Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

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

Ezekiel 37_

Scripture

Ezekiel 37:22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

Observation – What does it say?

As God continues to promise hope and restoration for his people, central to that restoration is a uniting, not only of people to God but people to each other. Where the people were divided, God was going to bring them back together as one.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Have you ever wondered what God’s will was? This verse in Ezekiel gives us a clue. The first chapter in Ephesians makes it a bit more clear:

Ephesians 1:9-10

[God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

God’s will is to bring all things together under the lordship of Jesus Christ. This is the same picture we see in Ezekiel. Unity is important to God! It’s central to his cosmic plan.

The challenge is that it demands we forgive. It demands we let go of bitterness. And it demands we move beyond peacekeeping to pursuing genuine reconciliation.

Life Application

Prayerfully ask…

– “Are there any people you’re asking me to be reconciled to?”

– “Is there anyone I’m holding onto bitterness toward that I need to forgive?”

– “Are there any people groups (race, gender, denomination, political affiliation) that my heart needs to change toward?”

God, we recognize that unity is so important to you. A house divided cannot stand, so may we build bridges and not walls. Change our hearts so we can genuinely love all people. Amen.
 
-Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Ezekiel 36

Scripture

Ezekiel 36:26-27

 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Observation

This chapter contains 2 prophecies, both relevant to the Jews of Israel.  The first reviews their current physical state and the coming redemption – including abundance, peace and settling in their land once again.  The second concerns their spiritual status – first humbling them through remembrance of their sin, then the redeeming power of God’s mercy and grace. 

Understanding

The Jews find themselves in a bad place – both physically and spiritually – because of their sin and rebelliousness against God.  But we see throughout the Bible that our God is gracious and merciful.

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness… – Exodus 34:6

…for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate.  He will not turn his face from you if you return to him. – 2 Chronicles 30:9

…AND…thus far, the Jews have done nothing to “earn” God’s mercy.  Thankfully,…

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.  – Romans 9:16

God even makes it known it’s not for their sake (v. 32).  But the great news is our God is good.  He knows are deepest darkest parts yet still loves us enough to choose us, call us and clean us up from the inside out. 

Life Application

God, continue to create in me a new heart, a clean heart…one that resembles you more and more. <3  Fill me with your spirit and help me to follow your will for my life – that I may be used to my fullest potential and make you known!

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 35

Scripture

Ezekiel 35:6b

Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.

Observation – What does it say?

Israel has no more implacable enemy than Edom. As the descendants of Esau, whose brother Jacob stole his birthright and his father’s blessing, the Edomites view the Israelites as illegitimate rulers and thieves. So shortly after Nebuchadnezzar razes Jerusalem in 586 b.c., Edom seizes its opportunity for revenge and swoops in to fill the political vacuum that results. The Edomites are not operating as God’s instruments. They attack Israel out of their own greed, thinking no one is left to oppose them. They are wrong. The land of Israel never belongs to the people themselves; it belongs to God. When the Edomites sneak in to pillage the land of Israel, they find the stewards of the land gone or severely weakened, but the true Owner is at home and is ready to prosecute them for their actions. (From The Voice Bible)

Understanding – What does it mean?

The language God uses in his judgement against Edom is interesting. He doesn’t say, “Since you shed blood…” but “Since you did not hate bloodshed.” There is something about not just doing the right thing but actually loving what is right; not just avoiding sin because God hates it but truly hating it ourselves. In other words, it’s about our heart condition.

This makes more sense when you consider what Jesus said in Matthew 12:35, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” 
 
He also said in Matthew 7:18, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” Our actions, good or bad, flow from within; the outward actions are a reflection of the heart.  C.S. Lewis said something to the effect of, “God isn’t so concerned with the specific actions you take but with the kind of person you are becoming.”

Life Application

Ask God for more of his heart.

God, please chance our hearts! May we not just try to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. Instead, may we truly love you! Please also give us your heart toward sin. May our primary motive in avoiding sin not be fear of punishment, but a hatred for it as we live in awareness of it’s destructive consequences and the suffering you endured to do away with it. Give us more of your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– Levi Thompson

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



Ezekiel 34

Scripture

Ezekiel‬ ‭34:30-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ ”” 

Observation-What does it say?

Babylon had just fallen and the temple destroyed, but it was not the end. God was giving the nation of Israel a glimmer of hope, letting them know that He had not given up on them, but was going to raise up a king that was different than what they were used to. A king who would truly care and shepherd them, instead of be out for his own gain, which the former shepherds were guilty of. (The Bible Project video commentary part 2 on Ezekiel 34-48)

Understanding-What does it mean?

God doesn’t give up that easily on those He loves.

It’s easy to think that it was the end for Israel due to all their wickedness and the fall of Jerusalem. However, this chapter proves that God doesn’t give up that easily on His people, and instead was raising up something/Someone new who would “search for the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the injured and strengthen the weak (vs. 16).”

After all God’s anger and destruction as a result of the wickedness of the nation, there was still hope for the nation..

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Jesus continues to offer hope to a broken and hurting world in need of His love.

Just like how Israel’s destruction was not the end of the story, our sin is not the end of our story either, thanks to Jesus. 

Those of you reading this post are most likely Christ followers already, but no matter how long we’ve been Christians, we can’t stop reminding ourselves of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I’ve been loving the new series at church-Hopefull, as we are being reminded to remember who we are in Christ and how Christianity is not a one time event, but rather “we keep coming to Jesus over and over everyday.”

Also, understanding the hope we have in Him, we should be sharing it with others and not keep it hidden, hoarding it for ourselves. There are so many in this world who have no hope and it’s our duty to gently share the hope that is in us.

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter‬ ‭3:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 
Dear Jesus, help us to keep our hope alive in You everyday and share that same hope with others. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Ezekiel 33

Scripture

Ezekiel 33:31-32

“So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it!”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

God assigns Ezekiel as the watchman of Israel. He is to warn the people to turn from their wickedness or they will surely die. If Ezekiel fails to warn them, then God will hold him responsible for their deaths. God truly wants all people to repent from their sinfulness and be saved from death. But God knows that the human heart is so corrupt, and tells Ezekiel of those who will gather and listen to what he has to say, speak of love and righteousness from their mouths, yet they are only in it for their own personal gain (vs.31). These people merely hear God’s Word, yet they fail to put it into use. The time will come when these people will realize that they were sitting amongst a prophet of God, but they failed to listen and obey, and now they will have to suffer the consequences.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-‭‭James‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭NLT

Pastor Gary asked us a couple of weeks ago if we are SOC or 247. Meaning are we Sunday Only Christians (SOC), or do our lives reflect our faith 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (247)? I hope and pray that we all strive to be 247’s in life. But like in the verse I chose, God knows that there are those in life who are “Sunday Only Christians”. They come to church week to week, listen in on the sermons, yet fail to put what they learn from these sermons into practice. Come Monday morning, (some even as soon as church ends), they are back to living their sinful lives. 

You see, God placed these spiritual leaders in our lives for a reason. They are our watchman. They are there to help guide us and direct us to a more Godly path. So when we just merely listen to what they say, or even blow off the Godly guidance they give us, we are just being foolish! If we are to call ourselves Christ Followers, our goal in life is to grow closer to God and righteousness each and every day. 

“You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” James‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Submit to the spiritual leaders that God has placed in my life, and listen and obey to the things they have to say.

 
Thank you God for the leadership here at DSC. Thank you for their guidance, their leadership, accountability in life, and their friendship. I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for them. Thank You for their Godly example that they lead in life. I pray that you continue to bless their homes and protect them from any attacks from the enemy. May You help me to continue to grow closer to You in their guidance and leadership. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Ezekiel 32

Scripture

Ezekiel 32: 2 “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt…” 

Ezekiel 32:18 “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit.

Observation – What does it say?

In this chapter we are continuing on with the destruction of Egypt. God goes into great detail about how he is going to take down Egypt and Pharaoh. He makes it clear that they will end up with all of the other wicked nations and their leaders, in the pit. God also shows us how he will use the downfall of Egypt as a spectacle for other nations. Others will watch what happened to Egypt and be filled with fear themselves. Ezekiel is called to lament (to feel or express sorrow or regret for; to mourn deeply, express grief) over Pharaoh and Egypt’s great destruction because of their sin.  

Understanding – What does it mean?

As a Christ follower, my heart should be broken over my sin and the sin of others. Sin isn’t something to be taken lightly. Our freedom today came at a high price. God sent his perfect Son to be a sacrifice for us so we no longer have to endure eternal punishment like Pharaoh.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Life Application

Like Pastor Gary talked about on Sunday, it’s important that we are continually checking in and reminding ourselves who we are, and whose we are. Our belief about our identity determines our actions. When we remember that we are dearly loved children, our sin, and the sins of others, should make us mourn. We need to check in with God, mourn and confess our sin, receive forgiveness and walk in the freedom he has given us!

God, thank you that you sent Jesus to die for our sins. Thank you for adopting me as your daughter. Help me to walk in my identity as your daughter – to weep over my sins and the sins of others, to confess, receive forgiveness, and walk in freedom.  Break my heart for what breaks yours! Help me to live my life in such a way that others want to know you when they get to know me. Amen.

– Katie Thompson

 

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

 



Ezekiel 31

Scripture

Ezekiel 31:10-11

10 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, 11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, 

Observation

Ezekiel’s prophecy, here, is towards the Pharaoh of Egypt.  The intent is to humble the Pharaoh, to remind him of other nations who, like Egypt, experienced great abundance but, ultimately, befell great destruction.  Assyria, assimilated to a Cedar in Lebanon, once a great monarchy, a vast empire – but at the hands of a prideful king fell to ruin.  So, it is a challenge to Pharaoh to check himself…consider his own sin and repent or experience the same fall to ruin.

Understanding

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

The historical fall of Assyria and the prophesied fall of Egypt are both attributable to prideful kings.  Kings that built great and abundant kingdoms; but it’s important to remember that all good things come from God.  Our blessings, our success, our recognition are not our own; they are gifts from God.  And, while God is eager to bless us as His children, He is just as willing and able to ruin our pride (Jeremiah 13:9) – humbling us in whatever means necessary…but even that is out of love, for with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).    

Life Application

Like PG shared yesterday, God wants us to exercise our authority in Him but we must first be under authority; in other words, we must recognize that God is still sovereign and continue to honor him, perhaps even more so in our abundance (because we have even more to give).

Therefore, let us remain humble, give God the credit and honor He so justly deserves – remembering that all good things come from Him. 

God, I know it can be easy to become prideful in our gifts, talents, hard work, possessions; help us to remember that YOU are the source.  Our hard work – you provide the energy and ability.  Our gifts, talents and abilities – you created us with those in mind to serve your kingdom purposes. 

May we give YOU the honor and the glory and remember why we are here at all – to know you and make you known – and to use all we have to that end.  Show me ways to do that today.  More of you, less of me.  In your name, I pray.

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 30

Scripture

Ezekiel 30:19

“’…So I will inflict punishment on Egypt,
    and they will know that I am the Lord.’”

Observation – What does it say?

In this chapter we find twice more God sharing the intentions of his actions. Over and over again throughout this book God makes it clear what he is after: that “they will know that [He is] the Lord.”

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is passionate about being known!

He longs to reveal himself, and is willing to use any means necessary to do so. It’s easy to look back and despise life’s challenges and the years I spent suffering the consequences of my sin. But, if it wasn’t for the hard times where would any of us be in our relationship with God? It was the hardest times that caused me to draw near to God and seek him. And of course, whenever I sought him he revealed himself.

It’s often hard to “consider it pure joy” whenever we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2). But it makes it a bit easier when we realize that every challenge is an opportunity for God to reveal himself to us. Even in discipline, God’s intent is that we come out the other side sharing a deeper intimacy with him.

Life Application

Rather than complaining, develop the habit of asking God, “How are you wanting to reveal yourself to me in this season/situation?

God, thank you that you’re passionate about revealing yourself. We want to know you more! In all that we experience, please help us not to miss what you’re trying to show us. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 29

Scripture

Ezekiel 29:19-20

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

God is bringing judgment on Egypt in this chapter, and rebuking Pharaoh for viewing himself as a god and rebuking him for his pride, arrogance and selfishness. As a result, God said through Ezekiel in verse 15, “It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.”

‭‭Egypt was going to be brought down by Babylon, as Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, got no reward for the campaign they led against the nation of Tyre(vs. 18), but rather did it for the Lord as stated in verse 20. (Note: the nation of Tyre was another nation, just like Egypt, who thought they were gods in their arrogance, pride and selfishness, refusing to submit or give glory to the One and Only God.) Source: Ezekiel 1-33 commentary from the Bible Project.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew‬ ‭23:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are two extremes pointed out in this chapter. The first is a nation whose pride refused to acknowledge God as the only Sovereign Lord. The second is the nation who did not seek reward from man, but rather did their works for the glory of God alone. The nation who was for God was exalted, while the nation that was against God was defeated. 

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Do we identify more with the prideful nation or the humbled nation that did not seek reward, but rather gave God all the glory?

Dear Jesus, we are all works in progress, but as we progress in You, I pray that we would remain humble and dependent on You alone. Please forgive us and break us of our pride that seeks honor for ourselves and reward from man. May we seek our value and worth in You and give back all honor and glory to You alone. As a result, I pray we will experience a joy and peace beyond understanding. Amen.

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


Ezekiel 28

Scripture

Ezekiel 28: 6-7

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor!”

Observation-What does it say?

The prince of Tyre has become very successful. He has attained great riches. He boasts of being wiser than Daniel. He thinks of himself as a god amongst men. His wisdom has brought him great riches, and his riches have made him very proud. Now the time has come for the God of Jacob to humble the prince of Tyre, and bring forth destruction upon his city for his arrogance and pride.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Pride becomes before the fall.

“Pride is the first step toward destruction. Proud thoughts will lead you to defeat.” Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭ERV‬‬

“You were like the morning star, but you have fallen from the sky. In the past, all the nations on earth bowed down before you, but now you have been cut down. You always told yourself, “I will go to the skies above. I will put my throne above God’s stars. I will sit on Zaphon, the holy mountain where the gods meet. I will go up to the altar above the tops of the clouds. I will be like God Most High.” But that did not happen. You were brought down to the deep pit—Sheol, the place of death.” Isaiah‬ ‭14:12-15‬ ‭ERV‬‬

The prince of Tyre was in for a rude awakening! Similar to Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, they both thought they were equal, (if not better), than God. The world was at their feet, and they forgot the One who put it there for them. It was their own pride and arrogance which led to their downfall. Instead of worshipping and serving the One who made it all possible for them, they both desired to be the ones who were worshipped. They had no desire to serve. Instead they wanted to be served. So now they forced God’s judgement to lay upon them.

Life Application

Always remember to give praise to the One who made it all possible!

It’s a humbling feeling knowing that all the things we felt we earned, deserve, and attained, can all be taken away in the “snap of God’s fingers”. It’s such a great reminder for me to remember the true source of all my success. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is Him who makes all things possible. It is Him who I serve and live for. The true humbling feeling is knowing that the God of the universe wants a relationship with me, a lowly sinner. And His love for me is so great He came down from His throne to serve, and not to be served. It gives me more the reason to give God ALL the glory, honor, and praise in life!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi