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Posts Tagged ‘Sacrifice’

Last week I spoke of my first week, of my first experience of participating in Lent (Week One of Lent), by eliminating cream from my daily, morning coffee.

Withdrawal from what one loves can feel like a real sacrifice … until one remembers the One whose sacrifice yours is a symbol of.

This past weekend I saw a video (below), and before it was finished, I found myself thinking, what a beautiful sacrifice of love.

And sacrifice for love is what Lent leads us to understand.

Gerdi McKenna is a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer, just this past February, in South Africa.

I cannot imagine what that news must be like.

I cannot imagine what it is like to walk with one close to me, through the journey that breast cancer leads.

Gerdi is a loved woman.

Watch the video, below, to see just how loved she is :

What a personal sacrifice!

But, for those who participated, what seems to have taken the edge off of the very personal sacrifice is the fact that they were doing it for one they loved.

Isn’t that just how love is?

We would do anything for those we love!

And that is what Lent reminds us

That Christ would do anything for love!

But I won’t do that

Even that …

Most awful, horrible act of being sacrificed physically on a cross,

And of being separated from His Father.

That is sacrifice for love!

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738357ae884a5272698e5dee5e8f2913As this is my first year ever participating in the giving up of something for Lent, I thought I would share about the process in writing.

Okay,

Lets get real!

I am writing about it, so that I am accountable to not give up early …

I am so week!

Deciding what my symbolic sacrifice for this season was not easy.

I considered chocolate, but I do not eat it daily, so I didn’t think it was enough of a sacrifice.

I considered wine, but my only daily wine is spelled w-h-i-n-e, and that would be difficult to acknowledge when I do it, because, I probably whine far more than I actually realize.

I considered giving up writing, but through my preparations I have my daily devotions.

I considered giving up my morning coffee, but it is those around me who would be making that sacrifice.

I was through my consideration of giving up coffee that I found my sacrifice …

cream in my coffee.

I love my morning coffee. One cup. Freshly ground. Steaming black poured into creamy white, to the perfect shade of warm brown. Ah, that first sip! warm. creamy. satisfying.

The night before I fill the machine with fresh water, measure the beans into their cup, and set the timer. Anticipation begins the moment I set that timer.

Some mornings I awaken before my alarm, before the heart-stopping whirl of the beans being ground, and lay in bed, in eager anticipation of that first sip.

Obviously this daily ritual is one I truly love and enjoy. It is daily and I love it! So it seemed the best ‘sacrifice’ to make.

“The joy has left my life!”

I have to humbly admit, that the above six words were exactly my thoughts that first day, that first morning of Lent.

Coffee without the cream is terrible! It does not look right, it does not smell right, it does not feel right in your mouth, and it does not taste right!

I chose the right thing to give up … because it hurt.

So for this first week of Lent, I have started each day with a cup of hot, black coffee … and I have not enjoyed it one bit! With each sip of it, I have said in my mind,

“thank-you”

Thank-you to God, for the real sacrifice of his son. Cream in my morning coffee pales in comparison to that sacrifice.

“And a voice from heaven said,
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.””
Matthew 3:17

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Today is Ash Wednesday.

It is the first day of the forty days of Lent on the Christian calendar.

As I write this post it is Tuesday and I am anticipating a dinner of pancakes. Although I did not grow up in a Christ-centered home, this was a practice in my home growing up, and I feel a great sense of nostalgia in participating in this tradition.

Tuesday is often known as Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday. It is the day before the beginning of the season of Lent. It is a day of partying and feasting before participants give something up for the days leading up to Easter. I guess it could be compared to the human practice of I’ll overeat on Sunday, and start my diet on Monday.

As one who has not practiced the exercise of Lent, Ash Wednesday was something I had to research a bit to get an understanding of it’s significance.

The name Ash Wednesday comes from the reminder in Genesis 3:19,

“You are dust, and you will return to dust.”

In some churches, to truly mark this day, the tradition is to have a cross drawn, with ashes, on the foreheads of the parishioners on this day.

But what is Lent? Easter is on the calendar as Good Friday and Easter Sunday, what’s with it being a season?

Lent is the season of waiting, of abstinence, of sacrifice and of preparation for the Holy (Easter) Week.

Many people omit, or give up, something that they enjoy on a regular basis, for the forty’ish days leading up to Easter. Frequently we will hear of people giving up chocolate, alcohol, meat, cigarettes, fish, sex, television, shopping etc. For some it is a time of giving to the poor, in time or resources. For others it is a time of ‘adding’ to their regular schedule, practices such as increased prayer.

Whatever practice one might choose, it is done as a means of sharing in the sacrifice of Christ.

Now, I love chocolate, but I do not believe that giving it up is comparable in any way to the sacrifice of Christ. So, if you do practice Lent, don’t get too pious about your sacrifice … whatever we might do is infinitesimal compared to the rejection, imprisonment, scourging, crucifixion, death, and separation from God that Jesus experienced.

It is, though, a good reminder of all that Christ has done for us.

It is a reminder to pray.

It is a reminder to love others (as He has loved us).

It is a reminder of grace …

because we are not obliged to join in the suffering …

but we reap such benefit!

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Did you know that in just over one month, Christmas Day will be upon us?! Yikes! I’m not so excited for the hustle and bustle of that season, but I am looking forward to two weeks of family togetherness, and not having to hear my own voice all the time. Working in a school in an instructional support position I sometimes feel I must seem just like the teacher in Charlie Brown … “wah wah woh wah wah”

Speaking of my job, the most viewed post this week had to do with my training for my job, in my post How to Learn about Special Needs. The students I work with make me laugh, cry and scratch my head! And this week, after writing this post, I have been asking for their opinions much more frequently … maybe I needed to write this so that I would change how I learn …

Also this week :

Brokenness Aside
(feeling ‘un-beautiful’ in a broken world … you were made for more)

Who Makes the Sacrifice
(anyone who does big things for others, is not sacrificing alone)

A Note to My Younger Self
(if you could write a note to your younger self … what would you say?)

What I Really Really Want
(don’t stop dreaming)

Blessings to you this day,
Carole

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The idea of sacrifice surrounds this month.

Just over a week ago we remembered those who sacrificed for freedom in world conflicts on Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day, or whatever other title that day holds for you, where you live). Then a friend went with the Canadian Medical Assistance Team (CMAT) to help set up a medical center in the Philippines, after the deadly Typhoons, causing thousands of deaths, injuries and millions of people displaced from their homes. Then a mom, experiencing mixed emotions as her son, who desires to be a law enforcement officer, got called into training.

These events have caused me to consider sacrifice.

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when a person in the military is called to go to the Middle East?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they go to work in law enforcement?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they go to work as a firefighter?

Who is it who is making a sacrifice when they get called to the hospital to do emergency surgery, on Christmas morning?

When our friend left for the Philippines, I heard people say,

“what a sacrifice he is making”

but he is not the only one making a sacrifice.

Those who have gone (and who are presently involved) to places of conflict are not the only ones who sacrificed. Their families, their communities, their loved ones, also paid a price.

The man who is entering law enforcement is not the only one who is sacrificing. His wife, his parents, his current workplace, his community are also paying a price.

Our friend helping those who have suffered the ravages of the typhoons is not the only on who is making a sacrifice. His wife, working full time, will be living as a single mom for three weeks. Their two young children will be missing their dad. His workplace, as a firefighter, will be sacrificing the hours he would normally be fulfilling his job requirements. His parents will be concerned for his safety. His friends will miss him.

These people who sacrifice, sacrifice many intangibles, for those in need.

We mustn’t forget, as we pray for them, to pray for those who love and care for them … the sacrifice is theirs too.

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Last week, while sitting at lunch, the conversation around the table turned to a blogging lady whose lifestyle changes have so dramatically altered how she feels and the quality of her life that she believes she will never again be able to return to her previous bad habits.

When sacrifices result in a greater good, they no longer seem like sacrifices … but there is often a period of commitment without benefit needed to get to that point.

What would you (and I) sacrifice for a greater good?

screen time? (TV, gaming, computer)
sleep?
money?
hobbies?
vacation?
free time?
chocolate?

What is a greater good that is worth sacrificing for?

a healthier body?
a longer life?
a better job/career?
a healthier/happier family?
a contribution into the life of one in need?
a better ability to sleep?
a better peace of mind?
a better future?
a hope …

I am amazed at what God will use, in the form of sacrifices He asks of us, to get us to a greater good. Often those sacrifices seem to be too much for our understanding that benefit, or good, could ever come of them.

Yet, when we look at examples of sacrifice, we also can see greater good.

– good men died in offensives against Nazi forces, but the benefit was liberation of concentration camps
– Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead, but his dream continues to live on
– Mother Teresa gave her life to the work of Christ on behalf of the people of Calcutta
– at 15 years old, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head, because extremists feared her advocacy for education for girls

The greatest sacrifice for greater good was given by the Creator of the universe, and the greater good is available to all :

Jew or Greek
slave or free
male or female

Through God’s sacrifice of His Son, “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galations 3:28). God knew (being all-knowing is helpful) that the sacrifice, though enormous, though personal, was for a greater good … the redemption of sin.

So, He made the sacrifice that hurt the most, even though He knew that not all would accept it. And that is what sacrifice is, it is an offer to give all, for the greater good, knowing that others might choose to ignore the reason for the sacrifice.

It is the message of Jesus himself, when he said, “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But Jesus did not just lay down his life for his friends, he lay down his life for all … friends and enemies, knowing that not all would accept the sacrifice.

Although, when speaking earlier this year to the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai said the following of herself, these words could also speak to the life and sacrifice of God … his child, who became teacher, the Bible, written by himself through man can (has and will) change the world.

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai

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It is Father’s Day today, and to my Dad I say thank-you for being simply the best!

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Father’s Day can be a great day of celebrating the father in your life, or it can be a day when negative experiences, words or actions (or a lack of actions) surface in your mind and heart.

I am so fortunate that my father is one I desire greatly to celebrate. He is a good and honorable man, who always made me feel loved and valued. Despite our not sharing a blood connection, it is through his legal and emotional adoption of me (almost forty years ago today) that I came to understand another Father’s love.

This video is a metaphor for that most sacrificial of all loves.

May you today know of the the love of the Father who is always there, always fulfilling promises, always loving you.

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