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

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

Exodus 33

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Scripture

Exodus 33:15-16

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

Observation – What does it say?

Because they were so incredibly stubborn that God might destroy them along the way, God told Moses he wouldn’t go with them as they journeyed to the Promised Land. So Moses once again goes to meet with God and to intercede on behalf of the Israelites, this time going to a tent he pitched outside camp that he called the “tent of meeting” where he an anyone else could go to meet with God. In the tent Moses pleads with God to go with them. He placed such a high value on the presence of God that he would rather dwell in the wilderness with God than in the Promised Land without him. From Moses’ perspective, God’s presence with his people was the only thing that showed God was pleased with them and that set them apart from everyone else!

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s people should place the highest value on God’s presence being with them!

In scripture there seems to be different degrees of God’s presence. Before you write me off as a heretic, consider this:

God’s presence fills all his creation. Ephesians 4:6 …[God] is over all and through all and in all.
Although God is already present with everyone because they are part of his creation, when someone believes in Jesus they are filled with the Holy Spirit in a way that is different than the way God fills the rest of creation.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
Then, Jesus tells these believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit in Matthew 18:20, where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Again, he must be referring to a greater measure or experience of his presence than if they were alone.
Even beyond this there are instances where believers who already had the Holy Spirit and had already been together in prayer for a considerable amount of time were suddenly “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Moses’ desire was that God’s presence would go with them in a way that was different from the way God already filled his creation. He desired God’s presence to be with them in a way that it was obvious to the rest of the world, in a way that set them apart from everyone else! This should be the desire of every believer! That we would experience God’s presence in greater ways, that he would fill in such a way that everyone we come into contact with throughout the week encounters him, that his presence would be so thick in the times we gather together on Sunday mornings that everyone recognizes it and is changed!

Life Application

Seek God, as Moses did, for his presence!

God, I don’t want to go anywhere without you! More important than planning or organization, more important than strength or wisdom or skill, more important than having all the finances or other resources, is having your presence with us! We are desperate for your presence! More of you God! Please fill us in greater measure. Would it please you to increase your presence in our midst as we gather together on Sunday mornings and as we go to school and work and are with our families and friends throughout the week. We love your presence and in every moment and every area we long for more! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.



Exodus 32

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Scripture

Exodus 32:11, 14

11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God…

 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Observation – What does it say?

As Moses and Joshua were with God on Mt. Sinai receiving the 10 commandments, the Israelites grew impatient in waiting for them to come back down. When Moses and Joshua finally come down the mountain, they discover that in their impatience, the Israelites had turned to worshiping an idol that Aaron made for them. Moses was furious with them and so was God. God told Moses he planned to destroy them, but Moses prayed and asked God to have mercy. In response to Moses’ prayer, God relented and didn’t destroy them.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Prayer is input for the outcome.

Psalm 106:23 references this very point in Israel’s history: So he said he would destroy them– had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.

An entire nation of people was spared from destruction because Moses prayed for them. Talk about having favor with God! Throughout scripture we see that God gives all his people the same favor as he invites them to seek him and give him input for the outcome.

Ezekiel 22:30 [God said,] “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”

James 4:2  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

If only we would ask God, things would be different! As we come to God in prayer, we have the ability to alter situations, to partner with God in saving people from an eternity separated from him, to see cities and nations changed by God’s power, and more!

Life Application

Am I giving input for the outcome?

Ask God who and what he wants me to pray for. And, pray with faith that God will hear and answer!

God, thank you for the amazing privilege of being able to come to you in prayer with confidence that you will answer! Teach us to be a people that prays and seeks your face so that those around us can experience your mercy and saving power. Show us what to pray for and where you are calling us to stand in the gap and intercede. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 31

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Scripture

Exodus 31:6b

“I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you…”

Observation – What does it say?

God didn’t just leave Moses with this enormous building plan and leave him to figure out a way to carry it out. He appointed a man, Bezalel, and gifted him with all the skills necessary to lead the project. He also raised up an assistant for Bezalel and many skilled workers. God gave wisdom, knowledge, skills and all kinds of abilities to the men who would make all the things God commanded.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God not only gives his people commands, but also ability to obey.

Along with every command in scripture, God supplied what his people needed to obey it. When he told Abraham he would be the father of many nations, God gave Sarah the ability to conceive in her old age. When Jesus commanded Lazarus to “Come out!” of the tomb when he had been dead for 4 days, the power of God brought Lazarus to life and enabled him to come out. When Jesus commanded the paralyzed man to get up and pick up his mat and walk God healed him, supplying what he needed to obey. When Jesus commanded his disciples to “make disciples of all nations,” he empowered them when he filled them with the Holy Spirit to fulfill that command.

Whether God gives a vision of building a tabernacle or a great commission movement, a command to flee from sexual immorality or to share our faith, an invitation to seek him or to partner with him; in every instance what God is asking of us is impossible for us to accomplish on our own. Yet, he is faithful to provide the means necessary to accomplish it! It’s not about what we can do for God but what he can do through us!

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Philippians 1:6 …[God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:20-21 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Life Application

Be filled with hope!

We’re not left with promises and commands that we have to figure out a way to accomplish and fulfill! God is faithful to supply the skills, the people to help, the wisdom, the resources and all we need to get the job done.
God, thank you for your faithfulness! We love you and are so thankful that you don’t hold us accountable to fulfill commands that you don’t give us the ability to fulfill. You are our strength, the supplier of all we need, the author and perfecter of our faith. With all the tasks we face today, we look to you to empower us to accomplish them for your glory. You are faithful to complete the work you started in us! We worship you! Amen.
To check out the discussion or join in click here.


Exodus 30

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Scripture

Exodus 30:7-8

“Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. And each evening when he lights the lamps, he must again burn incense in the Lord’s presence.

Observation – What does it say?

As the building plans continue to unfold, God commands the Israelites through Moses to build an altar for offering incense. The incense altar would be placed right outside the curtain that shielded the Ark of the Covenant. And every morning and every evening Aaron was required to burn incense on the altar.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When you consider the greater context of scripture, incense is almost always mentioned alongside, or as a synonym for, prayer:

  • According to Luke 1:10, “when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.”
  • The Psalmist said in Psalm 141:2, “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.”
  • Revelation 4 and 5 describe the throne of God in heaven and the elders and creatures that surround it. Revelation 5:8 says, “… the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.”
  • Revelation 8:3 says, “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.”

The true incense that rises as a pleasing aroma to God is the prayers of his people! Today, we have confidence that God hears and delights in our prayers as one would delight in the smell of expensive perfume. And we not only have the opportunity to offer prayers in the morning and evening but continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17)! What an amazing privilege!

Life Application

Pray! Imagine my prayers as incense rising to God and filling the golden bowls that surround his throne.

God, thank you that our prayers, like fragrant incense, are a pleasing aroma to you. May we offer them continually! Teach us how to pray and may you lead and guide our thoughts and words as we offer them to you. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 29

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Scripture

Exodus 29:45

Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.

Observation – What does it say?

God had given detailed instructions and requirements for the tabernacle, courtyard, altar, priests and their garments, sacrifices and offerings. And once fulfilled, God would consecrate all of it and only then would he dwell among them and be their God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God’s requirements had to be met in order for God to dwell with his people.

Under the Old Covenant of the law, God’s people had to fulfill many requirements in order to have God’s presence with them. And as I read this, I found myself so grateful for the New Covenant; so thankful for Jesus and all he’s done for us. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, all the requirements of the law were fully satisfied for us who follow him! Done. The Old Covenant was about what man had to do and the New Covenant is about what God has already done.

Romans 8:3-4 “So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

Jesus changed everything! We are consecrated by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. The life we experience from continually being in his presence isn’t because of some good behavior or works we’ve accomplished. God’s presence among us and within us is only a result of God’s grace extended through Jesus Christ. Rather than having to fulfill all the requirements of the law in order to be saved and to enjoy God’s presence, our only work is to believe in Jesus and rest in his completed work.

Life Application

Worship God for fulfilling all the requirements of the law for us and for his continual presence with us!

God, thank you for sending your Son! Thank you for fulfilling the law we could never fulfill. Thank you that we don’t have to wear special clothes to meet with you. Thank you that we don’t have to go to a special tent or to sacrifice animals to be in your presence. My heart is filled with gratitude as I enjoy your presence this morning. I worship you! Amen.

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



Exodus 28

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Scripture

Exodus 28:29

“Whenever Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will bear the names of the sons of Israel over his heart on the breastpiece of decision as a continuing memorial before the Lord.dd2a2f6eb9ad959a59daeec03ac9d59b

Observation – What does it say?

Whenever Aaron and his sons entered into God’s presence, they wore these heavy ceremonial garments. And each part of their garments had a special symbolic meaning and served as continual reminders.
One element of these priestly garments was that they were covered with the names of the tribes of Israel as a continuing memorial. In other words, it served as an ongoing reminder of their holy calling to come before God to represent His people, not their own interests.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The priests didn’t just represent themselves but all God’s people.

When they came before God, the priests were reminded when they saw the names of the 12 tribes on their shoulders that they weren’t just coming to God for their own needs and desires but on behalf of all Israel. Under the New Covenant, God considers all believers priests. Writing to all believers scattered around the world, the Apostle Peter said:

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…”

Every believer is considered chosen and set apart by God as a priest, representing the ‘holy nation’ of believers around the world. Throughout the New Testament is this dominating theme of believers having a corporate mindset who should view themselves not as individuals but as those connected to, and representatives of, all believers. A few examples:
  • When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he didn’t have them pray, “My Father… Give me… Forgive me… Lead me..” but rather “Our Father… Give us… Forgive us… Lead us..” (Matthew 6:9-13).
  • The Apostle Paul commended the young pastor Timothy for being one who didn’t look out for his own interests but rather showed genuine concern for the welfare of the church (Philippians 2:20-21).
  • The Apostle Paul referred to each believer as a member of the body of Christ, each of us connected to each other (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Life Application

Be reminded that I’m not just representing myself when I come before God!

Are my prayers primarily revolving around my individual interests, needs and desires? Or am I seeking God for the needs and interests of his people?
Use language like ‘us’ and ‘we’ more than ‘I’ and ‘me’ when praying.
God, thank you for inviting us to come to you with our personal needs and concerns. But thank you for the reminder that we are called to seek you on behalf of our local church family and the family of believers around the world. What an awesome privilege! Thank you that we aren’t alone in this world, but are part of your church body. We seek you today for grace and favor and blessing not just for us individually but for all believers everywhere. Amen.
To check out the discussion or join in click here.


Exodus 27

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Scripture

Exodus 27:1

“Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide.

Observation – What does it say?

After describing the instructions for the Tabernacle, Moses describes the instructions for the area around the Tabernacle – the altar where they would offer sacrifices to God and the courtyard where the altar would be located.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The altar taught the Old Testament believer that communion with God requires sacrifice.

The first thing a worshipper would see when entering the courtyard around the Tabernacle was the altar. It served as a constant reminder that in order to come close to God and to have relationship with him, a sacrifice was necessary as atonement (compensation for) sin.

Hebrews 9:22 “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the ultimate price once and for all for the sins of mankind. Now, all believers come to God, not through the Old Testament altar, but through Jesus Christ. No more payment or sacrifice is necessary. This means that rather than coming to God through the altar outside the Tabernacle, we come to God through the altar of Jesus (Hebrews 13:10 refers to Jesus as the Christian’s altar).

Life Application

Remember that Jesus’ sacrifice is what makes it possible for me to draw near to God.

Just as the Israelites were reminded every time they approached the Tabernacle, I want to remind myself every time I approach God in prayer today: This relationship required the sacrifice of Jesus!

God, thank you for loving us so much that you gave your Son for us! Jesus, thank you for paying the price we could never pay so we could enjoy unhindered relationship with you! Every time we pray today, may we pause and remember your sacrifice that makes it possible. We worship you! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 26

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Scripture

Exodus 26:30

30 “Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.

Observation – What does it say?

The Tabernacle was a tent in the very center of Israel’s camp that was a constant reminder of God’s presence with them and a place for worship and sacrifice. It was made to be portable since God’s people are still traveling from Egypt, through the wilderness, to the Promised Land. This passage lists the detailed construction plans God gave Moses on Mt. Sinai for the Tabernacle. Trying to imagine a tent out of all these construction details can be difficult. If there is one passage it would be nice to have a pictures of, it would be this one!

Part way through the instructions God paused to remind Moses to stick to the plan he had given him on the mountain.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When God gives specific instructions, he expects his people to follow them!

Moses is relaying these instructions to builders and artists who will carry out the plans. And, it’s almost as though God can see a builder coming with an idea to construct things a bit differently or an artist wanting to get creative with one part of the project. And he reminds Moses, “Stick to the plan!” He didn’t give all those details so they could be treated as options. And as a matter of fact, I cant think of any detailed instruction in scripture that God gave as an option.

When God says, “Forgive one another just as in Christ, God forgave you,” he doesn’t leave us the option of saying, “I’ll forgive everyone except that person. God knows what they did to me and he understands.” Nope. He didn’t leave us that choice. When God says, “You also must testify…” he doesn’t leave us the option of saying, “I get nervous and so I’ll leave telling people about Jesus to the pastors and evangelists.” God expects us every one of us to share about him!

“God knows my heart,” or, “God knows how hard this is for me,” or, “God knows how busy I am,” aren’t acceptable excuses for disobedience.

Life Application

God, are there any areas of my life that I’ve been deviating from your instructions? Are there any excuses I’ve been making where I should just be obeying?

God, this morning I ask that you would remind us of the instructions you’ve given us in your word. Help us to live in obedience to you and to not make excuses. Where we feel stuck or like obedience is difficult, help us to rely on your strength and grace to do what you’ve asked. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 25

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Scripture

Exodus 25:22

22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

Observation – What does it say?

God gave Moses detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle, which would be God’s dwelling place among them. They would build an ark, a wooden box overlaid with gold that would hold the two stone tablets with the 10 commandments written on them. On each side would be a statue of a cherubim (angel). Between the two cherubim, the cover of the ark formed a kind of chair, a throne for God. And it was on that ‘mercy seat’ that God intended to dwell and where Moses could come meet with him.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Before Jesus came, it was only Moses or the high priest who had permission from God to approach the ark and meet with God. But now under the new covenant it’s not just one or two men who God invites to his throne to meet with him but all believers!

Hebrews 4:16

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

God invites us to his throne! It’s in that place that we receive mercy and where God gives supplies us with his grace – all the wisdom, strength, guidance, healing, comfort and courage we need for every need we face.

After Jesus died on the cross the temple curtain was torn in two, symbolizing that God’s presence would no longer dwell in temples built by human hands but within every believer. Now that we are temples of the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to travel to some building on Ruether Avenue or anywhere else or to God’s throne in heaven to meet with him. Rather, he is with us permanently, enthroned in our hearts. The journey to God’s throne for us today takes place in our hearts whenever we chose to acknowledge and engage him. This means we have the privilege of coming to him whenever and wherever we desire!

Life Application

Take advantage of the access I have to God!

God, thank you for encouraging us to come boldly to you to receive your mercy and grace. Thank you for inviting us into relationship with you. May we be people who approach your throne with confidence today! Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Exodus 24

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Scripture

Exodus 24:4a

Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.

Observation – What does it say?

Moses shared with the people of Israel all the commands God had given, and then Moses took the time to write down every last word God had said.

Understanding – What does it mean?

When God speaks, it’s worth taking time to write it down!

If someone were to ask me, “What was God speaking to you about during your times with him 2 weeks ago?” It would most likely be difficult for me to remember. If I can barely remember what God was speaking to me about 2 weeks ago, how can I expect to remember what he spoke 2 months or 2 years ago? Those words become lost to me, unless I take the time to write them down.

I’ve been so amazed reading back through my old journals about things God had shown me in his word, significant dreams, prophetic words, and impressions he gave me in my times of prayer. Many of which I had completely forgotten about until I opened my old journals and read them.

Moses wrote down all God spoke to him. King David wrote down many of his prayers. King Solomon wrote down the wisdom God revealed to him. The prophets wrote down the visions and dreams God gave them. And Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were compelled to write about their experiences with Jesus and all Jesus had taught and said.

Life Application

When God speaks, write it down!

I am committed to soul journaling, but also want to continue to take the time to write down my dreams that seem significant, things God has put in my heart to pray for and any prophetic words from others.

God, thank you for giving us lots to write down! Thank you for speaking to us through your word and through other people, circumstances, dreams and visions, etc. (We remember that every prophetic word/dream/vision/etc is subject to Scripture and that your word is the ultimate authority and primary avenue through which you speak.) May we show that we treasure your words to us by writing them down. May we be good stewards of every word you speak. Amen.

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