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 24

Scripture

“Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.’……At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.””

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭24:24, 27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

With the help of commentary, I would typically give a breakdown of the meaning behind the cooking pot and the deeper meaning behind why God wouldn’t allow Ezekiel to mourn for his dead wife, however, what stood out to me from the beginning was the phrase in this chapter, …”and they will know that I am the LORD” and “they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

Understanding-What does it mean?

Why would a good God allow so much suffering on the nation of Israel?

The Lord is doing these things to show Who is in charge and Who is the authority. He is making a point that it is definitely not them….It is NOT the nation of Israel. It is Him, the Sovereign Lord.

Just like when Job was questioning God about His suffering, God turned around and ended up questioning Him saying, ““Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Job‬ ‭38:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

God ended up asking Job more questions from there. God’s questioning brought humility and silence to Job, as it would any man.

I believe God really loved the nation of Israel, saw greater potential for them than the path they were choosing, and that’s why His discipline over their rebellion seemed harsh. They started seeking their own way and being their own gods, instead of submitting to the One and Only God, the One and Only Authority, creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

Life Application

Is God the final authority of our lives?

The relationship between a parent and a child is a good earthly illustration of the relationship between God the Father and His children. Parents have a role to play to raise their children up in the way they should go. However, for one reason or another, children will refuse to listen to our instructions because they either don’t know better, they’ve chosen to submit to something or someone else or they’ve decided they want full control and to do their own thing. As parents, we discipline them mainly out of love, but also to remind them who’s the authority figure, who’s the parent and who knows better.

God’s sovereignty (meaning He is in total control of everything…past, present and future events), gives Him the right to tell us what to do and be the final authority over our lives. Have we surrendered all to Him or are we still holding on to what we want to do?

Dear Lord, thank You for the times that You’ve had to show me that You are the authority in our relationship and not me. As your Word says in Hebrews 12:11, Discipline seems unpleasant at the time because it is painful, but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who’ve been trained by it. Thank You for Your great love for me that leads You to discipline and correct me at times. I pray that we wouldn’t run from Your correction, but truly be trained by it, running to You during those times and not away from You. May peace and righteousness abound as a result. In Your Name we pray. Amen
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 23

Scripture

Ezekiel 23: 35

“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

Observation-What does it say?

Ezekiel receives a word from God regarding the lewd and disobedient behavior of Samaria and Jerusalem. God compares the two cities as sisters who are prostitutes. They prostituted themselves to their pagan neighbors, taking on their pagan rituals and turning their back on God. All this to seek security in political alliances with these nations-a sin that deeply repulsed God. And because of their disobedience towards God, there must be consequences for their actions. God is going to allow them to be taken captive by their enemies, and God will delegate judgment to them, allowing their enemies to do with them what they please. When it’s all said and done, and Jerusalem pays for their idolatrous sins, then God says, “they shall know that I am the Lord God.”

Understanding-What does it mean?

There are consequences when we chase worldly things and turn away from God.

Jerusalem is going to have hell to pay for their disobedience against God. What makes it worse is they saw what had happened to their sister city Samaria, when Samaria turned away from God. You think this would be a teaching moment for Jerusalem. But instead they went down the same path as Samaria. They even did it in a manner that was worse than Samaria. They began prostituting themselves to their pagan neighbors, taking on their rituals and beliefs. All in hope that these neighbors would find favor in them, and they can form some sort of political alliance with them and use that to help them be protected from their enemies. But instead they infuriated God. Now God would have to discipline them for their behavior. They will soon come to realize that you don’t break the covenant that God has made with you.

Now before we just point the finger at Israel for their foolishness against God,  I think we should look into our own lives and see how we too can sometimes make the same mistakes they did. Israel’s motive for doing what they did was basically to find protection from their enemies. Instead of trusting in God, they tried to make new friends, and pretty much caved into “peer pressure” by doing so. They lost the identity that they had with God, and instead sold out on their own beliefs, and took on the beliefs of the people they were trying to impress. Have I ever sold out my beliefs in order to fit in with the crowds and gain favor with them? Have I ever turned away from God to seek comfort and aid from someone/something else instead? Let’s learn from Jerusalem in this passage. We just read of the consequences they will be experiencing because of their foolishness. Let’s not go down the same path the way Jerusalem did when they didn’t take heed from Samaria’s downfall. Instead repent, and turn back to God and ask Him for His forgiveness.

Life Application

Living my life for an audience of One. 

Father God please forgive me when I try to please others more than I try to please You. Forgive me when I lose myself in the process of doing so. Help me God to stay the course, and trust in Your ways above anything else. May the life I live for You be able to influence others, instead of me being influenced by them. May You give me strength, wisdom, and guidance in order to accomplish these things for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 22

Scripture

Ezekiel 22:30

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” 

Observation – What does it say?

Israel had gone off the rails! They were so busy pursuing their sinful desires that they had completely forgotten about God. God was looking for one person to stand in the gap; only one person to act as a watchman who would stand on the wall and intercede for his city.

The failure started with the leadership. The previous verses tell us that the princes and prophets, those the people looked to for direction and spiritual leadership, where taking the lead in indulging in sinful behavior. They misled all who were looking to them. If God would have found one person willing to intercede and pray for mercy he would have extended mercy, but no one rose to the occasion.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God was looking for ONE man! ONE person to stand in the gap and intercede on behalf of the land, but no one showed up. One person with God is always in the majority. If we could grasp the ability we have to bring transformation through our prayers I believe we all would pray more! 

We see entire cities and nations transformed from one godly man or woman. Josiah, Jehoshaphat, David, Esther and more. Their passion to serve God and cry out to him on behalf of their nation caused countless people to benefit, not only in their time, but for generations to come! 

Life Application

Will you be the ONE? Will you be the ONE who gets up on the wall and seeks God on behalf of your city? Family? Church? School? Workplace?

God, when you look at our situations, may you find us rising to the occasion to pray! Fill us with more of your heart for where you have placed us. We ask that you would pour out your Spirit upon our nation, bless our president and all those in leadership, bless our bosses and professors and neighbors. Thank you that you hear our prayers this morning and that things are moving in the spirit realm and you are answering! Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 21

Scripture

Ezekiel 21:15-17

15 So that hearts may melt with fear
    and the fallen be many,
I have stationed the sword for slaughterb]
    at all their gates.
Look! It is forged to strike like lightning,
    it is grasped for slaughter.
16 Slash to the right, you sword,
    then to the left,
    wherever your blade is turned.
17 I too will strike my hands together,
    and my wrath will subside.
I the Lord have spoken.”

Observation

If I can be completely honest…Ezekiel has been the HARDEST book for me to Soul Journal on.  And I’m pretty sure what I took from today’s is perhaps out of context.  My understanding of this chapter, based on the commentaries is that it’s a further development of the prophecy in Chapter 20…that the people complained they could not understand.  [I’m with them!]  That being said, though, God used this to burden my heart towards the lost.

Understanding

God calls us to love Him, to prioritize Him, to KNOW Him and make Him known.  And, though, I don’t follow these prophecies, what burdened my heart is the experience of the rebellious and the lost – death and destruction.  Verses 15-17 speak to a specific wrath to be experienced by a specific group of people…but it is not unlike what will be experienced by those who don’t know and/or choose Christ.  Here it speaks of slaughter by sword; our understanding of hell is separation from Christ, blazing fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Life Application

So…while my context may be off base, I think the response should be the same.  Just as Ezekiel sought to warn the people, our hearts should be to live in a way that draws people to God!

God, I’m so grateful for the hope provided because of the cross!  May we live on purpose, with the desire to know you and make you known!  May I be bold in my obedience.  Open my eyes to ways to share your love today.  In your name I pray, Amen.     

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 20

Scripture

Ezekiel 20:11 I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel is in the middle of declaring these prophetic parables about what Israel has been like. He depicts Israel as a burnt useless stick, a rebellious wife, a dangerous lion that has been captured and then as two promiscuous sisters. As he paints these various pictures of Israel, he pauses at times, one of which is here in chapter 20, to argue that the judgment coming on Israel is deserved. Here, God explains through Ezekiel how he rescued his chosen people even though they rebelled against him. And, after rescuing them he gave them his commands. Yet they only continued to rebel.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What hit me in this verse is the reason God gave his people commands and ‘rules.’

The words ‘rule’ and ‘command’ have such negative connotations in our culture today. There is a lie that if we follow God’s commands we’re going to be restricted and kept from what’s truly going to make us happiest. But here, the truth is revealed.

Rules and commands aren’t designed to keep us from really living, but rather, to enable us to live life to its fullest!

This must be why David said things like this:

Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul… The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

Psalm 119:97-98 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.
Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.

[side note: Because we could never follow all God’s commands perfectly and therefore all sin, God sent his Son to die for our sins so that by believing in him we could receive the life we could never earn. Under the New Covenant, under grace, we don’t follow God’s commands in order to earn salvation or life, but as a loving response to the salvation and life we’ve already received.]

Life Application

Joyfully follow God’s commands, understanding it will result in a much richer, fuller, God-glorifying life!

God, thank you so much for you commands! Thank you for blessing us with your word that instructs us in how we are to live. The essence of being a Christian is learning to obey all you have commanded us to do. And we know that the Christian life, though not always easy, is filled with joy and fulfillment! May we obey you, even when it’s hard, knowing that our obedience is what will lead to a richer and fuller life with you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Ezekiel 19

Scripture

“This is a lament and is to be used as a lament.”” Ezekiel‬ ‭19:14‬b NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

Ezekiel is writing a lament over the nation of Israel as a result of their rebellion. Miriam Webster dictionary defines lament as “expressing sorrow, regret or unhappiness about something.” The tone and level of sorrow in this writing is very much like a eulogy speech given at a funeral. It focuses on the deep sorrow as a consequence of the nation’s rebellion, through parabolic writing. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

“This chapter contains two beautiful examples of the parabolic kind of writing; the one lamenting the sad catastrophe of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim,  Ezekiel 19:1-9, and the other describing the desolation and captivity of the whole people,  Ezekiel 19:10-14. In the first parable, the lioness is Jerusalem. The first of the young lions is Jehoahaz, deposed by the king of Egypt; and the second lion is Jehoiakim, whose rebellion drew on himself the vengeance of the king of Babylon. In the second parable the vine is the Jewish nation, which long prospered, its land being fertile, its princes powerful, and its people flourishing; but the judgments of God, in consequence of their guilt, had now destroyed a great part of the people, and doomed the rest to captivity.” (Clarke commentary)

Life Application

We reap what we sow. Either we are reaping the benefits of being surrendered to Christ or reaping the consequences of continual rebellion against Him. 

Dear Lord, we do not desire a life where we are captive to our old life, but rather free from captivity as a new creation in You. I pray we would stay connected to You as our vine and experience the fruitful benefits, instead of reaping the consequences of disconnecting from relationship with You. Amen.

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


Ezekiel 18

Scripture

Ezekiel 18:31-32

“Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

In this passage, God speaks to Ezekiel regarding people’s accountability for the sin in their lives. God will not punish children for their parents’ sinfulness, or vice versa, God will not punish parents for their children’s sins.  Instead, God tells Ezekiel that He will hold each person accountable for their sinfulness or righteousness. Those who live sinful lives will surely die, and those who live a life of righteousness will surely live. And you think God wants sinners to die? No! He wants them to turn from their sinfulness so they can live!-(vs. 23)

Understanding-What does it mean?

We serve a God who loves the sinner, but hates sin.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There are some out there that think we serve a wrathful God. A God who is just waiting for us to slip so He can punish us. But they are sadly mistaken if that is what they believe our God is all about. I love in verse 23 of this passage where God reminds Ezekiel that His heart isn’t for sinners to die and be punished. But rather God’s heart is for those sinners to repent, and turn away from their sinfulness. This way we all can experience God’s love the way He intended. We all know God’s love for us in John 3:16, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s willingness to come out of His comforts in Heaven, to be made human, and die a sinner’s death, and to do it all for us shows just how much He loves us and desires us to spend eternity with Him. But we must do our part in it as well. We must accept this free gift from God, by accepting His son Jesus as our Lord and Savior in our lives, and turn away from our sinfulness and begin living a life of righteousness. Because although we do serve a loving God, we also serve a just God. A God who despises sin and will punish those who commit sin in ways He sees as just. So let’s rid ourselves of our bad habits and begin living a life filled with the Holy Spirit and bearing His fruits. 

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

With all the hate going on in today’s world, I choose to live a life that will demonstrate God’s love for people to those around me.

Father God, thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for never giving up on me no matter how sinful I may be. You are a God of second chances, a God who desires for all people to come to know You, and live a life according to Your will. Give me strength to see the good in people, the way You see the good in me. Help me to demonstrate your love today in a way that will glorify and honor You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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


Ezekiel 17

Scripture

Ezekiel 17:24

And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”

Observation – What does it say?

In this prophetic parable about Babylon and Jerusalem, God declares that he will take the high, green tree and bring it low. And, he will also take the low, dry tree and make it grow tall and flourish. For Israel, because of their idolatry and sin, God’s glory had departed from them and they were facing God’s judgment. But thank God that isn’t the end of the story! The final picture is one of beauty, life, influence and being a living testimony to the Everlasting God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s is ultimately working all things for the good of those who love him.

By the end of my 11th grade year, I had drifted hard from God. I had made so many poor decisions and had truly felt I destroyed my life. I was void of hope or joy. I had to face many of the negative consequences of my actions, but praise God, he grabbed ahold of me in my brokenness and despair and in his love exalted me! He has restored and redeemed my life!
This is such a comforting word to those who feel they have drifted from God. Like the prodigal son, we can all experience the Father’s love and exalting if we will turn from our sin toward him. Although there may be sorrow for the night, God brings joy in the morning.

Life Application

Praise God for what he’s done in my life! 

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


Ezekiel 16

Scripture

Ezekiel 16:62

62 So I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord.

Observation

In the previous chapter, God had compared Jerusalem to an unfruitful vine – fit for nothing but the fire; now he is comparing it to an adulterous woman that ought to be abandoned and exposed.  [Matthew Henry’s commentary].

Understanding

Again, God shows His desire for relationship with us.  He justifies what he intends to bring upon Jerusalem.  After all, it would be righteous justice.  Justice for their sin, their disobedience, their worship of other idols, their rebelliousness towards God.  But God gives the promise of mercy…that they would know that He is God. 

Life Application

May we heed the warning to Jerusalem.  Prioritizing and honoring God in all that we do!

God, thank you for your incredible mercy!  Thank you for your forgiveness and the love you show for your children.  Help us to honor you in the way we live out our lives…putting you first, loving on your people and living a life of repentance and obedience. 

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 15

Scripture

Ezekiel 15:5

If it was not useful for anything when it was whole, how much less can it be made into something useful when the fire has burned it and it is charred?

Observation – What does it say?

Because the people of Jerusalem had forsaken God and given themselves to idolatry, they had become useless, unfit for anything but the fiery wrath of God. God is pointing out to Ezekiel that they are already useless, but if possible to be any more useless, they will be after passing through the fire of God’s judgment.

Understanding – What does it mean?

People become like the God (or gods) they worship.

2 Kings 17:15 They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.

The fate of those who worship idols is they become useless, without value. Jesus said if we get disconnected from him we’re like a branch that is thrown away, withers, and eventually is thrown in the fire. He also said if we lose our saltiness we’re no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled by men.

However, those who purify themselves of idolatry and sin not only avoid the fire but have the incredible privilege of becoming a useful tool in God’s hands! I love this passage from Paul’s second letter to Timothy…

2 Timothy 2:20

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Life Application

Prayerfully consider: Are there any idols in my life that are keeping me from being more useful to God?
 
God, I want to be useful to you! I want to be pure and holy, set apart for whatever you would have me do. Reveal to us any idols in our lives; any thing or any one we are turning to for comfort before you, any thing we a pursuing more passionately than you, any thing that is keeping us from fully obeying you. Draw all of us closer to you. Reveal the areas of sin and make us “instruments for special purposes.” In Jesus’ name, amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.