Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
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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!
 

Exodus_34

Scripture
 
Exodus‬ ‭34:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Moses was given the 10 commandments (a second time) in this chapter. Exodus 20 was the first chapter where the commandments were mentioned. However, Moses broke the first set of tablets out of anger when he saw the calf the Israelites had made and them dancing and worshipping it. (See Exodus 32:19)

In this chapter, the 4th commandment is mentioned again. It speaks about the Sabbath Day and laboring 6 days, but resting on the 7th.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
All of God’s commandments are important. However, out of all the commandments, the 4th commandment seems to be the one most easily overlooked, neglected and broken. 

We live in a fast paced society where working for more money, stuff, status and acceptance are important and as a result, workaholism is the norm. Our value is placed on what we do instead of who we are. However, even God, the Creator of the Universe, took a day off from his work of creating. He didn’t need it, but He was giving us an example (and Adam an example) for the importance of rest.

“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

We must establish safeguards to protect our Sabbath day of rest.
 
We try to establish safeguards in order to keep from breaking the other commandments, like stealing, adultery, murder, etc. What about a day of rest to the Lord? A Sabbath day of rest should be no different.

Also, it doesn’t matter what day of the week your Sabbath falls on. It doesn’t have to be Saturday or Sunday. It can be in the middle of the week like Tuesday or Wednesday if the weekends tend to be ministry days for you or you work for emergency services such as in the medical field.

Regarding what we are allowed to do on the Sabbath, I used to be very legalistic about it and make sure that all I did was read the Bible, listen to worship music, don’t answer any calls, don’t spend any money, etc. However, I still felt like I was trying to jump through religious hoops and I never felt well rested. Then the Holy Spirit reminded that I can do other things I enjoy too like go to the gym, read a book or go shopping, as long as I was doing it for His glory and remembering Him. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭NLT‬‬
As long as no heavy work or labor was being done, I was still honoring the Sabbath. I like how the NLT version of this verse puts it: “Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭2:27-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

(Just a warning that if you’re always used to being on the go, the enemy will attack during these times of rest and say you are not being productive or are being lazy. He will try to put your worth and value on what you do instead of who you are and who Christ says you are. Don’t listen to his lies. The enemy knows that when we take a rest day with Jesus, we will be more effective at furthering the Kingdom in our homes, workplaces, etc. I’m speaking from personal experience.)

If your workload requires 7 days a week of work, it is time to reevaluate your schedule. A day to refresh and recharge in Him, but also do NO work and rather do things that we enjoy, is important. It is important for our well being, and our spirit longs for these times of rest.
Whether we work in the world or in church ministry or both, it is important to observe a day of rest unto the Lord.

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

Michelle Gaddi


Romans__10

Scripture
 
Romans‬ ‭10:14‬ ‭NLT
 
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul’s heart is for EVERYONE to know God, to be saved, and to find salvation through their faith in Jesus Christ. Paul understands that that can only happen by sharing the good news not only with his Jewish brothers and sisters, but to share it with the Gentiles as well. So Paul writes this letter of encouragement to anyone who is willing to help him carry out God’s mission for the world so that everyone can have the opportunity to not only hear the message, but to receive the message.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
It’s my responsibility as a Christ-Follower to share the Good News with people. It’s Jesus’ responsibility to change people’s hearts.
 
I live by a little saying that goes, “just do your best, and let God handle the rest!” It’s something so simple too. Basically it reminds me to not worry about the things in life that are out of my control. Leave those things to Jesus!.. in prayer!
 
This same concept can be used when sharing the gospel with someone. Most times I shy away from sharing because I’m scared of rejection. What if the person rejects the message I give them? But God just asks me to go out there in the world and to share the gospel. I can’t control whether the person I share with is going to accept the message or not. All I can do is my part. The part that God calls me to do, which is to plant the “seed” in their hearts. Leave it up to God in prayer to handle the rest. It is God who changes hearts, and He will take the seed that I planted, and be the One who ultimately nourishes it to blossom into something beautiful. But how can something blossom into something beautiful if there was never a seed that was planted?
 
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”-‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NLT
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Life Application
 
There are opportunities all around me to share the gospel. All I need to do is be aware and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
 
Father God, I pray that You open my eyes today to opportunities out there to share the good news with people. Forgive me for shying away from past opportunities because of fear of rejection. Give me strength to follow through on Your prompting. Allow me to plant the seed of the gospel in people’s lives, and trust in You to nourish it into something beautiful. In Your name Jesus I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans_8

Scripture

Romans 8:3 (TLB)

We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us.  He sent His own Son in a human body like ours – except that ours are sinful – and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. 

 

The Message version is my favorite…

 

Romans 8:3-4 (The Message)

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son.  He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant.  In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.  The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. 

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it.  And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.  

 

Observation

This Chapter speaks to the privilege of Christians, the grace of a loving Father and creator…and the truth of the good news that makes it all so.

 

Understanding

The commandments were set to be followed yes, but God has always cared more about the heart of His people than the law.  He knows we are imperfect (at best) and would fail…over and over again.  So He didn’t watch from afar or simply let us fail forward; He created a path for us to eternity with Him that is contingent on a heart choice, not our day to day human choices. 

And the most beautiful part?  It does not require our consistent striving for a perfection we’ll never reach; but, instead, that we “simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.”

 

Life Application

Thank you, Lord, for your heart and your grace towards us.  May we choose to live in a way that honors that and also reflects it to those around you – extending grace and love to everyone that we encounter. 

 

– Rei

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



Romans_7

Scripture  

Romans 7:4 

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul opens this chapter with a discussion on our relationship to the law.  He uses  the analogy of marriage to illustrate his point.  As a person is subject to their spouse, or ex-spouse, while they are still alive, so to are they free from that person in their death.  Similarly, we are subject to the law while we are still alive.  However, when we submit our lives to Christ then we are dead to sin and no longer bound to it.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Getting married was a lot of fun.  You get all dressed up, you say a bunch of sappy things like “a ring is a symbol of love because it has no end,” and then you have a party where you are the center of attention.  I loved getting married.  And then, a couple months later, I had my first big fight with Jen.  That moment was like an epiphany, but nowhere near as fun.  The realization that you now have to put your money where your mouth is and prove that love has no end.  

Marriage, like parenting, has been one of the greatest ways for me to learn about the character of God.  When I chose to marry Jen, I chose to give up one lifestyle and embrace a new one.  I had to kill off some of the bachelor habits that I had, like surfing four days a week, and bring life to a new part of me.  Marriage was a new adventure that I had to embrace.

In our life with Christ, we embrace the newness of life.  In Titus, Paul writes, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires…”  Later in Romans he writes, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In Christ we get the freedom to move away from the sin in our lives, which is the cause of our demise, and move towards the only one who can make us complete.

Life Application 

Thank you Jesus for making me a new creation in you.  Thank you for the sacrifice you paid to make me a new creation.  I choose to be faithful to you and the life you provide me through the death on the cross. 

– Tyler Galloway 



Romans_6

Scripture

Romans 6:1-

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?  By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 

Observation-What does it say?

In the chapter before this one, chapter 5, Paul speaks about how faith is the only thing that saves us.  We do our works as a byproduct of salvation and the Holy Spirit.  We can never work our way to salvation because Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)

In this current chapter, Paul now speaks about whether we should continue sinning since we’ve been saved by grace through faith alone.  The answer is NO!  We have died to sin and therefore cannot live in it any longer.  We have put to death our old way of living.  We are no longer slaves of sin, but slaves to righteousness because of Christ. Just as Christ died and was raised to life again, we have been made new, as our old self was put to death and we are now new creations!

Understanding-What does it mean?

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:18

When we are no longer slaves to something or someone, we are no longer controlled or mastered by it. We are controlled by our new Master. 

Life Application

Have you accepted His invitation for salvation by faith, but still struggling and acting upon a sin that has you in bondage?  

If yes, spend time with Jesus everyday through prayer, His Word and worship and allow His love to penetrate Your heart, where being with the Light becomes more attractive than staying in the dark. Allow the Holy Spirit to remind You of Your identity in Him.  Allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse Your mind of thoughts of the flesh and fill it with thoughts of His Spirit. Allow Christ to remind You that He is stronger than anything the enemy has you in bondage over.  Replace thoughts and activities that you once did with new activities that glorify God’s name. Focus on what’s true, lovely and right (Phil. 4:8) and take captive thoughts that are not of Him so You can make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).   Put up safeguards that allow You to run far away from sin and not even get close to it.  Seek out Holy Spirit filled people who can pray for you, give you wise counsel and keep you accountable to your struggles.  

Hebrews 12:1-“….throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”

We all struggle in life, but we don’t need to be mastered by our struggles.  We all get tempted, but we don’t have to act on our temptations.  Christ died so that we could live in freedom from bondage.  We no longer have to reap the consequences of unwise decisions because we are now free to reap the benefits of sowing a life lived for Christ!

Thank You Jesus that You accomplished everything for us on the cross! Thank You for the new identity You have given us and for Your Holy Spirit who continues to convict us of sin in knowledge and truth. May we be sensitive to Your leading, and not be desensitized towards sin.  If sin wasn’t such a big deal for You, You wouldn’t have died to cleanse us from it. We desire to experience all that You have for us in this life without being held back in bondage from our old life. Please seal our hearts, minds and actions towards You alone Jesus.  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_78

Scripture
 
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭78:7‬ ‭NLT
 
“So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm that Asaph writes, he reminds the people of Israel to remember all the glorious things that God has done for them. He encourages them to teach each generation about God’s might, power, and ways so that each generation will know God, follow God, and love God.
Asaph also reminds them of their ancestors who were stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful towards God. How they provoked God’s anger and wrath, and what had happened to them. In short, Asaph wants the people of Israel to learn from their ancestors’ mistakes, remember God’s ways, and to tell each future generation to come about God’s might, power, and love.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Discipleship begins at home.
 
My wife and I always say our number one ministry is our kids. We want to make sure that they grow up knowing God, loving God, and serving God. I hope and pray also that it will be something they do, not because they feel “forced” to do it, but because they want to do it. God has blessed us with these kids of ours, and we only really have a short time with them before they grow up and become adults. So why not make it a priority to disciple them the way God intended?! Why not teach them at an early age before the world’s ways try to get hold of them?! I hope and pray that my wife and I are able to build a good and solid Christ-like foundation in our home, which our daughters grow to love. Lord willing, they too can someday, (not till they’re at least 26 years old 😉), teach their own kids about God’s love for them.
 
“But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”-Joshua‬ ‭24:15b
‭‭‬ ‭
Life Application
 
Take time to pray for the kids in your life.
 
Father God, I pray for Your wisdom and guidance. Help me find ways to continue to teach my kids about Your love. Help me to build an atmosphere here at home that centers around You. I pray for them as they head out into the world. May You surround them with good people. I pray for the Sunday School teachers and our church’s Children Ministry. Continue to give them ways to help teach these children of ours, fun and relatable ways to learn about You, and how to apply these lessons in their own lives. I also want to pray for all the parents. I pray that we continue to make it a priority to put You number one in our homes. May we live it out in a way that influences our kids to do the same when they get older. May Your ways supersede the world’s ways in our families’ lives. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Romans_4

Scripture

Romans 4:9-10

We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul points out to the Roman Christians the importance of faith when it comes to being made right with God. Using Abraham as an example, he shows that the sequence was: Faith -> Righteousness -> Circumcision. Abraham put his faith in God and therefore was made righteous. He was not made righteous because he was circumcised but because of his faith. Circumcision was a sign that he had already been made right with God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Faith produces salvation and salvation produces good deeds.

There are outward signs of being made right with God. For example, circumcision (Old Testament only), a life of good deeds, service to God, etc. But those signs come AFTER God saves us, not before. We can’t forget that Jesus died for us BEFORE we could do anything to deserve it. In other words, “We do good works not so that we can be saved, but because we already are.” The outward signs are responses to, and results of, having been made right with God.

Remember John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God wasn’t moved by our love for him, but by his love for us!

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Life Application
Don’t put stock in my works! It’s by faith alone in Christ’s work on the cross that positions you in the grace in which I now stand.

God, thank you for saving us! Thank you for loving us so much that you died for us even while we were still sinners. We recognize that our works have no bearing on our salvation. It’s only through our faith in Jesus that we are saved. We respond to your great love with a desire to love you in return. Help us to live lives that honor and please you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalms_76

Scripture

Psalm 76:11a

11 Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them… 

Observation

This Psalm is considered a Psalm of Asaph – the great singer and musician of David and Solomon’s era, a prophet in his musical compositions.  This Psalm celebrates a great victory of God on behalf of His people.

Understanding

As pure usual (as of late), seemingly despite the context of the chapter, one phrase stuck out to me…

“Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them…”

I remember a business mentor of mine telling me that execution was the differentiator in business – the differentiator that builds trust, sees projects through to completion, creates results.  And he’s not the only one to share those sentiments. 

“Ideas are easy.  It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”
– Sue Grafton
 
“Ideas are cheap.  Ideas are easy.  Ideas are common.  Everybody has ideas.  Ideas are highly, highly overvalued.  Execution is all that matters.”
– Casey Neistat

It is both biblical and good business to execute – in this case meaning to follow through, to keep our word, our commitments.  In fact, we are called to it…

Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart… – Psalm 119:2

Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. – Proverbs 4:4

And I don’t think this is just true of God’s desire for our obedience to following His word.  I believe this is also true of His desire to see our follow through and execution of the things He’s put on our hearts, the things we’ve committed to do for Him.  After all, we expect Him to follow through on the promises He’s revealed to us in our dreams, prayers, words spoken over us, right?   

Life Application

“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” – Cavett Robert

I think we’ve all had those mountain top moments where God feels so close and so real, times in our lives where we make big decisions for God based on something revealed to our hearts…may we have the character and courage to follow through even after the mountain top moment has passed.

God, make us bold, make us brave, make us committed – committed to do your will, to pursue you wholeheartedly and to live this life in a way that makes an impact for you.  Not my will but yours be done.  In your name I pray, Amen.

– Rei

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



Romans_1

The Book of Romans is filled with so much great doctrine on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that I had to quote commentary.  I would do it injustice and all of you reading a disservice by just picking and choosing verses without explaining it in context. -Michelle

Scripture

Romans 1:16

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of every one who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Observation-What does it say?

“The Book of Romans was written by Paul. As with all Paul’s epistles to the churches, his purpose in writing was to proclaim the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ by teaching doctrine and edify and encourage the believers who would receive his letter. Of particular concern to Paul were those to whom this letter was written—those in Rome who were “loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). Because he himself was a Roman citizen, he had a unique passion for those in the assembly of believers in Rome. Since he had not, to this point, visited the church in Rome, this letter also served as his introduction to them.” (got questions.org-Book of Romans)

Understanding-What does it mean?

“This chapter is a call to self-examination, the end of which should be, a deep conviction of sin, and of the necessity of deliverance from a state of condemnation. (Matthew Henry’s concise Bible commentary commentary-christianity.com)”

“The Book of Romans tells us about God, who He is and what He has done. It tells us of Jesus Christ, what His death accomplished. It tells us about ourselves, what we were like without Christ and who we are after trusting in Christ. Paul points out that God did not demand men have their lives straightened out before coming to Christ. While we were still sinners, Christ died on a cross for our sins. (gotquestions.org-Book of Romans)

Life Application

Do not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be faithful to proclaim it!

“The Book of Romans makes it clear that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Every “good” deed we have ever done is as a filthy rag before God. So dead in our trespasses and sins are we that only the grace and mercy of God can save us. God expressed that grace and mercy by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place. When we turn our lives over to Christ, we are no longer controlled by our sin nature, but we are controlled by the Spirit. If we make confession that Jesus is Lord, and believe that He is raised from the dead, we are saved, born again. We need to live our lives offered to God as a living sacrifice to Him. Worship of the God who saved us should be our highest desire. Perhaps the best application of Romans would be to apply Romans 1:16 and not be ashamed of the gospel. Instead, let us all be faithful in proclaiming it!” (gotquestions.org-Book of Romans)

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Romans_2

Scripture

Romans 2:28-29   

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Observation – What does it say? 

This letter, written from Paul to the Romans, was written during a missionary journey.  Paul had yet to visit Rome and was writing out some of the basic principles of our faith in Jesus.  In chapter two, Paul highlights the fact that we are saved by grace through faith.  Our redemption is not through our actions, or through our heritage, but is a result in living out our faith in the cross of Christ.

Understanding – What does it mean? 

I remember being teased a lot as a kid.  I got teased about everything, I was too tall, to skinny, my teeth were to big, and my shoes the wrong kind.  The kids I went to school with were pretty brutal in their slander.  It seemed as though I could never fit in with the right crowd.  My social grace came when I found the sport of running.  When you run, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how tall you are, the only thing that matters is putting one foot in front of the other as fast as you can.  Running is an equal opportunity for everyone to suffer. 

One of the things I love about this section of scripture is how faith in Jesus is described as being completely inclusive.  It doesn’t matter where you were born, what school you went to, whether or not you own a pair of Nike shoes, the only thing that matters is whether or not you surrendered your life to Jesus.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9   For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Jesus’ death on the cross is the equal opportunity for everyone to find peace.

Paul also wrote later in Romans that we are all sinners and not worthy of experiencing God’s glory (3:23).  In God’s economy I am no different than anyone.  I am no more deserving of grace than drug addicts, or thieves, or people who are sexually impure.  We are all the same once covered with the grace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

Life Application 

Jesus help me to show your love to others equally.  Help me to see my neighbor and love them as myself, to be gracious to them as quickly as I want grace.  While I have opportunity on earth, help me to find good to do unto others.  And never let me turn from your truth. Amen.
 
– Tyler Galloway