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

 
 
 
divider
 
How To Soul Journal
pencil
 
soulj
 
divider
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!
 

1 Samuel 25

Scripture

1 Samuel 25:32-33

David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.

Observation

David sends messengers to Nabal, whose flocks and shepherds David and his men have been protecting, to ask for support and supplies. Nabal, whose name means “fool”, rebuffs the messengers and insults David. David, in his anger, prepares to seek revenge on Nabal. Only the intercession of Nabal’s wife Abigail saves David from sinning by avenging himself (Romans 12:19) and Nabal from suffering the wrath of David. When Nabal hears how close to death he had been, he has a stroke and dies days later; David then takes Abigail to be his wife.

Understanding

David showed great humility and wisdom in heeding the advice of Abigail. This was especially noteworthy in view of the status of women in the OT culture. In David’s time, women were second class citizens, just one step above a piece of property to be owned. Unmarried women were not allowed to leave the home of their father without permission. Married women were not allowed to leave the home of their husband, without permission. They were normally restricted to roles of little or no authority. They could not testify in court. They could not appear in public venues. They were not allowed to talk to strangers. They had to be doubly veiled when they left their homes and could be summarily divorced and left destitute over the slightest infraction. In fact, there was a prayer recited by men of this age that said, “Thank you, God, that I’m not a dog, a gentile or a woman.” For David to entertain, let alone follow, the counsel of a woman showed that he understood that God could deliver his truth in various ways and voices. He did not let the messenger invalidate the message.

Life Application

I am thankful for the Abigail’s in my life – Robin, Cindee, Sheila, DeLaine, and Charleen (to name just a few) – godly women through whom God so often delivers wise counsel, instruction and correction. Of course, I am most thankful for my “Annie-gail”; the wisest, most godly woman I know. Because of her discernment, sensitivity, and compassion she has been used by God countless times to keep my hands free of innocent blood. Where would I be without her? ((shudder)).

I pray that I would recognize that God is always talking to me and to be prayerfully alert not to allow preconceptions, prejudices or pride keep me from receiving all that He wants to speak to me by any means or person He so chooses.
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here
Gary Parker


1 Samuel 24

Scripture

1 Samuel 24:16

So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice my son David?  And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.

Observation-What does it say?

In this chapter, David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but he did not take it.  Instead, he returned good for evil. He proved to Saul that he was not seeking to harm him.  As a result, Saul’s mission to kill David ceased and Saul realized that David would surely become the next king of Israel (vs. 20).

Understanding-What does it mean?

David’s decisions were based on the Lord’s leading.

David was told that God was going to deliver Saul into his hands and that David may do to him what seems good to him (vs. 4).  David decided to submit to the uneasy feeling in his heart, which was from the Lord, and spare Saul’s life. David did not have to promote himself to be king.  He was chosen as the next king of Israel because he lost his life to the Lord’s will.

David embodied the characteristic of a good leader.  David sought the Lord in all he did, he proved faithful and trustworthy to King Saul, and he humbled himself by acting in meekness (strength under control). He had an opportunity to kill his enemy, but in his heart, he did not feel right about it.  Instead of returning evil for evil, he returned good for evil, which could only have happened by the grace of God.  It proved that God was truly with David and that he would make a great king of Israel.

Life Application 

We must lay down our rights in order to submit to the Lord’s leading.

If we want to find our life, we must lose it. Losing our life today means submitting to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God when “our rights” tell us otherwise.  

For example, if we are married and have an argument with our spouse, we must lay down our rights and humble ourselves by saying sorry in order to maintain peace in the home and maintain oneness in the relationship. 

If we have an unchurched friend in need, but we don’t feel like investing time into them, we are called to humble ourselves and give of our time to shine and minister the light of Christ into their lives.

If we hear that a friend had gossiped untrue things about us, instead of holding a grudge against them, we forgive and keep loving them to reconcile the relationship and prove their gossip false.

If we have a co-worker who got a raise or job promotion over us and we feel it was not right, we keep working hard as if working for the Lord (and not for man) and allow the Lord to take care of the situation. We trust God to take care of our every need and not a raise at work to take care of us.

Dear Jesus, Your ways are higher than our ways.  When our human nature tells us to save our lives and promote ourselves, You tell us to lose our life to You instead.  I pray for forgiveness for the pride in my heart that wants me to exercise “my rights.”  Instead, may I follow Your leading like David did and find my life in You as a result.  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 23

Scripture

1 Samuel 23:16

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.

Observation – What does it say?

David and his men continued to find themselves on the run for their lives from King Saul and his army. While David was hiding in the desert, his friend Jonathan traveled to him and helped him find strength in God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

We all need a Jonathan.

Jonathan made the long journey across the desert to find David and help him find strength in God. He encouraged David not to be afraid reminded David of his destiny. We all need friends to surround us in our time of need, when we’re tired and discouraged. That’s one reason why I’m so thankful for our church family! We don’t need friends who will go buy us a drink so we can escape our situation. We need friends who will point us to Jesus!

Not only do we need Jonathans in our life, but we need to be Jonathans to each other.

When we have friends that are struggling, it can be tempting to avoid them. When you’re looking to have a good time, no one wants to invite Negative Nancy or Debby Downer. But when you look at Jesus you see that the gospel is all about moving toward the hurting, the struggling and the ones everyone else avoids.

How easy is it for us to go to our friends and help them find strength in God? Jonathan had to make a long journey in the hot sun. All we have to do is send a text, make a phone call or take a short drive over to their house.

Life Application

Who am I surrounding myself with who can encourage me to find strength in God? (If you don’t have a good answer for this, I encourage you to consider participating in a GROW Group!)

Who do I know that is struggling? How can I encourage to find strength in God? 

God, thank you for surrounding me with some awesome men and women who love you and who are always there to support me. Show me, show us, the people in our lives who need some encouragement and show us how you want us to encourage them today. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Samuel 22

Scripture

1 Samuel 22:2

Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.

Observation

David was seeking refuge.

He couldn’t go to his house, he couldn’t go to the palace, he couldn’t go to Samuel or to Jonathan, he couldn’t go to the house of the Lord, and he couldn’t go to the ungodly. But he found refuge in a cave…and people began to follow him there.

Understanding

David drew the troubled, those in debt and the discontent…those who wanted something different, something better. I’m reminded of our church’s name – Desert Streams – and the desire for us to be like a refreshing stream in the desert. David was so different than what the people were experiencing with King Saul that over 400 people sought him out…in a cave! I’m sure David was amazing; but it was likely the anointing of God on David’s life and how he lived that out that drew them. And we have the opportunity to live that out today!

Life Application

God, may we (as individuals) and Desert Streams (as a whole) be a source of refuge and refreshing for people that are seeking…seeking something better, something different. May we draw the troubled, the distressed, the hurting and broken, the discontent and those in debt and may they find peace, love and joy in You.  May we recognize, today, our opportunities to be living examples and extensions of the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – in every situation and with everyone we meet.

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


1 Samuel 21

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 21:12-13
 
“David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him. So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
David escapes from Saul, and heads to Gath, to see King Achish. As he arrives, he feels uneasy about being there. The officers of Achish were unhappy with David being there, and made comments that made David feel very afraid. He was fearful of what King Achish would do to him. So what did David do?…He acted insane; scratching walls, and drooling down his beard!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Our fear can get the best of us sometimes. 
 
Here is David: A fearless and mighty warrior, a leader of armies,  a man of the people, a servant of God. So how did we get a man like we read about in the previous chapters, to the one we are reading about in this chapter? It seems that David forgot that God was still with him. He let his own fear take control of his actions. His fear made him do things that were out of character. He lied to the people of Nob in order to get food and a sword. Then he lied and pretended to be insane because he feared for his life!  All this from the man, who would eventually become king, and eventually write the book of Psalms…a book where he writes countless Psalms about how God helped him overcome his fear and helped him slay his enemies! So what happened here to David?
Before we jump on David for his actions in this chapter, we have to ask ourselves if we ever did anything out of character because we let fear get the better of us. Maybe it was a time at work, when God clearly spoke to you, and told you to stand up, and speak up, defend your faith; but we cowered in the corner because we were too scared of the consequences. Or maybe we let our fear have us act “insane”, (the way David did here), in a way we acted that was unbecoming of a Christ Follower, and a person of faith; just so we can save face with those around us, and fit in with everyone else. Whatever the case may be, we all had moments in life, where we let fear take over, and forgot to turn to God, and trust in Him in those situations. It happens to the best of them: David, Moses, and Peter to name a few. They all forgot what God had already brought them through, the power in the things He can do, and the power in the things He is going to do! But once they remembered and took grasp of it, they were changed for the better!
 
Life Application
 
Don’t let the enemy fill you with fear, and control you with it. Instead let yourself be filled with the Holy Spirit, and be reminded of the limitless power our God has! With God, all things are possible!-(Matthew 19:26).
 
Father God, forgive me for letting fear get into my heart. Forgive me for letting fear and doubt creep into my life, instead of running to You. May You continue to guide me and strengthen me as I stay connected to You in prayer and reading Your Word. Help me be obedient to You so that we may accomplish the “impossible”. Help me to walk in faith, and not in fear. In your name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 20

Scripture

1 Samuel 20:30

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him…”As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

Observation

David has gone into hiding as a result of Saul’s anger, jealousy and murderous intent. To dispel Jonathan’s disbelief that his father seeks David’s life, the friends devise a plan by which Saul’s motives may be determined. Saul’s rage at David’s absence from a feast, and his paranoia that Jonathan is in league with David to destroy Saul, results in an attempt by Saul on Jonathan’s life. This confirmation of Saul’s unjust persecution of David results in a renewal of their covenant of brotherly love and devotion.

Understanding

Love…is not proud…it is not self-seeking.”

If anyone had cause to be jealous and would benefit from David’s demise, it would be Jonathan. After all, he was Saul’s firstborn and therefore the heir to the throne of Israel. The only thing standing in the way of his ascension to the throne was the breath in David’s lungs. But instead of allowing the pride of the flesh (1 John 2:16) and petty insecurities to rule his actions (as they had his father), Jonathan submitted to the revealed will of God (1 Samuel 16) and acknowledged the future kingship of David by clothing David in his very own robe, tunic, sword, bow and belt; and entered into a covenant of friendship that would transcend familial ties (1 Samuel 18). Jonathan exhibited true humility, submission and love; as well as a commitment to building God’s kingdom over building his own empire.

Life Application

Is my cause is the cause of Christ?

In today’s reading, I find myself wondering how often the cause of Christ has been wounded, delayed or derailed due to petty jealousies and selfishness. Churches have split, ministries have been abandoned and the witness of the church destroyed as the people of God vie for supremacy, gain and notoriety. We have but one cause and one King – the Lord Jesus Christ – under whose reign and rule we must all joyfully bow and serve.

Lord Jesus, help me to crucify my prideful and jealous flesh. May all that I do result not in the exaltation of my name, but in honor and glory for yours. May I be passionately invested in the success of the ministry and mission of others. May I rejoice in the anointing, empowerment and success of anyone through whom you garner glory for your name. May I be so kingdom minded that I promote and celebrate the servanthood and sacrifice of others that bring them to the forefront to be recognized and rewarded.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker


1 Samuel 19

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 19:23
 
So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah.  But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Saul was jealous and felt threatened by David, so he plotted to kill him.  However, Saul’s son Jonathan had developed a liking to David and acted as advocate for him, pleading with his father to prevent him from getting killed. But, in verse 9, it says that an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul and he still wanted to kill David.  David was warned to flee and he did.  Word got to Saul of David’s location and he sent men to capture him.  The Spirit of God fell on these men and they ended up prophesying.  Saul sent more men in and they too started prophesying when the Spirit of the Lord came upon them.  Saul decided to take matters into his own hands and get the job done himself, but the Spirit of God fell on Saul as well and he too started prophesying.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
When the Spirit of God comes upon us, miraculous things happen.  
 
Saul’s ultimate goal was to kill David.  That was his #1 mission, but as we read in Scripture, because of God’s Spirit, Saul ended up prophesying instead.
 
Life Application
 
God’s Spirit is the answer to change.
 
We watched a great video in church yesterday about the Gideon’s ministry.  The testimonies of the men who were forever changed by the Word of God and Spirit were beautiful and proof that Jesus Christ can change anyone.  Those who were once drug addicts/dealers, prisoners, suicidal, married multiple times,  addicted to pornography and prostitution, etc., were now inner city Pastors and leaders living their lives on a mission for Christ and His Kingdom.
 
Heaven and earth will pass away (and with recent events in our nation, it does seem like this world is passing away), but My words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
 
Thank You Jesus that because of You and Your Spirit, we have hope.  When life looks dark and hopeless and death surrounds us, we continue to look to You for hope and life.  Thank You that by the power of Your Spirit, the flesh is weakened and death is destroyed.  Thank You for changing me from the inside out and giving me purpose that satisfies greater than anything this world has to offer.  We need more of You Jesus.  The world needs more of You and as Your children, by the power of Your Spirit, may we be Your hands and feet to the lost, broken, and hurting.  Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
 


1 Samuel 18

Scripture

1 Samuel 18:30

 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

Observation – What does it say?

After killing Goliath, Saul recognized that the Lord was with David and grew increasingly afraid of him. Saul attempted to pin David to the wall with his spear twice, sent David into battle with the Philistines hoping for him to be killed, and tried to give David his daughter in marriage hoping she would become a snare to him. And even after all that David remained faithful to Saul!

Understanding – What does it mean?

Let God dictate your character and actions, not other people.

Several years ago I found myself looking around frustrated. “If only I was somewhere else things would be so much better.” “If only… then my relationship with God would be doing so much better.” “If only… then my relationship with that person would be so much better.” On a Sunday morning during worship God spoke to me, “Where you are can never be an excuse for your relationship with me.” The truth hit hard. For those of us that follow Jesus, we have the ability to not match the attitudes and atmosphere around us. We have the ability to set it! We are called to be thermostats not thermometers. And we can be, because of God’s Spirit inside us.

Saul – David’s boss, king and father-in-law – had done all these horrible things to him. Yet, David didn’t turn in his resignation letter and quit serving the king. He was a mighty warrior who just killed Goliath. He could have fought back and probably killed Saul easily, but he didn’t. Instead, he remained humbly surrendered to Saul. Knowing Saul was against him he still went into the throne room, picked up his harp and played. He took whatever assignment the king gave him and carried it out faithfully. What a great example to us!

Regardless of how people treat us, because God is with us we can still experience favor and success if we will remain humble, faithful, surrendered and submissive. If we want to fulfill the great plans God has for our lives, we cannot allow ourselves to become bitter, complainers, angry, rude, selfish, etc. and blame it on someone else. We must let God dictate our behavior, regardless of the behavior of others.

Life Application

Who or what is dictating my behavior? Are there situations or relationships where I’m not showing Christ-like character?

Jesus, forgive me for allowing my circumstances and the behavior of others to dictate my actions. Help me to love and serve and submit and surrender, even if I don’t think it’s deserved. Thank you for loving me even though I don’t deserve it. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Samuel 17

Scripture

1 Samuel 17:45-47

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Observation

Goliath has challenged the Israelites and openly “defied the armies” of Israel.  All of the biggest and strongest were gathered within the camp; yet no one would take Goliath’s challenge.  David  comes to the camp, hears the challenge and decides to step forward and take on the giant. 

Understanding

David’s acceptance of the giant’s challenge is done purely on a seemingly unwavering faith in God.  From the outside looking in, there is little to lead one to believe that he would have success. 

  • Goliath is described as a giant, David a young man – “little more than a boy.”
  • Goliath was raised as a warrior, David as a shepherd.
  • Goliath donned extravagant armor and heavy, sharp weapons; David carried a slingshot and a few rocks.

Put simply, it doesn’t make logical sense.

Furthermore, David faced accusations from his brother, [initial] discouragement from Saul and mockery from Goliath. Doesn’t exactly sound like the back up or support you’d want in that type of situation. 

Even yet, David accepts the challenge, seemingly against all odds.  BUT the one thing David has the Goliath doesn’t – God in His corner.  And there seems to be no doubt in David’s mind that God will deliver them from this Philistine AND he gives glory to God in advance.

Life Application

Dear God, may I exhibit faith like David today.  May I be brought to action in response to defiance of you.  May I walk with that same boldness, despite “logical” reasoning, despite mockery, despite false accusations.  May I remain steadfast in my pursuit of your will for my life and give all glory to you along the way!  Thank you for being a God we can trust.  We love you!  In your name we pray, Amen.

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


1 Samuel 16

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 16:7
 
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Lord rejects Saul as King due to his disobedience. Now God sends Samuel in search of a new king to anoint. He sends Samuel to Bethlehem to go find a man named Jesse. It will be one of Jesse’s sons that God will anoint as the new king. Samuel automatically assumes that Jesse’s son Eliab, will be the anointed one, but God had already rejected him. Eliab may have fit the physical stature of a great leader, a great warrior, and a man that commanded the presence of people when he entered a room; but God judges the heart, and not the physical stature.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God sees us for the potential of what we can be (through Him), instead of seeing us of what we currently are. 
 
God would rather work with someone with a humble heart; a heart that is fully relying on Him, a heart that is teachable, and obedient. I believe God’s glory shines that much more when He uses people like that. Imagine if God used someone with the same physical stature to take down Goliath. It really wouldn’t be that special. The people would of just thought that it was a battle between two GIANT warriors, and the better man one the showdown. Instead God used someone like David, small in stature, but HUGE in heart; his heart for God, and his heart for God’s people. David took down Goliath with a single shot! Now the people KNOW, that it is from God, that a man like David, can take down a giant like Goliath! All the glory to God!
 
Life Application
 
God doesn’t call the equipped. God equips the called.
 
What part of my life do I feel God  calling me to do, but I may feel inadequate in my own abilities of doing them? Trust in God! If God has anointed you for it, He will equip you to do it!
 
God, thank you for seeing past my faults, and failures. Thank you Lord for seeing me for who I can be, instead of who I am. Thank you for choosing me to partner with in your mission. I pray for the strength and knowledge of completing the work you give me each day. In your name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi