Bible Reading Plan
bible

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

January 13: Luke 4
January 15: Matthew 10
January 16: Luke 10
January 17: Acts 1:8, Acts 2
January 18: Acts 2
 
January 20: Mark 16
January 21: Acts 10
January 22: Acts 8:9-40
January 23: Romans 1:1-17
January 24: Romans 8
 
January 27: John 4:46-54
January 28: Acts 5:12-16
January 29: Acts 14
January 30: Acts 3
January 31: Ephesians 6:10-18
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How To Soul Journal
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soulj
 
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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 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


1 Samuel 6

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 6:6
 
“Don’t be stubborn and rebellious as Pharaoh and the Egyptians were. By the time God was finished with them, they were eager to let Israel go.”
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Observation-What does it say?
 
The Philistines had just defeated the Israelites in battle, and captured the Ark of God. But while the Ark was in their possession, God inflicted a great plague to many of their people, and many of the people died. The Philistines then go to their priests to ask them what they should do with the Ark. The priests then reminded the Philistines of what God did to the Egyptians and Pharaoh for being so stubborn. Therefore, they should return the Ark to the Israelites ASAP!
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
We should learn from others’ mistakes, and ensure that we do not repeat them ourselves.
 
As you read through the Bible, you see many instances of how people were either disciplined or punished by God. You see the mistakes and sins of people that stirred up God’s wrath. Why not learn from them instead of repeat them? Learn from the stubbornness of not only the Egyptians and Pharaoh, but the Israelites-(when they were in the desert worshiping idols), as well. We can learn from King David’s lustful heart, his devious plans to cover up his sin, and how God chose to punish him for it. We can learn from Abraham and Sarah when they tried to take control of their own situation-(being too old to bear a child), instead of trusting that God will keep His promise to them. We can even learn from where it all started, the Garden of Eden and how God’s people chose to let temptation get the best of them. So many stories, so many examples to choose from as we read the Bible together. The key is to not just know what happened, but to learn from it, and apply it to our lives in today’s world.
 
Life Application
 
I will continue to read God’s word, learn from it, and grow from it!
 

I will do so by continuing to SOUL Journal and have daily devotions. I will seek God in prayer to not only ask for my needs, but to also ask of God’s needs. What He would want from me that day, and how I can accomplish it for Him?

Dear God, thank you for each day you give me here on earth. Each day that gives me room to grow in your presence. May you continue to speak to me through your word, and may your word continue to guide me to make the right decisions in life. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


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