Pastor Dale Jenkins

What Are You Chewing On?

Have you ever watched a cow eat? The longer you watch, the more entertained you are. She bends her neck to the ground, grabs a clump of grass or hay, uses her tongue to position the food in her mouth, and starts chewing in a motion that is as much “round and round” as it is “up and down.”

Then, after a long time of chewing, you think she’s finally finished. She pauses for a bit, but then starts chewing again.

Part of a cow’s digestive process involves the cow chewing, swallowing, then bringing everything back up to chew some more. This process, called “chewing the cud,” may repeat itself several times before it’s all said and done.

Can you imagine if humans were designed that way? Picture prom night with your girlfriend, when your stomach decides to bring back the pizza you had for lunch. (No goodnight kiss for you!)

The biblical concept of meditation is very similar to a cow’s digestive process. When you approach the Word of God, your goal should not be to merely “read it,” but to “meditate on it.” In other words, instead of seeing how many chapters you can cover in one sitting, it would be better to see how deep you can go on one particular thought or truth.

Make it a point to identify a verse or a concept from Scripture early in the day, then spend the rest of the day bringing it back up and chewing on it some more. Dig into the context of the passage of Scripture, look up the cross-references provided in your Bible, sing worship songs that are focused on that same theme. This is part of the process of meditation.

A mentor of mine when I was younger told me, “Meditation has three steps: memorize, visualize, and personalize.”

One thing is true – meditation on God’s Word will bring stability, fruitfulness, refreshment, and prosperity to your life.

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”

‭‭Psalm ‭1:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Meditation is not a foreign concept to us. We meditate all the time! Worry is a form of meditation on the cares and concerns around us. Anger is a form of meditation on bitterness and unforgiveness. Lust is a form of meditation on a fleshly, forbidden desire.

What would happen, then, if we began to meditate on God’s promises, on His provision, on His blessings, on His prophetic declarations?

Today, let’s choose to meditate on God’s Word and allow Him to renew our minds!

Photo: huffpost.com

Why Are People So Judgy?

I’m convinced that we not only need to be set free from sin, we also need to be set free from self-righteousness.

When righteousness is defined as “being good” or “doing good,” the result is legalism. We commend ourselves for our efforts, while condemning others for their faults. We grew ourselves according to our intentions, while we judge others by their actions. Self-righteousness always results in judgmentalism toward others.

Legalism and self-righteousness are two of our greatest enemies. While we stand on the ramparts and watch for enemy intrusions from the outside, legalism hides among us, waiting to destroy us from within.

What person or groups do you often self-righteously judge? Meditate with me today on Romans 7:24-25, asking God to reveal any legalism and self-righteousness. Ask Him to give you a heart of compassion.

Only Jesus can deliver us from self-righteousness. And only then can we fully appreciate the true righteousness which He provides.

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

‭‭Romans‬ ‭7:24-25‬a ‭NASB‬‬

Photo: GregTrimble.com

What Makes a Person Righteous?

Today’s reading is Romans 2.

Being good does not make a person righteous, yet that is exactly how we often live. We weigh out our actions, dividing them into categories of “good” and “bad,” concluding that, because our good actions outweigh the bad, we are essentially good people. Further, we justify our bad actions, claiming that our motivations were right, even if our actions weren’t.

Paul cuts through that self-righteousness, reminding his Jewish readers that, even if they are devout, religious, law-abiding Jews, people are not righteous because of their outward works, but only when they place their faith in Jesus Christ, who makes us righteous through His atoning work. Meditate today on verse 29, and be reminded that God’s righteousness has been made available to you, and is not earned by works, but received by faith.

Photo: Alexandrix Media

The Book of Romans

The apostle Paul wrote at least 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament, including the book of Romans. Paul is believed to have written this letter while he was in the city of Corinth, receiving financial gifts from the believers which he would then take to those in need in Jerusalem. Once he delivered the gifts and ministered to those in Jerusalem, his plan was to visit Rome, a city to which he had not yet visited, but had heard much of the faith of the believers there.

Our church will be reading through the book of Romans over the next several days. We would love for you to join us. As we read through Romans, pay particular attention to its primary theme: “the righteousness of God.” With other significant words and concepts, like “faith,” “justification,” “law,” and “grace,” Paul focuses on the righteousness of God which is revealed in the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1

Today we are reading the first chapter of Romana. As you read it, notice the central theme of Paul’s entire letter.

Paul opens his letter by introducing himself and his apostolic ministry to the believers in Rome, whom he had not yet met. He then presents the theme of his epistle in verses 16 and 17 – the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul contrasts God’s righteousness with human unrighteousness (self-righteousness).

We often want to define good and evil for ourselves. Self righteousness blinds us to our sinfulness, yet it is only when we recognize our sinfulness that we can humble ourselves to receive God’s righteousness available through Jesus Christ. Today, meditate on Romans 1:16-17 several times, allowing God to reveal the promise of His righteousness to you.

Photo: Alexandrix Media

Wisdom Comes One Bucketful at a Time

This month I am reading the book of Proverbs for my daily devotion time. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, which makes it easy to read one each day.

Today I read a verse that Hs taught me for many years.

“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are some people who have deep wells of wisdom. It’s more than mere knowledge and information; it is practical wisdom for real life. Some of it was learned by seeking the Lord and listening to other godly people, but some of it was learned through the pain and regret of failure and foolishness. Still, they gained wisdom.

These are the kind of people you want to learn from. In order to draw out their wisdom, you will need to come with some type of bucket. Obviously not a physical bucket, but a bucket of expectation, inquiry, and observation.

  • Expectation is what compels you to bring the bucket in the first place. Expect that you will gain wisdom from the conversation or encounter. Expect that God will reveal something to you. Expect to be transformed in some way.
  • Inquiry occurs when you let the bucket down into the well. Asking questions is a proven way of gaining wisdom. If you are with a wise person, don’t do all the talking. Talking out all of your issues may give you a temporary sense of relief, but you won’t be any wiser. Ask questions to a wise person – deep, meaningful questions – and then listen. Wisdom indeed has a voice – let it speak.
  • Observation is how you draw the bucket up from the well and apply the waters of wisdom to your own life. Watch how the person lives, watch their marriage, listen to what they say (and what they don’t say), observe how they carry themselves in times of challenge. If you observe them carefully, you will know how to apply wisdom to your life.

This principle applies in many settings. When you go to church, bring your bucket. When you read your Bible, bring your bucket. When you are at a conference or listening to a podcast, bring your bucket. There is no shortage on wisdom, only a shortage on those actively searching for it.

If you will carry your bucket of expectation, inquiry, and observation, you will be continually refreshed by the waters of wisdom.