Author Archives: dionak1

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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2 Samuel 4,5; 1 Corinthians 15; Ezekiel 13, Psalm 52-54

My father-in-law is losing his battle with cancer. His body is rapidly declining. As we gather around him in these his last days, we watch his physical body become weaker and weaker.

What a comfort to read 1 Corinthians 15. Christ is resurrected from the dead. And in time, all of those who believe in Him will be resurrected to live in His kingdom forever.

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep… For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own time: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” 1 Corinthians 15:20, 22-23

We remind each other that this is not the end for him, a beloved father, grandfather, husband. He will be made alive. He will receive a resurrected body. God will take his weak body and make it into an imperishable, glorious, powerful body.

“So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised I power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. “ 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Dear God, Thank you for providing a way for us to be with you in your perfect kingdom. You sent your Son to die and be raised from the dead. You have told us to expect to be with you in new bodies. We can rejoice that the end of our time on this earth is a transition to new state of being with you. Give strength to our family as we say goodbye. Help our family through the coming sorrow, for we will miss him greatly.  Amen

Diona

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1 Samuel 19; 1 Corinthians 1; Lamentations 4; Psalm 35

God is doing a work in my heart that I cannot do for myself. Only God bring about the softening and the willingness to love. Because I hold onto the hurt and resentment. I tell myself to forgive, yet I count every wrong.

“To the church in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:2-3

I am one who is sanctified in Christ Jesus. I am one who is called to be holy. I call on the name of my Lord Jesus Christ.

“But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” 1 Corinthians 1:24

Christ is the power of God at work in me. He is the instrument of God’s power doing the work of change in my heart. He is healing. He has cracked open my hard heart to allow forgiveness to flow in.

Christ is the wisdom of God at work in me. He is the instrument of God’s wisdom changing the way I see and the way I think. I cannot reason myself into letting go of bitterness.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

Only through the power of Christ Jesus can I grow more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving.

Dear Lord, You are my Savior, my Redeemer. You are Power and Wisdom. You have set complicated relationships before me. Help me to see those in front of me with your eyes. Help me to love them as you do. Only you can loose the bonds of resentment and ill-feeling. Renew my heart so that I can serve cheerfully. Let me be your servant to show your grace and peace. Amen.

Diona

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1 Samuel 3, Psalm 17, Jeremiah 41, Romans 3

Thankfulness. Gratitude. Awe.

These are my feelings toward God today. Thank you …

To the God who answered a prayer today that I had not yet even voiced, not yet even coherently thought. But I knew it was an answer the moment it entered my head. I was in the middle of a conversation with my boys and God gave me words for them. Words that I had read earlier as I was flipping through Romans to find today’s reading. I knew it was a message that God wanted my fifteen-year old sons to hear right at that time.

To the God who loves my children. He loves them so much that he works through me, a broken sinful mother, to guide them. He gives them situations to grow their character.

To the God who created me to create. I am spending a few days restoring my soul through my craft. I make quilts and the process brings peace and joy to my heart. I tell myself that it is selfish to take time away from my “responsibilities” to do something I enjoy. But I think God may be telling me otherwise. It seems as if God is whispering deep inside me that he wants me to be creative in this way.

To the God of grace, who saved me.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-25

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to take the punishment for my sins. I will never comprehend the love that you have for me. I want to be willing to always listen to you. I confess that some days I am more willing than others. Help me to answer your call as Samuel did in today’s reading:

“Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” 1 Samuel 3:10b

Amen

Diona

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