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!
 

Psalm_136

Scripture:

Psalm 136:4-6

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
 

Observation:

Psalm 136 is a special Psalm, with each one of its 26 verses repeated the phrase, His mercy endures forever. Psalm 118 repeated that phrase five times, and through the Hebrew Scriptures the phrase has somewhat of a liturgical sense to it, as if the assembled people of Israel said or sung it in response to the direction of the Levites leading singing and worship. Ezra 3:11 indicates that this phrase was part of a responsive singing among God’s people: And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”

 

The phrase is used several other times in the Old Testament, each time in the context of some kind of public praise or declaration. The phrase, His mercy endures forever was used:

 

https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-136/

 

Understanding:

Two things stand out to me: 1) a reminder of who God is – the one who alone does great wonders, made heaves and created this spinning Earth we’re standing on; and 2) His unchanging nature. Whether the version you read said “His love endures forever” or “His mercy endures forever,” one thing remains…His nature does not change.
 

Life Application:

Just as they did in David’s time, let’s declare God’s enduring, unchanging love and mercy. We don’t have to necessarily sing it in response…but let’s live as if we believe it and be purposeful about sharing that love/mercy with others. Therefore, go… <3

 

It’s a new month, may we be on mission today.
– Rei


1 Corinthians 4

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

 

Observation-What does it say?  As Paul opens his letter to the church in Corinth, he is dealing with the pride that has built up within them.  This pride, though, has taken on a distinct form, as they have divided themselves up into cliques. There were those who claimed to follow after Paul’s teaching or Apollos’ teaching.  The city of Corinth was near Athens and, much like Athenians, they took pride in their supposed intellectual superiority. Their proclivity to these things has shown they are still holding to the world’s way of thinking.  Additionally, it has made them ineffective in sharing the message of Christ, as they are not welcoming to others who do not share their point of view. Paul uses sarcasm in the later half of this chapter to display their behavior and attitude.  They were in need of a lesson in humility.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  We live in a world filled with “haves and have nots.”  What I mean by this, is all around us people are trying to fit into some sort of elite group of something.  Whether that group involves having the nicest of things, or being the best at your pursuit, almost all of us want to have something that someone else has not.  

 

For the longest time, my pursuit of being an elite was in the world of running, I wanted to be a “Boston Qualifier.”  While thousands of people run the Boston Marathon every year, many don’t know that there is a qualification process. The Boston Marathon has long been an event that sought the elite competition in the world.  There are two ways to “qualify” for Boston. The first way to qualify is by being a part of a charity group, essentially securing your spot through fundraising a large sum of money, or buying your way in like a cheater.  The second way, the real way, to qualify is to run a marathon in a certain time for your gender and age bracket and enter your name into the lottery pool. And the faster you run, the more likely you are to be selected.  

 

I wanted so badly to be part of the group that qualified by merit of time.  I would often talk about how “Finishers Medals” were making the sport of running less legitimate, and watering down the quality of competition.  I would go on to talk about how slow people shouldn’t be allowed to buy their way into elite events. Then my wife would look at me with disdain, as she cherished her finishers medals.  Having never been a competitive runner, she holds those as proof that she conquered a monumentally difficult task. Needless to say, she didn’t appreciate my elitist attitude.

 

The incredible thing about our redemption through Jesus’ death on the cross, is no one can earn it.  It can not be bought, worked for, cheated for, or held as a means of elite status. We know from John 3:16 that Christ loved the whole world so much he was willing to die.  In Ephesians, Paul writes this idea in a very concise way.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).  

 

Life Application  God, help me to let go of any pride that would hinder your message.  May I not hold myself in high regard because of any bit of minutia, like denomination, church building, or status within any organization.  Help me to only boast in Christ and the cross. May my life be an extension of your love.  


-Tyler Galloway


Song of Songs 8

Scripture 

Song of Solomon 8:5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness

    leaning on her beloved?

Observation 

Total trust and dependence 

Understanding 

We all have experienced times of being in the wilderness, circling around the same mountain again and again. Some of us have experienced being in the desert, dry and scorched, nothing in sight, and it seems the end is so far off. 

There are many things we can do while being in the wilderness . We can complain, get mad, make our own idols, or even just lie down and die. 

But  I am convinced that He is hoping we will turn to him. 

Maybe sometimes the wilderness is not just a bad place, maybe it was supposed to be a place of transition. A place of “reboot”, a place of “start over” and “clean the slate”. 

Maybe it was supposed to be a place of getting closer to the One who delivered you from slavery, sin. 

Maybe It’s the middle place between freedom and new beginnings. It’s the place where your communication barrier is gone and now there is nothing to keep you from having intimate communion with him. 

Maybe it’s the place where He is calling for you to come up the mountain to meet him face to face. 

Will you call on Him? 

Will you choose to see Him?

How will you come out of the desert? With regret because you didn’t go deeper, with sadness because you could have seen his face and chose to hide?

Will you come out scorned,

mad, 

never acknowledging the manna that was sent down 

or the water that came from the rock?

What will you do?

Life Application 

Choose to Lean

I love the way the scripture asks the question, who is coming up from the wilderness? 

I imagine they looked different coming out than when they went in. Isn’t that the point? For you to be changed! 

When you enter the wilderness, God calls to you, 

you experience him, 

your transformed.

Then when you come out of the wilderness, 

You look different! 

Israel experienced God while they were in the wilderness!

Moses met with Yahweh face to face while he was in the wilderness!

Elijah was in the wilderness when he heard God whisper!

The second part of the scripture takes notice that they are leaning on their beloved. When you lean on someone you trust them, you depend on them, you find comfort in them. 

When you walked in the wilderness with anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, control, pride… You did not lean on God. 

When you are in the wilderness, the harsh or dry times of life, call on Him. Go to his word. Seek Godly counsel from fellow believers in your church family. Choose to walk toward the things of His world and not ours. 

No one can be in the presence of God and not be changed. The more we walk closer to him the more we will change. 

And when you come up from the wilderness, Will you be leaning?
 
Deborah Lee


Psalm 133

Scripture

Psalm 133:1

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.
 

Observation

The person writing this psalm extends the idea that the body of believers are to live together in unity to be effective. Additionally, they extend that unity leads to goodness in the presence of others, rather than stress and anxiety.
 

Understanding

Goodness follows unity.

Recently I’ve discovered something truly wild: relationships take work (SAY WHAAAT?!). How crazy is that? So I find it kind of ironic that this verse mentions the goodness and pleasantness of living in unity, while not saying whether or not that’s easy. I know that’s not the point of the verse to tell us whether it is easy or difficult, but the point is: the work is well worth it. Take it from someone who thought relationships with people were kind of cliche, shallow, and necessary. Another thing to note here to… although we say or identify with a specific ministry or group within that ministry. As Pastor Gary mentioned a few Sundays ago: ministry is simply a chore in being a part of the family.

What does that mean, you may be wondering. Well let’s put it this way: it isn’t just a job to do on a Sunday. Serving goes way beyond that, and I would like to tie that in with today’s verse. Ministry goes ways beyond a single person or the job they execute. When ministry is run effectively being God’s people is so pleasant! Paul calls that the body of Christ an actual body that needs all its body parts. That after you’ve put in the hard work to achieve unity, goodness wherever you go will surely follow.
 

Life Application

I implore you to please look past your area of ministry as just a one and done deal. Jesus did not say that, that is what being a Christ follower is about, he and his disciples demonstrated it. The application of this verse is definitely easier said than actually done: be good to your fellow Christ followers. Put in the work and effort in getting to know them because God placed you in a particular situation for a reason. Most of the time that is to learn and grow from those around you. Let’s stand as one united front!

-Allison Khan


Song of Songs 6

Scripture
 
Song of Songs 6:3
 
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon) is a celebration of love between a husband and wife, most specifically King Solomon with a Shulamite woman. It is a beautiful picture of marriage, where a husband and wife love each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The marriage relationship between King Solomon (aka lover) and his Shulamite wife (beloved) is a direct picture of how Christ loves us, His church, His bride.
 
Life Application
 
I am Christ’s beloved and Christ is mine.
 
Even as a married woman, some parts of the Song of Songs makes me blush because of the written account of the intensity of the love relationship between the lover and his beloved. However, that is the purest form of love there is within the context of marriage.
 
In parallel, Christ’s relationship with us, His bride, is the most intense and relentless love story there is. God loved us to the point of leaving His throne in Heaven to die so that He could have a relationship with us.
 
Just as we are to protect the sanctity (or purity/holiness) of our marriages, we must continue to live in the truth of God’s deep love for us and protect it against the enemy’s attempts to destroy it. Living in the purity of God’s love is what changes people. It’s what changed me.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
References: gotquestions.org and christianity.com (Matthew Henry commentary-Song of Solomon 6)


Romans_16

Scripture:

Romans 16:20

20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Observation:

“God’s given us mighty weapons to live life in victory, to stomp on the devil and walk mightily…”

Understanding:

God is still bigger, stronger, mightier, more powerful than Satan. And, knowing that, He becomes our God of peace and grace – graciously loving us towards better versions of ourselves and providing peace beyond understanding despite whatever circumstances may arise.
 

Life Application:

We just need to live in this knowledge. Despite what may surround you, “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” and He is with us ALWAYS.
“…So put on the full armor and don’t be afraid no more, no, no more. Cause you’ve been chosen by the Mighty One and now it’s time for war.”
 
Rei
PS I’d include a link for the song I referenced…but I’ve not been able to find one. Call me and I’ll sing it to you. 🙂 An awesome anthem to walk through the day repeating.
UPDATED: Check out the link here -> https://soundcloud.com/hanslerch/05-mighty-weapons
 


Romans__15

Scripture  Romans 15:13  Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Observation-What does it say?  Starting in chapter 12, Paul gives advice regarding our behavior as Christians.  Through these chapters, we are encouraged to live a life in contrast to what we are being told by the world: use our gifts to serve others, not ourselves; submit to the government, because their authority comes from God; use your freedom to build up those who are weaker, instead of an opportunity for your pleasure; lay down your “rights” for others, this way you can build unity.  But, none of this is possible without hope.

Our hope, though, cannot be conjured up by our own effort.  It comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit. But, our hope should not be in the things we can see, here and now, we hope for our home in a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13).

Understanding-What does it mean?  I was listening to a podcast a while ago, and the interview was with the author of a book talking about how fleeting motivation is.  At the beginning of the interview, they discussed the excitement that people feel at the beginning of the new year, especially in terms of goals and resolutions of things like weight loss and travel.  But, for many people, the excitement wanes quickly as the burden of life weighs down on you. Motivation, he said, “is a myth.” The remedy to this is discipline. When I was done listening to the podcast, I was really motivated to be disciplined… which lasted about three days.

The problem I find with most self-help authors and programs that I try to implement into my life, is they lack the “why.”  For me, the thought of losing weight, or getting smarter, or saving more money is great, but can quickly be overcome by real world stuff.  Saving money is great, until you need to replace your transmission. Losing weight is great, until you work the night shift and the only thing open to eat at two A.M. is Jack-in-the-Box.  The “why” in these cases have no substance and no support.

In our Christian life though, the why is greater than anything on earth.  Our life becomes not just a temporary thing, but one without end. Our actions have implications into the eternity which we cannot see right now.  Therefore, our life can be viewed in terms of service and worship to the creator of the universe (Colossians 3:23-24). Not only that, but we can use our actions as a billboard for Christ’s love for others (Philippians 2:3-4).  Additionally, we don’t have to rely on our own strength, but that of the Holy Spirit, who was sent by Jesus (John 14:6).

Life Application  Jesus, thank you for the family of believers around me that point me to you.  Help me to also be an advocate for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Help me to fight the good fight, and help me to join others in their fight.  For our fight is not against flesh, but it is in the spirit. I want to always look to you, the author and perfecter of my faith.  
 
-Tyler Galloway




Romans 14

 

Scripture

Romans 14

1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. (NIV, personal underlines added)

 

Observation

It appears that Paul is attempting to pacify some of the infighting and arguing that was going on in the early Roman church. According to verses 5 and 6 of the same chapter it sounds as if the members of that particular body were arguing over matters such as the sabbath day, “Christian diets”, and abstinence. All things that may pertain to the life of a believer..

 

Understanding

Have you ever asked God to highlight a portion of scripture for you and He highlights the one verse that you did not want to see? Deep down there is a part of me that knows that there are multiple areas I need to see growth in. Romans 14:3 is one of them. The sad part is, I am not even one of great faith “who eats everything”. Ha! This passage is intended to instruct Christians on how to deal with one another in areas of their faith based living. But I feel led to apply this principle to areas of my life which do not necessarily require faith.

 

For, I am still guilty of treating others with anger. Inside my heart.

To justify my annoyance.

To give depth to my anger.

Because my way is clearly the more mature way!

 

Paul urges us in verse 13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (NIV)

Life Application 

I certainly don’t want to operate from a perspective of anger and contempt. I wonder how different the global church would be if we took some of the edge off of our tones and our hearts when we disagreed with one another. Whether the issue was theological or faith based.

Lord help me to deal with my brothers and sisters in Christ as one who does not want them to stumble. May my words and my actions towards members of the body have zero judgement, less anger, and embody love.

May I carry that way of thought into how I interact with non-believers.

May I operate that way even in the most mundane of ways as I live and walk daily to further your message of love on this earth and beyond. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee

 
 
 
 
 
 


Romans__13

Scripture

Romans 13:13-14

 

“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is urging the Romans to live Godly lives, to be in Christ. He is urging them to not fall into the temptations of this world. Instead, he urges them to be clothed in the presence of Jesus Christ. He is reminding them of their responsibility as Christ Followers to be lights in this dark world for all to see.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
In Christ we are a new creation.
 
These past couple of weeks we have been discussing in church our identities in Christ. We discussed that to be in Christ is a status, that we are in relationship with Him. We discussed that we are a new creation. We discussed that we are no longer slaves to sin. Finally we discussed that we are made for His good works.
 
In Christ, our old sinful ways are gone, He has made us new. We have instant access to God, His blessings, and the fruits of the spirit. That is… if we stay connected to Him.
 
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” –John‬ ‭15:5-8‬
 
And what are these fruits we should be producing?
 
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”-Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭‬‬
 
Life Application
 
What kind of fruit am I producing?
 
Does my life produce fruit that is ripe, sweet, and fills other people’s lives around me with a fragrance and taste that makes them them want more? Or does it give off a foul aroma, a bitter taste in people’s mouths, and a fruit that deserves to be thrown off to the side to rot? 🤔
 
Father God, I pray that I stay connected to You. I pray that my life produces fruit that is beneficial for others. May my life point others towards You. May the words that come out of my mouth be glorifying to You. Show me areas in my life where I need to improve on and help me to change them. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans___12

Scripture
 
Romans 12:4-5
 
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
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Observation-What does it say?
 

Paul is writing to the Roman church, to encourage them to continue to live a life serving Christ. But to do it by working together, in unity, humbly, and reminding them that God has blessed them each, with special gifts to accomplish this.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 
Our main mission as Christ Followers, (the body of Christ/His church), is to make disciples everywhere.
 

The most efficient way to do this is by working together with a group of fellow believers. Continue reading in Romans 12 and you will see that God has blessed each of us with certain gifts. Some with a gift to prophesy, some with a gift to serve others, some with the gift to encourage others, some with the gift to teach, some with the gift to give, and others He gives the gift to lead and show kindness to others. The bottom line here is that we are all working towards the same goal. We are all part of Christ’s body. We all need each other, and each other’s gifts and talents to accomplish Christ’s mission. So let’s all do our part to help accomplish this mission. Let’s not be lazy, but let’s serve together enthusiastically- (verse 11)! 

Life Application

 
I will continue to do my part and use the gifts God has blessed me with to serve His Kingdom.
 
I will do so humbly, and to the best of my abilities. I will continue to work together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish this mission God has entrusted us with.

Thank you God for partnering and entrusting me with this mission of yours. Thank you for blessing me with the strength, gifts, and abilities to do this. I know I can lean on you and your people if it ever gets too overwhelming. Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. It’s because of this and the promise in your Word, that I know I can do this (through you)! Amen. 

 
-Moses Gaddi