Don’t pray religious prayers

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving, and many of us gathered with family and friends to share a meal. And yes – historically, Thanksgiving is a time people gather to give thanks to GOD, but for me, that is every day, all day.

Note: visit Hillsdale College to learn the history of Thanksgiving

No, this post is not about the “day” of Thanksgiving but the heart of prayer.

I was recently at a public meeting where people with “titles” gathered and shared thoughts about November 8th and things going on in Indianapolis. When it was over, a person approached me and asked, “What is it that you do?” Thinking for a moment about how to justify my being there, I said: “I am an intercessor, and I connect people that have needs with people who can fill those needs.” A bit confused, the woman said, “Oh, you’re an organizer,” and then walked away.  

I know who I am, though when I look around the room and see all the “titles,” I may forget – I am a redeemed child of God and in constant dialog with Him. Knowing that I can rightly do so, not because of anything I have done – but everything to do with what Jesus has done. 

I was asked to pray yesterday when we gathered around the delicious food. Surprised, I spoke a brief prayer. I didn’t overthink it until later when condemning phrases began to swirl in my thoughts.

Phrases like:

You missed the opportunity to thank Jesus for your redemption.

You didn’t thank God for the people in the room and how important they are to you.

You didn’t even ask God to help unite the United States.

These harassing phrases accused me of failing or even missing the opportunity to represent the Kingdom of God.

Trying to brush thoughts off of me and not to allow them to rise above the knowledge of God – in other words- not let these condemning words take precedence over what God says about me. I realized that those words were coming from a religious spirit.

Some people might be asking;  But Georgia, isn’t that how we are to be, religious? Years ago, I would have said; yes. Today though, I say no, this isn’t how we should be.

As I understand the Old and New Testament, I realize that the ‘religious’ Teachers and Pharisees had issues with Jesus’ ministry. With the legalistic traditions, they failed to understand that Jesus fulfilled the scrolls they routinely read publicly and taught from. He was making it easy for people to connect with God personally.

An article on 4-10-2015 on the: Living For Jesus Alone Ministries website explains the differences between being a Christian and being a religious person. You should check it out.

Being religious is to rely on your ability to do things that would grant you “right” standing before your god. Whereas being Christian is acknowledging your inability to have “right” standing due to our sinfulness and accepting Jesus as the son of God, our Savior and Lord.

It doesn’t stop there. That is the beginning of the Christian walk. As you spend time in a relationship with God the Father, Jesus the redeemer, and Holy Spirit the helper, a person begins to be transformed. In other words, their heart begins to change, and instead of having the sinful nature listed in Eph. 5:19-21, they have the spirit of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Eph 5:22-23).

So, what does all of this have to do with prayer at the Thanksgiving table?

When people gather for the holidays with family and friends,  there are individuals from all walks of life. Prayers are not to convey arrogance or even judgment. That is not the heart of Christ. Also, it doesn’t need to be wordy.

Unfortunately, in the past, I had to pray about everything each time I had the opportunity to join others, bowing my head and folding my hands to pray. Over the years, I have learned to allow Holy Spirit to give me direction in my prayer time.

There are many areas in today’s world where we can make our requests known to God, and there is a time and a place for each.

I want to remind everyone that when we pray over food during the holidays, let us be grateful to the Lord God for the many provision he has placed in our lives; most people can agree on that. Also, let us ask God to bless the food to nourish our bodies; again, everyone can agree. But above all, let our prayers be sincere and come from our hearts, not just words we believe everyone expects us to utter.

HE is Love

Post from the past 2-14-2015

God is defined as love; He isn’t just a loving God; HE is LOVE.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

Today being “Valentine’s Day,” I imagine “love” has been on the minds of many people. Does that mean that God has been on their minds? I would hope, but probably not so.

Today, we have many meanings for ‘love.’ I love my flowers. I love to have my quiet time. I love my husband. Each of these definitions of love is different, as we all know. I don’t love my husband as I would love my flower garden.

Though I am no bible scholar, I would think God has one definition for love: agape. Searching online to understand this phrase this what I have found; Agape love is non-partial, sacrificial. Agape love is entirely about the lover (God) and has nothing to do with the one loved (you and me).

John 3:16  For God so loved (agape) the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Understanding His love toward me helps me love others. Now I am not saying that I have ‘agape love’ at all times as God does. But, to be completely truthful with you, my love can be conditional; how I ‘feel’ determines how loving I can be. Not that this is right. But it doesn’t happen as often as it did before I understood HIS love for me, but it still happens periodically.

However, when I think of love, true and pure, I cannot help to think about how God loves me. It is sometimes difficult to get my head and heart around this, but when I accept His love relationship, it is a beautiful, freeing feeling. But, of course, then it makes it easier for me to love others.

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

It is easy to love another person who operates in this type of ‘agape love,’ but it isn’t easy to love someone who has not experienced this kind of love. When a person does not understand unconditional love, it would be ridiculous to expect them to know how to extend it to others. 

So how do we love these people that have not experienced agape love? We are the experience. As this day is quickly approaching an end, I would like to encourage you to look for the expression of love from others (the way they know how to show it, or maybe not knowing how to show it) every day, not just today “Valentine’s Day.”

Know that God always wants to lavish love on us; he is never tired of our relationship with Him. Want to learn how to love? Learn of God’s love. Happy Valentine’s Day

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians13:4-8 (ESV)

Note: Picture is a heart created in a stone from a slow water drip. That reminds me of scripture found in Ezekiel 36:26

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Move past the manger and beyond the Cross.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Today we celebrate the birth of our Messiah, but did you know that when the wise men fell to worship the King of Kings – the young child was about two years old. 

I suppose I knew this but never really pondered it. Why? Because like most everyone, I visualize baby Jesus in a manger with the shepherds and kings standing at the manger with the star shining brightly above. (Matt KJV 2:11, 13, 16)

Why is it so hard to move past the stable this time of the year?  When I have my birthday each year, my close friends and family celebrate who I am, not the baby I was. Which by the way, I was told that I cried a lot.

Please allow me to think out loud here (text think). Could it be that the enemy of our soul wants us to think of a powerless baby when we think of Jesus this time of year?

Or how about Easter (Resurrection Sunday)? We limit our thinking of the beating, the hanging, the dying, and even resurrection three days later. Please understand my heart. The total work of the Cross is enormous! Jesus paid the price that we could never pay on our own (Heb 10).

Isaiah 53:4-5

Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed. 

But there is more!

My husband got me several gifts this year, but I returned to what I was doing after opening the first. I was thrilled and grateful for the gift he got me but wanted to finish writing Christmas cards for my neighbors (still trying to finish my ‘to-do’ list).  Then, from the other room, I heard him ask, “Hey, when are you going to open the rest of your gifts?”

Isn’t it like us to get preoccupied with our ‘to-do’ lists and miss out more? How often do we look at Christmas through the lens of commercialized glasses? When we are busy with our ‘to-do’ list, we miss out on the ‘more.’

Christmas is more than a baby in the manager, and the Cross is more than the sacrificial atonement for our sins.

There is much more to ‘following’ Jesus than accepting his extravagant gift.

So, starting in the new year, I will share the “more” that I have discovered with you. My heart is to equip you with the tools that I have found hidden in the scripture between His miraculous birth, sacrificial death and resurrected life. We need to understand our identity in Christ, we can walk in our original mandate; take dominion, and cultivate.

Someone suggested that I start a little pod-cast or rumble video titled: 3 minutes with me. Though I have no idea how to do such things, I will follow Holy Spirit’s lead.

Let’s move past the manager and beyond the Cross and experience all God has for us. Merry Christmas, and happy, healthy new year!    

The Stirring

Have you ever mixed caramel into chocolate? I know this might sound odd, but I like to watch the swirl as I stir one into the other. The visual reminds me of the stirring that goes on inside each of us.

Most times, when I sense a stirring, it leads me to something sweet. Yes, there have been times when I experienced a stirring that caused me fearful panic or debilitating shame. However, I have learned to identify the author of such instances (satan) over the years and quickly remind myself who I am: a child of God and whose I am. Instantly the stirring that brought fear and shame stops.

Today I felt that sweet stirring as I went for a relaxing stroll among the colorful trees. I walked past a person working outside, and that swirl that the caramel made in the chocolate wrapped around me and caused me to turn around. I found myself walking back to that person and not sure what I was going to say after “Hello” the stirring led me to ask one question that led to a friendly conversation.

When I walked away, I said a little prayer for this person that I don’t think I have ever worded it the way I did before. I prayed: “Holy Spirit answer the questions that have started to stir in her heart.”

Right after I spoke those words, I had to chuckle to myself.

Holy Spirit stirred in me to turn around and ask a question that started a stirring inside of another. No profound theology of God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit was recognized in our discussion even though the Trinity prompted the encounter.

This is how it starts with each of us, a stirring. God created us spiritual beings, and we each have a void inside that can only be fulfilled with a personal relationship with Papa God. Not to say, inspired passions aren’t rewarding, but when we invite Papa God to partner with us to carry out those divine ideas, it brings us so much joy.   

I know life gets busy. I know our schedules get filled when we don’t even try to fill them. BUT! If we would allow Holy Spirit to stir us, let His love swirl around us, HE will turn us to the Cross, and then we will realize all that Jesus has done and how very much the Trinity wants to be included in our lives. Once we allow unity, the void will no longer be there.        

Redeemed from our wrong choices.

For many years I felt I had no power when I prayed. It was almost a pleading for God to hear me. It was often anchored in fear and not faith, desperately asking God to move on behalf of my request. Honestly, when I walked away from my prayer position, I wasn’t confident that my prayer was even heard and doubted that things would change.

It wasn’t until I understood the complete work of the cross that my prayers began to change. Instead of praying from earth to upward, I prayed from my citizen of heaven to earth. 

Ephesians 2:18-20

for through Him, we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone

Through this position, citizens of heaven, because of the rebirth that the blood of Jesus has granted us, things can change through prayer.

Let me share a miraculous testimony to give all honor and praise to Lord Jesus!

I work with a small group of mechanics, primarily young men under 30, and I have become more like a mom than a co-worker. One day I got ‘wind’ that one of the guys “B” found out his girlfriend “W” (who he refers to as his wife) was pregnant. They have two boys together, and I believe other children from prior relationships, so they decided to abort the baby. But, again, the shop guys didn’t know I knew.

I shared this situation with my church family, and we prayed for the little life inside the womb to be on earth as God sees it to be in heaven. Then, not sure how much time we had before it was too late, we pressed in.

It wasn’t long “B” requested a day off, and in my heart, I knew why. Throughout the day, I kept asking God to show this couple how valued they are to understand the value of this little one inside the womb, again asking that God’s will be done. The next day the co-worker returned, and I got ‘wind’ again that it was done – termination.

I have to be honest with you; it broke my heart. I had to step into the bathroom to cry, and it was hard not to be angry at my co-worker. I asked God to let me see him through his lens of love and not my lens of judgment. It was hard at first, but I was to be like Jesus, compassionate toward the person.

After a while, “B” decided to give his two weeks’ notice to work elsewhere, but the guys would randomly get text messages from him about what was going on in his life.

A few weeks back, “B” texted them that “W” was pregnant. My instant prayer was, Lord God, let this life be! And then shortly after that, the guys came into work and said: “B” is a daddy again, “W” had the baby.

Concerned, I asked if the baby was okay – thinking to myself that the little one was born prematurely.

Then I got these text messages from “B”…

Did u see my daughter?

Her name is ——- —-

                        I looked at her picture in amazement; this was a full-term baby!

“B” went on in his texts…

She’s my baby from God.

Like she is not supposed to be here.

“B” went on to tell me that they decided for the greater good, that they couldn’t afford to have the baby they chose to terminate the pregnancy. “W” went to a clinic to get the abortion pill, and the evidence was apparent to them that the drug worked. They had no clue she was still pregnant, she didn’t have any symptoms, and the baby didn’t move.

“B” texted more…

“W” did a lot of heavy lifting at work and the kids jumping on her etc., and this baby came out perfectly healthy. She is a baby from God; this is a Jesus baby, I promise…

They did a brain scan on her brain functions are normal; she has all her worms (fingers) like she is perfectly healthy like this is a MIRACLE.

My heart rejoices that God’s hand protected this little one. Yes, this baby is a Jesus baby. Jesus paid the price to redeem us from our wrong choices. And this baby girl is a reminder to this couple, us all, that the blood of Jesus can save us from the bad choices we make.

All praise and honor go to you, Lord Jesus! Thank you for life!!  

Note: Not an actual picture of daddy and baby girl