Saturday, 23 November 2013

His Awesome Works Psalm 66

November 23, 2013

... has been a day of wonderful surprises.  It has embodied the meaning of Christmas in Canada.  The weather outside has been a mix of snow squalls and sunshine and inside our home four generations have gathered to make and decorate Christmas Cookies.  Four generations have gather in a wonderful cacophony of Christmas preparation.  Thank you Lord for you awesome works.  Amen

Psalm 66

New King James Version (NKJV)
Praise to God for His Awesome Works
To the Chief Musician. A Song. A Psalm.

1 Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
2 Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
4 All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah

5 Come and see the works of God;
He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
They went through the river on foot.
There we will rejoice in Him.
7 He rules by His power forever;
His eyes observe the nations;
Do not let the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8 Oh, bless our God, you peoples!
And make the voice of His praise to be heard,
9 Who keeps our soul among the living,
And does not allow our feet to be moved.
10 For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
 11 You brought us into the net;
You laid affliction on our backs.
12 You have caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.

13 I will go into Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows,
14 Which my lips have uttered
And my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer You burnt sacrifices of fat animals,
With the sweet aroma of rams;
I will offer bulls with goats. Selah

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
17 I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
19 But certainly God has heard me;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His mercy from me!
Thank you Lord for every member of this amazingly unique and creative family.

Grandma Snyder

Friday, 22 November 2013

Christmas Decorating for a Christian Family

  A Christian Christmas

We are bombarded by glossy magazines tempting us to spend large sums of money to achieve the perfectly decorated Christmas home.  Achieving this home has more to do with consumerism then it does with the birth if Christ. 

What are the symbols of a Christian Christmas?

The first thing that comes to mind is the birth of Christ: the story of the Nativity.  Nativity symbols come in all sizes, mediums and prices. 

Today I want to introduce you to the inexpensive wood and plaster nativity set that Paul and I set up each year.  We deliberately choose this set because it would not create a hazard when chipped by our grandchildren - we want them to play with it.  Yes, we encourage them to play with our nativity set.  

Normally it starts in front of the fireplace and by the time January first comes it has been in every corner of the living room.  As a family we tell the Christmas story many times sometimes to instruct our grandchildren on the Christian traditions of Advent and at other times to participate in their play and exploration of the Christmas Story. 

Through the facilitation of their play we hope to deepen their understanding of the Christmas Story.  As they pretend to be the Wise men we talk to them about what the real wise men had to endure.  How far they had to travel to find the baby Jesus? Or what Mary and Joseph would have worry about as they tried to fine a place to spend the night?

In their play the children will experiment with the story.  They changed the storyline working through alternative ending.  We encourage this because it builds critical thinking and ultimately it will strengthen their faith.

When we decorated our home for Christmas we decorate to encourage play and exploration of our faith and traditions.

How will your faith be represented in your Christmas decorating this year?

Grandma Snyder

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Zacchaeus the Honest Tax Collector

Zacchaeus the Honest Tax Collector

I have always understood the story of Zacchaeus to be one of a corrupt tax collector who after being saved gives back what he had stolen, that was up until yesterday.

I listen to Pray-as-you-go each morning as part of my daily devotions.  They positioned the story of Zacchaeus in a very different light, one that has a powerful meaning for me both individually and as a parent.

Consider the story of Zacchaeus this way, that he:

  • was an honest man doing a very difficult job under the watchful eye of an oppressive regime.

  • believed himself to be corrupt because he was told all tax collectors are corrupt.

  • was always considered worthy by Jesus and no more sinful then other Jews.

  • His low self-worth prevented him from believing in Christ’s ability to forgive him without some form of sacrifice – giving money away from his own pocket.

Luke 19: 1- 10

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Read this way the story of Zacchaeus teaches a different lesson.  The first is one of self-awareness and forgiveness while the second is the power of words to destroy our belief in ourselves and what we can expect from life.

I have a Zacchaeus like story.  In grade three we were to write a fictional story as a school project.  I remember pouring my soul into this story and having confidence that I had done a good job.  I handed in my two-page story with great expectation of the teacher’s feedback.  At the appointed time, the teacher took the papers and ripped them in half and my shock at this prevented me from understanding why.  From that point in my life, I have believed myself to be a poor writer and like Zacchaeus I expect to be passed by. 

I have three degrees, so I know intellectually that I can write and feedback on my writing tells me I do it well.  I have also spent at least 45 years not writing for others.
As teachers, parents and grandparents we can learn from the story of Zacchaeus how damaging our words can be when we place labels on our children.

Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax collector because all tax collectors were corrupt and Zacchaeus believed himself to be as a result.

I believed I could not write because a teacher destroyed my work along with the rest of the class.

When we talk to our children we need to be careful to not use labels and to describe to them behaviours or outcomes that are displeasing to never name them as displeasing.

You are full of potential and can be anything you strive to be.  And, when you call other children on bus names you are behaving like a bully.  I know you to be more than this.  Tell me how come you call them names?

Grandma Snyder
©2013-2015 twosnydergirls

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