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Monday, August 22, 2011

Transparent Bags

"And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground." 1 Samuel 17:49

"In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel." Ezekiel 12:6

So it's 6:15 am here and I am listening to my kids get ready for school. I see as they get older, their morning routines get easier, or maybe it’s because I make them get their things ready at night, who knows! But then I look at the things my youngest has to get ready for school... the baggage she is taking to school and it hits me. We all have baggage we carry around! It looks heavy and unnecessary to most but to us, there are things that we need in there. For instance, my daughter Naria has a total of 3 different bags she takes to school daily. She has her backpack full of books, homework or papers to display on the refrigerator, pens, etc. She has a duffle bag that she takes for her volleyball practice filled with shoes, knee pads and change of clothes. And then she has a purse. She is known in Omaha for her purses! If you know Naria, you know her purses are nothing normal! They are huge and baggy themselves! All this for such a small frame of 5'1 (even though she will tell you 5'1.5).

My oldest carries a Buzz Light-year backpack around because she hates purses. But even to her, this is a necessary item. Makaila has always been a packrat and what she deems important is in her bag, no matter how much like trash it looks to mom. We have had plenty of go rounds about that thing! Yet she carries in it her camera, her magazines, gum and/ or candy and loose papers she feels she needs. Among all of that is her wallet.... It's crazy!

My son is the one who carries least. He has a sling back he carries around only when he is doing parkour or running track. But oh in his pockets! I find the most in there during laundry day! Anything from food wrappers (he is a tapeworm sufferer), candy... no not the wrappers, 3 and 4 chapsticks, folded paper with his drawings among other things. THAT is his baggage!

Recently I was a Women of Faith conference and person they had doing drama did a skit on baggage that Saturday. There could not have been a dry eye in the building when she was done! Not even her! Her skit began as a child and the baggage from divorce (the similarities were haunting to my own childhood and my children's) and went on to teen years with relationships that scar, teachers that demand, jobs that call up until she met for herself the One who could carry these bags for her.

We all carry baggage that can be things or habits or even people. We carry them into new relationships; we carry them into new homes and new jobs. We carry them into new walks of life and even into a new life in Christ as a new believer. No one is exempt from carrying these bags at one point. Some of us then take our baggage handling to a new height when we publicly display what we are carrying. We display bitterness, we display complaining spirits, eating disorders, past pain, scars, hurts and some even display children as baggage (usually those who become parents too young, mothers left to raise them alone or fathers who abandon in some form or another). My baggage is no different. I even display mine at times when my anger stems from something in the past not resolved or I don't trust someone who God places in my life. I also display my hurts by overprotecting my heart and trying to overprotect my children, but they let me know and God lets me know that He has them.

How do we get rid of these heavy burdens we call baggage? In Ezekiel, he was commanded to "lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk." David "put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead." These are two different variations of what was done with baggage but I say they are one in the same. We, too, can lift up our baggage and carry it out AND reach in it to use what's in it for our giants. Interested in knowing how?

The first thing we need to do is hand over our bags to Jesus. He said "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) Picture a bell hop for a second. Their whole purpose in their job is to carry your luggage.... and then hold out their hand for a tip! But picture the "carry your luggage part". They wait either by the door, if it is a lush hotel or apartment, or by the lobby just for YOU to come in and take your heavy luggage to which you probably carried through the WHOLE airport, while waiting for a cab or car to retrieve you and then into the hotel! Isn't it refreshing to know someone is waiting just for you?! That is what JESUS does! He is waiting for you to give Him your burdens/ baggage. He is the One who can give you rest. That's what He does; it's His job and oh is He good at it! Give your baggage to Him! Aren’t you tired of carrying it?

The second thing we need to do is use what is inside to fuel us towards the goal God has made us for. What I mean is coal is one of the ugliest things on earth! I mean I used to get threatened as a child to behave or I would get coal as a Christmas gift! Ugh! But coal is very useful to us! It is used as fuel, and when crushed just right creates a diamond! Did you catch that? Woo!! Let me repeat that last part for you. When coal is given the high temperatures (fire, as in being in a furnace) and has the right amount of pressure (have you ever felt pressed in stress?) it becomes a diamond! Oh em gee!! That just made me smile figuring that out! Use your past hurts, scars, pain, trials, disappointments as fuel to strive for God's best for you! Do you know you are more worthy than rubies to God? (Proverbs 3:15) So making your trials into diamonds is NOTHING to Him!! Oh just to know there is a diamond coming out of this makes me rejoice! Also, you are able to strike the giants in your life with these same stones! Can you believe it??

So, how about now? Are you now ready to release the baggage or the baggage claim tickets to Jesus? He is waiting for you; won't you trust Him with your bags?

Oh Heavenly Father, You are so good to us! Your constant supply for our needs includes Your Son taking our baggage and giving in return His own which is "easy and light." Thank You for making available to us the experience of carrying light loads. I ask Your forgiveness in light of my own baggage that I still carry or pick up from time to time and ask You to continue to be patient with me as I learn to trust You more and more that You will not only carry mine but take care of it and me. Give us, Lord the load of peace and rest while You deal with unloading our baggage. I trust You to know just where to put each item in there. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen!

For those not knowing personally that Jesus is the only One who can carry your burdens perfectly until now, repeat this prayer, believing that He will carry you as well. Dear Jesus, I am a baggage carrier, a sinner. I am tired of carrying such a heavy load, Lord. I am asking your forgiveness as I place my bags down and turn and walk away from them. Please take them and give me yours in their place. I believe, God that You sent Jesus to die on the cross for me. I believe that You love me that much, no matter what is in those bags. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, and ask You now Jesus to come into my heart. In Jesus name, thank You for new life, Amen.

For those who said, believe and confessed this prayer, welcome to the Family!! For those still struggling with that Truth that God loves you and waits with open arms for you, do not haste in running to Him, for we are NOT promised to wake up tomorrow!