Tag Archives: influences

Who Are Your Friends?

2 Chronicles 24

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? The old saying, “You are who your friends are,” is true.

Ben Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanac wrote: “If you lie with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

Studies show that people who hang out together eventually adopt each other’s clothing styles, opinions, hand and facial gestures, and even voice intonation. I bet you’ve noticed some of that in siblings. Do you recognize it in your group of friends? It’s probably there.

When King Joash hung out with Jehoiada the priest, he did amazing things for the Lord. The people restored the Temple under Joash’s leadership, and true worship of God was once again filling those walls.

But it seems the minute Jehoiada died, Joash moved on. He surrounded himself with the “leaders of Judah” (vs 17) and reinstated idolatry. The nation would suffer God’s judgment for that.

We ought to follow Jesus’ example. He went to sinners, ate with them in their homes, touched them. But He didn’t park there. He surrounded Himself with believers, those who had left their old way of life to follow Him.

Jesus commands us to GO and make disciples. But Scripture also tells us to be separate from unbelievers, to not neglect the fellowship with believers. We are told to join together as children of God so that we are ready to venture out into the world to share Jesus with the lost.

But we aren’t to look or sound like the world, not to accept or copy their sin.

I believe if we spend more time surrounded by non-believers, we run into the danger of looking and thinking like them. It’s human nature.

So again, what kinds of people do you surround yourself with? If your closest friends aren’t born again Christians, if you aren’t spending quality time in church and in small groups studying God’s Word with friends who will hold you accountable, you need to do better. Choose friends better.

You can pet a flea infested dog, you can feed it, and not get fleas. But if you lie down with a flea infested dog, you’ll get up with those little buggers on you.

And there’s a price to pay for that.

April 23 -Who Influences You?

I Chronicles 1-2

Be honest. Did you read every name listed in the two chapters for today? It’s a list ancestry.com can’t even offer. Can God speak to us in passages such as these? I mean, what does Shallum becoming the father of Jekamiah have to do with me in the 21st century?

Whenever I read the genealogy sections of the Bible I try not to skip over any name. All Scripture is God-breathed, so evidently old Segub must be important. Did you know Segub’s dad was over 60 when Segub was born? Achar was described as “the troubler of Israel.” Ouch. Sheshan had only daughters.

I have a pretty strong German heritage. And I believe my sisters and I were raised, in part,  with the influence of that culture. But I don’t consider myself a German. I’m an American. Born and raised.

God seems to be asking me today where are my greatest influences? Is it the patriarchal make-up of my ancestors? Is it the influence of being raised during post-WWII? Would I say my teachers and/or professors have been my greatest influence? Literature? Friends? Movie or rock stars?

Or is my greatest influence my adopted Father? My spiritual family? God’s Word?

I have no say as to what family I was born into. But I have been influenced by them, by teachers and friends. I am who I am today largely because of them. And I can’t change that. I’m actually blessed because of them.

I can, however, choose to place God above anyone and anything. I can choose to be like Jesus from this day on. I can devour God’s Word, pay attention to sound teaching, love like Jesus loved. I can learn from older saints, and mentor younger ones.

Yes, these chapters in I Chronicles are important to me in 2016. It made me stop and think about who I am, and what is really important. I want my legacy to be that I was a godly woman, one who was influenced by God Himself, and lived her life to please Him.


How Do I Look?

I’ve heard the account of Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego many times and for many years. But when I recently read about Daniel’s desire to abstain from the kings food, I found myself wondering what it is I am ingesting myself. Not the chips I ate yesterday, or the big piece of angel food cake I had for dinner last night. I’m wondering what it is I’m feeding my soul.

What do I read, watch on TV? What is it a pastor or teacher or friend or blogger has said? The Bible tells me to guard my heart. How am I doing?

If I’m watching acts of sin played out on TV, what is that doing to my heart’s condition before God? If I go to a church with a “God is Love” theology without preaching the truth about his holiness, is that effecting my relationship with God? Is the music I listen to slowly separating me from God’s Presence? Relationships, thoughts, what I do in secret, are feeding my soul.

The difference in Daniel and his friends was noticeable They looked better than everyone else because of the food they rejected, the pure food they ingested. 

I wonder if people, when they look at my life, can tell I’ve feasted on God’s Word and abstained from what was offered to me by the world. I want to look different: better, more joyful, kinder, more honest. I want to BE a person others identify with my Savior.



April 11

I Samuel 6:1-7:17, 8:1-9:27

The nation of Israel had it all. They had the God of Creation as their King. God chose them, to set them apart from all the other nations to bless them, to show himself to the world.

But Israel wanted to look like the other nations. Their neighbors had kings, why couldn’t they? Samuel warned them about the awful things that would happen as a result of having a flesh and blood king. They still wanted a king. And that made God sad.

Here’s where I think prayer gets complicated. God wants us to come to him with our desires. Prayer is an important part of the Christian walk. But if our desires are not in line with Scripture, with God’s desires, we need to be careful.

God won’t make us love him or worship him. If we choose to go the way of the world he will let us. But it’ll make him sad if we do.

We Christians have it all. The God of Creation wants to be our King. And as our King he will shower us with blessings beyond what we can ask or think.

My question is… how important is it that I look like non-believers? Do I need to look like the world to feel accepted? If I do, am I prepared to accept the consequences?

Holy God, I bow before you this morning as my King. May I recognize the privilege I have of serving you, being blessed by you, and representing you to the world. Guard my thoughts and the temptation to want to “fit in” with those who are lost. I want no other King.

March 2

Numbers 8-10

I was a band director for fourteen years. I have such great memories of those days and the young people who learned to make music out of various instruments. In one school district where I taught I was able to take a group of sixth graders on a field trip to Indiana to tour a factory where trumpets and saxophones were made. We watched the machines bend sheets of metal and form shiny, new instruments that would one day produce beautiful music.

The Israelites had no machines and yet the Bible says they made trumpets of hammered silver. I know they didn’t look like our modern-day trumpets but I guess I always pictured them blowing into rams’ horns instead of silver instruments.

Once again I am amazed at what these people accomplished in the desert.

The silver trumpets were used as signals to the Israelites. One trumpet sounding meant the heads of the clans were called to meet. Two trumpets sounding meant the whole community was called to assemble. They blew trumpet signals during battle and at times of rejoicing. There were trumpet blasts that signaled it was time to move on. The people listened for the sound of the trumpet to know what they were to do.

God is asking me today what my trumpets are. What do I listen to to tell me what to do? Is it a family member or a friend? Is it a church leader or a rock star? Do I read People Magazine to decide how to dress or get relationship advice from Real Housewives?

We all have influences. I think God is reminding us to listen for Him over all the other voices that call us. I think He is telling us to turn a deaf ear to anything else. That’s why I think it’s important to spend time in His word and I am so honored that you have decided to do that with me this year.

Let’s guard our hearts and minds and spend enough time with God to be able to recognize His voice amid the other things in this life that are calling us. If we listen, He will make His way known. And I have an idea he’s a pretty good trumpet player.

Father, thank you for your Word that speaks to us every time we read it. Thank you for wanting to guide and direct us and forgive us when we allow ourselves to be caught up in listening to other influences. May we recognize Your voice and may we be quick to obey.