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!
 

2 Samuel 1

Scripture

2 Samuel 1:17-18

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,Observation

David, after learning of Saul and Jonathan’s death, had avenged their death, ripped his clothes, mourned, wept and fasted…but he wasn’t done. He now is writing of his lament in poem form and insisting that they be taught the children of Judah. 

Understanding

Think back…it wasn’t that long ago that Saul was searching for David, wanting to have him killed. One would think that the mourning, the weeping, the fasting would have been enough to pay his respects to Saul’s memory; but he’s going to ensure that Saul is honored for generations to come! 

And, why?  Out of honor and respect to God because Saul was the Lord’s anointed.

Life Application

God, remind me that when I do things – little and big – that it is all unto You.  As a result, I am called to be an example of God’s overwhelming, unconditional love!…not just the bare minimum.  May I devote this day to you and be open to your promptings to share your kindness, your love, your consideration in a way that honors and glorifies you.

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


1 Samuel 31

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 31:7
 
“When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Philistines have attacked the Israelites. They just finished killing Saul’s three sons and now they are in hot pursuit of Saul. Saul would rather kill himself than be caught,  taunted, and tortured by his enemy. So that is exactly what he does. After his armor bearer refuses to do Saul’s “dirty work” for him, Saul does it himself. He falls on his own sword, killing himself. Soon after, his armor bearer follows Saul’s lead and does the same. Once the people of Israel see all these things going on, they begin to flee and abandon their towns.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As Christ-Followers, we are called to lead. Whether it is leading our family, friends, neighbors, or even the people we work with, we are called to be leaders. We have to lead by example.
Saul’s lack of leadership, the way he led his people by example, was the reason the people of Israel were put into this predicament. Saul’s non-existent relationship with God had an affect on his own people’s relationship with God. Saul’s willingness to just give up in life (kill himself) when times got tough, reflected poorly on the people he was leading. His armor bearer followed his lead in committing suicide, his remaining army began to flee, and the Israelites started to flee and abandon their towns when things were getting too difficult.
 
Life Application
 
What kind of leader am I? What kind of example am I displaying to those I am supposed to be leading?
 
As Christ-Followers, we are not exempt from difficult situations. As a matter of fact, we should expect some hardships. But it is how we handle ourselves during these difficult times that is  important. We have to remember that we have people watching us. They want to see how we react to life’s difficult circumstances. It’s easy to give praise to God when everything is going well for us. But it is during our hardships when our faith is tested-(Read the story of Job for example). So when those times come, how will I react? What will I do? Will I flee and cower in the sight of danger? Or will I stand firm in my faith, having confidence in God’s plan and love for me.
 
Father God, help me to be mindful of my actions today. Help me to be obedient to Your will. Help me to live my life in such a way that causes others around me to want to follow my lead. May it bring these people into a relationship with You. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
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1 Samuel 30

Scripture

1 Samuel 30:24

David replied…”The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”

Observation

After rescuing the hostages taken by the Amalekites when they destroyed Ziklag, including David’s two wives, David’s men begin to argue amongst themselves; disputing whether or not those who stayed behind with the supplies should share in the plunder equally with those who were on the front lines of the fighting. David rebukes the rabble-rousers and commands that all will share equally in the spoils of victory.

Understanding

At the height of the Vietnam War, only 35% of the total number of troops in country were combat troops. The other 65% were command, logistics and support/supply troops. In other words, it takes 2/3 of the total size of an army in support roles to make it possible for the other 1/3 to fight. The combat troops need to be transported, equipped, fed, clothed, and re-supplied; as well as needing medical care when wounded. Add to this the home front effort needed to manufacture the arms, munitions, uniforms, vehicles, planes and ships to engage in warfare. It’s mind boggling. Yet, without all of the efforts of those who never see combat, the battle could not be joined and victory could not be won.

The warriors of David’s company failed to understand the truth that the rear guard is just as important as the “tip of the spear”. It’s the same in ministry. Not everyone is called to take the pulpit, teach the class, enter the mission field or lead the ministry; and one might be tempted to feel less important than those in more visible areas of ministry. We must never forget or underestimate the contributions made by people behind the scenes in ministry. Every effort, great or small, seen or unseen, given to further the kingdom of God is vital, is to be appreciated and shares equally in the reward of kingdom victory.

Life Application

I can be an important part of every ministry a Desert Streams either by playing, paying or praying. I don’t need to be involved in Youth Ministry, but I can support those who are with my finances and with my prayers. I may not be in the Nursery on Sunday, but I can provide needed supplies and encourage those who do serve with words of encouragement, cards, gifts, etc.; and though I may not lead a ministry, I can be a servant to those that do – realizing that serving behind the scenes or under the radar is as vital to achieve victory as the efforts of those in leadership and front line positions.
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here
Gary Parker


1 Samuel 29

Scripture

1 Samuel 29:5-6

Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?”

Observation-What does it say?

Because of fear, David hid out in the Philistine country and became loyal to Ashish, the opposing side and enemy of his people, the Israelites. David was planning to go to battle against Israel with Ashish and his men, but the Philistine commanders did not trust him. As a result, they rejected him from being part of their army.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God saved David from his unwise decision that was made due to fear.

It was the Lord who gave David an out from the Philistine army, to put him back on the path intended for him. His past reputation invoked fear with the Philistine commanders–fear of betrayal, and he was not able to fight with them. His past caught up with him, and in this case, it was a good thing.

Life Application

The Lord pursues us and puts us back on the path intended for us, even when we stray.

There are consequences to sin and unwise decisions. However, I am a true believer that the Lord pursues us, even when we stray,  just like the master who left his 99 sheep to search for his 1 that had strayed (Matt. 18:12, Luke 15:4). Some of the ways He has pursued me is through the prayers and encouragement of godly people. He picks us up and puts us back on the path intended for us. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Dear Lord, thank You for the ways You have pursued me back to the path You’ve intended for me…the path back to You and with You. You are so good and loving and there’s no place I’d rather be than with You. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Michelle Gaddi


1 Samuel 28

Scripture

1 Samuel 28:17b-18a

The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord…

Observation – What does it say?

Because Saul was unable to hear from God, he turned to another source for guidance: a medium. This woman, through demonic powers, would summon someone from the dead for Saul to speak with. A practice that God had clearly forbidden. Once Samuel was summoned, he declared that God had fulfilled his promise to take the kingdom from Saul because of his disobedience.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It is possible to fall short of God’s plan for our lives.

Chapter 13 reveals God’s intended plan for Saul:

1 Samuel 13:13-14a 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure…

It was clear that God’s intention was to establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel for all time. If he kept God’s command, Saul would always have a descendent on the throne and ultimately Jesus would have come from the line of Saul. However, his disobedience to God’s command led to him missing out. The kingdom was now being stripped from him and his family and being given to David.

I used to think that if God gave a prophetic word or dream about what he intended to do through a person, church or ministry, it would be automatic. God would make it happen regardless of if we ran from it or worked for it. But this shows that we have a role to play in the fulfillment of those prophetic words. 

God has a plan for every person. But it’s up to us to seek God to reveal his plan, and then pursue it.

Life Application

What does it look like for me to pursue God’s plan for my life today? In this season?

God, we want to experience the fullness of what you intend for us! Please, in your mercy and your grace, help us to experience all you desire us to. May we live completely surrendered to you, fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. For those of us who are drifting, bring us back. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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


1 Samuel 27

Scripture

1 Samuel 27:1

But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.”

Observation

David – often called a man after God’s own heart – was becoming discouraged. This verse shows that he had lost hope. The verses following this shows how he began to take things in his own hands and kind of fell out of the character of God.  He deserted his own country and went to live in the land of the Philistines (v 5-7).  He began to spend his time raiding the neighboring cities. (v 8-9).  He seemed to have lost his touch with his purpose…to the point that it was believed even his own people must “hate him bitterly” (v 12).

Understanding

For as long as time has existed, it has been our human nature to get impatient in the waiting. When things don’t look the way we thought or expected, it’s easy to get discouraged and to begin wanting to take things into our own hands. But, as we see here, that is not the solution. As I read through this chapter, I see David thinking to himself, deciding to move to a different area and beginning to attack the neighboring communities…what I don’t see is David seeking God or seeking counsel or encouragement from other believers…and the results are perilous.

Life Application

God, help us to remain steadfast in your ways. In seasons of frustration or doubt, may we continue to seek hard after you.  Thank you for the family of Desert Streams that you have placed us in; may we lean on them in this times – seeking community and encouragement.  May we not be so quick to take things in our own hands, but continually surrender our agenda to your will.  Also, give us the heart to speak into the lives of those who may be in this season of frustration now.  

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



1 Samuel 26

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 26:10
 
“Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Once again Saul and his men are hunting after David… AGAIN!!! David learns about it, goes out one night, and what does he find?… Saul and his men asleep along the hillside.-(Saul and the commander of his army, Abner, were sleeping inside a ring, formed by the rest of the slumbering  army). So once again, God had delivered David’s enemy to him, and David shows mercy instead of vengeance. You see, while Saul and his men were caught napping on the job, David and his men were close enough to strike and kill them; but they chose to spare Saul and his men, and show them grace and mercy instead. 
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Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David trusts God’s hands. David trusts in God ways, God’s vengeance for His people, and God’s peace in his life.
 
David had yet another opportunity to rid this thorn in his side, who is Saul. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, by killing Saul, which many of us probably would have done, David chose to show him grace and mercy. How can he do this we might ask? I believe it’s because of his personal relationship with God, his trust in God. It is through this relationship and trust he has in God, that David was able to demonstrate submission and obedience to God’s ways. 
Imagine if David would have took the opportunity to kill Saul. What then? Maybe it would have caused dissension among the people. Some might believe what Saul was saying all this time was true, that David was out to kill Saul because he was after the throne. David on the other hand, would have disobeyed God, blood would be on his hands, and the people may have thought of him a murderer. Instead David’s choice to trust God, brought him peace of mind. He knew Saul’s blood would not be taken from his hands. He would be innocent of that. He knew by showing grace and mercy to his enemy that God’s favor would continue to bless him wherever he went and whatever he did. 
 
Life Application
 
We could all learn and use the faith and trust that David showed to God in our lives.
 
You don’t have to look far to find someone who has experienced some sort of injustice in the world. You turn on the television and you see what is going on in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas. People are taking matters into their own hands, going out for vengeance because of the injustice they feel,  and bringing even more violence and bloodshed into this world. I know this breaks God’s heart. 
Doing what David did here isn’t easy. It takes faith! It takes faith in God, knowing and trusting that it is God who will bring you justice and will be your vengeance when it’s all said and done! The world needs more David’s. Whose willing to stand up and lead?
Father God, we need you now more than ever. We ask that you bring strength and obedience to your people as we take lead and take a stand against sin! Help us to trust you in your ways and your will. Give us patience to let you play things out accordingly. Help your people be beacons of light into a world that seems to be heading into darkness. May the rest of the world benefit from it, and understand just how much they need you. May the world remember the most heinous injustice done was to your only son Jesus. May the world remember why it had to be done. To free us from our sins. Thank you God. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


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