others and spread negative reports about Saul, but even when Saul was clearly in the wrong David chose to honor him. David learned the importance of honoring those he served with and served under. He wasn’t willing to gossip or slander or try to get people on his side against Saul. Rather, he complained to God and asked God for help.

James 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

James 4:11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.

Proverbs 11:9 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors…

Right after penning this Psalm, David had opportunity to kill Saul yet he refused to lift his hand against the king. He dealt with his negative emotions alone with God, so he could respond graciously and humbly toward Saul. He set a great example for us to deal with negative emotions alone with God. Then, instead of fighting against each other, fighting for unity, “making every effort” to preserve it.

Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Life Application

Guard our unity by guarding my tongue.

God has been doing great things among us, and a key strategy of the enemy is to stop that by bringing division from within (think about Satan entering Judas, causing him to betray Jesus as one of the 12). A house divided cannot stand. I feel such strong conviction that we fight to honor with our words and not tear down. And, if we have issue with someone, go first to God with it and then to that person in grace and humility, following the biblical model for conflict resolution found in Matthew 18:15-17.
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_141

Scripture

Psalm 141:5

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

Observation

A psalm of David – starting out with a request that God come quickly when he calls, that his prayers would be received as a fragrant offering, requesting God to help him – protect his heart and his mouth, the way he speaks.  Then an open invitation for accountability. 

Understanding

Wow, what if we all approached life with that open invitation of accountability?

Much of the dissension in church comes out of accountability…perhaps not always done right, but rarely received well. But that’s kind of what this whole “doing life together” is all about.  So what do we really want?  Do we want a “family” that will allow us to be comfortable, complacent in our faith?  Or do we want people that will push us and stretch us, inviting us to the greatness God has called us to? 

It’s like going to the gym but not actually wanting to get any more fit…or getting angry at the personal trainer we hired for pushing us to eat better or work harder.  Seems silly in that context, doesn’t it?   So, why is it we experience such resentment when we are stretched in our faith?  Will we choose to be comfortable or surround ourselves with those who won’t allow us to settle for less that God’s greatest plan for our lives?

Life Application

God, thank you for the reminder that you’ve called me not to comfort, but to greatness.  May I seek and welcome accountability.  May I choose to be stretched and pushed, molded into your will.  May I pursue life on the edge of faith over going through the motions…and may it be to your honor and your glory, impacting those I interact with today and everyday. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Luke_22

Scripture

Luke 22:47-48  

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Observation-What does it say?

There is a lot going on in this chapter.  Jesus is entering Jerusalem during the passover, knowing he is going to be betrayed and handed over to be crucified.  He eats a last meal with his closest friends.  He predicts Peter’s denial of Him and ends a debate about who is the greatest amongst the disciples.  He also confronts His friend who is betraying Him.  During this, Jesus never turned away from the task at hand.  He was focused on completing the assignment God had given Him.  To die for the sins of the world.

Understanding-What does it mean?

My favorite moments in the bible are the ones where we get to see that Jesus is both fully human, with the same emotions that you and I feel, and fully God, able to carry out a plan that had been set forth since before time.  When He questions Judas, “are you betraying me?,”  you can feel the pain in His voice.  Judas was someone he spent a lot of time with, shaping and molding into a person who could change the lives of a multitude.  Instead, Judas traded the promise of eternity for a few pieces of silver.

I have all too often been in the shoes of Judas, betraying my Jesus for a cheap imitation.  Advice of someone who is not chasing after a connection with my Creator.  The allure of riches to be had.  A fleeting hope of notoriety through my hard work.  All the while, Jesus is calling out to me to be with him.

One of the ways that I can turn from striving for an empty promise, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is through service.  Paul gives us an example of what this looks like in Philippians 2:3-8.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Life Application

Jesus help me to always strive to live like you.  Help me to place the needs of others ahead of my own.  Give me eyes to see those around me with your eyes, as children that you have created for communion with you.  And forgive me for trading your riches for a cheap imitation. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99ZfAHfE98  

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

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm_139

Scripture

Psalm 139:1-6; 13-14; 23-24 NIV

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain……For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well……Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Observation-What does it say?

In this Psalm, David is declaring the following truths about God and himself. God knows all things. He’s omniscient. (Verses 1-6) God is present everywhere. (7-16) David states his hatred to sin, and desire to be led on the right path. (17-24). (Matthew Henry commentary on Christianity.com)

Understanding-What does it mean?

God knows us better than anyone! 

Nothing is hidden from His sight, especially when it comes to us, His children. He formed us. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, and every intricate detail of our lives that not even our parents or spouses know because He was literally there. He was present through all of it! 

Life Application

Be completely honest when praying to God and don’t hide from Him.

I think it’s funny when we try to hide stuff from the Lord. He already knows our inmost thoughts, mind, heart and struggles. He’s omniscient, which means He knows ALL things. We are much like Adam and Eve, who felt so ashamed of their sin and nakedness that they hid from Him. When we run from God, that’s when trouble happens. We must run TO Him through all of it. Nothing phases Him and His light is so bright that not even the darkness can dim it. (See verses 11 and 12).

The most righteous people I know are not righteous because they are perfect. They are able to live righteous lives because they recognize their need for a Savior and the Holy Spirit’s guidance every single day. We all know King David’s story. It wasn’t perfect, much like many of ours, yet He was called a man after God’s own heart because He was desperate and thirsty for God. His Psalms prove that. He took every struggle to the Lord in prayer, did not hide from Him and was utterly desperate and in need of more of Him and His grace every day. It’s a righteousness that flowed through Christ alone. Let’s follow David’s example and be desperate and thirsty for God and pursue holiness/righteousness through daily unhindered prayers, reading His Word, protecting our weekly Sabbath day with Him, and connecting with our church family.

Dear Lord, I pray Psalm 139:23-24 over us all today, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_138

Scripture
 
Psalm‬ ‭138:8‬ ‭NLT
 
“The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
‬‬
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm David gives God all his praise. Through all of David’s ups and downs in life, God remained faithful to him. Even through the rough patches in his life, God was there to see him through. And at the end of the day, the world will see just how faithful God is towards His people and God will be glorified and honored because of it.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
When things don’t go as planned…trust God.
 
God didn’t remove all of David’s troubles, even though David cried out to God for help. I’m sure this wasn’t part of David’s plan.
 
I’m sure when Jesus’ disciples decided to follow Him, they didn’t think they would be ridiculed, mocked, and die martyrs’ deaths. They probably thought they would be living a famous lifestyle, going from town to town, healing and saving people, being known as the “rock-star” group, “Jesus and His Disciples.”
 
And I’m sure when Paul decided to accept the calling of sharing the gospel with others, he probably imagined it in front of thousands and thousands, maybe even selling out the Roman Colosseum. I’m sure preaching in prisons was definitely not part of his plan either.
 
The bottom line is that we all have plans for ourselves, but God has the ultimate say. He is in control over every situation and will use each situation to reveal all His glory and power. We must remember that God is good. That even though it may seem He has forsaken us, His Word tells us otherwise. He is always with us. The troubles we may face is being used to strengthen us and build us.  God gives us the strength, boldness, and courage we need to get through any situation in life. No matter what I have planned, God’s plan is greater, and He will see me through upon its completion!
 
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”-Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT
 
Life Application
 
Follow God with a child-like faith.
 
We must trust God no matter what! Easier said than done. I know! We may think we know better. But it has me thinking about my own kids. They are at the age where I butt heads with them sometimes. Why?! Because they think they know better than what I’m telling them. They want to try it on their own. As their father, I see the flaws in their ideas and plans. I want to lead them in a direction that would help grow them, mature them as a person, and protect them. I want to prepare them for life’s challenges, even if it may be a more difficult road for them. I can’t always bail them out and provide them a life with little or no resistance. What kind of father would I be if I did that?! How would that prepare them in their life ahead?!
 
That’s why I know that as a child of God, I should listen to my Father in Heaven. God knows what is best for me. Even though He may put me in difficult situations or situations I’m not comfortable in, I know He is there with me, seeing me through. I know I will grow as a person, and deepen my relationship with Him because of it. And I will give Him all the glory and honor (like David did) because of it!  
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Numbers_20

Scripture

Numbers 20:28

Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain.

Observation – What does it say?

Because Moses and Aaron both rebelled against God at Meribah, God didn’t allow them to enter into the Promised Land. As Aaron passed away, Moses put his garments on Aaron’s son as a symbol of him taking his father’s role as priest.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Always raise up next.

Ephesians 3:11-12 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

Regardless of our role in the body of Christ, our goal is the same: to equip others to serve. It all comes down to discipleship. Who are you training to do what you do? Who are you raising up? Who are you investing in? Aaron had invested in his son and trained him to to all that he did. So when Aaron passed away, the priesthood didn’t collapse because he had raised up a capable leader in Eleazar.

When we hear that God has great plans and purposes for our lives and that we’re destined for greatness, it can be easy to imagine ourselves in the spotlight. But rather than aiming to be the hero, we should be aiming to be hero makers. Jesus invested in 12 guys, taught them, was patient with their immaturities, washed their feet, and empowered them to do the very works he was doing.
 
This is one thing I love about Pastor Gary. He is incredibly gifted as a worship leader and preacher. And yet he is continually raising up others and giving them the platform to lead worship and preach. Why? He has recognized that his success is not in being the star up front, but in equipping others to be the stars. He is into multiplying himself in others, and for that I am so grateful.

Life Application

Ask God, “Please show me one or two people that I can teach to do what I’m doing?” “Whether it’s teaching them to how to SOUL Journal or how to serve as an usher or how to play my instrument, etc., help me identify people you want me to invest in.”

– Levi Thompson



Luke_18

Scripture

Luke 18:16-17

16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

 

Observation

Luke 18 continues with Jesus telling parables to his disciples – the Parable of the Persistent Widow where He speaks to God’s deliverance of justice (v 1-6), the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector where He speaks to the importance of humility (v 9-14).  As he’s sharing theses parables, “people were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them” and the disciples “rebuked them” (v15), bringing us to Jesus’ response above. 

 

Understanding

As a mom of 2 – now age 9 and 11 – I’m STILL amazed regularly as I see the world through their eyes.  It’s a different, fresh, innocent, fun perspective. 

 

I LOVED the sermon and ending song yesterday! [For anyone who may have missed it, check out the recorded live stream on Facebook! J] Levi did an amazing job of delivering the message God gave him – that we are already “loaded” with an identity given by Christ, not to be earned or strived for but, rather, just embraced, enjoyed and shared for God’s glory.  It was an impactful reminder to me; but what I’m sitting here thinking about tonight as I read this scripture is my 9-year-old son, telling me about his favorite “church song” and proclaiming the words of “Anthem” – I am royalty!  I have destiny!  I have been set free!  I’m gonna shake history!  That’s who he is.  That’s who I am.  That’s who you are.

 

We’ve been called to a life of power – one that knows no boundaries because with God, ALL things are possible.  There is no age, illness, circumstance that God cannot use to touch lives…if we will just bravely and boldly embrace that which we are called to. 

 

Life Application

May we walk with childlike faith today.

 

God, I’m grateful that you see the masterpiece in the broken, the warrior in the worrier, the gift in chaotic circumstances.  Help me to see people and situations the way you do.  May I approach you and your call for my life with childlike faith – believing with 100% confidence that I am who you’ve called me to be, that I can do what you’ve called me to do.

 

God, you are so good and I continue to find myself caught, surprised to be loved by you.  But, like those children, may I continue to seek you, find you and open myself to be used by you. 

 

Love you.  Your child,

Rei

 

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



Luke_17

Scripture
Luke 17:14-15  
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.  One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 
 
Observation – What does it say?  
In this chapter Jesus discusses the way we forgive, our faith and His return.  Jesus challenges the disciples in their forgiveness by telling them that they only need to have a small amount of faith to continue in forgiveness and living out what the bible has called them to.

Before talking about the unknown time of His return, ten lepers show up on scene and cry out for healing.  Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest, so that they may be declared fit to return to society. They were healed while they were still in route from where they encountered Jesus to meeting the priest.  Only one of the ten, a samaritan, returned to thank Jesus for being miraculously healed.

Understanding – What does it mean? 
The other day I was having a conversation with a co-worker about autonomous cars.  He was saying that he couldn’t wait for the day that all cars drive themselves.  Not only that, I don’t like the idea of the government taking away my freedom to drive.  I argued that the human mind could do everything a computer in a car could do better.  His response was, “Yeah, but I just don’t trust anyone to drive the right way.”

In his response, I realized how evident the human condition is to everyone.  My co-worker, someone who is not a believer, showed the understanding that humans are inherently sinful.  That without some outside source, like a self driving car or the Holy Spirit, humans are more likely to choose to act in a way that is contrary to how God has called us to.  And in this we can see the true beauty of God’s love for us.  God loves us in a way that he is continually pursuing us, calling us to him, and yet he gives us the freedom to come to him on our free will.

Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  He lavishes on us love not only when we are in a relationship with Him, but also while we are running away from him.  Jesus died for His disciples and for the people who spit in his face while he was carrying the cross.  We have the freedom to accept the free gift of his love and return to him like the samaritan leper.

Life Application  
Jesus, I cannot even begin to comprehend the depth and breadth of your love.  Even though I can’t grasp the greatness of your love, I want to make my life centered around running to you like the leper who praised you in a loud voice.  Help me in my times of unbelief to return to you.  
 
– Tyler Galloway