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!
 

Psalm_43

Scripture
 
Psalm 43:5
 
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
David is in a season in his life where he is feeling distraught and oppressed by his enemies. He is feeling as if God has turned His back to him. But David stays steadfast in the Lord. He knows God will never leave him or forsake him. David does what he knows best. He continues to seek God and worships Him.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
When the going gets tough…seek God with your prayers and worship.
 
Times are rough in this moment in time for David. But like Pastor Gary taught us this past Sunday,  even through the darkest times in life, we need to remember that God is good (all the time). When it comes to this, David is a great example of how to live it out. Even when his enemies are seeking to destroy him, David remains confident in God. And why shouldn’t he?! God has proven Himself faithful to David time and time again. So David does what he knows best. He praises God with his prayers and worship.
 
Life Application
 
It is through life’s struggles where we develop our faith in God.
 
Sure I would like everything in life to go my way all the time. I mean, who wouldn’t want that?! But we would never truly understand how to trust God, seek God, and know God. Life’s struggles and hardships is what truly deepens our trust and faith in God. As I’ve been reading the book of Psalms, I’m realizing that David didn’t allow life’s circumstances, (good or bad), to dictate his relationship and faith in God. David was going to bring praise and worship to God no matter what! And I believe it is because of that, David truly understood the very nature of God, that God is good…all the time, and all the time…God is good.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Acts_14

Scripture
Acts 14:19b-20
They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
 
Observation – What does it say?
Paul was dragged out by his enemies and left for dead. But the believers went to him and gathered around him and something in that act led to Paul being restored and healed to the point where he could get up and go back into the city.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Don’t underestimate the power of being surrounded by other believers.
It’s where we can receive prayer and encouragement and be reminded of the truth when we’re struggling. It’s where we experience the tangible love and grace of God and we care for one another. There’s some healing and deliverance and freedom that God chooses to bring only through other Christ-followers.
 
Life Application
I feel challenged reading this to consider, “Who do I know that is broken, hurting and/or in need?”
 
Jonathan traveled a considerable distance to help David find strength in God when he was struggling. The believers here in Acts went outside the city to Paul and gathered around him.
Once God brings someone to mind, the following question must be answered, “Will you go, and consider bringing some other believers with you, to pursue them and help restore them?”
 
– Levi Thompson


Acts_13

Scripture

Acts 13:38-39

38 Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin…

Observation

During a time of prayer and fasting, Barnabas and Saul were called out among the prophets and teachers to go and share the good news among the nations.  They were prayed for and sent off.  We rea of the challenges, resistance and life transformations that followed!

Understanding

Happy belated Resurrection Day! 

Hundreds of years later, the mission is still the same – to go and disciple nations.  There will be challenges and resistance along the way, BUT life transformation is possible and comes through the work Jesus did on the cross when unbelievers BELIEVE.  And, as we see here, the message is simple…and starts with faith of those who already believe. 

Life Application

I’m grateful that Jesus forgives sins.  I’m grateful that the message we are called to deliver is simple.  I’m grateful that we can still see and experience life transformation today. 

God, help us to be on mission today and every day.  To recall the reason we are here – to know You and make You known!  May we recognize the soft spot in people’s hearts that seems come around Easter and take full advantage.  All for your glory and honor.  Amen!

– Rei

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



Psalm_40

Scripture

Psalm 40:6  

“Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.”

Observation – What does it say?

This Psalm of David may have been written toward the end of his life, as he was getting ready to pass on his legacy to Solomon.  It is written as a praise to God for rescuing him (vs 1-3).  He goes on to praise the character of God (vs 4-8) and acknowledges his continued need for God’s rescuing (vs 12-17).  In verse six we get a glimpse of the freedom that we find when Jesus came and fulfilled the law.  

Understanding – What does it mean?

I remember hearing the sound of my mom’s voice ringing out from down the street.  “TYLER!!!!”  She didn’t sound happy.  Right at that moment, the branch of the tree I was climbing snapped and I landed flat on my back.  Now the nice clothes I was wearing were dirty, I was in pain, and I knew I was in trouble because I had gone exploring on the hill around the corner from our house.  The very thing my mom had told me not to do, because we had somewhere to be.  

Flash forward about twenty-five years.  As we are getting ready to walk out the door for church, I look in the backyard, muddy from the recent rain, and I see my youngest and oldest son who are now filthy.  They had been clean only minutes prior.  I lost it, at no point had I told them they could go outside.  All I wanted from my boys was to follow directions.  Then I remembered that moment when I fell out of the tree.  I laughed and changed my tone towards my kids.  Being that I have been in that position before, I was able to be forgiving.

God doesn’t want a sacrifice that means nothing, He wants our obedience.  But we learn from this Psalm, that we will always be dependent on God’s grace in our lives.  We will never quite be able to overcome the sin in our life.  Because of this, God has also called us to be compassionate towards others (Isaiah 58:5-9).  Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for us not being able to follow directions.  Knowing this, the author of Hebrews calls on us to persevere in our faith (Hebrews 10), because God is always faithful (2 Tim 2:13).

Life Application

God, I am so thankful for the sacrifice of your son.  I am thankful that I am never enough, but You are always enough.  Help me to remember this, and, just like you always have lovingkindness towards me, help me to be compassionate towards others. 
 
– Tyler Galloway


Psalm_39

Scripture
 
Psalm 39:4-7

4 Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.[b] 6  “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. 7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Observation-What does it say?

 In this Psalm, David understands that this life is temporary and uncertain and offers Himself up in submission towards God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

We must put our hope in Christ and live in light of eternity.

This life is short. “Everyone is but a breath…” as verse 5b states.

This reminds me of the book of Eccelsiastes where King Solomon writes about how there’s more to this life than working and toiling under the sun to eat, drink, and being merry. It is all meaningless in light of God’s Kingdom. At the end of the book (spoiler alert), Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, King Solomon concludes with:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12:13-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

We are called to love and serve others, not just serve ourselves.

Jesus instructs us to be servants in Matthew 28, Mark 10 and John 13, just like how He did not come to be served, but to serve others and give His life as a ransom to many.

One morning, the Lord reminded me of this truth through His Spirit. Basically, there were some personal things I was working on regarding marriage and finances. Those things had started to get better, but I felt like my Spirit was longing for more. More of just making sure my household was in order. Don’t get me wrong, it is VERY important to make sure your household is in order and managed well. (See Timothy 3:5). Also, I am not saying do not take a Sabbath rest by yourself and with your family to recharge. That is Scriptural and healthy. However, just going to work 5 days a week or more for a nice house, vacations, family time, more toys, etc., will not fulfill me, because my Spirit longs to serve others and be on mission for Christ WITH my family as well.

What are some roadblocks getting in the way of serving others and being on mission for Jesus? Speaking from personal experience, the Spirit will never be satisfied with “chasing after the wind” because there is truly more to life than just living for ourselves.

Thank You Jesus for your example of serving others and teaching us to do the same. Thank You for King David and King Solomon who also taught this truth. Thank You Your Spirit in us who convicts me (us) and gives us that urge to do more because living for ourselves doesn’t completely satisfy. I pray that our lives would testify of Your greatness alone. Amen.

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

Michelle Gaddi



Acts_10

Scripture
 
‭‭Acts‬ 10:34-35‬ ‭NLT
 
“Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Cornelius, a devout, God-fearing man, received a vision of an angel of God coming toward him. The angel instructed Cornelius to send some men to a town named Joppa, to find a man named Simon Peter.
 
The next day as Peter was praying, he received a vision from God. The vision at first confused Peter. But as he was trying to figure out what his vision meant, the Holy Spirit instructed Peter to go with the men who were downstairs looking for him. So Peter obeyed and followed these men back to Cornelius’ house.
 
When Peter arrived at the house, he was greeted by Cornelius and his closest family and friends. Cornelius shared with Peter the vision he received from God. And although it was against Jewish custom-(Peter being Jewish), to enter a Gentile’s home, let alone associate with one, Peter now understood what his vision from God meant. Which is he shouldn’t think of anyone as impure and unclean. So Peter shared the Good News with Cornelius and his friends and relatives that day. As they all heard the message Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening. They spoke in tongues praising God! Peter’s Jewish companions were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit was received by the Gentiles too! So Peter baptized all who were there that day in the name of Jesus Christ.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God shows no favoritism.
 
Although during that time it was against Jewish customs for a Jewish person to associate with a non-Jewish person, Peter receives a vision from God that helps him understand that he shouldn’t think of anyone as impure or unclean. Peter now understands that God is the God for all humankind. That no matter where you are from, no matter who you are, as long as you seek God, you will be given the light as to how to know Him. Just is the case with Cornelius. Cornelius brought his family and friends to learn about God. And they were able to receive not only the knowledge that they were seeking, but more importantly they received Jesus Christ into their hearts and His Holy Spirit into their lives that day.
 
Life Application
 
If you are willing, God is able.
 
Cornelius was willing to be obedient to God’s direction. Peter was willing to be obedient to God’s direction. The result?..God used that moment in time to bring a whole household to be baptized and saved!
 
This past Sunday Pastor Levi reminded us in his sermon that all those cool stories and events that happened in the Bible isn’t just limited to those people in them. God shows no favoritism. It could happen for us too! They were just ordinary people like you and I. Some were fishermen, some were shepherds, some were even against the teachings of Jesus at the time. But God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things! All to bring Him all the glory, honor and praise!
To show others of God’s great power and grace! All we have to do is be willing to be obedient to His direction for us. Because as Pastor Gary reminded us before, God cares more about our availability, than our ability. So are you willing to experience the great wonders that God has in store for you? Are you willing to be part of God’s story like those in the Bible? Then say yes to God and let’s see what great works He will do!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_37

Scripture
Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 
Observation – What does it say?
David encourages us, in light of the evil people and brokenness in the world, to not worry or fret! Instead, trust God, delight in him and he will give us the desires of our hearts.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
I love this verse! The first thing I see is that God wants to be delighted in. He wants to be enjoyed! It reminds me of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” 
 
And as we do, God promises to give us the desires of our hearts. I understand that to have a double meaning. One, God deposits his desires in our hearts so we find ourselves wanting the things God wants. Two, God fulfills those desires he’s placed there. How encouraging! God desires to fill our hearts with righteous desires and then to satisfy them. And our part? Delight in him! 
 
Life Application
Delight in God today!
 
God, we choose to rejoice in you and celebrate you today! You are so easy to enjoy… you’re so good, faithful, kind, merciful and gentile. Your love has no limit. You are my beloved, my joy and my delight. We delight in you. Thank you that as we do, you fill our hearts with your desires and also satisfy them, resulting in even more joy and delight in you!! We love your ways. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Acts_8

Scripture

Acts 8:4-8

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.Observation

This chapter begins with “And Saul approved of their killing him” – with “him” referring to Stephen, after his discourse to the Sanhedrin.  And so began a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem – to include Saul “dragg[ing] off both men and women and put[ting] them in prison.” 

Understanding

The apostles were persecuted and scattered; but they were not silenced. 

I always wonder when I read scripture like this, what I would have done in their shoes.  In this case, I wonder at the boldness of the apostles – that although they were scattered and under heavy persecution, they continued to preach.  As they saw people getting dragged into prison, they continued to share the good news!  And, because of their faith and continued sharing, people were healed and “there was great joy in that city.”

Life Application

God, may I have the boldness to share the good news with everyone I meet – both in word and in actions.  And, if I’m persecuted or scattered in any way, may I continue to preach.  You’ve called us to know you and make you known.  May I never lose sight of the importance, the power, the necessity of that calling – to see lost souls saved.

In your name, I pray.  Amen. 

– Rei

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





Psalm_35

Scripture
Psalm 35:3
Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me; Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
 
Observation – What does it say?
David is writing in concern of his enemies. It is quite possible that his enemies are people in whom he had once been very close, like King Saul or Absalom (see 1 Samuel 24 or 2 Samuel 15). There were several instances in his life where David was hiding in caves from these people. David proceeds to meet the situation with prayer. At the end of this Psalm, David cries out to the Lord, with praise. In verse 28 David says to God, “And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.”
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
We have all seen some people do some crazy things. I remember watching a video of a police officer conducting a traffic stop. During his contact with the driver, he is called just about every name in the book and treated with total disrespect by the driver. But he responds with a calm voice and continues on with an even temperament. He was still upholding the law, but he did so with love.
As I was reading this song of David, I was reminded of when Jesus was speaking with his disciples in reference to how we aught to treat others. In Matthew 5:40 he states, “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” In stark contrast to the way we want to respond to people who have done us wrong, Jesus asks us to give people grace and humility.
This is probably one of the best ways that we can act as God’s loving hands. When people take advantage of us, we have the opportunity to seek justice or to seek ways that we can bless others. Paul challenges us to fulfill the needs of our enemies (Romans 12:20) In seeking revenge for a wrong we cut short the love that God wants us to show others. But an act of kindness can often say so much more than a well formulated sermon.
It was once said, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” And we are also taught in the book of James that our actions speak louder than our words (James 2:18-19). And so, I will let God fight my battles while I seek to serve those who He is fighting with.
 
Life Application 
Jesus give me the gift of patience when I come across those who oppose me. Help me to look through your lens of timing. I know that your timing in everyones life is different. But may my actions not hinder the love that you are giving to those around me. Help me to show my faith in you through my actions.
 
– Tyler Galloway


Be On The Lookout…

One of the passages in our SOUL Journal reading today was Acts 6.  I was struck by the unceasing work of Satan to try and destroy God’s church.  First he tried persecution, as we read in chapters four and five, but instead of destroying the believers it only had the effect of encouraging them and the church grew faster.  So Satan tried a different tactic, he looked to destroy the church by introducing sin into the body through Ananias and Sapphira, but God, through the Holy Spirit dealt with the sin quickly and decisively.  In chapter 6 we see another of the tactics Satan uses to divide, he stirred up dissension within the church.  He used perceived offenses to cause division. 

Truth is Satan uses these tactics still today.  Persecution, corruption and dissension are all ways today that cause God’s people to be distracted and lose heart.  A church that is filled with internal conflict spend all their time and emotional energy on that rather than on the mission at hand because any church focused on itself will not be focused on reaching lost people and even when people become Christ-followers what kind of family will they find themselves in – certainly not one that would help them become fully devoted followers of Christ.

May I encourage you this week to be on the lookout for these tactics of the enemy.  He desires to distract us and deter us from fulfilling our mission of multiplying Christ-followers everywhere.  Whether you fully believe it or not, this is your highest mission priority as a child of God.  Don’t let hard times, sinful decisions and dissension derail you. 

Speaking of mission, will you partner with the family at Desert Streams and plan on attending our Good Friday and Easter services and do everything within your power to bring someone with you who needs to hear the Good News of the gospel.
 
Pastor Gary