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!
 

Joshua_3

Scripture 

Joshua 3:13 

It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap.

Observation-What does it say?  

This is an exciting portion of scripture.  The Israelites have left the desert and are about to cross into the land of Canaan.  Joshua was one of the spies originally sent into the land.  He believed in the Lord and His ability to deliver the Promised Land to Israel, while ten of the spies were in fear of the giants that inhabited the land.  I can only imagine his heart as he waits at the doorstep of a place that he had been waiting for most of his life. 

Here, as they are about to decamp from Shittim and cross the Jordan, God tells Joshua to have the priests walk into the river and He will stop the flow.  The river is flooded and is expected to stay that way for some time.  Israel has experienced a similar miracle in crossing the Red Sea.  But, as the Matthew Henry commentary points out, this was done with the Egyptian army coming right behind them.  They were trusting God out of desperation.  Here God announces the crossing three days ahead of time.  He is asking them to trust in expectation.  Additionally, the author of Joshua Points out that the water wasn’t stopped until the priests stepped into the water.

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Whenever I read this portion of scripture, I think of those horrible scenes from the news, of places like Louisiana or Mississippi, when they are experiencing a heavy flood season.  A row of houses with only the top half showing, people standing on top of cars waiting for someone in an aluminum boat to rescue them, and no end in sight.  This seems to occur once every few years, and all because of too much rain.  A teacher once described seeing the Columbia River in Washington at flood stage, and realizing the true strength of it when he saw entire oak trees, with the roots still attached, floating down stream. 

In Southern California, it usually only takes a few hours for water to disappear after the rain, but the Jordan River had been like this for some time.  If I had been one of the priests in charge of carrying the Ark of the Covenant across a raging river, I would definitely be a little apprehensive.  It sounds similar to those scenes in mobster movies where they give a guy concrete shoes and throw him in the East River.  But God was just showing a portion of his strength.  It was a foreshadowing of the other miracles that would follow.  God was about to take the nation of Israel through a large string of victories, all for His glory.  

In Isaiah 43:1-2 we hear a promise that harkens back to this moment, “But now, this is what the Lord says-he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.””  God is faithful to his children, and he always comes to the rescue.  And from time to time, he asks us to step out of our comfort zone and walk into an uncomfortable situation.  It’s a lot like teaching your kids to swim, “Jump to me.  I will catch you, nothing bad is going to happen.  I’m your father, I won’t let anything bad happen.”  As the parent, we already know how much fun swimming is, but getting a child to go past the fear of the unknown is difficult.

Life Application

Jesus when you ask me to take a step of faith, help me to remember the Israelites at the banks of the Jordan.  Help me to know that you will be there to catch me when you say to jump.  Give me the discernment to know your voice over all the noise around me.  Help me to rest in the confidence of your redemption.  For I know I can trust in your promises.  

-Tyler Galloway



Luke_5

Scripture 

Luke 5:5

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Observation – What does it say?

Simon (AKA Peter), had fished all night with his crew and they hadn’t caught a thing. Lots of effort expended, time and resources spent, and nothing to show for it. You can imagine the discouragement and frustration; the longing to just go home, take a shower, collapse in bed and attempt to forget it all. But instead, Jesus delays Peter by getting into his boat and asking him to push out from shore. And Jesus, from the boat, taught the crowd that had gathered. When Jesus was finished, I imagine Peter excited to finally go home, but instead, Jesus asks something else of Peter: “Put back into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.”

Peter hears “for a catch,” and I imagine him rolling his eyes. Peter expresses his frustration, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” In other words, “There’s no fish out there, trust me! It’s a waste of time! I just want to go home!”

But after venting, Peter obeys and it led to such a massive catch that their nets began to break and it put 2 fishing boats beyond their capacity! Wow.

Understanding – What does it mean? 

Venting is ok, as long as you obey.

You can’t call Jesus “Master” and then choose to do what you prefer. Do you want to be Jesus’ servant? …Then don’t get mad when he treats you like one.
 
It’s ok to disagree with God, to be honest about how you think his plan won’t work. But if you will obey anyway, there’s no telling to the miracle you’ll see.

Consider Samuel being asked by God to pass up well built and qualified young men to anoint the runt of the family, David, to be king. Consider God commanding the priests to carry the ark of the covenant into the raging waters of the Jordan River while it was at flood stage. Consider God asking Peter to step into the home of the Gentile Cornelius. Consider our Savior Jesus being asked by his Father to go to the cross. None of those things could seem remotely logical or appealing to the one facing the command.

Scripture and history is filled with stories of people being asked by God to do something that didn’t make sense, that they didn’t want to do. But every time they obeyed, something amazing happened! God showed up and giants were killed, seas were parted, sick people were healed and countless people were saved from Hell, all because people like you and me chose to obey when it didn’t make sense or we didn’t ‘feel like it.’

Life Application

Consider, “In what situation do I need to make the transition from venting to obeying?” 
 
The outcome isn’t up to me, it’s up to you, God. My role is to obey. Please forgive me for when I camp out in the venting stage and never progress to obedience. I want to be a man after your own heart, like David, who will do everything you want me to do. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Joshua_1

Scripture
 
Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT
 
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Moses has just died, and God calls on Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River, to the land God has promised their ancestors. God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous when leading the people, and to obey all the instructions that Moses passed along to him. If he is able to do that, he will be able to succeed in whatever he does. For the Lord God is with him wherever he goes.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
What’s there to fear if God has your back?
‬‬
Be strong and courageous. Words spoken multiple times not only in this chapter, but throughout the Bible. Words that I have spoken and verses I have used multiple times this month when praying over someone, or even when I was encouraging my daughter. So what’s the deal with the Bible using this phrase so many times? What is God trying to tell me? What it tells me is we have nothing to fear if we trust God, love God, and honor His ways. It tells me that as long as you’re His children, (adopted into the family of God by believing in His son Jesus Christ), we have nothing to fear because He is with us. It tells me since this phrase is used throughout His Word, it stands firm and true, and to know that God doesn’t break His promises.
 
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31‬b
 
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭
‬‬
Life Application
 
The safest place to be is wherever God calls you to be.
 
I would always admire people who serve in ministry overseas in dangerous parts of the world. Or those who chose to serve in prisons amongst the “evildoers”. I mean aren’t they scared? But if there is one thing this passage should remind me is if God calls me someplace, and I follow His calling, it’s the safest place I can be. God will provide me with my every need to fulfill His mission. Sure it may take me out of my comfort zone, but I know it will stretch me and grow me in my faith, as I heavily rely on Him for my every need. So what am I waiting for? There’s a neighbor He’s asking me to talk to, or a family member I need to share with. Time to be strong and courageous, and confident knowing that God is with me every step of the way.  
 
-Moses Gaddi


Psalm_6

Scripture

Psalm 6:3-6 NIV

My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.”

Observation-What does it say?

David cries out to God for deliverance from his enemies. In the beginning, he even pleads to the Lord for mercy, for if he is being rebuked because God is angry with him or disciplining him for wrongdoing, He tells the Lord that it is more than he can handle.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The only way to persevere through difficult trials is to draw near to the Lord in the midst of pain. 

I love how raw and honest King David is in his Psalms. I think he is one of my favorite Bible characters, not just because he is a musician, but because of how transparent he is with the Lord. David was at the point of weeping so much that it was wearing him out. Even in the depths of his anguish, David doesn’t turn away from the Lord. He does the complete opposite. He draws near to Him and is completely honest about his pain and struggles.

Life Application 

Draw near to the Lord and the church family when trials hit. 

It’s interesting how the tendency we have as human beings is to retreat, not fight, when the storms of life hit. Sometimes we blame God, stop praying, and blame His bride, the people of the church. That’s what the devil wants. However, we are called to persevere through the trials and not give up. We are called to press in even more towards the Lord and relationship with Him; even more towards serving others and even more in fellowship with the Body of Christ.

When I went through one of the darkest times of my life about 16 years ago, I admit that I drew myself further away from the Lord and the church, instead of crying out to the Lord in my distress. I was upset with some church discipline/protection that occurred in my life because I didn’t understand it and it caused me to forget the true nature and character of God’s goodness. Not only did I stop going to church, but I stopped talking to and praying to Jesus. This did not make me feel better by any means! It actually made me spiral even deeper in depression as I cut myself off from not only Spirit filled relationships around me, but the MOST important Relationship in my life. My mom noticed it and called me out on it and I’ll never forget all the people who continued praying for me at that time to get me back to the place of faith I am today. I’m living proof that prayer works!

Anyhow, we must be completely transparent with the Lord when communicating (praying) to Him. He can handle it all..the good, bad and the ugly. The worse thing to do when struggling in life is to retreat from Him and His bride. Believe me. Been there, done that and thankful to have learned from it in order to change and continue in what God has called me to do.

Dear Lord, thank You that You hear us when we pray. Thank You for seeing us through trials in life and delivering us from them. Thank You that I could look back at my own life and see how Your hand was continually at work in me and how You never let me go. Thank You for seeing me through the past and continuing to take me through the present and future. I pray for others who may be going through hardships right now. I pray that they would not forget that You are with them and that they could come to You through it all. May we seek You with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength for You will never turn us away. May we be strengthened each day as we are reminded of Your love and goodness towards us. Amen.  

-Michelle Gaddi 



Psalm_5

Scripture

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

 

Observation

Psalm is the documentation of David – crying out, praising, pouring out His heart to God.  “It is a reflection of how the righteous man prays for deliverance not only for freedom from suffering, but to allow himself to be able to serve God without distraction.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalm_5

 

Understanding

Lately, the word “expectantly” has been reoccurring and heavy (in a good way) on my heart.  In preparation of our India trip, I am EXPECTANT.  But I’m finding myself expectant more and more often…and this verse brings light to the fact that we should be expectant EVERYDAY. 

For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down and the mountains trembled before you.  – Isaiah 64:3   

God can and WILL do amazing things, whether we live in expectancy or not…but, to live in faith, means to live in expectation – knowing and believing God will provide, He will move boldly…this is when mountains move!

…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20

 

Life Application

Be bold in faith! 

God, thank you for your ready examples of your faithfulness.  May we be eager and bold to call on you, to share you with friends, family and strangers alike.  Show me how to love on people today in a way that points them to you. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Luke_1

Scripture

Luke 1:68-69 

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”

Observation-What does it say?  

The gospel of Luke was written by a doctor, who was a friend of Paul.  He writes the most complete story of Jesus’ life, and it is written with very precise details.  Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke was most likely not a Jew, but is a well educated man and familiar with both Jewish and Greek culture.  The gospels are all generally written within the first century AD, almost four hundred years after the last book of the old testament.  Luke opens his book with the announcement of John the Baptist’s conception.  John is the cousin of Jesus, and the son of a Jewish priest, Zechariah.

Understanding-What does it mean?  

Since having kids, the type of movies that I get to watch have changed a little.  As to where I used to get to enjoy action and adventure, with great battle scenes with mild violence (sometimes heavy violence), I now try to make sure whatever I am watching will not send my boys into nightmares in the middle of the night.  And so, The Lord of the Rings has been replaced with The Lego Movie, or Surf’s Up.  

Surf’s Up is the tale of a group of surfing penguins who travel to Pengu Island for the Big Z memorial surf competition.  Big Z was the best penguin surfer, until he was overshadowed by a younger, more progressive penguin.  So instead of facing defeat, he fanes his death and goes into hiding, deep in the jungle.  One day he is discovered by an up and coming surfer, who is longing for a role model, but Big Z is unwilling to come out of hiding.   In the climax of the movie, Big Z reveals himself to the crowd at the competition to a sea of penguins in awe and shock that their hero is still alive.

Zechariah, the priest, was most likely well versed in the prophets and the future coming of a messiah.  But, God had been effectively silent to the Jews for almost five centuries.  Both he and Mary have similar reactions to being visited by God’s messenger, shock and awe.  I can imagine them saying, “I thought you were dead.”  They were dealing with the reality that all they believed in, the story of redemption and the coming messiah, was coming to fruition right in front of them, and they were involved in a big way.  Zechariah rightly praises God for his timely arrival.  

God, like Gandalf, is never late, nor is he early, He arrives precisely when he intends.  This is true not only in the grand story salvation, but also in our individual story lines.  The prophet Isaiah tells us that, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  And Peter instructs us, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Keep hope, even in the times where God seems to be silent, for His salvation and the comfort of His hand will arrive on time.  You may even be surprised by it. 

Life Application  

As we approach the holiday season, I don’t want to forget all that God has fulfilled.  May His praise be on my lips at all times.  For I know that He is worthy of praise, and when I praise Him, he brings His peace upon me.  For I am redeemed and my sins are forgotten, and this is the most important thing that I can share with those around me.

-Tyler Galloway



Philemon 1

Scripture

Philemon 1:21

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul is writing to Philemon, his friend and fellow believer, requesting he forgive and embrace Onesimus as a brother in Christ. Onesimus was Philemon’s slave who wronged him and then ran away. He had met Paul, Paul shared the gospel with him and now Onesimus was a solid follower of Christ. It was a huge ask, yet Paul expresses complete confidence in Philemon to do the right thing. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

It is important to believe the best about people!

What Paul is asking Philemon to do is no easy thing. Forgiveness is hard! Not only that, but Paul asks him to do away with their master-slave relationship and embrace Onesimus as an equal, a brother in Christ! This was something unheard of in their day. Yet, in a great demonstration of love, Paul declares his confidence in Philemon as he expresses faith in Philemon’s great character. 

1 Corinthians 13:7

[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Part of loving others means always trusting and being filled with hope regarding them. But what if their track record isn’t so good? 

When Paul met Onesimus he was a slave and a criminal on the run. Yet, he obviously trusted that God could do a work in his life and he was filled with hope for his future. Because, rather than brushing him off as a lost cause, he shared the gospel with him, invested in him, and raised him up to be a great man of God. There is power in believing in people and in God’s ability to change their lives!

Life Application 

Believe the best about people!

God, may I empower people by calling them higher and believing the best about them. May I always be filled with trust, maybe not always in their ability to do the right thing, but in your ability to work in them to do the right thing. Fill us with hope in our relationships with others, and give us your heart of love for them.

Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Titus_3

Scripture
 
Titus‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭NLT
 
“Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.”
‭‭‬‬
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to Titus. Titus was left on the island of Crete so he could complete the work/ministry there of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, multiplying Christ Followers, appointing leaders and elders within the church they are building there, and teaching the men and women of the town to live their lives that is honoring to God. In this particular verse Paul is writing Titus to remind the believers to submit to those in authority there, and to always be ready to do what is good.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Just know Who truly is in charge and in control.
 
We are living in a time where our nation is divided. We are letting are feelings of who is running the White House interfere with what our main focus should be…Who is running God’s House? You see God gave us all a responsibility on how we should be conducting ourselves as His children. We are supposed be extensions of Him wherever we go.
We are supposed to be doing our part here, running His House, building His Kingdom, on earth as it is in Heaven. How can we do this if we are divided?
 
It’s going to have to start with trust. Are we putting our trust in God, or some man to heal this nation?
We need to trust that God is in control. God doesn’t do anything by chance. Trust that He has a reason behind everything, and at the end of the day His glory will be revealed.
 
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”
Romans‬ ‭13:1‬ ‭NLT
 
If there is one thing that I have been learning in our study in the book of Ruth the last couple of weeks in church is that God has a plan. Do you really think it was coincidence that it was Ruth who chose to stay loyal to Naomi? Do you think it was coincidence that of all the lands Ruth decided to glean from, it so happened to be Boaz’s? Everything happened because it needed to happen. But Ruth chose to be faithful , humble, and obedient. And at the end of the day, God’s glory was revealed. Am I willing to trust in God’s plan? Am I willing to be humble and obedient to follow it?
 
Life Application
 
Pray for the leaders of the world.
 
As Christ Followers we all need to do our part. We need to act accordingly to His Ways. We need to be part of the solution, not be part of the problem. Instead of making it hard for our leaders by defying them, how about praying for them. Pray that God can speak to their hearts, use them in ways that can better this nation and further His Kingdom.
 
Jesus I pray for our leaders. Speak to them in a way they can hear You. Fill them with Your wisdom. Surround them with Godly counsel to help advise them. Be with our President and his staff. May they seek You for guidance to lead the people that You put them in charge of. Help them to find ways to unite this nation once again. Help us to become “one nation under God” once more. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_1

Scripture

Psalm 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Observation-What does it say?

Psalm of David written to encourage us to put our hope in the Word of God and to meditate day and night on it, living out what it says.  As a result, we will be able to stand firm in the faith and yield much fruit.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Meditate day and night on God’s Word.  

There’s power in God’s Word. It truly is our sword when doing battle with the enemy (see Ephesians 6:17). It also feeds us, instructs us, corrects us and grows us. It is still very much alive and active today and not just a history book of the past. The longest passage in the Bible is found in Psalm 119 with 176 verses that speaks about itself. I encourage you all to read it when you get a free moment. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17 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.”  Hebrews 4:12 NIV

Life Application

Continue to Soul Journal everyday.

We seek to assist our church body to get into His Word daily through Soul journaling so that we could sustain our faith by feeding, receiving instruction, correction and growth from it. Most importantly, we learn about the character of God. His Word is about the Greatest Love story ever told! Everything always points back to Jesus. 

In order to Soul Journal, Pray before reading the Word asking the Holy Spirit what He wants to highlight to you. Read the passage. Then, allow it to marinate and transform our lives by documenting it through the SOUL method. Soul stands for: 

Scripture- what Scripture verse or section of the passage stood out to me?

Observation- What does the passage say? Give a summary of it.

Understanding- What does it mean? Share other Scriptures which support it.

Life Application- How can I apply it to my life? What am I going to practically do about it based on what I just read? 

I encourage you all to try it. Please click on the orange Scripture title at the top in order to join in with the discussion of our church family! We’d love to hear what God is speaking to you in the comments.

-Michelle Gaddi



Deuteronomy_28

Scripture

Deuteronomy 28:2

 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: 

Observation

Deuteronomy was written around 1406 BC, at the end of the forty years of wandering endured by the nation of Israel. At the time, the people were camped on the east side of the Jordan River, on the plains of Moab, across from the city of Jericho (Deuteronomy 1:129:1). They were on the verge of entering the land that had been promised centuries earlier to their forefathers (Genesis 12:16–9). The children who had left Egypt were now adults, ready to conquer and settle the Promised Land. Before that could happen, the Lord reiterated through Moses His covenant with them. [https://www.insight.org/resources/bible/the-pentateuch/Deuteronomy]

Understanding

We’ve heard PG share before about the premise and the promise.  Well, the “big idea” of Deuteronomy is that the promised covenant is dependent on the premise of obedience…and the consequences are pretty intense.  He spends 14 verses sharing all the goodness and blessings that come with obedience – blessed wherever they go, blessings over their children and the things they put their hands to, blessings over their food, safety from their enemies, abundance – and follows it with 54 verses about the curses of disobedience. 

Granted, we are in New Testament living now; but many of our promises still rest on the premise of our obedience to God.  And, often times, that obedience is just stepping out in faith – not necessarily knowing where the next step is. 

Ruth, as we’ve been learning about on Sunday mornings, is a great example of living by faith.  While circumstances may not have immediately shown it, God was always at work in the details; so she kept working and, sure enough, she was blessed in and through that work because of her obediance. 

Life Application

The premise is where character is built.  If we received the promise, without the premise – or if the circumstances changed, without the heart growth needed to received and/or maintain those blessings, the results could be disastrous.  God cares far more about the people we become (and how useful we will be in His story of transforming lives) than giving in to our momentary wants or needs. 

God, you’ve been incredibly gracious and giving to me.  Help me, in the times of your stretching, to be patient in the process – to hold tight to and rest in your promise, working and praising as if it’s already here. 

So grateful for your love for me; help me to be a conduit of it today, pouring it out on everyone I meet. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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