Archive | Relationship with God RSS feed for this section

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.

Are You Anchored?

28 Nov

Growing up as a Navy brat, I came to appreciate (clean!) military humor … like this funny “Prayers of Military Officers.”River_PleaseGod_LOLwithGod

One day, three O-6s were hiking together and unexpectedly came upon a wide, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.

The Air Force Colonel called out to God, praying, “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”  

POOF! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across. It did, however, take him more than an hour and he almost drowned a couple of times.

Seeing this, the Army Colonel prayed to God saying, “Please God, give me the strength and tools I need to cross this river.”  

POOF! God gave him a rowboat and oars. He was able to row across but it still took almost an hour, it was very rough, and he almost capsized several times.

The Navy Captain saw how things worked out for the other two, so when he prayed to God, he said, “Please God, give me the strength, tools and intelligence to cross this river.”  

POOF! God turned him into a Marine Lance Corporal. He looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, and walked across the bridge.

LOL!

AnchorCookiesI just finished making a very special batch of Springerle cookies. I normally make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, using a holly design, but this batch of the anise-flavored treat was in honor of my father-in-love’s 90th birthday. (These are the cookies prior to baking, hand painted with anchors.

Many years ago, Dad (Robert F. Wilson) served in the Navy on the USS Rudyerd Bay (an escort carrier), but now he serves as a docent on the USS Midway, now a museum in San Diego.

Part of our birthday celebration included honoring his naval career—hence the anchor theme.

But I have to tell you, there’s something that I celebrate even more than Dad’s career. I celebrate his character!

Many years ago, Dad anchored his life in Jesus Christ, and that choice affected not only his life and ministry through the years, but also his marriage, home, parenting and grandparenting. He trusted the Lord for salvation, and his family would all testify today that he reminds us a lot of Jesus in his character—especially his faithfulness, wisdom and love.

Hebrews 6:18 speaks of the hope we have in Christ and the God who cannot lie; and verse 19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast ….”

The Father, in steadfast faithfulness and love (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 36:5; 119:901 Corinthians 1:9), sent His to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).

When we place our faith in what the Savior has done for us—redeeming us from sin and giving us eternal life—we are firmly anchored in Him!

To be “anchored” in Christ is to be securely fastened to Him. Just as an anchor keeps a boat from drifting, our AnchorQuote_DWilson_LOLwithGodRedeemer, our Anchor, is unmovable. In His faithful love we are held sure and steadfast.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

To be anchored in the truth of scripture is absolutely vital to our Christian testimony and our ability to bring glory to God and serve Him.  When the Category 5 storms of life come—tough trials and temptations—we know we will not run aground. 

It truly is a blessing to be unshakably anchored in the Rock of our salvation.

In the words of an old hymn by Priscilla Owens, “Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?”

We have an anchor that keeps the soul,
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

Are you anchored in the power of a saving relationship with Jesus … or are you trusting in lesser things that will fail you in the storms of life? 

If you are not “anchored” in Christ, you can become a Christian right now.

– Dawn

Old Anchor and wild river graphics, adapted, from Pixabay

5 People Who Need Your Quality Time

21 Oct

How do you create quality time?

Comedian Groucho Marx once said, “I find television very educating.” Why?

“Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book!”

I’m LOL-ing at the remark, but also the word “set.” (Can you tell what decades Marx lived in?)

But Marx brought up an important concept. How we use our time is important. We want to choose wisely. We want Quality Time.

Today as I thought about the people in my life, I accessed just how much quality time they’re getting from me. Have you ever done that?

I discovered five areas in my own life (you may find more), and I am sharing some books that I’ve found helpful. Perhaps you’d like to share resources that help you with quality time. (I do not get any compensation for mentioning them.)

1. Quality Time with God[Note: More accurately, God doesn’t need your time, but He loves you and desires your time.] You’re either smiling or cringing right now, depending on how much time you’re spending with God and whether that time is “quality.” Some women don’t spend much time with the Lord at all. Others spend time and make moments (hours?) together  times of powerful  intimacy and study. Most of us are somewhere in between.

God convicted me of this last year, and I made some radical changes to spend more time with God. The enemy conspires to steal our time away from the Father, so we need to be proactive and schedule time, if necessary. The more we spend time with God, the more it will be times of delight rather than duty. Some powerful books in this area are Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s books, The Quiet Place, A Place of Quiet Rest, and a study she wrote with Tim Grissom, Seeking Him, a book designed for personal revival.

2. Quality Time with Your Husband (if you’re married) – In the busyness of life, we sometimes forget how special our marriage relationship is (or can be). I have many, MANY marriage books on my shelves, including a number by Bill and Pam Farrel  (including A Couple’s Journey with God; Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti; Marriage in the Whirlwind;  Red Hot Monogamy; and 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband ~ all available at love-wise.com).

In Marriage in the Whirlwind, the Farrels describe the whirlwinds that come into marriage and how to survive these stressful tornadoes. They say, “Many times it seems couples long to cry out, ‘Stop the world ~ I want to get off!'” They talk about how unexpected circumstances, the busyness of technology and life just moving too fast, emotional storms, financial struggles and other whirlwinds can destroy a marriage if a couple isn’t wise about using their relationship in positive ways. Quality time together can help to combat stresses.

Quality time in marriage includes listening, simplifying the calendar to make time for each other, setting goals together and taking time to build physical intimacy. [Besides the Farrels’ books, which are meant for men and women, I also recommend Kathi Lipp’s The Husband Project and Arlene Pellicane’s 31 Days to a Happy Husband to women.]

3. Quality Time with Your Child (or children) if you have them (or Grandchildren) – One of the statements that always bothered me is that children need quality time, not quantity time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children need both! They need to be near their parents in order to feel loved and learn from them. But quality time is certainly important.

First there are the simple things: cooking and baking together, planting seeds, enjoying art and music, sharing the how-to’s of life, and helping them see how things work. More important ~ seeing how LIFE works with wisdom principles from scripture.

Then there are times of more focused teaching. One of my recent joys is sharing A Girl after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George with my oldest granddaughter. A book I wish I’d had when raising my sons is Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson, which is all about “Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. For busy moms who wonder how they can be more proactive in pointing quality time toward spiritual truth, I highly recommend Carrie Ward’s book, Together: Growing Appetites for God.

4. Quality Time with FriendsI tell women that no one friend (except Jesus) can be all for us. We need a variety of friends who encourage, challenge, teach, and help us. We need some friends to kick back and LOL with.

One of my biggest regrets is that I waited so long to build friendships. They don’t just happen. It’s rare that God just drops a friend into our laps. The Bible says that is we want friends, we need to show ourselves to be friendly). That takes planning. It takes time. We need to listen when we’re together and not just talk about ourselves.

This is my weak area and I’m working on it. I go on Friendship lunch dates (and need to plan some Friendship activity dates to help me get some of the lunch dates pounds off! LOL!) I’m writing a book on friendship based on some of the things God is teaching me. (Do you have some good Christian books on friendship to recommend to me and others?)

5. Quality Time with YourselfThis may seem like a strange one, but the Bible says we are to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31), so this presupposes we are properly loving ourselves. Kathi Lipp has a helpful book titled The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted

When it comes to quality time with ourselves, we can be more proactive when choosing our activities ~ either (1) doing things that build/improve our lives, (2) leave us pretty much the same, or (3) tear down/hurt us in some ways. (When I speak to women, I call these Climbing, Coasting, and Collapsing choices.)

Pursue Climbing choices; they’ll always be the best. As you plan time for yourself, think of things you can do that will challenge you mentally, physically, and spiritually. Do things that energize you, encourage growth, build your confidence and please the Lord. These are things you won’t regret, things that make you feel better about your life and, at the same time, bring glory to God.

These are choices like reading a good book, listening to music that blesses, enjoying a sport you love … anything that inspires you. For stories that are inspiring and missional, I recommend any of Kathi Macias’ books.

To find more time to pursue Quality Time relationships with yourself (and everyone), check out Marcia Ramsland’s books about simplifying your time and organizing your life at organizingpro.com. Choose Climbing choices that build all of your relationships!

Reserve the Coasting choices (those you might make when you really don’t feel like making any choices!) for those days when you want to relax and unwind. These are happy choices that may make you feel good and won’t tire you out, but they really aren’t designed to move you forward, either. A massage would fall into this category, or reading a good mystery novel, or spending some time on Pinterest. These are things that are easy to do. (But beware – too many Coasting choices and you’ll begin to waste time.)

Avoid Collapsing choices (negative, destructive, or hurtful options) like the flu! Collapsing choices may seem good at the time, but they don’t build us up. This would include watching bad television, pigging out at a buffet, or anything that prevents you from being your best. Basically, it’s doing anything you’ll regret or be ashamed of later.

So … what category needs some improvement?

Where are you not spending enough Quality Time? What can you do TODAY to change that? Can you think of others who might need your Quality Time?I’d love to hear about ways that you spend Quality Time in any of these areas, as well as any resources you would recommend.

– Dawn

%d bloggers like this: