DAILY DEVOTIONS

Lent 2021

Starting Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will be sharing  writings from different clergy members on the theme of “Suffer and Grow Strong.”  You will be encouraged to let go – to let of habits that limit or hinder your spiritual growth and wellbeing. You will be invited to immerse yourself into the practice of the faith – to go deeper and farther in living faithfully as believers. You will be challenged to take on new habits – practices that are life giving and transforming on your faith journey. You will be inspired to grow – to grow strong and thrive as an overcomers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Daily Lenten Prayer 3-2-2021
    Adolf Hitler had a history of creating strife even from a young age. At 34, he led an unsuccessful 1923 coup in Germany after which he spent five years in prison and wrote the first volume of his autobiography. He obviously thought a great deal of himself at that young age. From the beginning, his focus seemed to be the total elimination of the Jewish people, although we know no reason for this obsession. This reminds me of the Old Testament story in the third chapter of the Book of Esther when Haman becomes angry at Mordecai and has the king decree that all Jews are to be annihilated in retaliation. I encourage you to read this amazing account – I won’t spoil the ending.
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    Daily Lenten Prayer 3-1-2021
      Before the 2020 election, many of us were beyond fatigued with the rancorous rhetoric. It seemed like folks believed their opinions to be the most important and correct while those with whom they disagreed were waved off as if the opposing perspectives were inconsequential. And it happened both ways.
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      Daily Lenten Prayer 2-28-2021
        Loving and Faithful God, it is the second Sunday in Lent, and we have begun journeying with Jesus as he set off for Jerusalem. We know what awaits him there. We choose, however, to continue with him for we remember his words that “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me.” Therefore, we will not lose heart.
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        Daily Lenten Prayer 2-27-2021
          God never leads us into temptation. God can use those times to teach us and to help us grow stronger, but temptations don’t come from God. We participate in a relationship with the Almighty. It isn’t forced. It can only be received and then we do our part to maintain it, just as in human relationships. As we turn to God day after day, we are given guidance, assurance, peace and knowledge that God is working in our lives. We can’t help but be joyful.
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          Daily Lenten Prayer 2-26-2021
            In those times when we find ourselves being tempted to be someone we are not, to be less than who we were created to be, to follow our selfish desires rather than listen to God’s will for us, we can remember that Jesus was tempted with all of these things too. Through his life, death and resurrection we are offered the same power and strength he was given.
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            Daily Lenten Prayer 2-25-2021
              Two things to consider from this conversation between the devil and Jesus. First, Jesus does not give into the temptation to doubt either his identity or the power he has been given by God. If we’re honest, we have all had times of doubt. Doubt comes alongside faith, almost as a natural by-product. To doubt is not a failure, but it is a call to order our minds and to return to God. Doubts may appear from time to time, but we don’t have to let them rule our thinking.
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              Daily Lenten Prayer 2-24-2021
                The devil taunts that he is the ruler of the world and has all authority over it, a lie that Jesus has no problem recognizing. This time the devil attempts to confuse Jesus’ understanding of who God is. The devil also tempts Jesus to worship him, promising that he will fulfill Jesus’ every earthly desire.
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                Daily Lenten Prayer 2-23-2021
                  During his 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus fasted. Fasting is a practice we encounter throughout scripture and is a tradition in both the Jewish and Christian faiths. It is a practice that helps us realize our need for God as we empty ourselves to receive clarity, to mourn and to pray. This would likely not have been Jesus’ first fast, as it was a custom in his faith tradition.
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                  Daily Lenten Prayer 2-22-2021
                    Do you find it ironic that just as Jesus receives his baptism and is full of the Holy Spirit, the devil comes to visit him? How many times have you thought about doing something for someone in need and hesitated because you felt foolish, or doubted that you might be of any help to them? Wouldn’t it just be easier to sit back and rest a bit, trusting that eventually, they will be ok without your help? Do you really need to worship this week since you attended last week? “Tomorrow might be a better day to start that practice of Bible study and prayer because today is too busy already.”
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                    Daily Lenten Prayer 2-21-2021
                      Life-giving God, in you all things move, exist, and have their being. You are the giver and sustainer of life, and you permeate all creation with your life-giving presence.
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                      Daily Lenten Prayer 2-20-21
                        To go on any journey, it is always best to travel light. Too much baggage or any unnecessary weight will become a burden and wear down the traveler. The same is for the spiritual journey.
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                        Daily Lenten Prayer 2-19-21
                          In his book “The Road Less Traveled” M. Scott Peck begins with the opening sentence “Life is difficult.” Surely, this is not the opening line most of us, if not all, would want to begin, or caption our life story. But it is the truth, nonetheless, about life in general. As Peck writes, “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we really see this truth, we transcend it.”
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                          Daily Lenten Prayer 2-18-21
                            The imagery you will see accompanying the devotional throughout Lent is that of trees - in different stages, shapes, and forms. We intentionally chose trees, as they are great examples of living things that can endure hardship, yet thrive in spite of the adverse conditions in which they exist. Some trees even grow stronger because of their harsh environment.
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                            Daily Lenten Prayer 2-17-21
                              Today begins the season of Lent. This is a period of 40 days in which we are called again to consider deeply our mortality, to journey with Jesus as he sets his face to the cross, and to commit to dying and being reborn.
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                              Daily Lenten Prayer
                                One of the most effective ways to live fully and intentionally into this season is to draw on the spiritual disciplines/practices that have been a part of the Christian tradition for centuries. These practices have help to mold and shape the lives of the saints before us, and of so many great men and women of our time. When rightly engaged, spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, meditation, studying Scripture, simplicity, confession, worship and more will transform our lives, making us better persons and more committed followers of Jesus Christian.
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