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!



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 21:21-22
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 20:10-12

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

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, 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.


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


Genesis‬ ‭18:25‬ ‭NLT
“Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
Observation-What does it say?
The Lord appeared to Abraham one day, and Abraham served Him, and even broke bread with Him. As God was about to leave Abraham’s place, and head towards the city of Sodom, God lets Abraham in on His plans for the city. The sins of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah were so flagrant, God was going to destroy the city for their vile behavior. This is when Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom. Abraham knew God to be a righteous God. Abraham steps in and asks God if He would spare the city if He were able to find 50 righteous people in it. To which God agreed He would. Then this banter between God and Abraham continues in which Abraham “negotiates” the number of righteous people down from 50 to 10. In which God still agrees to spare the city if He can find just 10 righteous people within it. Now who knows if Abraham is trying to plead with God because he still knows that Lot and his family are still living there. But according to the deal Abraham “negotiated” with God, Lot and his family should have died because not even 10 righteous people could be found-(Genesis 19). But God still showed mercy on Lot because of Abraham’s intercession as we will read in the next chapter.
Understanding-What does it mean?
God hears the prayers of His people when they passionately and persistently seek Him.
Abraham was a man of God. He found favor in God’s eyes. Abraham earnestly sought out after God, and God answered His requests. (As we read in this chapter).
David was a man after God’s own heart. He too found favor in God’s eyes. David also passionately called out to God, and God too would answer his requests. (As seen in part of today’s bible reading in Psalm 18).
“I called to the Lord for help, and he saved me from my enemies!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:3a
“In my trouble I called to the Lord. Yes, I cried out to my God for help. There in his temple he heard my voice. He heard my cry for help.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:6‬ ‭
“He was pleased with me, so he rescued me. He took me to a safe place. The Lord rewarded me for doing what is right. He was good to me because I am innocent.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:19-20
“I always remembered his laws.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭18:22‬a
“So the Lord rewarded me for doing what is right.”‭‭-Psalms‬ ‭18:24‬a
“Lord, you are faithful to those who are faithful. You are good to those who are good.”-Psalms‬ ‭18:25
The bottom line is that God hears and answers the prayers of his people who seek and obey Him.
“And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.”-‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭
Life Application
What incredible things would happen if the Lord heard a steady stream of prayers from His people everywhere?
We all know we serve a God where ALL things are possible with Him! We also know how far away our world has drifted away from God’s ways. So why not stand united as God’s people to intercede and pray for our nation? Our leaders? Our church? Our family? Let’s see what God can do for His people, (the way He did for Abraham and David), when we earnestly seek Him and obey His ways. 😊
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Moses Gaddi



Matthew 17:17-18

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus just came down the mountain with Peter, James and John to find the other disciples surrounded by a crowd. Come to find out, the crowd gathered because of a man who had come to his disciples for help. His son was possessed by a demon and came to the disciples in hope that they would be able to cast out the demon. But they could not. Jesus responded by calling out their lack of faith and commanding, “Bring the boy here to me.” What the disciples couldn’t do, Jesus did with a word. No battle, no struggle, just a simple rebuke from Jesus and the boy was immediately freed and healed.

Understanding – What does it mean?

There are a few big lessons that I notice here. First, through the eyes of the disciples and second, through the eyes of the discouraged father.

First, the disciples had the reputation of having power but they were found powerless because their lack of faith. As the church of Jesus Christ, we have the reputation of being able to help people; the reputation of being able to facilitate encounters with God for people that will result in the sick being healed, the demon possessed being freed, the unbelievers being filled with faith and the lost being saved. People walk in the doors of our church with a hope that they will find help. Others approach us in our schools or places of work because they know we are Christians and hope that we will have something to offer them. My prayer is that we would never hear those words from someone who comes to us, “I came to your disciples at Desert Streams Church for help, but they could not.” I long for God to fill us with greater faith! I long personally to be used by God to demonstrate his love and power to those around me!

Second, the father was distraught. He longed for his son to be free. He most likely had great hope that Jesus’ disciples could help him, but they had let him down. Jesus said to him, “Bring the boy here to me.” I love this! What is it that you’re struggling with? What is it that you have been failing to overcome? What is your need that others haven’t been able to meet? Where have you seen no positive change and have been ready to give up? Jesus would say, “Bring it to me!” When we can’t, Jesus can. When others fail, Jesus succeeds. Every time.

Life Application

God, we owe the world around us an encounter with you! Fill us with greater faith that we may help the hurting, sick, lost and broken. Your kingdom isn’t a matter of talk but of power. May we not just talk about what you can do, but actually walk in the power and authority you desire us to.

God, we bring to you today the things that are weighing us down. We come with faith and expectation, believing that where other people and solutions have failed, you are able to succeed. Please speak the word and bring victory to the areas we need it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 – Levi Thompson


Matthew 16:23
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Observation – What does it say?
Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. And Jesus replied…
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
I can imagine Peter may have been on a bit of a spiritual high – Jesus just called him a rock (in a good way), a rock on which He’d build His church. And Jesus had just affirmed that Peter experienced a revelation from God.
But then Jesus shared about His impending death…and Peter rebuked Him!
Understanding – What does it mean?
Like Pastor Gary shared yesterday, sometimes it’s those closest to us who will attempt to deter us from God’s plans. That’s not their intention; it’s likely done out of “love,” “concern,” or worry…because, quite frankly, God’s plans often seem crazy and/or non-sensical.
Peter rebuked Him out of love. He likely felt protective and thought he could help keep death from Jesus. But that wasn’t part of God’s plan.
So what do we do when we are faced with the decision to follow God’s call or listen to those around us, especially when they believe they have our best interest at heart? This is where biblical community is so important! They can help us run it through the filters, provide perspective, pray…but ultimately the direction will still be of God and the decision (to obey or not) is still ours to be made.
Life Application
God, thank you for the biblical community you’ve placed me in. Thank you for the spiritual fathers, sisters, brothers you’ve surrounded me with. Help me to be that God-centered listening ear to those who may ask that of me. And continue to help cultivate those relationships within Desert Streams Church.
You make us brave but the family support can also help build us up when the path is challenging and indirect or the time frame is longer than we’d hoped or planned. Strengthen our faith, embolden our steps and may we live wholeheartedly for You! In your name I pray. Amen.
– Rei Bailey


Genesis 15:5-6
And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Observation – What does it say?
At this point in his life, Abram (soon to be Abraham) had left his homeland and travelled as far as Egypt. God has shown him the land of the Canaanites (in chapter 12) and promised him that he would possess this land. Here, God has pulled Abram aside another time to promise him descendants. Abram is 75 years old, and he knows that his wife is barren.
Understanding – What does it mean?
Abraham and Sarah show great faith through being willing and through waiting on the Lord. From the time Abraham and Sarah were promised descendants, to the time she gave birth, approximately 25 years had passed. That’s an incredible amount of patience. Not only that, when this promise was made, they had not even begun to live in the land of Canaan yet, let alone take possession of it yet.
To me, there are so many insecurities involved in the story of Abraham. He and Sarah don’t have a home, they are way past the age of “trying” to have kids, and the world around them is constantly at war. I have a hard time waiting on God five minutes, let alone 25 years. We don’t do very well with waiting in todays day in age, everything is instant gratification. Hebrews 11:9-12 talks about Abraham and Sarah’s faith. When God said, “Go,” they went not knowing how long He would lead them and through what path He would take them. When God said, “Wait,” they waited not knowing how long it was going to be. But, all that time they trusted the Lord.
Through scripture, we know that God has good things planned for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plans to prosper us. Romans 8:28 tells us that God works out all things for our good. Why is it then, that we have such a hard time waiting on God’s promises for us? It’s because we have a negative view of waiting. We can’t even wait in line for a cup of coffee, we can order it online from our car on the way, pay for it using our phone, and walk straight to the counter to pick it up.
We must become people who are actively waiting on God through prayer. Jeremiah 29:12-14 goes on to say, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will restore your fortunes…”
Life application
Jesus, I know that when I seek after Your will I will be fulfilled. Help me to become good soil, that is not overcome by the worries of this world. Help me to trust in you and not myself to fulfill my desires. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation. Most of all, meet with me when I pray so that I can be filled with your Spirit.
– Tyler Galloway


Matthew‬ ‭14:27-31‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?””
Observation-What does it say?
The disciples were afraid because they thought it was a ghost walking towards them on the water. However, Jesus told them not to be afraid because it was Him. Peter requested that Jesus call him out into the water if it was truly Him. Jesus did, so Peter got out of the boat, went out to Jesus in the water, and started walking on water! But, when he saw the wind, He took His eyes off of Jesus and started to sink.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Don’t take our eyes off of Jesus.

When Peter started focusing on the problem around him, which was the huge wind, he took His eyes off of Jesus, focused on the wind, became afraid and started to sink. How many of us take our focus off of Jesus when problems arise, become afraid and start seeking help for the problem or issue, instead of putting our faith in Christ knowing that He is more than able to take care of it? I admit I am guilty of this. At that moment, Peter still had a little faith, but it was misplaced faith due to fear and that wasn’t able to keep Him above water. It’s just like Pastor said the last couple of Sundays. “Fear is not the absence of faith. Fear is misplaced faith.”

Life Application

Keep our focus on Jesus and not on the problem.

Here are some words of a hymn that I love-“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Living in this world, we face many problems and challenges in marriage, with finances, relationships, health, work, family and the list can go on. However, we must stand firm in Christ and keep our eyes on Him in order to not be overtaken by them. Pastor Levi even said it in his soul journal post a couple of days ago—we must be quicker to pray than to plan.

Dear Lord, I admit that I would have reacted the same way as Peter did in fear because I have done so so many times. When life’s challenges hit, I seek Your help instead of seeking You first. Instead of meditating on the problem or issue at hand, please help me keep my eyes on You and who You are. I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was worried about many things (which I tend to be like) instead of sitting at Your feet first like Mary did. I pray we would all seek Your face more and not be fearful due to misplaced faith. Amen.

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

Psalm 13

Psalms‬ ‭13:5-6‬
“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.”
Observation-What does it say?
Life’s struggles are caving in on David. It feels as though God has forgotten about him, while his enemies sneak over his defeat. So how does David handle all this heartache? He cries out to God (in prayer) of course!
Understanding-What does it mean?
God will fight for us!
“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”-Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬
We have been learning in church these last two weeks that God makes us brave and God will fight for us. And as we learned this past Sunday when life’s struggles seem to be impossible to overcome, we should pray and worship! King David knew this “strategy” and knew it well. King David was under constant distress. There seems to always be other lands trying to conquer him and take his throne, and enslave his people. Life’s pressure of being king and protecting his people must have been very difficult. But David knew WHO truly was in control. David knew just WHO to run to. David knew just WHO would fight for him! David knew that he was a child of God, and that God would fight for him! That is why David prayed, and that is why he worshipped. He knew of God’s faithfulness, love for his people, and God’s mighty power!
“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”-Psalms‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬
Life Application
I am the man I am today because I have a God who fights for me!
Thank You God for fighting for me! Thank you for sending Your only son Jesus to fight on my behalf. Even in life’s struggles I will give You praise because I know You love me, and I know You are faithful. You use those struggles in my life to strengthen my faith and mold me to the man You want me to become. You have never let me down, so why should I stop trusting You?! God, quite simply, You are amazing! Thank You for choosing me. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Moses Gaddi