Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
 
 
 
How To Soul Journal
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soulj
 
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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!
 

Hebrews_12

Scripture 
 
Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us 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. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
Beginning in Hebrews 10:39 we see a picture of faith that does not give up, despite all the troubles that surround us.  This faith is an ongoing confident reliance on God.  We learn that we should give up on everything, good or bad, that distracts us from God.  We see Christ as the ultimate example of what this means, giving up life and suffering death on the cross.  Additionally, we learn to accept suffering in this present life as correction from a loving father.  To suffer better, we learn to have discipline like that of an athlete, who is willing to suffer in the short term for their reward.  
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
I used to follow running like most people follow football or baseball.  I was on the internet everyday checking stats and message boards about the latest news.  One year in particular, I followed a group of three men who were all trying to make it to the finals of the World Championship 5000 meter track race.  What made this more interesting is they all trained together, and they had all grown up only miles apart in Wisconsin.  They posted videos of their background, and different clips of training and racing leading up to the finals.

One of the hardest videos to watch in the series was a segment on their training in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  St. Moritz is a high altitude city and ski resort.  I had never heard of St. Moritz before watching the video, but the best way I could describe it is storybook perfection.  The mountains in the background are awe inspiring, there is a castle in the city that looks like Disneyland was designed after it, and the forest around the city is lush and green.  From the runners’ descriptions, it was an outside lover’s paradise. 

What made it so hard to watch was when they described their daily routine: wake up, do a morning run, eat, take a nap, stay inside, do an afternoon run, eat, go to bed, repeat tomorrow.  They all described how bored they were, while they were living in one of the most beautiful places they had ever been.  Because of their goal, they couldn’t take the chance of getting hurt.  Therefore, their coach would not allow them to do anything that could hurt them, including taking a walk to a nearby café.

In the best case scenario, even if those three runners placed first through third, only one of them is the winner.  How much more amazing would it be to find that same type of discipline in the pursuit of Jesus. After the first few verses, the author of Hebrews discusses the discipline we need to receive our eternal prize and he describes that prize as a consuming fire.  In 1 Corinthians 9:25, Paul writes, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  I have to ask myself this, why not give up everything for Jesus?  Ultimately, there is nothing in this life that can bring me the fulfillment that He does.

 
Life Application 
 
Jesus, only You can satisfy everything that is lacking in me.  Because of that, I want to be obsessively consumed with the pursuit of your presence.  Until I take my last breath, I want to take the steps necessary to be qualified for the prize.  Help me to hear you when you are telling me to let go of something in order to come closer to you.  And on the day I meet you, Jesus, I want to hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

-Tyler Galloway



Judges_8

Scripture

Judges 8:27

Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

Observation – What does it say?
After the incredible victory God had given Gideon, defeating with 300 men an army of 135,000! Gideon asked the men to each give him a gold ring from their share of the plunder, which he made into an ephod (a usually elaborate, sleeveless garment worn by priests). That ephod led not only a few people, but all Israel to turn from worshiping God to worship it instead.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Your decisions never just affect you.
 
Our decisions aren’t made in a vacuum or apart from our family, community, and those around us. Whether good or bad, they always will have an impact on others. Someone once said to me, “You are always leading people, you decide where.”
 
Gideon’s radical obedience to God throughout the story led to all of Israel being delivered from their enemies and set free, experiencing peace for 40 years! An amazing legacy! The shame is that he also led all of Israel to worship an idol he created. That idol ended up turning Israel away from God, but specifically became a snare for him and his family.
 
Life Application
 
God, help me to honor you and follow hard after you. I don’t just want to talk about living for you, but I want my example to line up with my teaching. Use me to influence others toward you and, and by your grace keep me from leading others astray. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm__37

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭37:1-2‬ ‭
 
“Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, David’s main theme is to not concern ourselves with what the wicked are doing. Even if it seems they are prospering, our God is a God of justice, and they will soon be judged for their wrongdoings. Instead, David encourages us to remain faithful to the Lord. For the Lord will protect us and provide our every need.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The Lord gives, the Lord takes away.
 
It’s a humbling thought that at any given moment, God can take away all the things that took me so long to work for and achieve in my life. (My career, finances, family, home, or even my health can be gone in a twinkling of an eye)! It’s a great reminder to me on what, (or should I say Who), I truly put my faith in.
 
Now I hate to admit that there are times I can get caught up envying others and what they have. It can get frustrating sometimes. I mean here I am trying to live the right way and do the right things, and I’m just squeaking by in life. Then I see good old “Joe Schmoe” down the street doing whatever he pleases, and he seems to be living a more comfortable life than me! What’s up with that?!
 
But this psalm reminds me of the importance of remaining faithful to God. This psalm reminds me that God is ALWAYS faithful to those who trust and obey Him. At the end of the day when all the dust settles, and everything in this physical world is stripped away from us, what will “Joe Schmoe” have? As for me, I know I will still have my relationship with Jesus Christ. I know that He will never leave me or forsake me. I know that He will give me everything I need. I know if I delight myself in Him, He will give me my heart’s desires.-(Psalm 37:4). And I know that my faith in Him allows me to be in His presence forever. And that alone is something priceless that nothing in this world can replace.
 
“But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:39‬
 
Life Application
 
Focus on the spiritual, not the material.
 
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”-Matthew‬ ‭16:26‬
 
Father God, please forgive me for chasing worldly things. Forgive me for being envious of others. Give me a heart that is content with all that You give me. You my Lord have never gave me too little where I grow hungry, or too much where I may think I can do it alone. You give me just enough, everything I need in life. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You Lord. May the way I choose to live my life be pleasing to You. In Your Holy and precious name I pray, Amen.
‭‭‬‬
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_36

Scripture

Psalm 36:5-6

5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

Observation-What does it say?

King David’s Psalm opens with a message about the sinfulness of the wicked. He then speaks to the love and faithfulness of the Lord and petitions the Lord to continue His love towards those who KNOW Him. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God’s love is what drives us to action.

God’s love, not punishment, is what drives us to action. Even His discipline is from a place of love (please see Hebrews 12:4-13). Loving discipline leads to a trusting relationship with whoever is doing the disciplining. If you are a parent, you understand this. Everything the Lord does is from a place of love and His goodness. Relying on His love means security in a loving, faithful God who will continue to keep us safe. It definitely opposes a life of sin and wickedness; a life and heart that does not KNOW the Lord, which eventually leads to death. 

Life Application 

Obey what the Holy Spirit tells us to do from a place of love, not fear. 

About a month ago, our daughters accepted Jesus’ invitation for salvation. However, our daughters were fearful about getting baptized, (which is the next step of obedience) because of being dunked in the water and people looking at them. I encouraged them not to do it if they’re afraid. I encouraged them to do it from a place of love and obedience and to pray to the Lord for what He would want them to do. Long story short, the Lord worked in their little hearts and they are now excited, no longer fearful of getting baptized at our next scheduled baptism on Dec. 23rd!

If Jesus cares about little children and can change their hearts and turn their fear into obedience and excitement, how much more can His love transform our hearts to obey what He calls us to do? Not just obey, but be excited about it!

So what is He calling you to do in obedience that you are fearful of? Getting baptized? Returning 10% of your income back to Him (tithing)? Not buying something(s) you have your eye on in order to be more generous/giving above the tithe? Leaving a relationship that is making you compromise your faith? Sharing the Gospel with someone you’ve been praying for? 

Be encouraged by His love and to obey not from a place of fear, but of love. 

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-19 NIV

Dear Lord, You know each of our hearts and what makes us fearful. I pray that as we grab hold of Your limitless love for us that we would step out in faith and obedience into all You have called us to do and become. Amen. 

-Please listen to this worship song “Your love Oh Lord” by Third Day. It is based on the Scripture passage chosen. https://youtu.be/0OBRvxrzhqs

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_35

Scripture

Psalm 35:28
28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
    your praises all day long.

Observation

The entirety of Psalm 35 is a call to God to defend, to contend…

Understanding

I love David’s honesty…how many times have I had self-pity moments?  Thankfully, mine are usually exchanged in my mind, when sitting in traffic…not forever memorialized in a book as well known and spread as the Bible for people to read for years to come.  But, as we read to the end, and see David’s return to praise it’s a little encouraging, speaking to the God we serve – the ONE that we can rely on to fight our fights, come to our defense and provide even when circumstances seem impossible.   

Life Application

Always return to praise!  God has proven Himself – real, dependable, an ever-constant in an ever-changing world.  So, knowing that, may we always return to praise. <3

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



Psalm_34

Scripture  
 
Psalm 34:8-9 
 
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
 
Observation-What does it say?  
 
This Psalm was written by David.  It was written in a time when David was fleeing from Saul (1 Samuel 20 & 21).  The form of the Psalm is an acrostic, where the first letter of every line starts with one of the twenty two letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order.  http://www.basicsofthebible.org/psalm34/  In this Psalm, David praises God for His faithfulness.  He also shows us that when we honor God we find life.  Despite all of his misfortunes, God brings David through all of them.  
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year.  I can’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving to come, because that is when my wife allows me to finally put on Christmas music.  Though, if you were to ride with me in the car, you might hear it from time to time, sometimes all of July.  I really enjoy decorating, but I never go overboard, as I shoot for a look that is more akin to a 1950’s Christmas over the current trend of over decorating (you know who you are).  

I didn’t always find this time of year as endearing as I do now.  As a kid in high school, it was more like torment.  My family got split up right before Christmas my freshman year.  Each subsequent year meant splitting time in two different places, with an older brother who was spending the holiday break from college bossing me around.  Christmas can be a very polarizing time of year for those who feel like outcasts or alone, as I did for many of those years.

I don’t remember exactly when it was, but there was a year that I finally decided to stop feeling bad for myself at Christmas.  That year I decided to focus on the miraculous birth of Jesus, the Messiah.  I have learned to take refuge in Him, and the peace that comes with knowing that with the birth of a savior, also came His death on the cross.

Jesus was brought into this world in a time of relative chaos.  His parents were traveling for a census, and didn’t have a place to stay.  There was a lot of political unrest.  Once King Herod heard from the traveling wisemen, he was in search of Jesus trying to kill him.  And yet, despite all of this, Mary and Joseph were focused and submitted to God and His will.  A savior is born, amidst great turmoil, to bring us peace.  (Luke 2).  And that’s what this season is all about.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lA_Y35OY1Y

 
Life Application  
 
Despite the craziness of this season, I choose to focus on you Jesus.  In a time where it can be easy to become overwhelmed and depressed, I trust in you.  I know that only you provide the peace that I seek.  And this peace is only through you being the Lord of my life.  I choose to worship you alone.
 
-Tyler Galloway

 



Hebrews_6

Scripture
 
Hebrews 6:12
 
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The writer of Hebrews had observed those who came before him and what they did to inherit what God had promised them, and he encourages his readers to imitate their example. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We inherit what God has promised, specifically speaking of the promise of salvation, through faith and patience.
 
What I find interesting is that the posture of faith and patience is contrasted with laziness. Our faith and patience must be active, not passive sitting around waiting to die or for Jesus to come again. He explains what this active faith and patience looks like a few verses prior:
Hebrews 6:10-God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
 
If we want to inherit what God has promised, we must be faithful to work, to demonstrate our love for God by helping other believers. And not just having stories of helping them in the past, but continuing to help them until the very end. 
 
Life Application 
 
Consider how I can demonstrate my love for God today by helping others. 
 
God, I long to inherit all you have promised me. I don’t want to forfeit it because I become lazy or self focused. By your grace, give me strength to endure and fill my heart with your love. May I never settle where I am but continually pursue you for more! Amen.
 
Levi Thompson


Hebrews_5

Scripture
 
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭5:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this particular epistle to the Hebrews, the author is urging the people into spiritual growth. It seems they have been believers of Christ for some time now, but they seem to be stuck dealing with the same spiritual issues. The author compares them to “babies”, still in need of milk, not knowing how to do right. They should be maturing in their faith, eating the “solid food”, knowing the difference between right and wrong, which will continue to help them grow and get stronger with their walk with God. It’s time for them to grow up!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The study of God’s Word is more about transformation, than information.
 
Have you ever met someone who knows the Bible inside and out? They can tell you the history behind it, they even have scriptures memorized, and yet their lifestyle doesn’t reflect anything the Bible teaches? They may even claim to be a Christian for over 20 years, but it seems they have been “repeating the same grade” for 20 years. Shouldn’t we expect someone whose been walking with God for that long to be living a certain way? That is why the author of this passage gives such a great illustration by comparing these people to babies. Me being a parent myself, I would expect my kids to be walking by a certain age, talking by a certain age, and you better believe they should be potty trained at a certain age! If they aren’t, I may begin to question if something was seriously wrong with them. The same should be said in our spiritual development. It should be something we are continuously growing and learning from. It should be a constant, life learning and growing experience we need, as we share with others until God calls us home.
 
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”-James‬ ‭1:22-25
 
Life Application
 
Bring on the meat and potatoes!
 
I’m reminded of my own kids with this. They are so comfortable with eating their plain cheeseburgers, plain cheese pizza, or their mac and cheese with chicken nuggets. I try to have them venture out, try some different foods. One day, they took me up on my offer. They wanted a bite from my ribeye steak. I hesitantly let them get a piece. I saw their eyes brighten up, as they engulfed it, looking for more! Their eyes were now opened to so much more (better things) than they were so used to. All they had to do was step out and give it a try. I believe it’s the same way in our spiritual growth. We can get so comfortable doing the same thing, going through the same motions. God has so much more planned for us. His plan for us isn’t to be stagnant in our faith. He wants us to continuously grow. Just like any parent, you want to see your kid become the fully matured person you know they can be. There is so much more out there for us if we would just step out in faith, and follow. Yes it can be a little scary stepping into something new, trying something that you’ve never tried before. But I find peace and comfort knowing this: God loves me. God is always with me. God wants to give me His best. All I have to do is trust and follow Him.  The best is yet to come!  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Hebrews_4

Scripture Hebrews 4:12, 15-16 NIV- For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart…..For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 
Observation-What does it say? 
 
This chapter opens with entering God’s rest through the Sabbath, then speaks of the power of God’s Word and ends with how Jesus is our high priest, who understands every weakness and temptation we face because He experienced it Himself, yet remained sinless.  Therefore, we must approach Him with confidence and enter His rest. It is only through His Word that we could find true rest. Jesus was the Word and the Word was God and was with God from the beginning (John 1:14). Jesus continues to intercede and fight on our behalf in order that we could have a relationship with God.  As Paul has written, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
 
Understanding-What does it mean?  
 
Approach God’s throne of grace with confidence because He is our Ultimate High priest. 
 
Please see this commentary from gotquestions.org regarding the role of a high priest.  “The most important duty of the high priest was to conduct the service on the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month of every year. Only he was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the veil to stand before God. Having made a sacrifice for himself and for the people, he then brought the blood into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled it on the mercy seat, God’s “throne” (Leviticus 16:14-15). He did this to make atonement for himself and the people for all their sins committed during the year just ended (Exodus 30:10). It is this particular service that is compared to the ministry of Jesus as our High Priest (Hebrews 9:1-28).” We have a high priest (Jesus) who not only intercedes on our behalf so that we could have a relationship with God, but who also understands every struggle and temptation we face, yet remained without sin. Why wouldn’t we run to Him? 
 
Life Application 
 
Run to Jesus. True rest is found in Him alone. 
 
Thank You Jesus that You are a loving high priest, that You are the Word of God in the flesh and that we can come to You unashamed with any and everything we face for guidance, wisdom and instruction. Amen. 
 
Please listen to this song “Come to Jesus” from Chris Rice. The message is about running to Jesus. https://youtu.be/PANiveIKVX0
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Joshua_24

Scripture

Joshua 24:15

15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Observation

Joshua brings everyone together and delivers a message from God – basically the story of their people, from their lineage to the battles won for their freedom.

Understanding

We’ve been working on persuasive speech for Elijah’s English class with Ms. L – telling people about the book they’ve read in a way that convinces others to read it.You start out with the context – the title and author, the type of book and the intended audience – and end with a cliffhanger that is intended to entice the classmate to read it for themselves.

Joshua (delivering the message from God) has got this down!He calls all the tribes together and all the decision-making people of those tribes – elders, leaders, judges and officials.He reminds them of where they came from – descendants of Abraham and a people who once worshiped other Gods beyond the Euphrates.Then he talks about the journey their people have gone through – throughout Canaan, Seir and Egypt.He reminds them of the battles won on their behalf – from plague-afflicted and Red Sea-drowned Egyptians to defeated Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Jebusites and more…from creating dry land in the middle of the sea or river to sending the hornet ahead to drive people out – and the provision and blessings given along the way.

Verse 13 – “So I gave you land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”

And, now, the cliffhanger: you’ve seen life with God, that’s what got you here…and, “as for ME and MY household, we will serve the Lord.” But what about you, what will you choose?

Quite the convincing speech, if I do say so.[Ms. L would be proud! J] Even greater, is once they do choose to serve God, Joshua does a “take away” – nope, sorry, “You are not able to serve the Lord.”He goes on to remind them of God’s character, what serving Him would require and the consequences of not following through – “he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

Now they’re fighting for it!Ready to throw away their foreign gods!…And a covenant is made.

Life Application

 
I don’t mean to make light of this moment – as if it was just a sales pitch done well (hook, line and sinker) or persuasive speech done successfully.It’s actually a pretty big deal – the God of their ancestors became their God when the covenant was made because of their choice to serve him.But, like a good pitch or speech, there are things to garner from HOW it was done.
 
Joshua reminded them where they’d come from and how God had worked in their lives.  They remembered and recounted the details of how God had shown up.  And, there were likely some “oh, that’s right!  I’d forgotten about that!” moments as he did.  
 

We each have a story to tell – a love story of how God came after us, came after our hearts, proved Himself real to us and how our lives were changed as a result.We can all speak to the divine intervention that happened along the way, how God was working in the details of situations big or small, how he’s provided and/or blessed us.These “stories” have the power to create change in the lives of those around us.  I’m reminded, though, that I sometimes forget how much good God has done.  I need to keep my story fresh, front of mind, writing down the continued ways he shows me that I’m seen, heard and loved…so that I’m always ready to share when the opportunity comes.

 

God, you are so incredibly good to me.May I meditate on your goodness, not for my own peace and joy (which it surely brings) but so that I am ever ready to share your goodness and your love with those around me in a way that brings change.Use me today.I want to see lives transformed because of you.

In your name, I pray.Amen.

-Rei

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