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Thursday, March 6, 2014

not for me but for You

One of the greatest seasons us upon us.  No not Spring, not in Pittsburgh yet at least ;)  But that of the season of Lent which leads up to the ultimate celebration we have as Christians.  Easter Sunday, the day Jesus conquered death and with it, our sin.  Lent is a time of preparation we as believers experience through prayer, repentance, and sacrifice or self-denial.

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Self-denial is something we as humans really struggle with,  so deep rooted is it in us to seek our own pleasure.  But when we think of what Christ went through for us, that much love, that much pain endured...it becomes such an act of love to make some sort of small sacrifice in honor of Him.  Many times we only see the self-denial, the rules, the limitations.  We don't see the actual freedom that comes through obedience.  Obedience is hard for me even though I understand it will lead to a greater good.  Probably for many, but definitely for me.  Too many times I choose what I want "for the now" instead of what I need for eternity.  But I am learning.  And thank God He still loves such a beautiful mess as me anyway.

And so this year I am sacrificing sweets, and I'm a little nervous about it.  Lots of people give up sweets for lent, but they probably don't fret much about it.  You may have seen some of the healthy choices I've been making on Facebook and Instagram but don't be fooled,  I am still a hard-core sugar addict.  This is something that frustrates me to no end.  That I in my own power can't get control over it. 

I have given up sweets all-together for lent once before, about 10 years ago.  And have given them up a few times since then but I always built in a cheat for myself knowing how hard it was before.  Saying I'll give up sweets for all the days except Sundays or I'll give up sweets but I can still have one little piece of hard candy after dinner.  It's so foolish, I know.  I'm certainly not proud of this line of thinking.  But this year....this year with His grace I will truly do it.  Because I know that if I truly do it for Him and not for myself then He will provide the strength.  Those years before...I was really just doing it for myself.  To say I gave something up.  That I sacrificed something I love for Jesus.  But I didn't really do it at all.  It was a farce.  I am determined to make a true and honest sacrifice this year for my Lord, and I know He will help me when I call upon Him.

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One of the most difficult times that has caused me problems in the past is that both of my sons celebrate their birthdays during Lent.  It'll be tough to not participate in the birthday ritual of cake and ice cream.  It's easy to make the excuse that it is a special occasion, which indeed it is, but I'm too good at rationalizing.  I can find a  reason that every day is a special occasion ;)  I'm just going to have to focus on the other ways we celebrate and not just the cake an dice cream part.

Do you participate in Lent?  Are you sacrificing anything or perhaps adding something?

*PS - I also like to add something to my life during this season that I don't normally do.  This year I am doing the Renee Swope's "A Confident Heart" daily devotional. I can't wait to see how God will change me by committing to daily time with Him.

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