RECAP: THE TWO PATHS based on Psalm 1:1-6
This month, we will be exploring the spiritual discipline of meditation. We often think of meditation as portrayed in the media as an individual in a trance. But true meditation comes from the Hebrew term hagag which means to chew on over and over again, like a cow that chews its cud. Why is meditation important? Because everything action in life, every path that is forged starts with thoughts and decisions made in our mind.
What are we thinking about? What do we meditate upon?
David opens the collection of the Psalms with a focus on two paths that any one human being can take. We can either take the path of the righteous or the path of the unrighteous. Jesus echoed David in Matthew 7 when he talked about the wide and narrow road. Only a few choose the narrow path that leads to life, while many choose the wide road that leads to destruction. We as people of God all want to be on the path of the righteous and not the path of the unrighteous, but how do we know what path we are on? How do we know we are going the right way? It starts in our minds, and what we meditate on!
What does the path of the unrighteous look like?
- Meditate on bad counsel (1:1). Every path starts in our mind and what we allow into our minds. The one who is blessed David says does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. These influences are not healthy influences for a person of God! When we choose to follow God, we walk in his way, we walk in his path. But when we walk in the counsel of the wicked, we are beginning to walk a different path. God’s way and the way of the world are two different paths–one cannot walk both at the same time! Eventually, when we walk in the company of the wicked, we will eventually stop walking and stand in the company that has been gathered around us. Then ultimately, we grow so comfortable in that company that we sit down and set up camp in their midst. When we meditate on unwise, ungodly counsel, we eventually stop pursuing the ways of God.
We don’t intentionally walk in the way of the wicked, but what do we allow to speak into our lives? Who do we allow to minister to our hearts? What counsel do we surround ourselves with? Do they push us closer to God, or distract us from Him?
- No purpose in life (1:4). Eventually, the more we meditate on bad counsel, the more we become like the counsel we surround ourselves with. We were created uniquely by God for a purpose, to achieve a calling we were designed for. But the way of the wicked only cares that you join in on the “fun” or their “way.” When we begin to lose who we really are, our identity is reshaped away from God and redefined by others. Eventually, like the prodigal son, when the companions evaporate, there is nothing left and we have lost who we really are. We have become like chaff in the wind as David says, really of no purpose or use to anyone or anything but to be blown around by the wind until it ultimately decays.
- Nothing to show for life (1:5). We were created and designed to bear fruit. But when we cut ourselves off from the fruitful vine, we have nothing to hold on to at the end of the day but regret. One day we will all have to give an account before God. Will we hear “Well done, good and faithful servant,” or “Depart, for I don’t know you”?
- Destruction (1:6). The final destination of the path of the unrighteous is eternal destruction and separation from God.
No one of faith wants to end up here. But how does one go down this road? It starts with what you fill yourself with, the counsel you have around you, and what you dwell upon in your mind. Life away from God is a slow fade.
How do we know we are on the path of the righteous?
- Meditate on godly counsel (1:2). The one who is righteous finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates upon the Word day and night. The righteous look forward to spending regular time with God so much so that it is not a chore, but a desire. The more we spend time with God and read the Word, the more we want to do so! God’s opinion matters above all others, and we simply want to make him proud like a cat wants to make its owner proud with its catch. The righteous individual will reject all counsel that is not aligned with the Word of God. In other words, to be on the right path, we must fill our minds with the things of God and the Word of God!
- Purpose (1:3). When we meditate upon the things of God, we grow healthy and strong, like a tree planted by the water. No matter what life throws, we will stand, because we are anchored in God. We fulfill that which we were designed to do and thus have meaning in life!
- Fruitfulness (1:3). The one who meditates on God’s Word will find fruit in their lives. After all, we were called by Christ to go and bear lasting fruit! The fruit is the evidence we are under the protection of God. Everything we do will prosper–not as the world defines prosperity, but we will keep bearing fruit in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit will become evident, and we will desire to keep bearing the fruit of Christ.
- Everlasting life (1:6). When we live for God and meditate upon him, we have a purpose, we have meaning and fruitfulness, but ultimately we end up with everlasting life. We will not only live in the future but be able to live in the here and now, for everything we do is because of God.
We have a choice. We can choose the path of the righteous or the path of the unrighteous. The choice starts in our mind. What will we fill our minds with? Who and what will we meditate upon?
Questions for Reflection
1) What do you spend the most time focusing on?
2) What matters the most to you in life?
3) What counsel do you listen to more than any others? Does that counsel push you closer toward God or away from him?
4) Are you living into your calling and purpose? If not, what changes can you make to walk into that?
5) Does the fruit of our living indicate we are living for God, or living for something else?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the study in the discipline of meditation with the sermon titled, “Choose Success”, based on Joshua 1:6-9. How do our choices affect our future reality? And how does meditation upon the Word of God help us make a wise choice? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 4 – 10
July 4: Romans 1:24-32 What does humanity approve that God does not?
July 5: Romans 2:1-11 Why is humanity without an excuse?
July 6: Romans 2:12-16 What is the punishment of sin?
July 7: Romans 2:17-29 How could adherence of religion over relationship hinder us?
July 8: Romans 3:1-8 What is a commonly wrong attitude concerning sin?
July 9: Romans 3:9-20 What is the truth about human sinfulness?
July 10: Romans 3:21-31 What does all humanity share? What did God do about it?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, July 9–Get Out Of Your Head Bible Study Resumes, 4 pm @ McAvoy’s home
Thursday, July 20–Leadership Team Meeting
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 first spiral. You need to carve out an uninterrupted fifteen minutes for this exercise each day. Each day write down on a piece of paper all the noise that is in your life. Divide the noise into three columns. In the first column, write down all noise that are distractions that you are facing on that day. In the middle column, write down any negativity you heard that day. In the final column, write down any other noise that is in your head. Then, take what is on your paper and confess these things to God and ask him to quiet your mind and your soul to hear him. Then, finish each day with a reading of Psalm 23.
The goal is to work toward replacing the noise which can lead to toxic thoughts with the presence of God and the Word of God!
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 would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Phyllis Simmons (children’s story).
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)
Eddie Baker (health)
Terri Burkholder (health)
Deanne Dastoli (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
Bill Eckard (+Bonnie Sue and family, 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