Author Archives: dionak1

Joshua 23; Acts 3; Jeremiah 12; Matthew 26

My attitude toward God is often one of asking him to do something for me, or to do something for someone else. Indeed, God wants us to pray for ourselves and others. He wants us to make the desires of our hearts known to him.

And yet there are times when I fail to act when God asks something of me. Now, it is true that it is not always easy to know when God is asking something of me. Is it God speaking? Is it a trap set by Satan to tempt me away from God’s true intention? Is this my own selfish desires? But sometimes I analyze too much and act too little.

Other times, what He is asking takes effort. To be honest, the effort is more than I am willing to give. Oh, how that hurts to realize its truth.

In Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, James and John to do something. He asks them to pray. Jesus is clear in his request. However, to pray they must stay awake. They fail.

“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” Matthew 26:36-37

“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’” Matthew 26:40-41

Jesus goes away to pray and comes back to find them again sleeping.

Peter, James and John loved Jesus. Why could they not do what Jesus asked of them? I do not know.

Dear Lord, I love you and want to please you. When you ask something of me, I want to be willing to act. I am weak. My spirit is willing but my body is weak. I need you to overcome my weakness. You are able. Thank you for going through the agony of Gethsemane and paying the price for my salvation. Amen.    

Diona

 

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Joshua 4; Psalm129-131; Isaiah 64; Matthew 12

I find myself restless, yearning for more. More of what? I do not know. I read the following psalm and think, “Whoa, this is so NOT me.”

“But I have stilled and quieted my soul;

Like a weaned child with its mother,

Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131-2

I am the opposite of this. My soul is rambling around, crying out.

I am reminded in Isaiah that my Father has created me. He has a unique purpose for me. He is shaping me, pushing and pulling me into a form made to serve Him.

“Yet, O lord, you are our Father.

We are the clay, you are the potter;

We are all the work of you hand.”

Isaiah 64:8

In this beautiful book of metaphors, I may be many things. Today I am clay.  Today I am a tree.

Jesus says in Matthew:

“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33

Now I know that Jesus is in the business of making good trees. He wants his good trees to produce good fruit. Good trees don’t grow that way on their own. They need the loving care of a gardener. I am thankful my gardener is gentle.

My branches are stretching, seeking the sun. Looking for new places to grow. Hoping to bear good fruit.

Dear Lord, Help me to find what I am searching for. Use this restlessness to move me where you will have me. Out of the depths of my soul I cry to you:

“O Lord, hear my voice.

Let your ears be attentive

to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 130:1-2

Amen

Diona

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Deuteronomy 23; Psalm 112, 113; Isaiah 50; Revelation 20

I watched a documentary recently that spoke of actions that can only be characterized as evil. Long after watching the show, I am drawn back to the pain it described. My heart aches. I cry out to God. I don’t understand how people can do such things.

I look to Jesus for answers. I know how he feels about the evil deeds that cause his people pain. I know he loves his people.

And I know this: He has power. He has a plan. He will defeat Satan.

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” Revelation 20:10-14 (NIV)

Jesus will conquer and punish Satan. He will contend with people who do evil things. I trust Jesus to be the judge.

“Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:2-3 (NIV)

Dear Lord, There are many things about this present time that I do not understand. Help me stay focused on you. Thank you for defeating Satan at the time you have set. You are the Judge.  You are Holy.  I praise you always. Amen

Diona

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Deuteronomy 8; Psalm 91; Isaiah 36; Revelation 6

Palm 91 is a balm to my soul. It offers comfort, reassurance and hope. I meditate on each line, soaking in the imagery, contemplating the meaning.

Yet I am careful not to read too literally. This is poetry. In this sinful world, followers of Jesus do become sick or are harmed. Revelation 6 references the martyrs in heaven. Even Jesus, Son of God, was subjected to violence.

Still the psalm fills my soul with peace.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

This is the place I most want to be – in the shelter of the Lord, resting in his shadow. A place in which I fully trust Him. I am cared for and loved.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  Psalm 91:4

His protection is both soft and powerful. His promises surround me.

For he will command his angels concerning you

To guard you in all your ways;

They will lift you up in their hands,

So that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12

Angels! I am not alone in this world.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

I do love him and He loves me. He answers me. He is with me. He is my salvation.

Dear Lord, I want to live in You, so that you are surrounding me and covering me.  Help me stay in that place with you always.  I will step out and I know you will draw me back.  Thank you for always drawing me back to the shelter of your arms.  Only in the shelter of your arms am I completely comforted and at peace in my soul.  Amen

Diona

 

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Numbers 30; Psalm 74; Isaiah 22; 2 Peter 3

Again, the Lord speaks to me of what I need. After perusing 2 Peter 3, I thought to write about my thoughts on the end times. But after prayer and rereading the today’s passages, the Lord gave me a specific, personal message. I am, first of all, both surprised and grateful for his care of me. Should I be surprised? No. But I am once again stunned that he pays such personal attention to me.

He tells me who I am in his eyes. He reminds me that he is with me. He knows that people roll their eyes at the choices I make in following him. He knows that some people laugh at what I value. There are, of course, people who roll their eyes and laugh at Jesus.

There are the mockers:

“How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?” Psalm 74:10

There are the scoffers:

“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.” 2 Peter 3:3

What should my response be as I walk among those who mock and scoff? I will stand upright and steady. I will be confident in my God and the choices I make to follow him.   I will continue, as Peter tell us, to do my best to live a holy and godly life.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of god and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 3:10-12a

Dear Lord, Thank you for caring so deeply for me and for your personal attention to me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. Help me to live a holy and godly life, confidently standing in your grace. I pray for those who mock and scoff, that they may see you and come to know you. Amen

Diona

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Numbers 15; Psalm 51; Isaiah 5; Hebrews 12

My head is so full of my daily responsibilities that I am having trouble remembering the simplest things. Just the other day, I had to ask my daughter what our zip code is. I’ve lived in this house for 17 years.

In the midst of all the data in my head, there is a space for God. However, I am prone to following my own desires. God knew that we would struggle, that we would trip up. To help the Israelites remember to obey him, he instructed them to wear tassels.

“When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do.  The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God.  I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God.  I am the Lord your God.”  Numbers 15:39-41 (NLT)

God instructed the Israelites to wear a visual reminder of him. God gave me a way to remember him, a way to know that he is the Lord my God. He gave me Jesus. My reminder is Jesus.

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.”  Hebrews 12:1(b)-2 (NIV)

I am to fix my eyes on Jesus. Just as the Israelites eyes saw tassels, my eyes need to be focused on Jesus.

Even though as a follower of Jesus I am not under the Old Testament law, the idea of a “help” appeals to me. Something small to wear, that is just between me and Jesus, to remind me to refocus on him throughout my day. So that when I am thinking about making dinner, shopping lists, reading lists, and tomorrow’s schedule … I can remember to pause to pray, or read a Bible verse, or simply ponder Jesus.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for blessing me with a full life.  Help me to fix my eyes on you and keep them on you.   Amen

Diona          

 

 

 

 

 

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Leviticus 27; Psalm 34; Ecclesiastes 10; Titus 2

This weekend I’ll be attending a huge convention (8 hours away!) to hear encouragement and to get instruction in my current calling.  I am a mom of four and homeschooling two of them.  I will be traveling with a woman who has more experience than I in mothering and homeschooling – a just slightly older woman.

I have been blessed by many older women in my walk with Jesus.  Both women who are a generation older and women who are just a few years older.  All of them sent by God to instruct, to encourage, to gently correct.  All of them loving me in their own unique

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”  Titus 2:12 (NIV)

By age I am no longer a young woman, yet I am not an old woman.  I still in many ways identify with the young woman described in Titus.  Maybe because I am still raising my children.  I can certainly improve in the areas identified for the younger women.

I also hope to one day be the older woman.  The woman who will be a blessing from God to younger women.  The woman who takes a younger woman by the hand and says:

“Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.”  Psalm 34:3 (NIV)

All of these things made possible only by and through the grace of God.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”  Titus 2:12 (NIV)

My bible notes that the word translated “teaches” in this verse refers to more than instruction.  It includes the whole process of training a child – instruction, encouragement, correction and discipline.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for teaching me how to be a godly woman.  Thank you for the people and experiences that you have given me to instruct, encourage, correct and discipline me.  Thank you for older women who have helped me.  At the right time, place younger women in my path who I can help to train in your ways.  Amen 

Diona

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