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!
 

2 Thessalonians_3

Scripture  

2 Thessalonians 3:10 

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Observation-What does it say? 

Thessalonica was in the northern part of Greece, and was the second most prominent city during this time.  In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul stressed the need to work.  He does so again here, with even more urgency.  The political and social culture at the time looked with disdain at those who worked with their hands.  Therefore, there were those who would sponge off the generosity of other Christians.  Apparently, when the Thessalonians learned that Jesus was going to return, the idleness increased instead of decreased.  He reminds them that there was no example of this in his life.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

I was never much of a student.  I struggled in pretty much every subject that they threw at me, except for lunch and phys-ed.  But even though I struggled in school, I could tell you exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I would answer the question emphatically with, “A COWBOY! Or a carpenter, but definitely a cowboy.”  As I got a little bit older, I realized there was a certain limit to me becoming a cowboy, being that I grew up in Southern California, and had never really visited a farm, or ridden a horse for that matter.  So I followed in my family’s footsteps and started work as a carpenter shortly after high school.  While I have at times ventured into the world of academia, I have always felt more at home being a part of the working class.

I think our present culture is not too different from what the Christians in Thessalonica were facing.  There seems to be a general distaste for the work at hand and available.  I have often felt jealous of the people who had the more desirable jobs, that came with the nice air-conditioned office, and the fat paycheck.  “Must be nice to have what they have.”  I have coveted the nice car, and the big house.

But when I read through the bible, it becomes more and more evident to me that God does not care about the type of work I do.  Instead he cares about the heart in which I do my work.  Not only that, he cares about the good I do with the resources he has provided to me through my job.  Proverbs is rife with examples of the goodness of work.  For example, Proverbs 16:26 reminds us that our hunger can drive our will to work.  In Proverbs 18:9 we learn that a person lazy in their work is just as bad as someone who destroys the work of another.  And in Colossians 3:23, Paul reminds us to do our work as if our boss were God himself.  

Life Application

Jesus help me to remember that the job I hold was provided for me by you.  And the proceeds of that job are also yours.  I will not forget to give to you the portion you ask.  In return, I ask for good health so I can daily praise you in the workplace.  

-Tyler Galloway 

 


Deuteronomy_16

Scripture

Deuteronomy 16:21

Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the Lord your God

Observation – What does it say?

As Moses continues to relay God’s instructions to the people of Israel, he commands them not to set up any Asherah poles. An Asherah pole was a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the pagan goddess Asherah.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is jealous for our love and worship.

Jesus himself quoted Deuteronomy when Satan tried to tempt Jesus to bow down to him. He said, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” God doesn’t just want part of us, part of our hearts, part of our worship, part of our love. He desires and deserves our entire lives and all our lives contain.

AW Tozer in his book, The Pursuit of God, says our problem is not that we don’t seek God. Our problem is that we seek God and ____. God and money, God and pleasure, God and achievements, etc. It is in the “and” that we run into problems and find ourselves distracted and our hearts divided and not fully committed to God.

Life Application

I may not have any statues or shrines in my house or sing praises to other gods. But, does God have my whole heart and my whole life? Are there other things I have been pursuing that have taken away from my worship to God, my love for him, the time I spend with him?

God, may our hearts not be divided. I give you all of me because you gave it all for me. Please reveal to us the ‘and’s in our life and give us hearts that are consumed with love for you and passion for living out your will above all else. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Proverbs_18

Scripture
 
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭ERV‬‬
 
“The tongue can speak words that bring life or death. Those who love to talk must be ready to accept what it brings.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this particular passage of Proverbs, King Solomon brings light into the saying “think before you speak”.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Who knew that something as small as the human tongue could be so powerful and mighty?
 
King Solomon understood just how powerful our words towards one another could be. They could be encouraging and uplifting or they could be wicked, demoralizing, and break one’s spirit. What kind of words am I going to choose to speak today?
 
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”‭‭
1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today. ” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change.”-‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭ERV
 
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:36-37‬ ‭NIV‬‬
‬‬
Life Application
 
Choose my words carefully.
 
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”-Psalm‬ ‭141:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”-Psalms‬ ‭19:14‬
 
‭-Moses Gaddi


Proverbs_17

Scripture
 
Proverbs‬ ‭17:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬-

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues with sharing his wisdom in Proverbs. “Solomon wrote it with his descendants and the young men in Israel in mind (biblestudy.org-Who wrote the book of Proverbs?).”

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Bible is serious about choosing the way of the wise instead of a fool. So serious in fact that it says it’s better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.

Have you ever heard the term, you don’t want to see mama bear come out? As a mom to 2 kids, the protective nature of a mother to her child is extreme and I didn’t understand that until I became a mother. I’m not proud of this, but I’ve lost self control and yelled at a couple people because I felt my kids were being wrongfully attacked. It’s not wise to make a protective mama angry.

My husband also used to work as a meter reader and he told me that the most vicious dogs were the female dogs who were protecting their pups. He would always have to find alternative ways to read those house meters because you were just asking to get bit if you entered their territory.

As scary as a protective mama bear is, it’s not as scary as a fool bent on folly. For example, Scripture says that a fool gives full vent to his anger (Proverbs‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬), so essentially, a fool’s anger is worse than a mama bear protecting her cubs. That same Scripture says that the WISE bring calm in the end.

Life Application

Keep company with those who are wise, instead of those who continue to have a bent towards foolishness.

We must be careful with the company we keep and who we allow to influence our lives. Also, we must be aware of whether we are the ones acting like a fool. It’s important to make the necessary changes and learn from our mistakes. We don’t want to be the person that the Bible instructs others to run from.

Dear Lord, You appointed King Solomon to write the Proverbs to offer wise counsel, not foolish counsel. It is clear that You make many distinctions between wise and foolish choices and the consequences of each. I pray that we would always seek to live our lives wisely so that others would be drawn to You instead of away from You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Proverbs_16

Scripture

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

Observation

This is the third time in the first nine verses that it speaks to God being the one to establish our steps/plans/answers. 

 

Understanding

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

So…who’s in charge? It seems pretty clear that God wants us to know it’s Him – that He is the one that provides the answers to the questions we may have about what to do, that He will establish what we commit to Him and that He will determine the steps towards the course He created with us in mind. 

 

Life Application

Thank you, God, for taking the guess work out.  Thank you for reminding me that I was created with a purpose and plan in mind…and that I don’t have to go far to find it…but, rather, just ask the One who created me.  I thank you for establishing my steps; may I submit and commit to that which you’ve laid out. 

 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

 

-Rei

 

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



Thessalonians_3

Scripture

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 

and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

ObservationWhat does it say?

Thessalonica is in the northern part of Greece.  It was a port city on the Aegean Sea, and was part of the trade route that went to present day Istanbul.  The church was founded by Paul, who spent a few weeks there after leaving Phillipi.  After he left, the Thessalonians were facing persecution from the local Jews.  The Jews were upset at the rate the church was growing, and that they were making converts of those interested in Judaism.

The opening three chapters of this book are very personal to Paul.  He is concerned for the church much like a mother would be of her children.  He reminds them of his time there, as some of the persecution came in the form of name calling by the Jews.  He goes on to praise them for their continued faith, and expresses relief at the testimony of their love for one another.  He then tells them of his prayers for them.  To overflow with love for one another and for those who are not in the church.

Understanding-What does it mean?

One of the hardest things that we have done as parents, so far, is sending our children off to school.  During the first days and weeks of kindergarten, our nerves were about as heightened as they could be.  We worried about if they were ready, if they were going to survive without us, and about how they would behave.  It is like the first real evaluation of your parenting skills.  We were fortunate enough to have the same kindergarten teacher for our first two boys.  There is no way to express how proud I felt when we sat down for parent teacher conference the second time through.  She looked at Jen and I and said, “You are raising some good kids.”  My heart just about jumped out of my chest.  And that really is my hope, to raise boys who are well behaved, loving, and willing to serve others.  

Paul is similar in his relationship to the churches he planted.  He wanted them to continue in their faith more than anything else.  He wanted them to have a love that was abundant and overflowing.  Most of all, he wanted them to know the real saving grace of Jesus’ death on the cross.  He also wanted the same message to spread from them, not just stay in the little circle of people who had heard the message while he was there.

Paul had the same message for other churches as well.  In Galatians 6:8-10 he wrote, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Our behavior is sometimes overlooked in the process of sharing our testimony with the world.

In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

Life Application

Jesus, help me to be slow to anger, as this is most likely to be one of the ways I turn people away from you.  Help me to be better at listening, so I can more fully understand the struggles that others are going through.  Let me also be sparing in the words that I offer to others, so I won’t offer anything that is contrary to your word.  

-Tyler Galloway



Proverbs_14

Scripture

Proverbs 14:23

All hard work brings a profit,

    but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Observation – What does it say?

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

Understanding – What does it mean?

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

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

Talk without action is worthless.

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

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

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

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


Proverbs_13

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


Deuteronomy_9

Scripture

Deuteronomy‬ ‭9: 25-27, 29‬ ‭NIV‬‬-

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

Observation-What does it say?

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

Understanding-What does it mean?

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

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

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

Life Application

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

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

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

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Colossians 3

Scripture

Colossians 3:23

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

Observation

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

Understanding

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

Life Application

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

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

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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