What Do Cows Have to Do with It?

I grew up on a ranch. So when I think about meditating on God’s word, I think of rumination.  The dictionary definition of “ruminate” is: 1. to meditate or ponder, or 2. to chew the cud.  Technically, the biblical words for meditation have more to do with repeated murmuring out loud.  However, the idea of ruminating is not far from the essence of that biblical idea.  When one ruminates on face_to_faceScripture, they ponder it over and over.  Whether out loud or to oneself, the repeated pondering of the meaning and application of Scripture is an important discipline to spiritual growth.

This brings me to my ranch experience.  Cattle have several compartments in their stomach by which they digest the plant life they swallow as they graze.  The process of digesting these plants is aided by the cow regurgitating clumps of it, called “cud” and re-chewing.  Cud chewing serves to further break down the fibers of the plants and speed the digestive process.

Actually, “regurgitating” is a nasty way of describing a process that appears to be quite enjoyable for cattle.  Have you ever seen a cow chew its cud?  It appears to be such a relaxing and peace-filled event.  Usually they are lying down.  Their eyes are half-closed, and they are chewing away as if they have no cares in the world.  “Ruminating” is such a nicer word to describe this process.  The cows meditate on the pleasurable experience of chewing their cud, extracting all the nutrients they can out of it.

I like to think of my devotional time as my time to graze on God’s word.  When I SOAP journal my thoughts on a Scripture passage first thing in the morning, I store God’s word in my mind.  In the same way that a cow needs to ruminate what she has put into her stomach, I need to meditate on God’s word that I have placed in my mind.  There are several ways to do that:

  1. Write on an index card the verse or passage on which you journaled.  Carry that index card with you throughout the day and ponder its meaning and applications over and over.  Ask God to give you fresh insight as you go through the day.  Take time to share your insights with others.  Talking out loud about the verse is a great way to solidify in your mind and heart what God is saying to you through it.
  2. Meet with others individually or in groups throughout the week to share your devotional thoughts together.  Let them hear what God is saying to you through your journaling and give the Lord a chance to speak further to you through them.  This week I will meet four different times with different groups of people to share devotional thoughts.
  3. During your devotional time, read your journal entry from the same date the year before.  I do this and it gives me one more opportunity to reflect on the passage and hear how God wants to apply it to me.  It reveals where I have grown and where I still need to grow.

Let your meditation on God’s word be as pleasurable to you as chewing the cud is to a cow.  Enjoy the benefits of extracting every bit of nutrients for growth out of God’s word to you as you can.

What ways of meditating on God’s word work for you?

The Power of Jesus Becoming Flesh and Blood

Scripture

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Observation

Jesus had to become flesh and blood in order that his death and resurrection might destroy the power of death over us, once and for all.  Therefore, the devil’s power over us has been defeated.  The only real power he had was death.  Now that power is gone.  We no longer need to fear death.  It can have no permanent impact on our eternity.  The communion elements of the bread and the cup represent the fact that Jesus became flesh and blood like us.  Had he not, we would still be living in fear of death.

Application

I can face death with great hope and expectation for the resurrected life that awaits me.  I can point others to the hope that I have.  I must always remember that those who face death without Jesus are afraid, whether they acknowledge it or not.  I have good news to share with them.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are so loving to do everything necessary to defeat death for us.  You became flesh and blood to defeat death and to destroy the power of the devil.  I will not fear him or his power.  Greater are you in me than he who is defeated. I love you, Jesus, my brother and my Savior.

Wiping Away My Tears

Scripture

For the Lamp at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eye. (Revelation 7:17)

Observation:

John saw a great multitude standing before the throne of God wearing white robes.  He was told that these were those who had come out of the great tribulation.  This verse speaks to the fact that now they have Jesus, the great Shepherd, who will care for them.  He will wipe away their tears.  They will have gone from great tribulation to great comfort and healing.  Complete healing.

Application:

What I see here is that tears won’t just immediately disappear in heaven.  They will be healed by Jesus.  In other words, there will be tears for the loss due to the hard times and for the losses I have endured in a broken and cruel world.  There will be tears of release and joy that I have escaped that forever.  And there will be weeping at the very presence of the glorified Jesus.  But he will be the one who comforts me and wipes away my tears of grief.  He will heal me completely.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I can’t wait to come into your presence and have you heal my heart once and for all.  I can’t wait to feel your hands on my cheeks, wiping away my tears.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Come!

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