Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Monday, August 30, 2010

Deep thoughts...real ones this time

I am warning anyone who may be reading this now that this is not an entertaining post. It may not even be interesting, but is it something I need to work out, so I am writing it. I just finished a study on the book of Hosea. I was supposed to finish it last spring, but I am a little slow. Finally though, I have done it. These are my thoughts on the book and what I have learned, but I am also warning you that I am working through these thoughts and am not claiming to have my theology totally correct in this process.

If you don't know, the book of Hosea is about sin and how Israel played the harlot to her "husband" the Lord God. Hosea was even told to take a wife of harlotry and love her like God loves Israel. Although the book ends with hope-God reveals that Israel will be restored one day-there are a lot of hard lessons before this.

First thing that I have taken away from this book is the severity of sin. God hates it. It is easy to get into, but not so easy to get out of. Again and again, Israel sinned, and finally God had to let them be captured and scattered before they will one day return to Him. In looking at this sin, however, one question keeps arising for me. Is all sin equal? I know that any sin will keep you from heaven and even the tiniest sin forced Christ to die on the cross, so in that sense all sin is equal. But God did not punish Israel for what we would see as "little" sins. He patiently waited for them to turn back to Him, but they instead turned more and more to idolatry which led to sexual sins and even the killing of babies. This soberly reminds me of America as we drift further from God's standards and more into "big" sins. Romans chapter one illustrates this with a list of sexual sins and how people progress from one to another to the point that God turns them "over to the sinful desires of their hearts." In reading on, however, He lists other sins that include gossiping, arrogance, boastfulness, disobedience to parents. It also says that God's righteousness decrees that these deserve death. I think the biggest problem with sin not being equal is that is does lead very quickly to pride. I can see where some sins have different consequences (at least here on earth), but need to focus on the fact that God's holiness demands death for all sins.

The next thing that I learned from Hosea is that it is hard to get out of sin. It is easy to say that you sin and if you ask forgiveness God forgives you. While this is true, if there is no repentance involved, God does not hear you. God pleaded with Israel to return to Him and call out to Him, but when they did so falsely, He knew. Hosea 7:13-14 says "I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me. And they do not cry to Me from their heart". In 5:6 it says "they will seek the Lord, but they will not find Him: He has withdrawn from them." 5:4 says "their deeds will not allow them to return to their God...for they do not know the Lord" It really hit home that God knows my heart. I can say what I want, but God knows what I mean, probably better than me. If my heart is not right, He will not hear me. Yes salvation and repentance is an "easy" thing to do, but there is a seriousness about it that cannot be forgotten. When Nathan again and again repeats the same act of diosobedience, I finally think, are you really sorry? Why should I believe you? I know I am not anywhere close to responding like God, but the book of Hosea does indicate that God knows when we truly repent. Hosea 5:15 says "I will go away (from Israel) and return to My place until they ackowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."

That brings me to my third thought. God does punish people for their sin. I don't know that He requires punishment here on earth for all sin; it seems like people (myself included) get away with lots of things without obvious punishment, but if God punished His beloved, why would He not punish us? Although it is not my duty to punish people (just my own children), God does say the "they sow a wind and they reap a whirlwind." It only makes sense that we receive punishment for our sins and I think we need it to truly point us back to Him. Israel was warned, but she did not listen until she was punished.

Last thought is that we have to know God. How can we know what God wants us to do or how to act if we don't have knowledge of Him. And that knowledge is obtained through spending time in His word. There are so many thinks I need to learn about Him, and as I learn, I need to change to be more like Him. God pointed out in Hosea that Israel sinned because they did not know God. It seems like in church that knowledge of Him would be a given; but would there be so much sin if we spent more time learning what God really expects of us? Do we as church members and Christians really know God?

As somber as this book is, it is important for me to know about. That is why I struggled to the end when I wanted to quit and move on to something more uplifting! If I had, however, I would have missed the ending. And the message that is scattered throughout the book. God loves us and is waiting for us to return to Him. God loved us enough to take us back after we leave Him for sin and use our bodies that belong to Him for wrong deeds. God says in chapter 14, "I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them."
You have to get through all the steps, so to speak, to get to that, but He is there all the time waiting for true repentance and a real heart for Him. The last verse of Hosea says this: "Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them."

Oh Lord, help me to be wise and walk in your ways. When I stumble, let me truly turn back to you and you will be there for me. Praise Your marvelous name.

Monday, August 23, 2010

La Nathaniel

Nathan has always had big ideas. For instance, he sees the Olympics and starts making plans to move to Vancouver for high school in order to train for the luge. He goes to Carowinds and then plans on building his own theme park. He watches Iron Chef and decides he can cook anything; just give him the ingredients. He also made building plans for his own restaurant in our backyard with you know who being the one of the chefs.

But to not kill his dreams too much (as he accuses me of doing when I try to explain to him that a 9 year old cannot realistically raise 7.5 million dollars to finance a theme park), we compromised and let him open up La Nathaniel in our house to serve dinner to Dave and myself. The only catch was he needed a sous chef. Grammie to the rescue!!

Sous chef Grammie with Nathan

Grating the cheese

Chef Nathan

Plating the crab dip

Icing the cookies

After taming the ambitious menu (again, a dream killer), he decided on crab dip to start; salad as the second course; a dinner of lobster macaroni and cheese (which was really good), green beans, and rotisserie chicken; and dessert of iced peanut butter cookies with a mountain of red sprinkles on top! It was a delicious meal. The sous chef did a lot of work (esp clean-up!), but Nathan also did his share. He cleaned up the living room and the iron table on our porch; made decorations; put the salad together; put the dip and crackers on the plate; grated the cheese; cut up/pulled apart the chicken; and iced the cookies. It was a lot of fun to watch and Dave and I enjoyed our date at home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Out with the burgundy...

in with the blue! When we married, burgundy and hunter green were the rage. After starting with one set of colors, it is hard to switch without a lot of expense. And we had gotten used to the colors. Our first Christmas tree was all burgundy and green. No other colors allowed, especially red! But times change and so do tastes. Our room is painted a faux suede forest green which I actually still like. But I have been seeing the new blue color schemes in some homes I visit for work. So I found some pillows that had blue, green and brown in them. I was in luck! Then I covered our valances with material that had blue and green in it. After the bathroom was finished, I made a curtain for it and found pictures to replace our burgundy scheme ones. After seeing how well the new pictures went with my bathroom curtain, I then replaced the valance material again! Now we just have to finish the painting in the vanity part of our room and the trim touch ups. Our bedroom is getting a face lift along with the bathroom. I love it and just had to share!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Positive results of movies

One positive result of good movies is when your kids start playing based on the movie or as a consequence of the movie. I remember in the first grade playing Stars Wars on the playground at school. It was me, my girlfriend and the boys in our class. It was a little tricky since there was only one girl in Stars Wars that either of us wanted to play. We both wanted to be Princess Leia and neither of us wanted to be Luke's aunt. She wasn't very pretty and she died. I think we may have altered the script and made two princesses!

Well my boys are not into Stars Wars at present (even though Camden does find the Darth Vader mask fun to wear), but into Toy Story. Nathan has started pulling out all his old cowboy dress-up clothes and Camden thinks Nathan keeps going off to cowboy camp. We even made a quilt for Woody. He sleeps under it on Nathan's floor while Nathan is in his sleeping bag on the floor also. They have had a good time playing cowboys in the back yard and I just keep enjoying their childhood.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday School

Dave taught in SS today and he did a great job. He talked about knowing God. How knowledge of God is necessary for spiritual health, but that we can have knowledge without having spiritual health. We discussed how often we will read our Bible and then walk away without praying or meditating and not listening to God at all. What really got my attention was an example a girl gave. She said that it is her pet peeve to go to dinner with her husband when he has his cell phone. He is constantly texting or checking his phone and not paying attention to her (and yes, he has started leaving the phone at home!). She said that is probably how God feels. We are down here going about our lives, busy, busy, busy, and He is trying to talk to us. As Christians we acknowledge He is there, but are not paying Him enough attention to really hear what He is saying. We need to put down our "stuff" and listen to what He has to say. Knowing God, really knowing Him, should be the highest priority in our life. And to know Him, just like getting to know a person, we have to talk to and listen to Him.