Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What will you sacrifice?

I've never practiced Lent. I'm Baptist. We don't acknowledge Ash Wednesday or Lent or Maundy Thursday...I'm not even sure I said that last one right? Maunday/Maundee whatever...

In high school, there were a few Catholic girls who talked about giving up chocolate for Lent. What was the point? No one ever knew.

In college, I worked in a very Irish/Italian Catholic city at the YMCA. I couldn't figure out why every one was coming in with dirty foreheads. It was ash Wednesday. Who knew?

This year, I finally get it.  What it really means.  Why I considered practicing it.  This is the church sign a block and a half down the road.  At the 4-way stop.  I see it everytime I drive to town.  I hope it stays up for weeks. I need to see this visual reminder:  What will I sacrifice?

Noel Piper says this:

  • It's to consider the depth of my sin and the height of God's love
  • It's to recognize reliance on God
  • To say, "I want God more than any good thing in my life"
Her husband, John Piper adds, "A real-lived out human act of preference for God over his gifts is the actual lived-out glorification of God's excellence for which he created the world."  (A Hunger for God)

In the past few weeks, I had started practicing a few spiritual disciplines in an effort to center my day around my Savior.  I put in the hard stops to pray, meditate and read Scriptures.  My alarm goes off at 9 am, noon, 3 pm and 6 pm.  I have to make a conscious decision to ignore the alarm or follow through with my plan.  Some days I fail.  Some days I make it.  It's never convenient.  It's caught me in all sorts of activities--in parking lots, in grocery stores, in the middle of making meals, talking on the phone, even in church.

If I wait until I "Have time" or when it's "convenient", it'll never happen.

I made a plan for myself.  I was afraid the set times would arrive and wouldn't know what to pray for.  What to read. These times are {supposed to be} different than my Bible study time.  They are actually all the things that I want to do that never have time to get to all at once in the morning, so I split them up.

9 am:  pray for husband.  I follow Stormie Omartian's Power of a praying wife--because I need ideas for praying about different aspects of my husband's life.

Noon:  read a Psalm.  These are great for bringing joy and thought and worship into my lunch hour.  In order not to rush it, I pray and meditate my way through the words and verses.

3 pm:  In effort to practice Eucharisteo and the giving thanks for 1000 gifts, this is the time of day I set apart to reflect on the gifts of the past 24 hours.

6 pm:  pray for my children.  This generally gets pushed back to 8 pm bedtime--again, I read prayers out loud to my girls from Stormie Omartian's "Power of a praying parent".  My girls love hearing their names in these prayers, and I can discuss some of the topics with them.  We also get to read a few of the verses together.  It's helping them to hear the Scripture verses read and repeated.

The reasons for doing this are many.  Here's a few...
  • Nothing I am doing is more important than stopping to spend a few moments with God
  • Why couldn't I do it and why shouldn't I want to do it if the ancients set times to stop to pray?  Muslims stop to pray and they don't worship the Risen Savior.  Many "religious" people are more devoted to their false gods than I am to the true God.  That was convicting to me.
  • It's about breaking away so that I might become
  • it's about my sacrifice of time that I might become more like Christ in His sacrifice
There are many times I've failed. It's convicting me that I can't attempt this without the strength and Grace of Jesus.

But I'm doing it more than I would have otherwise.  I'm meeting Jesus.  I'm planning intimate encounters.

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I love Jesus with all my heart and a truth & Grace seeker. I married the love of my life in 2000 and I've been blessed with 5 lovies that I homeschool. Join me as I blog about my interests.


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