Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

 
 
 
divider
 
How To Soul Journal
pencil
 
soulj
 
divider
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 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.


Ezekiel 14

Scripture

“Then the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any of the Israelites set up idols in their hearts and put a wicked stumbling block before their faces and then go to a prophet, I the LORD will answer them myself in keeping with their great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.’” Ezekiel‬ ‭14:2-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

Some of the elders of Israel came to Ezekiel, wanting to seek his wisdom as a prophet; however, in their hearts and outwardly, they were still worshipping their idols. The Lord spoke through Ezekiel and basically said that He was having none of it anymore. Their destruction was imminent. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God desires a repentant and surrendered heart. We’re either in or out.

Being lukewarm or living a double life doesn’t cut it. 

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah‬ ‭59:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation‬ ‭3:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

No one is perfect but Jesus. The Word says we have all fallen short of His glory. (Romans 3:23) We are all in the process of growing more into Christ’s image (sanctification). But, there’s a difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow leads to repentance and change as a result of intimately and personally knowing Jesus. We experience guilt as a result of conviction. Worldly sorrow is rooted in just wanting to get out of the consequences of our sins, yet repeating them over and over again without remorse or waiting until we get caught or we experience more bad consequences. It doesn’t lead to a change of heart, because the heart is not completely surrendered to Christ. The voice of the Holy Spirit is being ignored. That was the problem with the elders. They were being hypocritical, pretending that they wanted wisdom from the prophet Ezekiel, but the Lord really knew what was in their hearts.

Life Application

““Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!” Ezekiel‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Jesus, examine our hearts. We pray Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” I pray that Your Holy Spirit would expose and bring to light any offensive way in me or any idols in my heart and break me free. May I (we) be moved to godly sorrow and repentance so that we can experience a life of fruitful and abundant relationship with You. Amen.

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


Ezekiel 13

Scripture

Ezekiel 13:8

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign Lord.”

Observation-What does it say?

Ezekiel gets word from the Lord to prophesy against the false prophets of Israel. These false prophets are speaking lies and giving false promises to God’s people. What’s even worse is they are claiming it is God who spoke to them and gave them these promises, when God has not even spoke to them at all. They are misleading God’s people and they have erupted God’s anger in the process.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Beware of counterfeiters of God’s Word!

It’s unfortunate that we live in a world that people will take advantage of other people’s faith, and use it for their own personal gain. If we as Christ Followers aren’t careful, and not deeply rooted in God’s Word, we too can fall victim to some of these false prophets that they speak in this chapter of Ezekiel. We must be on alert for these “wolves in sheep’s clothing”! 

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew‬ ‭7:15-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

Do I know God and His Word well enough to not be duped by those who try to counterfeit it?

The only way to be able to spot a counterfeit dollar bill, is to truly know what the real one looks, smells, and feels like…even down to every little detail!

Being in a constant relationship with Jesus (through prayer, reading His Word, and journaling), helps protect us from these counterfeits. Because the more we know God for who He is, we also know the things that He is not. The more we read and understand God’s Word, the more we know to check to see if the words that some may say come from God, truly match up and align with God’s Word. So let’s not be the ones who get duped and misled by these false prophets. Let’s start our defense against these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” by knowing our Lord and Savior better. Let’s be in constant relationship with Him each and every day so we can identify the truth from the phony! 

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


Ezekiel 12

Scripture

Ezekiel 12:16
But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they will know that I am the Lord”

Observation

After declaring that Israel is a rebellious people with blind eyes and deaf ears, God instructs Ezekiel to prophecy in pantomimes of exile as a sign to Israel of what they will experience as a result of God’s judgement against their idolatry and adultery. Ezekiel symbolically packs for exile and escapes the city by digging a hole in the wall, indicating the manner in which the prince of Jerusalem and all of her inhabitants will flee the city, only to be taken captive by the Babylonians. Ezekiel also obediently eats his food and drinks his water before the Israelites in fear and trembling to represent how Israel will experience anxiety and despair when their land is laid to waste. Rebuking an oft-quoted proverb that mocks the prophets and their visions of impending judgement (and in doing so, also mocking God’s long-suffering and mercy), God announces that there will be no more delays and that the word of the Lord will be fulfilled in their day.

Understanding

God has always maintained a faithful remnant in Israel so that the Abrahamic Covenant may be fulfilled. When Elijah was overwhelmed and distraught as Jezebel (and even his fellow Israelites) sought his life, God reminded him that he had reserved seven thousand in Israel whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him (1 Kings 19:18). In speaking of Israel’s portion in the New Covenant, Paul testifies that there remains a remnant of True Israel that is by grace and not by works (Romans 11:5-6). Even during the Tribulation, known as the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) Trouble, God seals 144,000 Israelites to evangelize the world during the end; a time that God will use to re-graft Israel into the True Vine, who is Jesus.

Life Application

I am impacted by two truths in today’s scripture.
 
First, although Israel constantly broke relationship with God, Yahweh is a covenant keeper. Even when Israel pushed God to the end of His patience and forced His hand of judgement, captivity and disbursement; He was and is always careful to keep Israel in a position by which His everlasting covenants to her may be fulfilled – not by their works but by His sovereign and unmerited grace. As I see God’s faithfulness to Israel, I can be sure that He will be as faithful to keep every promise in His word.
 
Secondly, in times past, God used the prophets as covenant announcers and enforcers who, with their prophecies and actions, declared the word and will of Almighty God in order that the people might repent and return to their God. Today, every Christian is called to be a prophet of God; if not by foretelling the future, then by forth-telling the truth of God’s word. By our testimony and our witness, we are to be a sign to unbelievers of God’s love and forgiveness for those who would confess Christ as Lord and Savior; yet also a sign of eternal judgement for those who reject the mercy of the Cross. Father, I pray that your church, of which I am a member, would have both the compassion to proclaim your love and salvation as well as the courage to announce the eternal consequences of those who reject your free gift of grace.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker        


Ezekiel 11

Scripture

Ezekiel 11:18-20

18 “They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20 Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. 

Observation

This chapter concludes the vision which Ezekiel saw and provides him with two messages to deliver…
I. A message of wrath against those who continued still at Jerusalem, and were there in the height of presumption, thinking they should never fall. II. A message of comfort to those who were carried captives into Babylon and were there in the depth of despondency, thinking they should never rise. And, as the former are assured that God has judgments in store for them notwithstanding their present security, so the later are assured that God has mercy in store for them notwithstanding their present distress (v. 14-21). And so the glory of God removes further (v. 22-23). [http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ezekiel/11.html]

Understanding

God desires relationship with us…not only that He desires to be FIRST in our lives.

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. –Exodus 34:14

God has a forgiving heart.  [But there is a premise, for that promise.]

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. –Matthew 6:15

When we repent, God has the desire and the ability to make us new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2 Corinthians 5:17

Life Application

Father God thank you for loving me…just as I am.  May I remember to always put you first.  And, thank you for forgiving me when I fail to do so.  Renew my heart, renew my mind, may my heart seek hard after you.  In your name, I pray…Amen.

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 10

Scripture

Ezekiel 10:18

Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.

Observation – What does it say?

If Ezekiel has been a bit confusing for you, check out the short animated overview above.
 

Understanding – What does it mean?

God, in his holiness, will not dwell with unholy people.

The Israelites had worshiped idols in the very temple created for God to be worshipped and to dwell with his people. This intense idolatry led to the destruction of those Israelite idol worshippers and God’s glory departing from his temple.

There is nothing like God’s presence. We were created to dwell with him. It’s where we will find every desire of our heart fully satisfied. Moses pointed out in Exodus 33 that God’s presence with his people would be the only thing that set them apart among the nations. For that reason, he pleaded with God to not send him anywhere that God would not accompany him. 
 
Israel lost the battle at Ai because Achan had sinned, causing God to not go out to battle with them. But once Israel cleansed their community by removing Achan, God’s presence returned and they triumphed the next time they faced Ai.

Life Application

I recognize that I’m not that special. I don’t have any particular gifts or talents that would enable me to change the world. I don’t have tons of money in the bank or access to other resources that would enable me to accomplish significant things (I’m not depressed… lol. Just follow me.). Bottom line is that the only thing that is going to set me apart and enable me to accomplish anything of great eternal significance, is the presence of God in my life.

Therefore, I would be stupid to be nonchalant about dabbling in sin! Jesus calls us to be perfect as his heavenly Father is perfect. Paul commanded Timothy to cleanse himself of common practices so he could become an instrument for noble purposes. Jesus wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus commanding them to repent and return to their first love or else their lampstand (symbolizing God’s presence) would be removed from them.

God, forgive me for my sins! Please examine our hearts and bring conviction of sin. May we never see your glory depart from us because we are living double lives, worshipping you one moment but giving ourselves to sin the next. May your glory never leave us! Amen.

 

– Levi Thompson

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



Ezekiel 9

Scripture

Ezekiel‬ ‭9:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

Observation-What does it say?

Israel continued in their rebellion against the Lord, but this time, the elders were worshipping idols in the temple. As a result, God commanded that everyone in Jerusalem without the mark on their foreheads be killed and showed no compassion. The ones given the mark and spared were those who grieved over “all the desirable things” that were done in Israel. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God spared the faithful and repentant.

This scene is very familiar. It reminds me of the Passover, where the angel of death was to pass every door that had the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, but the households without that mark, were to have their firstborn son killed. 

Today, we no longer need a mark. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice that took the place of our sins, so that God’s wrath and fury would pass over us. 

“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:14-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Knowing that He has spared our lives from spiritual death, how will that make us live our lives differently?

We are no longer slaves to our past and our sins before Christ, but rather new creations in Him, free from sin and slaves to righteousness. (Rom. 6:17-18). 

I got 2 really painful elbow burns a couple of Saturdays ago as a result of sliding down a huge slide with my daughters at a birthday party. The burns are currently healing and it’s so amazing how God created the body to restore and heal itself to create new skin after a burn. The old, damaged skin has to completely dry out and come off before the new skin can appear. Our old life is like the old skin. It needs to completely come off before the new skin can fully appear. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 
Thank You Lord that You don’t desire a perfect heart; but rather a surrendered, repentant and obedient heart that is fully dependent on You. You have spared our lives from your righteous anger because of Jesus. As a result, may we live lives that are new and restored to You for Your glory alone. I also pray for those who don’t yet know You.  Use us to draw them to You, so that they can be saved from judgment and spiritual death as well. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 8

Scripture

Ezekiel 8:12 NLT

“Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see us; he has deserted our land!’”

Observation-What does it say?

Ezekiel receives another vision from God. God was showing him all the sinful and detestable things the people of Israel were doing. Even the leaders of Israel (70 elders), were all worshipping idols of some sort! These actions provoked God to anger, and caused God to act in fury.-(vs.18)

Understanding-What does it mean?

We cannot hide anything we do from God. He sees everything!

The people of Israel made the mistake of thinking God’s silence against them was because He had forsaken them. They blamed God for the hardships they were experiencing and they believed God did not see their situation. They failed to realize that maybe they were experiencing these hardships because of their rebellion against God. The people’s sinfulness had drew God’s wrath and fury against them.

Just because we think God doesn’t hear us and that He has forsaken us (which is a lie from the devil), it doesn’t give us a license to sin. Remember that our God is a jealous God. He desires to be number one in our lives, and He wants us to be totally reliant on Him. Just because He remains silent on some things in our lives doesn’t mean He turned His back on us. It doesn’t mean we should immediately replace Him with idols in our lives the way the Israelites did in this passage. If anything, in those times we feel God’s silence, we should call upon Him even more desperately by fasting, praying, and reading His Word. Because if we are to call ourselves God’s children, we need to believe and trust in Him. We must remember the promises He has for us.

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

When the going gets tough, the tough get praying!

Today, I’ll remember when things get tough, and it seems that God may be out of the situation that I’m in, to seek Him, and pray! I will find a quiet place and seek His presence, instead of turning my back to Him and replacing Him with some cheap “idol” in my life. Because when it comes to God’s presence in our lives, we should accept no substitutes.

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


Ezekiel 7

Scripture

Ezekiel 7:4

Then you will know that I am the Lord

Observation

Israel’s rebellion, idolatry and spiritual adultery has finally pushed God to the limit and forced Him to bring upon His people the calamities and judgement about which He had forewarned Israel through the prophets. God vindicates Himself by declaring that even His judgements are fair and that He is simply repaying Israel according to their detestable practices. The disaster that God will unleash upon His people is such that has never before been seen and no one will escape unscathed. Money and wealth will become useless, famine and starvation will cover the land and violence and bloodshed will be everywhere. This time, when the people search for a prophet or priestly counsel, none will be found; and Israel’s rulers will mourn.

Understanding

Three times during the rendering of His verdict against Israel, God proclaims His motive behind His fury. He says to Israel; “Then you will know that I am the Lord”, “Then you will know that it is I the Lord who strikes you”, and finally, “Then they will know that I am the Lord”. Even while unleashing the necessary chastisement against Israel, God’s heart for His beloved is seen in His desire that, as Israel suffers all that they have brought upon themselves, they will remember that He is the Lord; El Shaddai – the mighty, awesome, powerful, glorious, holy Lord of Creation – and fear His wrath, so that when the time of God’s displeasure and punishment is over, they would return to Him in humility and repentance.  

Life Application

Just as the love of God is displayed in His grace and mercy, so is His justice, righteousness and holiness displayed in His wrath against sin and rebellion. They are both facets of the same precious jewel that is our God and he metes them out in equal measure. We must remember that He is as much the Lion of Judah as He is the Lamb of God. The same God who forgives the humble penitent promises to visit vengeance upon the prideful and arrogant rebel. In order to be a God of love, He must also be a God who hates sin. In order to be a fair and just God, He must judge sin and rebellion. He cannot be one and not the other. I dare not take God’s forbearance and long-suffering for granted and to use it as a license to sin lest I invite the loving yet terrible discipline of the one who has the power to throw both body and soul into the fires of Hell.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker