Prayer for policy makers

Breathe your life, O brooding enlivening Spirit, into the dry bones of legal requirements and lists of procedures. Use their work to make our places alive, with the gleamingly fresh green of new buds sprouting joy and hope. But not all life comes from policy. Give them wisdom to know what problems their work cannot solve.

Honoring God

I've heard more than once the ideal that we should "Honor God in all we do or say." I suspect this has become a cliché. When I hear it, I wonder how much it really encourages us to be aware of God's love and truth, or if it is just a platitude we say knowing no one can argue with it.

I also wonder if it isn't a dangerous oversimplification. What comes to mind when I hear it is an idea that isn't Scriptural. It gives me the image of God defining a standard of behavior for us, then expecting us to keep the standard. But that isn't the Gospel. The Gospel says God knows we cannot live up to his standard, but he has provided a solution for us in Jesus Christ.

I would say a better statement would be "In all areas of life, honor God for what He has said and done. We honor God by believing Him when He tells us we fall short of His standards, and believing Him when He freely offers mercy and help to us in our shortcomings. Committing ourselves to admitting where we fall short and seeking God's help to best approach His standards in all areas of our lives."

What is new about the New Covenant?

The first two thoughts that come to my mind are these:

1) Jesus died once for all for sins, there is no longer a need for an atoning sacrifice every year.
2) The new covenant is also open to Gentiles, not just the nation of Israel.

But I think there has to be more. When Jeremiah writes about the new covenant (Jer 31:31-34) he says it will be different than the old one. What was wrong with the old one? The people didn't keep it. "They broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them (v 32)"

So God says he will make a new covenant. He will put his law in our minds and write it on our hearts. He will make us into people that will keep his covenant.

God could have written off the people that didn't keep the first covenant. "Its not my fault," he could say. "Didn't I say 'do this and you will live?'"

But God didn't write off his people, he rewrites the covenant.
(When he opened the new covenant to Gentiles as well as Jews, he didn't write off the Jews. The New Testament talks about Gentiles being included with Israel, it doesn't talk about Gentiles replacing Israel).