Lowell and I have had such a wonderful couple of weeks... We've had a couple of pretty heated disputes but they've both brought us to a better place. The first fight was about not spending enough time together, and so we've set aside Tuesday, and the second one was about the importance of the day that we've set aside. We have been really enjoying our time and we've made a point to spend more time together everyday of the week - not just Tuesday. Today, however, I had to go to church by myself. Lowell misses being able to go to church and I really miss having him sit next to me during service.
Today's message was great... It was about love - the real love that we are supposed to show to the world in order to display the love of Christ. Pastor George used the story from John about the alduteress who was brought before Christ by the Pharisees.. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." It was a very moving portrait of Jesus showing mercy and displaying love when discipline and wrath were deserved and definitely expected by the religious leaders. In those days, adultry was a sin that was punished by death by stoning. Jesus, instead, seemed almost unmoved by the terrible sin this woman had commited and instead gave her a simple suggestion, "Go and sin no more". Because of this mercy, she recognized Him as Lord.
The application of the message was to ask ourselves how frequently we show condemnation to others instead of showing them the unconditional love of Christ. While sin must definitely be addressed, those who don't know Christ don't know His law either. Therefore, they first need to meet Him. Obviously, the greatest character of Christ is His love. Also, we were reminded that our sin is equal to that of the adultress... And we need God's mercy just as much as she did. How often we forget that we were found by Him and loved by Him while we were still in our sin. Often our own sins look much more serious when we see them on others... And we tend to be much more forgiving of ourselves.. Often because we make justifications and excuses for ourselves. Jesus looks only at our souls, however not at the circumstances or whatever rationale we come up with.
We also sang a song that said, "Jesus, lover of my soul.... " and I was reminded that God doesn't look at the circumstances of our lives, or even the actions really - His focus in on the condition of our hearts and our souls. The good we do comes from the condition of our souls as well as the sin in our lives that comes from the condition of our soul.
I also realized today that it really isn't the big of a deal where we live... If Lowell and I believe that moving to Arizona is the best move for our family, I think that's okay. And I think God will bless our move because we are going with the intention of bettering our family. Our motives are not greed or fear, we aren't running away and we aren't trying to be rich. We are trying to provide our children with a life that is blessed with experiences and free (as much as possible) from the stresses that come from stressed parents. Also, we are moving so that I can continue school and I KNOW that I have been called to be a counselor so I need to finish school... The timing is the only thing I question...
Anyway, God's focus is on my soul. He desires for me to be more like Him - He wants me to know Him and to love Him more deeply every day. It doesn't matter where I live - only where my heart is. And I know that wherever we are, wherever we live, I will never be out of His sight, out of the reach of His hand or too far to experience the reaches of the cross... So, here or Phoenix, I'm loved. By Jesus and my husband. And I'm not worthy. But I'm thankful.