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!
 

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.”
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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.”
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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
 


1 Samuel 15

Scripture

1 Samuel 15:28

Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you.

Understanding

After defeating the Amalekites in battle, Saul fails to completely follow the Lord’s command to totally destroy all that belongs to them. Because of his rebellion and disobedience, Samuel pronounces God’s judgement upon him.

Observation

Pride is the root of Saul’s sin

As we look at Saul’s actions ever since he was anointed king over Israel we see that he is infected with the fatal disease of pride. It was pride that caused the original rebellion in heaven (Isaiah 14); pride that caused the original sin on earth (Genesis 3); and pride that causes Saul to sin against God. It is pride that causes Saul to keep the spoils of battle so as to ingratiate himself to his troops; it is pride that finds him in Carmel erecting a monument to himself and it is pride that cause him, when confronted with his disobedience, to rationalize his sin and to blame others. Even when God announces his rejection of Saul as king of Israel, in his pride, he begs Samuel to honor him before the elders and Israel. In past chapters we have seen how pride has caused Saul to act impetuously, impatiently and rashly – taking on the role of the priesthood and even being willing to put his own son to death in order to save face.

Life Application

Pride is at the root of all my sin
It is too easy to remember, as I point the finger at Saul’s sin, that the same pride that drove Saul to disobedience, rationalization and blame is the same pride that drives my sin. All my sin is ultimately motivated by a conscious decision to do things my way and not God’s way. Every act of rebellion against God’s word and will for my life is an attempt to reclaim the throne and lordship of my own life – echoing what Satan has said in his heart;
“I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God…I will make myself like the Most High.” and forgetting that I am no longer my own, I have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Lord, help me to remember that the highest form of worship that I can offer you is obedience; and when I sin, may I bring to you the sacrifice of humility, confession and repentance.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.                                                   Psalm 51:16-17

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.                                                                                                  1 John 1:8-9
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here
Gary Parker


1 Samuel 14

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 14:43-45
 

Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!” 44 Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.” 45 But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

Observation– What does it say? 

Saul had bound his army with a strict oath that said that none of them could eat that day. His son Jonathan did not hear the oath that his father had bound the army to and he ate some honey. In addition, some of the men ate meat with blood in it, which was a sin against the Lord. This disobedience was punishable by death and Jonathan was willing to die for this sin. However, the Lord’s favor was with him and the men recognized it. They said that the great deliverance in Israel could not have taken place if it weren’t for God’s help. The Lord was with Jonathan and he was not put to the death.

Understanding– What does it mean?

The Lord is our ultimate protector.

 He helped Jonathan deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. He also protected Jonathan from death even though he sinned.

Life Application

We cannot do anything apart from Christ.

As we are entering a season of rest at DSC and celebrating Independence Day today, let’s celebrate our dependence on Christ and our freedom from sin, death and hell because of what He did for us in His death and resurrection. We could not save ourselves and that’s why He came to free us. Let us celebrate no longer being bound to sin, but bound to His Holy Spirit.

Thank You Jesus for Independence Day, where we declared our independence from Great Britain and became the land of the free. Thank You also for the freedom we have in You because of what you accomplished on our behalf. We praise You Jesus. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
 


1 Samuel 13

Scripture

1 Samuel 13:11-12

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

Observation – What does it say?

Facing the huge Philistine army, Saul and the Israelites freaked out. Many ran and hid while some troops decided to stay with Saul. God had commanded Saul to wait for Samuel to come to him. Samuel would present fellowship offerings and burnt offerings to God when he got there. But, after 7 days had passed and Samuel hadn’t shown up yet, the troops with Saul were giving into fear and starting to scatter. When Saul saw it he grew impatient waiting for Samuel and offered the sacrifice himself.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Fear is a bad motivator.

Saul’s fear led him to take matters into his own hands, causing the kingdom of Israel to be taken from him. Fear and faith are opposed to each other. Fear leads us into sin. Faith leads us into obedience.

Rather than trusting God and obeying his command, Saul gave into fear. Abraham did the same when he lied about his wife Sarah being his sister. And the Apostle Peter did the same when he lied to those around the fire, saying he didn’t know Jesus.

Thankfully, for those of us who follow Jesus, we don’t ever have to live in fear and have fear dictate our actions. Why? Because we have the Holy Spirit!

Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba Father.”

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Life Application

Be motivated by faith and not by fear!

God, thank you for your Spirit! Thank you that we don’t ever have to live in fear or be controlled by it. Instead we can walk in sonship – in the confidence that we have a perfect heavenly Father who will care for all our needs. We can walk in power, love and self-discipline. Lord, reveal to us the areas we’ve been giving into our fear, and fill us with faith. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Samuel 12

Scripture

1 Samuel 12:22

22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. 

Observation

The Israelites had requested a king to rule over them and Samuel has resigned the government into the hands of Saul and is now speaking to the people.  He takes time to remind them of the great things God has done for them and their lineage.  Awakens them to their sin – in seeking a king other than their Heavenly Father – and reminds them of God’s power – calling to God for thunder.  And, now, He is encouraging them with hopes that all should be well – not because of their works or because they’ve been so well behaved (because that was not the case) but because of God’s namesake and His desire to choose them. 

Understanding

There is such beauty and freedom in being called God’s children.  The Israelites had seemingly tried everything.  They changed locations, moved the tabernacle, changed governments, changed idols…yet, none of this was moving them any closer to what they wanted because they were missing the big picture – to love and serve God wholeheartedly!  Had God chosen them for their good merits, it would follow that He would likely dismiss them for their bad merits.  But, in choosing them for His name’s sake, He would neither reject them nor leave them.  Furthermore, despite all this, He still took pleasure in calling them His and His desire remained that they would love Him and serve Him and Him alone.

Life Application

Lord, thank you for first choosing us, for calling us yours!  May we remember our namesake and honor it in our actions.  May we remember that the circumstances around us have little consequence on who we truly are…so despite what the world says or what is popular or “normal,’ our call remains steady – to know you and make you known, to shine bright for you.  Thank you for loving us first and help us, today, to love others as you have loved us. 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Rei