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!
 

Joshua 4

Scripture

Joshua 4:24

24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”

Observation

In Chapter 3, the Israelites experience a miracle – God dries ups the Jordan where they are to pass, carrying the Ark of the Covenant.  This chapter gives more details regarding this miraculous passage of Israel through Jordan and shows God’s desire to memorialize it.

What stood out to me is Joshua’s obedience.

Joshua listened and was obedient to God.  God says choose 12 men to pick up 12 stones (1 each) and put them in the middle of the Jordan River; Joshua responds by having 12 stones picked up by 12 men (1 stone each) and placed in the middle of the Jordan River. 

Understanding

According to this account, there doesn’t seem to be any hesitation, any question, any argument…God speaks, Joshua responds in obedience…then Joshua speaks and the Israelites respond in obedience.

What is the end result? 

  • God’s provision is memorialized for generations to come…which is apparently very important to God because in a very short chapter, it’s mentioned twice. (v. 6-7 and 21-23).
  • Joshua is exalted (v. 14).
  • God is honored and glorified.
  • God’s power is shown and remembered.

Life Application

Sometimes I wish God’s hand in my own life was this clear and succinct…where, in less than a page of text, God asks that something is done and, by the end of the page, we see the results, the celebration/reward (Joshua is exalted) and the reason (so God’s power and provision is remembered).  But I think that’s where the trust comes in.  We have to move in bold obedience even when we don’t understand, even when we don’t see the end results in the near future, even when there’s not a logical explanation.

Also, we must take time to remember what God has done in the past…and share that with our family, our friends, our children…so that God can continue to be glorified and honored. 

God, I thank you that you’ve got the big picture forever in mind – that I don’t need to know or understand the details but to simply trust that you’ve got my best in mind.  May I move in steadfast obedience towards the things you call me to.

Also, may I remember the way you’ve shown yourself real to me in the past.  In a culture where we are constantly looking for the next best thing, may I take time to recognize, remember and share what you have done for me before and what you are doing today – in ways that honor and glorify you and draw others to you – not as some magical genie, but as an incredible seeker and lover of my soul who desires relationship with me. 

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

– Rei



Joshua 3

Scripture

Joshua 3:7

And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.

Observation – What does it say?

After Moses died, God called Joshua to assume leadership over the people of Israel and to lead them into taking possession of the promised land. When he was called, he was no one special; the Bible tells us nothing about his accolades or leadership experience that would gain him credibility as the leader of Israel. But those things weren’t necessary because after God called Joshua, he equipped him, exalted him in the eyes of Israel and granted him favor so that he could lead well.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.

When I got my first offer for a paid ministry position, one year had passed since graduating from Bible College. I had been working selling paint and was minimally involved in my local church. When I got the offer, I literally laughed out loud. “No way!” I thought.

I felt unequipped to say the least. I always saw youth pastors as guys that were really cool, who had the answers and were great speakers and charismatic leaders. All characteristics I would never use to describe myself. I met with a respected mentor and asked him what he thought I should do, explaining clearly that I didn’t feel ready. I’ll never forget what he said. “Levi, when will you ever be ready?”

It was true. After much prayer, a visit to the church and several confirmations from God, we made the trip from Eugene, OR to LA for the position. I had said yes, not because I felt ready but because I felt called. I really had no idea what I was doing. Yet God caused me to be incredibly fruitful! He equipped me, gave me favor and used me to lead many young people to Christ and to teach them what it means to follow Jesus. It was incredible!

I have experienced first-hand that God doesn’t call us because we are particularly gifted or have great experience. On the other hand, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us, But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Life Application

Step into the things God is calling me to, trusting he will supply what I lack.

God, thank you for being pleased to demonstrate your power through us! May we be strong and courageous like Joshua, willing to obey you and serve in the areas you are calling us to. Thank you that you are always faithful to equip us with everything we need to serve and lead effectively. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson 


Joshua 2

Scripture

Joshua 2:11

11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.

Observation

We often talk of God’s love…so big, so great, so expansive, so forgiving.  However, this same God is ALL POWERFUL – powerful to heal and provide, yes…but also powerful to reconcile and even destroy. 

The spies are sent to Jericho to “scout the land.”  They discover that the land is full of fear, dread and panic.  The people in and around Jericho have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea and destroyed the Amorite kings…the same Lord that I call my comforter and healer and provider was seen by these people as something to be feared BUT in that, they recognized that God was all powerful and reigned “supreme.”

Understanding

We get a picture here that God’s will WILL be done. 

Exodus 14

The Pharaoh played games with God’s people – first holding them captive as slaves, brutalizing them, then going back and forth about whether or not he would let them go free.  Then when he finally let them go, they chased after them through the parted Red Sea and essentially got swallowed up and drowned by the sea once the Israelites had safely made their way through.

Numbers 21

Sihon refused to let the Israeliltes pass through his country. In response, Israel fought them and took their land.

Then Og – the last of the giants – tried to oppose them and were “utterly destroyed.”

Romans 8:31What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

There is no doubt that God is WITH the Israelites and there seems to be little doubt in anyone’s mind that if they seek to take over Jericho, it will be done.

Life Application

So, what does all this mean for me/us today?  As I’m reading this, two things come to mind.  First, I don’t know about you, but I want to be on God’s side in any battles; opposing Him does not seem to bode well for those who choose that path.  Second, I must be diligent in seeking out the lost who may currently be on the “wrong side” of those battle lines.  Though we may not be suiting up and physically walking into battle today, there is definitely a spiritual battle taking place all around us.  Am I doing may part to win lost souls for Him?  Am I doing it to the best of my abilities?

Heavenly Father, may my heart be on fire to serve you and you alone.  Furthermore, may I see through your eyes – as I see lost souls, may I be open to being used to win them to you.  Keep me ready, keep me humble.  May I remember that there is nothing more important during my time here on Earth than this.  Use me today.  Amen. 

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

– Rei



Joshua 1

Scripture
 
Joshua 1:9
 
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
 
Observation
 
After the death of Moses, God speaks to Joshua and anoints him to be the one to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to the land the LORD has prepared for them. God reminds Joshua that He will be with him every step of the way, the way He was with Moses before him. God reminds Joshua to obey all the instructions that Moses gave him and to continually study the book of the law that Moses gave him. Finally, God drives home the point to Joshua “to be strong and courageous.” -(Those words were spoken at least 3 times to Joshua in verses 6,7, and 9).
 
Understanding
 
Life has its many trials, but we as God’s people are called to be strong and courageous.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
As Joshua begins to lead the people of Israel across the Jordan River into the land God has prepared for them, there is surely going to be trials coming his way. So God calls him to be strong and courageous. How does he do that? By remaining strong in his faith in God, trusting God’s word and direction for him, and total submission and obedience to God’s ways. Now that takes strength and courage!
 
Life Application
 
 Living a life that is strong and courageous requires abiding with Jesus (through prayer, reading His Word, and obeying the prompting of His Holy Spirit).
 
Life is hard enough as it is. Why make it even more difficult by trying to get through it on our own. Why not trust in someone who already conquered all of it?..Jesus!
 
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Thank You Jesus for always being by my side. Thank You for giving me the strength and courage to make it through each day. Please forgive me for straying from You at times and trying to do life on my own. I know now that I can’t do it without You. Help me to remain humble and submit to Your ways. May You continue to give me the strength and courage to fulfill Your will. In Your name Jesus I pray these things, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


James 5

Scripture

James 5:16
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Observation

In this last chapter of the epistle written by the brother of the Lord, James covers three issues.

He begins the chapter by condemning the selfish rich who oppress the poor, hoard their wealth and exploit their workers. He warns them that their self-indulgent lifestyle is a recipe for ruin and judgment. James then encourages the believers to be patient and steadfast as they wait for the Lord’s coming; even in the face of suffering. He lifts up Job and the prophets of old as examples of those who have been blessed as they persevered. He cautions regarding grumbling against one another and invites the brothers to deal with each other in the simplicity of honesty and integrity. Finally, James gives exhortation and examples of how to operate in fervent and effectual prayer. He spotlights Elijah’s ministry of power and miracles as an example to follow; closing the chapter and book by pointing out the profit and blessing of turning a sinning brother or sister back to the faith.

Understanding

Elijah was nothing special

As I read the biblical accounts of those who performed great exploits and miraculous deeds, it’s easy to look at them as a select handful of people to whom God gave special wisdom, insight, courage and strength; supernatural gifts and empowerment that was only available to the elite – those few whom God culled out of the heard and anointed unto these mighty deeds. Yet James points out that Elijah, perhaps the boldest and most dynamic prophet of the Old Testament, and one who would surely qualify as one of the super-saints described above, was a mere human being. This prophet who challenged and defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, who defied evil Ahab and Jezebel, and whose prayers held back the rain from the skies, was nothing special; no different than any one of us. His only qualification was that he was willing to say yes to the call of God on His life. He had no special ability other than availability. All of the righteousness that made every miracle, every healing, every display of God’s power possible – even resurrection from the dead! – was provided by God to a surrendered servant. It reiterates the tried and true statement that God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.

Life Application

I can be as special as was Elijah

This truth is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it encourages me to know that, as I live a life that aligns me with the perfect will of God, I can position myself to be used by God in ways as miraculous as those chronicled in the pages of scripture. Yet, on the other hand, I am now without excuse; other than my own laziness, apathy and sin, for the reason why God’s power is not moving in and through me. Since I, like Elijah, qualify as a mere human being, I pray that I would believe, obey and act with the same faith he exercised that allowed God to bring such glory to His great Name.

John 14:12
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
Gary Parker


James 4

Scripture

James 4:5
 
Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
James, the brother of Jesus, continues to write to Jewish Christians to “encourage them to continue growing in their new Christian faith (got questions.org).” In this chapter, James is encouraging them to submit to God and flee from the desires of the world, “for the spirit that the Lord has caused to dwell in them is jealous for their affection(vs. 5).” The way the footnotes paraphrased it is “that the Spirit he caused to dwell in us longs jealously.”
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
God is a jealous God.
 
The Lord will not settle for 2nd place in our lives. His Spirit wants to be the first and the only One in our hearts. He desires all our affection, all our time, all our heart, soul, mind and strength. 
 
You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. Exodus 34:14 NLT
 
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. 
Deut. 4:24 ESV
 
Life Application
 
Submit to Christ’s love for us.
 
When we submit to Christ’s love for us as our bridegroom, everything else pales in comparison. For the past few weeks, Pastor has been speaking about the church being the bride of Christ. In marriage, sometimes we think that jealousy is a bad thing, but honestly, if a spouse is not jealous for his bride and if he is okay with her giving her focus and attention to someone else (or vice versa), then there’s a problem. It’s no different with our relationship with the Lord. He loves and desires relationship with us and we break His heart when we choose the world over Him. There is an ongoing spiritual battle ensuing in the lives of believers (Eph. 6:12), but as we DAILY choose to submit to Him, be in His Word, pray, sing songs of praise, stay connected to the Body and stand firm in the faith, the devil flees. 
 
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the many times I have broken Your heart when I’ve chosen to sleep in in the morning instead of spending time with You or when I’ve desired things not in line with my calling in life and identity in You or when I’ve complained instead of been grateful for Your love for me. Thank You that You are jealous for my affection and that You relentlessly pursue me as a result. With Your Spirit’s help, I commit to choose You everyday as You have chosen me. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 
 


James 3

Scripture

James 3:13

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

Observation – What does it say?

In his continuing instruction to believers everywhere, the brother of Jesus and now pastor of the church in Jerusalem, James, wants his audience to understand the marks of true wisdom. He makes a distinction between wisdom that is earthly, unspiritual and has demonic origin and the true wisdom that is from heaven.

Understanding – What does it mean?

True wisdom is displayed through a good life, good deeds and humility.

Many people are said to be wise and understanding because of their eloquent speech, good arguments, and ability to win verbal debates. But according to scripture, none of those things are included as characteristics of the wise.

The wisdom that comes from heaven is displayed through a good life! From good deeds done with a humble heart. Consider Jesus, our wise and humble King. His wisdom, which had its origins in heaven, was displayed through a good life (which sounds like an understatement), filled with good deeds that required him to lay down his rights as God and humble himself before others.
 
One of my favorite quotes is, “One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories.” – Unknown 
Wisdom isn’t merely cerebral, it has everything to do with action and a humble heart. 

Life Application

Honestly evaluate my wisdom.

Am I living a life centered around being good to God and others?
Am I living a life of good deeds? And are my good deeds done with selfish motives or in humility?

Ask God for wisdom!

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

God, fill us with wisdom and understanding. May our lives be increasingly marked by good deeds and great humility. Help us take our eyes off of ourselves and to take genuine concern in the welfare of others. We need you. We recognize we have so much room to grow and learn. Bless us with your wisdom. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or join in click here.
 
– Levi Thompson


James 2

Scripture

James 2:17

1In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Observation

James was written to the Jewish believers in Jesus as a letter of encouragement and teaching.  They had been victims of harassment of some kind and were being taken advantage of by their rich neighbors (1:2; 2:6).  He wrote these discouraged disciples to encourage them not to lose heart. But he also wanted them to understand that as disciples, it was not enough to simply have faith…but, rather, they needed to have “practical, living, everyday faith” – which, for James, equaled good works.

Understanding

We cannot call ourselves Christ followers just because we show up at church on a Sunday or because we believe there is a God (v 20) or just because we profess to be one.  We are called to be God’s hands and feet in the world, to serve others (1 Peter 4:10), to LOVE others – even those who make it difficult (Matt. 5:44).

Why?

God spreads the kingdom through the church.

Our good works are open to observation by others; faith is not; therefore good works make faith visible.

I remember hearing several years ago (here at DSC) that our mission in life is “to know God and make Him known.”  That has stuck with me to this day and it’s something I pray over my children almost nightly.  Faith is knowing God; but works is a part of making Him known.  As Christians, in pursuit of making Christ followers, we cannot have one without the other.

Life Application

We are called to take care of the poor, the down and out, the hungry, the widows and orphans…and not for the glory of us – to be known as “good people,” but for the glory of God and as an extension of His love.  (Matt 6:1-18, James 1:27; James 2:8).

So…go love on somebody! <3 

Dear God, it is such an HONOR to be used by you.  May I take TODAY to purposely look for ways to make you known…ways that I can pour out Your love and mercy and grace on those around me.  Please open my eyes to the opportunities.  Thank you for the resources you’ve provided for me to do so – whether that be time, talent or resources.  May I pursue both faith AND good deeds!…seeking both to KNOW you and MAKE YOU KNOWN.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

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

– Rei



James 1

Scripture
 
James 1:2-3
 
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
‭‭
Observation
 
James is  writing a letter to the church that is scattered abroad. He is writing them to encourage them all to live a life of faith; faith in Jesus Christ.
 
Understanding
 
Jesus is at work throughout all our circumstances in life.
 
James writes in verse 2 to consider it a pure joy whenever trials come your way. Let’s be honest here, how many of us love it when trials come our way? But James encourages the church to look at those difficult times in life as an opportunity to grow in their faith. While many may see those instances in life as either God abandoning them or disciplining them, people like James (the spiritually mature) will be able to see the good in it. They understand that they are not truly in control of their life, God is. They learn to submit to God’s will and God’s ways. They will have a true understanding that God is good, and He is for them. So even through these difficult circumstances, their faith remains in God. They know that it is through these trials that God’s powers are revealed, that God will deliver them from it, and their faith will continue to grow. Let’s face it, it’s easy to praise and thank God when things are going well for us. But let’s remember to continue to give him praise even in those troubled times.
 
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
Life Application
 
Like my muscles grow when they are exercised and put under stress, I will allow Jesus to grow me spiritually during the difficult and stressful times in my life.
 
Today I look to embrace whatever situation God throws my way. I have faith that Jesus is with me, and no matter what the circumstance, I will seek His purpose for it, and find joy through it! 
Thank You Jesus for being by my side through all of life’s ups and downs. As I know difficult times are inevitable in life, I only ask and pray that You help me to remain strong in You Jesus when they do arise. May You continue to grow me as we get through these times together and may You get all the glory and honor when it’s all said and done. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


2 Samuel 24

Scripture

2 Samuel 24:24

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.

Observation

Against the protest of Joab, David issues a census that all the fighting men of Israel should be counted. After doing so, David is convicted by, and confesses, his actions even though they were prompted by the Lord. Perhaps David was sensitive to the prideful motive with which he carried out the Lord’s decree or from the fact that he found his peace and security in the numbers of his army instead of the power of the Captain of the Host of Heaven. Whatever the reason, through the seer Gad, God offers David three options for atonement. David defers to the wisdom and mercy of the Lord’s decision; resulting in three days of plague over Israel that would have resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem had the Lord not relented and stayed the hand of the avenging angel. Gad then instructs David to erect an altar and offer sacrifices to the Lord at the threshing floor of Araunah. Though Araunah offers to give David the land, David insists on buying it; refusing to offer sacrifices to the Lord that costs him nothing. In doing so, David provides the model for sacrificial worship, service and giving that all God’s people should follow. David’s attitude and offering are acceptable to the Lord and God removes the plague from Israel.

Understanding    

David had no clue that this singular, apparently unconnected act obedience and humility before the Lord was intertwined with the past, present and future fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.

It is by no coincidence that God instructs David to offer sacrifices at the threshing floor of Araunah…

  • The threshing floor was located on Mount Moriah where Abraham had offered to sacrifice his firstborn son, Isaac – a Christ-type and foreshadowing of Jesus’ substitutionary death.
  • The purchase of the land (as well as the preservation of Jerusalem) secured the site where Solomon would build the temple for the true worship of Israel’s God.
  • It is on the Temple Mount that Jesus would proclaim the Kingdom of God, would be sentenced to death and from where He would be led to Calvary to be sacrificed for the sins of the world,
  • It is on this Temple Mount where Jesus will return in glory as the triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Life Application

I am challenged to live in light of the truth that, as one of the redeemed of the Lord, my life exists within a greater plan than I can perceive. As opposed to what Darwin would suggest, I am so much more than a purposeless, albeit highly evolved, beast. I am wonderfully and fearfully made and, by God’s desire and design, I am part of history – His Story! That gives my life great import and significance and forces me to consider my actions and attitudes beyond the limited scope of my own personal existence but in view of the eternal plan of God in and through me. From God’s perspective, my obedience in the now has far reaching implications and is but one of the individual threads necessary for the master weaver to craft His tapestry of redemption for mankind.

Lord, help me to recognize that even the smallest act of worship and obedience is important in the grand scheme of things. May I always remember that my choices have the power to impact generations to come; either positively or negatively. May my decisions not be made merely from the perspective of how they affect me; but in consideration of how they may either help or hinder your higher purpose.
 
To check out the conversation or to join in, click here
Gary Parker