23 Day Challenge – A look back

As I sit here looking back on the past 23 days, I realize that I gained a lot of insight into not only the 23rd Psalm, but into myself as well.  I don’t remember a time where I was able to be disciplined enough to read the bible 23 days straight. I’ve read through the bible several times but I would have to do catch up to stay on schedule.

When I started this study, verse 4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”  really gave me chills just thinking about it. Steph had just been in Israel last year and actually went to this valley but until I saw the images of the hundreds of graves located in the cemeteries in this valley, you just can’t grasp the reality of what this place represents…death.

Little did I know that during this study, 3 very close friends would say goodbye to one of their parents as God called their parent home.

I also did not know the power of the end of that same verse. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The staff was used to reach down and pull the lamb out of a pit but the rod stood out to me more. It was a bar that all of the sheep would go under to be counted so that no one was left behind. The sheep mattered to the shepherd. We matter to God. He doesn’t want anyone left behind when He steps out to call us home.

I also debated about putting the sinner’s prayer in on the last day, Forever. The more I thought about it, the more it needed to be there. How can I do a study on God’s Word and not tell someone how to be saved? I have no idea who may ever read this but if it reaches just one person, then what God gave me to put down will be worth it.

To say this study affected me would be an understatement. During these past 23 days, I have been able to discern the voice of God more clearly. He has put me in opportunities to share what He is doing in my life. He has given me the chance to be His hands and His feet helping others.

Now I just need to take what I’ve gained and move on to the next chapter.



Day 23 – Forever

As I am writing this devotional, I am also back in school taking what I hope to be the last math class of my life. I am taking statistics and probability. My professor repeatedly says this is  “not a math class”  but it sure feels like one. This class takes statistical data and helps form a hypothesis about the probability that certain events in the hypothesis will be true.

I lost you right there didn’t I? Stay with me.

Even through all of these calculations to predict certain events or values, there is no certainty. Sure there may be a very narrow margin that they could go against your prediction but there is still a possibility regardless of how complex your calculations are, or how certain you are of the end result, that you will not have your expected result.

In life, there is only one thing that is 100% certain. One day you will stand before God…

You will live your life, to what ever degree of fullness that God has planned for you, you will breath your last breath and take the next one in front of Him, or Christ will return and we will join Him.

100% certain that one of those events will happen. No calculations needed.

Hebrews 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Christ will return. God’s word promises that. Either we will be called up first as the dead in Christ or we will meet Him in the clouds. Either way, if we have Christ as our Savior, we will be with him forever.

Those without Christ will also have an end result of their choice. Again no calculations needed but it is 100% certain that they will miss heaven and life with Christ by about 11″. That is the distance from their head to their heart. Everyone will know OF Christ, but not all will KNOW Him.

Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me.

Revelation 14:10-11 He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night

Revelation 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

You will either spend eternity with Christ or eternity in hell. This is 100% certain. There will be no end of worship in Heaven and there will be no end to the torment and destruction in hell.

Eternity is forever. There is no end. If you don’t have Christ in your life, then you have a choice to make, right here, right now at the end of this study. The choice is yours. Where will you spend your forever?

If you haven’t accepted Christ and want to right now, you can right where you are. Pray this prayer with me…

“Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and need You in my life. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that You died for me and rose again. I turn away from my sins and I want You to come into my life and save me. I want you to take control of my life. I give it all to You, my Lord and my Savior”

Now, comes the hard part, making changes in your own life. Walk away (repent) from  anything or anyone that causes you to sin. Find a local church. Connect with the pastor there. Get plugged in but most importantly, spend time daily reading God’s word. Start with the book of John if you don’t know where to start. There are numerous resources online. For this study, I used the website bible.com. Start with that but be encouraged. You have just made the greatest decision that you will make.

If you haven’t accepted Christ, and think you can do it later, know this. We are not guaranteed our next breath. You can think that you have all the time in the world, but just in the past few weeks, I am connected to at least 4 people who stood before God.

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 

Only God knows when Christ will return. Don’t wait until it’s too late or the choice will be made for you.


Day 22 – Dwell in the house of the Lord

Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Before my mom moved into her new house recently, every time that we drove home to see her, we would pass right by Calvary Baptist Church. It is your textbook red brick, white steeple, stain glass window, small town church. My earliest memories of going to church are from the pews in this building.

I was saved sitting on the front row at a vacation bible school here too many years ago to remember.

Later, we moved to the church where my mom still goes to today. My best memories growing up in church are from here. We had a small youth group but we all were close, and still are today. This church became, and still is, family. We laughed together. We cry together. Even though I live hours away, it’s great to go home just to be with family.

It has nothing to do with the building.

“The house of the Lord…” isn’t the red brick at Calvary. It’s not the rocks outside First Baptist Odenville. It’s not even the large sanctuary, the classrooms or the cafe at FBCVR where my family goes every Sunday.

It’s all about who is inside that make up the house of the Lord.

God has used so many people in my life. They have poured their lives into mine and taught me how to do the same. Most of these were at church. There was always some reason or another to get together, spend time together, fellowship and of course, eat. Being raised in a Baptist church, it is said, “Where 2 or more Baptists are gathered, a chicken has to die.”  

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider together how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The house of the Lord is also a place where God shows up. He can and will show up anywhere He wants but His Word promises…

Mathew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”

God will show up regardless of if you are in the largest church around or at a booth at McDonald’s. Where his people come together to be with Him, to pray or just to be a shoulder for someone to lean on. That is the Lord’s house.

Genesis 28:17 How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

Dwelling in the house of the Lord to me means you are always there. Where ever the Lord’s house is, you are there as a witness and as the hands and feet of Christ for whoever needs you.

I have a very close friend that attended the same church Steph and I did years ago. So many times I have called her or she has called me for different reasons. She is my prayer warrior and I try to be hers. Many times she has called me upset just needing someone to listen and pray with her. Many times I have needed the same and called her. Even though we are miles apart, we are dwelling in the house of the Lord, over a phone line. Many phone calls between us have ended in prayers for each other, for our needs, and for our families.

It’s so amazing when you see God answer those prayers shared over a  phone line when one of us needed more than we knew.

Psalms 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere


Day 21 – And I will

Last spring, we went up to Pigeon Forge for a few days. On this trip, I was able to do something with the boys that we had not done before. We rode GO KARTS!. We had a blast racing and bumping each other (yes I know you are not supposed to bump). Once we got home, I started watching youtube videos of go carts. The next thing you know, the boys and Steph give me an adult go kart of my own for my birthday!

Yes I know, I’m just a big kid at heart.

Continue reading “Day 21 – And I will”