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Travel Light

3 Jun

When we travel, we often use baggage tags. I love many of the bag tags at Zazzle*:

  • “Have Bag Will Travel.”LuggageTag_Pixabay_LOLWithGod
  • “Are We There Yet?”
  • “Clearly Not Yours!”
  • “No! No! No! Yours Is the Other Black Bag.”
    “They All Look the Same, Don’t They?”
  • “Can You Spot Me Now?”
  • “Get Your Hands Off My Bag!”
  • “Writer (All of the Valuable Stuff Is in My Head).”
  • “Going Somewhere?” (Has an angry cat sitting in a suitcase.)
  • “Oh? Were You Gone? I Didn’t Notice.” (Another with a cat … an indifferent cat.)
  • “Keep Calm. We’ve Run Out of Chicken, Not Fuel.”

I saw a fun tag at the airport once: “Zombie in my other suitcase.” LOL.

Aren’t airports fun?

With the summer traveling season upon us, I’ve taken time to reflect about “baggage.

Another word for baggage is “luggage,” because we have to lug it around! (And about the only thing good about that is, it’s a good workout!)

Some time ago, I observed people at an airport. Some carried simple bags and moved about the airport with ease. Others struggled, burdened down by too many suitcases, bags and backpacks they had to carry.

One woman was so stressed—trying to get all her “stuff” to the gate—she became physically ill.

As I drove home, I had the thought, “I don’t ever want to struggle with baggage like that.”

And then a second thought, “I don’t ever want to struggle through LIFE with too much baggage either. I want to travel light!

The truth is, we all tend to carry some kind of bulky, uncomfortable “baggage.”

  • Difficult memories.
  • Emotional traumas.
  • Crippling effects of lies we’ve believed.
  • Guilt over wrong choices.
  • Consequences of sinful habits.
  • Negative experiences that still bring us pain.
  • Fears that wrap around our hearts, paralyzing our progress.

But we don’t have to be weighed down by these things.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely” so we can “run with endurance” the race of life God has chosen for us.

One of my goals for finishing life well is to “Embrace Freedom.” (The other two are “Take Courage” and “Build Strength.”)

For the Christ-follower, embracing freedom isn’t about license to sin, pushing against God-honoring boundaries or throwing off all restraint.

It’s about enjoying the freedom we have in Christ.

True freedom, the ultimate freedom we seek, is always found in Jesus (John 8:36; Romans 8:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17).

Believe it: Jesus has set us free! 

  1. We are free from the guilt of sin (Acts 10:43; Romans 6:6-7; 1 Corinthians 10:13b).
  2. We are free from fear (Psalm 56:4; Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7).
  3. We are free from enslavement to lies (John 8:32).
  4. We are free to love, serve and encourage others, and live in ways that honor the Lord (1 Peter 2:16-17).

Our freedom was purchased by the One who loved us and died for us—a priceless gift.

We need to stand firm in our freedom in Christ and not yield to the burdensome bondage of our old baggage! (Galatians 5:1)

Take a moment to examine your “baggage.”

  • What weighs you down?
  • What habit hinders or restricts your freedom?
  • What “stuff” clutters your life?
  • What prevents you from moving forward into freedom, fullness and fruitfulness?

Remember:  In Christ, there is forgiveness for your past … freedom in your present … and the gift of faith for your future!

Will you hand over your heavy baggage to the Lord and exchange it for His light freedom?

 – Dawn

* Zazzle Baggage Tags – note, I do not personally endorse all of the tags.

Graphic of bag tag courtesy of tongon3330 at Pixabay.com.

Surviving the ‘Dog Days’

31 Jul

DogDaysOfSummerI watch my dog cool down every summer as August approaches in hot San Diego. Roscoe sits on the cool wood floor and camps out in front of our revolving fan. Sometimes he turns his head toward the fan, and I laugh as his ears fly out behind him. He moves his head back and forth to catch every bit of the cool, refreshing breeze.

As August continues, I often find him panting there. And believe me, there have been days I’ve wanted to join Roscoe on the floor!

It’s always tough going during the “Dog Days” of summer – unless you’re at the beach. Or running your air condition most of the day. ($$$$$$$!!!!)

I wondered where the phrase “dog days” came from.

I discovered in the Northern Hemisphere, these days occur most often in July and August. During this time, a constellation named Orion (the Hunter) appears in the sky. It is near the constellation Canis Major (greater dog), and according to tales about the constellations, Canis Major is one of Orion’s hunting dogs.

A star in this “dog” constellation, on the front of the dog’s neck, is called Sirius (the Constellations_OrionAndCanisMajorDog Star). It’s an extremely bright, intense star. As July/early August arrives, Sirius seems to get “lost” in the sky; but the ancients knew the “Dog Star” was still there. And they felt (logically, to them) the searing, bright star added to the heat of the season.

The Romans called these days “Caniculares dies,” or “days of the dogs.” According to Wikipedia,  the Romans even sacrificed a red dog in the springtime to appease the supposed rage of Sirius. Apparently they believed the star was the sinister cause of the “hot, sultry weather.”

These are tales from ancient mythology, but the name stuck. Weather-casters still refer to the “dog days of summer.”

Spiritually, I have days when I struggle in some “heat.” It plum wears me out until I look for the place of rest.

While some “heat” comes from the circumstances of life, there’s another kind of “heat” that comes from within.

King David understood this. He spoke of a particular time when this “heat” seemed to suck the life out of him. David said in Psalm 32:4:

“For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”

What was David talking about? We find out in the next verse: “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (v. 5).

When we hide and refuse to acknowledge our sin, it adds pressure and stress to our life like “the heat of summer.”

Sin weighs heavy on our soul. Soon, we feel depleted — our strength and vitality plummet. Suffering spiritual “heat stroke,” we suffer until we seek relief.

The marvelous blessing is, there IS relief. Sin brings guilt, but that’s a good thing!

Guilt is God’s gift to us to drive us toward His love and forgiveness.

To “survive the heat,” must come to the Lord in brokenness and repentance, baring our sins before Him; then we can sit in blessing (v. 1), covered by the cool breezes of His forgiveness.

Do you feel like your strength is “dried up” under the weight of a particular sin? Where does this psalm say you can find relief and the blessing of refreshment?

– Dawn

Constellation graphic from here.

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