RECAP: CHOOSE WISDOM based on Proverbs 4:1-9, 20-27
Wisdom is the ability to take what one knows to be true and apply it. It is evidenced by the choices that one makes in relationship to what is true. Folly on the other hand is to have knowledge of the truth, but instead of acting upon it, one either ignores it or willfully chooses to go a different direction. Wisdom evaluates all choices and their consequences before acting; folly makes a choice with no concern for the consequence! We can see the interplay between wisdom and folly in many contexts. It is wise, when one knows that rain is coming, to park in a dry parking spot and bring an umbrella to an outdoor event. It is folly, when one knows that rain is coming, to park in a muddy spot and have no rain gear! It is wise when there is a sign on the beach warning us of sharks, to not get in the water. It is folly to see that same sign, believe that the sharks won’t find you, and plunge right in!
Even though the above are simplistic examples, we can apply the same paradigm of wisdom and folly to every area of our lives (finances, addictions, relationships, etc.). This also includes our spiritual life. Solomon was known for his wisdom. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he penned the book of Proverbs toward the end of his life to pass along some of the spiritual truths he had learned through his walk with God, as well as his seasons of failure. In Proverbs chapters 1-9, both Wisdom and Folly are personified as human beings calling out to our hearts to choose and follow. Which path will we follow? What are the marks of choosing the path of wisdom over folly?
- Listen & pay attention (4:1, 20). Four times Solomon challenged the hearer to listen and pay attention. The repetition was necessary because we as human beings do not like to listen. Sometimes, we think we are right and do not need to listen to other voices. At other times, we know what we are doing is wrong and do not want to hear any form of correction. And still, others get so distracted by worldly things and seeking the approval of culture that one is distracted from hearing the voice of God. There are many other reasons we don’t listen, because to listen at its core means we need to act by changing our behavior and ways. We can say all the right things, but unless we are willing to act on the truth, we are not listening. But those who embrace wisdom do what it takes to listen and pay attention to God’s voice, drowning out all distractions that would prevent us from hearing.
- Recognize the authority of God’s Word (4:2). At the root of the first temptation was a challenge to the authority of the Word of God. Is God’s Word supreme? Do we trust God and his Word above all others? Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but in the end, it leads to death” (14:12). We can choose to go our own way and be our own authority, or we can recognize God’s authority. Do not forsake God’s teaching (4:2), purposefully ignoring the truth of the Word. Do not forget the Word (4:5) by neglecting your time reading the Word and developing your relationship with God. Instead, put your heart into the Word (4:4), laying hold of it will all your heart, to strive to keep the commandments and live. Stay true to the Word (4:5, 21, 27) by not veering to the right or left. Allow God to shape us.
- Surrender control of your life to God (4:7-9). One of the hardest things for any human being to do is relinquish control. The way of God and the way of wisdom will cost everything we have (4:7), but it is worth the cost. How much are we willing to invest our lives in God? Will we give God our whole self or just a piece of ourselves? The enemy wants us to believe that following God is not worth it and that what we give up is worth more than what we gain in following Jesus. But Jesus said, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36-37) When we order our lives under the hand of God and wisdom (4:8-9) by cherishing our time with God and embracing the teaching, we will find that which we seek most in Him!
- Prioritize God’s Word in your life (4:21). What we seek most we will pursue. We will invest our resources in what we prioritize. Solomon allowed his success and obsession with building his political influence to replace God and wisdom as the central priorities in his latter days of life. As a result, his nation suffered for it, and after he passed, his kingdom suffered a civil war and was split in two. He allowed himself, as John describes in 1 John 2:16, to be driven by the cravings of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. But when we refuse to let the Word out of our sight by regularly meditating upon the Word, God remains our priority. We will order our lives according to our priorities.
- Guard your heart (4:23-27). Your heart is the wellspring of life. Keep it free from destruction and distraction. Keep evil and sin out of your life by removing anything that could lead you astray. Watch your walk closely and follow the path according to the Word. When we allow other voices in, it becomes easier to be confused and tempted to follow an alternate path.
Wisdom is worth everything. We are promised life (4:4, 22), the protection of God (4:6), and the blessing of God (4:8-9) if we pursue God and the way of wisdom. But wisdom is a choice. What will we choose–wisdom or folly? You can’t choose both!
Questions for Reflection
1) What other voices compete for your attention? What distracts you from following God?
2) Who is the highest authority in your life? Does your living support that authority?
3) In what areas do you need to surrender control to God?
4) Is God a priority? How does that affect your daily walk? Bible reading? Church investment of time and finances?
5) What lifestyle choices do you need to make in order to guard your heart?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study in the discipline of meditation with the sermon titled, “Hear and Act”, based on Matthew 7:24-29. How do we develop rock-solid faith? Come or tune on Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 18 – 24
July 18: Romans 7:15-25 What is our shared struggle as human beings?
July 19: Romans 8:1-4 How has Christ freed us from condemnation?
July 20: Romans 8:5-11 Why do we need a change of mindset as a Christian?
July 21: Romans 8:12-17 What is our spiritual obligation?
July 22: Romans 8:18-25 What is the impact of sin upon creation?
July 23: Romans 8:26-27 How does the Holy Spirit help us live out our faith?
July 24: Romans 8:28-39 What is the spiritual power available to us as Christians?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, July 20–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm
Sunday, July 23–Get Out Of Your Head Bible Study Resumes, 4 pm @ TBD
Saturday, July 29–Men’s Fellowship Breakfast, 7:15 am @ Thomas House
Sunday, July 30–Vespers @ 6 pm
Friday, August 11 – Sunday, August 13–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimney’s
Sunday, August 13–Children’s Church begins
Meditation– Spiritual Discipline Challenge
Remember, meditation comes from intentionally setting your mind on something and repeatedly thinking about it. In the book Get Out of Your Head by Jennie Allen (the book used for the Bible study led by Lynne and Bill this summer), there is a pattern that all of us as human beings follow when it comes to our minds:
Emotion –> Thought –> Behavior –> Relationships –> Consequence
Our emotions, what we feel in the moment, produce thoughts. Our thoughts influence our decisions, which we act out in behavior. Our behaviors and choices influence our relationships with God, family, friends, and neighbors. The end result of these choices and their influence on relationships leads to long-term consequences. A toxic spiral ultimately will lead to destruction, loss of purpose, and loss of fruitfulness–just like David described in Psalm 1!
But we have a choice! That choice is where meditation comes in. When we choose to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate upon the things of God and the Scriptures, we can interrupt the toxic spiral and turn it around for good (again, just like Psalm 1!).
This week, we are going to tackle the three core lies that cause spirals–I am not worthy, I am helpless, and I am not loveable. We all face these lies from time to time. So this week, I would like you to work on this exercise every day. On a piece of paper, draw a vertical line and a horizontal line that meet in the middle of the paper. In the top left corner, write “Grab the Thought.” In the top left corner, write “Diagnose the Thought.” In the bottom left corner, write “Take it to God.” In the bottom right corner, write “Make a Choice.”
After you have done this, then write down in the first corner under “Grab the Thought” every thought that you have struggled with throughout that day that relates to one of those core lies. Then, in the corner “Diagnose the Thought,” answer the question “Is it true”? In the corner titled “Take it to God,” answer the question “What does God say about it”? To answer this question, you will need to look up some Bible verses to see what God really says. Then in the final corner “Make a Choice,” write down one step that you can take to surrender that thought to God.
Meditation is a retooling of our minds. Let us replace those lies with God’s truth!
We will have our next Vespers of the summer this Sunday, July 30, at 6 pm. We will have a simple meal together, sing some camp-song favorites, have a fellowship activity, and share together in God’s Word. These have been very enjoyable in the past, so I encourage you to come attend!
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are in need of both worship leaders and children’s storytellers. If you want to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Phyllis Simmons (children’s story).
CHILDREN’S CHURCH & NURSERY
We are hoping to launch a children’s church and nursery beginning in August. If you attended the meeting or are interested in helping and DID NOT receive the email with the Child Protection Policy and background check information, please check your Spam folder or reach out to the church office to make sure we have the correct email address on file.
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for six to eight volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour and church hour. There will be a signup sheet in the back. If you would be willing to volunteer to allow our families to be able to participate in worship, please let one of the members of Christian Education know (Theresa Eckard, Scott McAvoy, Becky Whitmore), or sign up on the signup sheet!
Sight & Sound Interest
The Fidelis class is looking at sponsoring a church-wide trip to Sight & Sound in 2024. But before the class can investigate bus prices and total cost, we want to gauge the true interest in the church. We have had several express interest and are trying to the best package for us as a church body. If you are interested and would like to be considered for this one-day event next year, please contact the office or let Pastor Ryan know in the next few weeks.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller & Carolyn Wine
Keep Evy Kaye’s friend Mary Beth and Tami Plaugher’s friend Vicki in prayer (cancer)
Phyllis Simmons & family (loss of family members)
Eddie Baker (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Deanne Dastoli (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Bill Eckard (health)
Emma Eckard (safe travels)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Alma Long (recovery)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Norlen Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Mary M Miller (health)
Savannah Miller (health)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Norma Samalot (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (house)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Cindy Wittig (health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church