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 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


Proverbs 17

 

Scripture

Proverbs 17:9, 27

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
    but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
    
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.

Observation

“You can tell the size of a [person] by the size of the thing that upsets him.”

― Adlai E. Stevenson

“You can tell the greatness of a man by what makes him angry.”

― Abraham Lincoln

Regardless of who said it first or the exact phrasing, the point is…what offends us and our reaction to an offense says a lot about who we are.  And, in a world that is soooooo easily offended and where gossip is prevalent, this is an area where we can notably set ourselves apart for God.

Understanding

A friend of mine used to always say one of his rules for life was “Do your best to never offend anyone…and never be offended.” 

While the above advice is good, there’s a good chance that, at some point in our lives, we will be offended.  Verse 9 speaks to the fact that we get to choose how we respond to an offense – we are to cover it in love.

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
    but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

What does it mean to cover an offense in love?  I believe it refers to how we see and respond to the offense.  In a great book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High,” the recommended response for any “offensive” situation is…

“Rather than ask, ‘What’s the worst and most personal way I can take this?’ (leading to defensiveness), we should ask, ‘Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person think or feel this way?’ (leading to curiosity). It’s hard to feel defensive and curious at the same time. Finally, it takes us to the only place where the feelings can be resolved: The source (the facts and story behind the emotions).”

First, we must frame it in the correct context – ultimately, seeking first to understand and believing the best about the person(s) involved; then, once appropriately framed, respond in love.  To respond in love means to consider the person(s) involved – including their character and reputation – as you respond.  If you cared about someone’s character and reputation, would you be quick to spread gossip about them, repeating the matter to everyone you/they know?  Of course not!  You would handle it respectfully, directly where possible and involving the smallest and most direct group possible where not. 

Life Application

When I look around and see people who live life, offended, I think how exhausting that must be.  We find what we seek…and there will ALWAYS be something to be offended by if that is what we choose to seek out.  May we choose to be different, a person of refreshing in our personal and professional lives – setting ourselves apart for the glory of God by choosing, instead, to respond in love. 

God, I thank you for the growth in this area in my own life.  Thank you for the reminder that we can always choose to respond in love – being gracious and considerate, even in times of offense.  May our response in situations we encounter this week be to your glory…another opportunity to be set apart and point people towards You.  In your name I pray. Amen.

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

– Rei



Proverbs 16

 

Scripture

Proverbs 16:3,9

3Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.

Observation

Solomon continues sharing his God-given wisdom, specifically as it relates to the plans we make. If we want our plans to succeed, it’s time to lean in close and really consider these verses.

Understanding

Have you ever had something not go according to plan?

A couple years ago I was putting my son Noah to bed and before we prayed together I asked him, “What do you think you’re going to do tomorrow?” He replied after a short pause, “I’m going to Disneyland.” I chuckled, “I don’t think so. You have preschool tomorrow.” “No, I’m going to go to Disneyland.” Well you can guess what happened the next day. Let’s just say he was disappointed when I made him bring his backpack when we left the house that morning.

If he wanted things to go according to his expectation and plan, he should have planned to do what I told him.

It’s a simple analogy. We can plan whatever we want, but ultimately it’s the Father’s plans that will succeed and be carried out. So if we want our plans to be established and for things to go according to our expectations, there’s only one way that will happen: Align our plans with God’s plans. Live for God’s glory and not our personal happiness.

The Message Version puts verse 3 this way:

Put God in charge of your work,
    then what you’ve planned will take place.

If we let God sit on the decision making seat of our life, if we put him in charge of making the plans, only then can we know that our planning isn’t a waste of time.

Life Application

God, I seek you for your will for my life. Grant me and your church wisdom and guidance and help us to do your will. We commit all our plans to you! Give us the strength today to die to our desires and to live to glorify you. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Proverbs 15

 

Scripture

Proverbs 15:16

“Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.”

Observation-What does it say?

King Solomon continues to share his God given wisdom with us in this chapter. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Money can buy a lot of things, but it does not buy purpose or peace. 

Most, if not all of the verses in proverbs are wisdom that King Solomon learned from personal experience. For example, King Solomon, who was the 2nd son of King David and Bathsheba, also wrote Ecclesiastes. In the book of Ecclesiastes, he tried to find significance and life’s meaning through his wealth, but discovered that the pursuit of wealth was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Eccl. 1:14). Verse 16 in this chapter is similar to that discovery. Fearing God and keeping His commands is what Solomon discovered was the true meaning and purpose of life (Eccl. 12:13-14).

Life Application

Pursue and surrender to God first and watch Him take care of the rest. 

Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added to you. (Matt. 6:33)

I believe that we were all created to serve Someone greater than ourselves. Great turmoil is a result of chasing after things that do not matter in the light of eternity. The thing with chasing after money or anything else worldly is that the more we get, the more we want. We are never satisfied. There is only One who truly satisfies, Jesus, and living our lives in complete surrender and obedience to Him ends the search. It’s just like the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, who desired water that would never have her thirst again…who desired a life where she stopped chasing after desires that proved meaningless in the end. The answer was in surrendering her life to the living water, Jesus. (John 4)

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to Earth to save us and giving us of Your living water. That is the reason that I was drawn to You and opened my heart to Your invitation of salvation, because You showed me that my desires for meaning and purpose could not be fulfilled through empty pursuits of guys, looks, popularity, money, and status, but rather in pursuing You. Thank You for the peace You have brought to my life as a result of me surrendering completely to Your will. Continue to draw me to Yourself. Continue to sustain me and complete Your work in me as I  pursue Your Spirit wholeheartedly and daily put to death the emptiness of the flesh. Amen.

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


Proverbs 14

 

Scripture

Proverbs 14:23

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Solomon recognizes that a good honest day of hard work brings in more value than just merely talking about or planning something with no follow through. That kind of talk will just leave you empty and unfulfilled. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Actions speak louder than words.

Chasing after your dreams and goals in life will get you nowhere without hard work and dedication. Solomon understood the meaning of hard work, and the value that it brings in life. Many times we merely dream big things for ourselves in life yet we rarely see these things come to fruition. We may have the proper planning, and even the right heart behind it, but we just don’t have the follow through. And without the follow through behind that great planning and talk, we are left unsuccessful and discouraged. If you want something in life, it’s gonna take some sacrifice, dedication, proper planning, and yes…hard work to attain it.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Proverbs‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The same goes in the spiritual sense. Many people claim they want more of God. They claim they want to see Jesus. They claim they want to have a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. But at the end of the day, it’s just mere words. There is no action behind them. It’s really unfortunate. The Bible tells us what we need to do to achieve these feats, (such as worship, pray, read His Word, fast, spend time with His people, etc.),  but we sometimes lack the “hard work” and discipline to get these things done. Or sometimes we just prioritize the wrong things in life that we are willing to work hard for. 

Let me encourage you all that true success comes from the Lord. It’s time to put Him as priority number One in our lives! Are we willing to put in the hard work to make that happen?

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

Am I working hard to attain my spiritual goals? Or are they just mere words? 

These past 10 weeks I have been part of a weight loss challenge at work and have definitely been putting in hard work to attain better physical health. I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to lose 30 pounds thus far, and I am on my way to reaching my ultimate goal of being in the best shape of my life before I turn 40 years old next month. However, have I been neglecting my spiritual health because of it? The Bible reminds me:

1 Timothy‬ ‭4:8 -“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 

 I have to be honest here and say that some days I’m so tired from the hard work I’ve been putting in physically, that my spiritual life suffers because of it. I fall asleep during my devotions, my prayer times are being cut shorter, and my priorities may have gotten out of whack! I know I need balance in life. I need both good physical and spiritual health. But I need my spiritual health to have priority here in order to maintain that balance. 

Father God forgive me for the neglect I may have been showing You lately. You deserve the best…MY BEST! I know I haven’t been giving You that lately. I also know it’s Your amazing grace that saves me, and not my hard works. But I pray that my hard works in life are not in vain. Let them be of value to You. Give me the desires to work hard to build Your Kingdom, not my own. In Jesus name I pray Amen.

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


Proverbs 13

 

Scripture

Proverbs 13:24
Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

Observation

The couplets of Proverbs 13 continue to proclaim the wisdom of correction, humility, honesty, prudence, diligence, truth, integrity, and righteousness.

Understanding

Far from being the verse that authorizes capital punishment as a parental strategy, Proverbs 13:24 uses the strongest hyperbole to point out that love must be the motivation behind the instruction and correction that we mete out to our children and that we must love our children enough to discipline and direct. However, when confronted with the courage that it takes to raise up a child in the way that they should go; the hard work it takes to instill the truth and wisdom of the Scriptures into their children’s lives and the inconvenience of holding their children accountable to the consequences of disobedience, so many parents choose to avoid character building conflict and correction; instead opting for pacification over guidance and they salve their guilty conscience by substituting involvement with material extravagance. Into this vacuum of leadership and discipleship flows the godless values of “this present darkness” and the result will be a generation that is amoral; rebellious; entitled; spoiled; disrespectful, and uninspired – truly a Lost Generation. Such will be the legacy of parents who loved their own comfort and peace more than they loved their children.

 Life Application

There is so much more at stake than our own personal comfort and popularity when it comes to raising up the next generation. The current lament at the spiritual and moral condition of today’s youth compels us to counter this demonic strategy by inspiring the youth under our sphere of influence. Whether they be our inheritance and charge by virtue of natural birth or spiritual adoption, God calls and commands us to train up a disciplined and empowered army to wage the battles that await this coming generation in such a way that they will emerge victorious and advance the kingdom of God because they “triumphed…by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11).

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


Proverbs 12

 

Scripture

Proverbs 12:14, 18, 25

14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
    and the work of their hands brings them reward.

18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
    but a kind word cheers it up.

Observation

I continue to love the directness of Proverbs.  I literally laughed out loud with verse one

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.”

We aren’t allowed to say stupid in our house…but there it is in the Bible.  No minced words. 🙂

As we continue to read through the book, though, it can be summarized in a few words – live righteously!  Expanded a bit more…to live righteously, we must:

  • heed counsel
  • watch our words
  • work
  • promote peace

Understanding

The power of our words is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. From the power to speak life and healing…

Proverbs 16:24 – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

To the importance of “fixing” God’s words to our hearts and minds and teaching them to generations to come…

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

In short, our words have power…the power to heal, to bring peace, to speak life and also to speak death and destruction.  But why are our words so important?  It is because our words speak to what is in our hearts. 

Matthew 12:34b For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 16:23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth And adds persuasiveness to his lips.

Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man.

So, in order to live righteously, we must watch our words and guard our hearts.

Life Application

God, may we be mindful of the power of our words today – choosing wisely when and how to speak.  May we consciously speak life into the lives around us – whether in prayer or in conversation with them.  May we be overflowing with your grace, your mercy, your kindness and your love – bringing peace and joy, understanding and love into our interactions with others.  And, in doing so, may people encounter you and come to seek and know you more.  May we also guard our hearts – being mindful of what we surround ourselves with, what we take in…that our words may not fall prey to the enemy.

In your great and powerful name, we pray.  Amen.  

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

– Rei