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!
 

Luke 2

 

Scripture

Luke 2:49-52 

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”[f] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Observation 

Jesus’ family was in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 

Understanding 

Jesus knew his calling. He was so drawn to being near his calling he left his parents, who were anxiously looking for him, to be where he needed to be. 

But his parents didn’t understand. Maybe their spiritual eyes were not open yet. 

Jesus was only 12 years old. 

He went to Nazareth with his parents and was obedient to them.

I think Jesus grew in wisdom and stature because of his obedience to those who had been given spiritual authority over him, ultimately God was leading him. 

Application 

I think sometimes its like that for us too. Maybe we know there is something we are supposed to be doing. Maybe we can feel it in our bones. 

Sometimes others around you may not see it. It’s ok. 

We are all growing, some of us more mature than others but we are all still growing. 

Sometimes we need to do what God is asking us to do. We may need to “go back” to the last thing God asked of us. It may not be where you will end up but it’s where you need to be, now. 

In that place there is learning. In that place there is training. For the place you will go, later. 

Ultimately, God is leading you. Follow Him. 

 
 
 
 


Luke 1

Scripture

Luke 1: 76-79

And you, my child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
 

Observation

A lot goes down in Luke chapter one. So here’s the nice condensed version:

  • The birth of John is predicted, and his father loses his speech because he can’t believe it
  • The birth of Jesus is predicted (no one loses their speech or virginity there)
  • Mary visits the mother of John, Elizabeth is is far along in her pregnancy
  • Mary gets so excited that she sings a song of adoration
  • John is born, is almost not named John, but then is (his father, Zechariah gets his speech back)
  • Zechariah prophesies over his son, and pretty much gets it all right
 

Understanding

I think it is fair to argue that John has some pretty big shoes to fill. For starters, his parents are pretty well-known in his community so he has to live up to the family name. If that isn’t stressful enough he also has to pave the way for the literal Son of God… no biggie, right? Wrong! If I were John I’m not sure I would know how to cope or deal with the mounting expectation placed on me. But here’s the honest truth: if we are called followers of Christ, we have this same mounting expectation of us.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wait what? I wasn’t born to usher Jesus into the earth. My sole purpose is not to baptize Jesus either…” You may have not been born for those sole purposes, but the moment you gave God the right to tell you what to do, you offered your life as an embodiment of ushering Jesus in. I know that doesn’t make much sense either, let me explain:

My job as a Christ-follower is to bring Jesus to others. I am to usher in the Presence of God wherever I go. There’s no question of whether God is with us, He’s with us the moment that we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. The question is whether or not we’ve created an environment for Him to move in the lives of others. In other words, we are tasked with the same mission that John the Baptist was given when He was born. Daunting, but also an extreme honor to carry.
 

Life Application

So I know I just made all of that sound extremely unattainable and scary, but I promise it isn’t. In order to make room for God to move, we must make time to understand His heart. That means getting familiar with His ways through His word and through prayer. It means actually spending time with people who could use a move of God. It means making yourself available to be used by Him. It means actually knowing Him. A simple start, but it leads to powerful encounters. Let’s be the reason that someone experiences the Presence of God.

-Allison Khan


Proverbs__22

Scripture

Proverbs 22:15 

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.

Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues with sharing his wisdom in Proverbs. King Solomon was King David’s son. I believe that many of his wise counsel came from personal experience, including things his father and/or mother taught him, especially with this verse related to children.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Based on this proverb from God’s Word, children are not born innocent. They are actually born foolish. This is why discipline is necessary. This is why God gave children parents; it was not just to provide for their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, but also to love them and teach them the right way they should go. The only command with a promise in the Word of God is for children to honor and obey their parents. The promise is that life will go well for our children as they trust and obey our wise counsel.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.””
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Prov. 22:6

Life Application

We may no longer be children based on our age in the world’s eyes, but we are still children; children of the King of kings. Therefore, we must take discipline and correction seriously and learn from it.

My favorite line in the hymn “Come thou fount” says, We are prone to wander. We need the guidance of our Heavenly Father, His Holy Spirit, His Word and other Spirit filled people to keep us on the straight and narrow path. We must be willing to accept Truth spoken over our lives and be humble enough to accept it instead of getting defensive about it.

Proverbs 22:4-“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life”

Proverbs 12:1-“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Proverbs 15:31-33-“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.”
‭‭
Dear Lord, thank You that You adopted us into Your family and we are Your children. I pray that we would always come to You with child like faith and humility. I pray we would trust and obey Your Word and also trust the authority and leaders You have placed over us to submit to. May we continually pray for our fellow parents (especially now) who are raising children and also leaders who keep watch over us and who will be giving an account for our lives in Heaven. May their work be a joy and not a burden (Heb. 13:7). I pray for fruit from our labors whether we are parents, spouses, ministry leaders, pastors or all of the above. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi
 


Ephesians__5

Scripture:

Ephesians 5:1-2

Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 

Observation:

Paul is writing to the church of Ephesus, continuing his exhortations from the previous chapter. 

Much of what Paul shares throughout Ephesians is a call to unity in response to newly converted Jews who often separated themselves from their Gentile brethren.

 

Understanding:

It does not say, “Think about God” or “Admire God” or “Adore God,” though those are all important Christian duties. This is a call to practical action, going beyond our inner life with God.  [https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/ephesians-5/]

 

Therefore, our measure of what it is to live a holy life is not one that brings into account what the society of today, cultural norms or what our neighbor or best friends says is ok…our standard is Jesus.  And Jesus’ greatest example was a life of love; that love took the form of healing, praying, providing food, welcoming the outcast, encouraging the downtrodden, extending grace, forgiveness, teaching, etc.

 

Life Application:

Put simply, go love on somebody!  There are many opportunities to do so – even while meeting social distancing requirements.  May we imitate the one who created us, the one who loved us first and share that love with those we know and those we meet.

 

And, if you feel like you’ve got nothing to give, spend some time in worship and gratitude (vs. 19-20) and watch how God will lighten your burden and perhaps reveal someone who may need that love most and/or a way to show that love with what you do have.

Rei



Ephesians___4

Scripture:  Ephesians 4:24-25   and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 

 

Observation-What does it say?:  Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus did not address any particular matter of sin.  Instead, it was written to deepen their understanding of God’s eternal purpose, grace, and the purpose of the church (universal body of Christ).  Through his repeated use of the phrase “heavenly places,” he is developing our understanding that our existence is not just here on earth. “Nevertheless, that life is lived out on earth, where the practical daily life of the believer continues to work out the purposes of God”(Baker, K., et al, 1999).  In chapter four, Paul specifically addresses our unity in Christ and he offers some advice on how to continue to maintain our unity.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean?:  In 1999, the book Jesus Freaks was first published, which was a joint project with the band DC Talk and a ministry called The Voice of Martyrs.  I was in high school at the time and DC Talk was pretty popular, so it was easy to convince me to read the book, even though I am not much of a reader.  The book outlines the lives of several prominent martyrs of the Christian faith. I remember thinking how horrible it was that these people endured such hardships and atrocities, just for maintaining their faith in Jesus Christ.  I also remember thinking, “I am so glad I live in America, and that will never happen to me.”

 

I never thought, in my lifetime, I would live to see a day where the world I live in is so ready to attack the Christian faith.  Our unity has never seemed so important, and telling the truth about our situation must be paramount in this time. Words of encouragement have never been so vital.  But we must not forget that our battle is not against the flesh (Ephesians 6:17), we are to expect a fiery ordeal (1 Peter 4:12-13), and we are not to fear those who can only kill us (Matthew 10:28).

 

Life Application:  Jesus, I want to learn to find joy in sharing your sufferings.  Help me to be encouraging to others, as this time is uncertain, but you are certainly going to care for us.  Your love, oh Lord, is better than all the things we hold dear on earth and it is everlasting.   


-Tyler Galloway



Ephesians _3

 

Scripture 

Ephesian 3 : 16 – 19 


16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


Observation 


Paul is writing to the Ephesians from prison encouraging them to know the love of God. 


Understanding 


This time we are living in is definitely starting to get to me. Being isolated can take a toll on anyone, even on the strongest of people. I cant help to think what Paul must have felt like to be isolated, in some cases for years at a time. And still he wrote from prison encouraging others. In humility, he knew his true condition, “ Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people…”( Eph. 3:8). 


I wondered what was able to keep him going. What brought joy to his heart that he was able to write with such passion from prison? You can hear it in his voice as you read the letter. I can imagine him writing with vigor and excitement. 


I imagine it’s like when two people have fallen in love with each other and you still live separately while you wait to marry. You spoke  on the phone for hours with such passion. You wrote letters filled with joy and excitement. You are unable to see them or live with them but what keeps you filled with joy, what keeps you going … knowing their love for you and your love for them. 


I think it’s knowing God’s love that will keep us going. 


It will keep us going even in the isolation we experience now.
 

Knowing God’s love will keep us going through all challenges that will come our way. 


Application 


I love this passage of scripture. It immediately brought to mind one of my favorite writings from a dear friend of mine who is now with Jesus in heaven. It describes so perfectly how I feel about knowing His love and I hope it does the same for you. 


“My Dream…To know the depth and the height, the heat and the breath of His love. The kind of knowing that weakens my every strength; that distracts and confuses my every thought; that brings me to my knees when I want to stand high; that turns my running to rest; my rambling to silence; my fears to trust.The knowing that makes everything that once was big seem so small, and what was so small become more beautiful than ever before. Knowing that creates laughter, orders madness, moves the sloth, silences the gossip, frees the bound, heals the hurt, protects the child; And so knowing Him and His love is the beginning and end of all things…To dream without it would be a nightmare” – Karen Nita


My hope for myself and you is that we use this time of isolation to get alone with God and to fully know his love for us and our love for him. 

Deborah Lee



Ephesians___2

Scripture
 
Ephesians 2:7
 
“So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
 

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing to the Ephesians, reminding them all about who they were before Jesus Christ. They were dead in their sins. They were dead spiritually and therefore unable to have a relationship with God. They were defiled and unfit for God’s holy presence, living according to their own selfish lusts. By their very nature, they were subject to God’s wrath, and were doomed for eternal destruction. But God, who is rich in mercy, grace, and love, provided a way for all mankind to be saved from His wrath. He gave us His only son, Jesus. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

What story or legacy is my life leaving behind? Is it one that will bring glory and honor to God?

One thing that I learned at a marriage getaway was an illustration on how our marriages were in God’s trophy case. Occasionally, God will take those marriages out of that trophy case, dust them off, and boast about them. Imagine that?! Our God using our marriages or our individual life stories to boast about to others, to tell the wonderful story of how we were once without Him in our lives. How we were once lost, sinful, and on the road to destruction. But then He found us. He transformed our lives to what it is now. Imagine the smile it brings to Him. Imagine the glory and honor it brings Him when the people we do life with see the transformation within us, because only God is the One who can change a sinful, prideful, and lowly man like me, and change me to the man I have become. Praise be to Jesus!

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:10 NLT

“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 NLT

Life Application

Share with someone today something that God has transformed in you.

Father God thank You for loving me while I was still a sinner. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, and the countless times You have forgiven me. May Your Holy Spirit abide in me today. Help me to live a life that is honoring to You. Help me to live my life today in a way that can point to Your amazing grace, mercy, and love. May the life I live and the legacy I leave behind be a great example that You can use to bring glory and honor to Your name for generations to come. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



Isaiah_33

Scripture

Isaiah 33:2-
 
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Isaiah was a prophet to Israel and was speaking to Assyria (who was an enemy of Israel and the church) in Isaiah 33. 

However, verse 2 above “is not to Assyria or about Assyria, but is a prayer of Isaiah. Isaiah is praying for his country, as well as himself. The saddest thing about being a prophet is that they see the danger even before it is there. In a sense, they suffer twice. Once when they see it in a vision or dream, and once when it actually happens.

Isaiah knows how badly they need the grace of God. He is fully aware that the only way of escape is in the salvation of God. (bible-studys.org-Isaiah 33).”

 

Understanding and Life Application 

Prayer intercession for our nation and world is needed, especially now.

Pastor talks about standing in the gap. As Christ followers, we need to continually stand in the gap for our nation and world with this silent Covid-19 enemy and the attacks of the devil that seeks to steal, kill and destroy the hearts and minds of God’s people. 

It’s also important that we ourselves stay connected to the Vine and Abide in Jesus. Standing in the gap with prayer intercession and encouragement to a world that does not have their full hope and trust in Jesus is VERY draining. Stay connected to Jesus. Through the overflow of His love, comfort and generosity, continue to intercede on behalf of this world, not just for healing from Covid-19, but also for surrendered hearts to Christ.

-Michelle Gaddi



Galatians_6

Scripture:

Galatians 6:4-6

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

 

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

 

Observation:

Paul was speaking to the churches scattered through Galatia (a portion of modern Turkey).  It is one of the most important writings of Paul in establishing the importance of Grace compared to the Law.  Paul and salvation by grace alone were under attack by those in churches of Galatia. 

[https://pastorbobcrowder.com/2016/11/04/what-is-the-major-purpose-for-the-book-of-galatians/]

 

Understanding:

I appreciate the simplicity of these verses and their application far beyond the times they were written.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling like I’m doing this whole quarantine thing wrong.  Trying to keep up on home schooling, trying engage the creative minds of myself and the boys beyond the tasks at hand, trying to get outside at least once a day to preserve my sanity and see beyond the four walls of our tiny condo, trying to balance work from home life with parenting with teaching with leading with what feels like a million other things.  And with the easy access to social media, it sometimes seems like everyone else is doing it better! 

 

Galatians 6:4-5 speaks to a much simpler view.  “Make a careful exploration of who [I am] and the work [I] have been given, and then sink myself into that.”

 

My work – the work God has called me to, the people/causes/things God has placed on my heart, the resources and people He has placed around me – is unique to me.  And, quite frankly, my work keeps me busy enough, especially right now.  I can’t get caught up in comparing myself to others.  Instead, I must “take responsibility for doing the creative best [I] can with [my] own life.”

 

The second set of verses encourage us to care for those who have trained us – to provide for their temporal (earthly, temporary) needs.  I don’t know about you, but as I look around Desert Streams Church, there are a lot of people who helped “train” me.  These verses act as instruction to be generous with them – “sharing all the good things that [I] have and experience.”

 

Life Application:

Let’s give ourselves and others some grace.  These are unique, unprecedented, unexpected times that we are all going through.  There is no perfect way to do it, no guideline on how to do it “right.”  But spend time each day with God, let Him direct our steps, then move in that direction.  Focus on the work that He has given – which won’t be more than you can handle, with His love and support surrounding you. 

 

Let’s take time to check on those who have trained us up, those who have supported our spiritual needs and growth.  Let’s be sure their temporal needs are taken care of now. 

 

God, I am grateful that you are bigger than the coronavirus, bigger than severe storms, bigger than earthly chaos, bigger than financial downturns.  May we press in, look for ways to share your love with those we encounter (even if it’s far fewer people now) and for creative ways to share your love in these times of social distancing. 

 

Rei



Galatians___5

Scripture:  Galatians 5:13-14  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

 

Observation:  In writing to the Galatians, Paul is addressing a certain amount of Jewish tradition that had made its way into the church.  When Paul originally preached to those in Galatia, he preached a gospel of repentance and faith. But, some Jewish-Christians later told them God’s grace was secured through these Jewish traditions, like circumcision, and the new Christians were beginning to accept these traditions as truth.  Paul is reminding them that Christ has set us free through the cross. But, this freedom isn’t used as an excuse for continual sin or as a reason to pile requirements onto others. This freedom we have allows us to forget about the past requirements of the law, which frees up time for us to serve others.

 

Understanding:  I can be a little fanatical about things.  I like to consider myself “committed”, but if I am really honest about it, I am more fanatical.  I like to choose one thing and obsess over it until I have completely annoyed everyone around me about it.  For a while as a kid, this obsession was filled with Robin Hood. My obsession was fueled partly by the Disney animated movie of the story and by the archery set I inherited from my dad.  Either way, I was hooked on righteously living on the edge of the law, saving those weaker than me from the evil and oppressive rulers.

 

The other day, I helped a friend move out of his parents’ house.  It was a strange feeling, breaking the rules of “social distancing” to do what was once just a mundane activity.  I felt like the outlaw hero I once admired. I never thought I would live in a time where, even though it’s temporary, my freedoms would be so limited.  Though, it has made me realize how much of my freedom of movement before this was wasted in entertaining myself, and filling my time with pursuits that were primarily selfish.  It wasn’t until the ability to be with others was taken away did I realize how much I appreciate being around them.  

 

This time has brought new meaning to the call to put others before myself.  When it takes more intentionality to maintain unity, it makes me appreciate the freedom I had to meet with Christ’s body.  But, this time has also helped me to become more creative in meeting with God and others.  

 

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to continue to meet with others, even when that has become harder and harder.  Help me to look for unity, even though it feels as though the world is trying to break it down.  Help me to remember it is through your sacrifice that we are made to be one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).       

-Tyler Galloway