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!
 

2 Samuel 4

Scripture

2 Samuel 4:8-11

They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.” David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”

Observation

As the body count in the war between the house of Saul and the house of David increases, Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, is murdered in his sleep by Baanah and Recab. In a bit of a flashback from the events surrounding Saul’s death, these two offer the head of Ish-Bosheth to David in order to show their loyalty and perhaps gain some reward. Instead, David orders that they be slain for shedding innocent blood.

Understanding

When we decide to help God without securing His direction and approval, more often than not we end up hindering instead of hastening the plans of God.

Many times I have seen parents step into a situation in order to spare their child from experiencing the painful consequences of their actions – consequences and pain that God intended to use to show them that they are sinners in need of deliverance or rebels in need of repentance. Sparing them from experiencing the harm and damage of sin actually facilitates their continued disobedience and error. In our attempts to do what we think is best for someone or for a situation we may actually be delaying a work that God has well in hand. It’s important to understand that God does not need my help. Yes, in His great grace, He chooses to use me as part of His redemptive plan for those within my sphere of influence; but my job is not to assess the situation, come up with and implement my plan of action. Rather, my responsibility is to seek the heart and voice of God in prayer and act (or not) according to His wisdom and will. To do anything else is to usurp the sovereignty, plan and purposes of God in my life and the lives of others.

Life Application

I am wise if I seek to discover where God is working and then join Him there

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Lord, help me to remember Your word that says, “In me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18) and that You, “O God…know my foolishness…” (Psalm 69:5). Help me also to remember that You are the Vine and we are the branches. Apart from you, we can do no good thing (John 15:5). May all that I do for you flow out of abiding in You. May I not endeavor to help you but live to serve you.
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here
Gary Parker


2 Samuel 3

Scripture

2 Samuel 3:17-18

“Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’ ”

Observation-What does it say?

Abner, who was on the side of the house of Saul, had his integrity questioned by one of Saul’s sons, Ish-Bosheth. As a result, he suddenly went over to David to make sure what the Lord said about him came to pass. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Nothing can stop what God says or declares about a person, not even great opposition.

Even after Saul died, there was still a “war between the house of David and the house of Saul.” Regardless of this war, “David still grew stronger as the house of Saul grew weaker” (vs. 1). This was not by chance, but by God’s divine purpose as David was to become king and rescue Israel from the Philistines. It doesn’t matter the great opposition that was put in front of David. Because God was on his side, His will for David’s life would continue to come to pass regardless of the bumps along the way, which was in the form of opposition and his own poor and unwise choices. 

Life Application

Are we living the calling that the Lord has spoken over our life? If not, it is not too late.

God’s desire is for all to come to repentance. Our #1 calling in life is that we are His children. Do the choices we make reflect that reality or are we living what the world speaks over us through the media or the world’s definition of what’s popular, successful, beautiful, etc?
When I find myself getting caught up in the temptations of this world, I open up the Word of God and am reminded of who He says I am. When we are reminded where our hope lies and that He is coming soon (2 Peter 3:11-12), the desires of this life passes away. When we are tempted by the desires of this world, reminding ourselves of what the Lord has promised us puts us back on the path.

Dear Lord, thank You that You are for us and not against us. (Romans 8:28-31). Thank You for Your promise of eternal life with You, that You will return and that we are Your children. I pray that we would remember these truths when tempted by the ways of the world. Also, if we have lost our way, I pray for hearts of repentance. I pray that the church would return to our First Love, You. Give us hearts that desire You alone. Amen. To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.

 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


2 Samuel 2

Scripture

2 Samuel 2:1

In the course of time, David inquired of the Lord. “Shall I go up to one of the towns of Judah?” he asked.

The Lord said, “Go up.”

David asked, “Where shall I go?”

“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.

Observation – What does it say?

David had been living among the Philistines and then was in battle against the Amalekites. After the battle, David heard Saul and Jonathan had died. After honoring them, David sought God for what to do next. God directed him to go to Hebron, where he was met by the men of Judah and proclaimed king.

Understanding – What does it mean?

David had the idea to go up to one of the towns of Judah now that Saul was dead and no longer pursuing him. But rather than just going, he sought God first.

Seek God for direction and he will be faithful to give it.

When I read this passage I couldn’t help but think of

Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

David surely lived this out. His trust wasn’t in his experience, his common sense, his wisdom or his own ability. Rather, he continually turned to God for strength and guidance. And, as a result, God directed his paths and he became king. If we seek, he will guide!

Life Application

Don’t lean on my own understanding! Instead, seek God!

God, forgive me for the times I make quick decisions without seeking you first. I trust that you have good plans for each of us and that you’re faithful to reveal that plan as we simply ask you. May we be a people that always seeks you before we move. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


2 Samuel 1

Scripture

2 Samuel 1:17-18

17 David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan,Observation

David, after learning of Saul and Jonathan’s death, had avenged their death, ripped his clothes, mourned, wept and fasted…but he wasn’t done. He now is writing of his lament in poem form and insisting that they be taught the children of Judah. 

Understanding

Think back…it wasn’t that long ago that Saul was searching for David, wanting to have him killed. One would think that the mourning, the weeping, the fasting would have been enough to pay his respects to Saul’s memory; but he’s going to ensure that Saul is honored for generations to come! 

And, why?  Out of honor and respect to God because Saul was the Lord’s anointed.

Life Application

God, remind me that when I do things – little and big – that it is all unto You.  As a result, I am called to be an example of God’s overwhelming, unconditional love!…not just the bare minimum.  May I devote this day to you and be open to your promptings to share your kindness, your love, your consideration in a way that honors and glorifies you.

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


1 Samuel 31

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 31:7
 
“When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
The Philistines have attacked the Israelites. They just finished killing Saul’s three sons and now they are in hot pursuit of Saul. Saul would rather kill himself than be caught,  taunted, and tortured by his enemy. So that is exactly what he does. After his armor bearer refuses to do Saul’s “dirty work” for him, Saul does it himself. He falls on his own sword, killing himself. Soon after, his armor bearer follows Saul’s lead and does the same. Once the people of Israel see all these things going on, they begin to flee and abandon their towns.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As Christ-Followers, we are called to lead. Whether it is leading our family, friends, neighbors, or even the people we work with, we are called to be leaders. We have to lead by example.
Saul’s lack of leadership, the way he led his people by example, was the reason the people of Israel were put into this predicament. Saul’s non-existent relationship with God had an affect on his own people’s relationship with God. Saul’s willingness to just give up in life (kill himself) when times got tough, reflected poorly on the people he was leading. His armor bearer followed his lead in committing suicide, his remaining army began to flee, and the Israelites started to flee and abandon their towns when things were getting too difficult.
 
Life Application
 
What kind of leader am I? What kind of example am I displaying to those I am supposed to be leading?
 
As Christ-Followers, we are not exempt from difficult situations. As a matter of fact, we should expect some hardships. But it is how we handle ourselves during these difficult times that is  important. We have to remember that we have people watching us. They want to see how we react to life’s difficult circumstances. It’s easy to give praise to God when everything is going well for us. But it is during our hardships when our faith is tested-(Read the story of Job for example). So when those times come, how will I react? What will I do? Will I flee and cower in the sight of danger? Or will I stand firm in my faith, having confidence in God’s plan and love for me.
 
Father God, help me to be mindful of my actions today. Help me to be obedient to Your will. Help me to live my life in such a way that causes others around me to want to follow my lead. May it bring these people into a relationship with You. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi
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1 Samuel 30

Scripture

1 Samuel 30:24

David replied…”The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”

Observation

After rescuing the hostages taken by the Amalekites when they destroyed Ziklag, including David’s two wives, David’s men begin to argue amongst themselves; disputing whether or not those who stayed behind with the supplies should share in the plunder equally with those who were on the front lines of the fighting. David rebukes the rabble-rousers and commands that all will share equally in the spoils of victory.

Understanding

At the height of the Vietnam War, only 35% of the total number of troops in country were combat troops. The other 65% were command, logistics and support/supply troops. In other words, it takes 2/3 of the total size of an army in support roles to make it possible for the other 1/3 to fight. The combat troops need to be transported, equipped, fed, clothed, and re-supplied; as well as needing medical care when wounded. Add to this the home front effort needed to manufacture the arms, munitions, uniforms, vehicles, planes and ships to engage in warfare. It’s mind boggling. Yet, without all of the efforts of those who never see combat, the battle could not be joined and victory could not be won.

The warriors of David’s company failed to understand the truth that the rear guard is just as important as the “tip of the spear”. It’s the same in ministry. Not everyone is called to take the pulpit, teach the class, enter the mission field or lead the ministry; and one might be tempted to feel less important than those in more visible areas of ministry. We must never forget or underestimate the contributions made by people behind the scenes in ministry. Every effort, great or small, seen or unseen, given to further the kingdom of God is vital, is to be appreciated and shares equally in the reward of kingdom victory.

Life Application

I can be an important part of every ministry a Desert Streams either by playing, paying or praying. I don’t need to be involved in Youth Ministry, but I can support those who are with my finances and with my prayers. I may not be in the Nursery on Sunday, but I can provide needed supplies and encourage those who do serve with words of encouragement, cards, gifts, etc.; and though I may not lead a ministry, I can be a servant to those that do – realizing that serving behind the scenes or under the radar is as vital to achieve victory as the efforts of those in leadership and front line positions.
 
To check out the discussion or join in, click here
Gary Parker


1 Samuel 29

Scripture

1 Samuel 29:5-6

Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?”

Observation-What does it say?

Because of fear, David hid out in the Philistine country and became loyal to Ashish, the opposing side and enemy of his people, the Israelites. David was planning to go to battle against Israel with Ashish and his men, but the Philistine commanders did not trust him. As a result, they rejected him from being part of their army.

Understanding-What does it mean?

God saved David from his unwise decision that was made due to fear.

It was the Lord who gave David an out from the Philistine army, to put him back on the path intended for him. His past reputation invoked fear with the Philistine commanders–fear of betrayal, and he was not able to fight with them. His past caught up with him, and in this case, it was a good thing.

Life Application

The Lord pursues us and puts us back on the path intended for us, even when we stray.

There are consequences to sin and unwise decisions. However, I am a true believer that the Lord pursues us, even when we stray,  just like the master who left his 99 sheep to search for his 1 that had strayed (Matt. 18:12, Luke 15:4). Some of the ways He has pursued me is through the prayers and encouragement of godly people. He picks us up and puts us back on the path intended for us. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Dear Lord, thank You for the ways You have pursued me back to the path You’ve intended for me…the path back to You and with You. You are so good and loving and there’s no place I’d rather be than with You. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Michelle Gaddi


1 Samuel 28

Scripture

1 Samuel 28:17b-18a

The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey the Lord…

Observation – What does it say?

Because Saul was unable to hear from God, he turned to another source for guidance: a medium. This woman, through demonic powers, would summon someone from the dead for Saul to speak with. A practice that God had clearly forbidden. Once Samuel was summoned, he declared that God had fulfilled his promise to take the kingdom from Saul because of his disobedience.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It is possible to fall short of God’s plan for our lives.

Chapter 13 reveals God’s intended plan for Saul:

1 Samuel 13:13-14a 13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure…

It was clear that God’s intention was to establish Saul’s kingdom over Israel for all time. If he kept God’s command, Saul would always have a descendent on the throne and ultimately Jesus would have come from the line of Saul. However, his disobedience to God’s command led to him missing out. The kingdom was now being stripped from him and his family and being given to David.

I used to think that if God gave a prophetic word or dream about what he intended to do through a person, church or ministry, it would be automatic. God would make it happen regardless of if we ran from it or worked for it. But this shows that we have a role to play in the fulfillment of those prophetic words. 

God has a plan for every person. But it’s up to us to seek God to reveal his plan, and then pursue it.

Life Application

What does it look like for me to pursue God’s plan for my life today? In this season?

God, we want to experience the fullness of what you intend for us! Please, in your mercy and your grace, help us to experience all you desire us to. May we live completely surrendered to you, fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. For those of us who are drifting, bring us back. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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


1 Samuel 27

Scripture

1 Samuel 27:1

But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.”

Observation

David – often called a man after God’s own heart – was becoming discouraged. This verse shows that he had lost hope. The verses following this shows how he began to take things in his own hands and kind of fell out of the character of God.  He deserted his own country and went to live in the land of the Philistines (v 5-7).  He began to spend his time raiding the neighboring cities. (v 8-9).  He seemed to have lost his touch with his purpose…to the point that it was believed even his own people must “hate him bitterly” (v 12).

Understanding

For as long as time has existed, it has been our human nature to get impatient in the waiting. When things don’t look the way we thought or expected, it’s easy to get discouraged and to begin wanting to take things into our own hands. But, as we see here, that is not the solution. As I read through this chapter, I see David thinking to himself, deciding to move to a different area and beginning to attack the neighboring communities…what I don’t see is David seeking God or seeking counsel or encouragement from other believers…and the results are perilous.

Life Application

God, help us to remain steadfast in your ways. In seasons of frustration or doubt, may we continue to seek hard after you.  Thank you for the family of Desert Streams that you have placed us in; may we lean on them in this times – seeking community and encouragement.  May we not be so quick to take things in our own hands, but continually surrender our agenda to your will.  Also, give us the heart to speak into the lives of those who may be in this season of frustration now.  

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



1 Samuel 26

Scripture
 
1 Samuel 26:10
 
“Surely the LORD will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Once again Saul and his men are hunting after David… AGAIN!!! David learns about it, goes out one night, and what does he find?… Saul and his men asleep along the hillside.-(Saul and the commander of his army, Abner, were sleeping inside a ring, formed by the rest of the slumbering  army). So once again, God had delivered David’s enemy to him, and David shows mercy instead of vengeance. You see, while Saul and his men were caught napping on the job, David and his men were close enough to strike and kill them; but they chose to spare Saul and his men, and show them grace and mercy instead. 
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Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Instead of taking matters into his own hands, David trusts God’s hands. David trusts in God ways, God’s vengeance for His people, and God’s peace in his life.
 
David had yet another opportunity to rid this thorn in his side, who is Saul. Instead of taking matters into his own hands, by killing Saul, which many of us probably would have done, David chose to show him grace and mercy. How can he do this we might ask? I believe it’s because of his personal relationship with God, his trust in God. It is through this relationship and trust he has in God, that David was able to demonstrate submission and obedience to God’s ways. 
Imagine if David would have took the opportunity to kill Saul. What then? Maybe it would have caused dissension among the people. Some might believe what Saul was saying all this time was true, that David was out to kill Saul because he was after the throne. David on the other hand, would have disobeyed God, blood would be on his hands, and the people may have thought of him a murderer. Instead David’s choice to trust God, brought him peace of mind. He knew Saul’s blood would not be taken from his hands. He would be innocent of that. He knew by showing grace and mercy to his enemy that God’s favor would continue to bless him wherever he went and whatever he did. 
 
Life Application
 
We could all learn and use the faith and trust that David showed to God in our lives.
 
You don’t have to look far to find someone who has experienced some sort of injustice in the world. You turn on the television and you see what is going on in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas. People are taking matters into their own hands, going out for vengeance because of the injustice they feel,  and bringing even more violence and bloodshed into this world. I know this breaks God’s heart. 
Doing what David did here isn’t easy. It takes faith! It takes faith in God, knowing and trusting that it is God who will bring you justice and will be your vengeance when it’s all said and done! The world needs more David’s. Whose willing to stand up and lead?
Father God, we need you now more than ever. We ask that you bring strength and obedience to your people as we take lead and take a stand against sin! Help us to trust you in your ways and your will. Give us patience to let you play things out accordingly. Help your people be beacons of light into a world that seems to be heading into darkness. May the rest of the world benefit from it, and understand just how much they need you. May the world remember the most heinous injustice done was to your only son Jesus. May the world remember why it had to be done. To free us from our sins. Thank you God. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi