Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Exodus_8

Scripture
 
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NLT
 
“But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
God instructs Moses to go back to Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go, so they can worship Him. If Pharaoh refuses, God will send a plague of frogs throughout the entire land. Sure enough, the Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened, so God released a plague of frogs across the entire land. Frogs were everywhere! In people’s homes, cooking bowls, jumping on Pharaoh himself, and all his people and officials. Pharaoh had enough! He summoned Aaron and Moses and pleaded with them to ask God to remove these frogs away from him and his people. Then Pharaoh said he would release God’s people so they can offer sacrifices to the LORD. But as soon as Pharaoh got what he wanted (relief from the plague of frogs), he changed his mind and refused to let God’s people go. This was the theme throughout this chapter. Whether it was with the plague of frogs, gnats, or even flies. The plagues would come, Pharaoh would call in Aaron and Moses to plead with them to get God to stop, but once Pharaoh got what he wanted, he would go back on his word, and go back to his stubborn ways. When would he ever learn?
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God is committed to us. Are we committed to Him?
 
It is so easy to get frustrated with Pharaoh in this story. I mean God already knows how stubborn Pharaoh is, why not just be rid of him?! But how many of us know someone or even we ourselves at one time acted like Pharaoh? We were given a “plague” of some sort in our lives. We promised God if He could just remove this “plague” and make it stop, we would honor Him, and obey His ways. Then once we get what we want, we forgot about our promise to God. It’s back to our old stubborn ways again. Why do we do that?! Especially because God has been so faithful to us. We must remember His faithfulness not only throughout the good times, but the bad times too. His commitment to us doesn’t waver. Shouldn’t we do the same?
 
“True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”-Romans‬ ‭3:3-4a‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
Life Application
 
A lifetime commitment to God.
 
Turning to God should be something I do for EVERYTHING in life. Help with life’s decisions? Turn to God. In trouble, or sick and need help? Turn to God. How about if life is going great for me? Yes, TURN TO GOD! Give God all the praise and glory. I must remember him throughout all my life’s ups and downs. God desires a relationship with me. (That statement alone humbles me). Don’t be the friend who only calls when they need something. Be in constant contact with Him, let Him know what’s going on in life. Ask Him what we can do for Him. Then just watch as this relationship blossoms to it’s full potential and see what God can do!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts_28

Scripture 

Acts 28:24

Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul arrived in Rome and called together the local Jewish leaders for a meeting where he spoke to them about Jesus. As a result, some were convinced but others weren’t.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When we share about Jesus with people, not everyone will be convinced. But that doesn’t mean we don’t share. If we share, we will get rejected. However, it’s not something to be afraid of or even discouraged by when it happens! 

Luke 6:22-23a

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.

Jesus was clear that we are actually rewarded every time we are rejected. When we share with people and they believe in Jesus, there is no greater joy! But even when we are rejected we can still count it a joy because a deposit was just made in our heavenly bank account. 

Life Application

Just share! 

Lately, God has been stirring in my heart to share with strangers on the street and to pray with people I see who have injuries. And I know I’m not the only one! At our “Do What He Did” class last week, several people in our church went out to share and pray for people at the mall and they came back with great testimonies! They experienced rejection by some, but others got impacted by God and experienced his love and healing power! 

God, fill us with boldness to share. And even though some will reject us, we hold to the promise that the fields are white for harvest! We know we encounter people every day who are ripe for an encounter with you, ripe to surrender their lives to you. You are on the edge of your seat, excited to move in their lives and it’s up to us to just be obedient. Please help us to step out of our comfort zones and to go for it. Amen!

– Levi Thompson



Psalm_56

Scripture
Psalm 56:12-13
12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.
 
Observation
When you experience God’s love and deliverance, the natural response is to make a commitment to God and thank him!
 
Understanding
Jesus healed 10 lepers in Luke 17 and one of them came back to say thank you. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Jesus doesn’t demand praise and thanks, but he does expect it. Every miracle, provision, blessing and healing is intended by God to draw us deeper into God-glorifying relationship with him.
 
Life Application
Remember what God has done for me and worship him! 


Exodus_5

Scripture

Exodus 5:2

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”

Observation – What does it say?

After the death of Joseph, there came about a new king of Egypt who didn’t know about how God had favored him. He didn’t know that God had delivered Egypt from the great famine through Joseph. He was threatened by how prosperous the Israelites were, and he became oppressive over them. In Exodus 2:23-25, we see that the Israelites were crying to God for deliverance. God remembered His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God decided to deliver Israel through Moses. In the process, the Israelites came to encounter a lot of opposition from the Egyptians.

UnderstandingWhat does it mean?

A lot of the time our scope of understanding in this life can be so limited that we become focused on the wrong thing. Or as they say, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” And when I say the wrong thing, I mean to say that I have so often been focused on what is going “wrong” in my life. These feelings of self-pity have been a constant roller coaster in my life for some time.

I remember being 18 and sitting in a wheel-chair, with both my legs in casts, feeling like life could not get any worse, even though I had escaped death not too long before. Not to mention feeling confused about my purpose, because, as many people told me, “God saved you for something special.” Then, about a year and a half later, sitting in a hospital bed in Oregon, recovering from a major surgery to fix my intestines. Those feelings crept back in, “life can’t get any worse.” Flash forward to a few years ago, and I didn’t get a promotion I was hoping for at work. “God, life can’t get any worse.” And I wish that I could go back to a time when life was “better.”

Later in the story the Israelites, wandering in the desert, tell Moses a similar story. “Life can’t get any worse. At least when we were in Egypt we had food.” (See Exodus 16). God promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. He didn’t say it was going to be easy, He told them, “Only be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7). The Israelites went on to do hard battle for the promised land. They took giant steps of faith, walked through rivers when they were flooding (Joshua 3). Their descendants battled giants, and were thrown into fire, fed to lions, etc.. Jesus himself had to struggle with a companion who turned traitor.

When I turn my eyes from my low position to the wonders of God’s goodness, I can begin to find meaning in the suffering that I find here on earth. God has plans that will eventually work out for the good (Romans 8:28). I only need to trust in Him, the God who knit me together in my mother’s womb. No matter who is opposing me, I trust this fact.

Life application

My prayer often turns to the words found in James 1:2-3 “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Help me Jesus to trust that, in hard times, you are drawing something out of me that is intended to bring you glory. No matter how bad the pruning feels, I trust that you are completing me, and preparing me for my time in eternity with you.

– Tyler Galloway

 


Exodus_4

Scripture
 
Exodus 4:3-4-

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.

Observation-What does it say?
 
God chooses Moses to go to Pharaoh and command that he let his people, the Israelites, free. He is introduced to one of the tools God has given him to complete this mission, his staff. Moses has to face his biggest fears and does it by trusting, relying on and obeying the One who is giving him his commands.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The power was not in the tool God gave him. It wasn’t in the staff. The power came through Moses’ faith and willingness to obey God’s commands to him.

God gives us all the tools we need to complete our mission of multiplying Christ followers everywhere. He gives us His Word, His Holy Spirit, the ability to pray to Him whenever we want, awesome Pastors and leaders in the faith to guide and shepherd us, our church family and individual passions, gifts and talents to use for Him within the church body. But, all this means nothing if it is not combined with faith. None of these tools can be utilized or put to use without faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ which allows us to do great things for the Kingdom.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Also, Faith is not the absence of fear. Moses’ story proves that he was fearful every step of the way. Take for example the first sign, where God turned his staff into a snake. Moses ran away from the snake, but God told him to reach out his hand and take it by the tail. That required Moses to move toward the snake, even though he was scared, and be close enough to grab its tail. He did it despite his fear because He trusted and obeyed the One who was giving him that command. Moses trusted that the God of the impossible was able to do the impossible through him.

Life Application
 
The God of the impossible is able to do impossible things through us, but we must have faith. Many times, we will have to face our greatest fears in order to complete the mission.

Jesus is a great example of this. Even though He was God in the flesh, he still feared his upcoming death as evident through Him sweating blood in the Garden and requesting that the cup be taken from Him. However, Christ was focused on the mission because He loved us and desired to do His father’s will, despite his feelings and fears. Because He didn’t quit, we get to enjoy the benefits of unhindered relationship with Him.

Don’t allow fear to stop you from completing the mission. Fear keeps us humble and dependent on the One who works through us, so that only He receives the glory, not us. As we push through the fear of whatever God is calling us to do, great things happen. As we have faith in Him more than our fears and hesitations, we are able to accomplish awesome things for His Kingdom.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear God, I pray that we are able to push through any fear that may keep us from doing Your will. I pray that You would deposit greater faith in us to override any hesitations to accomplish the mission You’ve set before us. We seek to obey Your will over our own. Thank you for choosing to partner with us to accomplish Your mission although You could easily do it Yourself. Thank You for Your patience and love as we are everyday molded into Your image. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi

 


Psalm_53

Scripture
 
Psalms 53:2-3
 
“God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm of David, he writes about the corruption going on in his world around him. David sees more and more people turning away from God, which is leading them down a path of sinfulness. This path of sinfulness is going to force God’s wrathful hand to lay waste on them!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭
 
Aren’t you glad that God provides us a way for all of us to have eternal life? I know I am! God knew from the beginning of time the sinfulness of mankind. He knew the choice Adam and Eve would make in the Garden of Eden before they even knew! He also knew the chain reaction of sinfulness that it would cause for the rest of their offspring. And God being the just and righteous God that He is, also knew the punishment that it deserves. But God being so loving, merciful, and gracious, already knew the way (the only way), to provide humanity a way to spend eternity in the light living with Him, and avoid eternal darkness separated from Him. That way is through His One and only Son, Jesus Christ!
 
Life Application
 
Who can I share this free gift from God with?
 
The world we currently live in now is really no different from David’s world he wrote about in this passage. A world who turns away from God, who is trying to push God out of its schools, government, and homes. As a result, we see all the horrible things going on in this world. When some may blame or question God for letting such things happen, I question if these things happen because of people’s lacking relationship with God. I mean imagine a world which all people turned to God, honored Him, and worshipped Him in everything they did? It would be…like heaven. So who can I share God’s free gift with? Will you share this gift of Jesus Christ with others to bring a positive change to this world?
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Acts_24

Scripture

Acts 24:25

As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Observation – What does it say?

Paul was brought to trial before the governor, Felix. Several days after the trial, Felix and his wife sent for Paul, and in this private audience Paul spoke to them about faith in Jesus. Felix appeared to be all ears until the the subject matter began to make him feel uncomfortable enough to cut Paul off mid-conversation and send him away. 

Understand – What does it mean? 

1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

The truth isn’t always comfortable. Especially when you aren’t prepared to respond rightly to it. The gospel is offensive and foolish to those unwilling to repent. Yet Paul still spoke it boldly, not only telling of grace and forgiveness found in Christ, but righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment. To hear that those who have not put their faith in Jesus will be judged and condemned is enough to instill great fear for those unwilling to repent! Rather than confronting the truth and repenting, Felix was afraid and refused to listen anymore. 

Life Application

Not everyone will get excited when we share Jesus with them. Not everyone will thank us and try to give us a hug. Not everyone will repent and put their faith in Jesus. But, that doesn’t mean we stop sharing or alter the gospel we share!

It is essential we present a complete gospel. The goodness of the gospel cannot be truly grasped without first understanding the horror of sin’s consequence. We must follow Paul’s example, not sugar coating the gospel or just highlighting the warm and fuzzy parts. 

God, please give us courage in sharing the gospel. May we share it completely and effectively. Give us the words to say and bring people across our path who will be receptive. But even if we’re rejected as Paul was, may we continue to share! Amen.

– Levi Thompson 


Psalm_51

Scripture

Psalm 51:1, 10

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

…Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.

Observation

There’s so much good stuff to grab on in to today’s reading that I had a hard time picking just a few verses; but these verses summarize it best. 

Understanding

In Exodus we learn of the midwives who, fearing God, did not comply with the king’s ruling to kill the boys as they were born (Exodus 1:15-19).  And, because of their boldness – even to include lying to the Pharaoh, “God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous.  And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.” (vs 20-21)

Talk about mercy!  God saw the plight of the Israelites, the circumstances the midwives found themselves in and gave mercy – not according to their actions (because, really, they lied to the Pharaoh and lying is a sin and so is disrespecting those who are placed in authority over us) – but according to His unfailing love, according to His compassion.  He “blot out [their] transgressions” and gave them favor – families of their own. 

In Acts, we read of a young man who overhears a plot to ambush and kill Paul; the young man is ultimately sent to the commander to share what he had heard (Acts 23:12-22).  The commander takes heart (perhaps mercy and compassion?) and, knowing this, sends Paul with trustworthy soldiers in the middle of the night to Governor Felix – ultimately to safety – until his case can be heard. 

The young man – Paul’s nephew – heard the plan and spoke up.  Because of that Paul was granted mercy and compassion. 

Life Application

In both of these stories, someone – someone ordinary, unexpected – took bold action, bringing opportunity for God’s mercy and compassion on those who loved and feared Him.  To me, this is a reminder that God’s got us.  In this crazy big thing called life, God sees and knows the little details.  He places people in positions and places to bring about His desires for His children. 

God, I ask you to “create in me a pure heart” and “renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  A pure heart, so that I may not be distracted by sinful desires and miss the opportunities to be used by you in ways big and small.  A steadfast spirit, so that I may remain faithful even when circumstances may seem big or out of my control.  Thank you for choosing to partner with your children to carry out your will.  And show me, today, ways that I can act boldly in Your name – to bring about Your mercy and compassion in the lives of those I encounter.   In your name I pray, Amen. 

– Rei

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



Psalm_50

Scripture

Psalm 50:23 

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.”

Observation-What does it say?

Asaph, the indicated author of this Psalm, was a levite and was one of the leaders of David’s choir.  He was described as a “seer,” or prophet, in 2 Chronicles 29:30.  At the beginning of Psalm 50, God tells the people of Israel that He is not interested in their burnt offerings.  He reminds them that He made everything and He knows “every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”

Understanding-What does it mean?

I am sure that just about every parent in the world has, at one point or another, uttered the phrase, “A thank you would be nice.”  I have said it many times.  It never seems to fail, as we are leaving somewhere that was intended to be a treat for our boys, I hear one of them whining in the back seat.  That whine usually accompanied by the cry of, “It’s not fair, I didn’t get a…”  Whether the desire of the moment be a toy, an extra ride, a cookie, etc.  The only thing going through my mind at the moment is, “We’ll just see if I ever do anything nice for you again.”  I just want my boys to be thankful for the time and money that I just sacrificed for them to have a good time.

Conversely we have all seen, or been, the person who just can’t accept a gift.  There always has to be some type of “I owe you one” with these people.  I have felt this way myself towards God’s grace.  I just feel guilty, or not good enough, for the lavish gift that He is trying to give me. And so it was with Israel, who were continually offering burnt offerings and sacrifices to “please” God.  In verse 12, God says, “If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine…”

In Psalm 49:8 we learn that “For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever.”  Jesus gave up his life willingly as the cost of our redemption.  And all God wants from us is our thankfulness.  In Psalm 46 we find that God just wants us to be still and know him.  He just wants me to be close to him.  And for this I am thankful.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHptBGS_tAo

Life Application

Jesus help me to shift my focus from how bad things may be going for me, or how much I owe you, to a perspective of wanting to be closer to you.  I am so thankful for your never ending love for me.  I am thankful that you are patient in waiting for me, and that you show patience in waiting for those you have called that have not found you yet.  

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

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm_49

Scripture
 
Psalm‬ ‭49:13-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions. But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them. Though while they live they count themselves blessed— and people praise you when you prosper— they will join those who have gone before them, who will never again see the light of life. People who have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Psalmist talks about the fate of those who trust in themselves and have pride in themselves and their riches.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Just to clarify, money in and of itself is not evil.
We need jobs to get paid to make a living, because making a living requires money. Food, shelter, clothes and transportation do not pay for themselves. We need money to be able to give away to those in need, to keep the church going and to support missionaries. Yes, we need money. I don’t believe in living life in debt. However, money becomes evil when it consumes our thoughts, our time, usually because of a worldly mindset of wanting more things or to do more recreational activities. The heart is usually discontent.
When money replaces Jesus on the throne of our lives because we put our hope and comfort in what money provides instead of what God provides, that is what makes it evil. It is the LOVE of money that makes it evil.

Life Application
 
The love of money is rooted in pride, the opposite of a life of humility that Jesus modeled us to have as a Christ follower.

The love of money is rooted in the pride of life. The pride of being recognized for continuing to climb up the corporate ladder. The pride of being able to provide above the needs of your family and the ability to buy and do whatever you want, while neglecting the needs of others. However, the life of a Christ follower must be different. Before I get accused of preaching down your throat in judgment, I have (and sometimes still do) struggle with this. I sometimes pride myself in the education, gifts and talents that the Lord has given me and want to use that for other purposes besides the Kingdom. My family and I have had to make sacrifices for the cause of Christ and what I believe has been His mission for my life. I confess that I get tempted to look at my neighbor who is living life in the world and want that for myself. However, this Psalm encourages me that riches fade, we all die and can’t take any of it with us. Also, as 1 Timothy 6 states, “some people who have been eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

It is unwise to live life for the here and now. We must live life eternity minded. There are doctors and dentists who have chosen to forgo their 6-7 digit figure salaries in order to give free care to those in the mission field and further the Kingdom of God.

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Lord, I pray for those like myself who may struggle with a worldly mindset. In this world, we will suffer and have problems as a result of our choice to live life eternity minded, but I know that as we put our hope and trust in You to provide and as we put our faith in what You can do instead of ourselves, that is where true joy and peace will come from that no one can take away from us. Thank you for your encouragement to be content with what we have because of Your promise that You will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) Let there be no one or no thing that we desire more on this earth besides You Jesus. Amen.

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