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!
 

Colossians 3

Scripture

Colossians 3:23

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

Observation

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

Understanding

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

Life Application

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

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

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Colossians_2

Scripture  

Colossians 2:11-12 

In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing this letter to the church in Colossae, which is in modern day Turkey.  They were apparently dealing with the church accepting and implementing influences and beliefs from other religions and philosophies, known as syncretism.  The church in Colossae included Jews, Greeks, and people native to the area called Phrygians.  And so they were beginning to practice traditions such as circumcision, food-laws, religious festivals and the worship of angels.  These things were deterring from the central message of dependence on Christ, who is the author and perfecter of our faith.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

In my short time at bible college, I loved to learn about the church history.  We learned about the different icons of the Christian faith and their significance.  We learned about the buildings and the dates when they were built, as well as the significance of the shape of the building.  For example, the shape in which churches were built were in the shape of a cross, with the intention of encouraging one to think about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  As well as a church building having a vaulted area, which was meant to draw your eyes upward toward heaven.  And the pictures in the stained glass window were intended to help illustrate the story, for the parishioners that could not read. 

Unfortunately, I have retained very little of the real valuable information that was given to me in that time.  But the idea of the symbolism has always stuck with me.  The bible is full of uses of metaphor and symbolism that draw us to an understanding of our reality with Christ.   Communion is a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  Baptism is used as a symbol of our death to sin and rebirth in Christ.  These things are used as a reminder of our spiritual position and the future glory when we leave this world behind.

I remember my baptism.  I was in the sixth grade, and I was baptized in the same tub that sits in the front of the sanctuary now.  Many others have been baptized in it since.  My baptism was my public statement of how I intended to live, as a devoted follower of Jesus.  Have I made mistakes and sinned since then?  Absolutely, but I can always look at that as the a reference point in my life where I made the commitment to continually die to my sin.  

Paul gives us this explanation in Romans 6:  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? …Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Life Application

Jesus, there is not a day that goes by that I can comprehend the breadth of your love.  Your mercies are new everyday.  While I don’t intend to sin, I know I fall short everyday.  Help me to live with courage everyday.  To fall more deeply in love with you, and to express that love with my actions.  

-Tyler Galloway



Deuteronomy_6

Scripture 

Deuteronomy 6:11b-12

…when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Observation – What does it say?

Deuteronomy is a series of speeches that Moses gives to the people of Israel. And in this portion he is urging the Israelites to love God, which he makes clear is done by obeying God’s commands. And as they are careful to love and obey God, it will set them up for a great, long life in the Promised Land. 

Embedded in this talk of love and obedience is a very strong warning: Once in the Promised Land and enjoying all it has to offer, be careful not to forget God and what he has done for you.

Understanding – What does it mean?

If you aren’t careful, Comfort + Time = Forgetfulness.

I have been saved for 17 years. And while life hasn’t been free of struggles and challenges, it is nothing like my life before when I was dead in my sins, hopeless, angry, addicted, lonely and depressed!

As we also read in Colossians today, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”

When God encountered me, saved me, rescued me, I was filled with so much joy and love and gratitude toward God I couldn’t contain it! All I wanted to do was be with him, to please him, to worship him. Since that first day, I have found that the more emotionally in touch I am with those memories the more my heart is filled with love and gratitude toward God. 

However, after 17 years, it can be a challenge to remain in touch with what life was like before God rescued me. Without being intentional to frequently relive those experiences their memory grows stale and faded and, along with it, my love and gratitude toward God.

Life Application

Be careful not to forget all God has done for me!

The best way to do this is to retell my story. Tell others my story, recount it alone before God and give thanks, write it down to re-read later. 

God, I never want to lose sight of who I was before you saved me. I never want to get so comfortable with where I am that I forget I don’t deserve any of it. I want to live in continual awareness of what you’ve done for me, and for it to fuel the most radical love and passion for you! Remind all of us today of what you’ve done, and help us not to forget it. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Philippians_4

Scripture
 
Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT
 
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing the Philippians from prison of all places! Paul is the one who is reminding them to stand united in Christ, to be joyful in the Lord, and to constantly be praying to God about everything. If anyone should be feeling anxious and worried, or down and out, it should be Paul. But he continues to fight the good fight, and finds his purpose from Jesus.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Is life bringing you down? Then pray!
 
In this passage Paul reminds us to bring our worries and concerns to God. Then, and only then can you experience God’s peace.
 
I remember when I was a little boy and whenever something had me feeling anxious, and I began to worry, I would always take those concerns to my parents. Now they weren’t always able to fix my problems or even take me out of the troublesome situation, but they always found a way to calm me down with a gentle touch and some encouraging words. I knew that everything was going to be alright. I knew that once I shared my worries with them, I no longer had to worry about them. That they knew what I was going through, and they had my back no matter what. It made me feel like I can continue on with my day, and move on in life.
 
I believe it’s the same with God. We are His children. We can come to Him for anything. No problem is too big or too small. But we have to seek Him out in prayer. We need to receive His encouragement through reading His Word. We need to trust and believe that there is no problem that He can’t handle. We need to give it all to God. Then we will find the peace in our lives that only those who know Christ can experience.
 
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30
‬ ‭
Life Application
 
Just do your best, let God handle the rest!
 
It’s a motto I live by. It reminds me to not worry about the things in life that are out of my control. All I can do is my best over the things I do have control over. Give the rest to God, and let Him handle the rest!
 
Father God thank You for always having time for me. Thank You for always hearing my prayers. Lord, You are almighty and I give You all my problems and concerns to carry. May You give me strength today to do my very best for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Deuteronomy_4

Scripture

Deuteronomy 4:39-40 NIV

“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.”

Observation-What does it say?

Moses is urging the Israelites to keep the commandments of the Lord and told them the outcome of their obedience.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Without the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives and His commandments to protect us, life would be utter chaos.

On Sunday, Pastor gave us an introduction into the life of Ruth. The back story was that Judah did not have an anointed leader, but was ruled by judges. These judges were corrupt and as a result, people started doing what was wise in their own eyes. 

Rewind to this chapter in Deuteronomy. Moses was urging the Israelites to keep the commandments of the Lord to prevent chaos and confusion that would happen in the future, which ended up happening anyway because Israel turned their back on the Lord. That’s a whole different story for another day though.

If Israel had kept the commands of the Lord and didn’t make idols for themselves, imagine the bad consequences that would have been prevented for that nation. 

Life Application

Obey His commandments and be led by His Word and the Holy Spirit. Do not rely on the flesh.

It is important to note and remind us all that we do not live enslaved to the law, but rather to Jesus Christ. The law keeps us in bondage, but Jesus gives us freedom, through His Holy Spirit, to obey His commands. (Please read what Paul says in Philippians 3 which was part of our reading today as well.)

Knowing that we are free from bondage to the law, it is also important to remember that when we accepted His invitation for salvation, we live by the Spirit who helps us follow His commands. Please see these New Testament scripture references about obeying His commands in Matthew 5, John 14 and 1 John 5. Let’s allow His Word to speak for itself. 

John 14:15-18, 21, 23-24 NIV-

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you……Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”……Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

Matthew 5:16-20 NIV-

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

1 John 5:1-5 NIV-

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your Holy Spirit who enables us to follow Your commandments. Thank You that Your Word says that Your commands are not burdensome. I believe this to be true because of Your promise to never leave us or forsake us through Your Holy Spirit. We grab hold of your promise that our good deeds will cause others to glorify You in Heaven. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi 



Philippians_2

Scripture 
 
Philippians 2:3-4
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.  
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the Philippians – the people of Philippi in Greece, which is said to be the location of the first Christian community established in Europe. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As I read this I thought “what a diametrically opposed way to living to what we see today.” But, as I continued, it sounds like it was just as much in opposition back then. 
 
V 21 “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
 
So, perhaps, things have not changed much. People were selfish then as they are now. However, God’s character and call to His followers have not changed either. We are to live differently – to maintain humility, be obedient (even to death), honor others, “do everything without complaining or grumbling, so that [we] become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation’” (v 14-15). 
 
Life Application
 
May we “shine…like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (v 15-16). 
 
God, help me to look to your interests first, not my own. Help me to be an example of your character today – humble, loving, kind, patient, etc. Give me your eyes and your heart for those I meet today.  Amen.  
 
-Rei


Philippians_1

Scripture

Philippians 1:29 

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul is writing to members of the church in Philippi, a city in the northern part of Greece.  In this opening part of the letter, Paul encourages the Philippians to be unified in the cause of Christ.  In this encouragement he points out that, as members of the body of Christ, we will be united with him in suffering.  And so, we ought to act in a manner as worthy of this calling.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

I have never really been a typical sports fan.  My Sundays have never been devoted to watching grown men, wearing tights, fight over a ball.  No, my spectating has mostly been centered around the boring sports.  I prefer to watch men battle it out step for step, or pedal stroke for pedal stroke, over a long grueling course.  I have never really dreamed of being on the fifty yard line, but of being at the top of Le Alpe d’Huez.  Le Alpe d’Huez, in France, climbs over three thousand feet in approximately nine miles, and includes more than twenty one switch-back turns.  It has been made famous by names like Merckx, Hinault, and Pantani.  It is a climb that has been a part of Le Tour d’France regularly since 1952.  

Maybe it’s a little sadistic, but when I watch the people racing up this mountain I love the look, the grimace, the determination, the look of a man set not only on conquering an obstacle, but also tearing apart his competitors.  At the top of the mountain, it is the one who prepared to suffer better that is the victor.  When we look at the history books, we often don’t consider the time spent to prepare to suffer.  In the case of Le Alpe d’Huez, we see the forty minutes or less of suffering, and the glory that follows.

I can only hope for the same of my life.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  In comparison to eternity, this life is but a flicker, but it gives us an opportunity to prepare for the glory which we can have with Jesus.  I want my life to resemble the words of Paul later on in his letter to the Corinthians, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Life Application 

Jesus, I want to prepare my suffer a little bit better.  Help me to take joy in diving deeper into your word.  When I am tired or distracted, give me the grace to hear your voice.  Give me strength to overcome the things that entangle me.  Help me to discern when you are guiding me.

-Tyler Galloway



Deuteronomy_1

Scripture

Deuteronomy 1:6b-7a

“You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…”

Observation – What does it say?

The Israelites had been camped out at Mount Sinai, in Horeb, for a considerable amount of time on their way to the Promised Land. Although it wasn’t the ultimate destination, this stop along the way had been filled with amazing things. They had seen God come down in a cloud around the mountain, they had all heard his audible voice and God had given them the 10 commandments. 

It could be tempting to settle in this place where such great things had taken place, and they had. But after a time God reminds them of the Promised Land and commands them to pack up and advance.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Don’t settle for less than what God intends!

It is our tendency to grow complacent over time, living off of yesterday’s encounters with God. Our focus drifts to the past and rather than pursuing new encounters and deeper intimacy with God.  We fondly remember the “good old days.” 

Where is our passion for God?! Where is our zeal for the mission he’s given us?! God is calling to many of us, like he called to the Israelites, “You have been where you are for long enough! Break camp and advance! I’ve promised you so much more, called you to so much more. Shake off your apathy and stir yourself up to pursue me!”

Their problem wasn’t that they were waiting on God to do something. Rather, God had put the ball in their court and he was just waiting on them to take possession of the land he had already given them.

Life Application

My grandpa once said, “Make sure and receive everything the Father wants to give you.” Heaven, like life, will give you what you settle for. I sense God beckoning me to come after him. Adventure awaits. The best is yet to come.

I don’t want to settle for less. God, my desire is to every day lay my life down before you. My desire is to spend every breath pursuing you, loving you and loving others. My desire is to always be growing deeper in my own intimacy with you. Please help us to break free of our apathy and spiritual laziness so that we can experience the fullness of what you’ve made available to us. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Proverbs_3

Scripture
 
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT
 
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The book of Proverbs is a book which hands out wisdom. And I’m not talking about the wisdom you get at the end of a meal in a Chinese restaurant as you open their fortune cookie! I’m talking about wisdom that was passed down to Solomon from God!…TRUE WISDOM! It is wisdom that is meant to bring order out of this chaos we call life. Whether it’s in our finances or friendships, family or faith, this wisdom can restore order and balance in those peoples lives who are willing to humbly accept it and apply it. In this proverb King Solomon is giving out his guidance to the young. Guidance that is pleading for them to trust in the Lord. Trust in His wisdom not our own!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We may think we know better, but we really don’t!
 
In the book of Proverbs, the wise person is humble before the holiness and counsel of God and the experience of others. The foolish are the ones who ignore the wise counsel and persist in making the same faulty choices time after time.
 
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”-‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭9:10‬ ‭
 
I remember when I was in my early twenties I felt invincible. I felt bulletproof and there was nothing in this world that can stop me from doing anything. I felt I knew it all. I was steering away from God’s ways, and doing things my way. (Because who else knows what’s best for me besides me right?) Then life’s storms started to hit me. Bills, finances, friendships, loneliness, and uncertainty hit me. The confidence I once had in myself was gone. I started to question everything I did. I was stuck in a rut. Then one day I looked at my nightstand and saw a gift I have gotten from my dad as a teenager. It was a sailboat. And on the sail of this boat was inscribed the Bible verse of Proverbs 3:5-6. I remember praying to the Lord that night. I rededicated my life to God that night. I surrendered my foolish ways of doing things and began to trust in Him again. And let’s just say my life has been forever changed (for the better) ever since.
Does that mean when I rededicated my life to God that I was immune from life’s troubles? No! I just learned to “trust the process” more. I learned to seek His purposes for me no matter what kind of circumstance was put in. I learned that even in life’s struggles God was always with me. That He was using the situation to grow me, mature me, and mold me to be the man He wants me to be. I learned to trust His ways over my own. Because why not trust the One who has seen it all?
 
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”-‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:13
 
Life Application
 
Trust in God and the experience of the godly people He has placed in your lives.
 
Thank You God for Your wisdom. Thank You for surrounding me with people in my life who taught me about Your ways. Thank You for my parents. Thank You for placing me here at DSC and the amazing leadership here that continues to challenge me to be a better Christ-Follower. Thank You for Your guidance. Lord give me strength to be obedient towards Your will and Your ways. In Your Holy name Jesus, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
‬ ‭


Ephesians_4

Scripture
 
Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭NIV
 
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
‭‭‬‬
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul opens this chapter by encouraging the church to be united as a Body in Christ and to grow up in maturity as they each do the work that Christ has called them to. Paul then gives instructions for Christian living. The one highlighted to me was the last verse, about forgiveness.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Unity in the Body of Christ is impossible without forgiveness.

Paul LOVED the church and he knew what would lead to its disunity and ultimate destruction. He talks about several things such as impurity, greed, unholy living, lies, anger and unwholesome talk (aka slander/gossip). He then brings it back to Christ and reminds the church the importance of being kind, compassionate and forgiving towards each other. He wanted them to remember what Christ sacrificed for them and how Christ loved and forgave them. Healthy churches are forgiving churches.

Luke 17:3-4-Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

Matt. 18:33-35-And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Matt. 6:15-But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses

Life Application
 
Confess to God any unforgiveness or bitterness lingering towards a brother or sister and forgive them from your heart.

Dear Jesus, we pray for Your strength to forgive our family from our hearts. We desire to love and forgive like You do. Teach us Holy Spirit to put aside any differences, anger or bitterness that the enemy would use to divide and destroy us, and instead help us remain united in You. Help us remain united to the mission You have called us each to and to do our part well. Help us to work together as a whole and healthy Body, growing in maturity with You as our Head. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi