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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.

A Lingering Scent

8 Apr

Had to laugh at this foodie humor:

“We made some changes in our lives. My husband lost 50 pounds and after eight years of being a housewife, I took a Pancakes_MaxStraeten_Morguefilejob in a restaurant. 

“When I returned home after my first day at work, I gave my husband a big hug.

“He seemed to cling to me longer than usual.

“‘Did you really miss me that much today, dear?’ I asked.

“‘No, came the reply. But you smell so much like pancakes that I hate to let you go.'” *

LOL!

Some scents, we want to linger. Others – like a spray from a skunk – not so much.

My two daughters-in-love are “into” fragrant oils. Sometimes they are used directly on skin, but placed into a diffuser, the essential oils fill the room with relaxing, health-giving scents.

I like the scents vanilla, peppermint and a special oil called “thieves.” Everyone has their favorite scents.

But did you know there is one scent every Christian should delight in?

Paul wrote,

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV).

Our delight is the pleasing aroma of Christ.

Like a precious, aromatic flower, Christ was “crushed” for our sake, and the scent of His death was fragrant to God.

To those who don’t know the Lord, that odor might seem offensive.

But to those who are touched by the grace of salvation in Christ, it is a precious scent indeed.

And the scent lingers upon us.

We are the sweet savor of our Savior in the world.

We are admonished to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, ESV). As we walk in love, His fragrance rests upon us.

What does that look like?

  • We offer forgiveness when offended.
  • We share our blessings with others.
  • We practice kindness, even when there’s little hope others respond “in kind.”
  • We share truth in love.
  • We accept and appreciate a person’s humanity (made in the image of God), though we don’t affirm his or her sinful habits.

In other words, we spread the fragrance of Christ wherever we go, no matter our circumstances. If we don’t, we may be emitting the “stink” of self!

The best thing? As the precious aroma of Christ lingers, people will be drawn to the Lord.

I want to “diffuse” His love to the world, don’t you?

 – * Cybersalt Digest, #3984, 11-8-13

 – Dawn

Take Off the Mask

30 Oct

Many Halloween masks are ugly and grotesque, but some are just strange!

This three-faced mask from Pinterest* made me laugh … and shudder! Strange, right?

StrangeMasks

And that hamburger mask gives new definition to the term “Meathead!”

Some of the “masks” we wear every day are pretty strange too.

Just a few:

  • A drama queen (or king) mask might be hiding a cry for attention.
  • An obnoxious mask might hide an insecure or frightened personality.
  • A cynical mask sometimes hides a lonely, unhappy person.
  • A know-it-all mask can actually hide a person looking for respect.

As a Christian, the mask that bothers me the most – because I often wear it myself – is the PIOUS MASK.

It’s so easy to be a Christian “pretender” when it comes to spiritual growth.

Think about it . . . we masquerade in many ways.

We might mask our lack of time in the Word of God or prayer with ministry to others.

We might mask our nervousness about coming to God with our sins with a busy schedule.

We can mask our failure to walk in the Spirit with a list of rules.

We may even mask our disobedience with sacrificial living.

Our masks might look good to others, but we forget God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10). He sees past the masks. He knows who we really are.

Our masks may give us some measure of comfort, but they also hinder true intimacy with God and others.

God wants us to be authentic. We can’t impress the Lord, and He wants us to be real with people. He wants us to live to please Him alone, and not worry about what others think of us (John 12:43; Galatians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).

Our identity is to be found in Christ and a biblical view of who we are (1 John 3:1-2; Colossians 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:9. We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We rest in His love and forgiveness, not the ever-changing perspectives of the culture.

And when we discover His plans for our lives, we can get busy following Him -obeying and serving Him – instead of worrying about the need to impress people (Ephesians 5:8-10; Colossians 1:10; 3:1-2).

We can come out from behind our masks and shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:16).

Are you trapped behind a mask? How would embracing what God says about you destroy this mask madness?

~ Dawn

* Three-face Mask – Paul Fuller Art (UK)

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