Ever notice that when you see a cow standing in a field it always seems to be chewing something? Now I’m no expert in cows but I believe the phrase is “chewing the cud”. A little research has told me that cows need to do this in order to digest their food properly. Now stick with me here because there is a point, even if you’ve zero interest in cattle. When a cow chews food first it only does so to moisten it, then the cow will swallow this. The food is now called cud and (sorry about this girls…) it comes back up into the cow’s mouth to be chewed a second time. Cows spend nearly eight hours a day chewing! So what has this got to do with us? Well this is an excellent picture of what it means to meditate on the Bible. We read some verses and apply them to our lives; but to meditate we need to bring these verses back to our minds time and time again throughout the day, remembering how they apply to our lives and situations. Why not pick some times in your day when you will train yourself to “chew over” your daily verses? What about
- Sitting on the bus going to school
- Every time you clean your teeth
- After every class when you’re packing up to move on
- Every time you put the kettle on for a cuppa
Isn’t it funny how we don’t have to train ourselves to meditate on our problems and worries? Sadly, it usually comes very naturally to us to keep “chewing them over”. But one way we can apply yesterday’s verse that taught us to keep our minds “stayed on” Christ is to meditate on God’s promises and what He is teaching us. Today we continue with our practical studies on how to have peace. I’m excited because these are some of my favourite verses today!
1 Peter 5 v 6-7
Verse 7 is a lovely comforting verse to commit to memory and “chew over” daily. Why not write it out several times in your journal (perhaps from several different translations) and on lots of postcards to let the real meaning sink into our hearts?
- Look up the word “cast” in the dictionary. 2 meanings I found helpful are:
- To throw with force
- To discard or shed
This is how we need to treat our worries….throw them with force away from us and onto God.
Again, I’ve found the version of this verse in the Amplified Bible very helpful as it expands the meaning of the original words. This is how it reads:
Did you notice the word that is repeated 4 times? Make sure you underline that small word with a big meaning!
Sometimes there are worries or concerns that we maybe hold back from God, for one reason or another. For example, perhaps you don’t feel you want to involve God in choosing a boyfriend or choosing a career in case you’re forced down a route that you don’t want to go. But notice the instruction in verse 6 where we are told to humble ourselves before God. This involves accepting that God knows best and His ways are best for our lives. That would be difficult if God was cold, hard and uncaring, but think about the two ways this verse describes how He cares for us. Knowing we’re looked after like that should help us to trust Him with everything.
“Once and For All”…this means once we’ve cast our worries away we shouldn’t turn them into cud to keep “chewing over”!
(if you prefer to split this over 2 days, then keep this one for tomorrow)
Philippians 4 v 6 -7
Every single word of these verses in Philippians is so rich with meaning. So we’ll go slowly and think it through in detail. This is a great promise with very practical instructions. For many years I had this stuck right beside my bed, and it was great comfort in many different stages and situations.
- Read the verses in different translations if possible and make a list of any different words used for what we are not to do. Write down definitions of these words you find in your dictionary app or other words that mean the same thing (which a Thesaurus will tell you).
- Make a list of what we are to do instead. Remember doing this will help us to avoid what we are not to do!
- Underline any of the following words that you find (or ones that mean the same thing) and think what this means for you:
- Write down 2 things you will do this week to put this verse into practice. Remember to be specific; refer to definite situations in your own life that you may be prone to worrying about at the minute.
- Verse 7 says that God’s peace “transcends understanding”. Try to explain in your own words what this means.
- Look up the word “guard” in your dictionary. What do you think it means for God’s peace to “guard our hearts and minds”?
Isn’t it amazing? God promises that when we refuse to worry about things but instead bring everything to Him in prayer (big and small), coming with a thankful heart, He will give us peace that is so great, we’ll not be able to understand it (supernatural peace). Not only will He give us this peace but He’ll also protect our minds and hearts from having further anxious thoughts.
These precious promises we’ve looked at can bring so much comfort to us and they really are powerful. However, we’ve only touched on the surface of the gold mine! Why not search out some more verses from the Bible on the topic of peace? You could use an online concordance (a list of all the words used in the Bible and references of where they can be found) or if you have a Bible app just type the word ‘peace’ into the Search bar. You’ll be amazed at how many there are!
Extra Time: Let Peace be the Umpire
Sometimes we lose our peace. Just as we discussed how there are Joy Thieves there are also Peace Thieves lurking! We’ve thought about how constantly chewing over our worries rather than taking them to God can rob us of the peace that God wants us to have all the time.
Another way that we can lose our peace is by making choices that weren’t what God wanted for us. This can be a scary thought…..how can we be sure we will always make the right decision when we’ve tough choices to make?
Well Colossians 3 v 15 says
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts
Another way this can be translated is “Let peace be the umpire in your heart.” You’ve all watched Wimbledon I’m sure. The umpire sits on the big high chair and decides whether the ball was in or out and who gets the point. In other words the umpire rules. This is what we should let peace do in our hearts. When we go in a direction that we start to have niggling doubts about and lose our peace, that can often be a sign that the Umpire Peace is saying this is ‘out’ rather than ‘in’. Let’s make sure we’re always listening for God’s direction and pray He’ll give us the grace to obey.