Bible Reading Plan
bible

Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

November 4: Esther 9, Revelation 17, Psalm 73

November 5: Esther 10, Revelation 18, Psalm 74

November 6: Job 1, Revelation 19, Psalm 75

November 7: Job 2, Revelation 20, Psalm 76

 
 
 
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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 5

Scripture

1 Samuel 5:3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord!

Observation

After capturing the Ark of the Covenant in battle, the Philistines suffer the consequences of having the Ark in their possession, including the destruction of their fish-god, Dagon, and being afflicted with tumors.

Understanding

God can fight His own battles.

God succeeded in defending Himself when the efforts of rebellious Israel could not do so. While God commands in scripture that I, as a disciple, equip myself to give a defense for the faith (1 Peter 3:15), it does not mean that every battle is mine. Certainly there is a godly response to the injustice and wrong that is present in the world today, but scripture reminds me that the battle belongs to the Lord (1 Sam 17:47, 2 Chronicles 20:15). When I feel overwhelmed and fearful as sin and unrighteousness appear to prevail in this world and when my efforts to exert godly influence in those situations does not seem to bear any fruit, I need to remember that God is sovereign even in the affairs of the ungodly. God has a plan that will, in the end, bring sin underfoot, bring sinners to justice and one that will usher in His kingdom of righteousness, joy and peace.
 
Life Application

In the midst of my frustrations and feelings of powerlessness, the Lord bids me to “Be still and know that I am God”.

I have often acted as if to say, “Get out of the way, Lord, I’ll fix this.” As a result of being so presumptuous, I have also learned that my plans are powerless and guaranteed failure; but that the plan of God always results in glory for His name – with or without my help.

Father, help me to realize and rest in the fact that you are working in areas where I may not perceive your hand. Give me the patience and wisdom to let you defend yourself when you have not asked me to do it for you. Lord, help me to be a good foot soldier under your command – following orders, constantly training, keeping myself spiritually fit and maintaining the weapons of warfare to be ever ready for when you sound the call to battle – to go when and where you send me, confident that victory is certain.
 
To check out the discussion or join in click here
 
– Gary Parker


1 Samuel 4

Scripture

‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭

“When the soldiers returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that he may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.”
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Observation-What does it say?

The Israelites were discouraged that they were defeated by the Philistines in battle.  Verse 2 of this chapter said that about 4,000 Israelites were killed in that battle. As a result of their discouragement, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Without consulting the Lord, they brought the ark of the covenant of God from Shiloh to their camp at Ebenezer. They felt that they could do a better job at defeating the Philistines if the ark was in their presence. They were wrong.  Also, Hophni and Phineas, who were Eli’s sons, had no authority to handle the ark, as commentary states that they lived against the ways of the Lord. Because of Israel’s disobedience, in the next battle against the Philistines, they lost 30,000 foot soldiers (over 8 times more deaths than the last battle.) In addition, the ark of the covenant of God was captured. (vss. 10-11)

Understanding-What does it mean?

When discouraged in the faith, don’t take matters into your own hands. Keep trusting the Lord.

The Israelites made things worse when they brought the ark of the covenant into their camp because they did so without consulting the Lord. They forgot that the Lord was still with them and felt that they had a better solution to their problem.  Instead of continuing to trust,  their discouragement led them to take matters into their own hands, which led to even more destruction, including the capture of the ark of God from their nation of Israel. 

Life Application

Even when discouraged, I will trust that the Lord is still with me. I won’t won’t veer off His path for me.

Dear Lord, I pray that with every decision I make, I would consult You first. I confess that when it seems like You are slow in keeping your promises, I am tempted to take matters into my own hands because I think you have abandoned or forgotten me. Forgive me for thinking those thoughts. Help me to take that thought captive. I don’t want to take control and make decisions apart from You that would cause even more damage and destruction down the line. I desire to die to my will so that Your will would be done. Amen.

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


1 Samuel 3

Scripture

1 Samuel 3:1, 10

1The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions… 10 The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Observation – What does it say?

As a young boy, Samuel served God. In a dark season where the priesthood had been marred by the many sins of the priests (Eli’s sons) and people didn’t hear from God often, God broke the silence by speaking to the child Samuel.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God delights in revealing himself to, and through, children.

I love the example of Samuel that children can minister before the Lord and that the Lord speaks clearly to and through children! There is no age requirement, no “you must be this tall to ride” marker in the kingdom. In Samuel and Eli’s case, the younger became a spiritual leader to the older.
 
Jesus himself said the kingdom belongs to the children! 
 
Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

My father in-law struggled with arthritis for years in his hands and feet. And one day, he mentioned his feet in particular were in a lot of pain. So I had my 3-year-old son pray for him. Noah put his hand on my father in-law’s foot and repeated after me, “Jesus… Please heal Papa’s feet… Take away all the pain… In Jesus’ name, Amen.” “Woah,” my father in-law said with eyes welling up. “All the pain is gone!”

During the Azusa Street revival there are many documented healings that resulted from children praying; 8 and 9-year-old girls placing their hands on people, praying, and seeing them get out of wheelchairs or receiving their sight. God demonstrated through scripture and continues to demonstrate today his love for children, his desire for relationship with them and his desire to use them to minister to others.

Life Application

Teach my children about serving God, hearing from him, and being used by him!

I don’t want my kids to think that following Jesus is reserved for adults. I want it to be on their radar now! I want them to be like Samuel, serving and hearing God from their childhood.

God, thank you for entrusting me with children. Thank you for entrusting our church family with children. We recognize our responsibility to “let the little children come to you.” May we not hinder them, but openly share with them about you and teach them that they can hear your voice, serve you and be used by you. Pour out your Spirit upon our children! May we see them using the gifts of the Holy Spirit and hearing your voice and adoring you in worship. Reveal yourself to them. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


1 Samuel 2

Scripture

1 Samuel 2: 6-9

“The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them he has set the world.

Observation

Hannah is praying. In thanksgiving and reverence she is speaking to God…giving thanks for who He is and recognizing Him as the source for all things.

Understanding

Recognizing God as the source of all things will shift your perspective.
 
While wealth may easily attributed to God’s abundance and blessing, few would consider poverty as “sent” by God.  While life may be easily attributed to being provided by God, perhaps less accepted is that the Lord “brings death.”  (Of course there are other factors that bring both poverty and death – and many include the fact that evil also exists in this world in the form of the enemy seeking to steal, kill and destroy.) But when we look at God as the source of ALL things and give Him credit, understanding that “the foundations of the earth are” His, that He is in control and that ALL things work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28) there’s a certain peace that comes.  No matter what life seemingly throws at us, we can praise Him and glorify Him and know that He has set the world on the foundations that He set. 

Life Application

Dear God, in a time of so much hurt and death and loss, it’s sometimes hard to see or understand that you are still in control. And, I find at these times especially that those – both lost and saved – begin to question, doubt or even turn away from you.  As we recognize you as the source of all things, help us to continue to trust you, to find peace in knowing you have a bigger, better plan and to exemplify the peace that knowledge brings.  May we never cease in praising you – regardless of the circumstances around us.  May our peace and praise be contagious and refreshing to those around us and may you use us to guide questioning hearts back to you.  Amen. 

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

-Rei


1 Samuel 1

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 1: 10-11

“Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the LORD. And she made this vow: “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the LORD, his hair will never be cut. ”

Observation-What does it say?

Hannah was in deep anguish because she was unable to have any children. She was being ridiculed and taunted by her rival, Peninnah-(her husband’s other wife), who had children. Peninnah was relentless with her taunts against Hannah. Hannah would be reduced to tears and wouldn’t even eat because of the constant ridicule she was experiencing. So Hannah took her pains and struggles to the Lord in prayer.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Hannah was a woman in deep anguish. Instead of taking her frustrations out on her rival, Peninnah,-(which I know many of us would want to do in her situation), or even taking out her frustrations with God because of the circumstance she is in, Hannah turns to God in prayer. Not only does she do that, but she also vows that if God blesses her with a son, she will give him back to God! She will dedicate her son to God (by not cutting his hair). And throughout her son’s lifetime, he will belong to God.Hannah was a woman of faith. When her life seemed to be hopeless, she still had hope in God. She turned to God whole heartedly in prayer. When God came through for her by blessing her with a son, she was obedient to God, by giving her son back to Him. She fully trusted God by giving her one and only son back to Him, not even knowing if she would be able to have anymore kids. She had faith knowing her son was in good hands, when he is in the Lord’s hands. Through it all, Hannah remained faithful to the Lord, and the Lord remained faithful to her.

Life Application

Submit to the Lord and trust His ways.

Instead of being bitter and spiteful because of the hand of cards Hannah was dealt with in life, she showed total submission to God and His ways. Instead of taking matters into her own hands when trying to negate the problem, she left it in God’s hands.

God thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for always hearing my prayers, and knowing my every need. Forgive me for thinking that I know better than you, and for trying to handle things myself. Instead God, help me to trust you completely. Help me to be obedient to you, and allow you to take full control of my life. I pray this in your Holy and precious name, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Romans 16

Scripture

Romans 16:23

…Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.

Observation

Paul ends his letter to the church at Rome with personal greetings, instructions and encouragements.

Understanding

The Bible (and Christianity) is factually reliable.

This mention of Erastus as Rome’s director of public works was, for years, used by critics to point out that the bible was unreliable and full of inaccuracies since there was no evidence that this Roman person or position ever existed. Yet, The Excavations of Corinth in 1929 unearthed a pavement upon which was inscribed, “Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense.” As has happened over and over again throughout the decades, archaeology unearthed proof that the Bible is factually correct and inerrant; in total agreement with history and the sciences.

In fact, no archaeological or scientific discovery has ever contradicted a truth in the Bible. Throughout the years, secular history books, science books, maps and biographies have all needed to be re-written because of a discovery that has proven human knowledge to be in error. Yet, in the thousands of years that the Bible has existed, it has never had to be changed because of the discovery of some new information. On the contrary, new discoveries always corroborate the scripture and prove its reliability and inerrancy.

Life Application

I stand on solid ground when I stand on the truth of the Word of God.

Lord, I thank you that since the Bible is so trustworthy in its historical and scientific truths, I can be secure in my faith in its spiritual truths about who You are, your purpose for my life and your redemptive plan for mankind. May I be a diligent disciple and apologist who is able to defend your word and who can be used by the Holy Spirit to help open the eyes of unbelievers to the miraculous truth of your word and the salvation that you offer.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Gary Parker

 



Romans 15

Scripture

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

Observation– What does it say?

The Word of God gives us hope. It gives us hope that God’s character never changes, hope that Jesus Christ died, resurrected and imparted His Holy Spirit in each Believer’s life and also gives us hope of a life eternal after death. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Scriptures are trustworthy!

In a world that is constantly changing, very unstable, and passing away, we can put our hope in the One who never changes. We can put our hope in His Word, the Bible. We can trust those in the faith who have gone before us and are recorded in Scripture who gave their lives to the mission of Jesus Christ. We can trust that heaven and hell are real and trust the hope of eternal life where there are no more sin, sadness, sickness or death. We can trust that we will be completely pure, perfect and without sin just like Jesus in the next life. We can find encouragement and hope to never give up and continue to endure in the faith amidst pain, suffering, hardships and trials as a Christ follower, just like in Hebrews 11.

Life Application

We must put our hope in God’s Word!

We put our hope in the Lord by reading and meditating daily on His Word and applying it to our lives as we are taught from them. We stay connected to our Father through His Word because it is the way He communicates with us. I also believe the Holy Spirit does not work apart from the Scriptures. It is not just a book, but it is Spirit breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16).
Dear Lord, thank You for speaking to us through Your Word. Thank You that You not only gave us Your Holy Spirit, but also the Bible to instruct us on how to operate the way You created us to operate.  I pray that we would desire to spend time with You daily and continuously be taught from Your Word. Thank You for the hope and encouragement it provides to continue to press forward in the faith. Amen.

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

-Michelle Gaddi
 


Romans 14

Scripture

Romans 14:19

 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul is teaching about “disputable matters.” There are things that scripture isn’t incredibly clear about when it comes to what we define as acceptable Christian behavior. In Rome, some of their “disputable matters” were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, viewing certain days being more sacred than others, eating certain meats and drinking wine. In the family of God, people have different convictions about these things the Bible isn’t explicit about. And Paul’s challenge is to stop judging one another over these “disputable matters,” and to do everything possible to promote peace and build each other up.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Disputable matters should never be allowed to cause judging or division among God’s people.

At the end of the passage Paul says, “whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” We must avoid the tendency to judge others or project our views onto the lives of others.

During my time in Bible College, God convicted me about owning some movies that contained content I didn’t think he wanted me to be watching. I responded by throwing away a bunch of those movies. A few weeks later I was in a friend’s dorm room and I saw on his bookshelf some of the same movies I had thrown away. I thought to myself, “I guess he’s not as far along in his spiritual journey. I’m sure God will speak to him about it at the right time.” I now recognize that in that moment I judged him. I judged him based on my person conviction about something that falls into the category of “disputable matters.”

As followers of Christ, our job isn’t to judge but to love, promote peace and build each other up.

Life Application

Don’t judge others, but make every effort to love and build others up.

God, thank you for placing me in your church family. Keep these “disputable matters” from causing judging and division among us. I pray unity, love and peace over our church. May we not waste any time arguing about “disputable matters.” Instead keep us focused on what’s really important: loving you and loving others. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


Romans 13

Scripture

Romans 13:8-10

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments…are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Observation

Paul is sharing with the Jewish Christians in Rome that they need to submit to the governing authorities. Most of what is said is commonsense, logical, good ethical wisdom…pay your taxes, don’t maintain debt, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, give people what you owe them – including honor and respect.  On this same list, he encourages them to LOVE.

Understanding

We have been created and called to love others! The beauty of this, is it simplifies the “rules.” When love is the root and spring of all our actions, we’re usually “in the right.”

Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

James 2:18

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

I have a favorite phrase – “Always choose love.” Often times, in the midst of frustrations or dealing with difficult people or simply when I’m over my limit, this phrase will pop into my brain. And the truth is, it is always a choice! Every day and in every circumstance, we can choose love – whether it be in showing kindness, in looking for the good in a person or situation, to give, to NOT gossip, and a million other ways. 

So, with that, I’ll share my other favorite phrase…Go love on somebody! <3

Life Application

Dear God, please open my eyes to the ways I can be a reflection of your love today. In every situation, may I actively CHOOSE to love others. Help me when it seems difficult and open my eyes to your desire. May I see everyone I interact with today through your eyes – their intentional creator – and may I be used in whatever way you desire to show them that they are seen and they are loved.

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

 – Rei



Romans 12

Scripture
 
Romans 12:4-5
 
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
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Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing to the Roman church, to encourage them to continue to live a life serving Christ. But to do it by working together, in unity, humbly, and reminding them that God has blessed them each, with special gifts to accomplish this.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Our main mission as Christ Followers, (the body of Christ/His church), is to make disciples everywhere.

The most efficient way to do this is by working together with a group of fellow believers. Continue reading in Romans 12 and you will see that God has blessed each of us with certain gifts. Some with a gift to prophesy, some with a gift to serve others, some with the gift to encourage others, some with the gift to teach, some with the gift to give, and others He gives the gift to lead and show kindness to others. The bottom line here is that we are all striving for the same goal. We are all part of Christ’s body. We all need each other, and each other’s gifts and talents to accomplish Christ’s mission. So let’s all do our part to help accomplish this mission. Let’s not be lazy, but let’s serve together enthusiastically- (verse 11)! 

Life Application

I will continue to do my part and use the gifts God has blessed me with to serve His Kingdom.
 
I will do so humbly, and to the best of my abilities. I will continue to work together with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish this mission God has entrusted us with.

Thank you God for partnering and entrusting me with this mission of yours. Thank you for blessing me with the strength, gifts, and abilities to do this. I know I can lean on you and your people if it ever gets too overwhelming. Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. It’s because of this and the promise in your word, that I know I can do this (through you)! Amen. To check out the discussion or join in click here.

 
Moses Gaddi