A Fast from WHAT?

Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 It sat in my inbox for nearly a week. The title simultaneously stirred me and scared me. I knew I NEEDED to read it. I knew simply by the title of the email that I needed some time to prepare to enter this ring. The other day, I felt like a boxer prepared to fight. I opened the email. The email with the subject header: A Fast from Judgement. This could take awhile. We are undeniably a culture of JUDGEMENT and this was a challenge to fast from judgement. I was hoping for coffee. I was convicted not only to read it, but study what the Bible really says about it and take a long, hard look inward. It doesn’t take much to see that we’re caught up in it y’all and it’s making us a hot mess. It’s destroying what Jesus died for; the heart and soul of mercy and grace. Okay. It may be just me, but my judgement comes in the form of THOUGHTS and unspoken ATTITUDES rather than vocalized social media commentary and since it’s just between ME and JESUS, it’s justified, and considered discernment, right? Uh, no. It’s still merciless. It’s conclusive without ever seeking Jesus. The unspoken thoughts and attitudes are just as relevant, destructive and sinful as ones openly expressed and for me, a fast was in order to expose the weakness of my flesh and to draw me into Jesus. Let’s be clear. There seems to be some confusion, especially in a social media obsessed,...

“Run Them In”

  Every once in awhile something just stays with you. THIS is one of those things. My son’s football career lasted all of 1 season. It simply wasn’t his jam. He liked it, sort of, but at 10 years old, his football career had begun and ended and it was on to the next thing, but in that time, something happened that has remained with me; something profound. Each evening, in the sweltering Georgia heat, the boys would begin practice by running their usual mile lap around the complex. Now, some of these boys were naturally faster than others, and they took off like Forrest Gump. Others, not so much. They lagged behind. Way behind. Running laps just wasn’t their gift. Those who ran effortlessly danced across the finish line,  squirted themselves a drink of water, and were anxiously ready for what came next. What came next was a life lesson for those who were watching.  “Boys!” an unlikely coach’s Friday Night Lights, gruff, deep voice bellowed. “If you’ve finished, then I need some of you to go out there to your teammates and run them in!  You HEAR ME? RUN THEM IN! YOU go out there and meet them where they are and encourage them!” From that command, a group of four began running in the opposite direction. They ran to meet those who lagged behind. They went to encourage. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… Romans 15:5 I watched as those burly linebackers, fullbacks and centers eventually crossed the finish line....

Freedom to SERVE one another…Happy July Fourth

As we pause to celebrate the many freedoms that we enjoy this July Fourth, may we too pause to reflect on how we serve our fellow man, regardless of those things often taint our view of each other. Pause for a moment and reflect on how you express your love for others, even the unlovable, by serving them in grace. May we ALWAYS see freedom as the opportunity it is to not serve self, but one another, the way Jesus would, setting aside pride and embracing the real gospel of love and grace. We have the freedom to love because LOVE freed us, and we are challenged to LOVE our neighbors, and that means all of them, (even the ones you disagree with.) It’s only in freely loving each other in grace, that we walk out as real witness what the Gospel of Jesus was all about. Enjoy the fireworks. Enjoy the picnics. Enjoy the celebrations of freedom and reflect on what it really means to one who has been made FREE. It was and never will be about you. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke...

Weekend Wrap•Up

ALL in ONE place!! Ditch the Labels – Susan Aken   Are YOU in the Shredder – Leah Adams   My Summer Prayer – Kelly Stanley   HE Knows MY Name – Michelle Discavage Lessons from an Encourager – Kris...

weekend wrap•up

The place to catch up on anything you missed this week! Engaging the Ugly – Sarah Jefferson   The One Mile Marker. Time to Quit!? – Patricia Holbrook   10 Most Common Misthoughts about God – Kelly Balarie   Laying Down Our Stuff – Nanette Elkins   Choosing Strength When Life Gets Hard – Jennifer...

{remembering mothers everywhere}

I struggle with Mother’s Day. I just do. I’ve been accused of being a “bleeding heart,” but every year at this time, I find myself reflecting on Mother’s Day and what it means to those who, in a very imperfect and fallen world, try to navigate the day, when this day, any day, can be so difficult. In a perfect world Mother’s Day would look like one of those sentimental greeting cards and life would be uninterrupted and simple. But life as we know it, is not always that way. If your Mother’s Day is uncomplicated and beautiful, I urge you to pause today, and amidst giving thanks, PRAY for those mothers, near and far, whose perspective looks very different today. Imagine if we women, mothers, grandmothers, friends, neighbors, spiritual moms, thought of ALL THE mothers and children today who have hurting hearts and actually PRAYED for them. FOR MOTHERS EVERYWHERE… There are mothers who have children who are missing…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers who fear for their children as they struggle to raise them in urban America…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers whose children have committed their lives to public service in tense social times…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers whose children are incarcerated…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers who are incarcerated…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers who patiently wait for the return of their children from foreign lands as they protect our freedoms…We MUST pray for them. There are mothers who see their children return from war very different people, who often can not find a...

PLEASE Ladies…

It’s only a brief mention. But it’s a brief mention in The Bible. Certainly not the mention they hoped for. Euodia and Syntyche. If they were here today, I’m sure that they would at least quietly mention that “all the work we did, and he mentions THIS!” They are considered ministry partners to Paul, who play a significant role in ministry, as do we. If you are reading through Philippians, and you blink or sneeze, you’ll miss the mention of them. It’s that brief. “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good news. They worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 These stories are our stories. Euodia and Syntyche, it could be Lucy and Ethel, or you and I. What we know of them is that they BOTH have been encouraging and helpful to the Apostle Paul, engaged in active ministry. We know that they were instrumental in this new church in Macedonia. But as we all know, women have opinions and perhaps, at times a tendency, to disagree, emotionally process and sometimes cause the water to ripple. You know what I mean. The tendency to let our differences get the best of us and threaten so much more than we ever intended. That is exactly what is revealed here in Philippians. We have no idea what they were arguing about, but it was...

On the THIRD Day…

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,  but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.   But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.   As we prepare for the celebration of Easter, we pray that you’ll pause and remember what was done for YOU. All that was finished on the cross. All of it. Paid. In full. For YOU. Join Peter in the marveling. Marveling at what had happened. What a gracious God we serve. From all of us at ICDevos, may the reality of the resurrection overwhelm you this...