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 61

Scripture

Psalm 61:1-8

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?

David does a few things in this Psalm. He cries out to God acknowledging his weakness in light of God’s strength; remembers that God has been his refuge in times past; and cries out for strength in order to continue singing praises to Him and fulfill his duties and calling as king.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Run to God for strength and encouragement instead of our own.

I’ve heard people joke that King David must have been bipolar because of his really high highs and really low lows as documented in the Psalms. However, the difference between David and mentally ill people is that David was able to encourage himself out of situations in the strength of the Lord. He runs and cries out to the Lord and as a result of His surrender and obedience, he finds peace, comfort and joy.

As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, after asking God 3 times to take away a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment him and keep him from being conceited, God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Then Paul said, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Basically, through all the opposition and weaknesses we face in this world, God’s grace and strength will always be enough to get us through. Needing comfort from the King of kings is not what makes us weak, but rather what makes us strong.

Life Application

I will draw comfort and strength from the Lord in order to pour out that same comfort to others.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

King David and the Apostle Paul were 2 great men of the Bible with amazing testimonies of the Lord’s love for them. Their greatness is not what God was impressed with. It was their acknowledged weaknesses—their humility and surrender that God used to uplift them to the status of leadership that they were in.

Dear Lord, I choose to draw strength from You alone. It inspires me that You never chose to work through perfect people, but those who were imperfect, yet dependent and reliant on You. It was amazing what the Holy Spirit was able to do in and through them as a result. I pray that I would always seek to be a woman after Your heart, always remaining humble and submitted to Your will Jesus. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


3_John

Scripture
3 John 1:5-6

5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church of your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Observation
John is writing to commend and encourage his beloved coworker, Gaius, in his ministry of hospitality to itinerant messengers who were going from place to place to preach the Gospel of Christ. [https://www.gotquestions.org/amp/Book-of-3-John.html]

Understanding
Two things come to mind…

First, what Paul is encouraging Gaius in, is exactly what we are called to do as Christians today – to show hospitality (aka love) to strangers…sending them on their way in a manner that honors God.

Secondly, how sweet was his encouragement? Let this be an example to us of how to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. To honor the things that they are doing well and tell them the ways we appreciate them.

Life Application
Go love on somebody!…in big ways and small ways, with the intention of showing them God’s love (as close as we can get to it, because we don’t even come close to His perfect love).

Take time to acknowledge and encourage one another…as often as possible! [Michelle Gaddi and Tina Kudelka are incredible examples of this.].

Dear Lord, may I be an extension of you, to be your hands and feet in this world, an example of your love to those I meet. Open my eyes to see people the way you do…to notice all the good and beautiful things about them…and may I take the time to acknowledge and encourage those things in them.

Thank you for being the ever-constant, perfect example of LOVE. Amen.

Rei

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



Acts Twenty Eight

SCRIPTURE

Acts 28:1-10 (NIV) 1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. 7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

OBSERVATION

God had brought them to the Isle of Malta where the native people welcomed all 276 of them and did their best to make them comfortable. The storm abated, but the weather was cold; so the natives built a fire. After all he had done for the passengers, Paul could well have requested a throne and insisted that everybody serve him! Instead, he did his share of the work and helped gather fuel for the fire.

UNDERSTANDING

Paul never once acted like a prisoner or a victim, nor did he act as if because he had helped the crew so much that somehow he was going to get special treatment.  Instead he went to work serving people.  The truth is no task is too small for the servant of God, we must be like Jesus who humbled Himself and became a servant.  That is what Paul is doing here.

LIFE APPLICATION

Wherever we go, regardless of our situations, we can be a sweet fragrance of Christ to whomever we meet.  Are we being the fragrance of Christ to our world by serving them?  Or are we being victims or acting in an entitled fashion?
As we have seen throughout the book of Acts, God’s power is at work in and through us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  WE must continually seek to be filled up with the Holy Spirit so that we can be poured out wherever we go.  
 
Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit!


Acts_27

Scripture 

 
Acts 27:23 
 
“For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me”

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul is on his way to Rome to speak to Caesar on a ship that faces a grave torrent storm. Just the trip he needed after having been in prison for years, flogged, death plotted against him, and having stood before leaders giving his testimony of God’s grace poured out over his life. Paul should have received the death penalty from God. Instead, he is chosen to be the messenger of grace by the long awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

“…the God to whom I belong and whom I serve.”

I noticed that the Greek word for I belong is “eimi” which means I exist or I am. I can’t help to think that this phrase “I belong” was so much deeper than just saying that you “ belong” to someone the way a slave belongs to a master or maybe something more intimate the way beloveds “belong” to each other. I can’t help to believe that Paul was saying “…the God to whom I “exist”. Paul exists like if he had tucked himself inside of God the way a baby is tucked in their mother’s womb and he literally was living and breathing because of God sustaining his life. Serving God was not an option. He should have been dead so many times over, not just physically but eternally, and God chose him. God met him in his sin and brought him to life, thus he “exists.” 

Life Application

Father, we need you, I need you! Your grace and your mercy encase me. I need to stay in you always by reading your word, worship, prayer, and fellowship. Holy Spirit always bring to remembrance being tucked inside of God and now I live and move and have my being because of Him. In all the storms of life, when I am being tossed by the happenings of life; the bills, the chores, our jobs, marriage… and grossly off course with danger all around me, help me to know that I belong, I exist, I am in Him and he is in me! 

-Deborah Lee



Acts_26

Scripture  

Acts 26:28-29  Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

Observation-What does it say?  Paul is sitting before King Agrippa, as part of his appeals process.  He is slated to go to Rome, to be heard by the Cesar himself, but before he goes, Governor Festus and Agrippa want to hear his story.  Paul expounds on his life as a pharisee, his attack on Christians, and his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He goes on to tell them that, through his extensive knowledge of the scriptures, he could not deny that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.  As they were listening, they were trying decide what notification they were going to give to the Cesar as to why he is appealing his case.  Both Festus and Agrippa agree that the Jews have no case to hold Paul.  During Paul’s testimony, Agrippa is apparently deeply affected by  his words.

Understanding-What does it mean?  We all know that one guy, whether it’s at work or just an acquaintance, who is totally committed to whatever he is doing for about six months to a year and then onto the next thing.  Whether it’s mountain biking, or surfing, or snow boarding, it’s all you ever hear about from that guy for a period of time.  He gets all the right gear, spends a ton of money, and apparently masters the skill.  And what’s worse, he gets you interested in it too.  And now you have a new snow board, boots, pants, jacket, helmet, glove, an industrial tuning station in your garage, and you can barely make your way down the bunny slope.  Before you know it, your buddy is onto a new sport and you have just spent your life savings on a sport that you don’t really like that much, but are too committed to quit.

Paul is like that guy, except he takes it to the end.  He never lost interest, or moved onto something else, leaving his friends in the wake of a bored hobby.  Paul is the epitome of a true believer.  He takes the cause to the end, knowing that there is more left to the story.  Paul has the innate sense that he is part of something much bigger than himself.  He has tapped into that source that we are all looking for, and found his purpose.  Like the other apostles, his sense of resolve will carry him to lengths that would be unimaginable to most.  

Life Application  Jesus, I want to know you and experience you like Paul.  I know that this means I must commit myself to taking the time to come to you and to hear your voice.  I must listen through constant time in your word and prayer.  Help me to have the resolve to overcome my weaknesses and to place my trust in you. 

-Tyler Galloway



Acts_25

Scripture

Acts 25:25

I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome.

Observation – What does it say?

While in prison, Paul had appeared on different occasions to stand trial before the Sanhedrin, Governor Felix, Governor Festus, and also was given audience with King Argippa. In each instance charges were brought against Paul, then he made his defense and shared the gospel with everyone present. At the final trial before Festus, Paul appealed to Caesar. In each instance, neither governor nor the king found that he was worthy of death or imprisonment. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

In order to fulfill our God-given destiny we may be wronged unjustly and find ourselves in positions of discomfort that we wish to escape. 

If it were’t for this imprisonment (lasting years!) Paul wouldn’t have had opportunity to stand before governors, kings and all these people of influence and present to them the gospel.

How often do we make it all about us? In our immaturity, not recognizing God’s purposes are much more important than our comfort, we complain and play the victim. “I can’t believe I’m here.” “I don’t deserve this.” “God, I’m so frustrated at you.” How can God use us us when we make it all about us and what we want and feel we deserve?! What if we’re in that situation because we prayed and asked God to use us, and so he sent us there to bring his love and truth.

Paul chose to rejoice because he recognized his chains could actually serve to advance the gospel and bring people to Christ (see his letter to the Philippians which he wrote while in prison)! I doubt he was excited about the chains, but he was more than willing to endure them because he was excited about the possibility of being used by God to save the lost.

Life Application

Rather than looking at work or home or church or the DMV through the lens of, “Do I like it here?” I should be looking through the lens of God’s will, “God, I’m here for a purpose, help me to see what it is. What are you doing here and how do you want me to partner with you?”

Ephesians 5:16a,18 Make the most of every opportunity… do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.

God, in every situation may we not look through the lens of personal preference but kingdom purpose. Give us eyes to see what you’re doing and help us, like Paul, to make the most of every opportunity. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Acts__24

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭24:25
 
“As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient, I’ll call for you again.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Some of the Jewish Elders, and the lawyer named Tertullus went to governor Felix to present their case against Paul. Paul was being accused of being a troublemaker who was constantly stirring up riots amongst the Jews all over the world. He was being accused of being a ringleader of a cult, and Paul was being accused of desecrating the Temple. Of course all these accusations were false, but Felix, who wanted to gain favor with the Jewish people, left Paul in prison. While in prison, Felix would send for Paul quite frequently. Deep down Felix was hoping Paul would bribe him with money for his release. But instead Paul used those times to share with Felix and his wife Drusilla about faith in Jesus Christ. One day Paul reasoned with them about righteousness, self-control, and the coming day of judgement. This talk frightened Felix. He told Paul to “Go away for now. When it’s more convenient I’ll call back for you again.”
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
What will you do when the power of the Holy Spirit convicts you?
 
As Paul was sharing the Word of God with Felix and his wife, Felix felt the conviction from the Holy Spirit (spoken through Paul) of his wrongdoings in life. Now Felix had a choice to make here. Would he allow the Holy Spirit to convict him of his faults so that he may repent against them? Or would he ignore the calling, try to hide from it, and let pride get in the way of making the right decision? Unfortunately, Felix chose the latter.
 
There will be times in life where the Holy Spirit speaks to us and pierces straight to our heart. It may be something we need to do, or it may be something we need to rid ourselves of in our life. The choice won’t always be easy. But if I was to learn anything from this passage this morning, it is that I can’t just pick and choose sections of the Word of God I choose to follow. Don’t be like Felix and listen to God’s Word, take it in, but as soon as it tells you something you may not want to hear or are uncomfortable with, you shut it out. No! Instead I need to take a long look in the mirror, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal my faults, and direct me in the way He needs me to go. Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to transform me from the inside out.
 
Life Application
 
Don’t let pride get in the way from the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
 
There is one unforgivable sin the Bible speaks of. It is the blaspheming or rejection of the Holy Spirit.
 
“Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
Luke‬ ‭12:10
 
The Holy Spirit is alive! It reaches out to you, trying to guide you to do what is right in God’s eyes. Don’t turn away from Him. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words, your actions so you may be right with God. Do not blaspheme Him or reject Him. Our time on earth is limited. And we never know when our time here is up. So shouldn’t I be using that time accepting the Holy Spirit’s guidance, instead of rejecting it?
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts_23

Scripture
 
Acts‬ ‭23:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.””
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul was again before the Pharisees and Sanhedrin, having to answer for his ministry for Jesus Christ. There was also a plot to kill Paul; however, before Paul learned of the plot to kill him, the Lord encouraged Paul to be courageous and told him that he was still going to testify about Him in Rome. Basically, he didn’t want Paul to lose heart and told him he still had work to do.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The journey of faith is not always easy, but when we are in line with God’s will, His Spirit will always provide the encouragement we need to continue pressing forward.

Paul could’ve easily buckled under the weight of all the pressure on him. He could’ve easily been so discouraged and decided to quit the mission because the journey was too hard. But, Paul didn’t quit. He kept pressing forward and had hope in the Lord to complete the mission. Why? Because the Holy Spirit was in him and with him.

Life Application
 
Continue being filled with Holy Spirit and lean on His great faithfulness through the journey.

One of my goals during this fast is to memorize Ephesians 6:11-18, basically the passage on the Armor of God. One particular part of the passage talks about putting on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to take our stand, but after we have done everything, just keep standing.

We cannot keep standing without the Holy Spirit. Also, continually being filled with His Spirit is not an option, but a must, especially when we understand who is warring against our souls. Ephesians says that our struggle is against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. It is not just the B-team. It is the A-team heads of evil! The only One able to defeat them and the only One that they have no hold over is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. So why wouldn’t we want His Holy Spirit residing in us and being filled with Him everyday? As Pastor explained on Sunday, the constant filling of the Holy Spirit comes through worship, prayer and fasting, God’s Word (which is our offensive weapon against attack), walking in obedience, serving and fellowship with other spirit filled people.

Please join us for 2 great evenings of worship and prayer this week on Thursday and Friday at 7p.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your encouragement to keep standing firm, to keep pressing forward and to keep being on mission for You despite hardships and opposition. May we seek to always be filled with Your Holy Spirit so that we can withstand the pressures that come with living a life completely set apart for You. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi


Acts_22

Scripture

Acts 22:14-15

14 Then He said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.

Observation

Paul shared his testimony – that he used to be well known for persecuting and terrorizing Christians…but that an experience of being struck blind, hearing God’s voice, walked to a stranger who simply said, “receive your sight” and could suddenly see again; then, that stranger gives him the words above.

Understanding

Our testimonies our powerful. We should recognize them, refine them and share them regularly!….but being used in part of another person’s testimony is where it’s at!

I read in a book recently, that a man with an argument has nothing against a man with an experience. As Christians, we get the amazing honor and opportunity to engage people in God experiences, experiences that will speak to people’s hearts and bring reconciliation and transformation. God is the master facilitator – working in all the details, big and small – for the ultimate purpose of bringing people in to relationship with Him; but we get to be part of it.

Once we are saved, our whole role and mission is to stay connected to God and be used by Him over and over again – to love on others, to bless others, to lead others to Him.

Life Application

God, I count it an honor and privilege to be called Yours. But, even greater, I am grateful to be used by you. That even in my brokenness and complete IMperfection, you call me worthy and allow me to be used for the cause of Christ. Let me be a witness! Show me, today, how to share your love, in ways that brings you honor and glory. Help me be cognizant and obedient to that still small voice. And, may people EXPERIENCE you throughout my interactions today. Humbly yours, In Jesus name, Amen.

Rei

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



Acts_21

SCRIPTURE

Acts 21: 13

“Then Paul answered, Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

OBSERVATION-What does it say?

Although urged on several accounts not to go to Jerusalem Paul insists on going for the cause of Christ. He holds to the promise of the unseen and looks forward to receiving the rewards of his faith.

UNDERSTANDING-What does it mean?

What strikes me about this passage is the fact that he was urged by believers not to go to Jerusalem. It was not by people trying to dissuade him of his calling or take him away from God, but people who believed in him and God’s mission. Yet, full of faith, Paul urges to press on into the unknown. He literally “prepares for the worst,” which to him is seen as a reward.

The Message translates it this way “The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience.”

As Christians we are not called to live by consensus or live comfortably, we are called to live a life of obedience. Obedience often denotes action, and action requires moving from where we are to a place we’ve never been. God uses this obedience to do things we have never imagined. He takes our tiny faith and stretches it on forever. He takes us past the point of no return, the point in which death is seen as a reward and obedience comes easily. Paul expected that God was going to move in Jerusalem and he didn’t want to miss out. He went regardless of the warnings not to. With this kind of faith no excuse or reason was going to keep him from the cause of Christ. He had a gift too great to keep to himself.

LIFE APPLICATION

I want to go regardless of the circumstances. So be it if I must leave this world behind to attain a life I can only imagine. So be it I must sacrifice earthly possessions. I choose obedience! I want to see God show up everywhere, and I want to say that I was used by Him. I’m tired of the comfort, I’m tired of the excuses, I’m ready to travel to places I’ve never been, I’m ready. All for the name of the Lord Jesus, to Him be the glory, honor, and praise.

-Allison Khan