Author Archives: dionak1

2 Chronicles 36, Revelation 22, Malachi 4, John 21

Another year flies by. This is a time when I reflect and recommit. I take a hard look at where I’ve been and where I want to be. It’s not so much a time for resolutions because, really, those would be the same every year. I have the same goals and dreams as last year, and the year before. I use this time for recommitting myself, for putting new systems in place, for weeding out bad habits that keep me stuck.

In this process, the most important question I ask myself is this:

Do I live every day as if Jesus might come back tomorrow?

In the book of Revelation, Jesus said:

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  Revelation 22:12-13

The painful, brutally honest answer is of course, no. I will never be so perfect as to live each day as if it is my last, to live each day as if I’ll be in the presence of Jesus the next. If that is my goal, all I can do is take steps toward it. There are many minutes in a day, and I can spend more of them wisely. I can spend more minutes loving those around me the way Jesus would want.

Again Jesus Said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16

Jesus asks me, like he asks Simon Peter, to take care of his people. This is my purpose. As I assess how to move forward next year, I will keep this as my focus: to spend more minutes … hours … days … loving my people.

Dear Lord, I look forward to the day that you come back and take us to our real home. While I am here I want to live my life so that I reflect your love for me. Help me to overcome my sinful nature so that the minutes turn into days of loving others as you love.  Amen

Diona

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2 Chronicles 19, 20; Revelation8; Zechariah 4; John 7

A hot cup of coffee on a chilly morning. A mug of creamy mocha next to the fireplace as it snows. Hot herbal tea before bed.  A tall glass of iced tea on a hot afternoon. An icy lemonade at the pool with friends.

These are all ways that I enjoy drinking a beverage. Sometimes I need sustenance, sometimes I drink purely for comfort. But when I am truly thirsty, only a big glass of water does the job.

And for my truly thirsty soul, only the Spirit can do the job. Jesus understood this need:

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from with him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39

My soul is thirsty. My soul needs what only Jesus can provide – the Spirit. I find that my thirst for the Spirit is never satisfied. I never say to myself, “Okay I’ve had enough now.” I crave the constant presence that is the Spirit.

As I walk through my days, may I always keep in mind what the Lord said to Zerubbabel. In this passage from Zechariah, an angel is talking to Zechariah, telling of the monumental task ahead to rebuild the temple.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  Zechariah 4:6

Whatever is ahead of me, whatever task is asked of me by the Lord, it will be done by his Spirit. Not by might or power. Not by my own strength or will.

By the Spirit, who fills my soul to overflowing. By the Spirit, who is both my sustenance and my comfort.

Diona

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1 Chronicles 13, 14; James 1; Amos 8; Luke 3

Obedience and consequences of disobedience. Two New Testament passages telling us how to follow God, how to obey his commands, how to live as He intends us. Two Old Testament passages telling us of ruin that resulted from not following Gods commands, from not doing as God said.

James gives us instruction on obedience. He tells us how important it is to do what God tells us to do.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks life. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)

John the Baptist, in Luke 3, instructs the people on how to turn to the Lord and follow Him once more.

“’What should we do then?’ the crowd asked. John answered, ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’” Luke 3:10-11

An account of consequence is given in 1 Chronicles 3. Uzzah would have known the rules for moving the ark and he knew the consequence for disobeying the rules.

“When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen had stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God.” (1 Chronicles 13:9-10)

In Amos 8, a statement of consequence is provided. The Israelites have disobeyed the Lord’s commands and He announces the consequences.

Obedience and disobedience. Following and turning away. As I contemplate the relationships between these, I am reminded that obedience to the Lord does not guarantee a perfect life and bad things happen to even those who are most obedient. It’s a fallen world. Yet I strive to obey God to please Him, to experience a strong relationship with Him and to love Him.

Thank you Lord, for providing the Bible, a written reminder, a constant source to help me follow You. I fall so short of Your intentions for me by not fully obeying your instructions. Thank You for Your infinite Grace and never-ending Mercy. Help me to obey Your words so that I can live fully in Your blessing. Amen

Diona

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2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalm 132-134

It’s preposterous. It’s quite outrageous that Paul would ask such a thing. Asking Philemon to take back his runaway slave and, not only forgive him, but accept him as a brother. And that Paul would pay for whatever the slave Onesimus owed? The very notion is absurd.

“So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Philemon 17-18

It’s extravagant. The Lord continues to love and have mercy on a nation that turns its back on Him again and again.

The Lord declares: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.” Hosea 11:1-2a

“I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.” Hosea 11:9 (emphasis added)

Jesus’ love for me is just as extravagant. He continues to love me no matter how many times I pull away, no matter how many times I am willfully disobedient.    He provides far beyond what I deserve.

In many ways what Jesus does is preposterous as well. He intercedes with the Father on my behalf, pleading my case and presenting me as his beloved sister. Jesus stands up for me, the way Paul stood up for Onesimus. Jesus pays what I owe.

Why does He do such things?  Because He is the Holy One among us.

Diona

 

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2 Kings 3; 2 Thessalonians 3; Daniel 7; Psalm 114-115

I could in no way be described as a “high energy” person. My “To Do” list, on the other hand, demands more than I have to give. There are seasons when I have to take the days as they come and do what I can. Then there are seasons when I can be more disciplined with my time and more intentional with my energy.

This passage got me thinking, and praying, about how I use my time and energy:

“But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you…For we hear that some of you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat. But you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right.”  2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 NET

I understand this passage does not apply specifically to me today. I am not idle (but I certainly waste time). I work at taking care of my family, a job I firmly believe I have been called to.

It is the spirit of the message that is speaking to me. Paul expected the brothers and sisters to act with discipline. They used their time for purpose. The Message translation states, “Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.” Paul did not say they could not have fun or enjoy life.

I feel called, as I meditate on this passage, to evaluate and pray over my schedule – and perhaps my attitude. It is time to review my “To Do” list and priorities, and identify where I may be slacking off.

Lord, Creator of all things, I look to you for guidance. Teach me to live a disciplined life, a life in which my time and energy are used in furthering your Kingdom. Reveal to me how to best use my time and give me the energy that I need to serve You. Show me any unrealistic expectations. For Your Glory.

Diona

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1 Kings 11; Philippians 2; Ezekiel 41; Psalm 92, 93

The failure of the wisest of all men. Wise King Solomon turns his heart from God.

“The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” 1 Kings 11:9

After all that Solomon had learned, had done, had seen – how could he? I believe that the root of the problem was conceit.  I think he thought too highly of himself. He thought he was above following the rules God had given him.

I long ago learned the power of turning scripture into prayer. One of my most often prayed verses is in Philippians 2.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

My prayer is pretty simple and goes something like this:

Lord, Help me to not do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Help me to be humble and to consider other betters than myself.

There was a time in my life that I was quite arrogant. I was ambitious in my career. I wanted what was best for me: more money, more possessions, more accomplishments, more power at work. I was good at what I did and I knew it.

Then God got ahold of me. As he tends to do, he revealed my heart to me. He’s been working on me ever since.

Because I know my own tendencies and faults, I’ve continued to pray this verse over the years. Even as I serve the Lord, I could become ambitious and vain in my service.

God is using my current season to further instill humility. I spend my days pouring into my family. I see no immediate results. I get no accolades or bonuses. I just trust in God every day that He can take what I am doing and make something of it.

“For you make me glad by your deeds, Oh Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.”  Psalm 92:4  Amen

 

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2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekial 27; Psalm 75, 76

We serve an awesome, all-powerful God. His power is evident as I read today passages. He has sovereign control.  He holds all in his hands.  He has victory over enemies.  He sends out his power through Christ and the apostle Paul.

He is judge.

You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.

When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.

To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’

And to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.

Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.’”

Psalm 75:2-3

He demonstrated his power in defense of Jerusalem.

At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,

Both horse and chariot lie still.

You alone are to be feared.

Who can stand before you when you are angry? Psalm 76:6-7

He demonstrated his power in the judgement against Tyre.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning Tyre.” Ezekiel 27:1-2

The power of Christ is at work through the apostle Paul, as he carries out his mission to spread the gospel.

He (Christ) is not weak in dealing with you, but he is powerful among you. For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him to serve you. 2 Corinthians 13:3b-4

Dear Lord, The extent of your power is often hard to understand. Help me to see how your power and love, your judgement and grace, are all tied together.   I place my trust in you. Amen

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