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!
 

Proverbs 4

 

Scripture

Proverbs 4:5-7

“Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

In this chapter Solomon gives some fatherly advice and reminds those who are willing to listen to the importance of gaining wisdom in life. He expresses that wisdom is a life saver. That those who obtain it, will live a righteous life, and glory and honor will be delivered to them. Solomon has seen it all and lived through a lot. Solomon now wants to share the wisdom he was able to obtain through his life experiences, and the wisdom he received from following God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

No one is born with wisdom; God is the One who provides it.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1:25a‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The key to getting wisdom is understanding that no one has it to start with. Ultimately it is God who provides us with wisdom. It also means that anyone can acquire wisdom…if you decide to pursue it.  Wisdom also is not something we achieve through one choice we make in life. It is a journey, a series of many steps in life, in which we receive the truth of God’s Word, and apply them into our lives each and every day. Jesus often spoke of people who had ears but did not listen. The wise will be the ones who choose to listen wholeheartedly to God’s Word, both with their hearts and minds.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”-James‬ ‭1:22‬ ‭NLT

Life Application

Ultimate wisdom is within the grasp of our hands. So reach out and obtain it through reading God’s Word.

Life is hard enough as it is. So why try to figure it out all on our own?! Why not take advantage of life’s “instruction manual”?..The Holy Bible! Whether it is taking the advice from someone who was granted wisdom from God, like Solomon, or following the One who overcame everything the world tried to throw His way, Jesus. The Bible is the key to have access to living a wiser life…a life that will grant you wisdom. Will you choose to follow it?

Thank You God for Your Word and the wisdom it brings. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit that speaks to me through it. Thank You Lord for always having my best interest in mind. May the wisdom You grant me allow me to make the right choices today, and may I share that wisdom to those around me. In Your name Jesus, Amen.

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


Proverbs 3

 

Scripture

Psalm 2:32
For the
Lord detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence.

Observation

As Paul continues to extol the benefits of wisdom, he points out that wisdom brings long life, prosperity, health and favor with both God and man; and that it should never be far from our thoughts and meditations. Also, Paul cautions against arrogance and pride, encouraging the wise to always be humble before the Lord. Paul then says that the wise person is one who honors the Lord with his wealth and first-fruits giving. Finally, Paul describes the wisdom of accepting the discipline of the Lord as a sign of His love and care for us and that we are His children and He, our Father.

Understanding

The life of the Apostle John shows us that there is a special quality of relationship available to those who walk closely and intimately with the Lord. John was privy to some of the most personal and private moments of Jesus’ life. John was one of the “inner circle” of the disciples who, along with James and Peter, was often called aside from the others for a special revelation of Jesus. John was present at the Transfiguration; he was reclining against the Savior’s bosom at the Last Supper and only to Him did Jesus reveal who would be His betrayer. John was the only disciple who did not give in to the temptation of sleep at Gethsemane and, because he kept watch with our Lord as He agonized in prayer and decision, witnessed the most intimate and private moment of communion between Jesus and The Father. After all had deserted Jesus, it was only John who stayed by his Lord’s side and the only disciple still in service and devotion at the foot of the Cross. I believe it was this lifetime of selfless dedication to and fearless identification with Jesus that earned John the honor of caring for Mary after Jesus’ death and the privilege of receiving the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the end times prophecies that he authored those many years later from his place of exile on the Isle of Patmos. Truly, John’s upright life earned him the right, perhaps like no other, to be taken into the Lord’s confidence.

Life Application

The intimacy and special revelation of Jesus that John experienced cannot be appropriated from afar. Peter followed Jesus from far off and ended up denying his Lord. If I do not want to find myself, like Peter, weeping bitterly in the night because of my cowardice and failure, then I dare not wander from my Savior’s side. Abiding in Christ and walking in His righteousness, in intimate and unbroken fellowship, is not merely my only defense against Peter’s fall, but also my only hope to know both the deeper mysteries and a fuller revelation of God.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Proverbs 2

 

Scripture

Proverbs 2:1-6

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Observation

I’ve forever loved the practicality of Proverbs.  I feel like nearly every verse unpacks…well, wisdom and this Chapter speaks to reasons that wisdom is so important.

Understanding

The key truths I understood from these texts are…

It all starts with wisdom…but wisdom requires action.

Receiving wisdom is not a one-time thing…it requires a continued action and renewal.

God is the provider of wisdom.

The actions required including: accepting God’s words (v1), actively turning our ears to wisdom (v2) and applying our heart to understanding (v2).  We can’t receive God’s wisdom if we don’t first believe in Him and what He says.  We cannot receive wisdom if we are choosing to listen to ways and wisdom of the world, instead of those of the Creator.  And, we can’t receive wisdom by just going through the motions, we must seek to understand and apply.

Verses 3 and 5 indicate to me that wisdom, once received, doesn’t stay.  It requires continued action – calling out for insight (v3), crying aloud for understanding (v3), looking/searching for it as for silver or hidden treasure (v4).  We must continue to seek and grow in our knowledge and understanding of God.

And, finally, wisdom comes from God (v6).  He is the one that provides the knowledge and understanding and he does so through His word and through relationship with Him and other believers.  We simply must ask and seek.   

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

The rest of the chapter shares the benefits of walking in wisdom – success and God’s protection along the way.  Can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t want those benefits, can you?

Life Application

I love the picture in verse four…looking for wisdom as for silver, searching for it as for hidden treasure.  I’m currently in Vegas for work (an ironic place to be writing about wisdom from, lol) and saw part of the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie last night.  So, I’m thinking of the great extent that the pirates go to to find hidden treasure – often not even knowing for sure what exactly that treasure is.  May we be just as bold, just as adventurous, just as willing to seek and ultimately find the treasure of wisdom that God wants to give. 

God, I thank you that you are faithful and generous to provide wisdom.  May we be equally faithful to seek and to find it…then apply it.   

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

– Rei



Proverbs 1

 

Scripture

Proverbs 1:5

 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—

Observation – What does it say?

The author of this portion of Proverbs, Solomon, is letting his audience know from the outset his purpose in sharing these proverbs. The purpose of the sayings in this book is to help us to gain wisdom. A couple good definitions I’ve heard for wisdom are applied knowledge and skill in living.

In this verse he invites the wise to listen along with the simple. These wise statements are not only for the fool but for those who are already wise and discerning. Wisdom cries out, “Come to me and I will teach you!” And to anyone who would respond to the invitation – wise or foolish, discerning or simple, old or young – wisdom is available.

Understanding – What does it mean?

First of all, I’m reminded that I’ve got a lot to learn! I wouldn’t be quick to identify myself with the wise. I still make mistakes, I still make dumb decisions, I still have struggles in my life that are a result of my actions. And, it’s not because I’m trying to sabotage my own life. It’s because I’m desperate for wisdom!

Solomon, who wrote these proverbs, was extended the most incredible invitation from God in Scripture: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:4) Imagine God said that to you. What would you ask for? Solomon asked for wisdom. He recognized his desperation for wisdom. 

We would be wise to recognize the same. It will do us no good to read through the rest of the book of Proverbs unless we first recognize our need for wisdom.

Second, I’m reminded of the source of wisdom: God.

Job 32:8-9

But it is the spirit in a person,
    the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
It is not only the old who are wise,
    not only the aged who understand what is right.

Wisdom does not come with age. There are plenty of old people living like fools. Neither does wisdom come with experience. It’s possible for us to have experiences and rather than learning from them we just continue making the same mistakes. Wisdom comes from God. And since it comes from God alone, there is only one place to turn when we need it.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

If our desire is the same as Solomon’s, then we have a promise from God that he will fulfill that desire. If any of you
lacks wisdom ask God and he’ll give it to you!

Life Application

Follow Solomon’s example and respond to God’s invitation in James by asking for wisdom!

As we continue through Proverbs, be teachable and open, reading with an awareness of need and an expectation to gain wisdom.

God, I humble myself before you. Uproot any pride in my life and notion that I have it together. Thank you so much for your invitation and promise to grant wisdom to each of us who ask. So today we ask – Please fill us with wisdom. As we continue to read your word, speak to us. And may it not just be head knowledge, but give us the strength to apply it to our lifes. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Colossians 4

 

Scripture

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Observation-What does it say?

The theme of Colossians is the overall sufficiency of Christ for salvation and sanctification (gotquestions.org). It’s very important to point this out as some of the encouragement/exhortations that Paul gives the church in Colosse may seem like it was work they were to do in their own strength, when actually it was a result of who they were in Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

“If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”1 John‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 Christ’s light in us should not result in a double life of being a Christian on Sunday, but living a worldly life during the week. Outsiders (unbelievers) are always watching us, the way we conduct ourselves, act towards them and speak with them. They should be asking us where the purpose of our hope lies, instead of asking us why we claim one thing, yet still walk in darkness, aka are hypocrites.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Walk in and WITH the Light, not in the darkness.

The world has enough darkness of its own. It is desperate for the light of Christ and the light shines brightest in the darkness.

Dear Jesus, I pray that You would shine Your light in us. I pray that through our love for each other, they will know we are Christians. I pray that because of the love You’ve given us for them in the way we act and speak, they will know we belong to You. I pray that Your love in us would draw them to You. Thank You Jesus that it is Your power working through us through Your Holy Spirit that enables us to be witnesses in this world. May Your Name be praised because of all the people You will choose to draw to yourself as a result of our faith, surrender and obedience to You.Amen.  

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


Colossians 3

 

Scripture

Colossians 3:23

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Paul writes a letter to the Colossians to encourage and remind them of their new life in Christ. Paul tells them that they are God’s new creation, that their old and sinful ways should be buried and dead to this world. And now is the time to live a new life, a life filled with Christ. A life filled with the attributes of Jesus Christ.

Understanding-What does it mean?

We all have a boss to serve…and His name is Jesus.

We’ve all been in a workplace or situations where we have to submit to people who are in authority over us that we may not particularly like. While others may defy them, Jesus calls us to submit to their authority. Work willingly for them, as though we were working for the Lord rather than people-(vs. 23). This is a great reminder for me in my workplace. I know there are times for me when I feel under appreciated or disrespected, and I just think to myself, “what’s the point?!” I mean here I am giving work my all, and management is gonna come back and not even acknowledge the hard work?! If anything they either criticize it or give me even more work to do! Ugh! Then I remember this verse. It reminds me that Jesus is watching. He sees the works that I am doing. It is Him who I am trying to please. Then I’m also reminded that as a Christ follower others around me are watching as well. They are observing how I am reacting to certain situations. That is even more incentive to work happily and willingly. This way when others may fold and break under those difficult circumstances, I can remain steadfast. Then others may ask “how I’m able to do it?” I can simply say it is my Lord and Savior Jesus who gives me strength to do so, and He is the One I work for!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

It’s all about the attitude.

No matter what comes my way today, I’m going to come at it with a grateful heart, knowing that Jesus is with me, and understanding that He is in control. Understanding that He has a purpose behind everything, whether good or bad. It’s up to me and how I carry my attitude, which can help determine how I can use those situations to glorify Him.

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


Colossians 2

 

Scripture

Colossians 2:23
“…regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
 
Colossians 2:17
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ

Observation

Paul exhorts the church at Colosse not to settle for the cheap counterfeit of legalism, spiritual pride, meaningless ritual and superficial worship as the means of right relationship with God and victory over temptation but rather to seek the genuine reality of these things which are found only by abiding in Christ. Paul points the believers to trade religion for relationship.

Understanding

Paul mentions that legalism, empty ritual and worship are mere shadows of a greater reality. Every one dimensional shadow that we settle for is cast by the genuine article, just as a counterfeit is a worthless rendering of the valuable original. We are compelled to look past the shadow and seek out that which is casting it. In this chapter, the shadow is the delusion of legalism and the solution to the problem is for us to be found “In Christ” who is the reality. 10 times in this chapter, as the remedy for empty, meaningless worship and the temptations of the flesh, Paul uses terms to describe intimacy with Christ as our only source of righteousness and our only hope for victory – in Him, in Christ, with Christ, by Christ. This chapter reminds me that the gospel has never been about following a list of rules and regulations or jumping through a bunch of hoops in order to overcome, to be holy, to please God and make Him love and accept us. Paul reminds us here that the ongoing process of progressive transformation is never accomplished from outside in, but it happens from the inside out as we seek to fully understand and experience who we already are “In Christ” and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to bring our earthly actions and attitudes into alignment with that heavenly position.

Life Application

So many times, I re-write Philippians 1:6 to read, “I need to carry on to completion the good work that He began in me”. However, as surely as my election and salvation were not my work but His work in me, so also are my transformation and sanctification. As faithful as He promises to be in completing that work, I need to be as faithful in cooperating with this lifetime project through surrender, humility, obedience and acceptance of the means by which He intends to affect these changes in me. 
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


Colossians 1

 

Scripture

Colossians 1:17

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Observation

Paul is now writing to the people of Colossae. 

He honors them and blesses God for their faith, love and hope

(v1-8).  He prays for their fruitfulness and growth in spiritual knowledge (v9-14). Then, in verse 15, Paul begins talking about the supremacy of the Son of God.  And, in the midst of speaking to His supremacy, He sums it up simply and perfectly in verse 17 with “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Understanding

I love the simplicity of this verse. 

Paul precedes and follows this verse with examples of the Son of God’s supremacy:

  • Verse 15 – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
  • Verse 16 – “…in Him all things were created…”
  • Verse 18 – “…he is the head of the body…the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead…”
All of this simply reinforces that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Life Application

May we give God His proper place in our lives today – before all things.  And, may we faithfully believe that in Him all things hold together.

God, thank you for the way you love on the church and your people. 

May I remember today that you are before all things – nothing surprises you, nothing catches you off guard, you are ever-knowing.  You’ve known my steps this day and 10 years from now before I even came to live on this earth.  You designed a plan and purpose for my life before you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  May I regard you FIRST in my life, before all things. 

And, Lord, may I believe in faith that, in you, all things hold together.  As I walk in obedience to your call, to your will, no doubt there will be uncertain times.  In those times, may I remember this verse and continue to walk boldly, knowing and trusting that in you all things hold together.

Thank you for being never-changing, fully trustable you. In your name, I pray.  Amen. 

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

– Rei



Philippians 4

 

Scripture

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Observation – What does it say?

Rejoicing is a major theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In 3:1, he says, “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” In other words, “Rejoice! Oh, and I’m going to keep telling you to rejoice. It doesn’t bother me to, and it’s actually good for you.” The Apostle Paul goes on to mention the word “rejoice” 8 times in this short letter. A command that was repeated so often, likely because rejoicing was something the Philippian believers, and some believers today (ahem), struggled with. 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Rejoicing is just as necessary a part of our Christian journey as anything else!

In Luke’s account of the story of 2 sons (aka: The Prodigal Son) the father was determined to rejoice. And although both sons were uncomfortable for different reasons, he pleaded with them individually to come in and celebrate with him. Guess what? If we’re uncomfortable with rejoicing we’re going to be uncomfortable in heaven, because that’s what our Father is about!
 
In the Lord’s presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). We serve a God who is the source of joy, radiating it always, who loves to throw a party. And we are invited, commanded rather, to share in his joy! Not just in good times or when we feel like it, but as the Apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Rejoicing creates a barrier around our faith; rejoicing glorifies God; rejoicing breathes force, passion and confidence into our confession of what we believe about God. And to be honest, rejoicing is, well, a lot more fun! The following adjectives cannot be used to describe a mature Christians: serious, irritable, mopey (think Eeyore), skeptical, negative. Rather, a sign of spiritual maturity is continual rejoicing!

Life Application

Rejoice!

Rejoicing in the Lord is our continual choice. We can choose to give into the drain of seeing our challenges and circumstances from a merely human perspective, or we can call our emotions into alignment with heaven.

God, thank you that because you are delighted in us who believe in you (regardless of our performance) we have freedom to share in your delight. Forgive us for the times we’ve chosen to give into negative emotions when you’ve offered joy. Today, we receive your joy! Help us to choose to walk in it regardless of circumstance. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Philippians 3

 

Scripture

Philippians‬ ‭3:7-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

I love this chapter! First, Paul talks about putting no confidence in our flesh, and instead consider those accomplishments loss for the sake of knowing Christ. There would be no need for Christ if all we had to do was follow a set of rules and regulations. Next, Paul encourages the church to keep pressing forward no matter what was behind, as they continue to be perfected in Christ and look above to their citizenship in heaven, not on earth. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Less of me equals more of Christ. 

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39, Matt. 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, John 12:25).
 
As Paul noted, his long list of accomplishments meant nothing and he would lose all of it just to have more of Christ in his life. No wonder God chose to use him for great things! He was more concerned about taking the focus off of his own needs, wants, desires, pride, and security, and laid it all down for the Lord, to put the focus of his life on what pleased the Lord and giving Him glory for all of it alone.
 
We can be the most beautiful/handsome, popular, wisest, gifted, talented, richest, best dressed, charismatic, healthy, happiest, perfect, law abiding citizen on this planet, but without faith in Christ, it means nothing. Without love for others and the heart of a servant, it’s just outward works that God is not impressed with. 

“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭10:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Take on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. 

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What is the practical application of losing our life for Him? It’s taking on the form of a servant, like Jesus did. He left all the riches of heaven for you and me. He came not to be served, but to serve. (Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45).

When we think of our own lives, what must we surrender to Him in order to be a better servant to Jesus in our marriages/relationships? In our church? With our finances? With our time? To our supervisors? To our children? To the lost and broken? 

Dear Jesus, you are a prime example of someone who gave up everything, even your own life, for the people you loved and were called to serve. And as Scripture says, You didn’t even use your equality with God to your advantage, but lost your life completely for our sake. I pray that You would give us Your heart of servanthood, and break us of any pride within ourselves that would make us boast in ourselves. May our lives boast in You alone because without You, we are nothing. Amen.

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