I remember that Sunday as if it were yesterday. The pastor's wife, Mrs. Wood, was in charge of the Sunday School department of which I was a part. I think it was the Primary Department so I was somewhere between six and eight years old. My task for that particular morning was to recite Psalm 1 from memory. I did it—and got a prize for doing it (I still have that bookmark)! To this day I can recite that chapter of the Bible. That experience, (among others) makes me an advocate for Scripture memorization in Sunday School. If kids don't remember anything else they learn in Sunday School, make sure they have the Bible in their heads. Sooner or later, it will filter down to their hearts as the Spirit of God works in their lives. The Lord promises that His Word will never return to Him without accomplishing what it was sent to do (Isaiah 55:11).

Psalm 1 begins with any preacher's ideal three-point sermon.

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers" (Psalm 1:1).

Perhaps you've heard it broken down this way:

The downward spiral begins with keeping company with those who are not believers and listening to what they advise. Then, we start to do what they do until we reach the point where we are so comfortable with that lifestyle that we turn against those who walk with Lord and with whom we once were also prone to walk.

Certainly, to reach those who don't know the Lord, we have to be with them. Jesus never advocated shutting ourselves off from the world. He rubbed shoulders with what the rest of society considered the "worst." But our companions through life need to be a different breed. Even Jesus modeled that principle by surrounding Himself with a majority of friends committed to His mission. Our best friends need to be God's friends if only because it is so much easier for us to be dragged down than it is for us to pull others up.

But quite apart from godly friends is the psalmist's advice in Psalm 1:2, 3. The "blessed" person is the one described this way: "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

Want to stand strong no matter what? Want to be fruitful and prosper spiritually?

Get into God's Word. While helpful at times, it is not what others say about God's Word that needs to be our primary road to "blessedness," but GOD'S WORD. Through the Scriptures He reveals Himself. When the Word gets into us, the Word will come out of us as lifestyle, as actions pleasing to God, and as words that glorify Him and impact those around us.

And those words, upon which we have meditated and applied, keep us strong and faithful as we brush shoulders with a lost world that needs to to have a personal encounter with the God who has revealed Himself through those words.


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