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

 
 
 
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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!
 

2 Timothy_3

Scripture  

2 Timothy 3:1 

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.

Observation-What does it say? 

Paul is writing this second letter to Timothy from prison.  He had been released, but, then under the rule of Nero was imprisoned again.  This time, instead of being held in house arrest, was in a dungeon with little access to the outside world.  Realistically, Paul is looking at the end of his life coming to an end and he may be writing a goodbye letter to Timothy, with whom he held a relationship like a father and son.  At this time, Paul’s only crime is that he has proclaimed the word of God, and Jesus as the Messiah. “That “the last days” in this passage does not refer only to the time just prior to Christ’s return is apparent from Paul’s command to Timmothy to have nothing to do with the unbelieving and unfaithful people who characterize this time (v. 5).” (Kruidenier, W., Zondervan NASB Study Bible, 1999)   

Understanding-What does it mean?  

One of the highlights of almost every year of my childhood was going to church camp.  From about seven years old, through the end of high school, I looked forward to the week of adventure away from my parents.  As the saying goes, “What happens at camp, stays at camp”… or maybe that wasn’t camp.  I still look at those weeks with fondness and a longing to go back. 

When I got older, I got to be a part of the junior high and high school camp, which was amazing.  The high school camp had a way better campus which included archery and a ropes course.  One of the obstacles in the ropes course was called “The Centurion.”  The centurion was a pine tree, which you climbed 100 feet off the ground, on these four inch steps, to a platform that was four feet wide and four feet long.  And if that isn’t bad enough, they tell you to jump off the platform to a trapeze that is tethered between two trees.  

Despite my terrible fear of heights, I decided I had to do this obstacle.  It was extremely fun climbing up, because I never looked down at the ground.  But, when I stood up on the platform and took the time to look at what I had accomplished, I suddenly remembered I was afraid of heights.  And just like that, I lost complete trust of two things, the safety harness I was wearing and the person holding the rope attached to the safety harness.  After several minutes of complete panic, I remembered that I had seen about ten people ahead of me make it to the ground safely.

Often, I react to life this way.  I ask God to take me to places I have never been.  I tell him I want to trust Him and pray for amazing things to happen in life.  But, when I take a minute to look around, realizing that I need to trust God for things like finances, safety, and health, I go into complete panic mode.  But time and time again in scripture, God tells us “I got this.”  He has seen countless people go through these fears before, and He has brought them to Him.  No matter what happens here on earth, once this life passes, if I am faithful to God’s word, I will see him in the afterlife.  In Matthew 10:28-31, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

Life Application  

Jesus, help me to leap into what I fear.  For I fear the unknown that you have called me to.  Help me to be like Abraham, who left home without knowing what the destination is.  For the only thing that can suffer in not following your call on my life is me.  Your plans are sure, and I know that even when the flood waters arise around me, You will carry me through the waters of life.  Help me to surround myself with people who are striving to hear you.  Help me to seek your Word every day in a way that will let Your glory be seen.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOiZG4Vy_x0
 
-Tyler Galloway


2 Timothy_2

Scripture
 
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul continues his letter to Timothy, exhorting him to Christian behavior.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We belong to Him, We follow Him.
 
Since w​e have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, let’s live a life that is worthy of the price he paid for our redemption.
 
2 Timothy 2:​19- Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
 
Life Application
 
Learn His ways, Follow His ways.  
 
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. 
 
John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
 
Father, I do love you. You have shown your love to me in so many ways, everyday. Even after you sent your Son for me, you still love me everyday. Father forgive me for not following your commandments and loving you the way you deserve to be loved. Holy Spirit, empower me and teach me to love and obey you. May there be less of my flesh and more of your spirit that lives in me. In Jesus Name, Amen.
 

-Deborah Lee



Psalm 16

Scripture   Psalm 16:5  Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

Observation-What does it say?  This psalmist continues praising God through worship, a music most pleasing to our Heavenly Father’s ears. They begin by asking God for safety and then they proceed to glorify Him, by showering Him with compliments.
 
Understanding-What does it mean? First of all, I love how simple their praise to God was. They simply showered Him with compliments and spoke to His nature, which I think often times we put all this built up pressure around. Worship is simply speaking to God and letting Him know how great and wonderful we think He is. Anyway, that was more of a side note. “You alone are my portion and my cup…” I hung on those words for a bit. Lately, I’ve been into having an extended pity party. So much so that I would say it has affected my worship. I even found myself saying this a little bit ago “How can I sing these songs of praise when there are some thing in my life that have yet to be fulfilled or resolved?” I found myself getting angry at the fact that I had gotten in three car accidents this past year (no injuries in any) despite praying every time I get behind the wheel. I began blaming my shortcomings on God, rather than praising the fact that HE IS FAITHFUL. Yeah, I got in three car accidents but I’ve gotten out of every one of them unscathed. 
There is only one thing in this world that can satisfy. One thing that calms our every anxiety, stress, or worry. One thing that remains constant and for that should be our only portion. Even when I don’t understand what is going on or why things happen the way that they do I know one thing is for certain: my God is greater and He is enough. He provides when I don’t even see it, He cares for me even when I’ve turned my back on Him, He alone is my portion. My one true cause. 
 
Life Application Live in a way that brings worship to God even when you think He isn’t watching. If we believe that He alone is our portion and our cup, then our lives better reflect it. No more timid Christianity. It’s time to take pride in the one who created us and provides no matter the cost. He already paid the ultimate price, the least I can do is live a life of gratitude and worship. Worship is only speaking to His nature and thanking Him for His goodness. Words are not the only praise that should come from our bodies, our actions should be a living sacrifice to our one true portion, who despite any circumstance cares deeply for us. God, may I live a life that brings You honor, may I remind myself everyday when I wake up that Your plans for me are good, no matter the situation I may find myself in. May I not only rely on You when I need, but may You be the center of my being. Align my heart to Yours and may Your will be done in and through me. So be it! Amen.
 
-Allison Khan


2 Chronicles 9

Scripture
 
2 Chronicles 9:22-24; 30-31
 
22 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 23 Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 24 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules…..30 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31 When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
God kept His promise. Let’s back up to 2 Chronicles 1. God told King Solomon to ask Him for anything and He will do it. King Solomon knew that the job He was called to as King was a big job and He needed the Lord’s help and wisdom, so He asked for wisdom. God was impressed that he didn’t ask for wealth, possessions, honor, death of enemies or long life, so God answered His prayer for wisdom, but also said He would throw in worldly riches and success and honor as well. (Please read 2 Chronicles 1 and read Deborah Lee’s post dated August 1st if you missed it).
This chapter shows that God kept His promise and revealed the legacy that King Solomon left before he died, which had nothing to do with how rich he was by the way.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God keeps His promises.
 
When we read this chapter, we can’t help but give glory to God. All the wisdom and riches that King Solomon was blessed with could only be from God. He was the richest and wisest King there was before and after his reign, because God knew his heart would not be ruled it. The Lord was the King of Solomon’s heart. He reminds me of his father, King David, who Scripture describes as a “man after God’s own heart.”
 
Life Application
 
Leave a legacy that will last for eternity.
 
What legacy are we leaving?
 
King Solomon lived His life honoring the Lord, connected and dependent on the Vine. The honor and riches and success were just a secondary benefit. When King Solomon left this world, He couldn’t take any of those riches with Him, yet His faith and friendship with the Lord lasted for eternity. The goal is not to ask for the riches and successes that King Solomon had. The goal is to ask for more of Jesus and to be men/women after God’s own heart. Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added unto You (Matthew 6:33).
 
The following verses are from a chapter in another one of our readings this morning. It fits so well.
 
1 Tim 6:6-10; 17-19
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows…….17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
 
Dear Lord, I pray that the legacy we leave will be that You were #1 in our lives. May any secondary benefits that come from putting You first point others back to You Jesus. Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm_14

Scripture

Psalm 14:5-7

But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
    for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores his people,
    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

       New International Version

Terror will grip them,
    for God is with those who obey him.
The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,
    but the Lord will protect his people.

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
    When the Lord restores his people,
    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

       New Living Translation

Observation

Although it’s unconfirmed exactly what Saul was facing when this Psalm was written, it’s clear he felt oppressed and/or opposed by unbelievers.   

Understanding

The message is clear…

       God is with those who obey Him

       The Lord will protect His people

       The Lord restores His people

And the third (verse 7) is my favorite…

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?
    When the Lord restores his people,
    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

It’s not a matter of if God will restore, but when; and we are reminded throughout Psalms that we serve a God who restores, who draws near, who heals, who rescues.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  – Psalm 34:18

The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.  – Psalm 41:3

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.  – Psalm 53:6

And, if we believe that our God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever more, then it’s safe to say, we still serve a God of restoration today. 

Life Application

God is the great restorer.

Restorer of relationships, hearts, people. 

Restoration can take many looks – healing, the righting of wrongs, forgiveness, being made whole, providing peace – all of which we need today.

May we cry out like David for the restoration we desire and need today – in our families, in our nation, in the hearts of those we love.

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



2 Chronicles 7

Scripture  2 Chronicles 7:4-5 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

Observation-What does it say? After the nation of Israel worked to build the temple, and to fill it with all the different articles, including the altar, golden bowls, spoons etc., they brought forth an offering.  A sacrifice offering that totaled approximately 26,000,000 pounds of oxen and 18,000,000 pounds of sheep.  But before the sacrifice was accepted, Solomon prayed.  Solomon pleaded with God that he would hear the nation of Israel when they cried out to him.  God, in return revealed Himself to Israel in the form of fire.   

Understanding-What does it mean?  Dodger stadium, which is the largest stadium in the major league, holds 56,000 fans.  As I was reading this passage, I got this picture of piling the field at Dodger stadium full of sheep and cows.  After all of the field, and probably most of the field level seats, the left and right field pavilion, plus some of lodge level were filled three and four animals deep, we started a prayer service somewhere in China town.  As P.E.T.A begins their protest for the unethical treatment of the animals, God sends His fire down on Dodger stadium and consumes the whole place.  Not only would the fire be visible for almost one hundred miles, but the heat would be felt from quite a distance as well.  It sort of brings a whole new meaning to the God being a consuming fire.  

I am guilty of not realizing the power of prayer in my life.  Multiple times through scripture, we are warned not to turn away from God because he is a consuming fire.  Deuteronomy 4:23-24 tells us to not “forget the covenant of the Lord your God” because He is a jealous God.  In Hebrews 12:28-29, the author tells us, “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God” because He is a consuming fire.  We are both warned of His power to destroy us, and to lift us up using the same phrase.  In my opinion, I would rather see the fruits of kneeling before him and the result of turning away. 

Life Application  Jesus, help me to kneel before you everyday.  Let me know the joy of not only bringing my requests before you, but also of hearing you speak.  Help me to be part of the generation that sees your fire in glory, and not in rage.  Help me to take joy in the discipline of coming before you.  

-Tyler Galloway



1 Timothy_3

Scripture 

1 Timothy 3:2-7  2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife,temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

Observation

The Apostle Paul continued in his letter to Timothy about the qualifications of a person being admitted to the office of a bishop or deacon. 

Understanding 

Shouldn’t we all live in a way that we too could be an overseer?

Above reproach 

Faithful to our spouse 

Temperate

Self-controlled

Respectable

Hospitable

Teachable

Not given to drunkenness

Not violent but gentle

Not quarrelsome

Not a lover of money

Manage our family well 

(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

Growing in our relationship with God 

Good reputation 

Application 

Matthew 16:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Father, you have called all of us who have been saved, to go and make disciples, to oversee those who want to follow you. Father, empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in a way that is leading people towards you, starting with my family. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Deborah Lee 



Psalm 11

Scripture
 
Psalms ‭11:1-7‬ ‭NLT
 
“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm of David, David reiterates Who he finds refuge in (The Lord Almighty). As chaos and disorder begin to surround David, his counselors urge him to flee. But David stands firm. David knows that God is his protector, and that God is in control. David knows that he serves a God of truth and justice…and despises those who love evil. David understands the wrath of fire and brimstone that awaits the wicked. So David remains steadfast in his faith. David will fight his battles with the Lord God Almighty leading the way.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God is in control.
 
You ever hear people ask the question, “How can God let this bad stuff happen in the world?!” It’s a question I have heard quite a bit now. With all the tragedies surrounding us, (most recently in Texas and Ohio), it’s a question that one can hear daily. It is even a question we as Christians can find ourselves asking. My response to that question would be “It’s because of a lack of God’s presence in this world is why these bad things are happening.” We as people have managed to kick God out of our schools, workplaces, and governments. We as a people are now so offended when someone brings up God in a conversation, or we see someone praying in a lunch table, or even walking with a Bible in their hand! We as a people have managed to think that we know better than God!..that we can manage this world ourselves! Now where did that leave us?! Just turn on your local news. I’m sure it won’t take long for us to see.
 
But there is good news. God is STILL in control. Even with all the evil in this world, God is in control. He is at the throne of Heaven, observing our every action, hearing our every thought and prayer. God is waiting on us. Are we as a nation ready to turn back to Him? Are we as Christ Followers ready to stand in the gap, and pray on behalf of this nation? I encourage you to trust God (the way David did). See what God can do through all of this. We serve a God of order and justice. Let Him lead our way!
 
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”-2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭
 
Life Application
 
Pray for our nation and its leaders.
 
Father God, I pray for our nation today. I pray for our leaders. I pray that You may instill them with wisdom on how to lead the people in a way that pleases You. Forgive us God for thinking we know what’s better for us. Forgive us Lord for turning our backs on You. Lord God Almighty, You are in control. Help us trust in You and Your ways once again. Heal our nation Lord. Restore this nation to make us whole again. Make us one nation, under God, (under Your reign and protection Lord). We give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 
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1 Timothy__1

Scripture 1 Timothy 1:3-7  3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul wrote this letter to his protege/disciplee, Timothy.  Timothy was a young Pastor and this is the first letter Paul wrote to him. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Be on guard towards false doctrines.
 
Paul “urges Timothy to be on guard for false teachers and false doctrine (gotquestions.org).” He also urges him of his call to stay in Ephesus in order to oppose false teachers, as many were teaching false doctrines. Paul didn’t want Timothy to fall into that trap with his own ministry. 
 
Life Application
 
Stay connected to Truth through God’s Word. 
 
With everything we read, listen to, people tell us, we “hear from God” etc., we need to make sure it lines up with what God says in His Word. We should also have it confirmed by a trusted Spirit filled person/leader(s). The reason why we need to bounce it off another Spirit filled person or people is because the enemy is also well versed in Scripture, yet he is the master of deception and lies. He knows how to twist God’s Word out of context. The temptation of Jesus is proof of that. Because Jesus was so immersed in the Scriptures daily,  the enemy couldn’t get a foothold in his life.  I pray that we as Believers would be the same way. Dear Lord, I pray that we would meditate on your word day and night, as David did in the Psalms and be so well versed in Your Word and so connected to You, our vine, that the enemy cannot have a foothold in our life. I pray that we would fill our minds with Your Truth daily. Amen.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Psalm 9

Psalm 9:9-12 (ETRV) 9 Many people are suffering- crushed by the weight of their troubles. But the LORD is a refuge for them, a safe place they can run to. 10 LORD, those who know your name come to you for protection. And when they come, you do not leave them without help. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits as King in Zion. Tell the nations about the great things he has done. 12 He punishes murderers and remembers those who are in need. When suffering people cry for help, he does not ignore them.
 
I am always shocked when there is a mass killing anywhere in the world, but even more so in America it seems to be picking up momentum.  The latest one in El Paso has left me feeling even more vulnerable than ever because I am struck by how many of us go to Walmart all the time, never expecting that someone would open fire on us.  I read this Psalm this morning and I felt that God spoke it to my heart – God is a refuge, when we His people call to Him he does not leave us without help – He does not ignore us.  
 
Will you call out to God on behalf of our nation.  Come to Him and pray protection over America and this world.  David reminds us that God will hear and do something about it.  
 
Pastor Gary