Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Psalm_148

Scripture
 
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭148:5‬ ‭NLT
 
“Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
David writes this Psalm giving praise to the Lord. David’s Psalm expresses how all things should give praise to the Lord. From the angels and armies in Heaven, to the moon and the sun, to the stars in the sky, and to the running waters and living beings on earth. Give praise! Because it was God who spoke all these things into existence, and without Him none of these things that surrounds us would be possible! So give praise to Him! From the heavens up above, to the creatures here below. Give God the praise He deserves.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
All glory and honor belongs to God!
 
“They said, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God forever and ever. Amen!”-‭‭Revelation‬ ‭7:12‬ ‭
 
This Psalm is a humbling reminder to me that I am nothing without God. That He is the One who provides me strength to do my job. He is the One who provided this job for me. God is the One who gives my family and I safekeeping each and every day. God is the One who surrounds me with the people in my life to help shepherd me into a closer relationship with Him. It is because of God, who sent His only son Jesus to shed blood for me, that I am saved and freed of my sins. It is all because of Him, I am who I am today.
 
Life Application
 
Give God the praise He deserves not only with your words, but with your actions.
 
You ever watch a music awards show and see someone win an award, get on stage, get on the microphone to give their speech, and the first thing they say is “I want to thank God for this award. Because without Him, none of this would be possible.” I’m sure we all have. But if you’re like me, have you ever sat there and thought, “wait a minute, isn’t this person’s songs about objectifying women, murdering fools on the streets, and chasing that money?” Sure it was nice to give God praise and a shout out during their speech. But does this person’s actions and behavior truly give God the praise and honor He deserves?..Especially knowing that the God we serve hates sin?🤔
 
Christians already have this unfair reputation of being hypocrites as it is. Why feed into even more? If I am claiming to be a Christ-Follower, I better be sure that my actions are matching up with the words coming out of my mouth. Praising God should start with the words we speak, the songs we sing, which translates our daily behavior into a form of praise and worship to honor Him. This way we are sure to be praising God whole-heartedly!❤   
 
-Moses Gaddi


Galatians_5

Scripture

Galatians 5:22-26 NIV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul was encouraging the church that they were free from the law because they now walked in the Spirit. The church was trying to be justified by the law.  Paul was reminding them that they were now free from the law. Being free from the law didn’t give them a license to live in the flesh and bondage to sin, but rather, gave them freedom to be led by the Spirit.

Understanding-What does it mean? 

As Christ followers, we are led by the Spirit, not by the law.

The church was trying to gain their righteousness through following the law. Paul knew that justification through the law would make Christ’s sacrifice null and void. There would be no need for His grace if that was the case (Verse 4). Paul understood what he was saved from and the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice that had given him freedom from the law.  He was the most zealous religious person there was. He followed the law to a T. He was blameless if his righteousness was based on the law (please read Philippians 3:5-6). 

Life Application

Be led by the Spirit, not the law.

Once a Believer makes the decision to accept Christ’s invitation for salvation and makes a public declaration of it through baptism, the Holy Spirit enters his/her life. The Holy Spirit produces His fruits in us as we continue to be led by Him. He is the One who convicts us of sin. He is the One who enables us to follow God’s Word and apply it. We cannot mistake the law for the Spirit. The law keeps us in bondage. The Spirit frees us from sin and bondage. 

I’ve personally noticed that I feel a bigger burden on my life when I try to be a law abider and try to check off everything I need to do right as a Christian. Outwardly, I can sometimes pull it off, but in my heart and mind, it’s impossible. I tend to create an even bigger struggle for myself. However, when I allow His Spirit to lead me, there’s more love, peace and joy in my life because those are HIS fruits produced in me. We are not meant to produce our own fruits. That has always been His job, not ours. That has always been His burden to carry, not ours.

Thank You Jesus for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for His role in giving us faith in You and molding and making us to be more like You. I pray that we would continue to walk in step with Your Spirit and not the flesh. Thank Your for being greater than the one who is in the world and that we are overcomers, as 1 John 4:4 says, because of that truth. Amen.

Here is the chorus of one of the songs we sing in church called “Freedom”. It fits today’s chapter.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is

There is freedom, there is freedom

Where the Spirit of the Lord is

There is freedom, there is freedom

Come out of the dark,

Just as you are

Into the fullness of His love

The Spirit is here

Let there be freedom

Let there be freedom  

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_146

Scripture

Psalm 146:6

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.

Observation

A Psalm of David, speaking to who God is.

Understanding

A new favorite song is “Yes and Amen”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkHo70DeiMM

Like today’s scripture, the lyrics speak to who our Father is, His character, His promise…His faithfulness.

Earlier in the scripture it says not to put your trust in princes – because they die and, often, their plans along with them.  But what do we know of God’s word, God’s plans?

Isaiah 55:11

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (NIV)

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (ESV)

Prince may not be a relatable context for us today.  But I think it’s worth giving thought to – who and what do you/I put your/my trust in?  Is it something temporary?  Something that will pass or change?  Or is it our ever constant, never changing faithful creator and Father?

Life Application

God, I’m grateful to be able to put my trust in you.  Thank you for revealing your character and your love for me day after day.  May my character reflect you in me.  May I live in faith, trust in and reflection of you. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Galatians_3

Scripture  

Galatians 3:2-3 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?

Observation-What does it say?  

The book of Galatians was written to a number of churches in the region of Galatia, or present day Turkey.  Paul’s visits to this area are recorded in Acts 13 and 14.  Paul taught that repentance and faith lead us to receive God’s forgiveness and new life.  However, after he left the area, a group of Jewish-Christians came in and began preaching circumcision and adherence to the Mosaic law as a precursor to God’s grace.  Many of the believers in the area had begun following these rules in place of living by faith.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“You can’t smoke.  You can’t drink. And, you can’t drink.”  These “rules” were very important not to break as a “Christian.”  Or at least that is how I understood it as a kid.  Being a Christian meant a life of abstaining from the things that were deemed “A SIN.”  Those three things were at the top of the list, and we didn’t even think about talking about sex.  It was like I lived in some alternate form of the movie “Footloose.”  Which, ironically enough, I remember my mom watching a lot.

These rules had been passed down from my great grandfather, who was a very charismatic preacher in the South.  And, although at a young age I had a real moment where, through the Holy Spirit, I came to understand that I was a sinner and needed God’s grace, shortly after I knew that I couldn’t break these rules.  I never quite understood why these things were so bad, but I knew those were the things “Sinners” did and I was not supposed to act like that.  I also remember feeling quite burdened by the weight of having to follow the rules.

I think this is largely still present in how Christianity is viewed.  We are seen as a bunch of hypocritical “goody two shoes.”  Later in Galatians, Paul encourages them to do away with the mindless adherence to laws, in favor of a life led by the Spirit, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (5:1).”  Even Jesus told us to do away with striving to attain all of the precepts of Mosaic law, stating that all the law is fulfilled in loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:36-40).  

As it turns out, what I perceived as a bunch of rule following can actually be attained when we let go of the rules.  It comes as a result of my love for Christ.  We learn about this in the book of James.  The brother of Christ points out that a life steeped in the Holy Spirit leads to good works (James 2:18-25).  And so as we lean on the Holy Spirit, we naturally begin to abstain from things that would only hinder a close relationship with him (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Life Application

Jesus, ultimately I want nothing else than to be with you.  So help me to get a little closer to you everyday.  I want to walk away from the things that distract me from you.    And I want to thank you for taking the burden of sin away from me by dying on the cross.

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

-Tyler Galloway



Numbers_27

Scripture

Numbers 27:15-23

15 Moses said to the Lord, 16 “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,[a] and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. 21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.”

22 Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the Lord instructed through Moses.

Observation-What does it say?

Zelophehad’s daughters had a dilemma that they took up to Moses, Eleazer the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the Tent of Meeting. Moses ended up going directly to the Lord FIRST for wisdom. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Moses went to the Lord for wisdom and then obediently followed through with God’s directions in faith.

Instead of making a decision based on his own knowledge or opinion, Moses went to the Lord.  Not only did he go to the Lord to obtain direction, but he was obedient to His response. 

Life Application

Go to the Lord for wisdom and direction. Follow through with His directives in faith. 

We get wisdom and direction through staying connected in prayer, His Word, and through Spirit filled people/leaders in the Body of Christ. In everything we do, we should seek the Lord. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”-Jeremiah 29:13

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” -John 10:27

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”-John 14: 15-17”

Dear Jesus, I pray for humble hearts so that we would constantly seek You for wisdom and be faithful to obey when You give us direction.  Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Galatians_1

Scripture
 
Galatians 1:10
 
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the churches of Galatia. He is reprimanding them for falling so easily away from God. They were being fooled by people who were preaching a “counterfeit” message of the gospel. These people were twisting the words of Christ for their own selfish benefit. Paul understands his letter won’t be winning him any popularity contests with the people of Galatia, but he knows it is something that has to be addressed. It’s God’s way over his way.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Playing for an audience of One.
 
Paul knew he wasn’t going to be liked by these people who he was calling out on the carpet. I mean, who in this world likes to be thrown under the bus like that anyway?! But Paul understood the importance of his mission. His mission was to build God’s Kingdom. He knew that God put this responsibility on him. A responsibility to shepherd these people and grow these people to become more mature Christ Followers. He didn’t care whose feelings he hurt along the way, as long as the message of Christ was being upheld with integrity and honor, and Christ’s people were being brought up in that same manner. The truth had to be told! And let’s face it, sometimes the truth hurts!
 
Being a Christ Follower isn’t about being popular with others. As a matter of fact, Jesus tells us that the world will hate us because we follow Him.
 
“And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”-Matthew‬ ‭10:22‬ ‭NLT
 
Being a Christ Follower is about living a life that is pleasing to God and no one else! Making the right choice in life can be a difficult decision to make. It may cause us friction amongst our family and friends. But at the end of the day, God is going to hold us each accountable for our life’s choices. It is Him alone that I need to be concerned with pleasing.
 
“In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”-Proverbs 3:6 TLB
 
Life Application
 
Called to a higher standard of living.
 
With being a Christ Follower, a leader at home, work, and church, I am called to live my lifestyle a certain way. God demands my excellency in each aspect of them. People are watching. They’re seeing how I react and behave in certain situations. I am called to a higher standard because of who I am in Christ and what he has entrusted me with. I must set a Godly example the way Jesus did for his disciples. How did Jesus do it? By staying connected with God, His people, and showing love to others along the way. No matter how much people hated Jesus for doing it, Jesus followed God’s will ’til the very end, which is something I should be striving for each day.
 
God, give me the strength to follow You no matter how difficult a choice it may be. May You give me the courage and the boldness to stand firm and strong in my faith. May the love I have for You come first and foremost in every decision I make, and may I have no hesitations because of the repercussions it may result in. I love You Lord. May my actions prove it. In Jesus name, Amen.  
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.  
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_142

Scripture

Psalm 142:1-2

I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.
Observation – What does it say?

David was on the run, now hiding in a cave. The man he had devoted himself to honor and serve, King Saul, was after him. In his fear, discouragement and exhaustion, he cries out to God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Go to God with your complaint.

David could have complained to others and spread negative reports about Saul, but even when Saul was clearly in the wrong David chose to honor him. David learned the importance of honoring those he served with and served under. He wasn’t willing to gossip or slander or try to get people on his side against Saul. Rather, he complained to God and asked God for help.

James 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

James 4:11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another.

Proverbs 11:9 With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors…

Right after penning this Psalm, David had opportunity to kill Saul yet he refused to lift his hand against the king. He dealt with his negative emotions alone with God, so he could respond graciously and humbly toward Saul. He set a great example for us to deal with negative emotions alone with God. Then, instead of fighting against each other, fighting for unity, “making every effort” to preserve it.

Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Life Application

Guard our unity by guarding my tongue.

God has been doing great things among us, and a key strategy of the enemy is to stop that by bringing division from within (think about Satan entering Judas, causing him to betray Jesus as one of the 12). A house divided cannot stand. I feel such strong conviction that we fight to honor with our words and not tear down. And, if we have issue with someone, go first to God with it and then to that person in grace and humility, following the biblical model for conflict resolution found in Matthew 18:15-17.
 
– Levi Thompson


Psalm_141

Scripture

Psalm 141:5

Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
    for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

Observation

A psalm of David – starting out with a request that God come quickly when he calls, that his prayers would be received as a fragrant offering, requesting God to help him – protect his heart and his mouth, the way he speaks.  Then an open invitation for accountability. 

Understanding

Wow, what if we all approached life with that open invitation of accountability?

Much of the dissension in church comes out of accountability…perhaps not always done right, but rarely received well. But that’s kind of what this whole “doing life together” is all about.  So what do we really want?  Do we want a “family” that will allow us to be comfortable, complacent in our faith?  Or do we want people that will push us and stretch us, inviting us to the greatness God has called us to? 

It’s like going to the gym but not actually wanting to get any more fit…or getting angry at the personal trainer we hired for pushing us to eat better or work harder.  Seems silly in that context, doesn’t it?   So, why is it we experience such resentment when we are stretched in our faith?  Will we choose to be comfortable or surround ourselves with those who won’t allow us to settle for less that God’s greatest plan for our lives?

Life Application

God, thank you for the reminder that you’ve called me not to comfort, but to greatness.  May I seek and welcome accountability.  May I choose to be stretched and pushed, molded into your will.  May I pursue life on the edge of faith over going through the motions…and may it be to your honor and your glory, impacting those I interact with today and everyday. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

-Rei

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



Luke_22

Scripture

Luke 22:47-48  

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Observation-What does it say?

There is a lot going on in this chapter.  Jesus is entering Jerusalem during the passover, knowing he is going to be betrayed and handed over to be crucified.  He eats a last meal with his closest friends.  He predicts Peter’s denial of Him and ends a debate about who is the greatest amongst the disciples.  He also confronts His friend who is betraying Him.  During this, Jesus never turned away from the task at hand.  He was focused on completing the assignment God had given Him.  To die for the sins of the world.

Understanding-What does it mean?

My favorite moments in the bible are the ones where we get to see that Jesus is both fully human, with the same emotions that you and I feel, and fully God, able to carry out a plan that had been set forth since before time.  When He questions Judas, “are you betraying me?,”  you can feel the pain in His voice.  Judas was someone he spent a lot of time with, shaping and molding into a person who could change the lives of a multitude.  Instead, Judas traded the promise of eternity for a few pieces of silver.

I have all too often been in the shoes of Judas, betraying my Jesus for a cheap imitation.  Advice of someone who is not chasing after a connection with my Creator.  The allure of riches to be had.  A fleeting hope of notoriety through my hard work.  All the while, Jesus is calling out to me to be with him.

One of the ways that I can turn from striving for an empty promise, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is through service.  Paul gives us an example of what this looks like in Philippians 2:3-8.  Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Life Application

Jesus help me to always strive to live like you.  Help me to place the needs of others ahead of my own.  Give me eyes to see those around me with your eyes, as children that you have created for communion with you.  And forgive me for trading your riches for a cheap imitation. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99ZfAHfE98  

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

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm_139

Scripture

Psalm 139:1-6; 13-14; 23-24 NIV

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain……For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well……Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Observation-What does it say?

In this Psalm, David is declaring the following truths about God and himself. God knows all things. He’s omniscient. (Verses 1-6) God is present everywhere. (7-16) David states his hatred to sin, and desire to be led on the right path. (17-24). (Matthew Henry commentary on Christianity.com)

Understanding-What does it mean?

God knows us better than anyone! 

Nothing is hidden from His sight, especially when it comes to us, His children. He formed us. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, and every intricate detail of our lives that not even our parents or spouses know because He was literally there. He was present through all of it! 

Life Application

Be completely honest when praying to God and don’t hide from Him.

I think it’s funny when we try to hide stuff from the Lord. He already knows our inmost thoughts, mind, heart and struggles. He’s omniscient, which means He knows ALL things. We are much like Adam and Eve, who felt so ashamed of their sin and nakedness that they hid from Him. When we run from God, that’s when trouble happens. We must run TO Him through all of it. Nothing phases Him and His light is so bright that not even the darkness can dim it. (See verses 11 and 12).

The most righteous people I know are not righteous because they are perfect. They are able to live righteous lives because they recognize their need for a Savior and the Holy Spirit’s guidance every single day. We all know King David’s story. It wasn’t perfect, much like many of ours, yet He was called a man after God’s own heart because He was desperate and thirsty for God. His Psalms prove that. He took every struggle to the Lord in prayer, did not hide from Him and was utterly desperate and in need of more of Him and His grace every day. It’s a righteousness that flowed through Christ alone. Let’s follow David’s example and be desperate and thirsty for God and pursue holiness/righteousness through daily unhindered prayers, reading His Word, protecting our weekly Sabbath day with Him, and connecting with our church family.

Dear Lord, I pray Psalm 139:23-24 over us all today, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi