Posts with the category “lent-devotional”

Day 38
by Denee Bowers on April 1st, 2021
Thursday, April1Mark 14:12-72I distinctly remember the last carefree meal I had before the heaviness of COVID hit. After an incredible week in Mozambique, our team from The Gathering took a day to process our experiences on the Island of Mozambique. Though we had seen the headlines declaring a global pandemic, the gravity of the situation and its life-changing implications hadn’t yet settled in. T...  Read More
Day 37
by Denee Bowers on March 31st, 2021
Wednesday, March 31Mark 14:3-11We are getting closer to the cross, friends.In 1999 I preached my first sermon. I did not know the full weight nor joy of being a woman in ministry.  Today I am honored to serve in the line of women who’ve gone before me. Even, this unnamed woman who anoints Jesus. She is unnamed like too many women in scripture, however she performs a meaningful act. Blessing Jesus ...  Read More
Day 36
by Denee Bowers on March 30th, 2021
Tuesday, March 30Luke 21, 22:1-2Have you ever gotten to the end of a long conversation and realized that you could go on for hours more but you’ve unfortunately only got 5 more minutes before you have to walk into the dentist’s office? Maybe that’s a little too specific, but you catch my drift. This happens to me all the time. I get into a good chat or a good meeting, the flow is natural, then all...  Read More
Day 35
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Monday, March 29Mark 11:12-19Today we meet “hangry” Jesus. It’s right there in the passage -- Jesus was hungry and got super-frustrated with a fruitless fig tree that wasn’t even in season. (poor fig tree!) Jesus’ case of the hangrys is so bad that his next move is to flip over tables in the temple. We’ve all been there, right? Tired, frustrated, and hungry to such an extent that we just lose it.I...  Read More
The Last Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 29th, 2021
Sunday, March 28Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Each day this week we will read a passage of scripture that describes the events of Jesus' final days before his crucifixion. Today, Jesus enters Jerusalem to the waving of palm branches and shouts of blessing. It was surely a high moment for all who were present and the days that follow are an emotional roller coaster.This week's s...  Read More
Day 34
by Denee Bowers on March 27th, 2021
Saturday, March 27Job 42Many moments throughout the course of the past year left me feeling a bit like Job. Everything was so good in 2019. What did we possibly do to deserve COVID-19? I don’t believe that a loving God intentionally led us to experience the wilderness of a global pandemic and subsequent economic decline, the cruel murder of George Floyd or the persistent wildfires in California.Jo...  Read More
Day 33
by Denee Bowers on March 26th, 2021
Friday, March 26Job 40-41 15 “Look at Behemoth,    which I made just as I made you;    it eats grass like an ox.16 Its strength is in its loins,    and its power in the muscles of its belly.17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;    the sinews of its thighs are knit together.18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,    its limbs like bars of iron.1Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook,    or press d...  Read More
Day 32
by Denee Bowers on March 25th, 2021
Thursday, March 25Job 38-39In the winter of 1999, many things were happening in my life. I was preparing for college graduation and excited for what lay before me. It was a bright time, even with the cold and snow of Ohio winter upon us. Jenn, my bride-to-be, had told me that she would marry me, and that winter glowed even brighter. Two weeks later, I found a lump on her neck. In short time, we fo...  Read More
Day 31
by Denee Bowers on March 24th, 2021
Wednesday, March 24Job 36-37A few years ago, my wife and I went to Zion National Park. We hiked a lot but my favorite hike was the Narrows. The hike consists of hiking in water through slot canyons sometimes over a thousand feet high while the river is twenty to thirty feet wide. It’s breathtaking. I understood rationally how over the course of a thousand years water had carved out these massive c...  Read More
Day 30
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
Tuesday, March 23Job 32-33As long as humans live on earth (and probably when they start living on Mars) younger generations will believe themselves smarter than older generations. If you’ve ever thought, heard, or said the phrase “OK, boomer” you know what I’m talking about. There is a specific sort of arrogance that comes with youth, and naturally, we are unable to recognize it in ourselves until...  Read More
Day 29
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
Monday, March 22Job 28-29Do you ever just crave wisdom? Like a cold glass of water when you’re thirsty?Friends, information is everywhere and we are not only bombarded by it daily but we can access whatever version of it we are seeking. Add social media to the conversation and it seems to bring information with bonus tangles of opinions and criticism to the table. Opinions are natural, but they ho...  Read More
The Fifth Sunday of Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 23rd, 2021
The Fifth Sunday in LentSunday, March 21If you're anything like me you have a vague sense that Easter is coming, but you haven't thought too much about it. Well, I'm here to let you know that there are only two Sundays left before Easter!This year we will be holding online Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter services. Mark your calendar, invite a friend, and join us at  Read More
Day 28
by Denee Bowers on March 20th, 2021
Saturday, March 20Job 18-19Can I share a little confession with you? Most days I like the way Bildad thinks here. Now, he may go a little overboard with the whole “bad things happen to bad people” message. After all, it’s a little morbid to think that the bad guys are going to have calamity eating their skin and death’s firstborn consuming their limbs (whatever that means!). But the main idea, tha...  Read More
Day 27
by Denee Bowers on March 19th, 2021
Friday, March 19Job 11-12, 1 Peter 2:21-25Today's words come from Henri Nouwen and his definition of the wounded healer."Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not “How can we hide our wounds?” so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” When our ...  Read More
Day 26
by Denee Bowers on March 18th, 2021
Thursday, March 18Job 3Have you ever been annoyed with God? God, when I prayed that you would help me find a job, I didn’t mean a job that would require me to move my family across the country…Have you ever been upset with God? God, I know Mimi was 92 years old, but she was still leading a meaningful life -- why did she have to die so suddenly?Have you ever been angry with God?I’ve led a pretty ch...  Read More
Day 25
by Denee Bowers on March 17th, 2021
Wednesday, March 17Job 1-2Today’s reading leaves us with a stark image of Job stripped bare, afflicted, sitting among the ashes. His wife says to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” I imagine Job slowly raising his head to meet his wife’s pain-stricken face as he responds, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”Like Job’s wife, I find it hard not to get hu...  Read More
Day 24
by Denee Bowers on March 17th, 2021
Tuesday, March 16Exodus 39-40As you read this passage in Exodus, it might seem tempting to skip over the details. Don’t do it. I’d encourage you to take time to pay attention to all that is being described.These aren’t complex features designed to annoy the reader. Instead, there are holy reasons written into each twist and turn of gold and colorful yarn, divine depths singing from every piece of ...  Read More
Day 23
by Denee Bowers on March 15th, 2021
Monday, March 15Exodus 37-38Exodus 37-38 gives fairly detailed notes on how the ark, table, lampstand, altars, basin for washing and courtyard were built. The Biblical description involves a lot of gold, acacia and bronze. Since there were no Ikea manuals at this time, the instructions for assembling each of these items had been given to Moses on the mount earlier in Exodus.While the Editor-In-Chi...  Read More
The Fourth Sunday in Lent
by Denee Bowers on March 14th, 2021
Sunday, March 14The thing about Lent is that as much as it is an important season spiritually it also mimics the change of seasons in the natural world. We put ashes on our heads and meditate on our mortality while it is very much still winter. We celebrate new life and resurrection when spring has taken over outside. Here in the midwest we can’t always rely on the weather to reflect this (I belie...  Read More
Day 22
by Denee Bowers on March 13th, 2021
Saturday, March 13Exodus 35-36"Then all the congregation of the Israelites withdrew from the presence of Moses. And they came, everyone whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and brought the Lord’s offering to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the sacred vestments. All the Israelite men and women whose hearts made them willing to bring anyth...  Read More
Day 21
by Denee Bowers on March 12th, 2021
Friday, March 12Exodus 33-34I have a couple of friends who I have known for years, but don’t see all that often anymore. We live in different cities and juggle busy lives, so we don’t talk as often as we once did. When we do reconnect, though, we get deep in a hurry. We talk for hours and cover every topic under the sun.I bring this up, because this is how Moses and God’s conversation in these two...  Read More
Day 20
by Denee Bowers on March 11th, 2021
Thursday, March 11Exodus 32For Christmas, my 4 year old son got a pair of Mario and Luigi remote control cars. He. Loves. Them. Whenever they come out of storage, there is low-level chaos in the house. The small cars are ramming into doors and baseboards. He lines them up so they can ramp off steps to a thundering crash. Of course eventually the cars run out of battery life and need to be recharge...  Read More
Day 19
by Denee Bowers on March 10th, 2021
Wednesday, March 10Exodus 30-31Have you ever attempted to read the Bible cover-to-cover? If you have, you know that starting with Genesis is easy and entertaining -- it covers the Creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, and Joseph, whose saga and elaborate cloak inspired Broadway. Then, the epic saga continues in Exodus where you meet Pharaoh, Moses, and the Israselites, and God send...  Read More
Day 18
by Denee Bowers on March 9th, 2021
Tuesday, March 9Exodus 28-29These two chapters discuss priestly garments, Aaron’s consecration, the tent of meeting, one-time and ongoing rituals involving sacrifices. Before I lose you, remember that Israelites did not have a set priesthood yet and God was establishing them as being “set apart” from the rest of the world.We are talking about a lineage of people who were slaves previously; traumat...  Read More
Day 17
by Denee Bowers on March 8th, 2021
Monday, March 8Exodus 26-27Let’s level with one another for a second: if you’re reading through the second half of Exodus, you’re in some pretty dense and altogether BORING reading. I feel like it’s good to name that on the front end. This is the part of the Bible where people reading the Bible in a year start to veer off course around the end of January. Because there’s no action. There are no wh...  Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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