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!
 

Matthew_28

Scripture
 
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:16-17‬ ‭NLT
 
“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
As both Marys went to visit Jesus’ tomb, they were greeted by a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the huge stone that lay in front of the door of the tomb, and showed both Marys that the place where Jesus’ body laid, was now empty! Just like Jesus told them…He would rise again! Jesus is alive! Now the angel told the women to go and tell the disciples that Jesus is alive, and to tell them to head to Galilee, because it is there that they will see him.
So when the disciples arrived in Galilee, they went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. It was there that they saw him and worshipped him, yet some of them still doubted.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Transformation does not happen quickly.
 
Even after all Jesus has done for them, all He has told them, all that they have seen with their own eyes, they still doubted?! We would like to think that the Resurrection alone would immediately transform these timid disciples into heroes of faith. But this particular verse is a great reminder that transformation does not happen overnight. Even after Jesus’ disciples saw him alive and heard him speak, they still doubted.
 
Now just when I was going to get down on Jesus’ disciples, I took a look at my own life. I looked back at all that I learned, all that Jesus has done in my life, and all that He has got me through. Yet when one of life’s roadblocks comes my way, what do I do? I find myself anxious, I begin to doubt God’s promises for me. Why?! I believe it’s a growing and maturing process we as Christ Followers all go through. Our lives as Christ Followers is a daily spiritual walk. A walk in which we should all be striving to grow and mature in Christ daily. I believe the “churchy word” for it is sanctification. It is our lifelong process as God’s children to become more like Christ each and every day. And it doesn’t stop either! It is something we all should be doing till the Lord calls us home.
 
Life Application
 
I must strive to be a better disciple each and every day, month, and year!
 
Too often we come across people who say they have been Christians for years and years. Yet they seem to be struggling with the same issues over and over. They tell you that they’ve been a Christian for 10 years, but it seems they’ve been repeating the same grade year after year with no growth. Or they can quote you scripture and know the Bible inside-out. Yet their lives contradict what they should already know. They have the information, but not the transformation in their lives. As Christ Followers we should be all about the transformation. We should be allowing the Holy Spirit to mold us and change us to be more like Jesus each day.
 
But how can I gauge my growth process spiritually? One simple way is by doing our church’s Spiritual Self Assessment survey. Just like a person who wants to lose weight, they need a scale and a mirror to monitor their progress. This Spiritual Self Assessment survey acts just like a “scale” for our spiritual lives. And if we are honest with it, it can help identify the areas in our faith we need to work on, and allows accountability for someone in church leadership to help guide you along your path. We all need to start somewhere in our walk with God. The key is to make sure we don’t settle where we are at, but we continue to make strides forward to become more and more like Him each day . 😊
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
Moses Gaddi


Psalm_27

Scripture
Psalm 27:8
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
 
Observation – What does it say?
David responds to the call in his heart to seek God’s face. Regardless of feelings or motivation or business, David chose to respond by acting on the desire to seek God.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
God places the desire in all of our hearts to seek his face. And, we all respond in different ways at different times. When we are tired or lacking motivation, it’s not always easy. The challenge is to respond rightly, “Your face, Lord, I will seek!” 
When you want the wrong thing but you will the right thing, that’s righteousness.
Kris Vallotton
What I find encouraging is that the strength to respond rightly doesn’t come from within, but from above.
Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
 
Life Application
Choose rightly today!
God, thank you that you not only give us the desire but the power to do what pleases you. From beginning to end you deserve the glory! We look to you and lean on you, not only for the desire for your presence to increase but the power to pursue it. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson


Genesis_26

Scripture

Genesis 26:28 NIV

28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’ – between us and you.  Let us make a treaty with you…

Observation

Chapter 26 begins with the Lord appearing to Isaac (Abraham’s son), telling him to stay in Gerar. He was trusting and obedient in that matter…but then immediately shows his lack of faith/trust when he tells the men that Rebekah (his wife) is his sister. Eventually, the truth is revealed and Abimelek gives orders that anyone who harms him or Rebekah be put to death.

Everything Isaac does from that point on brings “fruit.” Crops are planted and returned a hundredfold. He becomes rich and his wealth grows. He gains so many flocks and herds and servants that he is asked to move for being “too powerful.”

In his new space, he recognizes God as the source for all his success, saying “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”

God comes close – appearing to Him and reinforcing His blessing, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.”

The next visit is Abimelek with his adviser and commander of his forces…which is met with a question from Isaac, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?”

Understanding

There’s so much good stuff here – God’s provision (the crops, the wealth, the flocks and herds and servants), His grace with Isaac’s lack of faith, a reminder to give God glory as the source for all our earthly gifts and successes. But what struck me was the observation from Abimelek shown in verse 28. 

Abimelek recognized that God was with Isaac and it brought further favor – a peace treaty.

Life Application

God, you have given me so much favor, so many blessings…may I always remember and give you the glory as the source for my provision. Help me to show faith in my giving – giving more and often, as you direct me to.  Give me your heart, your eyes for the people and situations around me – that I may be used by you. 

In your name, I pray. Amen. 

– Rei

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



Matthew_25

Scripture
Matthew 25: 22-23, 29
“Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.”
Observation – What does it say?
At this point in time, Jesus is in Jerusalem during the time of the passover. He has already told His disciples of His coming death, in chapter 20. In chapters 24 and 25, He is talking with His disciples about His second coming. In 24:42 Jesus tells us that we need to be on alert because we don’t know when He will arrive. Chapter 25 goes on to show us a couple of examples of being faithful while waiting for Him.
Understanding – What does it mean?
Faith; the short and long of it!!
I feel like I spent a considerable amount of time in my twenties worried about finding out what “God’s will” for my life was. I wanted to have a deep conviction that I was fulfilling my destiny. Part of my angst during this time was due to a few events that seemed deeply traumatic at the time. In my searching, I never really slowed down to evaluate whether or not I was being faithful with the opportunities God had placed right in front of me. Additionally, I have always had the tendency to compare myself to those around me and complain about how they received a better hand to play with.
One of the beautiful things that we get a picture of in this parable is God’s economy. In God’s economy ten is equal to four. As the master responds to his servants, he tells both the good servants “Well done. You have been faithful with a little, to you more will be given.” We see that God is more concerned with how we steward what he has given us, rather than how much it is. It is only in mans economy that 10 is more than 4, or that 1st place is better than 28th place. In reality all of the things God has given us belong fully to Him, he has simply asked us to take care of them for a bit.
In Romans 12:3-8 Paul tells us about our spiritual gifts. In this passage he points out that God has distributed our gifts as He sees fit, and that as the body of Christ we are interdependent on each other not independent. Nobody in the church is more important than the other, the worship leader no more important than the person in charge of cleaning the toilets. What is important is that we use our gifts to glorify God, and this requires some amount of perseverance. Galatians 6:9-10 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” So do good because Jesus is coming, we just don’t know when.

Life application
Jesus, help me to stay faithful in the small things. Because I know that in bringing you glory in these things will help me to see the big picture. I know and trust you have the big picture already taken care of. I choose to lean on your understanding and not my finite wisdom. Help me to find joy in holding the door for a stranger, in driving my car in a courteous way, in being generous with the money and time you have given me. I want to be a good light for you, Matthew 5:14-16
– Tyler Galloway


Matthew_24

Scripture
 
Matt. 24:42-“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
This chapter speaks about the End Times and Jesus’ return. It started when His disciples were admiring the buildings around them, but Jesus told them they would pass away. His disciples then asked when this would happen. Jesus explains to His disciples the importance of being ready now, because the day or hour of His return is unknown. Jesus and the angels do not even know when it will happen (Matt. 24:36). At the end of the chapter, He speaks about a wicked servant who was tired of waiting for his Master and started living like his Master would never return.  He started beating his servants, and getting drunk with other drunkards. The master returned at that time and the servant was assigned a place with the hypocrites, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth (aka hell).
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 

Stay faithful and obedient. God always keeps His promises and the promise of Jesus’ return will happen.

I was reading in Hebrews 11 this morning and it is interesting how it parallels with the Scripture passage this morning in Matthew. Basically, Hebrews 11 describes the heroes of the faith and their life of faith in Christ. This part of the Scripture stood out to me: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:13-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So, according to Scripture, these people lived by faith until they died even though they didn’t see or receive the things promised to them. What kept them going is their hope of eternity, knowing that this was their temporary, not permanent home.

Life Application

 

Be Kingdom minded and focused. This world is not our home.

In this world, we will have trouble, but Jesus promised that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
‭‭(1 John‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭NIV)‬‬

As we put our hope and faith in the promise of Christ’s return and our eternal home, the struggles of this life pale in comparison. Let us be encouraged to not give up in the faith and not give up doing our Master’s business and living with integrity so that we could hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is not worth the fate of hell that the wicked servant received, whom the Master was displeased with when He returned.

Dear Lord, I pray that our faith in You would strengthen as we remember and wait on Your promised return. I pray we would be encouraged to keep pressing forward in obedience, knowing that our home is not here, but in Heaven. I pray we would wait on You. Amen.

Here are some Scriptures on waiting on the Lord that I encourage myself with when growing tired of waiting:

Gal. 6:9- And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Ps. 69:3 I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.

James 5:7-Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

Lamentations 3:25-The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Psalm 27:14-Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Ps. 130:5-6 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.

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


Matthew_23

Scripture
 
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
“Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Jesus is criticizing the religious leaders. He is calling them hypocrites. Jesus calls them out for their self-righteous attitudes. They don’t practice what they teach and everything they do is for show! He points out how they love to look so holy and important. But they blindly guide people the wrong way. They lead them one way, but they themselves refuse to follow their own directions and advice. Jesus warns them of all the sorrow that awaits them for their ways of misleading people.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Jesus calls us to be transformed from the inside out.
 
These religions leaders Jesus was criticizing in this chapter were hypocrites! Like Jesus said, they did everything for show. If they were actors, they would win an Oscar. But Jesus sees the heart. He sees that these leaders do their very best to “put on a good show”, and look holy on the outside, but their insides are filthy!
 
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”-‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:25-26‬ ‭NLT
 
So if we are truly to be Christ Followers, we need to make sure our “insides” are clean before even worry about our outside appearance. Because once we do the house cleaning from the inside, everything on the outside begins to look cleaner and brighter. And we all know, Jesus sees and judges the heart.
 
“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”-‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:7‬b
 
Life Application
 
Don’t just do your “Christian duties” on Sunday, they should be flowing from you in your everyday walk of life.
 
Father God, may You continue to transform me from the inside out. Help me to be a good leader, One who practices what I preach. May You help me remove the filth inside me so Your Holy Spirit can dwell within me. Give me strength to abide in You so that Your love flows outwardly towards those around me. In Your name Jesus I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Genesis_22

Scripture

Genesis 22:15-17

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. 

Observation – What does it say?

Abraham, in radical obedience to God, tied up his son Isaac in preparation to kill him. This is the same Isaac that Abraham had waited decades for, as God promised him and his barren wife descendants. His beloved son lay bound on top of the wood, looking up as his father lifted the knife over his head. At the last minute an angel of the Lord stopped Abraham. The blood of his son would not be spilled that day. Abraham had passed the test. 

Because Abraham showed God that there was no price he was unwilling to pay to honor Him, even if it meant sacrificing his own son, God declared that he would bless him abundantly! Not only would he receive his son back, but would be given countless more descendants!

Understanding – What does it mean?

There is no such thing as sacrificing for God, because we can never out-give God. 

I was reminded of Pastor Gary’s message on Sunday as I read this. There is no reason to fear when God asks us to give. 

Mark 10:29-30

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 

Think about that promise! A hundred times as much? Imagine a bank with that kind of interest. “We’ll give you $100 for every $1 you deposit.” Uh, let me think about it… I would have to be a fool to not put in every cent I own! So why hesitate when God asks me to give? 

Life Application

God, I don’t know where the disconnect is between believing this truth and acting on it without fear. Please drive out our fear and fill us with faith that we may be generous! Even when you ask us to give what is nearest to our hearts, may we gladly lay it down, trusting your goodness and your faithfulness. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 


Matthew_21

Scripture
Matthew 21:21-22
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
 
Observation – What does it say?
Jesus continues to perform signs and wonders – teaching the disciples through example, parables and [what I would call] faith-building exercises.
 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Faith requires belief and trust. Belief and trust lead to obedience. Obedience [often] brings results…which reinforces our belief and trust.
Jesus had previously sent the disciples to get a donkey. I think this was a faith building exercise. He told them exactly where it was, told them what to do if someone stopped and asked them about it, but it still took their obedience to bring the donkey from point A to point B.
I don’t know about you but I find myself hesitant in situations like this. And as many times as God has provided, I sometimes still get surprised when He does. So, as I read the story of the donkey, I wonder if they were surprised at all when they got to the well and found the donkey there as described. Or I wonder if they were surprised that it “worked” when someone stopped and asked them about it and they said exactly what Jesus had told them.
 
Life Application
The faith building exercises are great but I think the power comes when the doubt disappears. (Verse 21)
I’m challenged today to let go of the doubt. Do believe and obey without the step by step instructions. To look at where I may have stopped short due to uncertainty and doubt.
God, they you for all the times you’ve proven yourself real. Forgive me for the hesitancy, the doubt, the lack of trust that shows up in my actions – whether that be through delayed response, through inaction, through surprise when you do show up. “Help my unbelief.” May I live a life of example of faith in fire…that you may be honored and glorified as you so much deserve.
In your name I pray, Amen.
 
– Rei Bailey


Matthew_20

Scripture  
Matthew 20:10-12

10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

Observation – What does it say? 
In chapter 19 Jesus deals with the rich young ruler, a disciple who was challenged with leaving all of his belongings to follow Jesus.  The man left dejected.  Afterword, Jesus reafirms the apostles that to everyone who leaves something to follow Him, they will receive immeasurably more in heaven.  Jesus then jumps into this parable discussing heaven and God’s graciousness to us.  At the beginning of the the parable Jesus states “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”  At the end, he states it in the oposite order, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”  This statement clearly shows God’s love distributed to us equally.

 

Understanding – What does it mean? 
One of the things that strikes me about this passage is the view of the blessing that had been distributed amongst the workers.  I can’t even begin to count how many times I have acted in the same way.  When I begin to compare myself to others and ask God, “Why did you bless them with a nicer…” “How come they go on more vacations than me?”  “Why don’t I have as much money as they do?”  I find myself discontent with the blessings that God has given me.  In the parable, the wise master answers the grumbling worker by stating something so simple and yet profound.  In verse 15 he says, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my money?”

God has wisdom that passes all understanding.  He ultimately knows how to bless people in ways that fulfill his purposes.  In the grand scheme of things, our time here on earth is so short.  Is it really worth comparing ourselves with how God blesses others when ultimately, in heaven, all of these things will pass away in comparison to God’s glory?  In I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul gives us an example of the atittude we should carry with us everyday.   “Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Life application 
Jesus, you know what I need before I ask.  And you also know when I ask you for things with the wrong motive.  Help me to align my desires with your will.  Help me to appreciate all the blessings you have bestowed on me, and to rejoice in the blessings of others.  I know your ways are perfect.   
 
– Tyler Galloway


Matthew_19

Scripture
 
Matthew 19

13Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Observation-What does it say?

When the little children were brought to Jesus, His disciples rebuked them (the people who brought the kids to Jesus). The Oxford American dictionary defines rebuke as, “express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.” The disciples were critical of the fact that little children were brought to Jesus, but Jesus told His disciples to let them come. Jesus welcomed the children, blessed them and prayed for them.

Understanding-What does it mean?

It doesn’t matter what age, race, gender, or past we have. We can all come to Jesus and He will accept us with open arms.

Children were just like women back in those times in Jewish culture. They were not highly regarded. However, Jesus continued to break those social barriers. When doing research on gotquestions.com, it said that, “It is likely that their (the disciples’) move to hinder the parents from bringing their children to Jesus was motivated not by unkindness but by a desire to respect Jesus’ position as a teacher.”

To the disciples, Jesus’ position as a teacher gave Him no time to pray over children because He had more important matters to attend to. However, Jesus continued to show His disciples that He was there to serve people no matter what gender or age they were. He came to serve everyone, to die for ALL and to resurrect from the grave so that we could have life in Him. The Kingdom of Heaven did not only belong to the religious leaders or to men, but to the sinners, the poor, the women, and the children and everyone else who weren’t socially accepted in those days.

Life Application
 
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:26-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Think of people today who are not socially accepted or people we write off because they are unlike us. Poor/homeless, mentally ill, broken, needy, hurt, dependent….you fill in the blank.
Those are the people that Jesus went out of His way to minister to and who we should as well. There are no cultural, social, age, gender, or political gaps with Jesus. Everyone has an opportunity to be part of the Kingdom of Christ because in the Kingdom, those barriers do not exist.

Dear Jesus, thank You that You loved and love the “least of these” and as we were adopted into your family, we inherited more than the world has to offer, life with You. I pray against any cultural or social filter/barrier that prevents us from reaching out to those You desire in Your Kingdom. As Your Word says, “the last shall be first and the first shall be last (Matt. 19:30).” May we have a humble servant’s view towards people just like You had towards us. We love You Jesus and thank You for choosing us despite who we were. May we extend that same love and grace towards others when reaching out. Amen.

Source:

Why did Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me”?

 
   
 

Why did Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me”?

Why did Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me”? Why did the disciples try to prevent children from coming to Jesus?

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