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!



Psalm‬ ‭126:1-4, 6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev….Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
Observation-What does it say?

“The Psalmist sang of a time when God set His people free from their captivity, and they were restored to Jerusalem (aka Zion).” -(Source:

Understanding-What does it mean?

We’ve been set free from captivity because of Jesus Christ!

When this passage talks about restoring fortunes in verses 1 and 4, it is not talking about material fortunes. It is talking about bringing back the captives and being set free from bondage/slavery.

There are some school of thought that correlate blessing with material wealth. However, how would we explain the beatitudes in Matthew 5? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of Jesus, for great is our reward in heaven.
A blessed situation is whatever leads us to run into the arms of our Savior, whether good or bad. Some of my most blessed situations have been the darkest times of my life, because it developed roots in my relationship with Jesus that not even the toughest storms can touch.

Life Application

Pursue TRUE blessing through Jesus Christ and share that blessing with others.

Today, my husband and I paid off the last of our debt this morning, so besides a home mortgage which we recently refinanced down to 15 years, we are debt free! Being debt free allows us to be even more generous with our giving and I’m definitely less stressed when managing our finances.

Even though it is a commendable goal to be debt free and experience financial freedom, being free from captivity to our sin is the greatest gift we have received. God wants to bring back captives from their sin, not so that He can bless us with more material possessions or fortunes. True joy does not come from worldly wealth. True joy is a result of a personal and deepened relationship with Jesus.

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

May we pursue what truly matters and share the “wealth” He has given us with others so that they would be wealthy in the Lord as well.

-Michelle Gaddi

1 Corinthians_13


1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 


Probably one of my most favorites. Paul is writing to the church of Corinth and, here, he turns to the topic of love – the need for and importance of it as well as some of the characteristics of it.


All these years I’ve read and loved 1 Corinthians, I must be honest, I’ve camped out on verses 1-7 and ended it after the first part of verse 8 – Love never fails.  I still love those verses – the understanding that THAT is what love is, that we get to experience that perfect love from our perfect Father and that His love never fails.  Gets my heart all warm and fuzzy soaking in those verses.  But, reading today, I had to dig a little as I did not understand the part that came next.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

And now, after having done some research, I might like this part even more than the first! 🙂

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains this way (bold emphasis mine)…

“(v. 9) Our best knowledge and our greatest abilities are at present like our condition, narrow and temporary. Even the knowledge they had by inspiration was but in part. How little a portion of God, and the unseen world, was heard even by apostles and inspired men! How much short do others come of them! But these gifts were fitted to the present imperfect state of the church, valuable in themselves, but not to be compared with charity, because they were to vanish with the imperfections of the church, nay, and long before, whereas charity was to last for ever.III. He takes occasion hence to show how much better it will be with the church hereafter than it can be here. A state of perfection is in view (v 10): When that which is perfect shall come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When the end is once attained, the means will of course be abolished. There will be no need of tongues, and prophecy, and inspired knowledge, in a future life, because then the church will be in a state of perfection, complete both in knowledge and holiness. God will be known then clearly, and in a manner by intuition, and as perfectly as the capacity of glorified minds will allow; not by such transient glimpses, and little portions, as here.”

You see, when God’s perfect love is complete, we will know Him and experience Him more and far deeper than we have yet or even can in our human condition.  I don’t know about you, but that excites me!

What we’ve experienced with God – even the most impactful encounters we’ve had – are just the beginning!

Life Application

The best is yet to come.  Live with ALL the love – as it is a representation of God and all His goodness and it’s one of the easiest ways we can share Him others – here and now; but look forward with anticipation to what’s to come…because we’ve only seen the smallest piece of how truly magnificent it will be. 

God, I thank you that you love us enough to reveal your nature to us…in amounts that we can withstand in our human condition.  But I look forward to seeing and experiencing you fully!  May I take every opportunity to seek you, to love you, to share your love with others today. 


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

PS Check out this song…

1 Corinthians 12

Scripture  1 Corinthians 12:12-13  Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 

Observation-What does it say?:  Because the city of Corinth is a trade hub, where people from different cultural backgrounds and far off locales converged, we see how God’s grace is truly meant for all people.  Paul points out that we are all subject to Christ and the Holy Spirit, who poured out grace and spiritual gifts on us.  Furthermore, we are dependent on the other members of our body in fulfilling God’s will in the world and in our individual lives.  Because of the nature of the city, there couldn’t have been a better place to show the impartiality of God’s love.  God loves us no matter what our background, and he gives us gifts based on his need.

Understanding-What does it mean?:  It seems to me, in retrospect, the trying times in my life have been some of the best times in my life.  They are never fun in the moment, but I always seem to learn and grow the most.  They are also the times that I have experienced the love of the church the most, and was able to see my dependence on others.  

While living in Oregon during bible college, I came down with the most painful stomach ache of my life.  I ended up in the hospital for a few days, with no sign of what the cause was.  I ended up having to have “exploratory surgery.”  When the doctor told me what was going to happen, I was in so much pain that my concern for what “exploratory” meant didn’t matter.  I wanted the pain to stop, and I didn’t care how it happened.  During the surgery, the doctor found my small intestine had wrapped around a piece of scar tissue from another surgery.  This blocked my small intestine and cut a hole in the wall of that organ.

I spent almost a month in the hospital while I recovered.  While there, I was visited by a large number of my class mates and people from church.  They prayed over me and offered love and encouragement in an overwhelming way.  I had only been in school for about two months before going into the hospital, so I barely knew any of these people.  But, God was showing me how much I needed other people.  He was showing me how much I needed to depend on Him.  In my best times, I tend to act like I don’t need others and that I can take care of myself.  But when I am struggling, I experience God’s love and provision through the kind acts of the church body.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians that Jesus is the “head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (1:22-23).  When we act in our area of gifting, we are helping to make the body work how it should.  Where I lack, others may excel, and I can only thank God for those around me.

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and how I am gifted.  I know that my gifting is meant for a certain purpose in Your will and plan.  Thank you for the diversity of the people you have called to work for you, that through all of the parts of the body You are glorified.  

-Tyler Galloway

1 Kings_12


1 Kings 12:26-27 26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”


King Rehoboam, King Solomon’s son, has become king of Israel. Jeroboam was one of King Solomon’s officials that had turned against him and went before King Rehoboam on behalf of the people.

1 Kings 12:3-4 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

King Rehoboam responded harshly and their was a split in the kingdom. But God had spoke to Jeroboam about this in the previous chapter:

1 Kings 11:37 However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38 If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.


Trust in the Lord’s promise to you!

God was going to give Jeroboam a kingdom in the same way he gave to King David! And he let fear creep in… (sigh) so sad! Instead of trusting God, the creator of all the universe, to do what he said he would do, Jeroboam decided to secure his own future, you know… “help” God.

1 Kings 12:28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

When will I trust that God will do what he said!?


Keep your eyes on HIM!

It’s so easy to let fear creep in. As soon as we have powerful encounter with God or he speaks an amazing promise to us,

here comes the storm, here comes the waves… here comes the financial difficulty, here comes the miscommunication in our relationships, here comes the sickness…

tossing us, trying to get our attention off of HIM!

Oh Father! Let us be like Mary when she heard the word of the LORD!

Luke 1:37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

She had to have total dependence on God to see her promise fulfilled.

And didn’t God orchestrate the whole thing to see it come to pass? Having them move when it was time, following His leading, to ensure all would come to pass in the “fullness of time.” His time, not ours.

Father, Thank you for your mercy and goodness, for your love that endures forever! Father help me! I need you! The storm is so strong sometimes and the wind is so loud, it seems I could lose my way so easily. Holy Spirit help me to know that it is not for me to secure myself but to keep my eyes on HIM. Father you sustain me, you guide me, you secure me! In Jesus name, Amen.

Deborah Lee

I Corinthians_10


1 Corinthians 10:3-5-

3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Observation-What does it say?

This speaks about the issue of idolatry and pride in a Believer’s life, not an unbeliever’s life to be clear. As the passage points out, some of Israel were faithful to God, but “God was not pleased with most of them” (vs. 5) because of their idolatry and sin. There were consequences as a result of their actions. Scripture points out the following in verses 8-10: 

Some committed sexual immorality-the consequence: in one day, 23,000 of them died.

Some tested Christ- the consequence: they were killed by snakes.

Some grumbled- the consequence: they were killed by the destroying angel.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Learn from the mistakes of the past. Learn from the idolatry and consequences of Israel. It’s better to do things right the first time, than suffer the consequences of unwise choices. 

Galatians 6:7-Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even our sin because He died for us WHILE we were sinners (Romans 5:8). However, there are consequences to sin and consequences for children of God are inescapable as a result of loving discipline from our Heavenly Father. 

Whenever I discipline my kids, I always remind them that I’m doing it because I love them. I tell them that if I didn’t love them, then I wouldn’t discipline them. I learned that method of parenting from my Heavenly Father. (Please see Hebrews 12:5-11)

Life Application

Let us learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of other believers and the consequences of their sin; but at the same time, don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold because of pride.

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Basically, don’t believe the lie that we are too faithful to fall. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been a Christian for less than a year or 30 years. None of us are immune to temptation; however, God is faithful and will always provide a way out as we pursue purity and develop safeguards to be above reproach. None of us have to fall prey to the enemy’s lies because we are no longer slaves to sin. We are free from sin and slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). Thank You Jesus! 

Dear Lord, idolatry and pride are deadly combinations as Your Word pointed out. Thank You for not sugar coating the Scriptures, but revealing the good, bad and ugly of the past so that we can learn from it. I pray for humility of heart to apply what we learn through Your Word, through other believers and also through the discipline You lovingly provide us throughout our lives as we are shaped more into Your image. May You get all the honor and glory as we live our lives set apart for You alone. In Your Name we pray, Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Observation-What does it say?
The Psalmist writes that true comfort, safety and protection comes only from the Lord.

Understanding-What does it mean?
Relying on human beings (and even ourselves) for what only God can provide will always leave us disappointed.

God works through people and we need people, but people are still faulty because we have limitations. We have limits on our time, resources, emotional and mental energy and strength, limits on wisdom and limits on what we can control. Perfection is found in Jesus Christ alone. Our only hope is in Christ.

Life Application
Look up.

Are you mourning and need comfort? Go to Jesus. (Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matt. 5:4)

Need wisdom? Ask the Lord. He gives freely to those who ask. James 1:5

Need encouragement? Go to the Lord through His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Need protection from the evil one? Run to Lord. 2 Thes. 3:3

It is promised that we will have trouble in this world. But He has overcome the world, so let’s keep looking up to Him! (John 16:33)

Thank You Lord that Your eye is always on us. Thank You that You are always available and know the depths of our heart. Thank You that whatever we are walking through in life, You are right beside us celebrating with us, leading us or even carrying us through it. We are nothing without You and thank You that Your love never fails or ends. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi

1 Corinthians_8:1


1 Corinthians 8:1

…We know that “We all possess knowledge.  ”But knowledge puffs up while love builds up…”


Apostle Paul is writing to the church or Corinth.  Some of the Corinthians bring to him questions about eating things that had been sacrificed to idols; but he first directs their attention to their pride about their knowledge.  We later learn that, truly, the meat or the fact that’s it’s been sacrificed is not the concern but, rather, if it could be stumbling block to new/fellow/weak Christians, best to avoid.  To cause a brother/sister to stumble is a sin against them and against Christ.


I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. – Leviticus 26:19

But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. – 2 Chronicles 26:16

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. – Psalm 10:4

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. – Psalm 73:6

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them. – Proverbs 14:3

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18

Pride brings along with it all kinds of troublesome things – violence, arrogance, destruction, disgrace, downfall; and it seems to be a natural challenge for most people.  Even those of us who say we love and trust God can sometimes be quick to take credit for (and pride in) what God is doing in our lives – as if it is by our own works.  Even so, there’s good news!  [Seems there always is with God. 🙂  A simple solution – STAY HUMBLE and course correct (or repent) when you catch yourself being prideful.

Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah. – 2 Chronicles 32:26

Repentance protects us from God’s wrath.  And humility creates space for honor for the one who deserves it – God.  God is the one who is worth of and WILL BE exalted.

The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled and human pride brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. – Isaiah 2:11

And, apparently, that was important enough to God to mention again…just 6 verses later.  Seems that might just mean something. 🙂

The arrogance of man will be brought low and human pride humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, – Isaiah 2:17

Life Application

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

God, I thank you that you welcome a repentant heart.  Forgive me for the times I’ve allowed my pride to get in the way, to hold me back from giving YOU the honor and glory that you so richly deserve.  Help me to be still, to be grateful, to turn the attention where it is due…for EVERYthing good that comes my way – no matter how big or small. May I take time today to remove any puff of pride and, instead, replace it with the building up of others with your love…in a way that turns hearts towards you. I love you and am grateful to be seen, known and loved by you; may my life reflect that today.

In your name I pray. 



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

Luke 1:11-17

SCRIPTURE 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John…16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


God has a plan and purpose for mankind and history is His story unfolding.  His plans and purposes will be accomplished and they are accomplished in partnership with people.


Why did God choose Zechariah and Elizabeth? There are some clues in the account .  Both of them were upright people who served God faithfully and who were obedient to His commands.  They lived a life of faith and worship to God. But I think there is another reason why God chose this couple, we see it in the statement the angel made right after he calmed down a very frightened Z.  He says, “God has heard your prayer!”  I wonder if God in chooses those who are praying.  Peter quoting the psalmist says…

  • 1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)  For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers…
God is looking to accomplish His plans and purposes and He looks for those who are already praying for something and then He answers it with an even greater answer.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were simply praying for a son, God answers it by giving then not just any son but the one that the prophets had spoken of hundreds of years earlier:  the man who would be the one who announced the coming of Jesus.  Jesus described John and the greatest among men. 

What if praying puts us smack in the middle of God’s radar?  God says, “I’m looking for someone who can be a part of my plan, oh there you are, I hear you praying!” God is looking for pray-ers to work through.  My encouragement is to start praying for the things that God would put on my heart and then be ready for God to use me to help accomplish His great and glorious plan.

1 Corinthians__8

Scripture  1 Corinthians 8:9   Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Observation-What does it say?  Corinth was a town of excess, where the social elite lived luxuriously.  There were temples to different gods in the city, and celebrations for the different trade organizations were often held at these many temples.  A lot of the meat sold at the markets in Corinth had been previously sacrificed in one of these temples.  So it was very difficult to separate from the paganism in the town.

Many of the Christians held that, since the “gods” were really not gods at all, the meat was acceptable to eat.  While this is true, they needed to be cautious in exercising their freedom in a way as to not make others struggle in their faith.  Thus, Paul encouraged them to abstain from eating meat sacrificed to “idols.”  

Understanding-What does it mean?  Christians don’t dance.  They don’t drink alcohol or use tobacco.  You can’t use curse words.  Christians don’t listen to secular music.  Most importantly, Christians don’t do anything fun on Sunday.  As a kid, this was my understanding of rules for proper Christian living.  It was as if this chaste living were going to make you good enough to go to heaven.  So when I got older, and I had my first beer, I was surprised that I wasn’t struck down by lightning.  Then I had a cigar or two and I had the same result, no lightning or death.  I felt as though I was lied to about the “rules.”  I did a little research and found the bible never explicitly tells us to abstain from these things.

But (there is always a but), I got involved with helping out in my church’s youth group and something strange happened.  All of the sudden, my behavior mattered.  How could I tell a teenager, who was only a few years younger than me, “You can’t go out and drink on the weekends,” and turn around and do it myself.  How could I ask them to stay away from addicting things, like cigarettes or chewing tobacco, and have a cigar.  I was trying to split hairs on what was acceptable and what wasn’t.  In my actions, I was worshiping myself.  I was placing my sovereign will above God’s.  In doing so, I could have been drawing youth away from God and toward their own self-warship.  

In Corinthians 6:12, Paul told us that “all things are lawful…but not all things are profitable.”  To the Ephesians he writes to “walk as wise men… and be subject to one another” (5:13-21).   He tells the Galatians not to use freedom as “an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (5:13).  And then we learn that the fruit of the spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (5:22-26).  So we should be living in a way that we are lifting others up, not causing them to turn away from His love.

But, we aren’t perfect.

Life Application  Jesus, thank you for my children, and the youth that you put in my life to see how important my actions are.  Thank you for your grace, and that I don’t have to live a perfect life.  But, help me to remember that I am always being a witness for your love and grace.  My actions, even when I think no one is looking, are your billboard.  Help me to remember my sin, and shortcomings, and have grace with others in ways that I also have received grace.  

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 118:1-7

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
   “His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
   “His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
   “His love endures forever.”


The author of Psalm 118 is uncertain but one thing is certain, whoever wrote this psalm suffered great distress. But… the LORD saved them!

Psalm 118

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
   he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
   What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
   I look in triumph on my enemies.

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
   but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
   he has become my salvation.

17 I will not die but live,
   and will proclaim what the Lord has done.


Humility and Gratitude are once again the right response.

When I read this psalm I was taken back by the beauty of the gratitude expressed.

I was reminded of all the times I was “hard pressed” by the circumstances of life and felt like I couldn’t breathe.

He saved me.

I was reminded of when I have been “pushed back” to the edge by my own disobedience and right before the fall…

He saved me.

I was reminded of how I knew the “ Lord is with me” and I have nothing to fear because…

He saved me.

And I am filled with humility knowing I need a savior but my heart is overflowing with gratitude. The gratitude that comes from the revelation of His love. It has to be that by HIS LOVE FOR ME He saved me! His love for me is what finds me and brings me home. His love for me is why he never gives up on me and keeps working to transform me into the image of his son.


Make a declaration for our city, our church, and our families. Insert your family name below and say out loud that His love endures forever! Take a moment and  express your gratitude in worship.  

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

Let Santa Clarita say:
   “His love endures forever.”
Let Desert Streams Church say:
   “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of _____ say:
   “His love endures forever.”
Let all who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb say:

   “His love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say:
   “His love endures forever.”

Psalm 107:1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
Deborah Lee