Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Get Your Groove On

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays as I temporarily host for sweet Lelia the online study of Lysa Terkeurst's wonderful book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.

Chapter 11: How Jesus Helps Me Get My Groove Back

"It's ironic that when we set out to help others, we are often the ones who receive the greatest gift." I can't help but to think it's no coincidence nor ironic but rather how God designed it. If you will, the 'reward' for giving is to be blessed in return.

That is exactly what happened to Lysa when she and other Proverbs 31 gals went to Ecuador. She visited a woman who has five children with her husband living in a dark cavern called home with a kitchen, bedroom, dirt floors, rock walls, fire pit, two cots, and cardboard box-repaired-ceilings. When Lysa asked how to pray for her, she said for her husband to know Jesus, him to find work, and her to have strength to care for her family. She did not ask for her circumstance to be changed but rather "simply for God's provision in the midst of her circumstances." Like Lysa, when we set out to give, we get.

There's nothing more likely to humble us over our petty complaining than such a visit and encounter. However, life happens and the effect of the experience fades. Lysa entered an emotional funk, asking "God to please interrupt my feelings with His truth." That's genius. I love that request. Interrupt my feelings, Lord and shed Your truth on me. And God did just that for Lysa with a one-word answer: thanksgiving. Lysa began listing the things that brought thanks "and the more I verbalized what I was thankful for, the less cloudy my heart felt." The most basic things, for which we should be so grateful, are the very things we so easily take for granted. Running water. Electricity. Laundry. Car for easy transport. Money for groceries. Refrigerator to store food. Messes. Constant Interruptions. The very basic let alone the luxuries. Cell phones. Computers. Televisions. Abundance of clothes. To mention only a few. And at the end of it we should always find: thanksgiving.

"Thanksgiving is the very way Jesus helps us get our groove back."

Praising will defeat our uglies and thanking will defeat our bad attitudes. "The uglies cause us to lash out; an attitude funk causes us to shut down." As if that weren't enough... "Bad attitudes breed bad attitudes. Grumpy hearts breed more grumpy hearts. Ungratefulness breeds ungratefulness." The opposite can be true also. Good things will breed more good. So praising God breeds more praising. The more we praise the more we find for which to give God praise. The more we thank God the more we recognize to be thankful. "And a person who daily practices both praising and thanking has a rare joy that very few people posses."

"A person whose life is characterized by constant praise and thanksgiving despite their circumstances will shift from just verbalizing their praise and thanksgiving to living it out loud through their courageous stance for Christ."

When reading that quote, I think of Paul who lived contently in prison or Job who had everything taken. But it is also an illustration of the lives of Peter and John. In the book of Acts, they healed the crippled beggar, who went to the temple daily begging for help. Pleading. He wasn't given a second look or thought by passersby. Upon seeing Peter and John, he asked them for money. They looked straight at him and Peter said "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Acts 3:6 And indeed he did walk. He jumped to his feet. Can you imagine? I admit if I saw this today, I'd be filled with doubt. My analytical, logical mind would want it explained. Furthermore, if the person to tell me that it was by the power of Jesus, I'd about even more. Not that I doubt Jesus' power but the world today is filled with many prophesying to have such power like B*nny H*nn. Why can't I believe He heals by men today yet I have no doubt that Peter and John healed in Jesus' name. The onlookers at this time were shocked, astonished, and surprised. Peter and John clearly stated it was not by their own power that this man walked.

Isn't it amazing that despite the strong opposition and subsequent jailing, many believed . 5000 many. God was still sitting in His glory. He was not defeated by the nay-sayers and doubters. "When they [rulers and elders] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13 [emphasis added]

Wow. It was so apparent to others, to doubters, that they had been with Jesus. Can others tell I've been with Jesus? Is Jesus overflowing out of me so others can see Him and feel Him during my ordinary day? "We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4:20 They could not help but share Jesus. Is that my attitude or am I concerned with the fear? With being frustrated and grumpy? With my own daily routine?

I believe the Lord to be One filled with much grace, understanding an attitude of thanksgiving and praise is not born over night. Remember, where Peter was at one time...he denied knowing Christ. "They were inconvenienced and threatened in ways I can't even fathom. And yet their response was to boldly proclaim from their praise-filled, thankful hearts...It was the overflow of their lives and it became the routine of their lives." [emphasis added]

That routine overflow is how Jesus helps us get our groove back. Groove is defined as 'a fixed routine.'

"What is the fixed routine or natural inclination of our heart? Is it thanksgiving and praise as we see and count the blessings of our life? Or is it grumbling and complaining because we see our blessings as constant burdens to bear?"

I very much dido what Lysa says. "How I long to be like the apostles who were so consumed with thanksgiving that people took note they'd been with Jesus." [my emphasis]

♥ Overflowing evidence
♥ Intentionally verbalize
♥ Practice thanksgiving
♥ Live it out loud
♥ Breeds more thanksgiving
♥ Natural groove of our heart

If you have more to share on your blog, please use MckLinky below to hook up. I would greatly welcome any comments even if you are not doing the study. You don't have to be reading this book to share your wisdom and insight to this post.

Getting My Groove On,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.


Robin's New Song said...

Hi Paula! You are sooo right! The true test of our faith is learning to sing praise during our tests, trials and difficulties. The enemy hates that! Plus we stretch and grow so much after we've passed that test.
Great to read your blog today. Have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!

valerie said...

Hi Paula,
I haven't talked to you in a while and just wanted to stop by here and say hello.
You're doing such a good job on these posts.
Have a great day!
P.S. I'll jot you an e-mail shortly. :)

Tonja said...

...God's provisions in the midst of our circumstnces... That's a powerful statement! Not to change where we are, but rather to help us deal with where we are!

This spoke to me today, Paula. Thank you. Hope the holidays are full of all the best things for you this year! God Bless!