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 88

Scripture

Psalms 88:13 NLT

“O Lord, I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

This psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite. This was a very sad, gloomy, and hopeless psalm. When reading the book of Psalms, the author will write about their despair, but it usually follows with a glimpse of hope. Their hope in God. That God will bring justice to those who wrong them. But this author has lost all sense of hope. Life is pretty much kicking him while he’s down. He seems to have lost everything. He seems to be content knowing that darkness is his closest friend in life. That hope is gone and out the door.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

No God = No hope. Know God = Know hope.

As much misery as the author of this Psalm is in, there is one thing, (other than the dark cloud that seems to be hovering over him), in life that he doesn’t quit on…CRYING OUT TO GOD! Although life seems hopeless for him, and he feels God has forgotten him, that doesn’t stop him from calling out to the Lord. In verses 1, 9, and 13 he clearly calls out to God begging for help. I believe it’s because he understands no matter how difficult life can be, or no matter just how much life’s struggles are stacked up against him, as long as God is with him, he has hope. He has a chance.

I believe the same goes for us. There are going to be moments in our lives where we feel hopeless, defeated, and alone. But no matter what life’s circumstances bring us, our hope is in Jesus. And we know that with Him, ALL things are possible. We know that Jesus was able to conquer this world. He even conquered death! And it’s with that hope in Him that we hold on to, knowing that with Him by our side, we too can conquer it too. 

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”-1 Peter 1:6-7 

 

Life Application

Put your hope in Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” –Romans 5:1-5  

-Moses Gaddi



Genesis_41

Scripture – What stood out?

Genesis 41:57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

 

Observation – What does it say?

With Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream coming true slowly but surely the entire known world would have to turn to Joseph for salvation.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I have had part of this Charles Dickens quote stuck in my brain for the past several days (cue the melodramatic movie voice), “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” An apt description for the environment we find ourselves in during Genesis 41. There was a famine yet one nation, under the leadership of one man, under the guidance of the Spirit of God provided hope. 

 

Over the past several months I have read several books which asked me to look at the similarities between Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus. And so as I was re-reading this story verse 57 came alive to me in a different way this time. I have often remembered this story for Joseph’s role in redeeming the nation of Israel. Verse 57 however makes it clear – all, the, earth, – came to him for food during the famine. 
 
Although Joseph’s life is filled with tumult and peril we begin to see God’s work manifesting through all of it. I have read this story so many times and I come away always remembering how God looked out for His chosen nation. I mean Jesus would be born from the line of Abraham so they needed to be spared from the famine. That’s pretty important. But the Lord didn’t just stop there. He chose Joseph to feed the whole world! 
 

And now all I seem to be able to see is the foreshadowing that would point to Jesus. I believe that Jesus was most certainly sent to save God’s wayward nation. But there was a greater design at play. Jesus was sent to save the entire world. A savior who came not to save just one nation but all nations who would follow him. 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Lord thank you for bringing our old testament alive to me today!

For my life application I would like to share my journal entry with one person who would listen to me. Partly to see if they agree with me. But mainly to continue to spread my love for the bible in its entirety on to others. Thank you Lord.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Galatians__4

Scripture

Galatians 4: 28&31

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise… Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.
 

Observation

Paul continues his letter to the Galatians and looks to emphasize who we are in Christ. He speaks of Abraham’s children as a comparison and then furthers this analogy by calling the Galatians themselves “children of promise.” From here, he declares that anyone who believes in Christ and lives for Him is a new and free being.
 

Understanding

You ever thought about the weight that the word promise carries? Here’s how our good friend Miriam-Webster defines promise (n.): a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen. That seems like a lot of words to say that a promise guarantees something, whether it be a service or an event, or even a person. Here Paul calls us “children of promise.” It has a nice ring to it, but the implication is so much more than just “having a nice ring to it.” Keeping a promise often requires an action. We can’t just passively sit and expect our promises to fulfill themselves, but in the same vein our promise was already fulfilled for us.

I came to a shocking realization the other day: I don’t have to do anything to earn the affection of God. I think that’s what Paul is getting at here; yes, you have promises to upkeep but those are simply out of being a good child of God. There’s nothing we can do to make God love or hate us more. We are free to experience the love of God simply by believing in Him. To be honest with you, for a little bit I thought I had to earn it, but I don’t I live in the freedom of being a child of the Most High. I am a child of promise, and rest-assured I will bask in that freedom so generously given to me.
 

Life Application

Something I realize is a deterrent in basking in this freedom though is the opinion of others. To that I say: just because we haven’t experienced God in a certain way yet doesn’t mean He doesn’t operate in that way. My concept of God may sometimes be small, but I know that He isn’t! I know that I know I have experienced God, and because of that I can live in His promises and freedom that He has set before me.

Take a look at your own life and remember the times that you experienced Him in such a tangible way. Hold onto it and use it as a tool in helping others to being children of promise and free in Christ.

-Allison Khan



Galatians___3

Scripture  

Galatians 3:2-3 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

 

Observation-What does it say?  

The book of Galatians was written to a number of churches in the region of Galatia, or present day Turkey.  Paul’s visits to this area are recorded in Acts 13 and 14.  Paul taught that repentance and faith lead us to receive God’s forgiveness and new life.  However, after he left the area, a group of Jewish-Christians came in and began preaching circumcision and adherence to the Mosaic law as a precursor to God’s grace.  Many of the believers in the area had begun following these rules in place of living by faith.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

“You can’t smoke.  You can’t drink. And, you can’t drink.”  These “rules” were very important not to break as a “Christian.”  Or at least that is how I understood it as a kid.  Being a Christian meant a life of abstaining from the things that were deemed “A SIN.”  Those three things were at the top of the list, and we didn’t even think about talking about sex.  It was like I lived in some alternate form of the movie “Footloose.”  Which, ironically enough, I remember my mom watching a lot.

These rules had been passed down from my great grandfather, who was a very charismatic preacher in the South.  And, although at a young age I had a real moment where, through the Holy Spirit, I came to understand that I was a sinner and needed God’s grace, shortly after I knew that I couldn’t break these rules.  I never quite understood why these things were so bad, but I knew those were the things “Sinners” did and I was not supposed to act like that.  I also remember feeling quite burdened by the weight of having to follow the rules.

I think this is largely still present in how Christianity is viewed.  We are seen as a bunch of hypocritical “goody two shoes.”  Later in Galatians, Paul encourages them to do away with the mindless adherence to laws, in favor of a life led by the Spirit, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (5:1).”  Even Jesus told us to do away with striving to attain all of the precepts of Mosaic law, stating that all the law is fulfilled in loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40).  

As it turns out, what I perceived as a bunch of rule following can actually be attained when we let go of the rules.  It comes as a result of my love for Christ.  We learn about this in the book of James.  The brother of Christ points out that a life steeped in the Holy Spirit leads to good works (James 2:18-25).  And so as we lean on the Holy Spirit, we naturally begin to abstain from things that would only hinder a close relationship with him (1 Corinthians 10:23).

 

Life Application

Jesus, ultimately I want nothing else than to be with you.  So help me to get a little closer to you everyday.  I want to walk away from the things that distract me from you.    And I want to thank you for taking the burden of sin away from me by dying on the cross.

 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 84

Scripture
 

Psalm 84: 1-2; 10-12

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,

    Lord Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints,

    for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out

    for the living God…….

10 Better is one day in your courts

    than a thousand elsewhere;

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

    the Lord bestows favor and honor;

no good thing does he withhold

    from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,

    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

 

Observation-What does it say?

I love worship songs that are based in Scripture! The song” Better is One Day” is based on Psalm 84. The Psalmist is saying that there is no safer place to be than with the Lord God Almighty.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Nothing in life compares to being in His presence. 

Being safe in loving arms and care of our Heavenly Father is priceless. We have no better advocate and friend than Jesus and no better counselor than the Holy Spirit. 

 

Life Application

Spend time with Jesus.

Where and when do you spend uninterrupted time with the Lord?  Where is your secret place where you meet and communicate with Him? In a special prayer closet? In bed first thing in the morning or before you sleep at night? During your commute to work? Outside in your backyard surrounded by nature? 

I pray that we would always seek time with You 1st and may everything else be secondary. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousands elsewhere Lord. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi

 

Better is One Day (worship)

https://youtu.be/jdE03zRJtxw



Galatians___1

Scripture

Galatians 1:10 NLT

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia. He reminds them that there is only one true gospel message… a message of grace and freedom found in Jesus Christ. Anyone who dares to pervert this message should be set aside for God’s destruction. However, Paul’s opposition accused him of preaching a gospel of grace and freedom from the law in order to please the Gentiles, so he could be more “popular” amongst the people. Paul insisted that his desire was to please God only. He reminds his opposition of the man he once was, and it is only through a direct experience he had with Jesus Christ, (on his way to Damascus), in which the true gospel of God was revealed to him. And now his one mission was to please God and share this revelation of the true gospel to everyone!

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Please an audience of One.

More than often, I get caught up with what others may think of me. I struggled with this way too many times as a youth. I often fell into peer pressure just to try to fit in with a crowd. Some of the things I would do are things I’m not too proud of either. Fast forward to the present time. I still find myself struggling with these issues. Now like Paul, I too know my mission in life that God has given me, a mission of multiplying Christ Followers everywhere (Matthew 28:18-20). But I hate to admit, sometimes I cower in those situations. The Holy Spirit will tell me to pray for someone, or provide an opportunity for me to share the gospel, and instead of boldly following God, I am passive and get too concerned what others around may think or say. “What a weirdo!”, or “He’s one of those Jesus freaks!” they may say. But this verse reminds me who cares what others may think or say?! There is only One person I should really care about pleasing. Am I doing whatever it takes to make sure that happens?

 

Life Application

Here is verse to ponder on this morning:

“But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.”-Matthew 10:33 

That verse may strike home really hard for some of us. But here is a verse that should encourage you:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”-2 Timothy 1:7

I pray that we can all walk out our faith in this world being courageous and bold like Paul did. That we use every opportunity given to us, whether it’s an ideal situation or not, to share the gospel of Christ to others. May our father in Heaven welcome us in by name, and tell us “Good job my good and faithful servant.” All glory and honor to our God in Heaven! Amen.  

-Moses Gaddi

 



Psalm_82

Scripture – What stood out?

PSALM 82:1

God has taken his place in the divine council;

    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

 

Observation – What does it say?

Another psalm of Asaph. This fairly short psalm has one major theme: its cry for justice on behalf of those who are being oppressed by the wicked.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Initially when I read this psalm I glossed over the two lower case “gods” (NIV has the quote marks around it, I was reading ESV which does not) which appear in verse 1 and verse 6. When I read it again my slightly sarcastic mind-voice had taken over…”You guys think you are “gods”?…And I knew that didn’t sound like God the father!

 

After reading several commentaries the majority interpretation was that God was referring to us(humans) as gods in the sense that we were very much like Him. In the second half of verse 6 He says, “…you are all sons of the Most High.” (sons I believe is understood to mean all genders in this case)

 

I remember growing up whenever my father disciplined me as a child he would without fail tell me how hard it was for him to have to do this. That he loved me so much that wished he didn’t have to discipline me. I also remember my father repeatedly telling me how he prayed fervently that his sons would look just like him when we came out of the womb.

 

And so as I read Psalm 82:1 again, I read it with the lens of a loving Father who really doesn’t want to have to discipline us. Because we remind Him of Him. God loves us of this I have no doubt. And it is out of his love he disciplines us. It is out of His righteousness that He applies His justice. And it is out of His grace that He grants mercy.

 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

 

I believe that God looks at us much like my father looked upon me. I can still see the love in his eyes as he would retell me the story of how much he wanted his sons to be like Him. I can still see the love in his eyes as he explained to me how much he disliked having to discipline me. 

 

I believe when God judges “in the midst of gods” he is reminding us that we remind Him of Him, that he loves us, and that He does not enjoy having to discipline us.

 

Today I choose to look in the mirror and say out loud “ I am an image bearer of God and God loves me.”

 

I praise and worship you Lord!

 

-kenneth lee

 



Mark 15

Scripture

‭‭Mark‬ ‭15:31-32‬ ‭

“The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Theelders, leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the entire high council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They accused Jesus of various bogus crimes. They asked Pilate to take Jesus into custody and demanded that Jesus be crucified for his crimes. Although Pilate found that no crimes were committed on Jesus’ part, and soon realized that the leading priests had Jesus arrested out of jealousy, Pilate ultimately caved in to the crowds’ persuasion, and had Jesus crucified.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
It wasn’t nails that held Jesus up on that cross, it was love.
From being flogged with a lead tipped whip, spit on, mocked, beaten, taunted, and ultimately crucified, Jesus had to endure so much even before reaching Calvary. Why though? He was in fact God incarnate. He could have easily done what the crowd was mocking him to do, which was to save himself and come down from the cross that day. But Jesus was on a mission. It was to fulfill God’s will, not his. The whole world’s sins would be placed on him that day, and Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to fulfill God’s requirements. The bloodshed of the lamb without any blemish. His blood covered this world’s sins. Jesus paid the debt he did not owe because we had a debt we could not pay. Jesus’ love for us kept him on that cross that day. He knew God’s desire for an eternal relationship with mankind. A relationship with a mankind that is so sinful, and a God who is so Holy. And the only way that was going to happen is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Now if only mankind would put their trust and faith in Jesus, that relationship would be restored.
 
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”-‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Who said life was going to be easy?!
 
Life is filled with its ups and downs. Life is never easy. No one ever said that it would be. What makes us think we can go through life without any hardships and pains, when God did not even shield His one and only Son from them? But take heart! Put your faith and trust in Jesus. He is on our side! Jesus has overcome the world and even overcome death so that all who put their faith and trust in him can do the same!
 
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”-‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_80

Scripture

 

Psalm ‭80:3

 

“Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The author of this psalm, (Asaph), is pleading to God to show His glory, reveal His mighty hand, and rescue Israel from the constant sorrow and oppression they are in. As a matter of fact, the author uses this same exact verse three times in this chapter (verses 3, 7, and 19)! To me, it shows the seriousness of their situation. It shows the desperation and need of Israel to have a spiritual revival and awakening. One so great that it can turn the tides of their situation in a way that the people repent from their sinfulness towards God and never look back.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
There are two “A’s” needed for a revival to happen: Admission and Acceptance.
 
In order for Israel to make change in their situation, they needed these two “A’s” to happen in their lives. They needed to Admit their wrong doings, and they needed to Accept the fact that they cannot do it alone and they need God’s guidance and help. The fact that they turned their backs on God, and tried to do things their way is what caused them to be in the situation they were in. Now don’t get me wrong, they are still God’s children, His chosen ones, but there are still consequences for their sinful actions. We serve a God who is just, but He is also gracious and forgiving. Israel needs to turn back to God, rely on His strength, and not their own, and then God will reveal His presence and power in their lives.
 
“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.”-‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭
 
“I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.”
Habakkuk‬ ‭3:2‬
 
Life Application
 
Are you in need of a revival?..Seek God first!
 
Father God I pray for revival in this world. I pray for a spiritual awakening. I pray that this world sees its faults, admits their mistakes, and accepts your invitation in their lives. May You reveal Yourself in a way that changes their lives for the better Lord. May we all see that we can’t do it alone…We need YOU! May Your people stand in the gaps for their loved ones, neighbors, and friends. May we unite to pray for their salvation. May You bring the change this world so desperately needs. In Your Holy and precious Name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
‭‭


Psalm_79

Scripture 
 

Psalm 79:8-9 & 13  Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us;

Let Your compassion come quickly to meet us, For we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake…So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks to You forever; To all generations we will tell of Your praise.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

“Asaph is featured prominently in Chronicles. He is described as the chief of the Levites appointed to minister before the ark of the Lord, and he and his brothers are appointed to sing the songs of thanksgiving to the Lord (1Chr 16:4-7)” (bibleodyssey.org).  This psalm dates to the time of Israel’s exile and the captivity of Judah by Babylon (near 600 BC).  It is a prayer for the forgiveness of Israel and for God’s judgement on their neighboring countries who have dealt harshly with them.  Israel suffered exile because of the continued sins over generations.  Asaph prays for God’s people to be brought near to His glory, so His great name will go forth for generations to come.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Not that long ago, I found a piece of my sports equipment broken and hiding in our backyard (it was so important to me that I don’t even remember what it was).  I had a sneaking suspicion that one of my boys had used it and accidentally broken it.  But, instead of coming clean about the issue, they tried to hide it and act as if it hadn’t happened.  While normally I could go a little off the deep end about these types of incidents, I was able to gather myself this time and ask what happened calmly.  A little to my surprise, it wasn’t a straight disaster when the item broke.  The boys had a minor problem and tried to fix it, which unfortunately made the problem irreparable.  Embarrassed, they put the item somewhere that they thought I wouldn’t see it.

Sometimes, we act the same way with our sins.  God gives us directions on how to live, but then we try to shortcut those plans or act as though we can do it better.  In our pride, when we totally fail we try to hide it, usually with another bad decision.  In time, we have walked so far from what God intended for us and are paying the price for it.  These are the times when we need to come to God with humility and cry out, “Draw me back to you.”  We, like Paul, are often at odds with our own body.  “ I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.  For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members”(Romans 7:21-23).  In these times, we must learn to rely on the Holy Spirit.

 

Life Application 

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)  Through God, we are more than conquerors.  In him we will not only move past our sin, but we will also overcome death and be wrapped up in His glory for all time, “for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”(Acts 17:28).  God help me to rely on this fully everyday and live as your child, not as a slave to sin.    


-Tyler Galloway