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!
 

Proverbs 27

 

Scripture

Proverbs 27:19

19 As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.a]

Observation & Understanding

Proverbs continues to deliver wisdom verse by verse. 

Chances are you’ve heard Ralph Waldo Emerson quote – “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.” How we live day to day is a direct reflection of our hearts – how we speak, how we show up to business meetings or school classrooms, how we parent our children or treat our parents, how we engage with random strangers, etc.  It all is a reflection of our heart.  And, as Christ followers, I believe our hearts should reflect that of our creator.

As parents there’s almost always something from our own raising up that we are trying to guard against or “fix” as we raise up our children.  For me, I grew up in a home where we went to church every Sunday but I don’t remember a daily living out of God being real in our lives.  That’s not to say that it wasn’t there but it wasn’t the main trend.  Does that make sense?  I can remember specific times where I “fell back” on God and the Bible and Christian truths but I don’t remember it being my foundation.  And that created a lot of frustration and instability in my teenage and young adult years.  I didn’t know who I was so I was easily swayed among the many outside forces. 

One thing I pray over my kids regularly is that they come to know and trust God and that they find their value in being a child of God – not the funny kid in class, or Rei’s kid or so-and-so’s friend.  Sure, they can be all those things too; but, first and foremost, my heart’s desire is that they develop deep, unshakeable roots in who they are as children of God because, ultimately, that’s mankind’s biggest heart issue – is our God-sized hole that we try to fill up with all kinds of junk, which of course affects how we live.

Life Application

God, may my heart be a reflection of yours…and my life be a reflection of that.  I’m forever grateful for the cost you paid on the cross so that, we as your children, could enjoy eternity with you.  May I remember the cost, remember the consequences for those who don’t yet know you and live in such a way that draws them to you. 

In your name I pray. Amen.

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

– Rei



Proverbs 26

 

Scripture

Proverbs 26:12
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Observation – What does it say?

The first 11 verses of this chapter illustrate the Bible’s negative view, and ultimately God’s negative view (as the Bible’s author), of fools. In many of the proverbs, the fool is portrayed as the person on the opposite end of the spectrum from the wise and righteous. For the past 25 chapters, we’ve seen that there is no benefit to being a fool. The person who is most despised and hopeless appears to be the fool. Then comes a major insight in this verse:

There is someone more hopeless than the fool. It’s the person who is wise in their own eyes.

Understanding – What does it mean?

As I read the first 11 verses of this chapter, I found myself thinking, “Dang, good thing I’m not a fool!” Then, as if wise Solomon knew this would be the thought of some, he delivers a tremendous blow to them (and me!) in verse 12. “If you think you’re wise in your own eyes, you’re worse off than the fool.”

Ouch! I fell into the trap.

These are the same people Jesus had the hardest time with. The religious leaders and teachers of the law thought they had it all together and complained about Jesus, “Why are you and your disciples always hanging out with sinners?!” Jesus replied, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus avoided those who thought they were healthy, thought they were righteous and thought they were wise. And he pursued those who realized they were sick, realized they were sinful and realized they needed wisdom.

Psalm 138:6 Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Life Application

Repent of pride!

God, forgive me for my pride! Humble me and remove any offensive way in me. I can’t bear the thought of you keeping your distance from me! You are my only hope for this life and for eternity. I desire you above all things and long for more of your presence in my life. Destroy my pride and make me more aware of my desperation for you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Proverbs 25

 

Scripture

“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Proverbs 25:20 

Observation-What does it say?

As verse 1 states, “These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:” Proverbs 25:1 

Commentary says that the men, hired by King Hezekiah, copied these Proverbs from various books that Solomon wrote, in order to preserve them (Geneva Study Bible and John Gill’s exposition). So, it’s still God given wisdom and inspiration given to King Solomon from God. The above verse I chose speaks on the issue of showing empathy and compassion for those who are hurting. We don’t sing songs to a heavy heart.  Rather, we comfort a heavy heart.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 NIV

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…a time to be silent and a time to speak…”Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV

One of the many things that I love about Jesus is that even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, He still wept with Mary and Martha when their brother had died. He was showing empathy and compassion for their sorrow at that moment. He wept because He met them where they were at…no trying to encourage them that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, or giving them advice to deal with it, nor did He tell them to stop their emotional response. He didn’t even say that Lazarus was going to be in a better place, so they should turn their weeping into joy. Instead, he wept with them. Scripture said He was deeply moved and troubled when he saw Mary and the other Jews weeping. (John 11:33-36) 

Life Application
 
Run to Jesus FIRST with your problems  in order to learn how to show empathy for others.
 
2 Corinthians 1:3-4- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.

We need to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and take people where they’re at and not where we’re at. If God knows every tear that has fallen in our lifetime (Ps. 56:8), we must share that same level of empathy and comfort with others to show that we care. We must pray for the broken and hurting, not neglect them. 

Dear Jesus, there are seasons where we do need  compassion and empathy from others.  But I pray that we would be people who strive to be the givers of that compassion and empathy as we run to You first for empathy, compassion, healing, wisdom and direction.  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Proverbs 24

 

Scripture

Proverbs 24:10

“If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon questions those who crack under pressure. The ones who shrivel up once there is any small sign of adversity. He questions their strength of character, a fruit that comes from possessing wisdom…wisdom which comes from God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

So we decided to follow Christ, and thought our life would be “clear sailing” or “all peachy”. Boy oh boy!.. we couldn’t be more wrong! Even Jesus faced trials and adversity during His time on earth. What makes us think we can be exempt from it? 

The first step is to understand that WE WILL face hardships and struggles in life. We are not exempt from it just because we follow Christ. If anything, the more we will be under persecution because of our faith. 

“And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:22a‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The next step is to trust that God has a reason behind everything. There is a reason that we may be facing hardships or adversity in life. Know that God is using it to build your character and make you stronger. I go back to the old weightlifting analogy here. How do our muscles get stronger? It’s when they are put under stress and resistance, and we learn to push through and overcome the temporary pain, where we come back stronger the next time around. It’s the same thing when God puts us under those stressful situations in life. He may be using it to build us up spiritually. We just have to remember that when things seem to be getting a bit tough and a bit “too heavy” for us, we need to rely on His strength, and not our own to get us through.

“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Finally, learn to embrace those tough situations. If God is using them to build us up and make us stronger, we should welcome it. This way we can help others who may not be as strong, to get strong. Our strength will point to the Lord, and Lord willing encourage those around us to find that strength in Him as well. And also remember that we have the God of the universe watching our backs. We can do all things through Him who gives us strength!-Philippians 4:13.

Life Application

What kind of man am I going to be? What kind of people will I surround myself with?

Father God, help me to be the man You called me to be. Give me strength to stand up to the challenges in life. Allow me to become spiritually stronger each day through You. May You use me to help strengthen others. May You  surround me with people who will help support me when I feel tired and weak. May I always remember that You are with me every step of the way, and that all things are possible with You beside me. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.

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


Proverbs 23

 

Scripture

Proverbs 23:15-16; 22-25

  My son, and my daughter, because your hearts are wise, my heart is glad indeed;
my inmost being rejoices because your lips speak what is right.
  You listen to your father and mother, who gave you life, and you will not despise your mother and father when they are old.
  You buy the truth and do not sell it— wisdom, instruction and insight as well. You are righteous children, so your mother and father have great joy; We have raised a wise son and daughter, and we rejoice in both of you.
  Your father and mother rejoice; she who gave you birth is joyful!

Observation

In this selection of proverbs attributed to “The Wise”, the reader is cautioned to not covet the riches and delicacies of this world nor the “success” of sinners. We are cautioned to be wise when dealing with fools and scoffers; to act with integrity; to seek wisdom and knowledge; to avoid drunkenness; and to lovingly direct and discipline our children, exalting the benefit raising children who pursue their identity and calling in Christ Jesus.

 Understanding

I am blessed to be able to personalize (while maintaining the integrity of) a section of today’s reading because it is true in my life. Everything that today’s scripture says about a child who walks in righteousness can be said about our children. While I often say that our children (young adults, now) are who they are more in spite of us than because of us, Annie and I do recognize that Tim and Leah run hard after God and are both involved in the ministry of their passion and gifting because, in part, we were faithful to (if not perfect in) partnering with God’s work in them by putting His wisdom regarding child-rearing into practice every day of their life. I do this not to seek praise, recognition or credit for our “great” parenting skills. On the contrary, I seek to give all of these to God because, once again and always, He has proven that His word is true. In our children, Annie and I experience the earthly reality of God’s spiritual law that blessings follow obedience. As His promises are coupled with the premises that open the door to their fulfillment (if/then), God was, and is, faithful to produce the promised result in our children because we put the actualizing premise into action.

Life Application

2 Corinthians 1:20
“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 

Every one of God’s promises that I can personally appropriate are awaiting fulfillment and hinge solely on my faithfulness to obey the accompanying commands or instructions that open the floodgates of His blessing, protection, and direction – understanding that many of those promises are comfort in affliction, provision in need, strength through trials, peace amid uncertainty and hope in loss.  What an empowering truth! The good and perfect gifts that I desire to experience in Christ are awaiting to be released into my life as I align my attitudes and actions with God’s heart and His will. Lord, as has been described in a popular analogy, may the heavenly storeroom of the blessings that You intend for me be found empty of even one promise that has not been fulfilled because I am unwilling to ask for them or to walk in obedience to the premise that ushers them into my life. Help me to position myself directly under the full fount of your power and provision so that I would not miss even a single drop of all that you desire to pour into me and all that You desire to flow through me.  
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
-Gary Parker


Proverbs 22

 

Scripture

Proverbs 22:17-19 

17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
    apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
    and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord…

Observation

It seems like we’ve heard this (or something similar) before, doesn’t it? This message of actively turning our ear to wisdom, keeping wise words in our heart, applying our hearts and having them ready on our lips.  This all sounds familiar, right?

 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man.…

– Proverbs 3:3-4

My son, keep my words
And treasure my commandments within you.

Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.

Bind them on your fingers;

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your intimate friend;

– Proverbs 7:1-4

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deut. 6:6-9

Understanding

We’ve all heard the statement “Knowledge is power.”  I tend to agree with a different sentiment…

Knowledge is NOT power.

Knowing a concept is only potential value.

The EXECUTION of knowledge is where your power lies.

– Tony Robbins

In other words, it is not the knowing that gives you power, it is the application of the knowing…that action that is powerful.  And, it seems to me, that God wants us to take action with the wisdom He provides – writing it down, remembering it, applying it and sharing it.

I don’t know about you but I felt yesterday’s sermon was a call to action!  I was convicted deeply that I’m not putting action to my knowledge that Hell is real.  The part that most struck me was a statement read from a Charles Peace – who upon being prepared for his execution by being read aloud from The Consolations of Religion about the fires of hell by the prison chaplain – responded “Sir, if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”

So I was challenged – do I believe that Hell is real?  And, if so, does my life, do my actions reflect that belief? 

Life Application

Statistics were shared yesterday that some 70-something percent of people believe in Heaven, but only 40-something percent believe in Hell.  And, I’m afraid to say that my actions show that I’ve fallen into that variance of those that believe in Heaven but not in Hell.  Sure, I say I believe there is a Hell…and it seems logical that if there is a Heaven, there must also be a Hell.  But, my actions would show that I have not believed that Hell exists…otherwise, how could I be complacent in not sharing my faith at every opportunity?  And how could I not be regularly preparing myself to share the good news and actively (and I mean DAILY) sharing my faith? 

God, thank you for grabbing hold of my heart.  May I take action on this knowledge and actively share the good news of you celebration at EVERY opportunity.  May I spend my days seeking out those opportunities and may I take action to be prepared with your wisdom when those opportunities arise.  Give me faith and boldness to live in a way that shows you alive in me and draws people to you.

May I be sensitive to the Holy Spirit today and bold in responding – living with a sense of urgency that your will be done.  No time for lackadaisical living…but being on purpose and intentional with each interaction.  

In your precious and Holy name I pray. Amen.

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

– Rei



Proverbs 21

 

Scripture

Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
    but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Observation – What does it say?

Solomon continues to share his God-given wisdom.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Have you ever earnestly sought God for something and also put in work to see it happen but didn’t experience the results you hoped for? Have you ever expected God to ‘show up’ at a certain time and instead he seemed to delay? I’m reminded of the farmer James refers to:

James 5:7-8  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 

What do you do when you have been faithful to plow, plant and cultivate but aren’t seeing any fruit? The farmer is patient. And his patience isn’t passive. As he’s patiently waiting, he is working hard to water, fertilize and prune his crops.

We aren’t very good in our western culture with patience. We want things quickly. When God makes a promise we expect him to fulfill it tomorrow. When we pray, we expect God to answer in the next 5 minutes. When we aren’t getting the results we hoped for right away, we immediately question and doubt. “Did I really hear God right?” “Is God really faithful?” “Am I doing something wrong?” And, in all of our questioning we are tempted to make hasty decisions.

In this verse, Solomon contrasts planning and being diligent with being hasty. I present the question again, in light of this verse: What do you do when you have been faithful to plow, plant and cultivate but aren’t seeing any fruit? Solomon would encourage us, “Continue to be diligent and it will lead surely to abundance!”
Discipleship is a long obedience in the same direction.  Diligence. Daily faithfulness.
Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Diligence in the right areas will lead to a great harvest. Hastiness on the other hand will surely lead to poverty. In this season are you setting yourself up for harvest or poverty?

Life Application

Don’t allow impatience to lead me to hasty decisions!  Be faithful each day to seek God and give ourselves to making disciples.

God, we recognize your timing is perfect. You will bring a harvest if we will continue in obedience to you. Please give us the strength and resolve to stay the course and remain faithful to you until the harvest comes. And, if at any point we are off or need to be doing something different, show us and make it clear. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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


Proverbs 20

 

Scripture

Proverbs 20:7“The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues to compare and contrast a wise life verses a foolish life. In the above verse, we are basically told that the path we choose to take in life not only affect us, but our children after us as well. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Blessings come to those who live blameless and wise lives, not foolish lives. 

Taking apart this verse, a blameless life doesn’t mean a perfect life. 1 Peter 2:15-16 says it best in my opinion: “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 

Leading a blameless life means living as God’s slave. As a result of living our lives in complete surrender to Christ, generations after us will be blessed.

Life Application

What type legacy do you want to leave for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren?

I do not desire for my children to work hard to break generational curses, but rather to be an example for them to follow, so they can pass it on to their children and their children’s children after them. That is what would give me peace to pass on to the next life. The best type of legacy I want to leave for my children when my husband and I leave this earth is a legacy of love, faithfulness and service to Jesus Christ and His bride, and most importantly to each other…that we fulfilled God’s calling as spouses, parents and ministers/servants of the Gospel faithfully to the end.

Dear Jesus, I understand that this life is not my own. Thank You that you promised to complete the good work You have begun in my life. I pray that as I surrender daily to Your will instead of my own, that my children and grandchildren will be blessed. When tempted to stray, please remind me that my choices have consequences that affect more than just myself. I love you Jesus and thank You for never leaving me in this journey of faith. Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi

 


Proverbs 19

 

Scripture

Proverbs 19:3

“People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

There are consequences (both good and bad), for every decision we make in life. So why do we always have to play the “blame game” and point the finger at God when things don’t go our way because of our own foolish decisions? 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Time to own up and take responsibility for our actions.

We all know the saying that when you point the finger at someone, you always have three more fingers pointing back at you. Yet we always tend to ignore who the three fingers are pointing at, and focus more on whom the one finger is pointing at. Whether it is God, our parents, our friends, or even video games and movies, we like to blame everything and everyone but ourselves for the foolish things we do. God must be looking down on us from heaven thinking “what more can I do for these humans? I gave them a life instruction manual to live by (the Bible), I’m willing to bless them with infinite wisdom (if they seek me), and I’m even willing to walk along their side every step of the way. How can they possibly mess this up?!” Well I hate to say it, but we did mess it up, and we are still messing things up! How can we be so foolish?! The first thing we must do is take responsibility for our actions. We got to own them (confess to God our sins and ask for forgiveness). Once we realize our foolish (sinful) behavior, we must learn from it and move forward so we don’t make that same mistake again (repent). Finally, we have to remember that our God loves us. He wants us to succeed in life. God already laid out the ground work for us to conquer this world (His son Jesus Christ). All we have to do is follow.

Life Application

Resist those foolish urges in life and allow the Holy Spirit to guide our actions today.

Holy Spirit, abide in me today as I walk through life. Give me open ears to hear, open eyes to see, and an open heart to obey all it is You ask of me today. Steer me away from sinful situations that awaits me, and give me swift feet to flee from it. May my life’s choices today be pleasing to You Lord. Amen.

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


Proverbs 18

 

 


Scripture

Proverbs 18:1
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgement starts quarrels.

 
Observation
Chapter 18 has couplets that consider with wise use of our words; dealing with foolish people, gossips and slackers, as well as exalting the Name of the Lord. It also speaks of the wisdom of being a good listener and cautions the rich to deal fairly and compassionately with the poor; while exalting the wisdom of seeking reconciliation, having faithful friends, maintaining a humble spirit and finding a good wife (which I have!).

Understanding

Proverbs 18:1 cautions against starting quarrels. I recently had an opportunity to escalate a misunderstanding with a brother only to be convicted regarding this very issue. Armed with my conviction that I was right and ready to make the issue a hill to die on, the Holy Spirit checked me and asked me if my right to be right was worth injuring my relationship with my brother in the Lord. I fought with my ego for several days before I was reminded that the Word of God says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”. (Galatians 2:20) I was challenged to put my ego to death and seek agreement and unity above selfish ends.

Life Application

Father, when my ego rises from the dead (2 Corinthians 5:17) remind me that Jesus had every right to be right, but chose to be wronged for my salvation. If He could do that for me, then I can do the same in order to be a peacemaker with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and even (especially ?) my “enemy”.
 
Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker