Posts with the category “lent-devotional”

The Third Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 7th, 2021
The Third Sunday in LentSunday, March 7In the Catholic tradition there are three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The third pillar, almsgiving, often gets overlooked in our observance of the season. Almsgiving is a fancy word for charity. It is considered a form of prayer because almsgiving is meant to be a way of giving to God (Matthew 25:40). Just as we make sacrifices through f...  Read More
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Day 16
by Denee Bowers on March 6th, 2021
Saturday, March 6Exodus 23:20-25:40You want to know that a child is serious about a commitment? Don’t just ask them to promise. Ask them to pinky promise. Similar to upping the ante on a dare to a double dog dare, the pinky promise is the most sacred of vows. While we can’t be sure whether God asked Moses and the Israelites to pinky promise, today’s reading does include a very significant commitme...  Read More
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Day 15
by Denee Bowers on March 5th, 2021
Friday, March 5Exodus 20:22-23-19“Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band, and later by Tesla, is such a great song that bucks authority. I’ve always had a problem with what I would consider stupid authority. Rules for no good reason. As I read the scripture passage in Exodus 20:22-23:19, the hair on my neck begins to stand up. Because man, “The Law” seems like a bunch of dumb rules.Probably because so...  Read More
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Day 14
by Denee Bowers on March 4th, 2021
Thursday, March 4Exodus 19:1-20:21We all know children benefit from clear rules. While it sounds counterintuitive, children need the structure of rules to thrive and flourish. Rules provide consistency and predictability that is critical to the development of emotional well-being. And practically, rules help guide actions toward desired results. The problem with rules, though, is they can be manip...  Read More
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Day 13
by Denee Bowers on March 3rd, 2021
Wednesday, March 3Exodus 17-18When I enrolled in a theological graduate program in 2011, I was a bit older than many of my fellow students. I’d been a therapist for almost a decade before deciding to become a pastor, working with young survivors of sexual assault, and those years had opened my eyes to some of the painful realities that my future congregation members very likely faced. I knew that ...  Read More
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Day 12
by Denee Bowers on March 2nd, 2021
Tuesday, March 2Exodus 15:22-16:36 I love grocery shopping. I love planning the meals, making a list of items and ordering them by store layout, hand selecting my produce, and indulging in impulse purchases (Aldi’s “special buys” are my kryptonite).Before the pandemic hit, I was used to doing my grocery shopping in-person, at least one big trip per week, and I never hesitated to stop in to pick up...  Read More
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Day 11
by Denee Bowers on March 1st, 2021
Monday, March 1Exodus 13:17-15:21It seems to me that many of us have idealized what it means to follow God’s nudges in our lives. The thought goes that once we finally figure out the direction God is encouraging us to go, we will lose all doubt, have great relationships and finally gain clarity about our life’s direction.  But I have found that instead of being a season of clarity, right after fol...  Read More
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The Second Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on February 28th, 2021
The Second Sunday in LentSunday, February 28Lent is a season of fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer. Last week we focused on establishing the pattern of some type of fast. Now that you have removed something from your day-to-day, you should be finding a bit of space opening up. A slower pace and a simplified way of life are a cause for celebration on their own, but they also give us the opportu...  Read More
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Day 10
by Denee Bowers on February 27th, 2021
Saturday, February 27Exodus 12:1-13:16If there is one word I would use to describe the season of life we’re living in it is this. Change.Almost everyone has had to experience some kind of change over the last year. We’ve seen our leaders in government change. Our roles or our jobs may have changed. Visiting family has changed.Imagine if every aspect of the change you’ve seen this year was led by  ...  Read More
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Day 9
by Denee Bowers on February 26th, 2021
Thursday, February 25Exodus 9:1-11:10In today’s reading of Exodus 9:1-11:10, Moses comes to Pharaoh with more warnings as we see the plagues continue.When my son was 6, we watched “The Prince of Egypt”. He was so fascinated by Pharaoh. He asked questions I couldn’t keep up with. “Pharaoh was a smart nice dad who loved Moses at the beginning of the movie. Why would he fight God? Why did he have sla...  Read More
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Day 8
by Denee Bowers on February 25th, 2021
Thursday, February 25Exodus 6:28-8:32Um, plagues? I have to admit, it took me a moment to wrap my head and heart around this long passage. I confess that my reflection led me to my own refusal, rejections, and stubbornness.Pharaoh digs his heels in. Scripture says this was in part God’s doing. Despite Moses asking for time off to worship, for example, Pharaoh refuses.  This entire passage is an il...  Read More
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Day 7
by Denee Bowers on February 24th, 2021
Wednesday, February 24Exodus 5:1-6:27You know the saying -- “things are gonna get worse before they get better.” We all experience this reality from time to time. In fact, this is the very reason I’ve been putting off cleaning out the refrigerator! But whether it’s tackling an unpleasant project, or facing a significant change in our lives, we may have to endure a period of worsening circumstances...  Read More
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Day 6
by Denee Bowers on February 23rd, 2021
Tuesday, February 23Exodus 3-4After rereading the story of Moses and the burning bush, I realized a couple things. First, God will always find unexpected ways to guide us in our life, and we have to surrender and trust that God knows the path we are to take. Second, to always be on the lookout for God’s signs in our day-to-day. I’m a senior in High School this year and I have no clue what is next ...  Read More
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Day 5
by Denee Bowers on February 22nd, 2021
Monday, February 22Exodus 1-2“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out- – Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”I’ve read different versions of th...  Read More
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The First Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on February 21st, 2021
Sunday, February 21The First Sunday in LentEasily the most popular rule in the official Lent rulebook is the one that tells us we can break our fast on Sundays during the season.Ok, there’s not really an official Lent rulebook. Instead, there are traditions and ways of engaging Lent embraced by generations of Christ followers that we get to join in. One of those common practices is to set Sundays ...  Read More
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Day 4
by Denee Bowers on February 20th, 2021
Jesus in the DesertSaturday, February 20Matthew 4:1-11Fasting is a spiritual discipline taught throughout the Bible. As we learn in the books of Ezra and Judges, fasting can be used to strengthen prayer and to seek God’s guidance. Matthew 4 demonstrates that fasting is a powerful tool for overcoming temptation and growing closer with God.Jesus was led by God into the wilderness. No one forced him ...  Read More
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Day 3
by Denee Bowers on February 19th, 2021
Why Do We Fast? Friday, February 19Deuteronomy 8:2-3, Matthew 6:16-18Fasting, going without food and sometimes without water, is an ancient practice observed the world over. It is used for both religious and nonreligious purposes. The principle of fasting is mentioned about thirty times in the Bible. We inherited the practice from our Jewish siblings. And for most of church history, fasting has be...  Read More
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Day 2
by Denee Bowers on February 18th, 2021
What is Lent?Thursday, February 18Isaiah 43:19I grew up mostly watching Lent from the sidelines. I attended the local Presbyterian church with my family, but in our small town there was a large Catholic church. Many of my friends were a part of the parish, attended weekly fish frys, and gave up something for Lent each year.Giving up chocolate was popular. Some gave up television, though I suspecte...  Read More
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Lent Devotional // Ash Wednesday
by Denee Bowers on February 16th, 2021
Ash WednesdayJoel 2:12-17, Psalm 23I always feel a little self-conscious on Ash Wednesday. In years past I have had ashes in the shape of a cross smudged on my forehead. Typically, I would receive ashes in the morning and then go about my day. Going to work, running errands, last year I even had a doctor’s appointment and a book club meeting.Then someone asks, “so, uh, what do the ashes mean?”You ...  Read More

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