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 31

Scripture

Ezekiel 31:10-11

10 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because the great cedar towered over the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, 11 I gave it into the hands of the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, 

Observation

Ezekiel’s prophecy, here, is towards the Pharaoh of Egypt.  The intent is to humble the Pharaoh, to remind him of other nations who, like Egypt, experienced great abundance but, ultimately, befell great destruction.  Assyria, assimilated to a Cedar in Lebanon, once a great monarchy, a vast empire – but at the hands of a prideful king fell to ruin.  So, it is a challenge to Pharaoh to check himself…consider his own sin and repent or experience the same fall to ruin.

Understanding

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

The historical fall of Assyria and the prophesied fall of Egypt are both attributable to prideful kings.  Kings that built great and abundant kingdoms; but it’s important to remember that all good things come from God.  Our blessings, our success, our recognition are not our own; they are gifts from God.  And, while God is eager to bless us as His children, He is just as willing and able to ruin our pride (Jeremiah 13:9) – humbling us in whatever means necessary…but even that is out of love, for with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).    

Life Application

Like PG shared yesterday, God wants us to exercise our authority in Him but we must first be under authority; in other words, we must recognize that God is still sovereign and continue to honor him, perhaps even more so in our abundance (because we have even more to give).

Therefore, let us remain humble, give God the credit and honor He so justly deserves – remembering that all good things come from Him. 

God, I know it can be easy to become prideful in our gifts, talents, hard work, possessions; help us to remember that YOU are the source.  Our hard work – you provide the energy and ability.  Our gifts, talents and abilities – you created us with those in mind to serve your kingdom purposes. 

May we give YOU the honor and the glory and remember why we are here at all – to know you and make you known – and to use all we have to that end.  Show me ways to do that today.  More of you, less of me.  In your name, I pray.

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 30

Scripture

Ezekiel 30:19

“’…So I will inflict punishment on Egypt,
    and they will know that I am the Lord.’”

Observation – What does it say?

In this chapter we find twice more God sharing the intentions of his actions. Over and over again throughout this book God makes it clear what he is after: that “they will know that [He is] the Lord.”

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is passionate about being known!

He longs to reveal himself, and is willing to use any means necessary to do so. It’s easy to look back and despise life’s challenges and the years I spent suffering the consequences of my sin. But, if it wasn’t for the hard times where would any of us be in our relationship with God? It was the hardest times that caused me to draw near to God and seek him. And of course, whenever I sought him he revealed himself.

It’s often hard to “consider it pure joy” whenever we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2). But it makes it a bit easier when we realize that every challenge is an opportunity for God to reveal himself to us. Even in discipline, God’s intent is that we come out the other side sharing a deeper intimacy with him.

Life Application

Rather than complaining, develop the habit of asking God, “How are you wanting to reveal yourself to me in this season/situation?

God, thank you that you’re passionate about revealing yourself. We want to know you more! In all that we experience, please help us not to miss what you’re trying to show us. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 29

Scripture

Ezekiel 29:19-20

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off its wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

God is bringing judgment on Egypt in this chapter, and rebuking Pharaoh for viewing himself as a god and rebuking him for his pride, arrogance and selfishness. As a result, God said through Ezekiel in verse 15, “It will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations.”

‭‭Egypt was going to be brought down by Babylon, as Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, got no reward for the campaign they led against the nation of Tyre(vs. 18), but rather did it for the Lord as stated in verse 20. (Note: the nation of Tyre was another nation, just like Egypt, who thought they were gods in their arrogance, pride and selfishness, refusing to submit or give glory to the One and Only God.) Source: Ezekiel 1-33 commentary from the Bible Project.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew‬ ‭23:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There are two extremes pointed out in this chapter. The first is a nation whose pride refused to acknowledge God as the only Sovereign Lord. The second is the nation who did not seek reward from man, but rather did their works for the glory of God alone. The nation who was for God was exalted, while the nation that was against God was defeated. 

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Do we identify more with the prideful nation or the humbled nation that did not seek reward, but rather gave God all the glory?

Dear Jesus, we are all works in progress, but as we progress in You, I pray that we would remain humble and dependent on You alone. Please forgive us and break us of our pride that seeks honor for ourselves and reward from man. May we seek our value and worth in You and give back all honor and glory to You alone. As a result, I pray we will experience a joy and peace beyond understanding. Amen.

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


Ezekiel 28

Scripture

Ezekiel 28: 6-7

“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you think you are as wise as a god, I will now bring against you a foreign army, the terror of the nations. They will draw their swords against your marvelous wisdom and defile your splendor!”

Observation-What does it say?

The prince of Tyre has become very successful. He has attained great riches. He boasts of being wiser than Daniel. He thinks of himself as a god amongst men. His wisdom has brought him great riches, and his riches have made him very proud. Now the time has come for the God of Jacob to humble the prince of Tyre, and bring forth destruction upon his city for his arrogance and pride.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Pride becomes before the fall.

“Pride is the first step toward destruction. Proud thoughts will lead you to defeat.” Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭ERV‬‬

“You were like the morning star, but you have fallen from the sky. In the past, all the nations on earth bowed down before you, but now you have been cut down. You always told yourself, “I will go to the skies above. I will put my throne above God’s stars. I will sit on Zaphon, the holy mountain where the gods meet. I will go up to the altar above the tops of the clouds. I will be like God Most High.” But that did not happen. You were brought down to the deep pit—Sheol, the place of death.” Isaiah‬ ‭14:12-15‬ ‭ERV‬‬

The prince of Tyre was in for a rude awakening! Similar to Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, they both thought they were equal, (if not better), than God. The world was at their feet, and they forgot the One who put it there for them. It was their own pride and arrogance which led to their downfall. Instead of worshipping and serving the One who made it all possible for them, they both desired to be the ones who were worshipped. They had no desire to serve. Instead they wanted to be served. So now they forced God’s judgement to lay upon them.

Life Application

Always remember to give praise to the One who made it all possible!

It’s a humbling feeling knowing that all the things we felt we earned, deserve, and attained, can all be taken away in the “snap of God’s fingers”. It’s such a great reminder for me to remember the true source of all my success. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is Him who makes all things possible. It is Him who I serve and live for. The true humbling feeling is knowing that the God of the universe wants a relationship with me, a lowly sinner. And His love for me is so great He came down from His throne to serve, and not to be served. It gives me more the reason to give God ALL the glory, honor, and praise in life!
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 27

Scripture

Ezekiel 27:27 Your wealth, merchandise and wares,
    your mariners, sailors and shipwrights,
your merchants and all your soldiers,
    and everyone else on board
will sink into the heart of the sea
    on the day of your shipwreck.

Observation – What does it say?

God continues to declare the fate of Tyre through the prophet Ezekiel. This incredibly prosperous city is likened to a beautiful ship – a titanic of sorts – that though appearing strong, affluent, elegant and sturdy, it will quickly be destroyed and remembered no more. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The wicked will not prosper. 

A life filled with sinful pleasures can look appealing when you see others appearing to enjoy it without suffering any immediate consequences. But the truth is, the pleasure is fleeting. In the end, those who indulge in it will be humbled in an instant and those who pursue righteousness will be exalted.

Moses set a great example for us of how we should respond to this truth:

Hebrews 11:25-26 25 [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

Life Application

When you want the wrong thing but you will the right thing, that’s righteousness.

Choose righteousness! There are times sin looks appealing, but if we can have the wisdom to look beyond the present we will see that sin’s pleasure is fleeting and the reward for avoiding it will be great.

God, you know the areas we each struggle with temptation. May we be those who learn to walk in the victory you’ve purchased for us and not give in. Give us not only the desire to do what pleases you but the power to act on it. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 25

Scripture

Ezekiel 25:3-4

Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Sovereign Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you said “Aha!” over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile, therefore I am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. 

Observation – What does it say?

God executed his judgment on his people for their sin and idolatry. Their Ammonite neighbors watched down their noses as the people of Judah were carried off into exile. And, rather than feeling any sense of compassion, they laughed and mocked at Judah’s misfortune. As a result, God was now bringing judgement against Ammon.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Do you ever find yourself lacking compassion?
 
This convicted me this morning particularly in regards to my kids. I’ll often lack compassion. For example, I’ll ask my son not to jump on the couch and he jumps anyway and hits his head. He doesn’t usually get from me a, “Oh bud, I’m so sorry. Are you ok?” More like a, “I told you not to! That’s what you get.” And after a few seconds, “You alright?” I could definitely use a shift from being a bit less like Ammon and a bit more like Jesus.

Don’t make fun of people’s misfortune, even if they deserve it.

Even though Judah deserved it, from God’s perspective it didn’t give the Ammonites the right to mock and rub it in.

In Psalm 1, the godly, successful man is contrasted against the man who “sits in the seat of mockers.”

James 3:9-10 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Jesus spoke of those who will be rewarded and said, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 26:36) Then he clarified, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

In other words, following Jesus is about bringing your sick co-worker a meal rather than saying, “I’ve been telling them to take better care of themselves.” It’s about visiting those in prison rather than saying, “They committed the crime and deserve to be in there.”  And it’s about offering something to the cardboard sign holder on the corner rather than rolling up the window and making a judgmental comment. 

Life Application

God, forgive my lack of compassion! May we be people who are quicker to love than to judge, quicker to help than to laugh! Make us more like you. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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

 



Ezekiel 24

Scripture

“Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.’……At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.””

‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭24:24, 27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

With the help of commentary, I would typically give a breakdown of the meaning behind the cooking pot and the deeper meaning behind why God wouldn’t allow Ezekiel to mourn for his dead wife, however, what stood out to me from the beginning was the phrase in this chapter, …”and they will know that I am the LORD” and “they will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

Understanding-What does it mean?

Why would a good God allow so much suffering on the nation of Israel?

The Lord is doing these things to show Who is in charge and Who is the authority. He is making a point that it is definitely not them….It is NOT the nation of Israel. It is Him, the Sovereign Lord.

Just like when Job was questioning God about His suffering, God turned around and ended up questioning Him saying, ““Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” Job‬ ‭38:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

God ended up asking Job more questions from there. God’s questioning brought humility and silence to Job, as it would any man.

I believe God really loved the nation of Israel, saw greater potential for them than the path they were choosing, and that’s why His discipline over their rebellion seemed harsh. They started seeking their own way and being their own gods, instead of submitting to the One and Only God, the One and Only Authority, creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

Life Application

Is God the final authority of our lives?

The relationship between a parent and a child is a good earthly illustration of the relationship between God the Father and His children. Parents have a role to play to raise their children up in the way they should go. However, for one reason or another, children will refuse to listen to our instructions because they either don’t know better, they’ve chosen to submit to something or someone else or they’ve decided they want full control and to do their own thing. As parents, we discipline them mainly out of love, but also to remind them who’s the authority figure, who’s the parent and who knows better.

God’s sovereignty (meaning He is in total control of everything…past, present and future events), gives Him the right to tell us what to do and be the final authority over our lives. Have we surrendered all to Him or are we still holding on to what we want to do?

Dear Lord, thank You for the times that You’ve had to show me that You are the authority in our relationship and not me. As your Word says in Hebrews 12:11, Discipline seems unpleasant at the time because it is painful, but it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who’ve been trained by it. Thank You for Your great love for me that leads You to discipline and correct me at times. I pray that we wouldn’t run from Your correction, but truly be trained by it, running to You during those times and not away from You. May peace and righteousness abound as a result. In Your Name we pray. Amen
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 23

Scripture

Ezekiel 23: 35

“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

Observation-What does it say?

Ezekiel receives a word from God regarding the lewd and disobedient behavior of Samaria and Jerusalem. God compares the two cities as sisters who are prostitutes. They prostituted themselves to their pagan neighbors, taking on their pagan rituals and turning their back on God. All this to seek security in political alliances with these nations-a sin that deeply repulsed God. And because of their disobedience towards God, there must be consequences for their actions. God is going to allow them to be taken captive by their enemies, and God will delegate judgment to them, allowing their enemies to do with them what they please. When it’s all said and done, and Jerusalem pays for their idolatrous sins, then God says, “they shall know that I am the Lord God.”

Understanding-What does it mean?

There are consequences when we chase worldly things and turn away from God.

Jerusalem is going to have hell to pay for their disobedience against God. What makes it worse is they saw what had happened to their sister city Samaria, when Samaria turned away from God. You think this would be a teaching moment for Jerusalem. But instead they went down the same path as Samaria. They even did it in a manner that was worse than Samaria. They began prostituting themselves to their pagan neighbors, taking on their rituals and beliefs. All in hope that these neighbors would find favor in them, and they can form some sort of political alliance with them and use that to help them be protected from their enemies. But instead they infuriated God. Now God would have to discipline them for their behavior. They will soon come to realize that you don’t break the covenant that God has made with you.

Now before we just point the finger at Israel for their foolishness against God,  I think we should look into our own lives and see how we too can sometimes make the same mistakes they did. Israel’s motive for doing what they did was basically to find protection from their enemies. Instead of trusting in God, they tried to make new friends, and pretty much caved into “peer pressure” by doing so. They lost the identity that they had with God, and instead sold out on their own beliefs, and took on the beliefs of the people they were trying to impress. Have I ever sold out my beliefs in order to fit in with the crowds and gain favor with them? Have I ever turned away from God to seek comfort and aid from someone/something else instead? Let’s learn from Jerusalem in this passage. We just read of the consequences they will be experiencing because of their foolishness. Let’s not go down the same path the way Jerusalem did when they didn’t take heed from Samaria’s downfall. Instead repent, and turn back to God and ask Him for His forgiveness.

Life Application

Living my life for an audience of One. 

Father God please forgive me when I try to please others more than I try to please You. Forgive me when I lose myself in the process of doing so. Help me God to stay the course, and trust in Your ways above anything else. May the life I live for You be able to influence others, instead of me being influenced by them. May You give me strength, wisdom, and guidance in order to accomplish these things for You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 22

Scripture

Ezekiel 22:30

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” 

Observation – What does it say?

Israel had gone off the rails! They were so busy pursuing their sinful desires that they had completely forgotten about God. God was looking for one person to stand in the gap; only one person to act as a watchman who would stand on the wall and intercede for his city.

The failure started with the leadership. The previous verses tell us that the princes and prophets, those the people looked to for direction and spiritual leadership, where taking the lead in indulging in sinful behavior. They misled all who were looking to them. If God would have found one person willing to intercede and pray for mercy he would have extended mercy, but no one rose to the occasion.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God was looking for ONE man! ONE person to stand in the gap and intercede on behalf of the land, but no one showed up. One person with God is always in the majority. If we could grasp the ability we have to bring transformation through our prayers I believe we all would pray more! 

We see entire cities and nations transformed from one godly man or woman. Josiah, Jehoshaphat, David, Esther and more. Their passion to serve God and cry out to him on behalf of their nation caused countless people to benefit, not only in their time, but for generations to come! 

Life Application

Will you be the ONE? Will you be the ONE who gets up on the wall and seeks God on behalf of your city? Family? Church? School? Workplace?

God, when you look at our situations, may you find us rising to the occasion to pray! Fill us with more of your heart for where you have placed us. We ask that you would pour out your Spirit upon our nation, bless our president and all those in leadership, bless our bosses and professors and neighbors. Thank you that you hear our prayers this morning and that things are moving in the spirit realm and you are answering! Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 21

Scripture

Ezekiel 21:15-17

15 So that hearts may melt with fear
    and the fallen be many,
I have stationed the sword for slaughterb]
    at all their gates.
Look! It is forged to strike like lightning,
    it is grasped for slaughter.
16 Slash to the right, you sword,
    then to the left,
    wherever your blade is turned.
17 I too will strike my hands together,
    and my wrath will subside.
I the Lord have spoken.”

Observation

If I can be completely honest…Ezekiel has been the HARDEST book for me to Soul Journal on.  And I’m pretty sure what I took from today’s is perhaps out of context.  My understanding of this chapter, based on the commentaries is that it’s a further development of the prophecy in Chapter 20…that the people complained they could not understand.  [I’m with them!]  That being said, though, God used this to burden my heart towards the lost.

Understanding

God calls us to love Him, to prioritize Him, to KNOW Him and make Him known.  And, though, I don’t follow these prophecies, what burdened my heart is the experience of the rebellious and the lost – death and destruction.  Verses 15-17 speak to a specific wrath to be experienced by a specific group of people…but it is not unlike what will be experienced by those who don’t know and/or choose Christ.  Here it speaks of slaughter by sword; our understanding of hell is separation from Christ, blazing fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Life Application

So…while my context may be off base, I think the response should be the same.  Just as Ezekiel sought to warn the people, our hearts should be to live in a way that draws people to God!

God, I’m so grateful for the hope provided because of the cross!  May we live on purpose, with the desire to know you and make you known!  May I be bold in my obedience.  Open my eyes to ways to share your love today.  In your name I pray, Amen.     

– Rei

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