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!
 

1 Timothy_5

Scripture
 
1 Timothy 5:25
 
“Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this part of Paul’s letter to Timothy, he is giving him advice on how to address the behavior of different groups within the church. He paints a picture of acceptable and appropriate ways to live.  He wraps it up by giving a reminder that the way we live, our reputation, is usually what people hear about us first. So we ought to seek to live in a way to bring honor to God.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Recently I have been attempting to simplify a lot of the aspects of my life.  The goal is to get rid of things that bring more stress, and ultimately distract me from Jesus, than what they are worth.  Where I run into problems with this attempt is in actually letting anything go that has “sentimental” value, or if I think there is any possibility of it being remotely useful in the future.  Which is why I have a 1975 Honda motorcycle sitting on the side of my house, rusting, not doing anything.
 
I have struggled to make my actions line up with my intentions. Similarly, I can struggle making my daily faith actions line up with how Christ has called me to live.  This can be especially frustrated by the culture we live in, which seems to have no care for prudent behavior. 
 
God has called us to higher purpose.  Our behavior is to line up with his purpose, which is to share His love and saving grace with the world around us.  Jesus directed us in much the same way saying, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
‭‭John‬ ‭13:35‬
 
Life Application
 
Jesus help me to have endurance past Monday morning, because following you gets way harder after Sunday.  Help me to see the person next to me as someone in need of your love.  Grant me the humility to ask for forgiveness when I have sinned against you.
 
-Tyler Galloway 


Deuteronomy_21

Scripture

Deuteronomy 21:20-21

20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.”21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

Observation – What does it say?

In our culture today, we see a rebellious child and say, “It’s just a season” or “I’m praying it doesn’t last long and that he comes around.” They may experience discipline from parents, but the worst they’ll experience is probably getting kicked out of the house. Before Jesus came on the scene, the culture in Israel was completely different. If your parents believed you to be rebellious and disobedient, God had commanded that they bring you before the town to be put to death. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The disobedient who are stubborn and won’t change will eventually die in their sin.

God is passionate about purity and holiness. Pure means there isn’t a trace of other elements mixed in (think pure gold).  God desires his people to be set apart to him, pure in their love for him and obedience to his commands. One rebellious child, unwilling to change their ways, was enough to taint the community and so must be removed. Without the potential of serious consequence, people would be much more quick to rebel and be disobedient.

As I read this though, it was something else that struck me: The contrast between this account and the story Jesus told of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Rather than killing his rebellious son, the Father agrees to give him his inheritance. When he shared this story, I imagine his Jewish audience thinking of this law for rebellious and disobedient children, expecting somehow for this story to end in the rebellious son reaping deadly consequences. But there is a major plot twist when the rebellious son comes home and confesses his sin. Instead of punishment he received his Father’s embrace, a welcome back into the family and a party thrown in his honor. God’s love is so incredible it’s shocking!

But, does this mean the God of the Old Testament is different from the God in the New Testament? Like God had a change of heart? No. 

He has always been the same. He has always been serious about purity and also serious about love and grace and mercy. If he stopped caring about purity and holiness he wouldn’t have had to send his Son Jesus to die. Those who are rebellious and disobedient and who never repent (turn from sin to God) will eventually die in their sin. The consequence in Deuteronomy of physical death is nothing compared to the consequence of eternal separation from God in Hell for those who don’t turn from sin. But, if we will repent and come back to God like the prodigal son, there is forgiveness and love and an embrace unlike any other!

Life Application

Worship God for his love and grace that he lavished on me when I turned from my sin toward him!

God, thank you so much for your love and grace! May we never lose sight of where we were when you found us and never forget that we deserve death! You have been so good to me and owe me nothing, yet you continue to bless me. Thank you. I love you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Proverbs_23

Scripture
 
Proverbs‬ ‭23:4-5‬ ‭
 
“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
King Solomon warns people about chasing earthly riches. King Solomon knows the “Big Picture” here. He knows that our time here on earth is just temporary; that you can’t bring those riches with you when you die. And that at any given moment it can be all taken away from you. So don’t let greed get a hold of you. Be content with what you have and focus your attention on more important things.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Where are my priorities?
 
Where is all my time and efforts being spent in life? Is it chasing after that American dollar and the American dream, (big house, fancy car, and extravagant “toys”)? Or is it chasing after the mission that God has called me to do (helping others in need and multiplying Christ Followers everywhere)?
 
In my workplace, they hand out overtime like it’s candy. Then you will have co-workers fighting over who gets to work it. They all want to make more money. They are all willing to step on each other to get it too! And for what?! It seems the more they make, the more they spend. And at what cost?! The more time they spend at work, that’s less time they get to spend with their family. But they all look at me like I’m the crazy one whenever I turn down the opportunity to work the overtime. But for me, being a Christian is all about trusting God. Trusting that if I put Him first in everything in life, He will take care of the rest.
 
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew‬ ‭6:33
 
Yes, I am thankful that God has blessed me with a job that offers overtime and opportunities to make a little extra money to help out around the house, but I’m also aware that God doesn’t want me to lose my focus (on Him) while doing so.  I will work to make a living and even work overtime at times to bring in a little extra, but I do whatever it takes not to neglect my time with God, His family, and my family when doing so and I believe God has been faithful to me because of it.😊
 
Life Application
 
Building God’s Kingdom, not mine.
 
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Proverbs_22

Scripture

Proverbs 22:15 

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.

Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues with sharing his wisdom in Proverbs. King Solomon was King David’s son. I believe that many of his wise counsel came from personal experience, including things his father and/or mother taught him, especially with this verse related to children.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Based on this proverb from God’s Word, children are not born innocent. They are actually born foolish. This is why discipline is necessary. This is why God gave children parents; it was not just to provide for their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing, but also to love them and teach them the right way they should go. The only command with a promise in the Word of God is for children to honor and obey their parents. The promise is that life will go well for our children as they trust and obey our wise counsel.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.””
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Prov. 22:6

Life Application

We may no longer be children based on our age in the world’s eyes, but we are still children; children of the King of kings. Therefore, we must take discipline and correction seriously and learn from it.

My favorite line in the hymn “Come thou fount” says, We are prone to wander. We need the guidance of our Heavenly Father, His Holy Spirit, His Word and other Spirit filled people to keep us on the straight and narrow path. We must be willing to accept Truth spoken over our lives and be humble enough to accept it instead of getting defensive about it.

Proverbs 22:4-“Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life”

Proverbs 12:1-“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

Proverbs 15:31-33-“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.”
‭‭
Dear Lord, thank You that You adopted us into Your family and we are Your children. I pray that we would always come to You with child like faith and humility. I pray we would trust and obey Your Word and also trust the authority and leaders You have placed over us to submit to. May we continually pray for our fellow parents who are raising children and also leaders who keep watch over us and who will be giving an account for our lives in Heaven. May their work be a joy and not a burden (Heb. 13:7). I pray for fruit from our labors whether we are parents, spouses, ministry leaders, Pastors or all of the above. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi
 


1 Timothy_1

Scripture

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 

 Observation-What does it say?

Believed to be written by Paul to Timothy – a “younger colleague and delegate” – 1st Timothy was written with instruction and encouragement.  Instruction for the organization of the church as well as encouragement. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The first thing that stands out to me on this verse is his humility.  There’s long been an assumption about Christians that we are all “holier than thou,” self-righteous and highly judgmental.  Here we are reminded just how important it is to recognize that we, too, are sinners, recognize the gifts of mercy and grace and – perhaps most importantly – LIVE IT OUT in a way that exemplifies Christ Jesus…for the ultimate win of their salvation.  

 Life Application

Be humble. 

Share God’s love and my testimony – because it’s relatable and it’s a first hand example of God’s mercy and grace. 

God, thank you for choosing to partner with me – a lowly sinner – to share your grace and mercy to those I meet.  May I see the people I encounter through your eyes. May I be open, honest, real…but most of all humble and overflowing with your love!  And may it plant a seed and/or lead to an encounter with you. 

 In your name, I pray.  Amen.

 -Rei

 PS More goodness is found in Proverbs 21:21

 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.

May we pursue righteousness and love today – GO LOVE ON SOMEBODY! <3

 



2 Thessalonians_3

Scripture  

2 Thessalonians 3:10 

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

Observation-What does it say? 

Thessalonica was in the northern part of Greece, and was the second most prominent city during this time.  In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul stressed the need to work.  He does so again here, with even more urgency.  The political and social culture at the time looked with disdain at those who worked with their hands.  Therefore, there were those who would sponge off the generosity of other Christians.  Apparently, when the Thessalonians learned that Jesus was going to return, the idleness increased instead of decreased.  He reminds them that there was no example of this in his life.  

Understanding-What does it mean?

I was never much of a student.  I struggled in pretty much every subject that they threw at me, except for lunch and phys-ed.  But even though I struggled in school, I could tell you exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I would answer the question emphatically with, “A COWBOY! Or a carpenter, but definitely a cowboy.”  As I got a little bit older, I realized there was a certain limit to me becoming a cowboy, being that I grew up in Southern California, and had never really visited a farm, or ridden a horse for that matter.  So I followed in my family’s footsteps and started work as a carpenter shortly after high school.  While I have at times ventured into the world of academia, I have always felt more at home being a part of the working class.

I think our present culture is not too different from what the Christians in Thessalonica were facing.  There seems to be a general distaste for the work at hand and available.  I have often felt jealous of the people who had the more desirable jobs, that came with the nice air-conditioned office, and the fat paycheck.  “Must be nice to have what they have.”  I have coveted the nice car, and the big house.

But when I read through the bible, it becomes more and more evident to me that God does not care about the type of work I do.  Instead he cares about the heart in which I do my work.  Not only that, he cares about the good I do with the resources he has provided to me through my job.  Proverbs is rife with examples of the goodness of work.  For example, Proverbs 16:26 reminds us that our hunger can drive our will to work.  In Proverbs 18:9 we learn that a person lazy in their work is just as bad as someone who destroys the work of another.  And in Colossians 3:23, Paul reminds us to do our work as if our boss were God himself.  

Life Application

Jesus help me to remember that the job I hold was provided for me by you.  And the proceeds of that job are also yours.  I will not forget to give to you the portion you ask.  In return, I ask for good health so I can daily praise you in the workplace.  

-Tyler Galloway 

 


Deuteronomy_16

Scripture

Deuteronomy 16:21

Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the Lord your God

Observation – What does it say?

As Moses continues to relay God’s instructions to the people of Israel, he commands them not to set up any Asherah poles. An Asherah pole was a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the pagan goddess Asherah.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is jealous for our love and worship.

Jesus himself quoted Deuteronomy when Satan tried to tempt Jesus to bow down to him. He said, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” God doesn’t just want part of us, part of our hearts, part of our worship, part of our love. He desires and deserves our entire lives and all our lives contain.

AW Tozer in his book, The Pursuit of God, says our problem is not that we don’t seek God. Our problem is that we seek God and ____. God and money, God and pleasure, God and achievements, etc. It is in the “and” that we run into problems and find ourselves distracted and our hearts divided and not fully committed to God.

Life Application

I may not have any statues or shrines in my house or sing praises to other gods. But, does God have my whole heart and my whole life? Are there other things I have been pursuing that have taken away from my worship to God, my love for him, the time I spend with him?

God, may our hearts not be divided. I give you all of me because you gave it all for me. Please reveal to us the ‘and’s in our life and give us hearts that are consumed with love for you and passion for living out your will above all else. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Proverbs_18

Scripture
 
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭ERV‬‬
 
“The tongue can speak words that bring life or death. Those who love to talk must be ready to accept what it brings.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this particular passage of Proverbs, King Solomon brings light into the saying “think before you speak”.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Who knew that something as small as the human tongue could be so powerful and mighty?
 
King Solomon understood just how powerful our words towards one another could be. They could be encouraging and uplifting or they could be wicked, demoralizing, and break one’s spirit. What kind of words am I going to choose to speak today?
 
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”‭‭
1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today. ” Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change.”-‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭ERV
 
“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:36-37‬ ‭NIV‬‬
‬‬
Life Application
 
Choose my words carefully.
 
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”-Psalm‬ ‭141:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”-Psalms‬ ‭19:14‬
 
‭-Moses Gaddi


Proverbs_17

Scripture
 
Proverbs‬ ‭17:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬-

“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues with sharing his wisdom in Proverbs. “Solomon wrote it with his descendants and the young men in Israel in mind (biblestudy.org-Who wrote the book of Proverbs?).”

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Bible is serious about choosing the way of the wise instead of a fool. So serious in fact that it says it’s better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.

Have you ever heard the term, you don’t want to see mama bear come out? As a mom to 2 kids, the protective nature of a mother to her child is extreme and I didn’t understand that until I became a mother. I’m not proud of this, but I’ve lost self control and yelled at a couple people because I felt my kids were being wrongfully attacked. It’s not wise to make a protective mama angry.

My husband also used to work as a meter reader and he told me that the most vicious dogs were the female dogs who were protecting their pups. He would always have to find alternative ways to read those house meters because you were just asking to get bit if you entered their territory.

As scary as a protective mama bear is, it’s not as scary as a fool bent on folly. For example, Scripture says that a fool gives full vent to his anger (Proverbs‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬), so essentially, a fool’s anger is worse than a mama bear protecting her cubs. That same Scripture says that the WISE bring calm in the end.

Life Application

Keep company with those who are wise, instead of those who continue to have a bent towards foolishness.

We must be careful with the company we keep and who we allow to influence our lives. Also, we must be aware of whether we are the ones acting like a fool. It’s important to make the necessary changes and learn from our mistakes. We don’t want to be the person that the Bible instructs others to run from.

Dear Lord, You appointed King Solomon to write the Proverbs to offer wise counsel, not foolish counsel. It is clear that You make many distinctions between wise and foolish choices and the consequences of each. I pray that we would always seek to live our lives wisely so that others would be drawn to You instead of away from You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Proverbs_16

Scripture

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

Observation

This is the third time in the first nine verses that it speaks to God being the one to establish our steps/plans/answers. 

 

Understanding

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 

So…who’s in charge? It seems pretty clear that God wants us to know it’s Him – that He is the one that provides the answers to the questions we may have about what to do, that He will establish what we commit to Him and that He will determine the steps towards the course He created with us in mind. 

 

Life Application

Thank you, God, for taking the guess work out.  Thank you for reminding me that I was created with a purpose and plan in mind…and that I don’t have to go far to find it…but, rather, just ask the One who created me.  I thank you for establishing my steps; may I submit and commit to that which you’ve laid out. 

 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

 

-Rei

 

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