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!
 

Romans_16

Scripture:

Romans 16:20

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Observation:

“God’s given us mighty weapons to live life in victory, to stomp on the devil and walk mightily…”

Understanding:

God is still bigger, stronger, mightier, more powerful than Satan. And, knowing that, He becomes our God of peace and grace – graciously loving us towards better versions of ourselves and providing peace beyond understanding despite whatever circumstances may arise.
 

Life Application:

We just need to live in this knowledge. Despite what may surround you, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” and He is with us ALWAYS.
“…So put on the full armor and don’t be afraid no more, no, no more. Cause you’ve been chosen by the Mighty One and now it’s time for war.”
 
Rei
PS I’d include a link for the song I referenced…but I’ve not been able to find one. Call me and I’ll sing it to you. 🙂 An awesome anthem to walk through the day repeating.
UPDATED: Check out the link here -> https://soundcloud.com/hanslerch/05-mighty-weapons
 


Romans__15

Scripture  Romans 15:13  Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Observation-What does it say?  Starting in chapter 12, Paul gives advice regarding our behavior as Christians.  Through these chapters, we are encouraged to live a life in contrast to what we are being told by the world: use our gifts to serve others, not ourselves; submit to the government, because their authority comes from God; use your freedom to build up those who are weaker, instead of an opportunity for your pleasure; lay down your “rights” for others, this way you can build unity.  But, none of this is possible without hope.

Our hope, though, cannot be conjured up by our own effort.  It comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit. But, our hope should not be in the things we can see, here and now, we hope for our home in a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13).

Understanding-What does it mean?  I was listening to a podcast a while ago, and the interview was with the author of a book talking about how fleeting motivation is.  At the beginning of the interview, they discussed the excitement that people feel at the beginning of the new year, especially in terms of goals and resolutions of things like weight loss and travel.  But, for many people, the excitement wanes quickly as the burden of life weighs down on you. Motivation, he said, “is a myth.” The remedy to this is discipline. When I was done listening to the podcast, I was really motivated to be disciplined… which lasted about three days.

The problem I find with most self-help authors and programs that I try to implement into my life, is they lack the “why.”  For me, the thought of losing weight, or getting smarter, or saving more money is great, but can quickly be overcome by real world stuff.  Saving money is great, until you need to replace your transmission. Losing weight is great, until you work the night shift and the only thing open to eat at two A.M. is Jack-in-the-Box.  The “why” in these cases have no substance and no support.

In our Christian life though, the why is greater than anything on earth.  Our life becomes not just a temporary thing, but one without end. Our actions have implications into the eternity which we cannot see right now.  Therefore, our life can be viewed in terms of service and worship to the creator of the universe (Colossians 3:23-24). Not only that, but we can use our actions as a billboard for Christ’s love for others (Philippians 2:3-4).  Additionally, we don’t have to rely on our own strength, but that of the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus (John 14:6).

Life Application  Jesus, thank you for the family of believers around me that point me to you.  Help me to also be an advocate for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me to fight the good fight, and help me to join others in their fight.  For our fight is not against flesh, but it is in the spirit. I want to always look to you, the author and perfecter of my faith.  
 
-Tyler Galloway




Romans 14

 

Scripture

Romans 14

1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (NIV, personal underlines added)

 

Observation

It appears that Paul is attempting to pacify some of the infighting and arguing that was going on in the early Roman church. According to verses 5 and 6 of the same chapter it sounds as if the members of that particular body were arguing over matters such as the sabbath day, “Christian diets”, and abstinence. All things that may pertain to the life of a believer..

 

Understanding

Have you ever asked God to highlight a portion of scripture for you and He highlights the one verse that you did not want to see? Deep down there is a part of me that knows that there are multiple areas I need to see growth in. Romans 14:3 is one of them. The sad part is, I am not even one of great faith “who eats everything”. Ha! This passage is intended to instruct Christians on how to deal with one another in areas of their faith based living. But I feel led to apply this principle to areas of my life which do not necessarily require faith.

 

For, I am still guilty of treating others with anger. Inside my heart.

To justify my annoyance.

To give depth to my anger.

Because my way is clearly the more mature way!

 

Paul urges us in verse 13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (NIV)

Life Application 

I certainly don’t want to operate from a perspective of anger and contempt. I wonder how different the global church would be if we took some of the edge off of our tones and our hearts when we disagreed with one another. Whether the issue was theological or faith based.

Lord help me to deal with my brothers and sisters in Christ as one who does not want them to stumble. May my words and my actions towards members of the body have zero judgement, less anger, and embody love.

May I carry that way of thought into how I interact with non-believers.

May I operate that way even in the most mundane of ways as I live and walk daily to further your message of love on this earth and beyond. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee

 
 
 
 
 
 


Romans__13

Scripture

Romans 13:13-14

 

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is urging the Romans to live Godly lives, to be in Christ. He is urging them to not fall into the temptations of this world. Instead, he urges them to be clothed in the presence of Jesus Christ. He is reminding them of their responsibility as Christ Followers to be lights in this dark world for all to see.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
In Christ we are a new creation.
 
These past couple of weeks we have been discussing in church our identities in Christ. We discussed that to be in Christ is a status, that we are in relationship with Him. We discussed that we are a new creation. We discussed that we are no longer slaves to sin. Finally we discussed that we are made for His good works.
 
In Christ, our old sinful ways are gone, He has made us new. We have instant access to God, His blessings, and the fruits of the spirit. That is… if we stay connected to Him.
 
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” –John‬ ‭15:5-8‬
 
And what are these fruits we should be producing?
 
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”-Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭‬‬
 
Life Application
 
What kind of fruit am I producing?
 
Does my life produce fruit that is ripe, sweet, and fills other people’s lives around me with a fragrance and taste that makes them them want more? Or does it give off a foul aroma, a bitter taste in people’s mouths, and a fruit that deserves to be thrown off to the side to rot? 🤔
 
Father God, I pray that I stay connected to You. I pray that my life produces fruit that is beneficial for others. May my life point others towards You. May the words that come out of my mouth be glorifying to You. Show me areas in my life where I need to improve on and help me to change them. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans___12

Scripture
 
Romans 12:4-5
 
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 

Paul is writing to the Roman church, to encourage them to continue to live a life serving Christ. But to do it by working together, in unity, humbly, and reminding them that God has blessed them each, with special gifts to accomplish this.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 
Our main mission as Christ Followers, (the body of Christ/His church), is to make disciples everywhere.
 

The most efficient way to do this is by working together with a group of fellow believers. Continue reading in Romans 12 and you will see that God has blessed each of us with certain gifts. Some with a gift to prophesy, some with a gift to serve others, some with the gift to encourage others, some with the gift to teach, some with the gift to give, and others He gives the gift to lead and show kindness to others. The bottom line here is that we are all working towards the same goal. We are all part of Christ’s body. We all need each other, and each other’s gifts and talents to accomplish Christ’s mission. So let’s all do our part to help accomplish this mission. Let’s not be lazy, but let’s serve together enthusiastically- (verse 11)! 

Life Application

 
I will continue to do my part and use the gifts God has blessed me with to serve His Kingdom.
 
I will do so humbly, and to the best of my abilities. I will continue to work together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish this mission God has entrusted us with.

Thank you God for partnering and entrusting me with this mission of yours. Thank you for blessing me with the strength, gifts, and abilities to do this. I know I can lean on you and your people if it ever gets too overwhelming. Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. It’s because of this and the promise in your Word, that I know I can do this (through you)! Amen. 

 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans_11

 

Scripture

Romans 11:29

29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 

Observation

Borrowed words from various commentaries…

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable: This is another reason why God hasn’t given up on national and ethnic Israel. This principle, stated by Paul, comforts us far beyond its direct relevance to Israel. It means that God will not give up on us and He leaves the path open to restoration. [https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/romans-11/]

For the gifts and calling of God, etc. – The gifts which God has bestowed upon them, and the calling – the invitation, with which he has favored them he will never revoke. In reference to this point there is no change of mind in him; and therefore the possibility and certainty of their restoration to their original privileges, of being the people of God, of enjoying every spiritual blessing with the fullness of the Gentiles, may be both reasonably and safely inferred.

Repentance, when applied to God, signifies simply change of purpose relative to some declarations made subject to certain conditions. See this fully explained and illustrated by himself, Jeremiah 18:7-9. [https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-11.html]
 

Understanding

To carry on the conversation from yesterday morning, “You are God’s masterpiece, and He made you with a plan, with good works that only you can do.”

Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

Add to that what we read today in Romans 11 that those plans – His call on our lives – and the gifts He’s given us as He created us for those plans…are IRREVOCABLE!  Meaning they are “not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final.”

So, what does that mean?  It means it’s not too late to do what God has called you to do.  It doesn’t matter if you felt called today or ten years ago or anywhere in between or even before…that call is irrevocable.  He’s called you, placed you, prepared you and equipped you for such a time as this!

Life Application

Therefore go.  Go and be intentional, on purpose, full of God’s grace and love and share that madness with everyone you meet! <3

Rei

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



Romans___10

Scripture:  Romans 10:8-10  But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

 

Observation-What does it say?  Throughout chapters nine and ten, Paul expresses his anguish of the nation of Israel.  Though he once had great zeal for the traditions of his people, Paul now has knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah.  Having come to this knowledge, Paul longs for all of Israel to come to Jesus in the same way he did. He points to Christ, proclaiming that He is the end of the law, freeing all Jews from the burden of the law.  He then pleads to their senses, exhorting them to accept Jesus as the Messiah. While doing this, he points to the simplicity of action needed: confess and believe.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I remember the call, which came in the middle of a Friday, on a weekend I was scheduled to work through Sunday.  My grandma had moved from North Carolina to live with my mom about six months prior. They had both become tired from the almost two year process of my grandma’s cancer treatments and decided it was easier for both of them to be here in California.  This decision forced my grandma to leave her childhood home. The tone in my mom’s voice during the call was calm but hurting, “I think we only have a little bit left.”  

 

I left work almost instantly, to spend the next day listening to my grandma’s last breaths.  It was painful and beautiful all at once. Having to watch someone leave this life is horrible, because it feels so permanent.  It made it easier knowing that my grandma had spent a life loving Jesus, and would get to spend eternity with Him.

 

In Paul’s writing, there is almost the sense that he sees his friends and countrymen dying without the same confidence of their salvation.  Throughout his letters, he carries a sense of urgency, as he pours out his life so others will have the same knowledge of Jesus as savior that he did (Philippians 2:17).  Though, Paul still had the peace to know that when he went on to be with Jesus, he had done all he could (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

 

Life Application:  Jesus, give in me the same heart as Paul, and the same urgency of preaching to those who need to hear the good news of Your salvation.  Help me to have graceful speech. Allow me to produce fruit in season and out of season. In my shortcoming, allow your love to shine through.


-Tyler Galloway

 


Psalm 124

Application 

Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

Observation 

Psalm 124. A song of ascents. A special song that was sung by pilgrims as they ascended uphill or as the priests climbed up the steps of the temple. 

1 If the Lord had not been on our side—

    let Israel say—

2 if the Lord had not been on our side

    when people attacked us,

3 they would have swallowed us alive

    when their anger flared against us;

4 the flood would have engulfed us,

    the torrent would have swept over us,

5 the raging waters

    would have swept us away.

6 Praise be to the Lord,

    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird

    from the fowler’s snare;

the snare has been broken,

    and we have escaped.

Understanding 

There were so many times in my life when I would have been swallowed alive by fear or swept away by a flood of anxiety. If it had not been for the LORD, I would not be here today, I would not be here today serving Him. 

When I was a little girl left alone at night, I called out to him for help and he sent people to me. 

When I was a young adolescent lying in my bed scared, hyperventilating, and filled with disappointment, as my drunk father finally came home, breaking another promise, I called out to Him for help and I was instantly filled with peace. 

When I was 23 and waking up yet again with my stomach in knots, wondering if I would ever be free from the anxiety that had plagued me all my life, I called out to Him for help, and I when I awoke the next day, it was gone. 

When I realized my life was a mess from my own doing, I asked Him to come into my heart and be my savior, to forgive me of my sins. I asked Him for help to transform my life and he led me to Desert Streams Church. I went to every service, every class, every prayer meeting. I served, built relationships with people, and was discipled. I asked him for help and he saved me. 

Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Application 

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

Think of the times that you have needed help and he has saved you. He saved you. He will save you again and again. 

I think it is interesting that this psalm is called a song of ascent, meaning they sang this song as they went up to a higher elevation. 

Some of us are going through a hard time and cannot see how the LORD can help us. I think worship takes us to a higher elevation in the spirit. 

They started out singing the song as they climbed. At the end of the song they declare where their help comes from and who he is. 

Let worship take you to a higher elevation and when you get to the top declare where your help comes from!

Deborah Lee 



Romans__8

Scripture

Romans 8:36-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 

Observation

As Paul continues writing to the Romans, he seeks the opportunity to proclaim the Good News to them. Additionally, he extends the idea that freedom is granted to those who are in Christ, and that they are no longer slaves to their past selves. Instead, they are heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, and nothing can separate them from the great love of God.
 

Understanding

Freedom is FREE!

Ever since we read this passage during the fast I have gone back to it several times. Each time I read it I find myself getting so excited over the words that Paul so beautifully writes. He paints a wonderful picture at the end of this chapter too. The idea that once I am adopted into the sonship nothing can separate me from it. There’s one dilemma I find in this passage though. Somewhere along the way we are in this cyclical relationship of bondage and freedom. A relationship that we have created and placed on ourselves. Like Paul says in this passage you are free! However, actually grasping that core belief and living in it is a lot different than just saying it.

Here’s the main point I want to sit on before practically giving ways to living in freedom: freedom is paid for and there’s no “return policy.” Once it is granted and atoned for there is no reason to feel like you have to give it back or it has to be re-earned after you mess up (because let’s be real, we all mess up along the way). But the Bible says that:

God raised us up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 2:6

Meaning, we are seated at the right hand of the Father, and therefore nothing can come between us and His love. That is why Paul and we can be so sure that nothing is too hard for God’s love to overcome, and although we may be persecuted by this world God offers us part of His. Paul calls us “more than conquerors.” We don’t just come and conquer, but we are granted immeasurably more.
 

Life Application

How exactly do we walk in this amazing freedom?

  1. We have to know who are in Christ. This is only possible by reading His Word daily and being in constant communication with the one who made us.
  2. We must recognize that God is the one who is able, and we are simply to act in obedience with our own willingness. Sure, freedom is free and the most liberating feeling, but it doesn’t make you the ultimate earthly person. Instead this freedom is meant to empower you to carry out God’s will.
  3. Lastly, we must share this freedom with others. God doesn’t just want us to hoard all this freedom and love to ourselves. He longs for others to become “more than conquerors” as well.

When life seems difficult most of the time that means you are headed in God’s direction. Resistance means the enemy is scared, but you can rest assured that nothing can separate you from the love of Jesus. It’s free, paid for, and ready to be consumed by us.

-Allison Khan
 


Romans__7

Scripture

Romans 7:16-25-

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Observation-What does it say?
 

Paul is talking about the battle between his flesh and his Spirit. They wage war against each other.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus is our Rescuer and the One who gives us hope to overcome our fleshly desires.

Jesus lived the verse, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41).” His obedience on the cross despite His own inward struggles as a man, is why we are able to conquer and defeat sin and death as well!

Life Application
 

When tempted to sin, RUN (don’t walk), to the One who rescues us from it-Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

I had a friend who used the above verses from Paul out of context to justify her sin of lust and having premarital sex with her boyfriend. I know someone who blamed the devil for a heinous crime he committed that landed him in prison. The first woman Eve, who we all descended from, blamed the serpent for eating the fruit, but God still held her personally responsible for her own actions and choice to sin.
 
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15 NIV
 

At one of our ministry leader’s meetings, Pastor basically broke down the above verse and said that we can’t blame the devil for acts that we do because it was our own evil desire that enticed us. The devil tempts, but he can’t make us do anything. Our own evil desires are what entice us away. So how do we defeat these evil desires?

Here are the 5 things that help me because yes, I am human and get tempted also. No one is exempt. Not even Jesus was.

  1. Run to Jesus and confess it. Don’t continue to meditate on it and don’t run away from Jesus due to shame. He understands temptation because He was tempted the same way we are. Confess to the Lord that you need His help. The Holy Spirit always comes through.
  2. Run to God’s Word. Encourage yourself away from the temptation through His truths. God’s Word is our offensive weapon against the evil one’s attacks. We must wash our minds clean daily with the Truth in His Word. Jesus always used God’s Word in the correct context when tempted by the devil and the devil left him.
  3. Put up safeguards to guard your heart and mind. Don’t go closer to the temptation. Run away from it just like Joseph in Genesis 39:12. He RAN away naked leaving his cloak behind when his master’s wife kept tempting him to sleep with her and she started becoming aggressive with it. Joseph’s integrity and pleasing his master (both earthly and in Heaven) was more important than sleeping with that woman.
  4. Remember the consequences of the sin, not the pleasure of it. We usually know the harsh consequences if it was a sin committed in the past or if it was a learned consequence from someone else’s sin.
  5. Confess your struggle to another Spirit filled person to pray for you and even consider going to a Christian counselor if needed. The more we shine light on the darkness, the less likely darkness will overtake and overcome us.

 

We are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6)! We are God’s chosen and we are holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12).

Let’s live in that truth!

 

-Michelle Gaddi