Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

January 13: Luke 4
January 15: Matthew 10
January 16: Luke 10
January 17: Acts 1:8, Acts 2
January 18: Acts 2
 
January 20: Mark 16
January 21: Acts 10
January 22: Acts 8:9-40
January 23: Romans 1:1-17
January 24: Romans 8
 
January 27: John 4:46-54
January 28: Acts 5:12-16
January 29: Acts 14
January 30: Acts 3
January 31: Ephesians 6:10-18
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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!
 

Ezekiel 11

Scripture

Ezekiel 11:18-20

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

Observation

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

Understanding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life Application

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

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 10

Scripture

Ezekiel 10:18

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

Observation – What does it say?

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

Understanding – What does it mean?

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

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

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

Life Application

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

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

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

 

– Levi Thompson

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



Ezekiel 9

Scripture

Ezekiel‬ ‭9:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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

Observation-What does it say?

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

Understanding-What does it mean?

God spared the faithful and repentant.

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

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

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

Life Application

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

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

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

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


Ezekiel 8

Scripture

Ezekiel 8:12 NLT

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

Observation-What does it say?

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

Understanding-What does it mean?

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

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

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

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

Life Application

When the going gets tough, the tough get praying!

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

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


Ezekiel 7

Scripture

Ezekiel 7:4

Then you will know that I am the Lord

Observation

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

Understanding

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

Life Application

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


Ezekiel 6

Scripture

Ezekiel 6:7

Your people will fall slain among you, and you will know that I am the Lord.

Observation

Another prophecy…this one calling out to the mountains of Israel.

“The mountains of Israel had been holy mountains, but now that they had polluted them with their high places God set his face against them and therefore the prophet must” (Matthew Henry Commentary http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ezekiel/6.html). 

This prophecy serves as a warning towards the Israelites if they continue to serve other idols.

Understanding

God wants to be known; He desires relationship.  The warning ends with the destruction that will befall Israel and the statement “you will know that I am Lord” – a statement that was restated 3 more times in this short chapter.  I believe when God repeats Himself, it indicates the importance.    

Life Application

May we seek to know God and make Him known.

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

– Rei



Ezekiel 4

Scripture

“Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” The LORD said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.”

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭4:12-13, 16-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

I highly recommend taking a look at the video “Overview of Ezekiel” that was posted on August 1st. It gives a great overview through illustration of what this book is about. 

Basically, Ezekiel was exiled from Israel, and he was given visions from the Lord of the destructions that were to come upon Israel because of their hardened hearts and rebellion. In this chapter, the Lord was continuing to give Ezekiel instruction on how to warn Jerusalem what they would suffer. Ezekiel would warn them through signs and actions, as an illustration of the destruction to come. This chapter shows the most extreme illustration. Basically, he was to “play the role of the scapegoat on the day of atonement for over a year and eat food cooked over poop as a sign of the nasty food people would have to eat during the siege of Jerusalem.” (From the video)

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is a loving father. Not only is He loving, but He is also just.

Rebellion against the Lord is something that should not be taken lightly. If you are a Christ follower, He loves us enough to discipline and correct us in our rebellion so that we would turn from it. Discipline from God is not fun! The more He loves us, the harsher it seems so we wouldn’t do it again. There are consequences to rebellion. I’m not trying to be preachy, but speaking from personal experience. 

If you are not a Christ follower yet, all rebellion will eventually get judged. In Higher Learning, we are studying the book of Revelation and God’s judgments poured out on rebellious man is clear. 

Life Application

Repent and turn from sin! 

Just like I shared during my testimony on Sunday, we need Jesus and need to turn from our wicked ways. The Lord loves us too much and sees so much more potential and purpose for our lives to leave us in the dark or leave us where He found us. I pray we would surrender our lives daily to His will instead of our own. Amen.

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


Ezekiel 3

Scripture

Ezekiel 3:18-19 NLT

“If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.”

Observation-What does it say?

God has appointed Ezekiel the watchmen for Israel. God tells Ezekiel that whenever He sends him a message, he is to warn the people immediately. If Ezekiel fails to deliver the message, God will hold him responsible for their deaths. But if Ezekiel obeys God, and delivers His message to the people, (even if the people disregard the message), Ezekiel would have saved his life because he obeyed God. The people on the other hand, will have died in their sins because of their disobedience to God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

God not only gives Ezekiel the responsibility of being a watchmen to warn His people here, but God also gives us this same responsibility today to do the same.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”-Matthew‬ ‭28:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans‬ ‭10:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As Christ Followers, we have been given the life giving message of the gospel, and we are not free to keep it to ourselves. God calls us to share it with ALL people! Now even if some people may not take to the message of the Good News, we still have to do our part and share it with them. We are there to help God plant seeds into people’s lives. Some people may even be called to help nurture and groom them for growth. But ultimately it is Jesus who will be the One who changes people’s hearts. And if we sit back and do nothing, we are guilty of their blood. For we knew the fate that awaits them, and we failed to even warn them. A heavy burden to carry into eternity. 

Life Application

Be bold, brace, and courageous to share the good news to someone who needs it today.

God give me Your heart for the lost. Give me Your eyes and ears to seek them out. Give me the courage, strength, and words to speak the truth into their lives. Help me to not fear the possibility of people’s rejection and anger because of it. Because at the end of the day Lord, I just want to be obedient to You. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.

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


Ezekiel 2

Scripture

Ezekiel 2:7
You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.

Observation

After recovering from his heavenly vision, Ezekiel is commissioned as a prophet of God and encouraged to be courageous and obedient despite the rebellious nature of the Israelites to whom he is being sent. He is then offered a scroll of woe and lament, which he is to eat (Ch.3) in order that he might digest the word of God that he will be called upon to deliver to Israel.

Understanding

The experience of Ezekiel is that which is common to every believer throughout the ages. We have received the Great Commission to proclaim the gospel of Christ to a world that is as rebellious as was Israel at the height of her idolatry and spiritual adultery. And just as Ezekiel needed to be courageous and obedient despite the rejection of his message, so do we need to be faithful to the calling, regardless of whether or not the message is received or rejected. Additionally, we cannot deliver and defend a gospel that we ourselves have not fully digested, internalized and upon which our spirit and intellect has been nurtured and strengthened. We dare not attempt to fulfill God’s calling relying on theory, second-hand revelation and yesterday’s manna; but only as we partake of the scriptures as our daily bread.

Life Application

I am thankful that the onus to see anyone with whom I share the gospel to be saved is not upon me, but is the responsibility and sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. This truth frees me to be courageous and unapologetic as I preach the truth and to focus on equipping myself so as to be qualified to be used by God, partnering with Him to deliver His message of salvation to those whom He has chosen, called and elected.  

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Overview of Ezekiel

To help you get the most out this next book in our Bible Reading, check out this video!