Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
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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!
 

January 10: Enoch Sought God’s Reward

Scripture

Hebrews 11:6b
  He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 

Observation

It is not enough simply to believe that God exists. In order to please Him it is also necessary to believe that He is moral and just, that He will reward faith in Him. We must recognize God as a personal, loving, gracious God to those who seek Him. Enoch did not believe God was merely a great impersonal cosmic force. He believed in and knew God in a personal, loving way. For three hundred years Enoch had fellowship with the true God, a God whom he knew to be just, merciful, forgiving, caring, and very personal.

The Bible tells us that God not only can be found but that it is His great desire to be found. David said to his son Solomon,

  •  “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” (1 Chron. 28:9).
  • Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth!” (Ps. 58:11).
  • “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me” (Prov. 8:17).
  • “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Jesus was very explicit:

  • “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened” (Luke 11:10).

It is not enough just to believe that He is. We must also believe that He rewards those who seek Him.

The reward that God gives for faith is salvation.

  • “Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

In other words, every good thing that God has, including eternal life, constitutes the reward for belief. For faith we receive forgiveness, a new heart, eternal life, joy, peace, love, heaven—everything! When we trust in Jesus Christ, we become mutual heirs with Him. All that God’s own Son has is ours as well.

Understanding

What is God saying to me?

If you seek Him, He will let you find Him! God does not hide from us! He wants us to find Him, he desires to be known by us. How often I think that God does not want to have relationship with me because of something I did or did not do, but that is not the case – He is longing for us to seek Him so that we can find Him.

AND…

When we find Him we discover that He is not just waiting to be with us but He has a bag of presents waiting to give us. He wants to give us eternal life, salvation, peace, joy, unconditional love and forgiveness, heaven, and the list goes on. He wants to reward those who earnestly seek Him.

Life Application

What will I do about it?

That word earnestly is the key. It means to intensely search for. To prioritize my time so that I will find what I am looking for. To be diligent in my attempts to search God.

God I want to be earnest in pursuit of you. You are not a calendar item for me to fit in – you are my priority! You first and then everything else fits in. By faith I will chase hard after you because I believe that you care enough to respond to all who will pursue you with sincerity and diligence.

How will I pursue you?
By fasting and setting aside priority to pray and commune with you.
By prioritizing my time so that I gather together with your family regularly for worship and fellowship.
By PBand J-ing so that I can learn of you and allow you to speak to me.

How will you earnestly seek God?
 
-Pastor Gary
 
To check out the discussion or to join click here


January 9: Enoch – Walking in Faith

Scripture

Hebrews 11:6a
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is.
 

Observation

Absolutely nothing from men can please God apart from faith.  The first step of faith is simply to believe that He is. This Enoch did. God is pleased with those who believe in Him, even with the first step of believing that He exists. This belief alone is certainly not enough to save a person, but if it is a sincere conviction and is followed up, it will lead to full faith.  Mere recognition of a deity of some sort—the “ground of being,” the “man upstairs,” IS not the object of belief in mind here. Only belief in the existence of the true God, the God of Scripture, counts.

We cannot know God by sight.

  • “No man has seen God at any time,” Jesus said (John 1:18).

Nor can we know God by reason. Two chapters of the book of Job (38-39) are devoted to God’s forceful and colorful illustrations of how man cannot even fathom the operations of nature. How much less can we understand God Himself by our own observations and reasonings.

God gives much evidence of His existence, but it is not the kind of evidence that men often are looking for. He cannot be proved by science, for example. Yet many things learned from science give evidence of His existence.

The law of cause and effect, for example, holds that for every cause there must be an effect. If you keep pushing further and further back for causes, eventually you will end up with an uncaused cause. The only uncaused cause is God. This is the argument used previously by the writer of Hebrews:

  • “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God” (3:4).
 According to the law of entropy, the universe is running down. If it is running down, then it is not self-sustaining. If it is not self-sustaining, then it had to have a beginning. If it had a beginning, someone had to begin it, and we are back to the uncaused cause. There must be a first cause, for which only God qualifies.
 
The law of design also indicates that God is. We learn from science that water has a high specific heat, which is absolutely essential to stabilize chemical reactions within the human body. If water had a low specific heat, we would boil over with the least activity. Without this property of water, human and most animal life would hardly be possible.
 
The ocean is the world’s thermostat. It takes a large loss of heat for water to go from liquid to ice, and a large intake of heat for water to become steam. The oceans are a cushion against the heat of the sun and the freezing blasts of winter. Unless the temperatures of the earth’s surface were modulated by the ocean and kept within certain limits, we would either be cooked to death or frozen to death. How could such intricate, exacting, and absolutely necessary design come about by accident? It demands a designer.

Even the size of the earth gives evidence of design. If it were much smaller, there would be no atmosphere to sustain life. Earth would then be like our moon or Mars. On the other hand, if it were much larger, the atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, as do Jupiter and Saturn, which also prevents life. The earth’s distance from the sun is absolutely right. Even a small change would make it too hot or too cold. The tilt of the earth’s axis ensures the seasons. And so it goes.

Science cannot prove God, but it gives overwhelming evidence of a master designer and sustainer, which roles could only be filled by God.

Like science, reason cannot prove God. But also like science, it gives a great deal of evidence for Him. Man himself is personal, conscious, rational, creative, volitional. It is inconceivable that he could have become so by accident or that his Creator could be anything 
less
than personal, conscious, rational, creative, and volitional. To think that personal, thinking, decision-making man somehow could have developed from slime to amoeba and on up the evolutionary chain does not make sense.
 
By faith Enoch believed God is.
 

Understanding

What is God saying to me?

We all come to God in different ways…some people simply believe that God exists and that He is the Creator, the One without beginning or end.  Others must use the rationalization of science as given in the law of cause and effect, entropy or design.  But at the end of the day the first step into relationship and intimacy God requires faith – science cannot prove God exists, it just gives us evidence that there are some things that only God can do – but the truth is that you and I must come to the place where we must simply believe that God is.  He is the Beginning and the End, He is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, He is the only True and Living God who is eternal – without beginning or end.

 Faith is propositional and relational – we must believe these propositions about God and then we must act in the reality of it and come into relationship with God who desires to have relationship with us.

Life Application

What will I do about it?

God today, I am not looking at promises that you gave me and deciding to have faith to walk them out, today I am simply living in the fact that God is!  
God is Creator and Ruler of all.  A God without beginning and end.  A God who desires a relationship with me and who makes a way for me to have that relationship with Him.  Today I celebrate that God is for me not against me.  God is my Father and my Friend.  God is a very present help in times of trouble.  God is my Redeemer and Savior.
 
You finish this statement.  God is…
 
– Pastor Gary
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


January 6: Abel: Worshiping in Faith

SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 11:4b
Through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous.

OBSERVATION

Abel Obtained Righteousness

The only thing that obtained righteousness for Abel was that, in faith, He did what God told him to do. That is the only thing that changes a man’s relationship to God. It is not how good we are, but whether or not we trust in Him, that counts with God. That trust is evidenced in obedience to His Word. 

  • ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine'” (John 8:31).

The people Jesus was speaking to believed Him, but they had not yet trusted in Him, which Jesus said would be marked by obedience to His word. Obedience does not bring faith, but faith will always bring obedience and the desire to live righteously.

We cannot claim to have faith in God and then continually disregard His Word. James must have known some people who thought this way, for he wrote,

  • “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?…Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself” (James 2:14, 17).

Nonworking faith, disobedient faith, is not saving faith. It is not valid faith at all. Cain believed that God exists. Even the demons believe this, James goes on to say.

  • “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (2:19-20).

James was not teaching salvation by works. He is saying that our faith is only real when it issues in works. We cannot work our way to God, but having come to Him, works will become evident—and prove that our faith is genuine.

 
UNDERSTANDING
What is God saying to me? 

Claims of being a Christian are empty if they aren’t accompanied by a life that is actually following Jesus.

I’m reminded of 1 John 2:6: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
What will I do about it?

Evaluate my life in light of this truth. Am I truly living as Jesus did? Am I living to bring glory to God in all I say and do? Am I humbly spending my life on others or on myself? Am I obeying God’s word even when it’s extremely difficult?

God, it is my desire to not just profess faith in you, but to truly be like Jesus. Please reveal to us the areas of our lives that aren’t consistent with the faith we profess. Transform us into the image of your Son and may we grow in expressing our love for you and others. Amen.

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


January 5: Abel: Worshiping in Faith

SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

OBSERVATION

Dead men do tell tales.  James Moffatt wrote, “Death is never the last word in the life of a righteous man. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world. He may leave something that will grow and spread like a cancer or a poison, or he may leave something like the fragrance of perfume or a blossom of beauty that permeates the atmosphere with blessing.” Man leaves this world either a Paul or a Nero.

From many thousands of years ago, Abel speaks to us about faith. 

Abel Made a True Sacrifice

  • By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. (11:4a)
  • “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard” (Gen. 4:3-5).

A Place to Worship

Cain and Abel had a place to worship. Because they brought offerings, some sort of altar must have been used on which to make the sacrifices. It seems perfectly consistent with God’s grace that, from the beginning, He would have provided for some means of worship. A place where man could come for forgiveness and atonement.

A Time for Worship

There seems also to have been a time for worship. “In the course of time,” means literally, “at the end of days,” that is, at the end of a certain period of time. It may be, therefore, that God had designated a special time for sacrificing. God is a God of order, and we know that in later centuries He did prescribe definite times and ways of worshiping. The fact that Cain and Abel came to sacrifice at the same time also suggests that God had specified a particular time.

A Way to Worship

I also believe that God had designated a way to worship. Cain and Abel would know nothing about the need for worship or sacrifice, much less the way, had they not been told by God—perhaps through their parents. It is inconceivable that Cain and Abel accidentally stumbled onto sacrifice as a way of worshiping God. The fact that God accepted only the one sacrificial offering also seems to indicate that He had established a pattern for worship.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with a grain or fruit or vegetable offering. The Mosaic covenant included such offerings. But the blood offerings were always first, because only the blood offerings dealt with sin.

Here is where the life of faith begins, with a sacrifice for sin. It begins with believing God that we are sinners, that we are worthy of death, that we need His forgiveness, and that we accept His revealed plan for our deliverance. That is the beginning of the life of faith. It was in such faith that Abel presented his sacrifice to God. And it was because of such faith that his sacrifice was acceptable to God.

When Abel did what God said, he revealed his obedience and acknowledged his sinfulness. Cain, on the other hand, was disobedient and did not acknowledge his sin. Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain because God had prescribed a blood sacrifice. Somehow Abel, and Cain as well, knew what God wanted. The difference between the two was that Abel gave what God wanted, whereas Cain gave what he himself wanted. Abel was obedient and Cain was disobedient. Abel acknowledged his sin. Cain did not.
 
Abel approached God and said, in effect,“Lord, this is what You said You wanted. You promised that if I brought it, You would forgive my sin. I believe You, God. I acknowledge my sin and I acknowledge Your prescribed remedy. Here it is.” Cain had the same knowledge of God’s requirements, but decided to worship in his own way. In the tradition of his parents, he did his own thing. In effect, he was denying his sin.

God is not arbitrary or whimsical or impulsive. He was not playing a game with Cain and Abel. He did not hold them accountable for what they could not have known or could not have done. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because he knew what God wanted and obeyed. Cain’s was rejected because he knew what God wanted, yet disobeyed.

Abel offered a better sacrifice because it represented the obedience of faith. He willingly brought God what He asked, and he brought the very best that he had.

 
UNDERSTANDING
What is God saying to me? 

The verse is simple and clear that there was one thing that made Abel’s sacrifice better: his faith. If we come to worship or seek God, we must truly believe that God exists, and that he will reward us for seeking him.

At times I lack faith. I come to worship or prayer and wonder if God is really hearing me, or if he is really pleased with my worship or if he will answer.  I feel convicted thinking about this because it was his lack of faith that caused Cain’s sacrifice to be rejected by God.

 
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
What will I do about it?

I will continue asking God to increase my faith. And, I will meditate on this verse today.

God, I confess that I believe you exist. I believe you hear me when I pray. I believe that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection I have complete access to you, I have your favor, and my worship is pleasing to you. I believe that as I type this now, you hear my heart and answer. Thank you for your great love. Please continue to increase my faith. Amen.

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


January 4: The Illustration of Faith

SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 11:3

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

OBSERVATION

God did not just create the world, but the worlds (aiōn), which designates the physical universe itself and also its operation, its administration. He created everything simply by His word (rhēma), His divine utterance. He created from nothing, at least not from anything physical, or visible. The writer makes an absolutely stupendous claim in this short verse. The greatest claim, and the one hardest for an unbeliever to accept, is that understanding of creation comes entirely by faith.

The origin of the universe has been a long-standing problem for philosophers and scientists. Centuries of investigation, speculation, and comparing of notes and theories have brought them no closer to a solution. Every time a consensus seems to be developing about a particular theory, someone comes up with evidence that disproves it or makes it less plausible.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. It is beyond the realm of scientific investigation, but it is not beyond knowing—if we are willing to be taught by the Word of God.

All truth is God’s truth. Some of it—the natural world—is discoverable with our eyes, ears, touch, and intellect. A great deal more of it, however, is not. It is understood only by faith. The very attempt to explain the universe, or our own being and nature, apart from God is a fool’s effort. These things we understand only by faith in the revealed Word of Scripture.

An evangelist of many years ago told the beautiful story of two little boys he once visited in a London hospital.

“The cots were side-by-side. One boy had a dangerous fever, the other had been struck by a truck and his body was badly mangled. The second one said to the first, “Say, Willie, I was down to the mission Sunday school and they told me about Jesus. I believe that if you ask Jesus, He will help you. They said that if we believe in Him and pray to God, then when we die He’ll come and take us with Him to heaven.” Willie replied, “But what if I’m asleep when He comes and I can’t ask Him?” His friend said, “Just hold up your hand; that’s what we did in Sunday school. I guess Jesus sees it.” Since Willie was too weak to hold up his arm, the other boy propped it up for him with a pillow. During that night, Willie died, but when the nurse found him the next morning, his arm was still propped up.”

 We can be sure that the Lord saw his arm, because the Lord sees faith and the Lord accepts faith. By faith Willie saw the way to heaven. By faith he saw what the learned will never discover on their own. God’s greatest truths are discovered by simple faith. It is not the world’s way to truth, but a thousand years from now the world will still be devising and rejecting its theories. The person of faith knows the truth now. Faith is the only way to God.

UNDERSTANDING

What is God saying to me? 
 
It’s interesting to me that the verse says “by faith we understand,” not “by faith we accept.” There is an understanding that comes only through exercising faith. And according to scripture, understanding should be pursued and greatly valued. 

Proverbs 4:7  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

If I want understanding; to understand God, to understand his specific will for my life, to understand his Word, it will not come without faith.

LIFE APPLICATION
 
What will I do about it?

Continue asking God to increase my faith.

God, please fill us with faith! We want to gain a greater understanding and to know you more! Amen.

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


January 3: The Testimony of Faith

SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the men of old gained approval.

OBSERVATION

Men of old gained approval from God because of their faith, and because of nothing else. God has always approved and recognized the person of faith. This verse implies what other parts of the chapter make clear—that God makes his approval known to those who trust Him. How God shows His approval varies, but every believer has God’s witness that his faith is pleasing to his Lord.

Faith is not simply one way to please God; it is the only way.

  • “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (11:6).

No matter what else we may think, say, or do for or in the name of God, it is meaningless and worthless apart from faith. It cannot possibly be approved by God.

Since the time of Adam, some men have believed in God and believed what He has said. For them life has been meaningful; it has had assurance, substance, and confidence. They did not make a blind leap of faith, but put their faith in a future reality that, because of their faith, God made certain and sure for them. And with this certainty came assurance, confidence, and hope. Believing in God gives reason for living—and for dying. Just before Stephen was stoned, “he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). This glimpse of his Lord vindicated all he had endured for the gospel’s sake and all he was then about to suffer. He had something to live for and to die for.

 

UNDERSTANDING

What is God saying to me? 

God’s question isn’t, “Will you work harder?” It’s, “Will you believe more?”

The opening statement struck me: “Men of old gained approval from God because of their faith, and because of nothing else.” It is amazing how important faith is to God. I am reminded how Jesus identified faith. In different situations, of the million things Jesus could point out or be surprised by, it was often faith that he brought up. “Oh, you of little faith.” “Your faith has healed you.” “I have not found anyone in all Israel with such great faith.” If it’s faith Jesus is looking for and faith that gains us approval before God, it’s faith that I want!

I was reading a few days ago in the Psalms and was amazed by something David said:

Psalm 26:1

Vindicate me, Lord,
    for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
    and have not faltered.

David said he had led a blameless life. What?! I’ve read about David (and what the Bible says about all men). How could he claim to be blameless? The answer is found in the second half of the verse. He trusted in the Lord without faltering. Faith. Believing. This is what characterizes a life pleasing to God.

LIFE APPLICATION
 
What will I do about it?

Ask God for more faith and put my trust in him!

God, I recognize I cannot manufacture faith. It is a gift from you. Would you please bless me and your church with an increased measure of faith. May we trust in you without faltering and gain approval from you because of our great faith. Amen.

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


January 2: The Nature of Faith

SCRIPTURE

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

OBSERVATION

The Assurance of Things Hoped For

In Old Testament times, men and women had to rest on the promises of God. God had told them of a coming Messiah, a Deliverer who would take away sin. He told them that one day all Israel would be made clean and be ruled by this righteous Messiah. God’s faithful believed God’s promises, as incomplete and vague as many of those promises were. They put their full trust and hope in those promises.

That is what faith is. Faith is living in a hope that is so real it gives absolute assurance. The promises given to the Old Testament saints were so real to them, because they believed God, that they based their lives on them. All the Old Testament promises related to the future—for many believers, far into the future, but the faithful among God’s people acted as if they were in the present tense. They simply took God at His word and lived on that basis. They were people of faith, and faith gave present assurance and substance to what was yet future.

Faith is not a wistful longing that something may come to pass in an uncertain tomorrow. True faith is an absolute certainty, often of things that the world considers unreal and impossible. Christian hope is belief in God against the world—not belief in the improbable against chance. If we follow a God whose audible voice we have never heard and believe in a Christ whose face we have never seen, we do so because our faith has a reality, a substance, an assurance that is unshakable.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were confronted with the choice of obeying Nebuchadnezzar, whom they could see very well, or God, whom they had never seen. Without hesitation, they chose to obey God. Man’s natural response is to trust his physical senses, to put his faith in the things he can see, hear, taste, and feel. But the child of God puts his trust in something more durable and dependable than anything he will ever experience with his senses. Senses may lie; God cannot lie.

The Conviction of Things Not Seen

Conviction of things not seen carries the same truth a bit further, because it implies a response, an outward manifestation of the inward assurance. The person of faith lives his belief. His life is committed to what his mind and his spirit are convinced is true. 

Noah, for example, truly believed God. He could not possibly have embarked on the stupendous, demanding, and humanly ridiculous task God gave him without having had absolute faith. When God predicted rain, Noah had no concept of what rain was, because rain did not exist before the Flood. It is possible that Noah did not even know how to construct a boat, much less a gigantic ark. But Noah believed God and acted on His instructions. He had both assurance and conviction—true faith. His outward building of the ark bore out his inward belief that the rain was coming and that God’s plan was correct for constructing a boat that would float. His faith was based on God’s word, not on what he could see or on what he had experienced. For 120 years he preached in faith, hoped in faith, and built in faith.

UNDERSTANDING

What is God saying to me? 
When I think about the promises from God that I’m putting my faith in, I ultimately think of the second coming of Christ.  But, I also think of the promises God has given us at DSC that we will become a “great commission movement.” Days where we will experience God’s presence like never before, countless individuals will be saved, and our community, city and beyond will literally be transformed by the power of Christ through us.
 
God is doing great things in and through us at Desert Streams Church! We have so much to celebrate and be grateful for. However, we must not lose sight of these promises and settle for less than the fullness of what God intends for us! 
 
LIFE APPLICATION
 
What will I do about it?
Like Noah, we may have to wait years (hopefully not 120!) before we experience the fulfillment. But what we do in the waiting time is critical. His “assurance of things hoped for” drove him to invest countless hours in building. Likewise, our assurance should drive us to do certain things. Personally, the things I feel I must do is PRAY and WORK for their fulfillment. 
 
God, thank you for this month of prayer and fasting! The reason we lay aside food and pleasures to seek your face is because we are longing for more of you! We are longing to experience the fulfillment of your promises! May they come and come soon. God, I want you more than tv, your presence more than food, and the fulfillment of promises more than anything else I could lay down. As we seek you this month, draw near to us and reveal yourself. Amen.
 
-Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here. 


John 20

JOIN US TOMORROW, DEC 24, AT 10AM FOR A REFRESHING TIME OF WORSHIP TOGETHER ON CHRISTMAS EVE!

Scripture

John 20:17

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Observation – What does it say?

After Jesus rose from the dead, he first appeared to Mary who had come to the tomb and discovered it was empty. Jesus asks her to go tell his disciples that he is ascending to his Father. It struck me that he referred to his disciples as “my brothers” and was clear to point out that it wasn’t just his Father and his God, but also their Father and their God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Those who believe in Jesus become adopted into his family!

Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…
 
Song of Songs 6:3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…
 
This is an amazing truth! When we pray, we don’t just pray to the God of Abraham or the Father of Jesus, but we pray to our God and our Father (Matt 6:9)! Through belief in Jesus was have been adopted in! We have been blessed with intimate relationship with God where we are his sons and daughters, he is our good and perfect Father and nothing can separate us from his love.

Life Application

Worship God today as MY God &  trust him today as MY Father.

My God, I worship and praise you! Thank you for the blood of Jesus that has washed me clean and made me acceptable to you. This was your good and perfect plan from the beginning; I worship you for it! May we see ourselves belonging to you and not on the outside, Fathered by you and not orphaned in this world. Bless us all with an awareness of your great love for us closeness to us. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

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



John 19

Scripture
 
John 19: 1-3
 
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Jesus died a sinner’s/criminal’s death. He was not only killed, but was mocked, tortured and treated like the lowest of the low. He was innocent and sinless and did not deserve that type of punishment, yet He endured it for the world.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The depths of His love for the world is immeasurable.  Jesus’ deep, passionate and crazy love for us held Him to endure all that  pain and suffering.
 
How can someone endure such pain and torture, especially the Son of God who could have easily murdered everyone involved? Of course, He was being obedient to His Father’s will, but I believe it is more than that. It was His love for you and I that sustained Him through all that torture and pain.  I imagine that He was thinking of You and I and all the love He had for all sinners of the world. How can we choose to neglect Him when we grasp the depths of His love for us? 
 
I love the song “Above All”.  It always gets me at the heart, especially the part of the song that says,  “Like a rose, trampled on the ground, You took the fall and thought of me, above all.”
 
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:5-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Life Application
 
His love for us is not meant to be hidden and kept to ourselves, but shared with the world., especially those who don’t yet know.
 
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
People need Jesus. Understanding that He is not here to condemn me but to save me from myself and sinful thoughts/ways, motivates me to want to share that gift with others. God IS love (1 John 4:8 and 4:16b) and the understanding that no one can separate me from His undeniable and jealous love is what strengthens me to love others in return.
 
Let’s love others by inviting them to our Christmas Eve service this Saturday at 10a and gifting them with the opportunity to hear the Good News of our Lord, Savior and King. People need Jesus!
 
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-Michelle Gaddi


John 18

Scripture

John 18:25

“Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.”

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus was betrayed, taken prisoner, and was now being held for questioning inside the high priest’s courtyard. Peter and another disciple followed suit. Peter was asked by the lady watching the gate if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, to which Peter denied (his first denial). Then as Peter tried to blend in with the crowd, while warming himself around the fire, the people asked him if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter denied it a second time. Finally, one of the household slaves who was a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off remembered Peter being there in the garden with Jesus. Peter denied it (his third denial of Jesus), and immediately a rooster crowed, just like Jesus said it would.

Understanding-What does it mean?

 Jesus’ love for us is UNDENIABLE.

As I read this passage, I couldn’t help but remember how Peter swore up and down his love for Jesus. Yet here Peter is denying that he even knows Jesus… not once, but THREE TIMES! 

Then I thought to myself, “What if someone who claimed to have loved me denied even knowing me?” Would I still have the same love for them as I had before? I know I would be hurt and devastated. I would have probably turned my back on that person in my life. But what does Jesus do? Not only does Jesus still have love for Peter, but he uses Peter as “the rock” on which His church will be built upon.

“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”-Matthew‬ ‭16:18‬ ‭NLT

Now Peter was not the only one to deny Jesus. I mean, what happened to the rest of the disciples when Jesus was arrested? Yes, that’s right…they fled and hid for their lives! But once again Jesus demonstrates His love by not only welcoming them back, but by partnering with all of them to help build and further His Kingdom here on earth. It is a reminder to me that whenever I may feel I have failed Jesus, or feel too ashamed of my wrongdoings, He is always there to welcome me back with a love that is undeniable.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38‬ ‭NLT

Life Application

 It’s not about where I am at. It is about where I am going.

Too many times we let the enemy convince us of our wrongdoings and shortcomings in life. It causes us to feel too guilty to turn to Jesus. Instead we try to run and hide from Him. What we end up doing is pushing away the One person who is always willing to help us. This undoubtedly will lead to a downward spiral in our lives that can ultimately lead to our destruction.

So why not accept His help and guidance? Jesus is willing to meet us right where we are at in our lives. There may be some disciplinary actions due to our sinful acts, but a father loves those He disciplines. Just remember that Jesus has already paid for our sins. It’s up to us to ask for His forgiveness and repent from our sinful ways. From there the sky is the limit to what He can do in our lives as we partner with Him! 

Thank You Jesus for Your patience, unfailing love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Help me to not dwell on my past transgressions, which will cause me to run and hide from You. Instead help me to look forward, keep my head up, and focus on You. I pray this in Your name Jesus, Amen.

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