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

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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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!
 

Matthew 17

Scripture

Matthew 17:17-20

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.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” [21] [a

Observation

Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the mountain top and they have a literal mountaintop God experience – Jesus is transfigured before their eyes and Moses and Elijah show up and are talking to Jesus too.  Jesus clears up some misunderstandings about Elijah and John the Baptist and asks the chosen disciples to keep the experience quiet until AFTER he dies and is raised from the dead. 

As they return to the crowd, a man comes to Jesus on behalf of his demon-possessed son – asking for healing.  It is noted that the boy was brought to the disciples and they could not heal him. Jesus calls out the lack of faith in the disciples.

Understanding

This – lack of faith – continues to be an area of conviction for me. 

There’s the knowledge side of me that believes it’s possible but I often feel my prayers lack the conviction.  I remember in recent weeks Pastor Levi giving an example of a big bold request, with a sheepish “if it be your will.”  I laughed because it’s so often EXACTLY how I pray. 

Life Application

God, I don’t want to be part of the “unbelieving and perverse generation.”  Please help build my faith.  Help the head knowledge become heart knowledge.  May I believe with power and conviction in just how powerful and mighty you are.  You are forever responsive and trustworthy…may I continue to lean more and more onto you, developing my faith to a level of deep, unshakeable roots.  And may I pass this on to my children as well. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

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

– Rei



Matthew 16

 

Scripture

Matthew 16:9

Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

Observation – What does it say?

On their boat ride to the other side of the lake, Jesus warns his disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. When they hear the word “yeast,” they completely miss the point and think Jesus is pointing out the fact that they forgot to bring bread.

Seemingly frustrated, Jesus turns to them and exclaims, “Do you still not understand?” I don’t believe Jesus was frustrated that they missed the point, but because they thought he was really concerned with having enough bread.

Understanding – What does it mean?

With Jesus, there will always be enough.

Jesus pointed to the times he multiplied the little resources available to feed the 5,000 and 4,000 and that there was plenty left over each time. He wasn’t merely doing a miracle, but trying to teach his disciples something through it. Jesus is trying to get the point across that his provision weren’t merely one time events, but a revelation of his nature as provider. 

I’m sure all of us have experienced a financial problem – it didn’t appear we had enough to meet the need or pay the bill. So naturally, we freaked out. But, God came through and provided just in time. I’m also sure that all of us experienced another financial problem after that, and unfortunately we got just as freaked out as the first time! We fell into the same faithless trap as the disciples did.
 
Every time we worry, I believe Jesus would respond to us the same: “Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember all those times I’ve taken care of you in the past?”

Life Application

Trust God.

God, thank you that you’ve never given us reason to doubt you. Rather, you’ve always come through. Despite the many times I’ve been worried about finances, I’m still here today, with a roof over my head, bills paid and food in the kitchen. You’re so good, so faithful. We choose to put our trust in you! Amen.

– Levi Thompson

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



Matthew 15

 

Scripture

Matthew‬ ‭15:32-33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?””

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just retreated again to take a break and sat down on a mountainside along the Sea of Galilee. However, a large crowd that needed healing came to Him and Jesus healed them. As a result they praised God. However, they were with Him for 3 days and had nothing to eat. This concerned Jesus, because he was worried that they would collapse on their journey home if they weren’t fed.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus cared not only for their present journey, but their future one as well.

These people had fasted for 3 days while they were with Jesus and probably traveled a long distance just to see Him. He did not just heal their present physical and spiritual needs, give a blessing and send them away. He took the time to think about their journey back home and wanted to take care of that too.

Life Application

Jesus is concerned with not only our present, but our future as well. But, there’s a part that we must play in that too.

With all the graduations and promotions this year, Jeremiah 29:11 is a popular verse to quote. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

However, the following verses after that one are just as important. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:12-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In context, it was written to the nation of Israel, who God brought back from exile and restored for a time. 

Just as the crowds sought Jesus out for healing, (He didn’t seek them out), we are also to call on Him, pray to Him, seek Him out with all our hearts, for when we do, we will find Him. We will be protected, cared for, nourished by Him and we will find our purpose not just for the present, but the future as well.  (Jeremiah 29:12-13). 

Dear Jesus, just as You healed and restored the physical and spiritual needs of that crowd who sought You out, followed You and fasted for 3 days along the Sea of Galilee, I pray that Your Spirit would give us as a church the desire to also fast, seek You out and follow You so that our present and future needs would be protected and cared for by You. Thank You that all Your thoughts and present and future plans for us are good.  May You reveal more of Yourself to us as we stay in pure and constant relationship with You. Amen.

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


Matthew 14

 

Scripture

Matthew 14:22-23

“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just finished performing yet another miracle. Not only did Jesus heal all the sick from the crowds of people who were following him from town to town, but Jesus decided to feed the 5,000 men (not including the women and children) that day with only using five loaves of bread and two fish! And all the people ate as much as they wanted that day, and to top it off, they even had 12 baskets of leftovers to spare! Immediately following this miracle, Jesus sent the crowds of people home and sent his disciples back on the boat to cross to the other side of the lake. After everyone was gone, Jesus went up to the hills by himself to pray.

Understanding-What does it mean?

As busy as Jesus was with helping others, teaching, discipling, and performing miracles, He still found time to recharge and rest through His alone time with God.

Throughout Scripture you will find that Jesus often set aside times to be alone and pray to God. Whether it was spending 40 days in the desert or His time in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew the importance of connecting to His Heavenly Father for strength, comfort, and wisdom. 

We all complain about our busy schedules and the lack of time we have to accomplish our daily tasks. And the first thing we seem to sacrifice in our life is our time with God (prayer time, Bible study, and journaling). Why is that? I know I can be guilty of this. But reading this passage reminds me just how busy Jesus was in life. He had his own ministry to do, He had his disciples to groom, and on top of all that, He had people fighting for His time on all sides of Him so that they could be healed! How did he keep it all together?! I believe it’s because of the emphasis He put in his life with spending time with God. He was purposeful about it. He would sneak away from the crowds and His disciples to get that one on one time He desperately needed to recharge with His Almighty Father. It was in these times Jesus found guidance, strength, and focus on what He needed to do. And He always walked away from those prayer times re-energized to keep moving on to fulfill God’s will. So how did the prayer time in this passage end up for Jesus?..He rescued His disciples who were on the boat experiencing rough waters, as Jesus came to them…walking on water!!!

Life Application

If I am to call myself a follower of Christ, shouldn’t I follow the things that He does? Shouldn’t I make my prayer time with God a priority?

We find time in life to do the things that are important to us. Whether it is me sacrificing sleep so I can wake up early to go to the gym, or me not sitting on the couch watching television so I can spend time with my kids. We do these things because we prioritize the things in our life that are important to us. So where does God fit in? Where does His people fit in? If God truly is the head of our household and number one in our lives, our lives should reflect it. 

We are approaching the month of July. A month at DSC where we find rest, relaxation, and a little break in the busyness of church activities. Let’s take advantage of it! Let’s use this time to reconnect with our own family, reconnect with the church family, and more importantly reconnect with God. Let’s be purposeful with this time the way Jesus was purposeful with His time with God. Let’s re-energize, re-focus, seek God’s strength and wisdom through it. Let’s see what miracle He has in store for us at DSC because of it!

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


Matthew 13

 

Scripture

Matthew 13:3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed…

Observation

In this portion of Matthew’s gospel, he records Jesus’ parable of the sower; the parable of the weeds; the parables of the mustard seed and the yeast; the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl; and the parable of the net. In addition to Jesus explaining why he spoke in parables, he also explains why a prophet in his own town is not honored. Matthew observes that, because of the lack of faith from those closest to him, Jesus was unable to perform any miracles in His hometown.

Understanding

The first parable in this chapter is called the Parable of the Sower and goes on to tell the story of how a farmer’s harvest was dependent upon the condition of the soil upon which his seed was scattered. I have always felt that this parable should be called the Parable of the Soils; as it is not the quality of the seed that determines the harvest, but the receptivity of the soil that makes the difference. In explaining the parable, Jesus likens the seed to the word of God – and that is the one constant in the parable. All that is necessary to bring in an abundant harvest is resonant within the seed. The only variable of the story is the quality of the soil and whether or not it is prepared to exploit all that the seed has to offer.

Life Application

I recognize that at any given time in my life, the soil of my heart can be in the same condition of any of the soils described in the parable. My heart can be hardened against the convicting truth of the word, allowing it’s transforming power to be snatched away; I can approach God’s word in a superficial and obligatory manner that keeps it from finding lodgement deep in my heart; and I can let the cares, concerns and temptations of this world choke out the presence and power of God in my life. Lord, help me to continually husband the soil of my heart so as to make it a place where the seed of your word bears fruit in and through my life. By keeping my heart tender to your counsel, humble to your correction, trusting in your promises, and obedient to your commands, may it always be a fertile field that brings forth an abundant harvest for the kingdom.   
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Matthew 12

 

Scripture

Matthew 12:12

12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!  Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.

Observation

The disciples were hungry and broke off some of the grain as they walked through the grain fields.  The Pharisees, seeing this, were quick to jump to judgment and criticize the disciples for “being unlawful.”  Jesus backs up his disciples, then is challenged again – this time on the matter of healing on the Sabbath.  The challenge comes from the thought that healing is “work” and, therefore, healing someone on the Sabbath is not in compliance with the commandment to rest and keep the Sabbath holy.

Understanding

The Pharisees required course correction.  Earlier in Matthew – Chapter 5 – Jesus had discovered and rectified the issue of the Pharisees being to “loose” with the commandments.  And, now, here they were being to legalistic – in particular in reference to commandment number for regarding keeping the Sabbath holy. But Jesus counters that works of necessity and mercy are still to be done.

A couple things come to mind…

  1. We need accountability.

The Pharisees were out of control – leaning towards the extremes in how they chose to follow the commandments.  Too loose or too strict, depending on what was to their benefit or to the end that resulted in their desired outcome.  But neither extreme was to the benefit of God’s desired end result – relationship with their creator and the spreading of the gospel.  So, they needed course correction.

Like the Pharisees, we require course correction. Bummer for us, Jesus no longer physically walks this earth.  BUT bonus for us, he’s placed us in our church family which is right here in Santa Clarita (not thousands miles away where Jesus did walk), where we can experience fellowship, accountability and some soul loving.  However, we need to be obedient to engage, create those relationships, be transparent, etc.

  1. Where legalism exists, love dies and Satan/evil thrives.

 Is there even one person who has read this that would side with Pharisees?  Most human beings – probably even the not so nice ones – would read this and agree that Jesus did the “right” thing, the noble thing, the holy thing, the loving thing by providing healing…even though it was the Sabbath. 

Levi talked yesterday about the body of the church and how Satan attacks the church by turning the various parts against themselves (the people of the church against themselves).  This can happen as churches argue about their differences, instead of focusing on the areas they agree…or as church members allow their differences to keep them from working together towards the greater good.  When we become legalistic and stuck in our ways of believing “this is how it should be,” we lose the opportunity to see how it could be.

Life Application

There’s a saying, “check yourself before you wreck yourself.”  I believe it originated in the hip-hop world and I’m sure it’s tied to lyrics in a song marked “explicit.”  [So I’m not suggesting you google it.]  However, source aside, there is wisdom to the advice (if you will) that could be applied here.  
 
It is important as we seek to become more like God and to better know the [biblical] truth, that we check ourselves.  How am I doing on keeping the commandments?  Am I bending them to my will?  Or am I bending my will to be in alignment with God’s standard?  Am I being too legalistic and, thereby, potentially pushing people away?  Or maybe losing the “love connection” with God as I seek to strictly adhere to the rules?  Am I staying accountable? 

They say what gets measured, improves.  So, I challenge you (and I say this as much to you as I do to myself) to ask yourself these questions…then go to work at measuring and noting your progress.

God, I thank you that you do not call me to rules, but to relationship.  I thank you that you love me enough to have given me healthy boundaries and guidelines to live withing…AND an incredibly Christ-following family to help keep me accountable.  Lord, I pray that I would honor you in the way that I follow your commandments and that I would do so in a way that brings others closer to you as well.  In your name I pray, Amen.

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

– Rei

As  side note.  The first couple times I read through this, the verse(s) that stuck out most were v. 13 & 14. 

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

It reminded me that sometimes people just have their own agendas and, even as we do good, they may not.  May we remember that we serve a God with the power to “hold [our] head up.”  The world may not always accept us, but that should never be our end game. 



Matthew 11

 

Scripture

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus began speaking to the crowd that was around him. After addressing them about John the Baptist and the importance of repenting if you’ve witnessed God’s miracles, he speaks to those who are weary.
 
Do you find yourself tired as you read this? Do you find yourself weighed down? Jesus extends an open invitation to you. The invitation is to “all,” meaning no one is excluded from this encouragement to come. And he promises to give you rest.

Understanding – What does it mean?

If we aren’t experiencing rest and relief from our burdens, it’s our own fault.

Jesus has extended the invitation and promise; the ball is in our court. Unfortunately, too often we find ourselves weary and burdened but rather than responding to the invitation to come to Jesus, we seek alternative solutions (anything we turn to first, instead of Jesus, is an idol) – from alcohol and prescription drugs that numb, to other people we’ve developed a dependency on, to binge watching on Netflix, to long naps in the middle of the day.

Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

Someone once paraphrased this saying, “Don’t get drunk to forget your problems, get filled with the Spirit to conqueror your problems!” It may not be getting drunk, but fill in the blank with what you tend to turn to in effort to forget your problems. Why not come to Jesus and find true rest and true peace?

Life Application

Choose to come to Jesus.

As I write this, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s been a long week, lots of stuff going on that has been draining. And, as I look ahead there are some things happening over the several days that are weighing on my shoulders…. So this verse is really hitting home today.

God, thank you so much for this amazing invitation and promise! We take our eyes off of all that is going on around us and put them on you. We lay ourselves at your feet and ask for you to fill us with your Spirit to overflowing. You alone give us peace and rest. You alone give us strength for today. Forgive us for turning to other things. We repent and choose you today! Thank you for the peace and strength I feel even as I type this! Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Matthew 10

 

Scripture

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:39‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus sends out His 12 disciples in the same authority that He has to heal and cast out impure spirits. The above verse is part of the instructions given to His disciples before He sends them out. He was encouraging them, and making them aware of the opposition they would face as His disciples. At the same time, He was encouraging them to take up their cross daily for when they lose their life for His sake and His mission, that is when they will find it. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The gains of being a Christ follower are greater than the losses.

This verse can be taken 2 ways-it relates to the present and to the future. It relates to the present in the sense that our lives as Christ followers are not for our own selfish gain or to pursue our own sinful desires. It is the opposite. While others in the world are seeking to “find themselves”, we seek to “lose ourselves” as a servant of Jesus Christ. That’s when our true purpose is realized.

This verse also relates to the future- eternity. When we die, we are not lost in a hellish existence. Instead, we find our life, for our true dwelling place to come in eternity with Christ is where our hope lies.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew‬ ‭10:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Do our lives seek to serve Jesus and others? Or are we living for ourselves?

The interesting thing about wanting to serve ourselves is that it never satisfies. We will always want more money, a better title/job, a bigger house, a better spouse, a better body, more praise, a better life, etc., and it’s a downward spiral that is a result of discontentment because of a thirst that can’t be quenched. Then comes the high counseling bills, or sometimes destructive means of masking that pain through drug/alcohol use, inappropriate relationships, workaholism, etc.

Our spirit man longs to serve and love Someone greater than ourselves and the end of the search will always be Jesus. Just like Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:14, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst..”, the best way for us to find “your best life now”, is to lose it for the sake of Christ.

Dear Jesus, Your Word says that You’ve given us authority in this world. However, it also says we will face many sorrows in this life as we take up our Cross daily for You, face opposition, as well as give up what we want to serve You and others. Please remind us to find refuge in You and be content in You alone. Please help us to live a life of authority in godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6). Please remind me of my purpose when I fall into the trap of being envious of the world’s gains and question the sacrifice of a Christ follower. May Your Holy Spirit remind me of Proverbs 23:17-18, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Matthew 9

 

Scripture

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭9:36-38‬ ‭NLT

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.“So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Observation-What does it say?

As news grew of all the healing and miracles that Jesus was performing, so were the crowds. Jesus was casting out demons from people, healing the blind, healing the paralyzed, and raising the dead to name a few things.  Jesus was able to meet and help people from all walks of life. Yet Jesus never lost focus on his main ministry while here on earth…recruiting people to God’s Kingdom and sharing the good news with them. But as the crowds continued to grow, Jesus heart was filled with compassion for them. He saw a crowd of people who were lost and in need of knowing the truth. But between himself and his disciples there were too few of them. They needed more help! They needed to ask God’s help to provide more workers to help them as they continued their works in ministry.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Being a follower of Christ is not a “spectator’s sport”. It is something that is going to take a total team effort, and involves all to do their part and “get in the game”!

I would like to think that all the people in this passage whose lives were touched by Jesus were all able to turn their lives around, repent from old sinful habits, and share with everyone they came into contact with about what Jesus had done for them. I hope that the crowds of people that were coming by the numbers to see him weren’t just there for a “free handout”, or they were just there to witness a miracle. I would like to think these crowds of people all became believers and followers of Jesus that day. That they learned about His teachings and were able to share it with others as well. Now that would be multiplying Christ Followers everywhere!

In the same aspect I would like to think that we as Christ Followers aren’t just here “for the ride”. We’re not just in it to receive His blessings/”free handouts” from Him. I would like to think that we as Christ Followers know that we were bought at a price. That we understand that we are called to partner with our Almighty Father in Heaven to help further His Kingdom here on earth. Yes our God can do ALL things and He is Almighty and powerful. But he desires for us to partner with Him, to be His hands and feet here on earth, to do ministry together, fellowship together, build His Kingdom…together. 

The same way Jesus looked into the crowds and had compassion for all the lost souls He saw, is the same way we need to look within our own communities and workplaces and have that same compassion towards them. There is lots to do out there, and so few of us that are willing to step in and help. Like Jesus said in verse 37, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.“  We too should do as Jesus instructed his disciples in this passage and ask God to help provide us more workers to aid us in the field of ministry. Ask God to provide us people who are willing to “get in the game” and make a difference!

Life Application

Be an influence out in the world to lead others to Christ, and lead those who already know Him, (but may not truly follow Him), to “get in the game” and partner together and serve in ministry together!

DSC is the perfect place to start serving in ministry if you’re not already. They offer outreaches within our community (Rio Vista Elementary and the blue condos across the train tracks), outreaches to the homeless, and plenty of other ministries within our church that will help our church run that much smoother. So, as you can see there are plenty of opportunities to serve and get out in the fields of ministry. And the more hands we can get in there helping each other, the lighter the load it is for our brothers and sisters. So isn’t it time we get in the game and help our team?!

“God has shown you his grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift he has given you in a way that will best serve each other.” 1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ERV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Matthew 8

 

Scripture

Matthew 8:32-34
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.  Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.  Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.

Observation

In this chapter, Jesus proves that He is God by demonstrating divine power over the physical realm as He heals many; over the natural realm as He calms a storm and over the spiritual realm as He drives out demons. Within these miraculous occurrences, the faith of a Roman centurion is exalted; a teacher of the law is challenged with the cost of following Jesus; and the priorities of the Gadarene pig herders is exposed.

Understanding

Apparently, the price of a herd of pigs is more valuable than a pair of men being freed from a lifetime of demonic oppression; as evidenced by the fact that, at the point where the Kingdom of God invaded the empire and commerce of man, the latter was exalted above the former and the Deliverer of divine presence and power was asked to leave, lest anyone else suffer loss of the thing that they cherished most – mammon. Jesus truly said,

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  (Matthew 6:24)

This is a struggle for preeminence in the hearts of mankind that has, and will, continue from the dawn of mankind until Jesus returns. Even now, believers struggle with the cost of following Jesus and often reject the lordship of Jesus Christ in areas where we covet the dividends of disobedience. Jesus is well invited to our Sunday experience, but often asked to kindly leave our place of employment or recreation. At the point where honesty and integrity result in loss of benefit or promotion, many ask Jesus to please leave that arena and take that pesky ninth commandment with Him, if you please. Some cherish pornography over purity; while others value selfishness over sacrifice; sitting over serving and gain above giving. And, lest I self-righteously judge others, I admit that in these and other areas of my life, I struggle and choose unwisely. Far too often, my will and ego replace Jesus on the throne of my life and I banish Him to exile instead bowing and surrendering both of these as a grateful servant before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When Jesus included taking up our cross daily as a requirement to be His disciple, His audience immediately knew to what He was referring. To the Jew under Roman occupation, the cross meant one thing – death. Jesus used the vivid and cruel symbol of the cross to reveal that following Jesus meant death to self – death to cherished sins; death to compromise and rationalization; death to this world; and death to anything that is valued over the worship of obedience that exalts and glorifies God.
Life Application
 
Holy Spirit, I invite you to shine the spotlight in any area of my life to expose the herds of pigs, those unclean things, that I value over seeing the power of God manifested in healing and deliverance. Lord Jesus, I invite your presence and authority into every area of my life, no matter what the cost; and as one who, like Peter’s mother-in law, has received your healing touch, may my response be to rise up and serve you.
 To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker