Bible Reading Plan
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Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
August 24: Ezekiel 5, John 18, Psalm 80
 
 
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!
 

Ezekiel 45

Scripture

Ezekiel 45:21

“‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a festival lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast.

Observation – What does it say?

This new temple after the Israelites are brought back from exile is described with many changes. But one of the things that remains the same is the command of God to observe the Passover. The Passover festival had a very specific purpose of remembering and celebrating the miraculous way God delivered his people from Egypt.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It’s interesting to me that remembrance and celebration of what God has done is a command.

Those people I’ve met who are the most passionate about loving God and loving others seem to all have something in common: They haven’t lost sight of what God has done for them. Their conversion experience hasn’t become old news. There results of continual remembrance are huge!

Psalm 22:27

All the ends of the earth shall remember
    and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    shall worship before you.

That verse shows us that when we remember, the result is turning toward the Lord and worship springing up from our hearts. If we find the joy of our salvation fading and feel a bit stale or complacent, it would do us well to set aside some time to remember and celebrate. Relive in your memory where you were when God found you and the transformation he has brought to your life through Jesus Christ.

As we remember and celebrate, we’ll find our hearts echoing heroes of the faith in scripture:

Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 22:22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

Life Application

Set aside some time today to remember and worship.

God, forgive us for losing sight of all you’ve blessed us with. I know that the enemy would love for us to believe that our life is nothing more than our present struggles. But you have been faithful! You’ve never failed us. Never. Help us to be more intentional about remembering your wonders and declaring your praises. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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

 



Ezekiel 44

Scripture

Ezekiel 44:23-They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

Observation-What does it say?

“This chapter contains ordinances relative to the true priests. The prince evidently means Christ, and the words in verse 2, may remind us that no other can enter heaven, the true sanctuary, as Christ did; namely, by virtue of his own excellency, and his personal holiness, righteousness, and strength. He who is the Brightness of Jehovah’s glory entered by his own holiness; but that way is shut to the whole human race, and we all must enter as sinners, by faith in his blood, and by the power of his grace.” -Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

Understanding-What does it mean?

If the true prince is Christ and He is the only One who could enter the temple, if we are not covered by His blood, we cannot enter the holy temple of God either. Also, as we are covered by the blood of the lamb and receive His Holy Spirit, there will be a difference between us and the “common” or those of the world. We entered in as sinners and have now been cleansed and set apart for Jesus Christ.

Life Application

Because we are cleansed by Jesus’ blood and set apart for Him, can the world see the difference?

What personally encourages me and reminds me to be set apart for Jesus is filling my mind and my thoughts with Scripture. The enemy is the master of deceit and if we are not renewed DAILY in mind, spirit and heart, it’s very easy to be taken captive by the devil’s lies. Here are just a few Scriptures that speak on being set apart from the world. Holy Spirit, may we be washed daily by Your Word and live out what we believe so the world would know that we belong to You alone. Amen. 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom. 12:2

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. John 17:15-18

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19

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

-Michelle Gaddi



Ezekiel 43

Scripture

Ezekiel‬ ‭43:8-9‬ ‭NLT

“They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger. Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.”

Observation-What does it say?

The Israelites were living sinful lives. They were worshiping other kings’ gods, building idol altars next to God’s altar, and honoring the relics of their kings. This drew the Lord’s anger. Now the Israelites were exiled into Babylon. But even through all that, God is a God who will fulfill His promise. He wanted Ezekiel to let the people know that they must stop their foolish behavior, build Him an altar to His specifications, consecrate the altar to His orders, and then He will fulfill His gracious promise of bringing them back to the Promised Land and dwelling in their midst forever.

Understanding-What does it mean?

I’m so glad I serve a God who gives us “second chances” and is true to His word.

God could have easily banished the Israelites forever from the Promised Land and His presence. But instead, He remembers His covenant with Abraham, His promise for his people. He gives them another chance to enter His good grace. God offers the people of Israel repentance. If they repent from their sinfulness and does what He asks of them, He will welcome them back with open arms and dwell with them forever. 

It gets me thinking of all the sinful and foolish things I do against God. Yet because of His promise in Jesus Christ, I am saved from banishment from His presence. It also has me thinking of all the people who have wronged me and how I should give them the same grace that God has shown me in life. I must take a stand and act like a man of God no matter how much I may feel I am wronged or how detestable an act is done against me. God’s grace must prevail every time!

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;”-Daniel‬ ‭9:9

Life Application

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”-Luke‬ ‭17:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Ezekiel 42

Scripture

Ezekiel 42:20b

It had a wall around it, five hundred cubits long and five hundred cubits wide, to separate the holy from the common.

Observation – What does it say?

If you’re anything like me, my brain has a terrible time trying to picture the descriptions in these chapters. Here’s a video that might help…

Understanding – What does it mean?

There is this theme throughout scripture of God’s people being in the world, but separate from it. Not just a separation from sin, but as stated here, separated from what’s common. I felt challenged reading this that God has not saved me, or any of us, so we could go on living an average, common life. We have been set apart for specific purposes.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Just like the temple we read about in Ezekiel, we were created by God to be holy – set apart for his specific purposes. But as great as those things are that God has in store for us to accomplish, they aren’t automatic. We have been given free-will and if we aren’t careful to guard ourselves from the common stuff, we can miss out on those things.

Life Application

I feel the need to ‘build a wall’ in the sense that I create boundaries; boundaries that would keep me from wasting my time on common things that distract me from living on purpose. Paul said that, “everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.” It’s not just about avoiding sin, but it’s about choosing what you want most over what you want right now.

God, forgive me for allowing the common, un-beneficial things to take the place of what’s most important. Help us to live on purpose and to be better about creating boundaries around those things. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

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



Ezekiel 41

Scripture

Ezekiel 41

Observation

In Chapter 40, an account was given of the porch of the house and now this brings us to the temple itself – to include: I. The dimensions of the house, the posts of it (v. 1), the door (v. 2), the wall and the side-chambers (v. 5v. 6), the foundations and wall of the chambers, their doors (v. 8-11), and the house itself (v. 13). II. The dimensions of the oracle, or most holy place (v. 3v. 4). III. An account of another building over against the separate place (v. 12-15). IV. The manner of the building of the house (v. 7v. 16v. 17). V. The ornaments of the house (v. 18-20). VI. The altar of incense and the table (v. 22). VII. The doors between the temple and the oracle (v. 23-26). (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ezekiel/41.html)
 

Understanding

To be honest, whenever I read stuff like this I tend to zone out on what I’m reading and, instead, turn my mind to how incredibly awesome it is that we serve a God who’s in the details.  And I think about the way he created our bodies, our minds, our gifts – likely with even more precision and thought than the temple buildings of the Bible days.  And it makes sense, after all it is said that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  – 1 Corinthians 6:19

And what do the temples represent?  An invitation to worship and be in relationship with God.

Life Application

Knowing that God loves us enough to care about every single detail…and still want relationship with us still overwhelms me to this day. 

Psalm 18:16-19

16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

God, thank you for your love for me, for your love for the lost.  May I live to know you and make you known.  May I mirror your example to show care and consideration in the details.  Thank you for loving me just as I am and may I be an example of that kind of love in the lives of those I encounter today!

In your name, I pray. Amen!

– Rei

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



Ezekiel 40

Scripture

Ezekiel 40:46b

These are the sons of Zadok, who are the only Levites who may draw near to the Lord to minister before him.”

Observation – What does it say?

Ezekiel is given this elaborate vision of a new temple and new city. He has this heavenly tour guide who guides him through the new temple complex. As he measures everything, he finds it’s much larger and more majestic even than Solomon’s temple. It is all part of this redemptive picture of hope; a picture of God’s presence finally returning to his temple, to dwell with his people.

There are new priests serving in this temple, and consistent with the previous temples in Israel’s history, it is only a select few who have God’s permission to draw near to God and minister to him there.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Under the New Covenant, the priesthood isn’t a select few ‘super-spiritual’ Christians, but every single believer.

1 Peter 2:5 NLT And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.

Because we are all priests, we can all take advantage of

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Life Application

Take advantage of what Jesus has done for us! People under the Old Covenant could only come so close to God’s manifest presence, no matter how much they longed to come closer. But we have unlimited access to the throne! We can come boldly to God, confident that we will experience his great mercy and abundant grace to meet all our needs.

– Levi Thompson

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



Ezekiel 39

Scripture

Ezekiel 39:7, 25-29

I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel…..Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.””

Observation-What does it say?

God is saying through Ezekiel that He will take justice against Gog and bury Gog in order to cleanse the nation of Israel. Although God was dealing with the uncleanliness of the nation of Israel, specifically speaking (in this chapter) of taking justice against Gog and burying Gog in order to cleanse that nation, He also spoke about restoring them back to Himself. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” Hebrews‬ ‭8:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This chapter shows the picture of God cleansing a nation, similar to what He did when he sent the flood. However, after the cleansing period, there is a restorative and rebuilding period where He forgets the past and former sin and the nation moves on with the Spirit leading the way.

Life Application

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What do we need to do today to make sure we are in a restorative and rebuilding phase, led by the Holy Spirit instead of falling victim to our past mistakes or the past mistakes done to us? Leave the past behind. Our past does not define who we are and we are not victims of our circumstances. It is the choices we make today and moving forward that count. 

Dear Lord, I pray we would be people who forgive from our heart and don’t allow the bitterness and hurt of the past to define our lives in the future. I pray we would be led by Your Spirit instead of our flesh. I pray for a cleansing in our hearts, mind and body in order to experience the joy and peace of your restorative power whether that be in marriage, with our parents, in relationships with brothers and sisters Christ or even our relationship with ourselves. Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi

 


Ezekiel 38

Scripture

Ezekiel 38: 15-16

“You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, and you will attack my people Israel, covering their land like a cloud. At that time in the distant future, I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you, Gog. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

God gives Ezekiel directions to prophesy against Gog, the ruler of the land called Magog. In this prophecy God informs Gog that he will build a vast army. Gog will form alliances with many nations, and see Israel as ripe for the taking. As the whole world awaits the outcome of what will happen next, God uses this opportunity to display His holiness, power, and might! Now the whole world will see just how great and awesome is God!

Understanding-What does it mean?

Just when you think the odds are stacked against you…God has you right where He wants you.

Gog has formed himself quite an army. The Bible describes it as a vast army. He formed alliances with many nations. Each nation on its own would be a handful for Israel to stop. But all these nations combined together?! It almost spells DOOM for the nation of Israel. I said almost. You see, this was all part of God’s plan. The odds weren’t looking too good for Israel. It looked like this was going to be a total annihilation of Israel! But God was using this as an opportunity to show the whole world (even His own people of Israel), just how great and awesome He is! 

So the next time the odds are stacked against us in life, and things seem insurmountable for us, just remember what kind of God we serve. Because when some people may see the situation we are in as a “death sentence”, God sees it as an opportunity. An opportunity to turn those tests in life into testimonies. Testimonies revealing that our God is an awesome God!

Life Application

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”-‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I pray that I may see those moments in life where it seems all is lost, as opportunities for Christ to perform miracles and display His true power and strength. I pray that these moments may continue to build my faith and be able to witness to the non believers around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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


Ezekiel 37_

Scripture

Ezekiel 37:22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

Observation – What does it say?

As God continues to promise hope and restoration for his people, central to that restoration is a uniting, not only of people to God but people to each other. Where the people were divided, God was going to bring them back together as one.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Have you ever wondered what God’s will was? This verse in Ezekiel gives us a clue. The first chapter in Ephesians makes it a bit more clear:

Ephesians 1:9-10

[God] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

God’s will is to bring all things together under the lordship of Jesus Christ. This is the same picture we see in Ezekiel. Unity is important to God! It’s central to his cosmic plan.

The challenge is that it demands we forgive. It demands we let go of bitterness. And it demands we move beyond peacekeeping to pursuing genuine reconciliation.

Life Application

Prayerfully ask…

– “Are there any people you’re asking me to be reconciled to?”

– “Is there anyone I’m holding onto bitterness toward that I need to forgive?”

– “Are there any people groups (race, gender, denomination, political affiliation) that my heart needs to change toward?”

God, we recognize that unity is so important to you. A house divided cannot stand, so may we build bridges and not walls. Change our hearts so we can genuinely love all people. Amen.
 
-Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Ezekiel 36

Scripture

Ezekiel 36:26-27

 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Observation

This chapter contains 2 prophecies, both relevant to the Jews of Israel.  The first reviews their current physical state and the coming redemption – including abundance, peace and settling in their land once again.  The second concerns their spiritual status – first humbling them through remembrance of their sin, then the redeeming power of God’s mercy and grace. 

Understanding

The Jews find themselves in a bad place – both physically and spiritually – because of their sin and rebelliousness against God.  But we see throughout the Bible that our God is gracious and merciful.

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness… – Exodus 34:6

…for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate.  He will not turn his face from you if you return to him. – 2 Chronicles 30:9

…AND…thus far, the Jews have done nothing to “earn” God’s mercy.  Thankfully,…

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.  – Romans 9:16

God even makes it known it’s not for their sake (v. 32).  But the great news is our God is good.  He knows are deepest darkest parts yet still loves us enough to choose us, call us and clean us up from the inside out. 

Life Application

God, continue to create in me a new heart, a clean heart…one that resembles you more and more. <3  Fill me with your spirit and help me to follow your will for my life – that I may be used to my fullest potential and make you known!

– Rei

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