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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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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!
 

2 Thessalonians 2

Scripture:  2 Thessalonians 2:15-17  So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.  May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.


Observation-What does it say?  This second letter from Paul to the church in Thessalonica came only several months after the first.  He wrote it with the intention of clearing up questions left from the first letter, primarily concerning Christ’s return.  The second chapter discusses a great rebellion against God, which will be headed by the “lawless one.”  Before this time there are forces opposing evil, but  when this day comes these will be no more.  Victory will then come when Christ appears.  Paul encourages the Thessalonians to stand firm in their faith until the day of his return.  


Understanding-What does it mean?  Sometimes, I think I may be the luckiest guy in the world.  Generally speaking, there is nowhere I would rather be than at home.  This has mostly to do with the people who are there to make it the best place in the world to be.  In comparison to some families mine is still quite young, Jen and I have only been married for twelve years.  But, we have already outlasted the national average by about four years.  Either way I still love spending time with her and our boys.  When I am away from home, I have faith in her that she will still be there when I come home.  But, how did I come to this faith in her?  It was through spending time with her that I have come to know her heart and the little things that make her tick.


Similarly, how do we hold strong to a faith in Christ in the face of the adversity the world throws at us?  Much like I have faith in Jen, our faith in Christ grows through getting to know Him.  Getting to know him, having a secure relationship with him comes through prayer and time spent reading His words to us, the Bible.  With all the uncertainty in the world, it could be easy to give up all hope.  However, God has promised to carry us through the uncertain time.  We need only to meet with Him to receive the peace he brings.


Prayer, though, is more than just asking God for things.  C.S. Lewis explains it this way, in his essay The Efficacy of Prayer, “Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person.  Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.  In it God shows Himself to us.  That He answers prayers is a corollary—not necessarily the most important one—from that revelation.  What He does is learned from what He is.”

Life Application:  God you are my strength and my refuge, in you I find my peace.  Help me to come to you daily and know you more.  Help me to be still and know you (Psalm 46:10). 
 
 
-Tyler Galloway



Psalm_28

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 28

3 Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.

4 Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve.

Observation – What does it say?

A psalm of David, calling to God for help as he reminds himself who God really is – merciful, strong, his fortress, his praise and his savior.

Understanding – What does it mean?

As we continue moving forward in this strange strange year I am reminded by king David of who is in control of doling out both mercy and justice. In a time where confusion, chaos, anger and hate seem to swirl about uncontrollably David reminds us who is responsible for paying evil what it is due.

I understand the need for order and law in our society, I just wish we weren’t so consumed by it. Or the need to have power over people. I would rather imagine a world where we are consumed instead with knowing God over everything.  As Jeremaiah writes in 9:24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,”

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

I once heard a preacher by the name of Ravi Zacharias preach on a very difficult topic and he ended his message with this (I am paraphrasing) ”Let God be the judge and executioner. He has asked you and I in His service to love others. And that is what we ought to do.”

Lord I am not sure where I stand on anything anymore. But may I never forget,

That You love me.

And that I need to share that love with others. No matter what.

In the name of Jesus, amen.

-kenneth lee



1 Thessalonians_5

Scripture-‭‭

 

1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:12-13‬

 

“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is giving his final advice to the Thessalonians. This advice includes honoring their spiritual leaders by showing them respect and love, living peacefully with one another, being patient with everyone, encouraging one another, staying away from evil, taking care of those in need, to always be joyful and thankful in all circumstances, always strive to do good for one another, and to never stop praying.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Are you a wing or a weight?
 
I heard a podcast where a pastor asked his congregation that same question. Basically are you a person who encourages others, who helps those in need, and helps lifts their spirits to becoming the person God calls them to be? Or are you the person who brings negativity, who is constantly complaining, criticizing, and weighing others’ spirits down?
 
As God’s people we are called to be light and salt to this world. The world (especially now), is a very dark and dreary place to be in. So we as God’s people should be shining our lights out there. Go reach out to your church family. Encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ, pray for them, and see if they have a need that you can help them with. Go out into your workplace, neighborhood, and community. Be praying for them to come to know Christ. Look for opportunities to be a light or a wing in their lives. Don’t be a weight that weighs people down. Be a wing to lift them up! Be part of the solution, not the problem.
 
“The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain; the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.”-‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭10:11
‬ ‭
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬
 
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:29‬
 
Life Application
 
Seek someone out today that you can bring encouragement to! ☺️
 
The tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the human body. It has the power to build up, or tear down. How will you choose to use it?
 
As for me, I want to take this time to honor our Pastors at DSC. The Holy Spirit really highlighted the verse I chose to journal on this morning for this specific reason. Thank you Pastor Warren for your gentleness. You are so loving and caring towards the people God put you responsible for. Thank you Pastor Levi for your work with our youth. I’m confident knowing that Justin and you are building a strong foundation in our youth. Helping them build their faith to ready them for the “grown up world”. I look forward to the times my girls can benefit from that group. Finally, I want to thank Pastor Gary. Thank you for your leadership and for being a mentor to my wife and I. I know you have to make difficult decisions for our church family, and that not everyone will be pleased by them. But with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you make those tough decisions to try to help grow our church not only physically (in numbers), but most importantly spiritually. Thank you for being a Pastor who not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. So thank you all for all you do to make DSC a church which our family is proud to call home. You all have played vital roles in helping my family and I grow in our walk with God. Love you all!
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Thessalonians_4

Scripture

 

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 

 

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

 

Observation-What does it say?
 
The Apostle Paul continues writing to the Thessalonian church and addresses their Christian walk. He urges them to continue to love one another, but to also make sure that their daily life wins the respect of outsiders. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Paul is telling the church that their lives are a walking testimony. 
 

He begins chapter 4 by talking about sexual immorality and the importance of controlling our own bodies and living a pure/holy life. Then he goes on to talk about love for each other (specifically speaking to loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ). Finally, he speaks about being a hard worker and leading a life that wins the respect of outsiders.

 

Life Application

 

Does our daily lives lead others to praise Jesus or does it lead others away from Him? 

 
Daily life is not just about church ministry. It also means at home, when no one is looking. How is our love for others, servant’s heart and integrity when no one is looking and when we aren’t rewarded in this world for it? 
 

“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” -Hebrews 6:10-12

 

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58

 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” -Matthew 5:16

 

Dear Lord, I pray that my daily life would win the respect of outsiders and that my good deeds would lead others toward Your throne of grace and a personal relationship with You. Amen. 

 

-Michelle Gaddi



1 Thessalonians_3

Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 3:1-3,5

So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them…. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

 

Observation:

This chapter speaks to the love of Paul towards the Thessalonians, his heart’s desire towards their continued building of faith and the happiness he felt in knowing they had stayed the course, even in the absence of those that had initially shared the gospel with them. 

 

Understanding:

Paul had a leader’s heart for the Thessalonians.  He was concerned about them, about their faith, about how they were handling persecution, worried that they had been tempted to disregard and leave behind their faith.  So he sent reinforcements – someone he loved and who’s character he trusted – with the intention of checking on them and, if needed, encouraging them. 

 

“Though [Paul] was hindered from going to them himself, yet his love was such that he could not forbear sending Timothy to them. Though Timothy was very useful to him, and he could not well spare him, yet Paul was content, for their good, to be left alone at Athens.”

https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=52&c=3

 

This struck me because, I feel like there are many that weary right now.  2020 has been…trying, exhausting, emotional, frustrating, heartbreaking.  No doubt everyone has been impacted…whether by the coronavirus or illness, financial stresses, anxiety, hurt and/or outrage at the events around death of George Floyd and/or the worldwide outcry that has followed.  I can’t think of one person that has been left unaffected.

 

So what is our response as a church, as individuals within our community and our own centers of influence?  We need to have love like Paul.  We need to check on those we love and care about.  We need to encourage others in their faith.  We need to look to meet people’s needs.  We need to follow the example of the early church. 

 

Life Application:

12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 

 

May we have God’s heart towards those we know and those we don’t.  Listen to understand.  May we be the ones that let people be seen, heard and loved.  We must put our love in action. 

 

Rei

 



Psalm 24

Scripture:

 

Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

This is a Psalm of David. It was possibly written as a processional song for when the Ark was first carried into Jerusalem. It begs the question of who is worthy to be in the presence of God. If it weren’t for the covenant that God made with his people, and the eventual sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, no one would be.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

The other day, as I was getting ready for work, I began to feel overwhelmed with the week to come. I began to think about some of the other stressors that accompany my job, the jockeying and striving for recognition, the constant pull to fit in, as well as making sure I do my job within the policies laid out for me (even the ones I don’t agree with). In a rare moment of clarity, I knew I needed to lean on God’s strength instead of my own. I stopped my family and prayed for peace and strength for the upcoming week.

 

After praying, I was able to reflect on some of my past failures. Or at least what I took as failures. Jobs that I applied and didn’t get, auxiliary assignments that I was denied, and transfers that did not go through. As I was doing this, I was also listening to a sermon pod-cast, and encountered what I like to call God’s sense of humor. The pastor was speaking about Paul during one of his missionary trips. In Acts 16:6-10, we encounter the story of Paul trying, and being denied by the spirit, to go to Asia and Bithynia to share the good news of Jesus. However, he then received a very clear message from God to go to Macedonia, which was the first missionary journey into Europe. This was the jumping point for Paul to go to Rome.

 

The pastor aptly pointed out that, often times, a “no” from God will lead to an even bigger “YES!” On that day, God showed me His peace by shedding light on the fact that he is ultimately in control. When I trust in His wisdom, he will ultimately guide me to what His will is. So when I look back on my “failures,” I can see the “no’s” that I was hearing as God leading me to a bigger yes.

 

Life Application:

 

Jesus help me to trust in you everyday. As you taught the disciples how to pray, “Your kingdom come, and Your will be done,” let me learn to pray this earnestly. Help me to trust that you have plans for me to prosper, as you tell me in Jeremiah 29:11. I know that if I seek to bring You glory, You will work things out for good (Romans 8:28).

 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 23

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Observation – What does it say?

A psalm of David a shepherd and a man after God’s own heart. (I had to go KJV for this one. I will never forget verse 4. Thanks Coolio!)

Understanding – What does it mean?

For several days now I have been contemplating the fragility of the human spirit, its brokenness. And with all that our nation is dealing with, it has been easy for me to feel overwhelmed with emotion. Overwhelmed with ideas. Overwhelmed with…confusion. As I write this and as I read today’s bible reading I read from a place of deep emptiness. Sometimes my feelings of deep sorrow bring me to a place of deep apathy like that. Where it feels like there is this giant hole in my heart.

 

And so from that unpleasant place I called out to God. 

And He met me in Psalm 23.  

 

I’m so lacking in – everything. You shall not want.

I am broken – too. You shall be restored.

I feel so empty – like everyone else. Your cup shall runneth over.

 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Thank you for reminding me who my shepherd is. Thank You for Your written word. Thank you for my church family. Thank you for your perfect timing.

Lord, let me pay it forward. Please, send me to somebody who needs You. Use me to draw others to You. And may they experience You the way I do. As Amazing shepherd. Prince of Peace. God of Wonders. God of all comfort. God of Love.  

 

In the name of Jesus,

-kenneth lee



Colossians__4

Scripture

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to respond to answer everyone.
 

Observation

Paul finishes his letter with some final remarks and greetings, and within these remarks he makes comment of conversation with others. He also finishes his letter off by granting grace to all those who read it, which also seems to be what he urges others to do in conversation with one another.
 

Understanding

So imagine with me for a second a girl who is extremely competitive… just imagine, she’s totally made up… maybe…

Anyway, in elementary school she would get so upset if she lost a game of four square that she would take the ball and chuck it across the playground. Simply because, if she couldn’t play, no one could… then all the little kids would tell on Allison… errr I mean… they would tell on girl and she should get in trouble by the yard duty (who may or may not have been her mom). Okay you can stop imagining now.

This is how I picture our political climate right now. Everyone is so competitive with their opinions that they completely disregard the other opinion (or the other people playing four square). But Paul says to let our conversations be full of grace. Grace is something that was freely granted to us, so it should be just as easily poured on others in conversation even when their viewpoint may not match our own. I might even go further as to say especially when they their viewpoint does not match our own.

The Message translation puts it this way:

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. The way I’ve been thinking about it is that we have been taking the wrong weapons to the fight against our nation. We have responded to hate with more hate, rather than combatting it with love. We should not seek to limit conversation with people, but instead encourage it in a healthy and productive manner. Of course I have to quote a historical figure, as I always do, so in the great words of Martin Luther King Junior: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
 

Life Application

I know that more than ever loving is easier said than done, but here’s where you can start: before taking to social media consider those who are following you, rather than stirring the pot look to have meaningful and gracious conversations in person. Intentionally work harder to be understanding and loving in these crazy times. Do an act of kindness for someone! Who knows maybe it will spill over and create a ripple effect.

-Allison Khan


Colossians__3

Scripture

 

Colossians 3:23

 

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

Paul writes a letter to the Colossians to encourage and remind them of their new life in Christ. Paul tells them that they are God’s new creation, that their old and sinful ways should be buried and dead to this world. And now is the time to live a new life, a life filled with Christ. A life filled with the attributes of Jesus Christ.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

We all have a boss to serve…and His name is Jesus.

 

We’ve all been in a workplace or situations where we have to submit to people who are in authority over us that we may not particularly like. While others may defy them, Jesus calls us to submit to their authority. Work willingly for them, as though we were working for the Lord rather than people-(vs. 23). This is a great reminder for me in my workplace. I know there are times for me when I feel under appreciated or disrespected, and I just think to myself, “what’s the point?!” I mean here I am giving work my all, and management is gonna come back and not even acknowledge the hard work?! If anything they either criticize it or give me even more work to do! Ugh! Then I remember this verse. It reminds me that Jesus is watching. He sees the works that I am doing. It is Him who I am trying to please. Then I’m also reminded that as a Christ follower others around me are watching as well. They are observing how I am reacting to certain situations. That is even more incentive to work happily and willingly. This way when others may fold and break under those difficult circumstances, I can remain steadfast. Then others may ask “how I’m able to do it?” I can simply say it is my Lord and Savior Jesus who gives me strength to do so, and He is the One I work for!

 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

 

Life Application

 

It’s all about the attitude.

 

No matter what comes my way today, I’m going to come at it with a grateful heart, knowing that Jesus is with me, and understanding that He is in control. Understanding that He has a purpose behind everything, whether good or bad. It’s up to me and how I carry my attitude, which can help determine how I can use those situations to glorify Him.

 

-Moses Gaddi



Jeremiah_1

Scripture:

Jeremiah 1:5-8

“Before I formed you in the womb I knewa] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Observation:

These verses capture the calling of Jeremiah and what became a 40-year ministry. 

Understanding:

Jeremiah was resistant to God’s calling.  He was believed to be around 17 years old at the time of this conversation where God makes clear His calling and plan for Jeremiah. 

Imagine that, 17-years-old and hearing – it seems rather clearly – that you are to be a prophet over nations – “appoint[ed] over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (vs 10)

It sounds big and bold and exciting…and maybe overwhelming?  So, it makes sense that Jeremiah’s first response is one of resistance, hesitation, excuse – “I am too young.”  God is not one for taking excuses though.  Remember, He created us for such a time as this, with a plan and purpose in mind.  So, God’s response is…

“Before I formed you in the womb I knewa] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Jeremiah was already a young man, but God wanted him to know that his call went back even further than his youth. Jeremiah existed in the mind and plan of God before he ever existed in his mother’s womb. God told Jeremiah this so that he could walk in God’s pre-ordained plan by his own will.” [https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/jeremiah-1/]

With God there is no too young, too old, too smart, too dumb, too crippled, too broken/lost, too good…God is able to use us in whatever stage we are in and He is able to equip us and surround us (whether with people or resources) to accomplish whatever He has called us to do. 

Our role is simply to listen for the call, then go obediently towards it.  God will fill in the rest. 

Life Application:

Simple…listen, trust, go.

“You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.” (vs. 7)

Rei