September 4 / Proverbs 4 / Luke 22

Woman_praying_in_Milan

Proverbs 4:13

Always remember what you have been taught, and don’t let go of it.

Proverbs 4:20-23

My child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to what I say.

Don’t ever forget my words; keep them always in mind.

They are the key to life; they bring health to the whole body.

Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.

Proverbs 4:25

Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good.

Is someone on your nerves right now?

Ask yourself which you are doing more:

Talking about them, or praying for them?

One of those sends out positive energy and takes you from incoherence to shalom.

The other sends out negative energy and perpetuates division and ill feelings.

Which do you want?

Luke 22:20

“This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is poured out for you.”

Covenants were ratified with the blood of sacrifice. At the Passover in Exodus, the blood of a lamb was used. On what we call “Good Friday”, the perfect Lamb of God was quite literally the end all be all perfect sacrifice poured out for humanity.

Jesus’ death inaugurated the benefits of the new covenant. Jesus died on behalf of and in place of his disciples. His death cleared the way for people to be rightly related to God, a relationship in which God also pours his Spirit on them through Jesus.

Behind the action stands the loving commitment of God to take the initiative and suffer sacrifice in order to restore a broken relationship with humanity.

These blessings were for those who acknowledged that Jesus is the promised Messiah and sought the forgiveness and enabling life he offered.

These quotes by Darrell L. Bock are a great reminder and summary of the gospel, of what we as Christians believe and trust.

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot this week about our covenantal relationship with God. That it’s more about who we love than what we believe. That at its foundation is trust. In a covenantal relationship such as a marriage, trust is foundational. If you can’t trust your spouse, you’re on the shakiest of ground. It’s been said of relationships, “If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything.”

What is not foundational to relationships is completely understanding the other person. Raise your hand if you completely understand your spouse. OK, I see no hands.  Now raise your hand if you completely understand God. Riiiiight. Yet how often we think we need to figure it all out. Can we completely trust God, or our spouse, without totally understanding or comprehending him or her?

I think so.

I’ve come to realize and experience that this is what God desires of us. Trust in Him, whatever may come, however things may look. This is what I want from my children, for sure. I’d like for them to understand me, yes, but I really want them to trust me that I know and want what’s absolutely best for them. Trust that my “rules” are put in place to form you into being a good person, not to deprive you of anything good.

Love and trust.

…one of the many differences between “magical” and biblical faith is that magic is about engaging in behaviors that ultimately benefit the practitioner, while biblical faith is about cultivating a covenantal relationship with God that is built on mutual trust.

(Magic is generally understood to involve people engaging in special behaviors that empower them to gain favor with, or to otherwise influence, the spiritual realm in order to get it to work to their advantage.)

-Gregory A. Boyd

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