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!
 

Exodus_22

Scripture

Exodus 22:21

“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Observation – What does it say?

God gave the Israelites the 10 Commandments, but in addition, he instructed Moses to give them many other specific laws (seen in chapters 20-23).  Several of these laws have to do with the Israelites conduct with those in their community, including this one. Because the Israelites were God’s chosen people, it could be easy to assume that the rest of mankind wasn’t as important to God or that he loved them a bit less. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! God set apart the Israelites so that he could bless all the nations of the earth through them. In other words, it was God’s love for those Israel regarded as foreigners, that he chose them.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Likewise, part of the reason God chose us to be adopted into his family is his great love for those around us who don’t yet know him.

If we’ve been saved for a while, it can be easy to loose sight of who we were when God found us. We forget how sinful we were, how utterly helpless to save ourselves, how broken, how separated from God and how devoid of peace we were. God sets us free, forgives us, saves us, and transforms our lives. After time, entitlement begins to creep into our hearts and we feel we deserve this new life we have come to experience. Along with entitlement, we notice we aren’t struggling with the “big sins” we used to and can begin to look down our nose at those who do. Side note: There are no big or small sins in God’s eyes. Greed and lust and lying are on the same level as murder and adultery. 

The truth Israel was always to live in awareness of is that they were once foreigners. And that truth was to drive them to not mistreat foreigners they encounter. 

Life Application

Because we are no longer foreigners but have been adopted into God’s family through Christ, it should fuel us with compassion for those who are still on the outside! 

God, please forgive us for the times we’ve lacked concern or compassion for the lost. Give us more of your heart and may we be reminded of where we were when you found us. Use us to show your love and grace to those on the outside, to share the gospel with them, that they may be brought in. Amen!
 
– Levi Thompson 


Psalm 71

Scripture

Psalm 71:7-8

I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.

Observation

This chapter of David’s love song / plea to God starts out with “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge…”  As the chapter continues, David continues to ask God to rescue, deliver, turn His ear, save, comfort him…and that he will continue to praise, proclaim His mighty acts, declare His power, shout for joy, tell of His righteous acts.

Understanding

I kind of love the balance of this passage – request and praise, praise and request.  But what stood out most was verse 7 – “I have become a sign to many.”  This is a reminder to me of the fact that each of us has a testimony; and, when we’re willing to share that in the way we “praise, declaring [God’s] splendor all day long” we “become a sign to many.”

Life Application

God, may your praise ever be on my lips.  May my life be so full of YOU – your joy, love, light, grace, peace, patience, kindness – that I become a sign to many…a sign that you are my strong refuge, my creator, lover of my soul, provider, redeemer and healer.  And may hearts be turned because of it.  In your name, I pray.    

– Rei

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



Psalm_70

Scripture 

Psalm 70:4 

Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”

Observation – What does it say? 

This Psalm is titled a song of remembrance, and is copied almost word for word from Psalm 40.  The repetition may have been purposeful, as the Matthew Henry Commentary explains, “may be of use sometimes to pray over the prayers we have formerly made to God upon similar occasions, which may be done with new affections.” 

Understanding – What does it mean?  As a kid in elementary school, I remember having nothing but animosity for “Matt.”  He was the closest thing I had, at the time, to an enemy.  He was better than me at sports, excelled in school, had an budding acting career, and the girl I “liked” was more interested in him.  To top it off, he was persistent in teasing me.  There were days that I wanted him to disappear, and I’m sure I made this desire known to God, on more than one occasion.  I prayed this every week.   

When this Psalm was written, David was in a time of need and seems to be at the mercy of his enemy.  Yet he still pray’s to let God be glorified.  Despite his situation, David still finds joy in the Father.  His first response is to turn to God, his lowly state perfectly juxtaposed by God’s greatness.   

As I was reading this, I found myself dwelling on the David’s request that God confuse his enemies.  I began to wonder how many times that I would have been on the other end of that prayer.  I wonder how many people that I have caused to pray for my confusion.  While David’s prayer definitely displays godly character, how many times have I prayed something similar and had nothing but selfish gain in mind.

God is interested more in us bringing glory to Him, than he is worried about who is coming to tear us down.  He is more interested in us leaning on him, than he is of us winning arguments with the who discourage us.  And why shouldn’t I trust Him, he created the whole earth and yet has time to listen to my prayers. 

Life Application 

Jesus help me to make my first response in calamity to holding on to you with reckless abandon.  And when I pray for your help, let me also be cognizant of the opportunity you provide for me to shout your name.  For I know you protect me, and you keep me from going under when I feel overwhelmed.
 
– Tyler Galloway


Mark_12

Scripture

Mark 12:41-44

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus highlights the poor widow’s offering to His disciples. Although the amount wasn’t as much as the rich people were putting in, He honored her gift above the other offerings because in faith, she gave everything she had.

Understanding-What does it mean?

It is not about the amount we have to offer. It is about the heart behind what we are offering.

God doesn’t judge the outward appearance, He judges the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Tonight, I was privileged to serve in our Surge youth group and Justin gave a great message. One thing he said that stuck out to me was that “We are not called to live life in safety, but in faith.” The poor widow in this passage was living proof of that.
The poor widow in Scripture gave in faith, while the rich gave what they were comfortable with or felt safe with. The poor widow who gave in faith is who Jesus pointed out, not the rich, who probably just gave what they could spare.

Life Application

 
Do not compare the gifts we are able to offer to the Lord with the gifts our neighbor is offering to the Lord. Instead, offer up what He has given us in faith.

The parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 is a great example of this. What I love about that story is that “talents” does not only have to relate to money, but to time, gifts, talents, and abilities as well. God wants us to invest our “talents” for the Kingdom and although each person in the parable were given different amounts of talents, they were judged based on what they did with them. The Master was pleased with the servants who invested the talents he gave them, but was displeased with the servant who hid his out of fear.

Dear Lord, Your Word says that without faith, it is impossible to please You. I pray that we would live our lives in faith and give of our time, money, ability and talents, investing it in the Kingdom and not bury it in the ground until You return. You have called us to be Your lights in this darkened world and not to hide (Matt. 5:14-16). I pray against pride, fear, complacency and idleness that cause us to want to live life in safety and for ourselves. May You replace that with faith in You and a faith that moves us to action to serve You and others. Amen.

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





Exodus_18

Scripture
 
Exodus‬ ‭18:18‬ ‭NLT
 
“You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, visits Moses and the Israelites as they stay in the wilderness. Jethro celebrates with Moses. They celebrate all the wonderful things God has done for them (rescuing them from the hands of the Egyptians). Jethro sees the great leader his son-in-law Moses is becoming, but also observed that there is way too much responsibility that Moses is carrying. He fears that not only will it burn Moses out, but it will also frustrate the people, because they are not getting the prompt relief they are seeking from Moses’ decisions.  He has so much on his plate. So he gives Moses some advice. Jethro tells Moses he should find good, responsible, and respectable leaders he can entrust to help him with his daily tasks. Jethro tells Moses he should entrust these men to help him deal with the lesser issues, and the bigger concerns should still be brought to him. So Moses took his father-in-law’s advice in hopes of relieving some of the extra pressures of his plate.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
A great leader needs a great supporting cast in order to succeed.
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Living life as a Christ-Follower is hard enough. Being put in a leadership position as a Christ-Follower is even harder. But trying to do it all by yourself?!. Well, that’s just crazy!
 
Moses was given a great responsibility to lead God’s people.
But this load that Moses was carrying was starting to take its toll. Because of his great relationship with God, people looked to Moses for guidance and wisdom…for EVERYTHING! If this was going to work out for Moses and the Israelites, Moses was going to need help. Moses was going to need to disciple others to help him with these daily tasks. He was going to need to REACH out amongst the people, RECRUIT them into God’s Kingdom, RESOURCE these people with the proper tools and techniques to do things according to God, and RELEASE them into their ministry. They needed to work together as a team if this was going to work!
 
Just like in any sport, I don’t care how great one individual is, they are going to need help from their teammates in order to succeed. As great as Michael Jordan was, he was nothing until Scottie Pippen, his coach Phil Jackson, and the rest of his team stepped up and helped him win 6 championships. Even a great actor needs help along the way. He needs a great writer, director, and co-stars if the movie is going to have a shot of any success. The same thing goes for us. If we are going to have any shot of success, we’re going to need some help. By discipling others and being on the same page (of building God’s Kingdom), and working together as a team, we can lighten the load for each other’s burdens, and thus give us more energy to serve our desired ministries with more passion!
 
Life Application
 
Disciple someone today!
 
Look for someone to disciple. Ask God for guidance, for Him to reveal to you, and instill in your heart someone you can disciple. Meet on a regular basis (whether once a week or every other week or even once a month). Do life together. Share your struggles, triumphs, and pray for one another. Work together in ministry and help build God’s Kingdom by multiplying Christ Followers everywhere!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Mark_10

Scripture

Mark 10:14

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus rebuked his disciples for keeping the children from coming to him. His disciples were apparently under the false notion that Jesus was reserved for adults, obviously too important to be bothered by children. But, Jesus not only welcomes them but declares that the kingdom of God actually belongs to them!

Understanding – What does it mean?

The kingdom (literally “king’s domain”) of God, the people and places under the influence and lordship of God, are the people and places that experience what life is like when God has his way. There is love, healing, wholeness, forgiveness, faith, and everything and everyone is in right relationship with God and each other. This is why, when Jesus preached, “The kingdom of heaven is near,” he healed the sick, cast out demons and forgave sinners. 

This kingdom, filled with abundant life and God encounters belongs to children! Knowing and being used by God isn’t something God wants them to get older to experience!

Life Application

This really resonates with me. God has put the desire in my heart for some years now to see my kids encountering God; to see the kids in our church filled with the Holy Spirit and moving in the gifts of the Spirit. I’ve seen glimpses of it as my kids have shared experiences they’ve had with God and they both have prayed for the sick and seen them healed. But I’m hungry for them to experience more, and I believe it’s because God desires it even more than I do.

God, come and encounter my kids and the kids in our church! Fill them with the Holy Spirit, open their ears to hear your voice and their hearts to feel what yours feels. Use us parents and the amazing volunteers we have in Kids Church at DSC, to facilitate these encounters with you and teach these children about the kingdom that’s available to them now. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Mark_9

Scripture

Mark 9:23

23 “’If you can’?” said Jesus.  “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Observation

Chapter 9 begins with the finish of Jesus speech to the crowd – where he called out “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me….”  Then the transfiguration occurs – where Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him up on a mountain and they have a legit mountain top experience, finding themselves in the presence of God.  Once they come down, he is approached from within a large crowd by someone seeking healing for their possessed son and a father’s plea “…But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

Understanding

I always find myself both annoyed and compassionate towards the unbelievers.  Annoyed, because as we read it seems clear as day that people should see and believe how amazing Jesus/God is – with all His healing powers and huge enveloping love and crazy miracles…yet they doubt and question.  And, compassionate, because I’m the EXACT. SAME. WAY. 

But what I love about the God we serve and what’s exemplified here is that God lets the compassion win. He’s probably annoyed too!  Annoyed and frustrated with the “unbelieving generation” but compassionate enough to never leave us in our mess.  Just like He chooses to heal the boy in this story, He chooses to pour our His love, grace and mercy on us unbelieving and/or doubting sinners.   

Life Application

God, I’m forever grateful for your love, your patience, your crazy compassionate heart!  Thank you for not leaving us undone, for not giving up on us, for just continuing to let compassion win as you STILL deal with an “unbelieving generation” – thousands of years later!  May I be just as willing to let your love win – choosing compassion over frustration, forgiveness over resentment, your truth over our assumptions about people.  Let your love shine through me in every interaction and to every person I encounter today.  In your name I pray, Amen.    

– Rei

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



Mark_8

Scripture 

Mark 8:15  

And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

Observation 

Jesus had just fed a crowd of four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fish, leaving leftovers no less.  Shortly after, a group of Pharisees began asking Jesus for a miracle.  Jesus denies them a miracle and warns His disciples to be careful of their corruption. 

Understanding – What does it say?  

Jesus knows where we are hurting and provides us with what we need.  I love the contrast in this chapter.  In one instance Jesus sees the hunger of the people who had come to hear him speak and gives lavishly.  In the next moment, Jesus denies the Pharisees and uses the metaphor of bread, the very gift he had just given to people in need, to discuss the reality of having an evil heart.  

There are times in my life where I have come to Jesus with both these attitudes.  I have come to Jesus broken and in need, and He provided the rest and protection that I needed.  I have also come to Him in pride, with the attitude that I deserve something from Him.  The amazing thing is, God has never turned away from me.  

The self-righteous attitude became apparent to me a few years ago at work.  I became frustrated with the idea that I had to serve people that I felt didn’t deserve it.  And then I read in scripture that Jesus was routinely hanging out with sinners (tax collectors and prostitutes), people who were down on their luck.  When the self-righteous Pharisees came along, they were appalled and tried to disgrace Jesus for his actions.  Jesus replied by saying it was the sick who need the doctor, not the well (Mark 2:15-17).  

Later in Mark 8, Jesus tells us we must deny ourselves in order to follow Him.  We have to humble ourselves and know that He fills all of our needs.  In my work, I have come to realize that I am just as broken as those whom I once though were below me.  In this, I have found more fulfillment in serving others.

Life application 

Jesus help me to stay away from my self-righteousness.  Help me to see those around me as your children, in need of your love. 
 
– Tyler Galloway


Exodus_14

Scripture

Exodus 14:10-18-
 
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Observation-What does it say?

The Israelites were terrified because Pharoah and the Egyptians were on their tail. They couldn’t see a way out. The Red Sea was right in front of them and escaping seemed impossible. They started crying out to the Lord and grumbling to Moses because they honestly felt like their deaths were imminent in the desert.
Moses encouraged them and told them not to be afraid, to stand firm, God will deliver them, they will never see their enemies (the Israelites) again, the Lord will fight for them, and to just trust and be still (vss. 13-14). Then the Lord spoke through Moses to tell the Israelites to stop their crying and move on.
Moses put down his staff, God parted the Red Sea and allowed them a path to cross through. God did the impossible and Scripture says in verse 31 that “when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” God was given the glory as a result of what He did to Pharaoh and the Israelites, just as He said He would in verse 18.

Understanding-What does it mean?

In times of fear, we can be still and trust that God is the God of the impossible.

In that moment when the Israelites were seeing only one outcome ahead of them-death, God proved them wrong. He showed them that it wasn’t the end. He was the God of the impossible.

Life Application

Be still in His presence and don’t fear.
 
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It seems easier said than done to just sit still in the presence of Jesus and let our worries and fears for today, tomorrow and the future fade away. However, it is Jesus’ heart’s desire for us all. Financial, relational, health, and future concerns can rob us of the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit desires for each of His children. Those are His fruits!
Pastor preached a couple Sundays ago that a relationship with Jesus is not burdensome. Jesus said He would take our heavy yoke upon Himself for “His yoke is easy and burden is light (Matt. 11:30).” That doesn’t sound hard! I also shared on Sunday that Jesus encouraged Martha to stop worrying and being distracted with so many things because one thing was necessary..to sit still, listen and spend time at Jesus’ feet. The things Martha was doing wasn’t bad, but Jesus desired relationship with her more than making sure everything was perfect for Him.
 
Moses also gave us practical ways to encourage ourselves out of fear in this passage: 1) Don’t be afraid 2) Stand Firm 3) Believe in faith that God will deliver you 4) Believe that the Lord will fight for you. 5) Be still.

As we seek the Lord FIRST in everything we do and BELIEVE in faith and obedience that He is the God of the impossible, fear fades away and joy and peace take over.
 
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33-34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Jesus, help us to take our brother Moses’ advice when fear tries to overtake us. Help us to not be afraid by standing firm in the faith, believing that You will deliver us according to Your will, believing that You will fight for us, and being still in Your presence through prayer and Your Word. May we also listen in faith to Your still small voice and respond in obedience just like Moses did. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi



Exodus_13

Scripture
 
‭Exodus‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭NLT
 
“And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Israelites have just been rescued out of slavery from Egypt, by the mighty hand of God. Moses then receives instructions from God to commemorate that day by dedicating the first offspring to be born, of both animals and humans, belongs to God. They are to eat no food containing yeast for seven days. Then on the seventh day, they will have a celebration feast to the Lord. The Israelites were to do this each year to remember what God has done for them, and to teach the future generations of the things God has done for them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Turning your tests in life into testimonies.
 
The Israelites were rescued out of slavery by the mighty hand of God. Along the way they witnessed firsthand all the miracles God did for them to get them where they were at. From releasing the various plagues among the Egyptians, to slaying the firstborn of each household whose door didn’t carry the blood of the lamb on it, to splitting the Red Sea for their escape as they fled from the Egyptian armies. God was always there for them.
 
We can also look back and reflect in our own lives and see the many times God has been there for us. Even in those moments in life, when you think He isn’t there, and you’re experiencing hardships, God is there. I see those particular rough patches in life as an opportunity to grow and connect with Him even more. I know that God can be using that experience in my life so I can maybe help others who may be experiencing the exact same thing. May I use the opportunities in life when my little ones ask me why mommy and daddy tithe, pray, serve at church, etc. to gladly express to them because God has rescued us with His mighty hand. May I live a life, even through the hardships, to point others towards Christ, the One who helps me get through them! Because at the end of the day, these ups and downs in life, are great stories and opportunities to share with others, just how great and awesome our God is!
 
Life Application
 
Take the opportunity to thank God today for all He has done. Share it with someone.
 
Thank You God for everything You have done in my life. You gave me new life through Jesus. You have never left me and always provide my every need. Help me to share the stories You blessed me with to others so that they may know You too. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
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To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Moses Gaddi