Oh Happy Day!

Oh Happy Day!
Daily Ponderings and Lessons in Gratitude

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Trust Without Borders

Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 298: Today, I am grateful for examples of trust without borders.

Hillsong's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fall)" has this line. "Spirit lead we where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters." 

It has almost a haunting lilt to the tune and melody. I envision a  walk on the beach, with waves slapping the shore as a morning mist envelops. Then, as the song builds, you can almost touch the peace that comes in learning to trust bigger, better and deeper. 

"Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me"

Big words. Big trust. But, when he calls or directs, we have to make a choice. Do we follow his lead with trust or fight his clear direction with fear? He is bigger than our fears, but fight or flight is a natural response that was designed in us for safety and protection. 

There is a sovereign God waiting to reveal a place of trust that goes beyond the safety of the shore. He calls us to deeper waters as a part of his love story and to build our trust in His hand. Jesus... our great example and God with us. The Holy Spirit our comforter and guide until Chris returns. He has us covered. 

We are not promised smooth waters, We are promised he will never leave us or forsake us. 

I am grateful for the many examples of trust without borders.

It brings images of Noah sealing up the ark as the rain begins.
Joseph interpreting the dreams of the Pharoah.
Moses lifts his staff and the Red Sea parts.
Gideon learns to trust God in the dew or dryness of a lambs fleece.
David takes on Goliath.
Nehemiah makes a major job change.Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk into a fiery furnace.
Joshua marches around Jericho and the walls fall down.
Jonah takes a trust detour in the belly of a large fish.
Esther's to take on a crown and display courage before an unpredictable king.
Ruth's fearless devotion to her depressed mother-in-law in the midst of her own grief.
Rehab risking life and limb to hide Israel's spies.
Mary saying - 'Let it be unto me as you have said."
Joseph saying yes to the gossip, rumors and haughty looks of the townspeople.
John the Baptist saying yes to the call on his life.
Peter walking on the water to Jesus.
Matthew trusting he could be loved and accepted... a tax collector.
Peter, James and John... walking away from lucrative careers to chase Jesus.
Jesus doing temptation battles with Satan in the desert.
Jesus in the garden... accepting "Thy will be done."
Paul - finding soul freedom in a prison cell. 
Peter - seeing the gates of the prison opened. 

There are so many more. Trust without borders and big things happen. Our God continues to write new chapters in this amazing, crazy love story.

I think I am more "Chicken Little" worried the sky may fall... than Ruth or Esther. But knowledge of that limitation is where he can begin to grow us. From fearful safety to fearless seeking the heart of Jesus. Every day is a new opportunity to do better. 

Today, I am grateful for examples of trust without borders.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Journey of 1000 miles

Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 297: Today, I am grateful "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". 

The quote is quote is Lao-Tzu. It holds great wisdom. To make any big change, we must take the first step. Step into courage. The first time we pick up reading glasses for clearer vision. The first time we step into gratitude and stop wishing away today's blessings. Oh, yes, "the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

The holidays are here. This time of year, my heart turns toward the people of the nativity. Ordinary Mary with her extraordinary heart and big faith. Then, the simple carpenter from Nazareth who gathered his broken dream... his sweet Mary... and accepted an unexpected pregnancy and a son who would be his in love but not blood. They must have held on to Psalm 18:30:

The God - his way is perfect: the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. -Psalm 18:30

The journey of a thousand years intercepted "their stories", and God continued his love story with humans. He was about to write the chapter on redemption and Joseph and Mary would be vital to the mission. 

Could they even imagine that Psalm 22 contained prophecy, as well as reflection, and they would be key people. Accepting God's best meant great joy, but there would be sorrow, too. 

How could they have imagined that they would be called to be the earthly parents to the long awaited Messiah? They didn't - but God saw their hearts and their character spoke clearly. The time was now. 

It takes my breath away. 

Today, I am grateful "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step". 

Fancy Banners

Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 296: Today, I am grateful for fancy banners and that His banner over me is love.

I just read a brief report on a study that showed that people learned better while doodling. They retain what they learn if they doodle while they listen. It engages different parts of the brain.  I am not surprised.  I was always a doodler. Imagine my joy when I discovered "Bible Journaling"? My Bibles were already full of color. Highlighters and pens of every color. Images were the next step. 

My sister, April, was the one with the degree in Art... a natural and an educated artist. My doodles did not compare. Still, I have grown to believe that in His image - each one of us needs to create something "beautiful'. From a perfectly balanced spreadsheet to a field of corn... we each have a God breathed need to create. 

I am working on my courage to draw a little more freehand. My art teacher friend has a great quote about how we all have thousands of bad images in us to get out. I am working on mine. There are some good ones sprinkled in between. Michelangelo once said that his art would not be so impressive if people knew the work that went into each piece. I will never be a Michelangelo - but doodling is fun. 

I am grateful for this simple tutorial on creating a "fancy banner". I can't wait to try it out. A banner is a declaration. A new business. A new mascot unveiled.  A shoe sale. "Just Married".A banner says, "Look!" It is a visual declaration. 

My brain wandered to the scriptures I have stored there. This one came to mind:

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.-Song of Solomon 2:4

"His banner over me is love." What a beautiful image that creates. Remember the children's Bible song, "His Banner Over me is Love"?    

"The Lord is mine and I am His,
His banner over me is love."

Earworm woke up and will will likely sing this all day. 

Tonight... Cubs fans everywhere are hoping to fly the "W" banner in declaration of a "Win".  The banner a sign of celebration, allegiance and a long awaited journey coming into fruition. 

Correction...Earworm just changed songs. "Go, Cubs Go. Hey, Chicago what do you say?"

Today, I am grateful for fancy banners. and that His banner over me is love. And.. a Cubs win tonight would be grand!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wisdom and Insight

Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 295: Today, I am grateful we can find wisdom in "fear" and "insight" through the Holy Spirit.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." - Proverbs 9:10

Sometimes, we are unsure of the the right thing to say or do. Sometime, it is best to remain silent and pray. This simple scripture is rich. Wisdom and insight cannot be purchased. It must be gained and obtained. Some through a lifetime of experience. Other, a divine relationship adds to the coffers.

I always loved listening to stories around the family table. Grandpa and Dad enjoyed telling them. They enjoyed a story more than a song or even reading a book. Paul Harvey was a highlight of any given day as he told, "the rest of the story". I have rich memories around the kitchen tables. It is where we often sat long after a meal was complete as there were stories to share. There is an education that comes in storytelling that sticks in our heads more than a word we read on a page. Stories get written on our hearts.

Humans can gain knowledge and wisdom several ways. Through education and experience... and through divine relationship and instruction. Both are valuable and have their place. What is always intriguing to me is when a human acts outside of "common sense" because of a relationship with a mighty and personal Lord.

The word "fear" can include trepidation... as it should, when encountering the Master of the Universe, but it is more than that. It is respect. It is the knowledge that His love is true and a little wild. He is full of adventures for those who are willing to step outside of their comfort zones.

I recently heard a cardiologist tell how he was once the master of the surgery theater. A changed relationship with Jesus took him on "one little mission trip" to a poverty stricken country. He met Jesus in "the margins" of society and really gained knowledge and insight. He felt a different kind of fulfillment than he had ever experienced. Now, he practices medicine as a way to make a living so that he can spend his resources in service to the sick and weary.
Education and knowledge meet wisdom and insight.

Today, I am grateful we can find wisdom in "fear" and be granted "insight" through the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cubs Heading to the World Series

Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 295: Today, I am grateful that the Cubbie's have made it to the World Series.
I grew up knowing you had to choose between the Cubs and the White Sox. I was stunned when we moved to the Peoria area that the Cardinals and the Cubs were the teams of choice. The White Sox fans are scarce around here.
The best thing about a Cubs fan is the depth of loyalty that has been passed on from generation to generation in many families. Fickle is not in theirvocabulary. I love that about them.
I love that they started the season with "Try not to suck" t-shirts and took it one game at a time. This whiteboard drawing by Joe Madden is the best! It was from a team meeting and there is a great article to go with it here:
This image is showing up on t-shirts (Thanks for sharing the story link Lee Hoffman). Smart Leadership. A great team. One game at a time. Keep your eye on the real goal and plug away one day at a time. Work hard. Try not to suck.
Central Illinois is home to Ben Zobrist - so number 18 is a fan favorite. The Cubs team has been amazing to a little boy in our community who chose to have his glass eye to be the Cubs logo. He is a little boy of great faith and happens to be a Zobrist (a cousin). The Cubs and ESPN have made him feel so special during this amazing and memorable season. The entire community has had our hearts lifted by the journey of a little guy who lost an eye to cancer, but presses on...with his family... with hope and faith every day.
It is a game. I know that. But the excitement of the possibilities makes it hard not to smile. They have stayed true to the goal...and pressed on.
I am not going to add a spiritual twist. Every player on both teams has loved ones, fans and people rooting for them. (There is a Cleveland Indian who played with Chase in our backyard... and his sweet Mama wants it for her baby, too).
I am grateful for the good that comes from organized sports. Fans can become friends and even create a sense of family as they cheer on their team. I long to see this be the year of the big win.
One game at a time.
Today, I am grateful that the Cubbie's have made it to the World Series.

Fun Socks


Daily Gratitude-Year 4 Day 294: Today, I am grateful for fun socks

Short one today.

I am a sandals girl, but the time comes each October where I have to Face the truth that cold weather is upon us. It means I move from the freedom of sandals to boots. I love boots but the freedoms of naked toes will be missed there is good news.
If I have to wear socks... they must be fun. I am thankful for so many fun choices.
Today, I am grateful for fun socks.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 293: Today, I am grateful for optimism and the cha-cha.

"Taking a step forward after a step backward is on a disaster... it's a cha-cha."

Yes, our God is good. How do I know? Because he put us here to live, love, laugh, learn and dance as we get to know him better. 

Optimism, like dance, is an art. It is re-framing the struggles into something we can manage. I do not mean to minimize the trials in life. The struggle is real, but we are never alone. 

Joseph is one of my favorite Biblical examples. He had his highs and his lows. God allowed him smaller struggles to build his strength, trust and character. Then, what I feel was the biggest test of all, was how Joseph handled his brothers when they came face to face after a lifetime of separation. 

The brothers who sold him into slavery and separated him from his Dad and little brother stood before him with not one clue as to who he was. Joseph controlled the anger, bitterness and pain of the past and embraced that because at that very moment he saw clearly that God had been with him every step of the way and in that moment, he understood. He would save his family from starvation. 

His people survived, thrived and grew into the promise of a great nation. Some would have sought true revenge. Joseph held on to God's hand in the struggle and came out of it... literally...golden.  

"I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”-Psalm 40:8

I believe Joseph was an optimist. He knew that any step backward after a step forward was not the end. We now know... it's a cha-cha. 

Today, I am grateful for optimism and the cha-cha.