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!
 

1 Samuel_14

Scripture:  1 Samuel 14:6  Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

Observation-What does it say?  The people of Israel are surrounded by the Philistines.  Out numbered and without weapons, Saul is afraid to act.  Moreover, Samuel is not in the camp for Saul to seek advice from.  Jonathan, Saul’s son, goes up with his armor bearer to the camp of the Philistines with the fire of the Lord in his heart.  The two of them attack and kill twenty men.  What happens next is a miracle, a great confusion comes over the camp of the Philistines, who begin attacking each other.  Thus, the Lord delivered Israel that day, not by the strength of many, but by the great faith of a few.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I am not a great baseball fan.  I don’t have the fortitude to keep watching week after week for almost an entire year.  I love to watch baseball, but I am just not very loyal to the team.  But my favorite team in baseball has got to be the Angels of 2002.  I have always loved a good underdog team, unless I’m playing on that team of course.  The suspense of watching a group of guys who work as a team to beat the odds.  

The Angels of 2002 were exactly that, a group of guys who were not the best, but they worked the best together.  That year was the Angel’s first World Series championship in the team’s first 42 seasons, and their only one in 59 years.  Something that team had, which isn’t present in most, is trust.  There were no super stars on the team, but the team trusted each other to fulfill their role on the team.  They each had to let go of control.  

I heard a pastor once compare a life of faith to sky-diving.  You have to completely let go of what you know (the plane) to experience the adventure, and you have to place your trust in something that you can’t control.  Much like the Angels who had to place their trust in their team-mates, whom they have no control over.  While most of the time I feel more secure in God than a parachute, I tend to act like I have only as much faith in Him as I do a parachute.  And I have never been sky-diving.  

God works through our faith in mighty ways.  When we trust Him, he does mighty works.  Through faith, Jonathan killed twenty men.  Through faith, Elijah prayed and stopped the rain for more than three years (1 Kings 17).  By faith, Sarah gave birth well after her age. The list of things done by faith is too long to list here.

Life Application  Jesus, help me to grow in my faith.  Help me to allow you to work through me, instead of striving to do things for you.  Help me to know you in a deeper way (Psalm 46:10).  Mostly, help me to stop doing things out of pride.  

-Tyler Galloway



1 Samuel_13

Scripture

1 Samuel 13:11-12

“What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

Observation – What does it say?

Samuel didn’t show up as soon as Saul had hoped, in order to offer a burnt offering to God. This offering was to seek God’s blessing and favor for the battle they were about to engage in with the Philistines. Saul felt the pressure, as his troops began to abandon him, to take matters into his own hands and so he offered the burn offering himself instead of waiting for Samuel (which God commanded him to do). He obviously knew what he did was wrong because, when confronted by Samuel about it, he went on the defensive and listed all these reasons that he hoped would justify to Samuel his foolish decision. 

The consequences were most likely far worse than Saul could have ever imagined. That decision revealed Saul’s character, that he was a man who couldn’t be trusted to obey God’s command, and so his kingdom would be stripped from him and given to another.

Understanding – What does it mean?

In disobeying God, we will forfeit the great destiny God has made available to us.

David, the one God stripped the kingdom from Saul to give it to, was declared to be a man after God’s own heart. And as a result his kingdom was established forever, as Jesus came from the family line of David and is now forever enthroned in glory. Why was David considered a man after God’s own heart?

Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Because he would do everything God wanted him to do! God is looking for men and women who will do everything He wants them to do. Obedience to God, even in situations that don’t make sense or where we feel pressure to take matters into our own hands, is what will lead to God promoting us and using us in greater ways.

Life Application

Obey God even when it doesn’t make sense!

  • When it doesn’t look like I can pay my bills and also tithe, obey God and tithe!
  • When it doesn’t look like I can find a job with hours that will enable me to attend church, quit or turn down that job and trust God to provide another job that will!
  • When someone wounded me so deeply and I can’t imagine letting it go, obey God and forgive them!

When we take matters into our own hands, we forfeit our own God-given destiny and rob ourselves of the blessings God intends to pour out on us. So, God, please give us the strength and wisdom to obey even when it’s hard! Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Psalm 67

Scripture
 
Psalm ‭67:2-3‬ ‭
 
“May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The psalmist is writing a song that declares just how great and awesome God is. The psalmist yearns for the whole world to know God, to fear Him, and to praise Him. Then the world, and every nation living in it will be able to reap all of God’s blessings as God’s favor rests upon them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
One nation under God.
 
Are we a God fearing nation who gives God His due praise? Are we receiving the blessings that God yearns to give us because of our obedience to Him? Are we doing our part by letting God’s ways be known wherever we go?
 
It’s sad to say, but as a nation, (even some of us as individuals ), I’m afraid the answer to these questions are “No”. You turn on the news, you see the direction this world is going, and you just know this world desperately needs God now more than ever. Our own nation seems to be more divided now than it was during the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s! You have schools teaching evolution and taking out basic Bible principles (the Ten Commandments) from its system. You have people who are confused about their own gender. You have people who are so easily offended by the word “God” and offended by billboards that have a Pastor holding a Bible. You have people who are so determined to push God out from our daily lives and then wonder why the world is the way it is. What’s wrong with these people?!
 
This psalm reminds me of how simple life can be if we all stand united under God. If we can be a God fearing people again. If we can let God back into our lives, homes, schools, and nation, God can restore order once again. If the world can turn from its wicked ways and follow God, we would see blessings poured out upon us that we can’t even imagine. If the world were to know God the way you and I do, they would be singing His praises, understanding His grace, mercy, and awesome power. Because to truly know God, is to love God. But the question is, “Will I do my part and let God’s ways be known?” Am I willing to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others? Will I be part of the problem or part of the solution to bring the healing this world needs?
 
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.”
2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14-15‬ ‭‭‭‬‬
 
Life Application
 
We reap what we sow.
 
If I want to reap all the blessings and benefits that God wants to give, it’s gonna take some work. I’m going to have to be willing to “roll up my sleeves, and get my hands dirty”. I can’t depend on others to do the work for me. I’m going to have to “get in the game” and plant seeds in people’s lives, showing them the love of Jesus in tangible ways, then nurturing them with the Word of God to bring them life. Finally it’s going to take lots of prayer because it’s not I who can save them, but only Jesus. Then when it’s all said and done, I will look to see what blessings God has me reap from the sowing that was done. 😊 
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Samuel_11

Scripture

“When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation– What does it say?

Samuel anointed Saul as king in the previous chapter and with God’s help, he “enjoys initial success, defeating the Ammonites in battle.” (Book of 1 Samuel, gotquestions.org). The interesting thing is that when the spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, the first emotion he experienced to help him complete his mission was anger.

Understanding– What does it mean?

Be angry about what matters, not about what doesn’t matter.

After the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, he became angry. That anger is what God used to make the terror of the Lord evident to the people and unite them to complete their mission of conquering and defeating the Ammonites.

Anger is not an unrighteous emotion. Sometimes, it’s necessary, such as being so angry with sin and the consequences of sin that we want to turn our lives around or being angry with injustice towards innocent people.
But, anger focused on the wrong things will lead to sin and give the devil a foothold, as it’s fruits are bitterness, dissension, gossip and murder. It will hinder the mission of Christ. It will break up relationships, homes and fellowship. It will dim our light in this darkened world and cheapen our witness. Unlike the anger in this chapter that caused unity, anger that is not of the Lord will lead to division towards the mission.

Life Application
 
Be angry, but do not sin.

““In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:44-47‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘ Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:21-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Pastor Gary spoke on Sunday about being committed to the fellowship…being committed to one another. One of the ways we do that is by dealing with the conflict and forgiving and reconciling quickly, so that the devil doesn’t have a foothold and we are able to get back to the mission the Lord has called us to be united in, which is multiplying Christ followers everywhere and making disciples of all nations by being His witnesses.

Dear Lord, I pray that You would humble all of our hearts towards You and our brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that pride, envy, and/or anger would not take root among our family at DSC, and that it would start with me. May we  be angry instead with sin and other things that break your heart. We pray for a reconciling heart and spirit of unity in order to be fueled to accomplish Your mission of furthering Your Kingdom. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


1 Samuel_10

Scripture

1 Samuel 10:6-7
6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Observation

In verse 1, Samuel anoints Saul (a physical representation of what was being done spiritually within), kissed him (showing his support of him), and reminded him of his calling (commander of His inheritance, His people). Samuel then goes on to share with Saul the things that will happen next, all signs to confirm the anointing as king and what God had done (verses 2-7).

Understanding

The Holy Spirit was at work and moving. Though Saul had been physically anointed (vs 1), when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him in verse 6, that is the true anointing. That’s when the change occurred – “changed into a different person.” For Saul to be used to the fullest, he had to be turned into another man by the filling of the Spirit…all of these things were confirmation of God’s anointing.

Once these signs were fulfilled (verse 7), Saul was cleared, approved, commanded to do whatever his hands found to do, “for God is with you.”

Life Application

When the Spirit is present, things (people, places, circumstances) are changed.

Note, though, that even though God had called Saul, there was work to be done. Saul had to make himself available, be obedient to both God and Samuel (spiritual leadership) and be willing to be changed to be used.

God, I want to be in that place of “doing whatever [my] hands find to do,” knowing that you are with me. Because the life I want for myself and my kids is a life full of YOU – seeing you tangibly and miraculously at work. Guide those desires, though, that they would be centered around seeking Your face, not just Your hands – seeking You, not just your blessings. May I be obedient, hungry, focused, disciplined, willing to be made new in You…and may I be used, today, by You.

Rei

 

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1 Samuel_9

Scripture  1 Samuel 9:21 Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?”

Observation-What does it say?  An unlikely turn of events, the loss of a few donkeys, leads Saul to meet with Samuel.  God had already given Samuel a vision of Saul, who would become the king of Israel.  As Samuel tells Saul that he is favored by God, he is surprised and expresses that he doesn’t feel worthy, since he is from the smallest family in the nation.  This goes to further demonstrate one theme of 1 Samuel, that God raises the powerless to promote his kingdom (2:8).  God using the powerless is further example that His kingdom is not of this world.

Understanding-What does it mean?  I started high school a little larger than the average kid, already about 6’1” but rail thin weighing in at only about 135 pounds.  And despite my normally even temperament, I had a mean competitive side of me and a little too much pride.  Taking up running, I found something that helped me in a lot of different areas in my life, including finding the focus I needed in my studies.  The little bit of natural success I found in the sport didn’t help my pride at all.  I remember thinking that I could beat just about anyone with the right amount of effort.  

Then one day, while running my best event, the 800 meter, I was astonished to see this little figure beside me.  Jameson Mora was only about 4’11” and weighed bout 95 pounds, but his stride was as big as mine and he was moving passed me.  It was as if he took a pin to my balloon of a head.   Pppsssssttt!  Jameson looked odd running to me.  He worked harder than anyone else, and you could see it in his face and the way he got every little bit of distance out of a stride that was too long for his little body. 

When we look at God’s story and the redemption of man, we see something similar.  He is continually showing us His power through the smallest, weakest and most unexpected things.  God is constantly using things that don’s make sense to us.  He saved the world with a crazy man and a boat (when it had never rained), birthed a nation through a couple that was too old, used a man that was supposed to die as an infant to lead a bunch of slaves out of Egypt.  God made it rain bread, and caused water to come from a rock.  He made three men completely fireproof.  He brought the message of Christ to Gentiles through a man who is guilty of murdering Christians.  

God tells us, my ways are not his (Isaiah 55:8-9), that in His kingdom the last will be first (Matthew 20:16), He uses the foolish things to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), and His kingdom was built on a stone rejected by builders (1 Peter 2:4-10).  God doesn’t call us to be perfect, but through His power we are made perfect.  He is the one who completes His work in us.  When we are small, He makes us great, and even makes us run a little faster than we think possible.

Life Application  When I feel worthless, and incapable of doing the good you have called me to, allow me to lean on Your words.  For you are my maker, you know my inside and out, you know every hair on my head and every freckle on my back.  You lift me up to do good works, and give me the strength to carry on.  I will trust in you, the maker of heaven and earth, my rock and fortress.  When life seems too big, I will hide in the shelter of your wings.       

-Tyler Galloway



1 Samuel_8

Scripture

1 Samuel 8:20

Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.

Observation – What does it say?

As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to lead in his place. However, they didn’t measure up as fit for leadership. So, the people asked Samuel to appoint a king to lead them.

Up to this point, God led his people through judges and prophets like Moses, Deborah and Samuel. Through these godly men and women, God effectively led and protected and provided for and preserved the Israelites. But, noticing the nations around them all had kings, they felt compelled to conform. Despite the warnings from God about going that route, the people demanded a king lead them instead of God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Human tendency is to forget how much better God’s ways are and turn to substitutes.

This is insane! The last story recorded is of the Philistines coming to attack Israel. God went before them in battle and thundered before the Philistines, throwing the Philistines into such a panic that it made it a cake walk for the Israelites to defeat them. And here they are in the next breath asking for a king to go before them in battle instead!? They would rather a human with a title go before them than the God who just gave them victory. What a terrible substitute to desire! It wasn’t necessarily a sin to have a king, but it was like asking to remove Kobe from the lineup for game 7 and put in my eight-year-old son. You can do it, but it’s about the dumbest decision you could make.

Any substitute for God and God’s ways isn’t going to work!

Life Application

During the 28 days of prayer and fasting we turned from all God-substitutes and pursued the Real Deal. And as a result of turning to God for comfort instead of Instagram, turning to the Bible for truth and knowledge instead of the news, turning to worship to overcome life’s challenges instead of trying to temporarily forget them with Netflix, life has changed drastically! We are experiencing so much more life and joy and clarity and peace than before we began. So why go back to substitutes?! Has God not proven himself to be sufficient for all we need and desire?

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

God, please forgive us for choosing substitutes for you and your ways. May we not go back, not conform to the patterns of this world, but fight to keep choosing you and keeping you first! Amen.
 
 
– Levi Thompson 


1 Samuel_7

Scripture
 
1 Samuel‬ ‭7:5‬ ‭
 
“Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Samuel urges the people of Israel to return to the Lord by getting rid of all their images of their foreign gods, and turn their hearts back to God, by obeying Him, and Him alone. By doing this God will rescue them from the Philistines. So the people of Israel listened to Samuel. They worshipped, fasted, and confessed their sins to God. Samuel told all of them to gather at Mizpah, and he would pray for all of them. But when the Philistines heard all of Israel were gathered at Mizpah, they launched an attack against them. The Israelites were frightened. They begged with Samuel to continue to pray for them. So Samuel did. Samuel offered a burnt offering to God and pleaded with Him to save Israel. The Lord heard Samuel’s prayers and helped the Israelites defeat the Philistines.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God saves through prayer and repentance!
 
The power of prayer couldn’t be more evident in this passage. But I believe there was another key thing here that pushed the Israelites to victory over the Philistines here. It was their willingness to confess their sins and repent from them which saves them from the Philistine army. The Israelites realized that their sinfulness separated them from God’s favor. Samuel urged them to repent from their wicked ways and to obey God’s ways. The Israelites took Samuel’s advice. In the midst of all this they were surrounded by the Philistine army, on the verge of war and death. But through their prayers and repentance from their sins, God saved them from death. And that my friends is the message of the gospel!
 
It is our sinfulness that separates us from a Holy God. We are deserving of death. We are in need of a savior. God gives us this savior in His only son, Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He rose again and conquered death. It’s on us to believe and trust in Jesus, and live by His ways. We need to pray to God to accept Jesus into our hearts and lives and repent from our sinful ways. It is then we too, like the Israelites in this passage, will be saved from death.
 
Life Application
 
The grace of God is for everyone.
 
Father God, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for sending Jesus to save me. I know there are others out there who are in need of saving. Give me eyes to see them and ears to hear their cries for help. Let me be like Samuel in this passage, and guide them to repentance and pray for their salvation. Give me the courage and the words to share the gospel with them. May You open their hearts to the gospel of Christ. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
Moses Gaddi


Psalm 61

Scripture

Psalm 61:1-8

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

David does a few things in this Psalm. He cries out to God acknowledging his weakness in light of God’s strength; remembers that God has been his refuge in times past; and cries out for strength in order to continue singing praises to Him and fulfill his duties and calling as king.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Run to God for strength and encouragement instead of our own.

I’ve heard people joke that King David must have been bipolar because of his really high highs and really low lows as documented in the Psalms. However, the difference between David and mentally ill people is that David was able to encourage himself out of situations in the strength of the Lord. He runs and cries out to the Lord and as a result of His surrender and obedience, he finds peace, comfort and joy.

As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, after asking God 3 times to take away a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment him and keep him from being conceited, God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Basically, through all the opposition and weaknesses we face in this world, God’s grace and strength will always be enough to get us through. Needing comfort from the King of kings is not what makes us weak, but rather what makes us strong.

Life Application

I will draw comfort and strength from the Lord in order to pour out that same comfort to others.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

King David and the Apostle Paul were 2 great men of the Bible with amazing testimonies of the Lord’s love for them. Their greatness is not what God was impressed with. It was their acknowledged weaknesses—their humility and surrender that God used to uplift them to the status of leadership that they were in.

Dear Lord, I choose to draw strength from You alone. It inspires me that You never chose to work through perfect people, but those who were imperfect, yet dependent and reliant on You. It was amazing what the Holy Spirit was able to do in and through them as a result. I pray that I would always seek to be a woman after Your heart, always remaining humble and submitted to Your will Jesus. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


3_John

Scripture
3 John 1:5-6

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church of your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Observation
John is writing to commend and encourage his beloved coworker, Gaius, in his ministry of hospitality to itinerant messengers who were going from place to place to preach the Gospel of Christ. [https://www.gotquestions.org/amp/Book-of-3-John.html]

Understanding
Two things come to mind…

First, what Paul is encouraging Gaius in, is exactly what we are called to do as Christians today – to show hospitality (aka love) to strangers…sending them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Secondly, how sweet was his encouragement? Let this be an example to us of how to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. To honor the things that they are doing well and tell them the ways we appreciate them.

Life Application
Go love on somebody!…in big ways and small ways, with the intention of showing them God’s love (as close as we can get to it, because we don’t even come close to His perfect love).

Take time to acknowledge and encourage one another…as often as possible! [Michelle Gaddi and Tina Kudelka are incredible examples of this.].

Dear Lord, may I be an extension of you, to be your hands and feet in this world, an example of your love to those I meet. Open my eyes to see people the way you do…to notice all the good and beautiful things about them…and may I take the time to acknowledge and encourage those things in them.

Thank you for being the ever-constant, perfect example of LOVE. Amen.

Rei

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