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!
 

Joshua 12

Scripture
 
Joshua 12:1

These are the kings of the land whom the Israelites had defeated and whose territory they took over east of the Jordan, from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon, including all the eastern side of the Arabah:

Observation-What does it say?
 
This chapter is basically a list of all the kings defeated by the Israelites from the time of Moses’ reign to the time of Joshua.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The victories of Israel and the kings they conquered were important enough to be listed name by name in Scripture. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), but His past mercies must not be forgotten.
 
Commentary states, “The vengeance of a righteous God, inflicted on all these kings and their subjects, for their wickedness, should make us dread and hate sin. The fruitful land bestowed on his chosen people, should fill our hearts with hope and confidence in his mercy, and with humble gratitude.”
 
Romans 15:4-For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 
 
Life Application
 
Keep a log or journal and document all the ways the Lord has shown up in our lives. Also, document all the ways He has shown up for His people in His Word. Be specific. Look back on it when the enemy tries to discourage us in our walk with Him.
 
 The victories we have experienced individually and as a church in the past and the present as His adopted and chosen children, is powerful enough to make the devil flee.  It encourages us back on His intended path for us. I have shared that I keep a list of Scriptures that encourage me to stay the course.  In addition, I also document all the ways God has shown up in my life and I look back on it, especially when the devil tries to discourage me in his crafty ways.
 
Dear Jesus, thank You for the constant encouragement that we receive from Your Word and our ongoing testimonies of how You continue to show up in times of adversity. Great is Your faithfulness! I pray that we would not forget what You have done specifically in the past or the present and we would meditate on it constantly. We love You and worship You. Thank You for always protecting us from what the enemy seeks to steal away. All glory and victory is Yours alone. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Joshua 11

Scripture
 
Joshua 11:15
 
“As the Lord commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
It’s time for Joshua and all of Israel to capture the land that God has promised them. It seemed that the odds were stacked against their favor. All the kings and their armies from the north joined forces to wage war against Israel. But God told Joshua not to worry because He was going to hand all of them over to them. All Joshua had to do was step out in faith, and follow God’s directions completely.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Seek out God’s plan for you. Leave nothing undone, and He will lead you to victory!
 
“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭NLT‬
 
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT
 
God does not leave any of His plans or works unfinished. He uses people like you and me to finish His good works. It is up to us to accept the challenge, step out in faith, and follow His instructions for us. If we are able to do that, that is when we are able to see what was once impossible, become possible. We can see and tell all around us all the awesome things that God can do!
 
Life Application
 
 Trust in God’s plan. Take no shortcuts!
 
Father God, reveal Your plan to me today. Please give me strength to see it all the way through. Help me to not be tempted to take the “easy way” out. Help me to stay the course, no matter how rough the terrain may be sometimes. For I know You are with me. I know that the road You have me take is the one that will build my character and my faith in You. Allow me to rely on Your strength, and not my own, to get me through the day. In Your name Jesus, I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi 
 


Joshua 10

Scripture 
    
Joshua 10:14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

Observation

After hearing of the Israelite’s defeat of Ai and their treaty with the Gibeonites, Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, petitions the kings of four surrounding cities to join him in attacking Gibeon. The Gibeonites send word to Joshua for aid against the attack and, with the Lord’s promise of victory; he musters the army of Israel to fight against the five kings. As promised, the Lord fights for Israel by throwing their enemies into confusion before them and raining down hailstones upon them as they retreat. Inspired by the victory and no doubt the Spirit of God, Joshua commands the sun to stand still in order to prolong the day so that his victory over the Amorites might be complete. God listens to Joshua and the army of Israel routs its enemies; killing the five kings and conquering the Southern cities.

Understanding
That a holy God would listen to a sinner like me is no less a miracle now than it was considered to be by the writer of Joshua.

It does me good to read how amazed the writer of Joshua was that the Living God would listen to a man. His amazement at such a thing causes me to newly appreciate that I enjoy the unhindered access to God that was unheard of in the OT dispensation. What was, in its time, a once in a lifetime event is a daily occurrence in the lives of NT believers. The Word of God is full of scripture that invites me to come boldly to the throne of God, to cast all of my anxieties on Christ because He cares for me and to, in all things, by petition and prayer, bring my requests before God so that I may receive well timed help. Because Christ is the only mediator between God and man and because He lives to intercede on my behalf, unlike the writer of Joshua who wondered at a one-time event, I enjoy access to, and fellowship with, Almighty God at any time and for all time.

Life Application
So…I have unhindered invitation and access to God’s presence. Do I take it for granted or do I take full advantage of it?

Lord, inspire me to remember the cost at which you purchased access to your presence so that I may value it properly and take full advantage of the reason for which you provide it. May I remember that you incline your ears to my prayers and, if they originate from your throne, they will be in perfect alignment with your will; then I will see them answered in miraculous ways – in my life and circumstances and the lives of those for whom I pray.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker


Joshua 9

Scripture

Joshua 9:14

14 The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.

Observation

God was making a name for himself through Joshua.  As the kings west of the Jordan heard this, they decided to come together to fight; but the people of Gibeon came up with a different plan.  Their intent was to essentially trick Joshua into making a treaty with them, protecting their people from the plight of what many others had faced.

They had gone through quite the effort of carrying out the trickery – making it appear as though they had traveled from far away.  It seems Joshua and his people knew something was up.  The Israelites asked in verse 7…

The Israelites said to the Hivites, “But perhaps you live near us, so how can we make a treaty with you?”

And Joshua in verse 8…

But Joshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

They had questioned the people and even tasted the provisions but as we see in vs. 14, they did NOT “inquire of the Lord.”

As a result, they made the treaty, only to find that they had been tricked and that the “far off travelers” were practically neighbors.

Understanding

First, this is a reminder to me to ALWAYS inquire of the Lord.  Despite what “intuition” may tell me, as a Christ-follower, I must consult with, inquire of, seek God before and as I take action.

In this case, though, I have to question what would have happened had Joshua and the Israelites “inquired of the Lord.”  Would the deception have been made known?  Would the Gibeonites fallen to the same fate as the rest of the surrounding areas?  It’s unknown. 

But what we are able to see here, is that – because of the treaty – the Gibeonites were brought within the covenant community.  Because of the fraudulent way they got there, they were excluded from liberties and privileges of true-born Israelites.  BUT  their “curse” of being woodcutters and water carriers put them in a unique position to be exposed to Israel’s God-centered beliefs and rituals. 

It takes a lot of wood to keep the fire of the altar burning.  It also takes a lot of water to carry out all of the washing and cleaning that must be done in and around the altar.  As such, as woodcutters and water carriers, the Gibeonites would be required to personally attend the altar of God – which would bring them to the knowledge of the law of God.

In fact, as we read elsewhere in Lev 25:44 and Num 3:9, it seems that’s exactly what God designed the work of the altar for – to minister to the “heathens.”  This appears to be just another example of our holy and redeeming God graciously at work.  God desires to bring people into knowledge of and relationship with Him.  

Life Application

Dear God, thank you for always seeing the big picture.  Your redemption and grace are crazy beautiful and intricately woven throughout our lives.  THANK YOU! 

Help me to remember to seek you first in all I do so I may avoid the “trickery” of those who don’t have my best interest in mind; but, moreover, may I be reminded that, even in those moments, that you can and do work as The Redeemer. 

Use me today to show grace and mercy and to expose others to your redeeming love.  May you be honored and glorified in my thoughts, my words and my actions today.

Amen.

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

– Rei



Joshua 8

Scripture

Joshua 8:2

You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves.

Observation – What does it say?

When conquering Jericho, God commanded Israel to destroy everything in the city and not keep any plunder for themselves. But now in Ai, God allowed them to take all the plunder they wanted. If Achan would have waited just a few more days, he could have had all the riches he could imagine! Instead, he ran ahead of God and took what was forbidden and ended up paying the ultimate price.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Waiting on God and trusting him results in the greatest blessing!

Every sin comes from an attempt to meet a felt need. We don’t want to wait on God so we take matters into our own hands. And, as a result, we exchange the lasting pleasure God offers for the temporary pleasure of sin.

If we could just learn to wait on God and let Him lead and bring into our lives the things that need to be there, we would be far better off. Unfortunately, our flesh wants what it wants and it wants it now! It doesn’t want to wait. 

Consider Esau forsaking his birthright because he was hungry in the moment, or David committing adultery with Bathsheba when God had told him, “And if all I had given you had been too little, I would have given you even more” (2 Samuel 12:8). 
 
Regardless of the desire we have, we will be far better off if we wait on the Lord to bring that thing into our life – spouse, finances, ministry, etc. God’s timing is perfect, he knows exactly what we need and he is working everything together for our good.

Life Application

Learn to wait on God.

God, forgive me for the times I grow impatient and seek to take matters into my own hands. Help us to be a people who trust your goodness and wait patiently for you to satisfy our every need and longing. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope (Psalm 130:5). Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


Joshua 7

Scripture
 
Joshua 7:11
 
Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In the previous chapter, chapter 6 verses 18 and 19, the Israelites were commanded to keep away from the devoted things (silver, gold, bronze and iron) for they were to be given to the Lord and kept in a special treasury. Achan did not obey and as a result, the Lord’s anger burned against ALL of Israel.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
One man’s sin had consequences for all of Israel. 
 
The Lord’s anger did not just burn for Achan, who was the one who had sinned by taking some of the devoted things, but for the whole nation. The Lord held all of Israel accountable. Joshua had to search for the source of the sin, the person responsible. In verse 12, the Lord said that He would not be with them anymore unless he destroyed whatever among them is devoted to destruction.
 
Life Application
 
As Christ followers, we are called to the business of restoration. 
Sin that is undealt with in the Body of Christ can spread like a cancer and destroy us.
 
I’m honestly thankful that God doesn’t call us to stone and burn each other, which was Achan’s fate, but rather restore each other gently. Also, this is not just the job of the Pastors and ministry leaders, but ALL who live by the Spirit.
 
Galatians 6:1 says,
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
 
‭‭The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He seeks to destroy our marriages, our church and eventually our relationship with Christ. If we allow our brothers and sisters to continue sinning, we are also susceptible to that same destruction and fate. That’s why we are called to gently restore that person, while at the same time watching ourselves so we don’t succumb to the same temptations. 
 
Dear Lord, please help us love our brothers and sisters enough that if they are caught in a sin, whether it be gossip, unfaithfulness, lying, immorality, etc., that we would love You, them, the church and ourselves enough to restore them gently back to the faith and back to abundant life with You. Use us to help them back on their path with You, so they live out their intended identity and calling and stop making unwise decisions. I also pray that I/we would continue to live by the Spirit so that we would be able to recognize the sinful behavior among us and save ourselves from destruction. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Joshua 6

Scripture
 
Joshua 6:1-2
 
“Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go out or in. But the LORD said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
Now the city of Jericho and its people were a formidable foe for Joshua and the army of Israel. The people of Jericho were well protected and fortified behind these walls, which probably gave them a false sense of security. Meanwhile, the LORD already told Joshua that the city is his for the taking. God even gave Joshua a detailed layout on how to take the city. All Joshua had to do was to take God for His Word, instruct the people of Israel, and follow through with the LORD’s plan.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God’s way is not always the most conventional way of doing things.
 
When the LORD laid out the game plan on how to take down the city of Jericho, Joshua at first must have thought, “Are you pulling my leg God?” He probably thought that God had something a little more theatrical in mind.-(Maybe fire from the sky, a howling wind like no other, or even a mighty earthquake to bring the walls of Jericho crumbling down). But instead, God instructs his people to march around the walls for six days straight, (one time around the wall each day), as the priests blow on a ram’s horn. But on the seventh day, the people of Israel shall march around the walls seven times, and on that seventh time they are to wait for the priests to make a long blast of the ram’s horn, in which all the people are to make a great shout. This shout will flatten the walls of Jericho to the ground! 
As unconventional as this battle plan may sound, Joshua could move forward with confidence, knowing that God’s plan will work. He’s seen what God has done for His people before. So why would Joshua have any doubt now?
 
“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:24‬ ‭NIV
 
Life Application
 
We are to take the LORD’s instructions for what it is, and we must follow them completely…one day at a time and one step at a time.
 
Joshua did not tell the people how many times they had to circle the city or precisely what would happen once their marching was done. The people received instructions from their leader one day at a time, one step at a time, and they obeyed them completely each day. The faith they displayed by following through with God’s commands allowed God to demonstrate His favor, protection, love, and provision for those who trust in Him.
 
Father God, I want to experience the great things You have in store for me. I want You to break down the walls in my life that are hindering me from experiencing them. Give me the faith to step out in this world each day and follow Your instructions completely. May I not question Your tactics, but instead choose to trust in them, because I know You have a plan for me and it is good. In Your name Jesus, I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi 


Joshua 5

Scripture

Joshua 5:7
So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way.

Observation

As a result of God’s miraculous parting of the Jordan River, fear grips the hearts of the nations that occupy Canaan. All of the men of military age from the previous generation who had come out of Egypt died in the wilderness because of their unbelief (Numbers 14:26-30), so an entire generation does not bear the sign of the covenant. At Gilgal, God instructs Joshua to circumcise this new generation of sons. Following the circumcision, the Israelites celebrate the Passover at its appointed time. The day after the celebration, when the Israelites ate the first produce from the Promised Land, God’s miraculous provision of manna ceases. The chapter ends with Joshua meeting the “commander of the army of the Lord” in preparation for the battle of Jericho in chapter 6.

Understanding

The world, our nation, our families and even the church suffer from the same dilemma that faced the Israelites – a generation has grown up not knowing that they are children of God. Because of sin, rebellion, apathy and compromise, parents (paternal and spiritual) have allowed their sons and daughters to not fully understand, embrace and fulfill their identity as being “In Christ”. We have neglected to pass on our faith to the next generations; forgetting God’s command to remember and recite the Law; to impress them on our children when we sit at home and when we walk along the road (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Void of this sense of self they have fallen prey to the voices of the enemy, society, the media and the fallen culture of the day and are being formed into an image other than that as children of the King (Romans 12:1-2). Just as was needed after the wilderness crossing in order to impart a sense of identity, legacy and election, our sons and daughters need to receive a sign of consecration. At the coming of age, we do well to invite our sons and daughters, through some significant rite and symbolism, into covenant relationship with God. We need to usher them into their own personal experience with the Living God, as God has no grand-children. God has to be their God and not just the God of their forefathers. Annie and I took advantage of the opportunity to bless Tim and Leah before the church where we offered each a token possession that would act as a symbol of remembrance and identity. We chose and spoke over each one a verse that communicated destiny and promise and then we invited the church to pray for them and to covenant with us in raising our children in “…the way that they should go” (Proverbs 22:6). Just last week, at my son’s wedding, with tears in my eyes I was able to echo the sentiment of the Apostle John, who said, “it gives me no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth” and I praised God that the inheritance that He has given me live in light of New Covenant identity.

Life Application

May I be aware and purposeful in identifying and exploiting opportunities to be a spiritual father to the next generation and impart God’s wisdom, truth, love and a sense of identity to those whom God would raise up to be the next generation to possess the promises of God.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker


Joshua 4

Scripture

Joshua 4:24

24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Observation

In Chapter 3, the Israelites experience a miracle – God dries ups the Jordan where they are to pass, carrying the Ark of the Covenant.  This chapter gives more details regarding this miraculous passage of Israel through Jordan and shows God’s desire to memorialize it.

What stood out to me is Joshua’s obedience.

Joshua listened and was obedient to God.  God says choose 12 men to pick up 12 stones (1 each) and put them in the middle of the Jordan River; Joshua responds by having 12 stones picked up by 12 men (1 stone each) and placed in the middle of the Jordan River. 

Understanding

According to this account, there doesn’t seem to be any hesitation, any question, any argument…God speaks, Joshua responds in obedience…then Joshua speaks and the Israelites respond in obedience.

What is the end result? 

  • God’s provision is memorialized for generations to come…which is apparently very important to God because in a very short chapter, it’s mentioned twice. (v. 6-7 and 21-23).
  • Joshua is exalted (v. 14).
  • God is honored and glorified.
  • God’s power is shown and remembered.

Life Application

Sometimes I wish God’s hand in my own life was this clear and succinct…where, in less than a page of text, God asks that something is done and, by the end of the page, we see the results, the celebration/reward (Joshua is exalted) and the reason (so God’s power and provision is remembered).  But I think that’s where the trust comes in.  We have to move in bold obedience even when we don’t understand, even when we don’t see the end results in the near future, even when there’s not a logical explanation.

Also, we must take time to remember what God has done in the past…and share that with our family, our friends, our children…so that God can continue to be glorified and honored. 

God, I thank you that you’ve got the big picture forever in mind – that I don’t need to know or understand the details but to simply trust that you’ve got my best in mind.  May I move in steadfast obedience towards the things you call me to.

Also, may I remember the way you’ve shown yourself real to me in the past.  In a culture where we are constantly looking for the next best thing, may I take time to recognize, remember and share what you have done for me before and what you are doing today – in ways that honor and glorify you and draw others to you – not as some magical genie, but as an incredible seeker and lover of my soul who desires relationship with me. 

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

– Rei



Joshua 3

Scripture

Joshua 3:7

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.

Observation – What does it say?

After Moses died, God called Joshua to assume leadership over the people of Israel and to lead them into taking possession of the promised land. When he was called, he was no one special; the Bible tells us nothing about his accolades or leadership experience that would gain him credibility as the leader of Israel. But those things weren’t necessary because after God called Joshua, he equipped him, exalted him in the eyes of Israel and granted him favor so that he could lead well.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

When I got my first offer for a paid ministry position, one year had passed since graduating from Bible College. I had been working selling paint and was minimally involved in my local church. When I got the offer, I literally laughed out loud. “No way!” I thought.

I felt unequipped to say the least. I always saw youth pastors as guys that were really cool, who had the answers and were great speakers and charismatic leaders. All characteristics I would never use to describe myself. I met with a respected mentor and asked him what he thought I should do, explaining clearly that I didn’t feel ready. I’ll never forget what he said. “Levi, when will you ever be ready?”

It was true. After much prayer, a visit to the church and several confirmations from God, we made the trip from Eugene, OR to LA for the position. I had said yes, not because I felt ready but because I felt called. I really had no idea what I was doing. Yet God caused me to be incredibly fruitful! He equipped me, gave me favor and used me to lead many young people to Christ and to teach them what it means to follow Jesus. It was incredible!

I have experienced first-hand that God doesn’t call us because we are particularly gifted or have great experience. On the other hand, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, But [God] 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.

Life Application

Step into the things God is calling me to, trusting he will supply what I lack.

God, thank you for being pleased to demonstrate your power through us! May we be strong and courageous like Joshua, willing to obey you and serve in the areas you are calling us to. Thank you that you are always faithful to equip us with everything we need to serve and lead effectively. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson