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

John 8

Scripture

John 8:20-11

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Observation

One morning Jesus went to the temple, where people gathered to hear Him teach. As He was teaching, some teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought Him a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. They asked Jesus what they should do to this woman. They were trying to set a trap for Jesus. The way He answered their question would determine if they would have any basis for accusing Jesus of wrongdoing. Jesus replied with an answer that cleared the room, and silenced the crowd. He said in verse 7, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  With that being said, each person began leaving in silence one by one. You could have heard a pin drop, (or in this case, a stone drop). All who were left standing there were Jesus, and the adulterous woman.

Understanding

God desires to bring healing and reconciliation to human relationships, rather than judgement and destruction.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NIV

If you think about it for a moment, Jesus was the only One who stood at those temple courts that day who had not sinned. So if anyone had the right to condemn and stone this woman, it would be Jesus. Instead, Jesus showed grace and compassion to this woman. He chose not to condemn her for her sins, and tells her to “go and sin no more.” 

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭NLT

Life Application

Jesus is quick to forgive, but we as individuals have a part to play as well…We must believe in Him and repent!

Nothing further was recorded in the Bible about the woman in this story. I would like to think that she was able to turn her life around, believe in Jesus’ ways, repent from her sinful nature, and share the good news of the grace and mercy that was shown to her that day by a man named Jesus. I would like to think that she told everyone she came across with in life about the day she was saved from an inevitable gruesome death, and instead was given another opportunity in life, and that the people who heard her story wanted to know more about the man who saved her…Jesus.

Father God thank You for the grace and mercy that You surround me with each and everyday! Please forgive me for being judgmental against other sinners, when I should be looking at my own sinfulness, and doing something more about it. Give me a heart of compassion and love towards others like You. Help me to share with others the good news of how You saved me. May You give me the passion to share it in a way that encourages others to yearn to know more about You as well. Holy Spirit open my eyes and heart to the people You would like me to share with today. May You give me the right words to speak into their lives. In Your holy and precious name Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi

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John 7

Scripture

John 7:6-9
Jesus told them,
“My time is not yet here; for you any time will do….I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”

John 7:16
Jesus answered,
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.

John 7:28
I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true.

John 7:18
Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

ObservationJesus’ brothers, who did not believe that He is the Messiah, sarcastically suggest that He go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and publicly display His works. Jesus sends them ahead of Him and then follows a few days later. Anticipating the possibility of His appearance at the festival, the crowds are divided in their opinion of Jesus as a good man or one who is demon-possessed. Upon arrival, Jesus condemns the crowds for the disbelief and hypocrisy. Despite the uproar and public unrest caused by His teachings, the temple guards who were sent to arrest Jesus return to the chief priests and the Pharisees empty handed, being convinced by His testimony that Jesus was a man sent by God.

Understanding
As I read about this confrontation between Jesus, the crowds and the religious leaders, I see Him moving in divine timing, instruction, authority and motive. Because Jesus sought and walked in God’s will, He experience power, effectiveness and divine protection during His life and ministry. (John 7:25-26; 46)
 
Life Application
In light of Jesus’ example, I am challenged to ask a few questions as I “live and move and have my being” (Acts 17:28).
  • According to God’s plan and purpose, when is the right time to speak/act?
  • Do my thoughts and word originate from the throne of God?
  • Are my words and deeds Spirit inspired and empowered?
  • Whose glory am I seeking in all I do?
     
     If that which is on my heart to do can survive these cautions, then I can expect transformed lives to result from my surrender and obedience and I can act boldly and without fear, assured of God’s divine provision and protection.
    To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
    -Gary Parker


John 6

Scripture

John 6:11-13

11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

Observation

Jesus had been doing miracles and word was getting around.  So as he traveled, a crowd followed.  He tested his disciples – asking where they could buy food for them.  Immediately, the disciples spoke of the impossibility of what Jesus was suggesting.  But Jesus knew better and asked what was available, gave thanks for what they had, multiplied it and once everyone had had their fill, collected up the baskets – a full twelve baskets left over.

Understanding

Nothing is impossible with God!

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Often times when God calls us to something and even just in our everyday lives, things can seem impossible.  But with God all things are possible.  And I think God sometimes allows the perception of impossibility so that we can be reminded of where the glory belongs!

Jesus started with what He had.

When we are faced with the “impossible,” it’s easy to get caught up in all the things we DON’T have that we feel are necessary – whether it be resources or gifts or time or whatever.  But with God, all that is necessary is that we move forward in faith, starting with what we have.

He gave thanks first.

Jesus didn’t wait until the miracle was over and they’d collected the baskets to give thanks or glory.  He gave thanks FIRST.  Before anything had even been done.  When He still only had the 2 fish and 5 loaves and was looking at five thousand mouths to feed.  When it still looked impossible.  He spoke with thanks and in faith, knowing that what was needed would be provided.   

God doesn’t skimp on His provision.

It doesn’t say they each had their measly portion then passed the basket along.  It doesn’t say many went without.  No, it says they all had enough to eat.  I take that to mean they got full.  AND there were leftovers.  TWELVE BASKETS FULL!  When God provides, He provides in full; He provides with abundance. 

Life Application

Dear God, what a powerful and generous God you are.  Powerful beyond impossibilities.  Generous beyond our needs.  Thank you for being you…our Father, our provider, our Savior…that we can trust, count on, depend on.  Thank you that where you call us, you also equip us.  Thank you that following you though not always easy, IS simple…to simply walk towards you in faith, faith that you will provide for me, lead me, grow me to accomplish what you’ve called me to do.  May I be faithful, obedient and continuously and consciously grateful. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

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

– Rei



John 5

Scripture

John 5:19

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

Observation – What does it say?

After healing an invalid on the Sabbath, Jesus was persecuted by the Jewish leaders for ‘working’ on the Sabbath. In his response, he said that like his Father, he is working. And he pointed to the fact that he could do nothing on his own. He could only do what he saw his Father doing. I have been struck reading the last two chapters about all that points to Jesus’ humanity. After the long journey he was “tired” (4:7), he was thirsty so asked for a drink (4:8), and here mentions that he couldn’t do anything apart from the Father.

Understanding – What does it mean?

If Jesus did all he did as a man, we are responsible to pursue his lifestyle.

Reading this, I was reminded of what Bill Johnson said in his book, When Heaven Invades Earth (P.29-30):

[Jesus] had no supernatural capabilities whatsoever! While he is 100 percent God, He chose to live with the same limitations that a man would face once he was redeemed. He made that point over and over again. Jesus became the model for all who would embrace the invitation to invade the impossible in His name. He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship with God… not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us. But if He did them in as a man, I am responsible to pursue His lifestyle.

What were the distinctions of His humanity?

  1. He had no sin to separate Him from the Father.
  2. He was completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.

What are the distinctions of our humanity?

  1. We are sinners cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Through his sacrifice He has successfully dealt with the power and effect of sin for all who believe. Nothing now separates us from the Father. There remains only one unsettled issue –
  2. How dependent on the Holy Spirit are we willing to live?”

Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

This is God’s intention for every one of his children, that they would be like his Son, thinking like Jesus, having the character of Jesus, and doing the things Jesus did.

Life Application

Pursue Christ-likeness and live in complete dependence on the Holy Spirit!

God, thank you for your intention to conform all of us into the image of your Son. Please transform our character, thinking and actions so that we will look more like Jesus. May we also experience the miracles, signs and wonders that take place when your kingdom comes. I don’t want to rely on my own strength, wisdom or understanding, but completely upon the Holy Spirit in all I do! Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


John 4

 
Scripture
 
John 4:42
 
“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
 ‭
Observation-What does it say?
 

The woman at the well, a Samaritan woman, shared her encounter with Jesus with her people. First of all, Jesus came to her even though Jews and Samaritans do not associate with one another. Second, He knew the intimate details of her life….details that would be impossible for any stranger to know. Third, He knew she was thirsty for something more than what this world had to offer her, as He said that He can give her water that would cause her to never thirst again. The woman was amazed and Jesus eventually revealed to her that he was the Messiah that she was expecting (vs.25). The Samaritan woman could not keep this information to herself, so she told the other Samaritans in her town about Jesus. As a result of her testimony, many Samaritans believed in Him and chose to seek Him out for themselves. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 
Our faith in Jesus Christ is not meant to be hidden. 
 
Keeping our faith to ourselves only benefits us, but we must share it with those around us too. As the Samaritan woman shared her encounter with Jesus (her testimony), it caused the other Samaritans to believe in Jesus and seek Him out for themselves. They had faith that became their own and it was no longer her faith alone (vs. 42)
 
Life Application
 
Freely share Jesus’ testimony and our testimony of faith.
 
Jesus’ testimony is His death and resurrection that enabled us to be saved from hell and not have to live a life apart from a Holy God. (John 3:16). Our testimony is our personal experiences/encounters with Jesus. Some of us have an initial testimony that led to us accepting His invitation for our salvation. But, we are given testimonies all the time as we are with Jesus everyday.  It is meant to be shared with those who don’t know His goodness so that they can taste and see for themselves that He is good. 
 
Psalm 34:8- “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

The water He gives is truly living water and is the only thing that can satisfy our thirst for eternity.
I am grateful for my parents who laid this foundation for me. Although it was their faith that I followed in the first half of my life, because of their example and testimony and the way they raised me, it became my faith as well in the later part of my life.
 
Dear Lord, thank You for the people You placed in my life to plant the seeds of faith in my life. Now that I have been adopted into Your family, I pray that my testimonies with You would not be hidden, but rather shared with joy in order to draw others to Yourself so they can taste and see that You are good too. Thank You Jesus that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done or who we once were, but that we are now seen through the eyes of Christ.  Thank you that I will never thirst or hunger again. May more people be drawn to that truth as I am obedient to share it with them. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


John 3

Scripture

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Observation-What does it say?

One night Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to visit Jesus in secret. Nicodemus surely realized through Jesus’ teachings and the miracles he performed, that Jesus was sent from God. What Nicodemus failed to realize was he was actually speaking to God in the flesh. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about things of God’s kingdom, God’s love for people, and God’s redemptive plan for mankind. It is a verse that echoes throughout believers to this day.

Understanding-What does it mean?

 If there is one verse to memorize and share with others…

The gospel of John will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first book of the Bible my father had me read when I was young. The verse that I chose today (John 3:16), was also the very first verse my dad had me memorize when I was a kid too. As a kid I could honestly say that when I memorized this verse, I just did it for the sake of memorizing it. They were just words to me. Then the more I went on in life, the more this verse seemed to follow me wherever I turned. I found it being referenced by the pastors who I listened to on Sunday mornings. I would hear it referenced on the radio stations in the car as my dad drove our family places. I even turn on the television to watch a sports game with my dad, and some fan would be holding a bright neon sign referencing this verse! God must of been trying to tell me something, and am I glad He did! All these “coincidences” of running into this verse wherever I went and whatever I did had me really question what this verse truly meant to me. 

The further I meditated and prayed over this verse, I realized just how much God loves me! No matter how sinful and unworthy I may be, He still loves me! He provided a way for me to spend eternity with Him. Others who may not understand the Christian faith see it as too much of a sacrifice on their part to leave their sinful lifestyle behind. But it is God, who sacrificed so much for us, that He was willing to die for us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”-‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NIV

And it is through this act of love in which I choose to follow Jesus.  He is my redeemer.  He is my Lord and Savior.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”-‭‭John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NIV

Life Application

 As a Christ-Follower, I need to be less judgmental, and more compassionate and loving with others.

Thank you Jesus for your grace, mercy, sacrifice, and love. I’m thankful to serve a God like you. Thank you for providing this world an opportunity to spend eternity with you in Heaven. Thank you for choosing me God. May you help me to share your redemptive plan with others who may not know it. Give me the words to speak to them in a way that they can understand, so that you may open their eyes and heart to it. I lift these prayers onto you Jesus, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi 


John 2

Scripture

John 2: 5-10
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

Observation

Jesus is celebrating a wedding at Cana when His mother informs Him that the supply of wine has run out. After reminding His mother that His displays of power and providence are determined not by circumstances but by the will and timing of God the Father, Jesus turns some water (contained in 20-30 vessels) into wine that not only saves the bride and groom from an embarrassing faux pas, but wine that is recognized by the banquet steward as being of fine, even the best, quality.

Understanding

This story reminds me of the various accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes during the course of His ministry. In those accounts, as with this first of His miracles, the power of God to provide for those who look to Jesus to meet their needs has already taken place. At the point of Jesus turning the water into wine or multiplying the fish and the loaves, the provision is already sufficient and manifest; what is necessary is for those whom Jesus summons to be obedient to His instructions and deliver the miraculous provision to those who need it and to whom it was intended. Even though the miracle had already taken place, no one would be aware of it or benefit from it unless those whom Jesus had commanded to deliver the blessing walked in obedience and by faith.
Life Application

Unbeknownst to a lost and hurting world, the miracle that is needed for their salvation has occurred in my life and God now commands me to be obedient to the Great Commission and share the miracle of salvation with those who hunger and thirst for the hope, peace, freedom, deliverance and eternal life that Jesus miraculously provided through His death and resurrection. The miracle has already occurred and Jesus summons me to draw from the well of His grace and mercy and share it with others so that they may experience the joy of His salvation and provision. As God ordains divine appointments in my life, my obedience is required in order that the miracle of His redemption and salvation may be delivered to those for whom it is intended.
 
Romans 10:14-16
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker 
 


John 1

Scripture

John 1:4-5

 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

Observation

John 1 begins with discussing the divinity of Christ – essentially reviewing His existence since the beginning of time, His relationship/coexistence with the Father, His role as the creator.  As Matthew Henry points out, “Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation.”

Understanding

Light is often used to symbolize life and/or re-birth in literature.  Jesus brought both.  Without Jesus – and His death and resurrection – there is no eternal life, there is no ability to be “born again.” 

 One of my favorite things about this time of year is Christmas lights! <3  I’m often reminded that we are called to be a light to the world. 
 
No matter how dark a space is, if there is light present, you will see it.  And the light shines/reaches much further than its immediate source…so the “power” of light is big and far reaching, much like the power of salvation (although I’d argue that salvation is MUCH bigger and reaches MUCH further).  And just like darkness cannot overcome light, salvation cannot be taken away.     

Life Application

God, I thank you for providing the light of life through your Son, Jesus Christ.  And I thank you that this life cannot be taken back, it cannot be removed.  May we seek to make you known.  May we burn so bright for you that others are drawn to you, that they may experience your salvation…and that once saved that THEY would burn so bright that it brings even more into your life-giving saving grace…and so on and so on until all have come to know you and/or until the day you return.

God, may I count it a blessing to be a light for you – sharing it in in big ways and small, in every encounter I make throughout this week.  May I live to know you and make you known.

In your name, I pray.  Amen.

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

– Rei



Nehemiah 13

Scripture

Nehemiah 13:7b-8

Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. I was greatly displeased and threw all Tobiah’s household goods out of the room.

Observation – What does it say?

If you hate confrontation, this chapter is enough to make your stomach uneasy. Nehemiah discovers several areas his people had been disobeying God and, rather than beating around the bush or timidly suggesting they should consider change, he goes for the jugular. In one of Nehemiah’s confrontations, he discovers Tobiah the Ammonite was being provided a room in the temple of God for personal use (Ammonites were forbidden to even enter the temple).

So Nehemiah, in a passion to make things right before God, throws all Tobiah’s belongings out of the room. It reminds me of Jesus passionately cleansing the temple in a moment of righteous anger… and also of a girl throwing her boyfriend’s stuff out on the driveway after an argument, ha. I imagine Tobiah coming home to discover the door locked and all his stuff strewn across the ground outside; most likely overcome with anger and frustration.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Nehemiah’s motive in all these confrontations is revealed in verse 14, ”Remember me for this, my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.”

The people of God should be more concerned with pleasing God than people.

Or to put it terms for personal reflection, would you rather offend people or offend God? Bottom line, Nehemiah was shamelessly entering into confrontation because he was passionate about God being honored and obeyed, more than people being happy or un-offended.

Life Application

Seek to please God, even if it means offending people.

God, forgive us for the times we’ve tried to be politically correct and walked on eggshells around people when what was necessary was a bold challenge or presentation of the gospel. Also, I pray that if there is a room in the house of my soul that needs to be cleansed, please bring it to light. I don’t want to live a double life, honoring you in one part of the house while dishonoring you in another. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– Levi Thompson

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



Nehemiah 12

 
Happy Thanksgiving church family!

Our reading in Nehemiah 12 is very fitting for today. It’s cool how God put that in order.

Scripture

Nehemiah 12:43

“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.”

Observation-What does it say?

The people of Jerusalem were rejoicing as they were dedicating the wall of Jerusalem to the Lord. Their joy was founded upon the fact that they knew the Source responsible for their rebuilt city. 

In addition to the verse I chose (vs. 43), the words thanksgiving and praise could be found numerous times in this chapter.

-….songs of thanksgiving (vs. 8)”
– …to give praise and thanksgiving (vs. 24)”
-…to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres. (Vs. 27b-28)”
-“I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks. (Vs. 31b)”
– “The two choirs that gave thanks then took their places in the house of God; (vs. 40a)”
-…there had been directors for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. (Vs. 46b)”

Understanding-What does it mean?

 
They didn’t keep their joy to themselves.
 
Because they knew their Source of victory in rebuilding the wall was God, they took every opportunity to praise Him and dedicated the wall to Him. Their rejoicing in the Lord could not be ignored and was heard publicly, or as vs. 43 says, “could be heard far away.”

Life Application

 
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Let us take time today to thank Jesus for His blessings in our lives. Thank Him for His promises, His providence, His grace and salvation. Thank Him for being unchangeable and constant. Thank Him for being faithful and loving. Thank Him for always wanting the best for us. Thank Him for His loving discipline and even trials that have strengthened our character in Him (Hebrews 12). Thank Him in advance for the victory we have in Him! Just take time to praise and worship Him today!
 
Dear Jesus, we praise and worship You today! As we set aside this day called Thanksgiving and remember the physical things we are thankful for, may we remember You first and foremost. Our faith and lives would not be possible or even matter if it wasn’t for Your love and salvation. Every good and perfect gift comes from You alone. Thank You Jesus. Amen.
 
-To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi