Matt 26 

Who influences you? Does their influence come from God? Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus‘s body with an ointment worth a year‘s wages for an average worker. She obviously did not care what others thought, she just cared about worshiping God. That’s a strong influence to follow. John 12:4 tells us it was Judas who openly criticized Mary and influenced other disciples who also criticized her, suggesting the oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor. That sounds honorable, but as we know, Judas was a thief. He held the money purse of the donations given for Jesus‘s ministry. The proceeds of the oil would have given him more money to steal. He was able to deceive and influence the disciples in what seemed like a positive way but wasn’t.

One negative or positive attitude can influence many. Sometimes a negative attitude sounds positive or even noble. Which attitude do I influence others with? Who am I being influenced by? Knowing God‘s word/truth helps me to identify the true influence of others, does it honor God or their own selfish agenda?

Jesus predicts his betrayal and death to his disciples who don’t want to hear His truth. Jesus let them know that they will all abandon him, Peter immediately professes he will never leave Jesus even if he must die with Jesus. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says to Peter that he has prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail, he knew Peter would stumble and fall but Peter’s faith would not fail. When we stumble and fall, we must stay strong in our faith, get back up and encourage others around us to stay strong in their faith in all circumstances.

V41 Jesus says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Jesus is praying for us as we read in Hebrews 7:25, He is aware of our humanness and knows we need His intercession.

Peter professed that he would never leave Jesus despite what the others may do, there was a tint of arrogance but also true sincerity. After hearing Peter‘s profession, the other disciples also said they would do the same. Peters’ faith influenced the other disciples in a way that would not honor what Jesus’s mission was, even though it seemed noble. Peter failed to stay awake in the garden and pray with Jesus. When Peter drew his sword to defend Jesus, he was showing great courage proving the sincerity in the words he spoke when he professed, he would even die with Jesus. Jesus admonished him for his actions and Peter ran away like the others. What were his feelings at this point?

Peter kept stumbling yet he continued getting up and staying strong in his faith. He was the only disciple who had the courage to follow the guards and Jesus. After denying that he knew Jesus 3 times, even cursing in his 3rd denial, Peter remembered Jesus‘s words and he went outside and wept bitterly. We see Peter in his humanness fail, fail, fail and yet we continue to see his true sincerity. His sincere faith continues to strengthen him  to get up and encourage others to stay strong in their faith as his influence helped build Christ’s church.

Unfortunately, fear dictates what I do or do not do in my life. Fear often keeps me from doing the things that I should. I pray every morning that God gives me sincere courage to do the things I am supposed to do today. I stumble often, I do not always get back up as quickly as I should. My faith is strong, but is it as strong as Peter’s?

Sometimes I feel like a baseball, I am knocked around, thrown in the dirt, the weight of others falls on me and occasionally I am hit out of play. But I continue to get back in the game because the game is not over yet. I am grateful God has placed Peters in my life who influence and encourage me, helping me find God’s strength. I am also thankful there are younger men who turn to me to find God’s strength. As badly as I need Peters in my life, it is my responsibility to be a Peter to others. Encouraging, strengthening, and sometimes admonishing other men to seek, know and follow God’s truth.

What’s Your Number?

Today’s reading is Psalm 90 which is attributed to Moses with some saying it’s the oldest Psalm, yet the author of every Psalm is not known so it can’t be confirmed it is the first.

What’s your number? This is the question asked in an old commercial of an investment firm regarding each person’s amount of money they need in order to retire. Each person’s number is hovering above them as they go about their daily life. What if the imaginary number above your head and this question was not about retirement money, but the number of days in your life?

Teach us to number our days

That we may get a heart of


Psalm 90:12

How would you live life differently if you knew your number? I find it ironic how most of us have a hard time wrapping our arms around the fact that God has always existed because everything we know has a beginning and end. Yet even though we know our life on Earth will end and we don’t know when, we don’t live that way.

Psalm 90:10 reads..

The years of our life are seventy

Or even by reason of strength


Life is short…even if we live that long.

Psalm 90:14 says…

Satisfy us in the morning with

your steadfast love,

that we may rejoice and be

glad all our days.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled getting out of bed in the morning (although I’m still up early to get things done).  It drives my wife Shannon nuts that once I’m out of bed I’m awake with good energy. When we leave for vacation early in the morning before daybreak, I’m ready to chat and listen to music while she’s just ready to go back to sleep for another 3 hours while I drive. However, getting out of bed initially is always tough matter what great things are going on that day. Would this be the case if I knew my number and how few might be left, or if I realized how fast the 25,000-30,000 days at full life expectancy will go?

Psalm 90:16 says…

Let your work be shown to your


and your glorious power to

their children.

My post 2 weeks ago was around our responsibility to teach our children to know and love God and His Word. Assuming our kids become adults, move out, or go to college around age 18, we have 6,570 days in which they are under our roof. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t seem like that many to me, and I’m sure it will feel even faster. Are we enjoying each one of those days with them and impacting them to help nurture and grow their relationship with God realizing they’ll only be with us for a short time to influence them for the rest of their life?

Psalm 90:17 reads…

Let the favor of the Lord our

God be upon us,

and establish the work of our

hands upon us;

yes, establish the work of our


Are we praying for a “heart of wisdom” as Psalm 90:12 mentions earlier and letting God do His work through our hands? What sort of impact are we having for His kingdom?

Psalm 90 tells us there will be challenges in this world no matter what our relationship with God (Psalm 90:10, Psalm 90:15). But we know God is with us through them. We know His love which He showed us on the cross. We know life is short here so those troubles are nothing compared to the joy we will experience in our eternal resting place in Heaven which is much longer. Jesus says in John 16:33,” I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He conquered death through His Resurrection on Easter allowing us to do the same through belief in Him. So, let’s live like our number is 1 which turns the number above our head to ∞.


Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 1.

Our small group leader and Bible Journal writer, David LaFrance, is currently leading our group through the “Life As We Know It” booklet published by Spread Truth Ministries. The booklet is an exercise where each person writes about their beginning, obstacles, hope, and future. It’s really neat to hear each person’s story and how their story fits into God’s story. One of the things that stuck out to me in writing my personal story was the impact others have had on my life, especially my family and older mentors in the beginning stage.

A few years ago, I read The Resolution for Men which I really feel is a must read for all men (there is also a version for women). One topic the book discussed was that many of us many come from a background where our parents and family have a generational history of addiction, abuse, shunning God or other bad habits, but it just takes one person to be a “chain breaker” to set future generations on the right path to follow God and his will for our lives. Someone must step up. Paul discusses in 1 Thessalonians 1:6 how the Thessalonians became “imitators.” Who is a “chain breaker” or another mentor who’s impacted you that your should give thanks to God for as Paul does in 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3?

As I reflect on this question, I’m extremely grateful for both of my grandfathers who were “chain breakers.” My grandfather on my mom’s side was one of six kids. His dad left him and his siblings at a young age and to our knowledge they did not attend church growing up. He became one of the kindest, gentlest men I’ve ever known and was an amazing father and husband. He established a foundation in his family rooted in faith and the Word who would attend church not once, but three times per week. As a side note, I’ve always wondered and would like to thank the person who invited him to church or asked him if he had a relationship with Jesus. My grandfather on my Dad’s side had a father who was only really present in the physical form. He was abusive and left my grandfather to work for even his basic needs as a young boy after my great grandmother passed, despite having the financial resources. My grandfather essentially raised himself, obtained his degree, and was a great husband and father who raised my dad and uncle in a Christian household. Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention my grandmothers who deserve a lot of credit for not only helping them get on the right path, but who were also strong in faith and a spiritual rock for their spouses and my parents growing up. Behind every great man is a great woman.

Because of their choices to be great husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers rooted in a foundation of faith in God, my mom and dad chose to follow their example and do the same for my brother and me. For that, I’m extremely grateful to them and our parents. I pray that my niece and nephews and Shannon and my children will stay close to God and continue this relationship with Jesus in their lives and their kids’ lives impacting generations to come.

Let us only thank those who have helped us, but let us not forget that there will be “imitators” of us which Paul mentions in 1 Thessalonians 1:6. These “imitators” may not only be our family as I have discussed, but also could be neighbors, co-workers, or others we mentor by design or default. We must ask ourselves if we are being a good example in our daily lives, and are we inviting them to have a relationship with Jesus? It will not only impact their lives, but also the lives of their friends and family for generations to come!

“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere…..” 1 Thessalonians 1:8