Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

1 Corinthians_13

Scripture 

1 Corinthians 13:3

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Observation – What does it say?

This has become one of the most famous chapters in all of the Bible; quoted at most weddings and portions of it are found hanging on many living room walls; it has been dubbed “The Love Chapter.” And it’s famous for a reason. Love is a word we throw out all over the place. “I love my wife,” “I love pizza,” “I love the beach.” But what does love really mean? What is it? Here we find what it is. And more than that, how important it is. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Often times I’ll find myself doing the right thing, but not necessarily for the right reason. I’ll give to someone because I feel like I should, not because I love the person I’m giving to. I’ll sacrifice what I want for someone else so that I don’t have to hear them complain, not because I love them. But there is no gain, no reward, for me in any of those situations! Why? I’m doing the right thing, aren’t I?

What matters to God isn’t just what you do, it’s the heart with which you do it. 

Love is what makes our voice pleasing and powerful; it’s what makes us something, valuable; it’s what leads to great reward.

Life Application

Ask God to fill us with more of his heart! 

God, please fill us with your heart of love. A heart that so loves you and so loves others to the point that verses 4-6 describe our lives and actions. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and have no reward because my heart wasn’t right. Please change our hearts where they need to be changed! Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 


1 Corinthians_12

Scripture

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Observation

1 Corinthian 12 speaks to spiritual gifts – poured out in abundance on the Corinthian church.  A little bit of context, though the gifts “abounded in the church of Corinth, [they] were greatly abused.”  So, Chapter 12 starts with a little bit of education; since, as verse 1 says, “I do not want you to be uninformed.”

Understanding

From Him and for Him.

Perhaps the most important thing – and perhaps why It is mentioned first – is that the gifts were distributed by God.  Those in the church had been greatly blessed.  Blessed by God with these gifts…yet using them for their own gain.  So the first reminder was that, though there are many different gifts, the source was the same: God. 

He goes on to share that though there are many different ways to use their spiritual gifts, the most important is actually about using them for Him. 

And finally, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate that through these gifts, God is at work!  It may not look the way we imagined, but if we are moving in boldness in the direction God has called us to, we can trust that His use of our gifts are likely far greater than anything we can come up wth!

Life Application

God, I thank you for the spiritual gifts that you’ve given me.  May I always remember their source – YOU.  May I build others up – seeing all gifts as from you and for you.   And may I  recognize where you are work, seek ways to partner with you and open myself to be used by you in every moment and interaction today.  In your name I pray!  Amen.

 

– Rei

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



Psalm_100

Scripture

Psalm 100:4-5 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Observation– What does it say?

This Psalm was written as a hymn for the temple.  The “gates” are the gates of the temple, and this was likely to accompany a thank offering.  

Understanding– What does it mean? 

I was speaking with a man the other day that was clearly upset with me.  I knew this when he asked me about my goofy smile, but he asked using a few expletives.  The only thing I could think at the time was, “I am always smiling.”  This got me to thinking about why it is that I am always smiling.  My closest guess is that, over time, I am learning to truly embrace the joy that comes with God’s never ending grace.

That’s not to say that everyday is like Disneyland.  Much like everyone else, I still encounter the same trials and tribulations.  The difference has been the perspective that I gain when viewing life’s problems in comparison to God’s love and forgiveness.  This allows me to calmly accept the good with the bad, like when my A/C stops working.  Where I once would have had a minor temper tantrum and destroyed everything in my path, I now have the realization that it will pass and I will probably never think about it when I am spending eternity in heaven.

I find that when I bring my focus on Jesus, joy and happiness follow everything I do a little easier.  Much like Paul encouraged us to do in 1 Corinthians 10:31, let us go fourth and do what we do for His glory.  Even if what we do means we are smiling when someone is cussing us out.

Life Application

Jesus, I love you.  Your love and grace are overwhelming to me.  You make my cup overflow, and you give me rest in times of chaos.  Help me to go out and share your love with others in a tangible way, so that I may win some for you.
 
– Tyler Galloway
 



1 Corinthians_10

Scripture

1 Corinthians 10:3-5-

3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Observation-What does it say?
 
This speaks about the issue of idolatry and pride in a Believer’s life, not an unbeliever’s life to be clear. As the passage points out, some of Israel were faithful to God, but “God was not pleased with most of them” (vs. 5) because of their idolatry and sin. There were consequences as a result of their actions. Scripture points out the following in verses 8-10:

Some committed sexual immorality-the consequence: in one day, 23,000 of them died.

Some tested Christ- the consequence: they were killed by snakes.

Some grumbled- the consequence: they were killed by the destroying angel.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Learn from the mistakes of the past. Learn from the idolatry and consequences of Israel. It’s better to do things right the first time, than suffer the consequences of unwise choices.

Galatians 6:7-Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even our sin because He died for us WHILE we were sinners (Romans 5:8). However, there are consequences to sin and consequences for children of God are inescapable as a result of loving discipline from our Heavenly Father.

Whenever I discipline my kids, I always remind them that I’m doing it because I love them. I tell them that if I didn’t love them, then I wouldn’t discipline them. I learned that method of parenting from my Heavenly Father. (Please see Hebrews 12:5-11)

Life Application
 
Let us learn from the mistakes of other believers and the consequences of their sin, but at the same time, don’t allow the enemy to gain a foothold because of pride.

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Basically, don’t believe the lie that we are too faithful to fall. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been a Christian for less than a year or 30 years. None of us are immune to temptation; however, God is faithful and will always provide a way out as we pursue purity and develop safeguards to be above reproach. None of us have to fall prey to the enemy’s lies because we are no longer slaves to sin. We are free from sin and slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). Thank You Jesus!

Dear Lord, idolatry and pride are deadly combinations as Your Word pointed out. Thank You for not sugar coating the Scriptures, but revealing the good, bad and ugly of the past so that we can learn from it. I pray for humility of heart to apply what we learn through Your Word, through other believers and also through the discipline You lovingly provide us throughout our lives as we are shaped more into Your image. May You get all the honor and glory as we live our lives set apart for You alone. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_98

Scripture
 
Psalms 98: 8-9
 
“Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, the writer speaks of the day when the world rejoices! The day when God returns and brings judgment to the earth. It will be a day when evil, sickness, sin, pain, and heartache end. A day when the new heavens and earth are established. A day for those who love God are able to dwell in His presence for eternity. A reason for the whole world to give praise!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
This world we live in now is just a temporary dwelling place.
 
The book of Revelation speaks of the new dwelling place that God’s children will be inhabiting upon His return:
 
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
Revelation‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
It’s a day we, that follow Christ, look forward to. A day of praise and rejoicing! A day when God brings back order to things. It is a great reminder to me that the world I am living in now is just a temporary “stopping ground”, and that there is so much more that awaits me because I choose to follow Jesus!
 
Life Application
 
I am a citizen of Heaven!
 
My citizenship is in Heaven, not in this world. I need to remember that although I am from this world, that I am not of this world. Jesus calls me to be set apart from this world, to be holy, so that is what I choose to be.
 
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”-1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
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1 Corinthians_8

Scripture

1 Corinthians 8:1b

But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

Observation – What does it say?

The Corinthian Christ-followers had been struggling with what to do regarding things scripture wasn’t clear about. Can you eat meat that’s been sacrificed to an idol? To some it seemed wrong, as if they would be somehow participating in this idol worship. To others it seemed fine because in their hearts they knew they only worshiped the one true God. Paul sets the stage for how to handle these situations: in love.

Understanding – What does it mean?

As Christ-followers, we should be most concerned with building others up in love.

Sometimes it’s better to refrain from doing something you believe to be acceptable, for the sake of other believers who have different convictions. Romans 14 goes into more detail on these issues Scripture isn’t explicitly clear about, saying that we must follow our convictions. If we are convinced something is wrong but do it anyway, we sin. If another person is convinced the same thing is acceptable and they do it, it isn’t sin for them. 

So the point is, we should love others enough to refrain from doing what we’re free to do, if doing it will embolden them to join you and sin. For us, maybe it’s not considering not eating meat sacrificed to idols, but refraining from watching the rated R movie or drinking alcohol when believers who see problem with those things are present.

Life Application

God, please fill my heart with your love. I desire love more than knowledge. I desire to deeply carry people in my heart more than my freedom to do certain things. Break my heart! Fill my heart with love! With compassion! With empathy! In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Corinthians_6

Scripture

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

Observation – What does it say? 

In chapters five and six, Paul discusses some of things to avoid as Christians.  At the end of chapter six, he explains our liberties and the way we can use and abuse them.  In verse twelve, Paul is likely quoting a member of the congregation in a tongue and cheek way.  Although we have freedom in Christ, we are not to be mastered by anything.  Our bodies our a part of our whole spiritual journey from sinful to someday being complete in heaven.

Understanding – What does it mean? 

When I was about nine or ten, I remember being at a friends birthday party that was a slumber party.  That night we had a feast of pizza and ice cream and I feasted as though I had never seen before.  And shortly after I finished my twelfth piece of pizza and fourth scoop of ice cream my body let me know that I had consumed too much of a good thing.  As an adult, I learned how to control my cravings when it comes to food.  I even learned that I often feel better when I consume foods that come from the ground instead of from a laboratory.  I have developed a craving for what is truly healthy.  

In the same way, we all need to learn to crave Christ like vegetables.  Only Christ can truly satisfy what our souls are thirsty for.  In Romans 8, Paul tells us that if we are living according to the spirit then we need to die to the flesh.  Given that we will someday live forever, whether it be connected to God through Christ or separated from him through death, I want to choose to fill myself with God’s spirit and not fill up on the material things of this lifetime.

Life Application 

Holy Spirit, I ask you to guide me everyday to be closer to what God has intended for me.  Lead me in every aspect of my life, because I don’t even know how to pray.  When I rise in the morning, help me to seek you, and when I lie in bed at night, may your praise be on my lips.
 
– Tyler Galloway


1 Corinthians_5

Scripture
 
1 Cor 5:9-12-

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Observation-What does it say?
 
In this passage, the church was becoming tolerant of sin. They were taking sin lightly and it was having a negative effect on the Body. As a result, Paul gave his exhortation about what they were to do about the immorality and sin present in the church. He made it clear that he was not talking about judging non believers and separating from them, but rather those who claimed to be believers, yet were living in rebellion.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Church discipline is a necessary part of the church and should not be looked at in a negative fashion.

Church discipline is required in order to protect the rest of the Body of Christ. Sin is like a cancer that can spread if not dealt with in a Biblical fashion.

Church discipline is also a result of love for the believer because we do not desire for them to walk down the path of rebellion against the Lord.  Just as Hebrews 12 speaks about God disciplining those He loves, church discipline is an act of love.

I read a really good book about someone in leadership who had a moral failure and the steps the church took to restore that person back into the family. There were consequences as a result of her sin, like the lost of her job at the church and her relationship at the time; however, because of how the church loved her and because she humbled herself to the point to going through the process of restoration (instead of running away from it or feeling like a victim and allowing pride to make her angry), her lost relationship with the man she loved was restored, that man also rededicated his life to Christ and she is back in ministry as a Pastor, book writer, and huge influencer for the Kingdom. The end result could have been worse if not for her church’s process of discipline and restoration and her humble response to it.

Life Application
 
We must change our mindset about church discipline.

We must be humble enough to accept church discipline when necessary. Or if anyone who claims to be a believer in the church is in rebellion, we cannot be afraid to gently confront that person in sin because we love the Church and the individual too much to allow Satan to have a foothold.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, You loved us and the Church so much that You died for our sins and resurrected from the grave so that we would be free from sin and death, not continue in it. I pray for humility to turn from sin when confronted by another believer about it, rather than defensiveness. I also pray that we would not fear when the Holy Spirit convicts us to confront a brother or sister in sin. Please give us strength and may we be gentle and loving in our approach when you lead us to bring their sin to light. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Leviticus_3

Scripture
 
Leviticus‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭NLT
 
“If you present an animal from the herd as a peace offering to the Lord, it may be a male or a female, but it must have no defects. Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Then Aaron’s sons, the priests, will splatter its blood against all sides of the altar. The priest must present part of this peace offering as a special gift to the Lord. This includes all the fat around the internal organs, the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These must be removed with the kidneys, and Aaron’s sons will burn them on top of the burnt offering on the wood burning on the altar. It is a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The book of Leviticus is centered around one theme…holiness. How can unholy people have a relationship with a Holy God? In this chapter of Leviticus, Moses gives detailed instructions to the Levites. Moses instructs them specifically on how to properly make a peace offering to God. The whole purpose behind these things were to teach the Israelites how to be holy before God. To teach them the importance of worship, sacrifices, and offerings. To convince them that God’s ways were what’s best for them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Ultimately it was God’s sacrifice that deemed us holy.
 
“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”-Hebrews‬ ‭10:10
 
I’m sure we all saw the foreshadowing and parallels of how the Israelites were made holy through the sacrifice and bloodshed we read in this chapter. The unblemished lamb that was brought to the slaughter. The blood that was spilled so that they may be made right in God’s eyes. And how Jesus, the One with no sin (unblemished), shed His blood on the cross for the world to be made right with God (for those who believe). God already had a plan set up from the beginning. He knew what He had to do so that unholy people like you and I, can have a relationship with Him. He had to give His best. He gave us His one and only son, Jesus.
 
Life Application
 
God gave us His best. It’s only right that I give Him mine.
 
While studying this chapter, I learned that back in those times, the fat of an animal was the prized portion of meat. So when the worshipers burned the fat and the kidneys of the animal at the altar, they were giving God their best. This act of worship created a sweet aroma to the Lord, and it pleased God.
 
The Israelites were given specific instructions to give God their best. Give God the fat of the animal, and make sure the animal was unblemished. God made sure to do the same when He made His sacrifice. I couldn’t help but think, am I giving God my best? Am I giving God my best in my time, tithes and offerings, ministry, and worship?
 
Lord, forgive for not giving You what You deserve…my best. I know I can let the busyness of this world take my best away from You. Lord give me the heart, desire, and passion to give You my best. I don’t want You to get the leftovers of my day. May You be first in everything in my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_92

Scripture

Psalm 92:14

They will still bear fruit in old age,

    they will stay fresh and green,

Observation – What does it say?

Speaking of those who are righteous – those who live by faith and do what is right –  the psalmist declares that their fruitfulness doesn’t have an expiration date. As long as they have breathe in their lungs, God still desires to use them to produce kingdom fruit.

Understanding – What does it mean?

This verse is so encouraging to me! Christians aren’t like electronics. We don’t become obsolete with age, but rather are still useful to God, fruitful, fresh and green even decades after making the decision to follow Christ. There is no room for a retirement mentality for a Christ-follower. A mentality that says, “I’ve put in my time and now it’s time for the younger generation to serve,” doesn’t align with scripture. If you’ve been serving God for decades, you should be producing just as much fruit now as any point before in your journey with God.

Galatians 5:22-23,25

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control…25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

That is the fruit we are to be producing, and the encouragement is that if we still live by the Spirit, we should be keeping in step with the Spirit, not sipping ice tea in our easy chair, reminiscing of the good old days when we saw God at work.

Life Application

Don’t slow down! Will you read this prayer out loud with me?

God, I choose to believe that the rest of my life is going to be the best of my life! I believe my best experiences with you are yet to come! My fruitfulness isn’t over. I celebrate what you have done, but also choose today to press on to take hold of that for which you have taken hold of me. Thought outwardly I may be wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day. God, today once again, I lay my life at your feet. Take me deeper and farther than I ever thought possible. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson