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

Mark_5

Scripture

Mark 5:19-20 

Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Observation – What does it say?

After healing the demon possessed man, Jesus didn’t allow the man to come with him. Rather, he told him to go home to his people and tell them what God did for him. The man proceeded to not only go to his home town but to the Decapolis, meaning 10 cities, telling people what God had done.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Jesus didn’t bring the man with him because he had a purpose for that man’s life, to share his testimony with others. We may wonder why we don’t just go to Heaven the moment we put our faith in Jesus. The reason we are still here, with breath in our lungs, is because God has a purpose for us! We are here to share our story of all God has done for us and how he has had mercy on us.

Life Application

I want to be like this man! He was so overcome with what God had done for him he couldn’t keep silent! He went from city to city telling people all about it. And as a result, the people were amazed.

God, remind us today of all you’ve done for us. And may we joyfully and passionately share with others all about it. Give us opportunity, even today, to share with someone. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 


Mark_4

Scripture

Mark 4: 14-20

14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Observation

We are farmers.  [Insert jingle – “We are farmers, bum ba dum bum bum bum bum.”]    

Understanding

In Mark, Jesus is speaking to the masses using parables.  He shares the parable of the farmer, sowing the seed…what happens to the seed is dependent on the soil the seed lands on.

I think the important take away is to keep sowing.  We don’t know the hearts of those we meet.  Even perceptions are often incorrect.  Our role is simply to continue sowing the seed – sow in faith, sow in obedience, sow in love.    

Life Application

God, I know I have a good story to share – the story of your love, kindness, faithfulness, redemption, etc.  Show me ways to do so today.  Regardless of how it may be received, may I share in boldness, faith and love. 

– Rei

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



Psalm_60

Scripture 

Psalm 60:11 

“O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain.”

Observation – What does it say? 

This Psalm was written during David’s reign as king.  It is quite possible that this was written during a time when the Israelites were at war with the Moabites.  This particular Psalm can be broken down into three parts; complaint for defeat (vs 1-4), a promise of victory (vs 5-8), and rekindled hope in God’s word.  The Psalm seems to show the result of turning away from God is the realization of being dependent on Him.  

Understanding – What does it mean? 

I heard someone say once that if you need to make a decision about something and one of the choices is something that will be to the detriment of your ego, choose that one.  The point was, we are ultimately put here to bring God glory and not ourselves.  Therefore, if we are struggling to do something because of the way we perceive it will make us look, we act in the way that God will get the glory and not us.  

I came to the realization, recently, that I have a tendency to only pursue things that I perceive will promote me.  Especially when it comes to work.  I want to follow the plan that will bring me the most positive attention.  I do this without taking the time to prayerfully consider the path that God might have intended for me instead.  I am essentially leaning on the wisdom of man to determine my path and future rather than God.  Then, without fail, come crawling back to God wondering, “why is everything going wrong?”

When I take time to look around in moments like these, it’s easy to see that it would be better for me to have asked for God’s direction in the first place.  I also get a look at the wonder of God’s amazing grace.  I do something dumb (read: I walked away from God), when my life is in shambles I run back to the one who can fix things (I repent), God in turn accepts us with loving arms (forgiveness).  And this is generally when God redirects my actions to serve others.  

In Galatians 6, Paul talks about our ability to help one another through the tough times.  He reminds us that our life here is short, and it is with perseverance in doing good that we will find eternal life. Much like the Israelites, we need only to seek God for direction in life and he will be our salvation.

Life application 

Jesus, I want to spend all of my moments working towards sharing your glory.  Even if that means that I don’t look good in the process.  I want to trust in your path for me, and not in the wisdom of men.  Most of all, I want to be enamored with your salvation
 
– Tyler Galloway 


Mark_2

Scripture

Mark 2:4-5:

 
Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Observation-What does it say?

Their faith made them do everything possible to see Jesus. When they couldn’t get to Jesus, they didn’t give up. They made a way to see him by making an opening in the roof.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus wants to be found by us.

Because of the men’s persistence in bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus, Jesus healed his paralysis and forgave him of his sins.

We are commanded to seek FIRST the Kingdom; to ask, seek and knock and we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our heart.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

The story of the persistent widow and the unjust judge is another example of how God honors our persistence in our pursuit of Him and because of He’s a good Father, He will act and respond. (see Luke 18:1-8) The Lord wants to be found by us because He loves us.

Life Application

Seek God because He sought you first.

When we feel like Jesus’ presence is far away or feel like He is not listening to us, we need to be willing to knock down walls and dig holes in roofs in pursuit of Him. When we feel far away from Jesus, it is not because of Him, but because of us.

Don’t give up praying, seeking, or knocking. We will find Him if we don’t give up.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

Also, just like in Luke 15 with the story of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son, His love for us is relentless. He sought us first, so we must continue seeking Him in response to that love.

Dear Lord, thank You for seeking us out first and pursuing us with a relentless love. Because of that love, You desire to be found by us. May we continually seek You in faith when we feel You are far away. Your Word says You never leave or forsake us, so we know that it is us who need to draw closer to You when dry times like that happen. We need You and can’t live without your love and grace towards us. Thank You for every breath we take which is evidence of Your grace and existence. Amen.

Reckless Love Song
Reckless Love (Official Lyric Video) – Cory Asbury | Reckless Love

 
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Exodus_8

Scripture
 
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NLT
 
“But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
God instructs Moses to go back to Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go, so they can worship Him. If Pharaoh refuses, God will send a plague of frogs throughout the entire land. Sure enough, the Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened, so God released a plague of frogs across the entire land. Frogs were everywhere! In people’s homes, cooking bowls, jumping on Pharaoh himself, and all his people and officials. Pharaoh had enough! He summoned Aaron and Moses and pleaded with them to ask God to remove these frogs away from him and his people. Then Pharaoh said he would release God’s people so they can offer sacrifices to the LORD. But as soon as Pharaoh got what he wanted (relief from the plague of frogs), he changed his mind and refused to let God’s people go. This was the theme throughout this chapter. Whether it was with the plague of frogs, gnats, or even flies. The plagues would come, Pharaoh would call in Aaron and Moses to plead with them to get God to stop, but once Pharaoh got what he wanted, he would go back on his word, and go back to his stubborn ways. When would he ever learn?
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God is committed to us. Are we committed to Him?
 
It is so easy to get frustrated with Pharaoh in this story. I mean God already knows how stubborn Pharaoh is, why not just be rid of him?! But how many of us know someone or even we ourselves at one time acted like Pharaoh? We were given a “plague” of some sort in our lives. We promised God if He could just remove this “plague” and make it stop, we would honor Him, and obey His ways. Then once we get what we want, we forgot about our promise to God. It’s back to our old stubborn ways again. Why do we do that?! Especially because God has been so faithful to us. We must remember His faithfulness not only throughout the good times, but the bad times too. His commitment to us doesn’t waver. Shouldn’t we do the same?
 
“True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”-Romans‬ ‭3:3-4a‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
Life Application
 
A lifetime commitment to God.
 
Turning to God should be something I do for EVERYTHING in life. Help with life’s decisions? Turn to God. In trouble, or sick and need help? Turn to God. How about if life is going great for me? Yes, TURN TO GOD! Give God all the praise and glory. I must remember him throughout all my life’s ups and downs. God desires a relationship with me. (That statement alone humbles me). Don’t be the friend who only calls when they need something. Be in constant contact with Him, let Him know what’s going on in life. Ask Him what we can do for Him. Then just watch as this relationship blossoms to it’s full potential and see what God can do!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Acts_28

Scripture 

Acts 28:24

Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul arrived in Rome and called together the local Jewish leaders for a meeting where he spoke to them about Jesus. As a result, some were convinced but others weren’t.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When we share about Jesus with people, not everyone will be convinced. But that doesn’t mean we don’t share. If we share, we will get rejected. However, it’s not something to be afraid of or even discouraged by when it happens! 

Luke 6:22-23a

22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.

Jesus was clear that we are actually rewarded every time we are rejected. When we share with people and they believe in Jesus, there is no greater joy! But even when we are rejected we can still count it a joy because a deposit was just made in our heavenly bank account. 

Life Application

Just share! 

Lately, God has been stirring in my heart to share with strangers on the street and to pray with people I see who have injuries. And I know I’m not the only one! At our “Do What He Did” class last week, several people in our church went out to share and pray for people at the mall and they came back with great testimonies! They experienced rejection by some, but others got impacted by God and experienced his love and healing power! 

God, fill us with boldness to share. And even though some will reject us, we hold to the promise that the fields are white for harvest! We know we encounter people every day who are ripe for an encounter with you, ripe to surrender their lives to you. You are on the edge of your seat, excited to move in their lives and it’s up to us to just be obedient. Please help us to step out of our comfort zones and to go for it. Amen!

– Levi Thompson



Psalm_56

Scripture
Psalm 56:12-13
12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.
 
Observation
When you experience God’s love and deliverance, the natural response is to make a commitment to God and thank him!
 
Understanding
Jesus healed 10 lepers in Luke 17 and one of them came back to say thank you. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Jesus doesn’t demand praise and thanks, but he does expect it. Every miracle, provision, blessing and healing is intended by God to draw us deeper into God-glorifying relationship with him.
 
Life Application
Remember what God has done for me and worship him! 


Exodus_5

Scripture

Exodus 5:2

But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”

Observation – What does it say?

After the death of Joseph, there came about a new king of Egypt who didn’t know about how God had favored him. He didn’t know that God had delivered Egypt from the great famine through Joseph. He was threatened by how prosperous the Israelites were, and he became oppressive over them. In Exodus 2:23-25, we see that the Israelites were crying to God for deliverance. God remembered His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God decided to deliver Israel through Moses. In the process, the Israelites came to encounter a lot of opposition from the Egyptians.

UnderstandingWhat does it mean?

A lot of the time our scope of understanding in this life can be so limited that we become focused on the wrong thing. Or as they say, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” And when I say the wrong thing, I mean to say that I have so often been focused on what is going “wrong” in my life. These feelings of self-pity have been a constant roller coaster in my life for some time.

I remember being 18 and sitting in a wheel-chair, with both my legs in casts, feeling like life could not get any worse, even though I had escaped death not too long before. Not to mention feeling confused about my purpose, because, as many people told me, “God saved you for something special.” Then, about a year and a half later, sitting in a hospital bed in Oregon, recovering from a major surgery to fix my intestines. Those feelings crept back in, “life can’t get any worse.” Flash forward to a few years ago, and I didn’t get a promotion I was hoping for at work. “God, life can’t get any worse.” And I wish that I could go back to a time when life was “better.”

Later in the story the Israelites, wandering in the desert, tell Moses a similar story. “Life can’t get any worse. At least when we were in Egypt we had food.” (See Exodus 16). God promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. He didn’t say it was going to be easy, He told them, “Only be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7). The Israelites went on to do hard battle for the promised land. They took giant steps of faith, walked through rivers when they were flooding (Joshua 3). Their descendants battled giants, and were thrown into fire, fed to lions, etc.. Jesus himself had to struggle with a companion who turned traitor.

When I turn my eyes from my low position to the wonders of God’s goodness, I can begin to find meaning in the suffering that I find here on earth. God has plans that will eventually work out for the good (Romans 8:28). I only need to trust in Him, the God who knit me together in my mother’s womb. No matter who is opposing me, I trust this fact.

Life application

My prayer often turns to the words found in James 1:2-3 “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Help me Jesus to trust that, in hard times, you are drawing something out of me that is intended to bring you glory. No matter how bad the pruning feels, I trust that you are completing me, and preparing me for my time in eternity with you.

– Tyler Galloway

 


Exodus_4

Scripture
 
Exodus 4:3-4-

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.

Observation-What does it say?
 
God chooses Moses to go to Pharaoh and command that he let his people, the Israelites, free. He is introduced to one of the tools God has given him to complete this mission, his staff. Moses has to face his biggest fears and does it by trusting, relying on and obeying the One who is giving him his commands.

Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The power was not in the tool God gave him. It wasn’t in the staff. The power came through Moses’ faith and willingness to obey God’s commands to him.

God gives us all the tools we need to complete our mission of multiplying Christ followers everywhere. He gives us His Word, His Holy Spirit, the ability to pray to Him whenever we want, awesome Pastors and leaders in the faith to guide and shepherd us, our church family and individual passions, gifts and talents to use for Him within the church body. But, all this means nothing if it is not combined with faith. None of these tools can be utilized or put to use without faith. It is faith in Jesus Christ which allows us to do great things for the Kingdom.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Also, Faith is not the absence of fear. Moses’ story proves that he was fearful every step of the way. Take for example the first sign, where God turned his staff into a snake. Moses ran away from the snake, but God told him to reach out his hand and take it by the tail. That required Moses to move toward the snake, even though he was scared, and be close enough to grab its tail. He did it despite his fear because He trusted and obeyed the One who was giving him that command. Moses trusted that the God of the impossible was able to do the impossible through him.

Life Application
 
The God of the impossible is able to do impossible things through us, but we must have faith. Many times, we will have to face our greatest fears in order to complete the mission.

Jesus is a great example of this. Even though He was God in the flesh, he still feared his upcoming death as evident through Him sweating blood in the Garden and requesting that the cup be taken from Him. However, Christ was focused on the mission because He loved us and desired to do His father’s will, despite his feelings and fears. Because He didn’t quit, we get to enjoy the benefits of unhindered relationship with Him.

Don’t allow fear to stop you from completing the mission. Fear keeps us humble and dependent on the One who works through us, so that only He receives the glory, not us. As we push through the fear of whatever God is calling us to do, great things happen. As we have faith in Him more than our fears and hesitations, we are able to accomplish awesome things for His Kingdom.

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear God, I pray that we are able to push through any fear that may keep us from doing Your will. I pray that You would deposit greater faith in us to override any hesitations to accomplish the mission You’ve set before us. We seek to obey Your will over our own. Thank you for choosing to partner with us to accomplish Your mission although You could easily do it Yourself. Thank You for Your patience and love as we are everyday molded into Your image. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Michelle Gaddi

 


Psalm_53

Scripture
 
Psalms 53:2-3
 
“God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm of David, he writes about the corruption going on in his world around him. David sees more and more people turning away from God, which is leading them down a path of sinfulness. This path of sinfulness is going to force God’s wrathful hand to lay waste on them!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭
 
Aren’t you glad that God provides us a way for all of us to have eternal life? I know I am! God knew from the beginning of time the sinfulness of mankind. He knew the choice Adam and Eve would make in the Garden of Eden before they even knew! He also knew the chain reaction of sinfulness that it would cause for the rest of their offspring. And God being the just and righteous God that He is, also knew the punishment that it deserves. But God being so loving, merciful, and gracious, already knew the way (the only way), to provide humanity a way to spend eternity in the light living with Him, and avoid eternal darkness separated from Him. That way is through His One and only Son, Jesus Christ!
 
Life Application
 
Who can I share this free gift from God with?
 
The world we currently live in now is really no different from David’s world he wrote about in this passage. A world who turns away from God, who is trying to push God out of its schools, government, and homes. As a result, we see all the horrible things going on in this world. When some may blame or question God for letting such things happen, I question if these things happen because of people’s lacking relationship with God. I mean imagine a world which all people turned to God, honored Him, and worshipped Him in everything they did? It would be…like heaven. So who can I share God’s free gift with? Will you share this gift of Jesus Christ with others to bring a positive change to this world?
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi