Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

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

James 1

Scripture
 
James 1:2-3
 
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
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Observation
 
James is  writing a letter to the church that is scattered abroad. He is writing them to encourage them all to live a life of faith; faith in Jesus Christ.
 
Understanding
 
Jesus is at work throughout all our circumstances in life.
 
James writes in verse 2 to consider it a pure joy whenever trials come your way. Let’s be honest here, how many of us love it when trials come our way? But James encourages the church to look at those difficult times in life as an opportunity to grow in their faith. While many may see those instances in life as either God abandoning them or disciplining them, people like James (the spiritually mature) will be able to see the good in it. They understand that they are not truly in control of their life, God is. They learn to submit to God’s will and God’s ways. They will have a true understanding that God is good, and He is for them. So even through these difficult circumstances, their faith remains in God. They know that it is through these trials that God’s powers are revealed, that God will deliver them from it, and their faith will continue to grow. Let’s face it, it’s easy to praise and thank God when things are going well for us. But let’s remember to continue to give him praise even in those troubled times.
 
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Like my muscles grow when they are exercised and put under stress, I will allow Jesus to grow me spiritually during the difficult and stressful times in my life.
 
Today I look to embrace whatever situation God throws my way. I have faith that Jesus is with me, and no matter what the circumstance, I will seek His purpose for it, and find joy through it! 
Thank You Jesus for being by my side through all of life’s ups and downs. As I know difficult times are inevitable in life, I only ask and pray that You help me to remain strong in You Jesus when they do arise. May You continue to grow me as we get through these times together and may You get all the glory and honor when it’s all said and done. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


2 Samuel 24

Scripture

2 Samuel 24:24

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.

Observation

Against the protest of Joab, David issues a census that all the fighting men of Israel should be counted. After doing so, David is convicted by, and confesses, his actions even though they were prompted by the Lord. Perhaps David was sensitive to the prideful motive with which he carried out the Lord’s decree or from the fact that he found his peace and security in the numbers of his army instead of the power of the Captain of the Host of Heaven. Whatever the reason, through the seer Gad, God offers David three options for atonement. David defers to the wisdom and mercy of the Lord’s decision; resulting in three days of plague over Israel that would have resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem had the Lord not relented and stayed the hand of the avenging angel. Gad then instructs David to erect an altar and offer sacrifices to the Lord at the threshing floor of Araunah. Though Araunah offers to give David the land, David insists on buying it; refusing to offer sacrifices to the Lord that costs him nothing. In doing so, David provides the model for sacrificial worship, service and giving that all God’s people should follow. David’s attitude and offering are acceptable to the Lord and God removes the plague from Israel.

Understanding    

David had no clue that this singular, apparently unconnected act obedience and humility before the Lord was intertwined with the past, present and future fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.

It is by no coincidence that God instructs David to offer sacrifices at the threshing floor of Araunah…

  • The threshing floor was located on Mount Moriah where Abraham had offered to sacrifice his firstborn son, Isaac – a Christ-type and foreshadowing of Jesus’ substitutionary death.
  • The purchase of the land (as well as the preservation of Jerusalem) secured the site where Solomon would build the temple for the true worship of Israel’s God.
  • It is on the Temple Mount that Jesus would proclaim the Kingdom of God, would be sentenced to death and from where He would be led to Calvary to be sacrificed for the sins of the world,
  • It is on this Temple Mount where Jesus will return in glory as the triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Life Application

I am challenged to live in light of the truth that, as one of the redeemed of the Lord, my life exists within a greater plan than I can perceive. As opposed to what Darwin would suggest, I am so much more than a purposeless, albeit highly evolved, beast. I am wonderfully and fearfully made and, by God’s desire and design, I am part of history – His Story! That gives my life great import and significance and forces me to consider my actions and attitudes beyond the limited scope of my own personal existence but in view of the eternal plan of God in and through me. From God’s perspective, my obedience in the now has far reaching implications and is but one of the individual threads necessary for the master weaver to craft His tapestry of redemption for mankind.

Lord, help me to recognize that even the smallest act of worship and obedience is important in the grand scheme of things. May I always remember that my choices have the power to impact generations to come; either positively or negatively. May my decisions not be made merely from the perspective of how they affect me; but in consideration of how they may either help or hinder your higher purpose.
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
Gary Parker


2 Samuel 23

Scripture
 
2 Samuel 23:2-4
 
“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
    his word was on my tongue.
The God of Israel spoke,
    the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
    when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
    on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
    that brings grass from the earth.’
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The beginning of this chapter are David’s last words, basically his last will and testament. This was written after the Psalms and his last words were also inspired by the Holy Spirit, meaning it is God’s words as if it came from the Lord’s mouth. David was used as the messenger. (vs. 2) The beginning of what David said in verses 2-4 is what stood out to me.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Be the light in a darkened world.
 
When one rules in righteousness, in fear/respect of God, he brings the light out of the darkness.
 
 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (1 John 4:4)”
 
“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:16)”
 
Life Application
 
Jesus brings about the change from the inside out, which makes us lights in a darkened world.
 
There is a noticeable difference between a leader that brings refreshing to one’s souls and a leader that leads for his/her own gain, without a humble heart before the Lord. David explained that a ruler who rules in the fear of God and in righteousness is the type of leader we should strive to be. When we became Christ followers, we automatically became leaders. We became leaders because we are now set apart from the world. We prove to be set apart by our choices in our workplaces, in our homes, with our families, in our church, and our community. 
 
Holy Spirit, thank You that Your Spirit in us is greater than the spirit that is in the world. Please continue to help us lead from a place of humility and respect before You, pursuing purity and righteousness. I pray that we would be set apart for You alone and as a result, the world would glorify Your name. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


2 Samuel 22

Scripture

2 Samuel 22:1

David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

Observation – What does it say?

David had just been at war with the Philistines. In this series of battles, David’s men killed 4 giants. In one instance, David himself was about to fall at the hands of the giant Ishbi-Benob when one of David’s men, Abishai, struck him down and rescued David.

At the end of all of it, rather than writing a song about his great leadership or the accomplishments of his men, he writes a song giving the Lord all the credit.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Although men fight the battles, it’s God who gives the victory.

It’s so common to find people who overcame addictions, climbed the corporate ladder, got rich or achieved great things and claim all the credit for themselves. It’s because they were determined, they worked hard, they were smart and talented. David could have tried to make the same arguments… if he was a fool.

Instead, David recognized that God was the source of everything good. It is God who gives a man strength and wisdom, it is God who fills a man’s heart with determination. And, it is God who – regardless of the strength, talent, wisdom, skills, etc. of the people involved – determines the victory. Remember when God used the little shepherd boy to bring down the giant and trained killer, Goliath.

Life Application

Give God the glory!

God, I recognize that anything good that has come from my life has been because of you. You are the one who has freed me from addictions, who has turned my life around, who has given me a purpose and equipped me to fulfill it. Every achievement, every compliment from others, I lay at your feet today. You deserve all the credit, honor and glory. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


2 Samuel 21

Scripture

2 Samuel 21:15-16

15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekelsa] and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David.

Observation

Most people know the story of David and Goliath – when David, as a young boy, boldly killed the giant for the glory of Lord and protection of God’s people.  As you may recall, Goliath was a giant of the Philistine army.  Even now, towards the end of David’s reign, the Philistines continued to be a major source of conflict.  David had subdued them MANY times before, yet they continued to challenge them at every opportunity.  In vs. 15 they had once again begun a war.  David, though aged by now, joined his men in fighting; but he became exhausted and Ishbi-Benob was ready to take advantage.

By this time in life, David had gained more glory than any one man could need…yet, he continued to personally fight for the good of the kingdom.  It does not seem a prideful thing that David chose to join his men, but rather just another example of David standing against those who stood against God’s Israel.  His intent was good, but he found himself in harm’s way.  Ishbi-Benob, seeing his weariness, had every intention of taking full advantage and killing David; but as with the other Philistine giants that had fallen before, God was not in his thoughts (whereas He was in David’s) and, instead, Ishbi-Benob was killed.

Understanding

The enemies of God’s people are often strong and confident…but there’s a marked difference between human strength and confidence and one that is God-centered.  Ishi-Benob fought for his own glory and for the glory of a God-less nation; whereas David for the good of his kingdom, fought to protect God’s Israel and fought with God in his heart and mind.  What was the end result?  Ishi-Benob – not David – perished.  As we continue to read the next few verses, we see that Abishai – with those same God-centered desires – comes to David’s rescue.

Life Application

Dear God, may I find my confidence in you and you alone.  May I “fight” for the good of your kingdom in the way I live my life everyday – standing up for what is right in your eyes; speaking out for those who may not have a voice or the resources to do so; showing your love and kindness in ways big and small even if against the odds.  Thank you for putting in my heart to serve you and to honor you.  May I not grow weary, not grow prideful, not turn my thoughts from you…but to you be the glory in all I do.

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

– Rei



2 Samuel 20

Scripture
 
2 Samuel 20:16,19
 
16 “But a wise woman in the town called out to Joab, “Listen to me, Joab. Come over here so I can talk to you.”
 
19 “I am one who is peace loving and faithful in Israel. But you are destroying an important town in Israel. Why do you want to devour what belongs to the LORD?”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
Joab and his forces are in hot pursuit of seizing Sheba and his men. They find out that Sheba and his men were assembled and ready for battle in a town called Abel-beth-maacah. So Joab and his forces arrive and begin attacking the town, even building a siege ramp against the towns fortifications as they began battering down the wall. 
But a wise woman from the town calls out to Joab and questions Joab asking why he is destroying their town…God’s town. Joab replies his intentions of seizing but one man, Sheba, for Sheba spoke against the king of Israel and has tried to start a revolt against the king. Joab then tells this wise woman that if she hands Sheba over to him, he will leave their town. The wise woman talks it over with the rest of the town and they agree to Joab’s request. They cut off Sheba’s head and throw it out to Joab. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The wise woman stood up against the man (Sheba), who spoke against God’s anointed King, and helped spare her town from further destruction and ruin.
The town of Abel-beth-maacah had a person amongst them who had spoken bad against God’s anointed king, David. The town was under attack and on the verge of being devoured by the king’s army because of it, until a wise woman came out and took a stand against the destruction of her land, the land of God! She and the town literally took the thing that was causing her town so much war and destruction by the head and submitted it to the king’s men. Her town was spared from further damage that day.
 
Life Application
 
Take a stand against the things in this world that oppose God, His people, and His ways.
 
It seems this world put lots of things God considers important on the back burner. In some parts of the world, God’s people are being put to death because of their faith. Even in our own nation, God and His ways are being taken out of schools and our government. We as a church body (His bride), have let God down. Our world is being devoured and destroyed because of such things. Just look around us! It’s time we as THE CHURCH take a stand! We must be like the wise woman in this passage and take a stand. Fight to keep our home, God’s home, from being destroyed!
 
Lord give me courage and strength to take a stand against anything or anyone who opposes You or Your people. Let we, as Your bride, fight for it’s groom. Help us to show you the honor, respect, and love You truly deserve. In Your name Lord Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


2 Samuel 19

Scripture

2 Samuel 19:6

“You love those who hate you…”

Observation

David receives the news that Absalom has died in battle. Joab informs David that his mourning is an affront to his men who risked their lives to eliminate Absalom’s threat to David’s life and throne. To encourage them, David holds court at the city gate as a show of gratitude and support. Absalom’s death means the return of the king to Jerusalem and this, depending on how one treated David while he was in exile, causes either rejoicing or terror. Instead of seizing the opportunity to exact retribution and vengeance, David chooses to forgive those who cursed him and bless those who blessed him. But the king’s return does not bring unity as the men of Judah and Israel argue over which kingdom David should rightfully rule over.

Understanding

God loves like we do not

In the midst of rebuking David for his misplaced loyalties, Joab inadvertently points out that David possesses one of the most glorious attributes of the Father. David’s love for his enemies reflects the heart of God that loves those who hate Him. He loves those who curse Him, who mock and deny Him; those who reject Him and ignore Him. He loved them so much that He sent His son to die for them and make reconciliation possible. And even when that love is spit upon, He still loves them. He doesn’t rejoice over the fact that their rebellion results in death, but mourns that they rejected all of the love that He longed to pour out to them. We so often have a picture of God that is made in our own image – a God who hates his enemies just like we do. We hate those who are sinners and rebels and lawbreakers; and think that God does too. We think that, like us, God rejoices when the bad guys “get theirs”. But wait a minute. Wasn’t that who I was when He called me out of the depravity and debauchery of my sin? I wasn’t looking for Him and certainly did not love Him when He found me. His love for me overcame my sin and made me alive when I was dead in my transgressions. He loved me when I hated Him. Didn’t I deserve to suffer the death penalty for my sin? Why do I demand wrath for them but mercy for me? How then can I be so grateful for the mercy that He to extended me and yet desire that He pour out His wrath on all those other sinners? The hypocrisy is too much to bear. God loves those who hate Him and so should I.

Life Application

I will never be truly transformed until I can love as God loves.

The more I meditate on this truth, the smaller and pettier I see myself. I can hold a grudge for the slightest infraction and can hate you like I knew you “from the neighborhood”. Until I learn to love even those who hate me, curse me, talk about me behind my back and wound me, I will never be able to love others with the Father’s heart or experience the fullness of His love for me. Holy Spirit, I invite you to begin a work of conviction and healing in this heart of stone.

1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
 
To check out the conversation or join in, click here
Gary Parker


2 Samuel 18

Scripture

2 Samuel 18:12-13

12 But the man replied, “Even if a thousand shekels were weighed out into my hands, I would not lay a hand on the king’s son. In our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’13 And if I had put my life in jeopardy—and nothing is hidden from the king—you would have kept your distance from me.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
A man from David’s army had every opportunity to kill Absalom. He informed Joab where he had found Absalom and Joab asked him why he didn’t kill him on the spot. Joab said he would have been given 10 shekels of silver and a warrior’s belt. However, the man stayed true to his king’s command not to harm his son Absalom.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The man remained faithful to the commands of his king and did not sell him out for money, status or recognition.
 
It may have been tempting for the man to take Absalom’s life when he saw him hanging by his hair on a large oak, however, he remained faithful and trustworthy to his king’s command and would not disobey him even for money or status.
 
Life Application
 
Remain faithful to the commands of our Eternal King.
 
We must not sell out our Lord for money, status, comfort, happiness, etc.  We must remain faithful to His commands over our lives as He continues to remain faithful to us. 
 
Dear Lord, just as the man was submissive to his earthly King, may we also be submissive to You, our Eternal King. Holy Spirit, please continue to remind us that this is our temporary, not our permanent home. I pray that we wouldn’t compromise who we are as a member of Your army, just for extra comforts in this world. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


2 Samuel 17

Scripture

2 Samuel 17:14b

For the Lord had determined to frustrate the good advice of Ahithophel in order to bring disaster on Absalom.

Observation – What does it say?

Absalom’s plan to take his father’s throne had been years in the making. He had been strategic and used his wisdom, relationships and connections to execute it all. Things seem to be going well for him, so well that even the great King David had abandoned his palace in Jerusalem and was on the run for his life. However, as much as Absalom felt his plan would continue to unfold just as he desired, the Lord had other things in mind.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God is ultimately in control.

The Lord was determined to bring disaster on Absalom who had wrongfully spilled the blood of his brother, refused to repent, and was now attempting to take a throne with no regard for the man God had chosen to sit on it.

God used his servant’s advice to Absalom to accomplish his will to bring disaster on Absalom. Today, he still uses his servants to bring about his will for people and nations.

Although political parties, politicians and other people in positions of power may think they are in control, ultimately God is in control. No matter who is president, Jesus is still king. Regardless of the political situations in our country and around the world, regardless of the turmoil and how things look on the surface, God is above it all and he is working everything into conformity with the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

Life Application

Trust God to bring about his plans and purposes for us and our nation.

God, thank you that you are in control! We ask for your kingdom to come and your will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. We trust that you are working everything together for the good of those who love you. We believe that if what we see isn’t good, that means it isn’t over. Because the end you are working things toward is good. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


2 Samuel 16

Scripture

2 Samuel 16:11-12

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. 12 

It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

Observation

David has left Jerusalem and now finds himself cheated by Ziba and cursed by Shimei…and Shimei’s account is mostly inaccurate.  [While the Lord had brought the curse upon, it was not for any of the reasons that Shimei mentioned.]  BUT David receives this adversity with humility and hope. Abishei comes to David’s defense – ready to “take [Shimei’s] head off.”  But David doesn’t stop Shimei and doesn’t allow anyone else to either.  He was willing to hear what was being said and give credit – even of the cursing – to God.  David let Shimei speak because he saw the hand of God in every circumstance – His hand was on the future as well as the present.  And it’s evident that he is hopeful that if he does what is right NOW, God may “repay him with good.”

Understanding

A few things that stood out to me…

  • Even in the worst of circumstances, we can have hope and trust in God.
  • Even when we fail and have to “sit in” the consequences of our sin, God can be present.
  • Sometimes God can speak to us through the most unlikely of sources – in this case a harsh and lying critic.

Life Application

Dear God, help me to keep my heart and eyes open to the many ways you may speak to me.  May I remain steadfast in my pursuit of you and stay hopeful – knowing that your will and plan for my life is bigger and better than what I can imagine.  May I be aware of where my own sin and choices have delayed my God-given blessings and promises.  Help me to be patient in the waiting and to steadfastly seek you.

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

– Rei