Originally published Tuesday, 10 December 2013.
Today will you welcome our guest and my friend Ally Markotich to our Awe and Wonder journey? Ally is an answer to prayer over this past summer as I looked for friends to connect with in our new family phase that we call Kindergarten. We connected immediately and our playground conversations go way past the surface level as we most always discuss Jesus things. I love it! I asked Ally to share with us her thoughts on today's Scripture reading and how she is seeking God's Awe and Wonder this year.
Today's Advent Scripture from THE VOICE: Psalm 66:1-7
1Shout out to God, all the earth. Erupt with joy to the one True God! 2 Sing of the glory due His name! Offer Him the most magnificent praises! 3 Say to God, “All You have done is wondrous and causes fear! Your power is mighty, and Your enemies pretend to submit to You. 4 The entire earth will bow down to worship You and will sing glory-songs to You; they will sing praises to Your name! 5Come and witness the True God’s endless works. His miraculous deeds done on behalf of humanity inspire fear. 6 He transformed the sea into dry land; our people passed through the river on foot! Rejoice in Him; celebrate what He did there! 7 By His great might, He rules forever; His eyes watch over all the nations, so no one should go up against Him.
Let’s be honest. Shouting praises to God is fairly easy when things are going our way. When things are rolling along smoothly, saying “thank you” to God comes naturally. But, the real challenge is how do you and I live a LIFE of praise? A daily celebration that when heartache is nipping at our heels, we loudly proclaim, “I know God and He knows me and I am in AWE!”
Psalm 66 helps us to do exactly that.
“Shout out to God, all the earth.” To shout out to God, we must practice knowing God. When I first took time for Jesus in my life, I was fascinated that He would die for us. That he sacrificed His whole self for my awry ways. But, when I consider His birth, I am equally in WONDER! After all, God chose to come to earth, not as a flying superhero proclaiming His Kingship, but as a swaddled infant in a feeding trough cooing and crying. A humble beginning for OUR humble God. Jesus is worth our time.
“Your enemies pretend to submit to you.” When we take time for Jesus, we come to understand His beautiful nature. We come to recognize that the enemies in our lives ARE great pretenders. But, the life of Jesus says, “Love them anyway. Sit with them. Endure.” When we come to recognize just how loved we are, we are able to proceed with this difficult call, the mighty power of Christ within us, unbothered by their false front.
“The entire earth will bow down to you.” Look around! The perfection of nature soaks us in His presence. Mountains point high to the Heavenlies. Trees sway their branches festively. Wind whispers reminding us of His presence. Birds chirp their glory song. All of this and more, bows down to our holy, loving God. The invitation to this colorful party awaits luring us to rejoice, “No, I did not create all this beauty, but I do have a MIRACLE producing God that did!”
“Come and witness the True God’s endless works. Celebrate what He did there.” From the creation story to the Goliath battle to the birth of our Savior, we see God’s hand persist in endless works. These acts engage, but do we reflect on Christ’s mighty deeds in our own lives? Where has He brought you from? How has He carried you? How is He working right now? Above all, God IS present. In order to experience Him, we must BE present. Ears that actively listen. Eyes open to seeing His glory. Hands willing to help. A mouth that pauses before it speaks. A heart bent towards love.
“Sing of the glory due His name! Offer Him the most magnificent praises!” When we practice the art of presence and the beauty of reflection, our Almighty Father will open our eyes to His Heavenly Kingdom that is all around. We will see the wonderment of His love in the ordinary. Suddenly, snow flurries gently falling from the sky capture, a simple meal of bread and soup will nourish, our children’s whining an opportunity to grow closer to the heart of Christ. When we practice knowing our Heavenly Father, he reveals His goodness to us. This is what satisfies our craving for a full Christmas and ultimately fills our soul. This is the way towards singing His glory and living a posture of praise.
Awe and Wonder:
Today, consider doing one of the following:
~Take a nature walk. Listen for sounds, smell the air, see the beauty around. Be present.
~Turn the radio and TV off. Let silence be your friend. Give God an opportunity to speak
~Use your drive time as prayer time.
~Reflect on the last few days. Where have you seen God at work? Journal!
~Sing your praises high to BarlowGirl’s “Hallelujah! (Light Has Come)”
More about my sweet friend Ally:
Ally Markotich makes her home in North Carolina along with her hubby, two sons, ages 7 and 5, her yellow lab and lots of books. She graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from Alfred University in New York with all intentions to spend a life creating art. Shortly after the birth of her oldest, Jesus got ahold of her heart. Since then, she has earnestly sought Him longing to share His grace-filled heart with others. Ally is a full-time mom who keeps her creative fires burning by knitting, facilitating Bible studies, journaling, reading, laughing and digging deep in conversation. She is currently enrolled in the Lifelong Learning program at Columbia Theological Seminary to receive a Certificate in Spiritual Formation enabling her to grow closer to Christ and encourage others in their own walk with our Heavenly Father.