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_14

Scripture

Exodus 14:10-18-
 
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Observation-What does it say?

The Israelites were terrified because Pharoah and the Egyptians were on their tail. They couldn’t see a way out. The Red Sea was right in front of them and escaping seemed impossible. They started crying out to the Lord and grumbling to Moses because they honestly felt like their deaths were imminent in the desert.
Moses encouraged them and told them not to be afraid, to stand firm, God will deliver them, they will never see their enemies (the Israelites) again, the Lord will fight for them, and to just trust and be still (vss. 13-14). Then the Lord spoke through Moses to tell the Israelites to stop their crying and move on.
Moses put down his staff, God parted the Red Sea and allowed them a path to cross through. God did the impossible and Scripture says in verse 31 that “when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” God was given the glory as a result of what He did to Pharaoh and the Israelites, just as He said He would in verse 18.

Understanding-What does it mean?

In times of fear, we can be still and trust that God is the God of the impossible.

In that moment when the Israelites were seeing only one outcome ahead of them-death, God proved them wrong. He showed them that it wasn’t the end. He was the God of the impossible.

Life Application

Be still in His presence and don’t fear.
 
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It seems easier said than done to just sit still in the presence of Jesus and let our worries and fears for today, tomorrow and the future fade away. However, it is Jesus’ heart’s desire for us all. Financial, relational, health, and future concerns can rob us of the peace and joy that the Holy Spirit desires for each of His children. Those are His fruits!
Pastor preached a couple Sundays ago that a relationship with Jesus is not burdensome. Jesus said He would take our heavy yoke upon Himself for “His yoke is easy and burden is light (Matt. 11:30).” That doesn’t sound hard! I also shared on Sunday that Jesus encouraged Martha to stop worrying and being distracted with so many things because one thing was necessary..to sit still, listen and spend time at Jesus’ feet. The things Martha was doing wasn’t bad, but Jesus desired relationship with her more than making sure everything was perfect for Him.
 
Moses also gave us practical ways to encourage ourselves out of fear in this passage: 1) Don’t be afraid 2) Stand Firm 3) Believe in faith that God will deliver you 4) Believe that the Lord will fight for you. 5) Be still.

As we seek the Lord FIRST in everything we do and BELIEVE in faith and obedience that He is the God of the impossible, fear fades away and joy and peace take over.
 
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33-34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Jesus, help us to take our brother Moses’ advice when fear tries to overtake us. Help us to not be afraid by standing firm in the faith, believing that You will deliver us according to Your will, believing that You will fight for us, and being still in Your presence through prayer and Your Word. May we also listen in faith to Your still small voice and respond in obedience just like Moses did. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi



Exodus_13

Scripture
 
‭Exodus‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭NLT
 
“And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Israelites have just been rescued out of slavery from Egypt, by the mighty hand of God. Moses then receives instructions from God to commemorate that day by dedicating the first offspring to be born, of both animals and humans, belongs to God. They are to eat no food containing yeast for seven days. Then on the seventh day, they will have a celebration feast to the Lord. The Israelites were to do this each year to remember what God has done for them, and to teach the future generations of the things God has done for them.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Turning your tests in life into testimonies.
 
The Israelites were rescued out of slavery by the mighty hand of God. Along the way they witnessed firsthand all the miracles God did for them to get them where they were at. From releasing the various plagues among the Egyptians, to slaying the firstborn of each household whose door didn’t carry the blood of the lamb on it, to splitting the Red Sea for their escape as they fled from the Egyptian armies. God was always there for them.
 
We can also look back and reflect in our own lives and see the many times God has been there for us. Even in those moments in life, when you think He isn’t there, and you’re experiencing hardships, God is there. I see those particular rough patches in life as an opportunity to grow and connect with Him even more. I know that God can be using that experience in my life so I can maybe help others who may be experiencing the exact same thing. May I use the opportunities in life when my little ones ask me why mommy and daddy tithe, pray, serve at church, etc. to gladly express to them because God has rescued us with His mighty hand. May I live a life, even through the hardships, to point others towards Christ, the One who helps me get through them! Because at the end of the day, these ups and downs in life, are great stories and opportunities to share with others, just how great and awesome our God is!
 
Life Application
 
Take the opportunity to thank God today for all He has done. Share it with someone.
 
Thank You God for everything You have done in my life. You gave me new life through Jesus. You have never left me and always provide my every need. Help me to share the stories You blessed me with to others so that they may know You too. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
‬‬
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Moses Gaddi


Mark_5

Scripture

Mark 5:19-20 

Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Observation – What does it say?

After healing the demon possessed man, Jesus didn’t allow the man to come with him. Rather, he told him to go home to his people and tell them what God did for him. The man proceeded to not only go to his home town but to the Decapolis, meaning 10 cities, telling people what God had done.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Jesus didn’t bring the man with him because he had a purpose for that man’s life, to share his testimony with others. We may wonder why we don’t just go to Heaven the moment we put our faith in Jesus. The reason we are still here, with breath in our lungs, is because God has a purpose for us! We are here to share our story of all God has done for us and how he has had mercy on us.

Life Application

I want to be like this man! He was so overcome with what God had done for him he couldn’t keep silent! He went from city to city telling people all about it. And as a result, the people were amazed.

God, remind us today of all you’ve done for us. And may we joyfully and passionately share with others all about it. Give us opportunity, even today, to share with someone. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 


Mark_4

Scripture

Mark 4: 14-20

14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Observation

We are farmers.  [Insert jingle – “We are farmers, bum ba dum bum bum bum bum.”]    

Understanding

In Mark, Jesus is speaking to the masses using parables.  He shares the parable of the farmer, sowing the seed…what happens to the seed is dependent on the soil the seed lands on.

I think the important take away is to keep sowing.  We don’t know the hearts of those we meet.  Even perceptions are often incorrect.  Our role is simply to continue sowing the seed – sow in faith, sow in obedience, sow in love.    

Life Application

God, I know I have a good story to share – the story of your love, kindness, faithfulness, redemption, etc.  Show me ways to do so today.  Regardless of how it may be received, may I share in boldness, faith and love. 

– Rei

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



Psalm_60

Scripture 

Psalm 60:11 

“O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain.”

Observation – What does it say? 

This Psalm was written during David’s reign as king.  It is quite possible that this was written during a time when the Israelites were at war with the Moabites.  This particular Psalm can be broken down into three parts; complaint for defeat (vs 1-4), a promise of victory (vs 5-8), and rekindled hope in God’s word.  The Psalm seems to show the result of turning away from God is the realization of being dependent on Him.  

Understanding – What does it mean? 

I heard someone say once that if you need to make a decision about something and one of the choices is something that will be to the detriment of your ego, choose that one.  The point was, we are ultimately put here to bring God glory and not ourselves.  Therefore, if we are struggling to do something because of the way we perceive it will make us look, we act in the way that God will get the glory and not us.  

I came to the realization, recently, that I have a tendency to only pursue things that I perceive will promote me.  Especially when it comes to work.  I want to follow the plan that will bring me the most positive attention.  I do this without taking the time to prayerfully consider the path that God might have intended for me instead.  I am essentially leaning on the wisdom of man to determine my path and future rather than God.  Then, without fail, come crawling back to God wondering, “why is everything going wrong?”

When I take time to look around in moments like these, it’s easy to see that it would be better for me to have asked for God’s direction in the first place.  I also get a look at the wonder of God’s amazing grace.  I do something dumb (read: I walked away from God), when my life is in shambles I run back to the one who can fix things (I repent), God in turn accepts us with loving arms (forgiveness).  And this is generally when God redirects my actions to serve others.  

In Galatians 6, Paul talks about our ability to help one another through the tough times.  He reminds us that our life here is short, and it is with perseverance in doing good that we will find eternal life. Much like the Israelites, we need only to seek God for direction in life and he will be our salvation.

Life application 

Jesus, I want to spend all of my moments working towards sharing your glory.  Even if that means that I don’t look good in the process.  I want to trust in your path for me, and not in the wisdom of men.  Most of all, I want to be enamored with your salvation
 
– Tyler Galloway 


Mark_2

Scripture

Mark 2:4-5:

 
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Observation-What does it say?

Their faith made them do everything possible to see Jesus. When they couldn’t get to Jesus, they didn’t give up. They made a way to see him by making an opening in the roof.

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)

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus wants to be found by us.

Because of the men’s persistence in bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus, Jesus healed his paralysis and forgave him of his sins.

We are commanded to seek FIRST the Kingdom; to ask, seek and knock and we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our heart.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

The story of the persistent widow and the unjust judge is another example of how God honors our persistence in our pursuit of Him and because of He’s a good Father, He will act and respond. (see Luke 18:1-8) The Lord wants to be found by us because He loves us.

Life Application

Seek God because He sought you first.

When we feel like Jesus’ presence is far away or feel like He is not listening to us, we need to be willing to knock down walls and dig holes in roofs in pursuit of Him. When we feel far away from Jesus, it is not because of Him, but because of us.

Don’t give up praying, seeking, or knocking. We will find Him if we don’t give up.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

Also, just like in Luke 15 with the story of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son, His love for us is relentless. He sought us first, so we must continue seeking Him in response to that love.

Dear Lord, thank You for seeking us out first and pursuing us with a relentless love. Because of that love, You desire to be found by us. May we continually seek You in faith when we feel You are far away. Your Word says You never leave or forsake us, so we know that it is us who need to draw closer to You when dry times like that happen. We need You and can’t live without your love and grace towards us. Thank You for every breath we take which is evidence of Your grace and existence. Amen.

Reckless Love Song
Reckless Love (Official Lyric Video) – Cory Asbury | Reckless Love

 
 
-Michelle Gaddi


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