Bible Reading Plan
bible
Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂
 
 
 
 
 
 
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!
 

Ephesians___4

Scripture:  Ephesians 4:24-25   and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 

 

Observation-What does it say?:  Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus did not address any particular matter of sin.  Instead, it was written to deepen their understanding of God’s eternal purpose, grace, and the purpose of the church (universal body of Christ).  Through his repeated use of the phrase “heavenly places,” he is developing our understanding that our existence is not just here on earth. “Nevertheless, that life is lived out on earth, where the practical daily life of the believer continues to work out the purposes of God”(Baker, K., et al, 1999).  In chapter four, Paul specifically addresses our unity in Christ and he offers some advice on how to continue to maintain our unity.  

 

Understanding-What does it mean?:  In 1999, the book Jesus Freaks was first published, which was a joint project with the band DC Talk and a ministry called The Voice of Martyrs.  I was in high school at the time and DC Talk was pretty popular, so it was easy to convince me to read the book, even though I am not much of a reader.  The book outlines the lives of several prominent martyrs of the Christian faith. I remember thinking how horrible it was that these people endured such hardships and atrocities, just for maintaining their faith in Jesus Christ.  I also remember thinking, “I am so glad I live in America, and that will never happen to me.”

 

I never thought, in my lifetime, I would live to see a day where the world I live in is so ready to attack the Christian faith.  Our unity has never seemed so important, and telling the truth about our situation must be paramount in this time. Words of encouragement have never been so vital.  But we must not forget that our battle is not against the flesh (Ephesians 6:17), we are to expect a fiery ordeal (1 Peter 4:12-13), and we are not to fear those who can only kill us (Matthew 10:28).

 

Life Application:  Jesus, I want to learn to find joy in sharing your sufferings.  Help me to be encouraging to others, as this time is uncertain, but you are certainly going to care for us.  Your love, oh Lord, is better than all the things we hold dear on earth and it is everlasting.   


-Tyler Galloway



Ephesians _3

 

Scripture 

Ephesian 3 : 16 – 19 


16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


Observation 


Paul is writing to the Ephesians from prison encouraging them to know the love of God. 


Understanding 


This time we are living in is definitely starting to get to me. Being isolated can take a toll on anyone, even on the strongest of people. I cant help to think what Paul must have felt like to be isolated, in some cases for years at a time. And still he wrote from prison encouraging others. In humility, he knew his true condition, “ Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people…”( Eph. 3:8). 


I wondered what was able to keep him going. What brought joy to his heart that he was able to write with such passion from prison? You can hear it in his voice as you read the letter. I can imagine him writing with vigor and excitement. 


I imagine it’s like when two people have fallen in love with each other and you still live separately while you wait to marry. You spoke  on the phone for hours with such passion. You wrote letters filled with joy and excitement. You are unable to see them or live with them but what keeps you filled with joy, what keeps you going … knowing their love for you and your love for them. 


I think it’s knowing God’s love that will keep us going. 


It will keep us going even in the isolation we experience now.
 

Knowing God’s love will keep us going through all challenges that will come our way. 


Application 


I love this passage of scripture. It immediately brought to mind one of my favorite writings from a dear friend of mine who is now with Jesus in heaven. It describes so perfectly how I feel about knowing His love and I hope it does the same for you. 


“My Dream…To know the depth and the height, the heat and the breath of His love. The kind of knowing that weakens my every strength; that distracts and confuses my every thought; that brings me to my knees when I want to stand high; that turns my running to rest; my rambling to silence; my fears to trust.The knowing that makes everything that once was big seem so small, and what was so small become more beautiful than ever before. Knowing that creates laughter, orders madness, moves the sloth, silences the gossip, frees the bound, heals the hurt, protects the child; And so knowing Him and His love is the beginning and end of all things…To dream without it would be a nightmare” – Karen Nita


My hope for myself and you is that we use this time of isolation to get alone with God and to fully know his love for us and our love for him. 

Deborah Lee



Ephesians___2

Scripture
 
Ephesians 2:7
 
“So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
 

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing to the Ephesians, reminding them all about who they were before Jesus Christ. They were dead in their sins. They were dead spiritually and therefore unable to have a relationship with God. They were defiled and unfit for God’s holy presence, living according to their own selfish lusts. By their very nature, they were subject to God’s wrath, and were doomed for eternal destruction. But God, who is rich in mercy, grace, and love, provided a way for all mankind to be saved from His wrath. He gave us His only son, Jesus. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

What story or legacy is my life leaving behind? Is it one that will bring glory and honor to God?

One thing that I learned at a marriage getaway was an illustration on how our marriages were in God’s trophy case. Occasionally, God will take those marriages out of that trophy case, dust them off, and boast about them. Imagine that?! Our God using our marriages or our individual life stories to boast about to others, to tell the wonderful story of how we were once without Him in our lives. How we were once lost, sinful, and on the road to destruction. But then He found us. He transformed our lives to what it is now. Imagine the smile it brings to Him. Imagine the glory and honor it brings Him when the people we do life with see the transformation within us, because only God is the One who can change a sinful, prideful, and lowly man like me, and change me to the man I have become. Praise be to Jesus!

“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.” Colossians 3:10 NLT

“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5 NLT

Life Application

Share with someone today something that God has transformed in you.

Father God thank You for loving me while I was still a sinner. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, and the countless times You have forgiven me. May Your Holy Spirit abide in me today. Help me to live a life that is honoring to You. Help me to live my life today in a way that can point to Your amazing grace, mercy, and love. May the life I live and the legacy I leave behind be a great example that You can use to bring glory and honor to Your name for generations to come. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



Isaiah_33

Scripture

Isaiah 33:2-
 
Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.

 

Observation-What does it say?

Isaiah was a prophet to Israel and was speaking to Assyria (who was an enemy of Israel and the church) in Isaiah 33. 

However, verse 2 above “is not to Assyria or about Assyria, but is a prayer of Isaiah. Isaiah is praying for his country, as well as himself. The saddest thing about being a prophet is that they see the danger even before it is there. In a sense, they suffer twice. Once when they see it in a vision or dream, and once when it actually happens.

Isaiah knows how badly they need the grace of God. He is fully aware that the only way of escape is in the salvation of God. (bible-studys.org-Isaiah 33).”

 

Understanding and Life Application 

Prayer intercession for our nation and world is needed, especially now.

Pastor talks about standing in the gap. As Christ followers, we need to continually stand in the gap for our nation and world with this silent Covid-19 enemy and the attacks of the devil that seeks to steal, kill and destroy the hearts and minds of God’s people. 

It’s also important that we ourselves stay connected to the Vine and Abide in Jesus. Standing in the gap with prayer intercession and encouragement to a world that does not have their full hope and trust in Jesus is VERY draining. Stay connected to Jesus. Through the overflow of His love, comfort and generosity, continue to intercede on behalf of this world, not just for healing from Covid-19, but also for surrendered hearts to Christ.

-Michelle Gaddi



Galatians_6

Scripture:

Galatians 6:4-6

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

 

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

 

Observation:

Paul was speaking to the churches scattered through Galatia (a portion of modern Turkey).  It is one of the most important writings of Paul in establishing the importance of Grace compared to the Law.  Paul and salvation by grace alone were under attack by those in churches of Galatia. 

[https://pastorbobcrowder.com/2016/11/04/what-is-the-major-purpose-for-the-book-of-galatians/]

 

Understanding:

I appreciate the simplicity of these verses and their application far beyond the times they were written.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling like I’m doing this whole quarantine thing wrong.  Trying to keep up on home schooling, trying engage the creative minds of myself and the boys beyond the tasks at hand, trying to get outside at least once a day to preserve my sanity and see beyond the four walls of our tiny condo, trying to balance work from home life with parenting with teaching with leading with what feels like a million other things.  And with the easy access to social media, it sometimes seems like everyone else is doing it better! 

 

Galatians 6:4-5 speaks to a much simpler view.  “Make a careful exploration of who [I am] and the work [I] have been given, and then sink myself into that.”

 

My work – the work God has called me to, the people/causes/things God has placed on my heart, the resources and people He has placed around me – is unique to me.  And, quite frankly, my work keeps me busy enough, especially right now.  I can’t get caught up in comparing myself to others.  Instead, I must “take responsibility for doing the creative best [I] can with [my] own life.”

 

The second set of verses encourage us to care for those who have trained us – to provide for their temporal (earthly, temporary) needs.  I don’t know about you, but as I look around Desert Streams Church, there are a lot of people who helped “train” me.  These verses act as instruction to be generous with them – “sharing all the good things that [I] have and experience.”

 

Life Application:

Let’s give ourselves and others some grace.  These are unique, unprecedented, unexpected times that we are all going through.  There is no perfect way to do it, no guideline on how to do it “right.”  But spend time each day with God, let Him direct our steps, then move in that direction.  Focus on the work that He has given – which won’t be more than you can handle, with His love and support surrounding you. 

 

Let’s take time to check on those who have trained us up, those who have supported our spiritual needs and growth.  Let’s be sure their temporal needs are taken care of now. 

 

God, I am grateful that you are bigger than the coronavirus, bigger than severe storms, bigger than earthly chaos, bigger than financial downturns.  May we press in, look for ways to share your love with those we encounter (even if it’s far fewer people now) and for creative ways to share your love in these times of social distancing. 

 

Rei



Galatians___5

Scripture:  Galatians 5:13-14  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

 

Observation:  In writing to the Galatians, Paul is addressing a certain amount of Jewish tradition that had made its way into the church.  When Paul originally preached to those in Galatia, he preached a gospel of repentance and faith. But, some Jewish-Christians later told them God’s grace was secured through these Jewish traditions, like circumcision, and the new Christians were beginning to accept these traditions as truth.  Paul is reminding them that Christ has set us free through the cross. But, this freedom isn’t used as an excuse for continual sin or as a reason to pile requirements onto others. This freedom we have allows us to forget about the past requirements of the law, which frees up time for us to serve others.

 

Understanding:  I can be a little fanatical about things.  I like to consider myself “committed”, but if I am really honest about it, I am more fanatical.  I like to choose one thing and obsess over it until I have completely annoyed everyone around me about it.  For a while as a kid, this obsession was filled with Robin Hood. My obsession was fueled partly by the Disney animated movie of the story and by the archery set I inherited from my dad.  Either way, I was hooked on righteously living on the edge of the law, saving those weaker than me from the evil and oppressive rulers.

 

The other day, I helped a friend move out of his parents’ house.  It was a strange feeling, breaking the rules of “social distancing” to do what was once just a mundane activity.  I felt like the outlaw hero I once admired. I never thought I would live in a time where, even though it’s temporary, my freedoms would be so limited.  Though, it has made me realize how much of my freedom of movement before this was wasted in entertaining myself, and filling my time with pursuits that were primarily selfish.  It wasn’t until the ability to be with others was taken away did I realize how much I appreciate being around them.  

 

This time has brought new meaning to the call to put others before myself.  When it takes more intentionality to maintain unity, it makes me appreciate the freedom I had to meet with Christ’s body.  But, this time has also helped me to become more creative in meeting with God and others.  

 

Life Application:  Jesus, help me to continue to meet with others, even when that has become harder and harder.  Help me to look for unity, even though it feels as though the world is trying to break it down.  Help me to remember it is through your sacrifice that we are made to be one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).       

-Tyler Galloway


Isaiah_30

Scripture – What stood out?

Isaiah 30:15,18 

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,

    in quietness and trust is your strength,

    but you would have none of it.

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;

    therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.

For the Lord is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

 

Observation – What does it say?

In this chapter the prophet Isaiah continues to deliver God’s message to the Israelites.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I love verse fifteen of this chapter. As I read it the phrase “in repentance and rest is your salvation” really stood out to me. Actually it kind of blew me away. Can we really find rest…in repentance? And as I continued to read about how this salvation was rejected I was struck by God’s response in verse eighteen, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you.”

Have you ever longed for something? For someone? I have. And I imagined that same feeling I had and tried to think of it as God’s “longing to be gracious” to me. To us all. The analogy likely falls short but it felt like I had a small glimpse of God’s compassion for us. His love for us. 

 

Life Application – How can I apply this to my life today?

I read the OT and I am constantly reminded of how people, humans constantly found ways to run away from and ignore God – when being in a right relationship with Him was the greatest thing we could have done. But it is easy for me to think upon my own life and how I have fallen short, not once, not twice, but too many times to count. 

 

I think about all the mistakes I have made that burden my soul.

The bible reminds me: God longs to be gracious to you. That’s why He sent Jesus Christ His son.
 
I love you Lord,
-kenneth lee
 


Proverbs__13

Scripture

Proverbs 13:20

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
 

Observation

King Solomon continues on his talks of obtaining wisdom, and in this chapter he discusses ways to not only take valid criticism and grow from it, but also to evaluate who we surround ourself with. He makes it imperative that as wise followers of God, we must be the ones influencing those around us, and not the other way around.
 

Understanding

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

I used to hear this all the time in high school, and figured it didn’t really apply to me because I didn’t really have that many friends. However, I looked around closely at others and saw that this became very indicative of all of them. People who would spend their time with people involved in substances gradually became addicted to the same substance, or people who spent their time with people heavily involved with the school and its activities slowly entered more rigorous courses or ASB (that was me). The bottom line is that they were influenced either way. By the end of my sophomore year my biggest concern was that I wasn’t doing anything to leave an impressionable mark on those coming up after me. So junior and senior year I made the shift to become more involved in the lives of those around me. I wanted to invest in them so that influence them. I’d like to think that I was successful, but only time can tell on things like that. So what’s my point?

Who you hang around matters! You don’t have to be in high school to know this either, it happens everywhere whether we are conscious of it or not. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing either. If someone is really good at something that you want to learn more about, hang around them it’s bound to rub off on you. My professor said the other day, “Sometimes it’s better to be by yourself than to be in bad company.” Although this sounds extremely logical and exactly what King Solomon is talking about, I don’t think this is all correct either. If we are to multiply Christ-followers everywhere, it means at some point we are going to have to go out to “bad company” and show them the love of Jesus. I’m not saying to go all crazy (know your limitations), but I am saying to show them what walking with the wise looks like. Raise their standard, don’t stoop to theirs.
 

Life Application

Walk the walk, and talk the talk.

Let’s make sure that what we say, matches our heart and intention. It’s one thing to say all the right things that makes look wise, but it’s another thing to actually live a wise Christ centered life as well. Anyone can love the unlovable and tell them what being wise sounds like, don’t just be anyone. Let’s serve them too, and walk alongside them so that they may become wise as well.

-Allison Khan


Isaiah_28

Scripture
 

Isaiah 28:11b-13a

God will speak to this people,

12 to whom he said,

“This is the resting place, let the weary rest”;

and, “This is the place of repose”—

but they would not listen.

13 So then, the word of the Lord to them will become:

Do this, do that…
 

Observation – What does it say?

 

God had offered rest to His people but they rejected His offer. They refused to listen. As a result, they were left with just rules and commands, hoops to jump through; rules and commands they were sure to break without the strength and wisdom provided by relationship with God.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

 

God offers the same rest to people today, rest that only comes through relationship with Jesus.

 

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

 

Hebrews 4:11 (NLT) So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

 

If we reject God’s offer to come to Him and to enter His rest, we are left with trying to be made right with God through following His commands… something impossible for us to do. Like Israel, we will fall if we try.

 

God offers rest for the weary, strength for the weak, peace for the anxious, hope for the discouraged and forgiveness for the sinner. Why settle for religious do’s and don’ts?!

 

Life Application

 

Don’t settle for religion without relationship!

 

Where have I been just going through the motions? How can I be more intentional about “coming to Jesus” and entering His rest this week?

 

God, forgive me for the times I go through the motions. Forgive me for turning to other things for rest. Today, I choose to come to You. I choose to seek You, to pray and worship, and to enjoy the rest that comes from being in Your presence. Lord, increase our intimacy with You! Take us deeper in relationship! Show us the ways we’ve drifted and re-calibrate our hearts. May we be consumed with a greater passion to know You and make you known! Amen.

 

-Levi Thompson



Proverbs_11

Scripture:

Proverbs 11:24-25

24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Observation:

Proverbs is always full of wisdom and teachings, though written in biblical times, seem just as relevant today.

Understanding:

I think current times have shown the truth of these verses.

As we saw when the news of COVID-19 first hit, people began to “withhold unduly” as they filled their cupboards leaving the store shelves empty for others…sometimes those who needed it most.

Our life example, though, should follow that of our Father – one [who] gives freely…both to God and to those who He puts in our lives.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.  Malachi 3:10

This is one area where God invites that we test Him. Awesome thing is, God is an extravagant giver. When we give freely, with trust in God as our provider, we gain even more. He cannot be outgiven.

Life Application:

Live and give generously.

May we be a source of refreshing…but recognize the source of our own refreshing.

May we be filled to overflowing, then pour out of our abundance.

Go love on somebody! <3

 

Rei