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!
 

Psalm 15

Scripture 

Psalm 15:1 

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?”

 

Observation-What does it say?

King David writes this Psalm and lists the characteristics of people who can dwell in God’s sacred tent and holy mountain.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is concerned with our character, more than He is with our outward appearance.

If you look at the list in this Psalm (blameless, righteous, truthful, not slanderous, no wrong done to a neighbor, honors and fears the Lord, keeps oath even when it hurts, lends money to poor, etc.), there is nothing in this list that talks about outward appearance such as how beautiful/handsome someone is, what type of clothes are worn, the amount of money they make, education, how big their house is, type of car they drive, their profession, how many followers they have on social media, etc. It all has to do with the person’s character and integrity.

It is fitting that King David wrote this Psalm because God didn’t chose him based on his outward appearance either. For those who don’t know King David’s story, he was the youngest son tending sheep, while his older brothers “looked” more qualified than he did to be king. However, God still chose David because of his heart, not outward appearance.  This is what the Lord told Samuel (who was sent to anoint David as king):  

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

 

Life Application

Invest time in being a person of Godly character and integrity and be willing to go through trials with the Lord, which is how character is refined. (James 1)

Instead of trying to impress and prove ourselves to the world and people who don’t really truly care about us, why don’t we live our lives trying to impress the One who truly matters? The One who will always be there even if everything was taken away. The One who holds eternity in His hands and not only sees, rewards and will judge things done in public, but things done in private as well. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 14

Scripture

Psalm 14:5-7

5 But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,

    for God is present in the company of the righteous.

6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,

    but the Lord is their refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!

    When the Lord restores his people,

    let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

–       New International Version

 

5 Terror will grip them,

    for God is with those who obey him.

6 The wicked frustrate the plans of the oppressed,

    but the Lord will protect his people.

7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?

    When the Lord restores his people,

    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

–       New Living Translation

 

Observation-What does it say?

Although it’s unconfirmed exactly what Saul was facing when this Psalm was written, it’s clear he felt oppressed and/or opposed by unbelievers.   

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The message is clear…

–       God is with those who obey Him

–       The Lord will protect His people

–       The Lord restores His people

And the third (verse 7) is my favorite…

7 Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel?

    When the Lord restores his people,

    Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.

It’s not a matter of if God will restore, but when; and we are reminded throughout Psalms that we serve a God who restores, who draws near, who heals, who rescues.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  – Psalm 34:18

The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.  – Psalm 41:3

Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.  – Psalm 53:6

And, if we believe that our God is unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever more, then it’s safe to say, we still serve a God of restoration today. 

 

Life Application

God is the great restorer.

Restorer of relationships, hearts, people. 

Restoration can take many looks – healing, the righting of wrongs, forgiveness, being made whole, providing peace – all of which we need today.

May we cry out like David for the restoration we desire and need today – in our families, in our nation, in the hearts of those we love.

-Rei Bailey



Psalm_13

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 13:5

But I trust in your unfailing love;

    my heart rejoices in your salvation.

 

Observation – What does it say?

This psalm begins with these words in verse 1 “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” And it sets this despondent depressed tone for much of this 6 verse psalm until in verse 5 David changes course and takes a firm leap of faith – and trusts in God’s unfailing love.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I had a moment last week though that triggered in my memory as I read verse 5. I had just finished royally screwing up my part during a live-stream sunday service, so I’m beating myself up and  as I finished apologizing to my pastor, I stepped outside and was greeted by the most glorious breeze of my life. I stood there just trying my best to absorb and feel every bit of gentle wind on my face and body. And I remember taking a breath and just appreciating God. And I just knew things were going to be okay.

 

I still offered my pastor to exchange interns later on that week but much of the sting of my failure was gone and (it didn’t hurt that my pastor adamantly refused such an exchange!).

 

What a difference it makes once we shift in God’s direction. The pastors at desert streams church are constantly talking about our posture towards God. What position are you in? Are you ready to receive all that God is trying to offer you? How are you positioning yourself in relation to God?

 

I believe that king David begins this psalm filled with melancholy and doubt. By verse 5 however he has found his breath of fresh air and he changes his spiritual course, his attitude, his position, his posture. He resolves to trust in God’s unfailing love. 

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

 

Day 18 in pastor and author Gary Khan’s devotional Reset asks us to head to city hall with a few fellow believers and pray for our administrators. He even suggests to write to our city’s mayor with encouraging life giving words. I already know how mine will begin, “You are a democrat and I am a christian. We live in the same city and for some reason God has chosen to put you in a leadership position over me. Why I am not sure. But of this I am – God’s love for you and myself is unfailing….”

 

May i finish that letter today Lord. And may my words to our city’s leadership be like you were for me just over a week ago, a breath of fresh air. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen. -kenneth lee

 



Psalm 12

Scripture

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.”  

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
In this psalm, David cries out to God for help. David is living in a shattered world where the righteous and faithful are quickly disappearing. The wicked seem to be flourishing and walking around thinking that they are untouchable. But David knows that God sees all. David knows justice will be served. David is standing firm on the promises of God.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Stand on the promises of God.
 
Have you ever felt like David? Have you ever been so discouraged with your life and the world around you? Have you ever felt as though God is letting the unruly rule? I know I have. But like David, I choose to find encouragement in God and His Word. Like verse 6 in this morning’s passage says, “The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.” But what are some of God’s promises?
 
Here are a few promises of God I know of:
 
•He will be with you.
•He will protect you.
•He will be your strength.
•He will provide your every need.
•He will give you peace.
•He will love you unconditionally.
 
There are hundreds, if not thousands of promises found in the Bible. And if you’re like me, (or David here), and trust and believe that God’s promises are pure, you are sure to find strength and encouragement in them.
 
Life Application
 
Seek and you will find.
 
“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”-Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NLT
‭‭ 
We worship the God of the universe. He is faithful and just. His promises never fail. Will you choose to stand on His promises when times are tough? I encourage us all to dive into His Word daily, seek His promises, and see just how faithful our God is.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


Psalm_11

Scripture

Psalm 11:1-7 NLT

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in His holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see His face.”

Observation-What does it say?

In this psalm of David, David reiterates Who he finds refuge in (The Lord Almighty). As chaos and disorder begin to surround David, his counselors urge him to flee. But David stands firm. David knows that God is his protector, and that God is in control. David knows that he serves a God of truth and justice…and despises those who love evil. David understands the wrath of fire and brimstone that awaits the wicked. So David remains steadfast in his faith. David will fight his battles with the Lord God Almighty leading the way.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is in control.

You ever hear people ask the question, “How can God let this bad stuff happen in the world?!” It is even a question we as Christians can find ourselves asking. We as a people have managed to think that we know better than God!..that we can manage this world ourselves! Now where did that leave us?! Just turn on your local news or go on social media. I’m sure it won’t take long for us to see.

But there is good news. God is STILL in control. Even with all the evil in this world, God is in control. He is at the throne of Heaven, observing our every action, hearing our every thought and prayer. God is waiting on us. Are we as a nation ready to turn back to Him? Are we as Christ Followers ready to stand in the gap, and pray on behalf of this nation? I encourage you to trust God (the way David did). See what God can do through all of this. We serve a God of order and justice. Let Him lead our way!

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14 

Life Application

Pray for our nation and its leaders.

Father God, I pray for our nation today. I pray for our leaders. I pray that You may instill them with wisdom on how to lead the people in a way that pleases You, especially during this season. Forgive us God for thinking we know what’s better for us. Forgive us Lord for turning our backs on You. Lord God Almighty, You are in control. Help us trust in You and Your ways once again. Heal our nation Lord. Restore this nation to make us whole again. Make us one nation, under God, (under Your reign and protection Lord). We give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



James_____4

Scripture

James 4:7 NLT

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Observation-What does it say?

James originally wrote this book of the Bible for the “twelve tribes” of Jewish believers scattered abroad. In this particular passage he is giving advice on how they can draw closer to God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Want a closer relationship with God?

Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you.-James 4:8

James tells us we can have a closer relationship with God by acting on these 2 things.

  1. Humbling yourself
  2. Resisting the devil

Being humble requires us to submit to God. We need to understand that we are nothing without Him, and that we need Him-(Jesus), in our lives to be our savior. We need to let go of our way of doing things and do things God’s way. Resisting the devil requires us being humble, and understanding that we cannot do it under our own strength, but only through God’s strength. The devil knows our weaknesses and will do everything he can to tug on them, to bring you down. His main purpose is to create that wedge of our sinfulness to separate us from having that personal and intimate relationship with God. Don’t let him do it! Be humble and resist!

Life Application

Jesus is the perfect example.

Jesus showed us how to have that closer relationship (father-son/child) with God. As powerful as Jesus was, he still went to God in prayer. He often would seek a quiet place to go and reside to, to get “re-energized” to continue his daily ministry. Jesus was also tempted by the devil when he went into the wilderness without food for 40 days. Jesus was able to resist the devil’s temptations. Jesus knew the word of God, and used the word to combat everything the devil threw his way. Jesus is the perfect example of how we should live our lives, and have that closer relationship with God. By remaining humble, seeking God constantly in prayer, and reading His word, God will give me all that I need to combat the evil one. And by doing these things, I know I will be pleasing God, and I will have an even closer relationship to my father in Heaven. 😊
 
-Moses Gaddi


Micah 6

Scripture 

Micah 6:8 

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The book of Micah was written in the 8th century before the birth of Jesus.  Micah was from a small town in Judah, near the Philistine border.  He prophesied of the fall of Israel’s capitals, Jerusalem and Samaria, and of the eventual fall of Judah.  Micah prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  Israel and Judah had fallen into some prosperity during this time, and the comfort that accompanied this prosperity made way for corruption of the character of the nation  The nation of Israel had fallen into sin, so had the kingdom of Judah, and this was displeasing to God.  Throughout the book, Micah tells of the judgement and deliverance by God.  Both Micah and Amos, one of Micah’s contemporaries, showed deep concern for social justice among the people of Israel.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Jen (my wife) always reminds me that “actions speak louder than words.”  She usually says this when we are having some kind of argument about something I did.  Luckily for me, she fell in love with me for this same reason.  Just about every relationship has that time where things are a little up in the air on whether it’s the real thing, whether or not the couple are “meant to be.”  When Jen and I were in that time, I did a few things that really showed her who I was and that my actions lined up with my words.  On one day, I showed her I was both handy and domestic.  I changed her oil and cooked her dinner, things that I had been doing for myself for years.  But, it was that they were done for her with no expectation of a return that spoke to her.  

 

Another time, we had planned on going to her friend’s wedding on a Friday in Las Vegas at 6 pm.  Except I couldn’t get off work in Los Angeles until noon that day.  I swore to her I would make it, but she had her doubts.  As I was changing in the parking lot of the hotel at 5 pm, I got a call from her to find out where I was.  When I informed her I was waiting for her, she became ecstatic and told me she wouldn’t be there for another 45 minutes.  That day she found out I was good about coming through with what I say, and I found out that I would always be waiting for her to get ready.  But, she’s worth it I guess.

 

Similarly, God thinks our actions speak louder than words.  Throughout scripture we are encouraged and told that love is an action word.  Jesus tells us that all of the commandments are summed up by loving God and loving others.  To the Philippians, Paul wrote, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Jesus also told his followers, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  Jesus showed us the ultimate example of actions speaking louder than words.  He gave his life for us, even while we were still sinners.


Life Application 

 
Jesus, help me to find tangible ways to share your love with others.  Whether that be in a shared cup of coffee, an afternoon spent helping someone move, or a donation to a family in need or homeless shelter, your love can be at the center of it all.  Give me grace to give, even when it hurts.   
 
-Tyler Galloway  


Psalm_8

Scripture – What stood out?

Psalm 8:4 

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

    human beings that you care for them?

 

Observation – What does it say?

A psalm of David.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

Desert streams church was the first church to ask me about my posture and position towards God. And I believe it is because my church demands that I grow in my relationship with the Lord, that I am better able to understand those concepts.

What I have been contemplating for the past week however is a different p word, perspective.

I know there are books about laws of attraction etc etc, but I am going to attribute this one to the laws of the Holy Spirit working on me. I have really been chewing on this idea of how a person views life and the world is so important. My life changed drastically once I embraced Jesus as my Lord. And I embraced my view on life that God is great, and I am not. 

I think about the people I am surrounded by, filled with chaos and anger in their hearts. I think about all the hurting and hostile people out there who have not accepted Jesus in their lives and I can only pity them. It was only when I embraced this perspective, when I embraced that I would look at life from the vantage point of a mere mortal in relation to a perfect and perfectly loving God, that I began to transform. And the lack of peace in my heart was replaced with the fullness of peace that to this day I can still only describe as a supernatural one.

 

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

Lord, how amazing Psalm 8 is. What a great reminder of the true pecking order of our lives. My prayer Lord is that you would help me to gain greater insight into this way of living and thinking. Of thinking about you as the majestic ruler of all. For my life application Lord I choose to pray for our political leaders, regardless of their socio-ideological beliefs. I will pray for them with the perspective we are all Your children and that you wish to save not some but all.

 

In the name of Jesus, amen. -kenneth lee

 



Romans___13

Scripture

Romans 13:1-2

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.
 

Observation

Paul continues his letter by explaining practical ways to live in salvation, and he explains this through the government. Although written a long time ago, Paul’s word are still just as important today when viewing the balance of faith and government in the modern age.
 

Understanding

Anyone who knows me, knows this: I love United States history. Like I eat, sleep, breathe it! It’s kind of sad how much I love it. I’ll get excited just thinking about it (like right now I’m getting filled with excitement). Anyway, one of the periods that I love to look at is the Revolutionary War and the forming of the Constitution.

Here’s Allison’s brief history lesson of the day: the Constitution was not the first framework for our nation, it was actually the second. The first was something called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles failed dramatically because they ceased to give the central government any power in governing the people. Ironically, the people and the states had too much power. When the government tried to tax whiskey a rebellion broke out because they just fought a whole war on the basis of taxation and representation. The founding fathers then came together in Philadelphia and decided to “revise” the Articles, but instead they rewrote it, and viola: the new U.S. Constitution. Now this process took a long time mostly because the delegates argued relentlessly with each other. They all wanted a say in this newly formed nation, and after months of fighting, revising, writing, and drafting the U.S. gained her official “living document.”

All of this to say: our nation didn’t start on agreement, but I fear it will be this same disagreeing spirit that will be its downfall. Paul writes that we should submit to governing authorities, no matter how much we like them or not (or should I say whether you voted for them or not). Our Constitution wasn’t just created on a whim it took time to make, yet we the people wish to abolish it or amend it overnight. I don’t think its an accident that we ended up with the document or presidents, Congress, or Supreme Court that we did. It is God alone who establishes the authority of the United States or any state for that matter, the least we can do is calm down and perhaps trust the process. Good things take time… and to quote the Bible and one of my favorite historical figures Abraham Lincoln:

Mark 3:25

“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”

And I think to add quite fittingly, Abraham Lincoln finishes his House Divided Speech with this: “Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes may delay it, but sooner or later victory is sure to come.”
 

Life Application

Let’s look to bridge gaps, and not further the divide. We live in a wonderfully flawed, but still looking to build nation. I think that’s what makes America what it is… it’s full of imperfect people just trying to keep moving forwards. Here’s my thought on that: it is good to sometimes look back on history because it shows us how far we’ve come, or it shows us a mistake we are about to make again. Let’s be patient with one another and our government, we’re all trying our best.

Hopefully you all don’t hate me, I talked politics and history at once. I promise I’ll refrain from doing it again.

-Allison Khan


Haggai 1

Scripture

Haggai 1:5-9

5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

7 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 

 

Observation-What does it say?

The book of Haggai was written by the Prophet Haggai. “God sought to warn the people to heed His words.  Not only did God warn them, but He also offered promises through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow Him. Because the people of God reverses their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile.” 

(Reference: gotquestions.org -Summary of the Book of Haggai).

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

It ALL belongs to God.

When I say ALL, I mean ALL…our money, our gifts, our talents, our accomplishments, our health, our possessions, our spouses, kids, families, friends….basically our whole lives! God has the power to give and He has the power to take away. 

Moses and I are teaching our kids about tithing and are requiring them to give 10% of their financial increase back to the Lord as an act of obedience. Their tithe eventually goes back into our DSC kids church ministry. (Note: Our kids have already accepted the Lord into their hearts and were baptized, so this is not a legalistic rule we are putting on them—it’s a discipline and act of obedience that we are trying to instill in them as a child of Christ.) We get the moans and groans, but then we make them aware that God could ask them to return ALL of it since it belongs to Him anyway. This life begins and ends with Christ, not with them.

 

Life Application

Put Christ FIRST!

Do you want God’s blessing on your life, even beyond money? Do you want to be content and satisfied in life, living securely in the comfort of His love, joy and peace, no matter what circumstances you are faced with? Then put Him first in ALL areas of your life—finances, gifts, talents, possessions and people.

Dear Lord, this life is but a blink of Your eye. I pray that we would put our hope in things of eternal value and invest in what You want, not what we want for ourselves. I pray that we would build Your Kingdom instead of our own because our kingdom can be easily destroyed, while Yours is eternal. Amen.

-Michelle Gaddi