Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
August 24: Ezekiel 5, John 18, Psalm 80
 
 
How To Soul Journal
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soulj
 
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

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



Colossians__1

Scripture  Colossians 1:9-12  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

 

Observation-What does it say?  The town of Colossae is near Ephesus, in present day Turkey.  Paul was most likely writing to the church while he was in prison, either in Ephesus or in Rome.  Though he had never visited the church here, he had heard there was much to be thankful for.  But, there was still area for concern, as they were introducing ideas and practices from other philosophies and religions.  This is a practice that is common to this day.  While it can be innocent in nature, this practice can take away God’s supremacy as we lean on the wisdom of ourselves and other men.  In opening his letter, Paul both praises them for their faith and prays for their wisdom and knowledge to grow deeper.  The knowledge Paul speaks of is not just the possession of facts, but the practical knowledge associated with godly living.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  When I was in my early twenties, I spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about where my life was headed.  I would have times of prayer where I would ask God to reveal his will for my life, as if He were a GPS that would give me the step by step directions from now until death.  Thankfully God never gave me such a road map, and my faith in Him has grown because of it.  Besides, I probably wouldn’t have followed the directions even if he gave them to me.    

 

I still have times where I start asking the same questions, but they come less often.  I get to move in life  with the assurance that comes with the experiences of God caring for me and providing for me.  Furthermore, I have learned to search God’s word for answers to these questions and often found answers to these questions in practices that God asks us to live out.  God reveals His will for us in directions like those give to the Thesalonians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thesalonians 5:18).  We also see this same knowledge given to us through James, Jesus’ brother, when he wrote “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).  

 

As we seek to follow the directions found in scripture and grow in the knowledge found within, our individual purpose seems to take shape.  Furthermore, as we grow in our faith through this knowledge, the next step becomes less important. This is when God fills us with the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

 

Life Application: Jesus, when I start to feel anxious about the future, help me to look to your word.  Fill me with your peace, which only comes through your knowledge.  Help me to rely on this knowledge everyday, so I can live out your love and share it with my neighbors and with your body, the church.       

 
-Tyler Galloway



Philippians_ 4

 

Scripture 

 

Phillipians 4:4-20 

 

Observation 

 

Paul continues his exhortation to the church in Phillipi.

 

Understanding 

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

 

When I read this passage I instantly knew it was for right now, for today, for the last couple of months. With all the things happening in our world, our country, our community, with all the information circulating and our easy access to take it all in, this passage was for now. 

 

It couldn’t be said better by me or anyone. The point is driven by someone completely filled with the Holy Spirit and his words are so relevant. 

 

Phillipians 4:4-20 (The MSG)

 

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! 

 

Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.

 

 Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

 

6-7 Don’t fret or worry.

 

 Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 

 

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. 

 

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 

Application 

 

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—

 

the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 

 

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. 

 

Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

 

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. 

 

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. 

 

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. 

 

Amen!! 

Deborah Lee

 
 


Philippians__3

Scripture

 

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭‬‬

 

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing the Philippians. He is trying to motivate them not to rest on their past accomplishments, not to be satisfied of just being saved by their faith in Jesus Christ, and to push forward and keep growing into the people God has called them to be. It is a call for all who know Christ to stay focused on the prize that awaits us, and to finish the race strong.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Keep pushing forward! Keep growing!
 
Did you ever have a goal you wanted to achieve so bad? I know I have. One of them was losing weight and getting back into shape. In order to do that I had to set goals and build a certain discipline in my life in order to achieve that goal. It took hard work, discipline, and dedication in order to accomplish that task. It took me about 3 long months to be able to hit my goal. But what happened once I achieved that goal? I hate to admit it, but I got complacent. I felt I had my younger metabolism back, and I let old habits creep back into my life. Eventually I gained all my weight back (and then some), and now it seems I have to “climb that mountain” again. 😩
 
The reason I share this personal story of mine is so you can learn from my mistake. I know the story I shared is one of physical health, but the same can happen to our spiritual health if we’re not careful. If we begin to be complacent, those bad habits may start creeping back into our lives, allowing the enemy to get a foothold on us and put a strain on our relationship with Jesus. Paul even says a person’s spiritual health is even more important than their physical health.
 
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” –1 Timothy‬ ‭4:8
 
So don’t just be satisfied with knowing our faith is in Jesus, and that we will soon be spending eternity with Him in Heaven. Although that is a great thing, our goal should be to keep pushing forward, to know Him more, and to grow in our faith each and every day. If the whole endgame was to just be saved through our faith in Jesus, don’t you think God would have just snatched us up and brought us to Heaven the moment we accepted Jesus into our lives? Instead, we still have a mission to do. To multiply Christ Followers everywhere (Matthew 28:19-20), to disciple others to grow in their walk with Jesus, and for making sure we too are growing with our walk with Him until the day He calls us home. 😊
 
Life Application
 
Be determined to let nothing get in the way of achieving your goal.
 
Although we haven’t been meeting together physically at church, or even meeting in our GROW Groups, that shouldn’t deter us from pushing forward and achieving God’s mission for us. The church is about the people, and not the building. So we need to ask ourselves, “even with this whole social distancing thing, am I pushing forward achieving God’s mission?” How can I make this happen today? How can I stay connected to God’s people, disciple someone, be discipled by someone, and share the Gospel to someone who is need? It may be challenging, but I know if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. So now is not the time to be complacent! Even with these obstacles of social distancing, God has given us the technology to still go out there and reach His people and the lost. It’s up to us if we’re willing to take that step forward and to keep growing.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Philippians__2

Scripture 
 
Philippians 2:3-4
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.  
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the Philippians – the people of Philippi in Greece, which is said to be the location of the first Christian community established in Europe. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As I read this I thought “what a diametrically opposed way to living to what we see today.” But, as I continued, it sounds like it was just as much in opposition back then. 
 
V 21 “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
 
So, perhaps, things have not changed much. People were selfish then as they are now. However, God’s character and call to His followers have not changed either. We are to live differently – to maintain humility, be obedient (even to death), honor others, “do everything without complaining or grumbling, so that [we] become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation’” (v 14-15). 
 
Life Application
 
May we “shine…like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (v 15-16). 
 
God, help me to look to your interests first, not my own. Help me to be an example of your character today – humble, loving, kind, patient, etc. Give me your eyes and your heart for those I meet today.  Amen.  
 
-Rei


Philippians___1

Scripture 

 

Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. 

 

Observation-What does it say? 

 

Paul is writing to the church in Philippi and verses 19-30 “speaks of Paul’s hope of being released from house arrest.” (bibleref.com)

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

Paul reminded the believers in Philippi that whatever situation they were placed in, their life must be conducted in “a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

 

Life Application

 

God will hold us accountable to how we respond in not just ideal situations, but also difficult ones.

 

Paul was one of the greatest apostles who also wrote a majority of the New Testament. However, he seemed to always be imprisoned for his faith. Regardless of his circumstances, he continued to find ways to not only be joyful, but stay on mission for Jesus Christ, even though in jail or house arrest. Does this sound familiar?

 

What are you doing to continue to be on mission for Jesus Christ even through quarantine? As the Apostle Paul’s life proves, there’s still a way to be on mission for Jesus Christ, even in lockdown quarantine.

 

Dear Lord, please reveal to us creative ways to continue to live a life worthy of our calling and mission to multiply Christ followers everywhere. Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 24

Scripture  Luke 24:38-40  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

 

Observation-What does it say?   When Jesus was crucified, the apostles and disciples were left with a feeling of loss, not only because their friend was gone, but also because they felt they had lost their hope of a savior of Israel.  Within a short period of time, Jesus had told the apostles, very clearly, he would be taken and crucified. He explained it was necessary for Him to suffer in order to fulfill the prophecies about him.  Yet, they were left with a feeling of despair when it all happened.  In a bit of irony, He shows himself to them without revealing who he was.  In doing this, he draws out of them their testimony and then he gives them the final piece of the puzzle, His resurrection.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Some of my favorite movies to fall asleep to are The Lord of The Rings.  I mean, I seriously love these movies, but without fail I will fall asleep about one quarter of the way through the movie.  One cause of this, is the fact that my kids are too young to watch these.  Therefore, we have a tendency to start them late in the evening.  Since I have a tendency to live as if I were already taking advantage of the 55+ discount, I am usually ready for bed by about nine pm.  So starting a three hour movie at 8:30 never goes well.

 

Of the movies, the second, ‘The Two Towers,’ is my favorite.  I would argue that it has the best battle scenes of any movie, ever.  In one of the most pivotal moments in the movie, the Battle of Helm’s Deep,  it appears as all hope is lost and the protagonists have their back against a wall, literally and metaphorically.  As the hero, Aragon, appears to be riding out to his death in a blaze of glory, in comes help from Gandalf the wizard, who had previously told him he would be there.  In the movie, you can see the expression of relief and the amazement that help was actually there.

 

Several times in scripture God gives us similar cliffhangers, like when the priests carried the Ark into the Jordan while it was flooding (Joshua 3), or when Jonah demands to be thrown in the sea, or when Jesus allows Lazarus to hang out in a tomb for three days before raising him from the dead (John 11).  But his death and resurrection is the ultimate cliffhanger.  While all of his closest companions are dumbfounded, Jesus comes almost satirically, “Hey guys, what happened, why are you so sad?”

 

Right now, it feels like we are in a bit of a cliffhanger moment.  What’s going to happen with church, with my job, with the economy and our freedoms?  More importantly, when will I be able to park at the beach?  But God knows what is next, He told us He wins and what happens at the end.  But he asks us to trust Him in the in between.


Life Application:  Jesus, I will lean on You and Your wisdom.  I will cling to You for my peace and my comfort, for you are my strength and my refuge (Psalm 46).

 
-Tyler Galloway