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!
 

1 Timothy 1

 

Scripture

1 Timothy 1:5

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Observation

Previously, we’ve read Paul’s writings to the churches, but this letter is specifically written to Timothy – an evangelist whose work it was to “plant” and “water” churches…or perhaps stated differently, to multiply Christ followers.  [Hmm…that sounds familiar. J] 

Paul considers Timothy his “true son in the faith” because Timothy was first converted by Paul (Acts 16:3); Paul is now writing to charge Timothy with squashing the teaching of false doctrines that are distracting from the advancement of God’s kingdom work.   

Understanding

I found it very easy to relate this to modern times. 

I believe it was the beginning of the current Q&A sermon series where PG brought to light that the enemy’s most strategic ploy may be to convince us that hell doesn’t exist or isn’t that bad. [This is an example of false doctrine.] Because, if he was successful in doing so, Christians would have less urgency and be less likely to share their faith and those who are not believers would be less likely to choose to become Christ-followers. [This being an example of a distraction from the advancement of God’s work.] 

Paul’s desire to have Timothy command against these false teachings is love – love for God’s people, love for the lost, love of the kingdom work of restoring souls to Christ. I believe this love is the center of God’s heart and what we are called to reflect.  And, as verse 5 says, love “comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Life Application

Go love on somebody! <3 

Not to be too warm and fuzzy on your Monday morning (especially if you haven’t yet had your coffee), but God is ALL about LOVE…

Romans 13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Matthew 5:44

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

John 13:35

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

So, as we begin a new week, let’s keep our hearts pure, our conscience clean and our faith sincere and take every opportunity to love on those we encounter…in a way that brings healing, refreshing, peace and joy…but, most of all, in a way that points people towards relationship with God.

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

– Rei



Proverbs 31

 

Scripture

Proverbs 31:10-11

10A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

Observation
This final chapter in Proverbs contains one of the best descriptions of a godly woman. 

Understanding

I love The Message translation:

A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.

So rare is a good woman, a wife who has noble character, that she is worth more than the most precious stones. Because of her character her husband trusts her. He doesn’t have reason to feel jealous and he doesn’t get suspicious of her because he knows she is faithful. And the best part is that he never has to deal with the regret of trusting someone who isn’t trustworthy.

Whenever I read this passage I’m always filled with so much gratitude. God has blessed me with two Proverbs 31 women in my life, my mom and my wife.

 

I was blessed to have the example of my mom – a godly, hard working, compassionate, selfless woman. She was and is the first real life example I have had of a Proverbs 31 woman. And she showed me by her example the characteristics I should be looking for in the woman I choose marry.

Then came Katie… praise the Lord! All I have to say is that GOD IS GOOD 🙂 I’m not just going to attempt to flatter my wife here. I’m thankful that I don’t have to try to stretch things and force her into the mold of Proverbs 31, and I don’t have to exaggerate or be dishonest in order to honor my wife. If you know her you know she loves Jesus with all her heart, more than she does me or anything else. And out of that love for Jesus, she loves people (especially me!) and challenges them to be the person God created them to be. She works hard, she’s a great mom to our children, and though she would try to tell you she isn’t the most compassionate person, I can tell you she has one of the biggest and most generous hearts of anyone I’ve met. After nearly 10 years of marriage, I continue to be amazed at how much God has blessed me.

Life Application

Praise God and honor the Proverbs 31 women in my life!

God, thank you for giving me such an amazing mom and wife! You’re so good to me! Help me to honor them well and to treat them as the valuable treasures they are. Show me how I can be better at expressing my gratitude and appreciation to them. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Proverbs 30

 

Scripture

Proverbs 30:5-6

“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. “

Observation-What does it say?

This chapter was written by Agur, son of Jakeh and he wrote this to Ithiel. I studied several commentaries on who these people were and there were differing opinions. While others say that he was a man in Solomon’s time, some say that Agur could have been Solomon himself. Others say that Agur was not even the author’s real name, but spoke of the character of this man as a collector, who collected the wise sayings of others. Whatever the case, we know that what was written was inspired. This chapter are prophecies from God that were passed on to Ithiel, who was either Agur’s child or a student. In the above verse, Agur was teaching Ithiel that the source of all wisdom and truth is found in the word of God.

 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 

God’s Word is flawless. It is perfect. That’s why nothing more should be or needs to be added to it. Adding to it would indicate that there is a flaw in it, but it is flaw-LESS. 

Psalm 119, the longest Psalm in Scripture, as well as the longest chapter in the Bible with 176 verses, speaks all about the word of God and loving His commands. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17-“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Here at DSC, we say that where the Word of God is silent, we are silent. We say that it is our Source of all Truth and our lives are based on what it says, not what our emotions say. It is why we post SOUL Journals every day and encourage every one to do the same. Being in God’s Word is a discipline that is vital to every Believer’s life.

Life Application

In order to experience the transforming power of God’s Word in our lives, we must read it, study it and apply it.

As James says in ch. 1:22-24, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect Word. Thank You for men and women of faith who have and are dedicating their lives to read it, study it and apply it in their personal lives. I pray that if we are living a life contrary to Your Word, that You would bring us back to the Truth. I pray we would continually meditate on Your Truth instead of the lies that the enemy and the world throws at us. Thank You that Your Word is a lamp for our feet and a light on our path.(Ps. 119:105). Please continue to direct our paths through Your Word and may we submit to its Truths. Amen.

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


Proverbs 29

 

Scripture

Proverbs 29:11

“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Solomon shares in this passage that fools are quick to anger, they lack self-control, and they lose their composure quite easily. Meanwhile, the wise are in control of their emotions, they think before they speak, and even know that some things are better left unsaid in those times of conflict.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Think before you speak.

We’ve all been there before. We’ve all been in situations where conflict arises and we begin to hit our boiling point. If steam could come out of our ears, it probably would, and our head would be like a boiling tea kettle. And how do we respond in those situations? Unfortunately, a lot of us are the fools here, and we vent out our anger. We go old testament here and do the whole “eye for an eye” thing. If someone hurts us verbally or physically, we tend to quickly retaliate and hurt back. Many times these confrontations end up damaging relationships permanently.  

So what should we do? How does the Bible tell us to react in those situations?

“But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.”-Matthew‬ ‭5:39‬ ‭NLT

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.” Proverbs‬ ‭15:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Remember, being quick to anger is not a characteristic that comes from God. Instead allow ourselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit. For the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control-(Galatians 5:22-23).

Life Application

Take a moment to step back, breathe, and pray.

I understand that I cannot control the circumstances around me. I cannot control how people are going to act towards me. Things in my life will become stressful and tensions will rise in certain situations. The key is how I respond in those situations. How does God call me to respond in those times? So not if, but when these times arise, I know that God left me His Holy Spirit to empower me, to enable me to rise above the scene. Take a step back, remove myself from it, and turn to Him for counsel and strength. Don’t say or do anything we cannot take back. I know if I can manage that, I will be wiser because of it!

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


Proverbs 28

 

Scripture

Proverbs 28:9
If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

Observation

Sanctification has two facets. The first, instantaneous sanctification, is positional and the second, progressive sanctification, is relational. At salvation, I was made holy and sinless in God’s sight; forgiven, cleansed and placed in the position of being “in Christ” – having His righteousness imputed to me. It is a position that I can never lose since I did nothing to earn it. The faith by which I received Christ as my Lord and Savior was not of myself; it was the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. The second aspect of my sanctification is the ongoing, life-long process by which God the Spirit transforms me more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. Though my position with God can never be lost or lessened, my relationship with the Father can certainly be damaged and strained as I walk in seasons of sin and rebellion. When I maintain unrepentant of sinful actions and attitudes, intimacy with the Father is lost as God waits for me to surrender, submit and position my life in alignment and agreement with His will, which is the recipe for answered prayer.

Understanding

Though a child can never lose their position as son or daughter, relationships between father’s and their children are often broken by rebellion and sin. Both father and child know that, because of the rift caused by disobedience, it is ridiculous for the child to ask the father for gifts and favors. No matter how much the father wants to bless and give to his children, he is wise to withhold these until the child adjust his or her actions and returns to a heart of submission to the father’s authority and will. This repair of the relationship must occur before the child can once again enjoy the favor of the father. Right relationship is the door through which petition is heard and blessings flow.

Life Application

Obedience, respect, surrender and submission are the attitudes that I must have when approaching God in prayer. Whenever I feel that God and I are not on speaking terms; whenever it seems like my prayers are not being heard, then I need to ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart and see if there is any sinful way within me that has me in wrong relationship with God. If so, I need to confess and repent of my sin so that I may receive the forgiveness that restores me to intimate fellowship with God – not only that the blessings of God may freely flow into my life but, more importantly, that I may return to a faith walk that is unhindered and fully empowered to bring God the glory that he deserves.

To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


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