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

 
 
 
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

1 Samuel 16

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 16:7
 
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
The Lord rejects Saul as King due to his disobedience. Now God sends Samuel in search of a new king to anoint. He sends Samuel to Bethlehem to go find a man named Jesse. It will be one of Jesse’s sons that God will anoint as the new king. Samuel automatically assumes that Jesse’s son Eliab, will be the anointed one, but God had already rejected him. Eliab may have fit the physical stature of a great leader, a great warrior, and a man that commanded the presence of people when he entered a room; but God judges the heart, and not the physical stature.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God sees us for the potential of what we can be (through Him), instead of seeing us of what we currently are. 
 
God would rather work with someone with a humble heart; a heart that is fully relying on Him, a heart that is teachable, and obedient. I believe God’s glory shines that much more when He uses people like that. Imagine if God used someone with the same physical stature to take down Goliath. It really wouldn’t be that special. The people would of just thought that it was a battle between two GIANT warriors, and the better man one the showdown. Instead God used someone like David, small in stature, but HUGE in heart; his heart for God, and his heart for God’s people. David took down Goliath with a single shot! Now the people KNOW, that it is from God, that a man like David, can take down a giant like Goliath! All the glory to God!
 
Life Application
 
God doesn’t call the equipped. God equips the called.
 
What part of my life do I feel God  calling me to do, but I may feel inadequate in my own abilities of doing them? Trust in God! If God has anointed you for it, He will equip you to do it!
 
God, thank you for seeing past my faults, and failures. Thank you Lord for seeing me for who I can be, instead of who I am. Thank you for choosing me to partner with in your mission. I pray for the strength and knowledge of completing the work you give me each day. In your name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 15

Scripture

1 Samuel 15:28

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

Understanding

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

Observation

Pride is the root of Saul’s sin

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

Life Application

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

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

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

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


1 Samuel 14

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 14:43-45
 

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

Observation– What does it say? 

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

Understanding– What does it mean?

The Lord is our ultimate protector.

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

Life Application

We cannot do anything apart from Christ.

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

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


1 Samuel 13

Scripture

1 Samuel 13:11-12

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

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

Observation – What does it say?

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

Understanding – What does it mean?

Fear is a bad motivator.

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

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

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

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

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

Life Application

Be motivated by faith and not by fear!

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


1 Samuel 12

Scripture

1 Samuel 12:22

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

Observation

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

Understanding

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

Life Application

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


1 Samuel 11

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 11:6-7
 
“Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry. He took two oxen and cut them into pieces and sent the messengers to carry them throughout Israel with this message: “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who refuses to follow Saul and Samuel into battle!” And the LORD made the people afraid of Saul’s anger, and all of them came out together as one.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
The people of Jabesh came to Saul crying. The people told Saul of their plight with the Ammonites. King Nahash of Ammon, led his army against the people of Jabesh. The King of Ammon would grant the people of Jabesh a peace treaty on one condition. The condition that he would get to gouge each and every one of their right eyes to show them disgrace to all Israel. The people agreed to this harsh and cruel condition, as long as no one came to save them within the next 7 days. Enter King Saul, and his first duties as  being the king of the Israelites.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The Spirit of God, (the Holy Spirit), is with us. He appoints us to do His will. He guides us in what to do and what to say. The Holy Spirit is powerful, and has the strength to move people and slay our enemies. 
 
The Holy Spirit moved within Saul and caused him to act out of anger. An anger that was used to defend God’s people. An anger that was used to strike fear into God’s people so that they would stand up in unity, and defend themselves against the enemy. The Holy Spirit used these things to slay the Ammonites, and once again protect His people, and bring glory to God when it was all said and done.
 
Life Application
 
Take some time to seek the Holy Spirit, ask Him what He wants you to do to accomplish His will today.
 
Whether it’s talking to a friend or co-worker about the gospel, or stepping out in faith and achieving something you may feel is impossible to you. Trust the power of God! Trust in His Holy Spirit to guide you in the right direction. Trust that the Holy Spirit will not fail you, but He will help you move people and slay whatever obstacle may be in your way!
 
Holy Spirit, come abide within me today. May you guide my every action and every word to be purposeful to those around me today. May my life bring you glory today, and may others see it too, so that it brings encouragement into their lives because of You as well. I pray these things in the power of your name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Samuel 10

Scripture

1 Samuel 10:6

The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and you will be changed into a different person.

Observation

After anointing Saul as King of Israel, Samuel informs Saul that he will be free to lead the people of Israel as he sees fit because He has been made into a new person and because God would be with him.

Understanding

Outward actions never produce inner change. Only change from the inside out, wrought by the Holy Spirit results in transformation.

Jesus taught Nicodemus that in order for someone to enter into the kingdom of heaven they must experience new birth. In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul encouraged the church there to live as ones who have been transformed by reminding them that,”…if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come”. The Word of God is clear that, “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart [is] only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5) and it is “deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). God’s plan has never been to improve or fix the old man. His redemptive plan for mankind requires that we put the old man – the man who’s nature is sin, selfishness and rebellion – to death and to be resurrected in the newness of life in the Spirit and to be found in Christ.

Life Application

What matters most is not what I can do for God, but what God can do through me.

Lord, help me to remember that you have no use for a better, more improved version of the old me. Remind me that no flesh can bring you glory. Help me to remember that I am of most use to you when I am totally surrendered to and dependent upon you; one who has crucified the old self and who is made alive by Christ’s resurrection and who walks in the power the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 
To check out the discussion or join in click here 
 
 
– Gary Parker
 
 


1 Samuel 9

Scripture

1 Samuel‬ ‭9:6, 17‬ ‭

“But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.”

“When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.””
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Observation-What does it say?

Saul’s father Kish had just lost some of his donkeys and had sent his son Saul out to the country to look for them.  Kish also told Saul to bring one of the servants with him. As it was getting late, Saul wanted to turn back and return home, however, the servant informed him about a man of God who was highly respected and who may know where the donkeys were. (This man was Samuel). While this was going on, the Lord was revealing to Samuel who the next leader of Israel would be who would defeat the Philistines. The Lord told Samuel to anoint him King as he will be coming the next day. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Saul was not expecting to be anointed ruler of Israel, but because he submitted to the authority of his earthly father, the will of His Heavenly Father played out in his life.

Saul was looking for Samuel because he needed help finding his father’s lost donkeys. Samuel was expecting Saul because the Lord told him he was coming and was to be appointed the next ruler of Israel. 
The fact that both of these men were looking for each other happened not by chance. The Lord orchestrated it all through their obedience to Him and their earthly authorities.

Life Application

Let us submit to the authorities the Lord has placed in our lives.

We submit to the Jesus as Lord and King over ALL of our lives, which is a command. Submit to your parents if you are a child/youth. Submit to our spouses if married. Submit to the Godly leaders the Lord has given us. The Lord’s purposes play out as we learn to humble ourselves and submit to the authorities He has placed in our lives. If Saul had chosen not to submit to his earthly father and not go on that journey, he would not have met Samuel and may not have been anointed ruler of Israel. If Samuel had not submitted to the voice of the Lord and looked out for Saul, then he may have missed the opportunity to anoint him.  

Dear Jesus, I pray that we would honor, respect and obey the authorities You have placed in our lives, and most importantly You as our Lord. I admit that many times pride gets in the way and I refuse to submit and obey. Please forgive me. You don’t do things by random, but You work through the obedience of Your children. May we continue to be obedient to You and our godly authorities like Saul and Samuel did. Amen.

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

 
Michelle Gaddi
 


1 Samuel 8

Scripture

1 Samuel 8:5

 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

Observation – What does it say?

Samuel had faithfully led Israel for many years. Not as a king, but as a prophet and servant of God. Samuel got old and appointed his sons to be Israel’s new leaders. However, they weren’t the kind of leader’s Samuel was. They were dishonest and had poor character. The elders of Israel called a meeting with Samuel and in essence told him, “You’re too old to lead and your sons are too sinful to lead, so give us a king to lead us – you know, like the other nations have.”  However, we find later in the chapter that the real reason they wanted a king was to be like the other nations. The last reason they gave was really the first. They wanted a king who would go before them and fight their battles, just like the rest of the world.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When influenced by the world, people’s tendency is to turn from God’s leadership.

Think about how dumb the Israelites request was! They would rather have a person fight their battles than God. God said that in wanting a king they were rejecting him and warned them through Samuel that they would later regret it. But they wouldn’t listen.

God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, likening these kinds of decisions to rejecting a spring of living water for a broken cistern (a hole dug in the dirt used for holding water).

Jeremiah 2:13 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

The Israelites didn’t want to be different. They wanted to be like the world around them. The problem is that God’s pattern for life isn’t the same as the world’s pattern. You cannot follow the worlds pattern without rejecting God’s pattern.

1 John 2:15 (NIV) Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Life Application

Don’t be foolish!

God, what are the ways I’ve been copying the world around me instead of loving you?

God, please reveal any areas I have turned from your leadership. I want you to be my Lord, not just in word but in practice. May we learn from the Israelites bad example, heed your warnings, and choose to put you first. There is no one better to lead me! There is no one better to sit on the decision making seat in my life. There is no one better to fight my battles. You are God over all! You are all-powerful and all-knowing and your love for me has no limits! I trust you and declare that I want you to be the Lord and Leader of my life. Amen.

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


1 Samuel 7

Scripture 
1 Samuel 7:3

So Samuel said to all the Israelites, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only.

 

Observation – What does it say?

The ark had just been moved into the house of Abinadab.  And while Israel had the ark back, things were not really set right. Israel found they were no more right with God just because they had the Ark of the Covenant again. Their cities were still in ruins, their armies were still defeated, and they were still under Philistine domination – all because they were not right with God.  And now Samuel is speaking to the Israelites, challenging them to do 2 things – turn towards the Lord, serving Him only AND turn away from and rid themselves from the foreign gods.

 

Understanding – What does it mean? 

If they were to “return to the Lord,” they could not just move the ark…just like modern day Christians can’t just show up to church on a Sunday morning. 

We must both turn towards God and away from the world.

That may sound like common sense…but I think the reason our country’s Christianity is so seemingly weak is because we tend to “add God in” instead of fulling turning towards Him and serving Him alone.  In that way, we will never experience the full and true power available in the life of a Christ follower.  The order of the two are important as well…we must first repent and turn towards God; then, that change that occurs in the hidden parts of our hearts are then proved by the outward – in our actions of turning away from “foreign gods.”

 

Life Application

God, I catch myself at times just going through the motions of serving you.  And it never satisfies!  May I never be willing to settle for the shallow depths of just doing the “right” things, but may I have an ever growing hunger and thirst to seek you and serve you only!  May I live a life on fire for you…not with a taste of God added in here or there but with an overwhelming sense of you in everything I touch and do.  And, in doing so, may the people I interact with be drawn to you too.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Rei Bailey