Your Life Can Display God’s Power By: Tracie Miles

Your Life Can Display God’s Power TRACIE MILES

“‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.’” John 9:3 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered why God allows you to suffer? Was it something you did wrong? Or was someone else at fault? We want to find someone to blame, especially when so much bad happens in our world.

I struggle with these thoughts as well, but years ago God’s Word helped me see a different perspective. Jesus’ disciples had these same questions, and John chapter 9 records Jesus’ interesting response.

Jesus and His disciples were walking through the streets of a city when they encountered a blind man. One of the disciples asked Jesus why the man was blind: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’” (John 9:1-2, NLT)

Jesus lovingly put their confusion to rest with today’s key verse, “‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’” (John 9:3).

I imagine the disciples standing there, looking perplexed by Jesus’ answer. How could this man’s blindness display the power of God? How could this physical infirmity bring glory to God? How could his life serve a higher purpose?

The passage continues, “Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, ‘Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam’ (Siloam means ‘sent’). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!” (John 9:6-7, NLT)

The blind man’s sight was completely healed, but notice that his healing wasn’t immediate. He wasn’t healed when Jesus spat on the mud and smeared it on his eyes, but only after he obeyed what Jesus instructed him to do.

The blind man was healed when he chose to obey the command of Jesus to “go.” Without questioning or hesitating, the man went and his obedience resulted in not only healing, but discovering a holy purpose from his pain.

Like many, this man had been suffering with undeserved physical and emotional challenges for decades. He may have lived his entire life feeling inferior, unloved, rejected, excluded and possibly believing he had no purpose. He may have also assumed his past and his current limitations rendered him useless. After all, he didn’t have any special skills or qualifications … or even eyesight.

But here stood Jesus, telling everyone this man’s life could serve as proof of the power of God. But it only happened because of obedience.

Unlike the blind man in this story, we often talk ourselves out of obedience, rather than trusting and obeying God’s command to “go.” But when we walk in faith, even when we don’t feel ready and have to push through our doubts, fears and hesitations, true healing and purpose can begin to take shape in our hearts and lives.

We don’t always get answers to why something happened. But regardless of our circumstances or our limitations, when we choose to take a leap of faith, we too can experience true spiritual healing and see a new perspective about our past for the very first time.

What a wonderful world this would be if we all caught a glimpse of how God wants to turn our pain into purpose and use our lives as proof of His power.

Lord, I want my life to serve as proof of Your goodness. Fill me with courage and motivation to go and share with others what You have done for me. Show me how You can turn my pain into purpose and make my life count for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

Psalm 119:60, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” (NIV)

Unwanted Change in Your Life By: Kristen Strong

SEPTEMBER 15, 2015

Unwanted Change in Your Life KRISTEN STRONG

“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you …’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.” Genesis 12:1-2a, 4a (NIV)

I stand in the kitchen, lost in the rhythm of dinner preparation, while singing with a tune sauntering from the radio. Suddenly, an offbeat percussion noise invades my peaceful space as it bounces around the house. I quickly move to the window to see if it’s what I think it is. Sure enough, nickel-sized hail pings everything, like a drumbeat set to the tune of destruction.

I fly out the door to bring my potted plants toward protection. But it’s not ‘til the storm leaves and the hail melts that I see the full extent of the damage.

Flourishing flowerbeds have been reduced to flower shrapnel. The potted arrangements fared better because I brought them in mid-storm, but many petunia and geranium stems stand stark naked, their foliage in limp piles on the Miracle-Gro dirt.

Commence yours truly throwing a fit big enough to make any toddler proud. I stomp my feet and shout, “It’ll take a miracle to get these flowers back to the way they were!”

This is one change I could do without.

If you’re like me and have spent much of life viewing unwanted change with crossed arms and stomping feet, you might see it like a devastating hailstorm. Just when your life is settled and moving along well, something comes along and damages much that is beautiful within it.

The man who was supposed to stay, left. The place that was “home,” is no longer your address. The boss you showed your best work to, showed you the door.

A monumental moment fell into your life, and it stands like a stone in your pathway blocking your contentment. Within the darkness of your fears, you think, “It’ll take a miracle to get things back to the way they were.”

As a longtime Air Force wife, my life played to the soundtrack of change. Just when I got used to something — our location, local friends, my husband’s schedule — things would be shaken and rearranged, and I’d have to get used to something different. I spent years fighting this reality until one day I felt the Lord ask me to change my prayers from God, remove this change from my life to a new perspective:God, remove my attitude toward this change.

Sometimes, a girl has to find a new song to sing. I needed new lyrics to redirect my attention from my fears to the faithful promises of God, like the one found in Genesis.

In Genesis 12, when God asks Abram to leave his home for a new, unfamiliar land, He gave Abram a promise to hold onto during the weary transition. A promise to bless Abram through the change. And you know what? God does the same for you and me as He did for Abram.

If God is sending you to a new place, He’s sending you with a promise of blessing.

Perhaps the best thing you and I can do is, like Abram, obey God by leaning into the change rather than fighting it.

Whether you experience transition under your feet, in your heart, or both, the Lord is using it for you, not against you. He is bringing you to a new place for the purpose of blessing you. We can trust change is not a life hindrance, but a life occurrence acting as a stepping-stone toward God’s best for us.

It’s more than OK to mourn the loss change brings. But as we do, may we also remember that change is not the end. A new song, sung to the tune of God’s promises and to the steady rhythm of His grace, is the blessing to find as a result.

Dear Father, thank You that while unwanted change is a surprise to me, it’s not a surprise to You. Thank You for being my safe place where I can share my fears about this change. Help me to believe that if You’re allowing something I never fathomed into my life, it’s because You’re working something unfathomably good for me through it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 9:33, “God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, ‘I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’” (NLT)

Galatians 3:29, “And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (NLT)

Forgiving the Unforgiveable By: Sharon Jaynes

Forgiving the Unforgivable Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Trish Campbell’s life was bursting with promise. It was Friday, June 27, and her son, Wayne, was home from Camden South Carolina Military Academy. The 16-year-old cadet had just received his driver’s license and a new truck. In just four days, Trish would be marrying Teddy and then honeymooning on an Alaskan cruise. Life was good.

Wayne had plans to spend the weekend with one of his best friends from the Academy, Karl. Karl had recently graduated from Camden and was scheduled to start classes at The Citadel in the fall. He was an “A” student and graduated second in his class at Camden. He was president of the honor society and the fine arts club, lieutenant governor of the key club for North and South Carolina, captain of the soccer and wrestling teams, and company commander to 65 cadets in his senior year.

Trish liked Karl. He was outgoing, polite, and seemed responsible. She also trusted his parents. His father was a pastor at a large church, and his mother was a former school board member.

Trish didn’t feel comfortable with Wayne driving his new truck out of town in rush hour traffic to Karl’s, so she rode along with him as her fiancée followed behind to bring her back home.

“I love you,” she said repeatedly before leaving Wayne at Karl’s home.

“I love you too, Mom,” he replied as he hugged her several times.

What Trish didn’t know was that the boys had a secret. Nineteen-year-old Karl and his friends had planned a party. They had the place—a nearby field. They had an alibi—a lie that they were spending the night with a friend. They had a keg of beer—purchased by an older boy.

Around midnight Karl and his best friend, Wayne, jumped into a Jeep. Karl was at the wheel. About a quarter of a mile from the party, Karl’s Jeep drifted left. He overcorrected and cut a hard right, then back to the left. The Jeep and the driver were out of control. The right-side tires blew and the rims dug into the road. Then the Jeep flipped and ejected Wayne about 50 feet onto the pavement. Karl’s upper lip was torn and hanging, but he still did not understand the gravity of the situation. For the first time he realized he might be drunk.

The tranquility of the early Sunday morning was pierced by sirens, the swooshing of a rescue helicopter, and wailing of young adults. As the helicopter airlifted Wayne to the hospital, Karl rode in the ambulance. But Wayne never left the hospital. Six days after he had arrived, Wayne Campbell, the only son of Trish Campbell, died.

Several months later, Karl had his day in court, facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter and possible prison time. One by one, men and women stood and testified on Karl’s behalf—his soccer coach, his teachers, and his Sunday school teacher. After the prosecutor presented his case, Trish, asked if she could address the court. Permission was granted.

“My son and Karl went to school together and were best friends,” Trish began. “I love this boy like my own child. It’snot my wish that he should serve prison time. I understand that he will have some type of punishment, and I accept that. But I know Karl is truly remorseful and never intended for this to happen.

“I am a sinner, and God sent His only Son to save me and forgive me of my sins. I’m not worthy of that forgiveness. So why wouldn’t I forgive Karl?”

Those who stood by to hear and see the interaction were startled at such forgiveness and grace pouring from this woman. It was not human, but divine.

I know this family. I lived this story. My heart breaks even now thinking of precious Karl and the pain he has had to suffer for one bad choice. But you know what? We all make bad choices every day. His came at a very high price.

I see myself in Karl. No, I haven’t been convicted of involuntary manslaughter while driving impaired, but I’ve done other things that have been detrimental to people’s souls…and to my own. And then I see Wayne’s mother approach the bench on Karl’s behalf. I see Jesus approach the bench on my behalf.

“Judge,” He would say. “I love this woman like she is my own…sheis my own. I know she will suffer consequences here on earth for the poor choices she has made, but I do not want her to serve any jail time. I ask that You extend mercy and grace to this woman—that You commute her sentence and set her free.”

Then the gavel comes down and the Judge announces to the court, “No jail time. She’s free.”

How about you? Have you accepted God’s grace and forgiveness in your life? Is there someone you need to forgive today?

Let’s Pray

Dear God, thank You for forgiving me and wiping my slate clean. Help me to show that same mercy and grace to others as I forgive quickly and completely.

In Jesus’ Name,


A Spiritual Detox By: Mary Southerland

A Spiritual Detox Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).

Friend to Friend

When my husband was a church pastor in South Florida, one of our favorite traditions was the Thanksgiving Day breakfast. Even our kids got in on the action. We woke while it was still dark and headed to the church to help dozens of volunteers prepare pancakes, bacon, eggs … the works. After breakfast, Dan shared a brief message and everyone headed home to enjoy the rest of their holiday.

Then the cleanup began. We all shifted into high gear, breaking down tables, washing dishes and getting the buildings ready for the weekend services. The kids quickly completed their assigned tasks and disappeared to play until it was time to head home.

I was finishing up in the kitchen when our daughter came running in, crying and holding a paper towel over her eye. “What happened, honey?” I asked. “I don’t know, Mom. We were playing and something flew in my eye. It really hurts!” she cried. I looked at our son who explained, “We were having a mulch war and Danna got some in her eye.” Since I wear contacts, I always carry saline solution and thought that would take care of the problem. I couldn’t see anything in Danna’s eye, but after washing it out, she said it felt better. As the day wore on, it was obvious that something was still in her eye as the pain increased and her eye began to swell. We called a friend who is an optometrist. He dropped by to take a look at Danna’s eye. After a quick exam he said, “She does have something in her eye, but I’ll need to see her in my office to remove it.” He applied numbing drops, an eye patch, and said he would meet us at his office in the morning. Even though I still couldn’t see anything in our daughter’s eye, I knew it was there.

When we arrived at the doctor’s office, he went to work and within seconds handed me a tiny speck of mulch nestled on a tissue. I could barely see it. But Danna blinked a couple of times and grinned. “It doesn’t hurt any more.” I remember wondering how something so small could cause so much pain.

Sin is like that. We may view it as nothing more than a little lie or an insignificant transgression, but it was enough to send Jesus to the cross. If we refuse to deal with sin, it will cause great pain and damage in our lives.

The word “sin” comes from an old archery term that means to “miss the bull’s-eye” or anything other than the dead center of the target. When sin is not confessed, it is a slow but steady drain that sucks the life out of us. Sin erects a wall between the Father and us. We have to get rid of that sin and eliminate the spiritual garbage in our lives if we really want to be free in Christ.

We are not perfect – just forgiven. To experience that forgiveness fully, we need to constantly eliminate the spiritual junk in our lives. I call it a spiritual detox.

One of my favorite spiritual disciplines to get rid of sin is to use what I call a Sin Sheet.

I take a blank sheet of paper – or two. I pray and ask God to help me remember any sin I need to confess.

I then write down every sin that comes to mind on that sheet of paper. And I do not mince words. If I have lied, I write, “I am a liar because I lied to Sally.” When no more sins come to mind, I confess each sin one-by-one. If that sin is between God and me, I then mark through it with a permanent marker. Done.

If I have sinned against someone, I must not only confess the sin to God, but I must also make it right with the person I have sinned against. Yep! I must go to them and ask their forgiveness.

I know. It is hard. But in order to be right with God, we must also be right with each other.

Repentance literally means to change your mind, turn your back, and walk away from sin. Because we are frail humans, chances are we will commit that sin again. Thank goodness for God’s mercy and grace, and for His unending love and forgiveness.

Confession is not for God to find out something He already knows. Confession is for us to be made whole and fit because we have dealt with the sin. It is for us to eliminate the junk in our lives. It is our spiritual detox and the starting place for a powerful life of freedom.

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today, asking Your forgiveness for the sins in my life. I choose today to turn away from those sins. I accept Your forgiveness and praise You for the love and mercy You so freely offer. Please help me eliminate these sins from my life.

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Spend some time alone today with God in prayer. Complete a Sin Sheet and celebrate God’s forgiveness and love. Read 1 John 1:8-9 aloud and claim these promises from God in your life.

I Need Help By: Nicki Koziarz



“When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it. Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.” Exodus 17:12 (HSCB)

We were sitting in gray chairs next to white walls, listening to the hum of the air-conditioning unit. My legs crossed. His arms folded.

The memories of 12 years of arguments flashed before my eyes. The pride, the anger, the selfishness, the cold silence.

How does happily ever after end up like this? And when did we decide we couldn’t ask for help?

I know how and when. It happened when we decided to stuff our feelings and put Band-Aids over deep wounds because it seemed more visually appealing than an exposed injury.

Years had passed, and we kept going until neither of us could take it any longer.

And now we sit in these gray chairs next to these white walls. Our last effort. The words I couldn’t say all those years before spill from my lips … “We just need help.”

Help is offered, and I can finally breathe again. It was almost too late …

A few days later, I got one of those early morning phone calls. The kind of early morning call you know once you answer, your life will never be the same. An attempted suicide from someone close.

A soul who also wasn’t able to say, “I need help.” And I’m troubled by another almost too late cry for help I had no idea was being stifled.

Each day we pass by people who, like Moses, are becoming incredibly weary.

Moses was in the midst of a battle for the Lord. With the staff of God in his hand, he noticed that each time he let his arms down, the enemy advanced. But each time he held his arms up, the Israelite army advanced.

Moses had to keep his arms up for the victory, but he eventually grew weary and couldn’t do it on his own. Two people came alongside Moses to hold up his arms for just a little longer, and the Israelites defeated the Amalekites.

Two things challenge me from this story:

  1. The ability to say, “I just need help.”

The Bible doesn’t say Moses asked for help, but I imagine he did — either verbally or with a “Come here, come quick!” look or motion with his head. Contrary to what my soul screams, these are not words of weakness, but rather strength. They mean I’m not ready to give up: I want to keep going. I just need a little help. Vulnerability is one of the first things we look for in other people but the last thing we are willing to show ourselves.

  1. The ability to see those around me who need me to help hold up their arms.

Maybe one of the greatest prayers we can pray is to ask God to show us who it is that needs help … our help. Sure it’s risky to stand beside people who are ready to give up, but I believe this is one of the greatest opportunities for our own personal growth. Compassion is a powerful form of strength.

I want to be a woman who lives to see victory in others and myself. When my arms feel heavy, I want to ask for help. And when I see others’ arms falling, I want to quickly look for stones I can place under them.

Dear God, help us to be willing to say those words, “I need help” more freely in our lives … to You, and to others. Thank You for the grace You have given us through Jesus for today, tomorrow and the days to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (ESV)

You ARE Accepted By: Jennifer Rothschild

You are Accepted Jennifer Rothschild

“… to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6 (NKJV)

Several years ago, my friend Lisa was going through a crafty phase and wanted to make a piece of word art for me. So, she texted this question: “If one word could become a reality in your life, what would it be?”

Girl, this took me awhile! The one word that kept coming to mind was “accepted,” but I was too embarrassed to admit that feeling accepted was what I really longed for.

I was a Christian, so I knew God accepted and loved me unconditionally. Wasn’t that already a reality in my life?

The reality was, I was afraid God accepted everyone but me.

In pondering my one word, God began to show me that I associated my performance with my acceptability.

Here’s what I (wrongly) believed: If I am good, I am acceptable. If I help people … if I am a blessing instead of a burden … well, then I am accepted. But, if I fail, blow it or mess up, then I feel like a reject — not acceptable to me, not to others and certainly not to God.

My skewed belief was I was acceptable only when I was at the top of my game or in the center of God’s will. Clearly, I had not truly embraced my identity in Christ because acceptance is what I already have.

So, I texted Lisa back with my one word that I needed to embrace and believe: accepted.

Lisa’s gift showed up in the mail a week later. It was a wooden ledge with the Scrabble letters A-C-C-E-P-T-E-D glued on it. This is a treasure to me because it is a constant reminder to see what I already have in God rather than seek it in the wrong ways and places.

Lots of us struggle with trusting the truth that we’re acceptable to and accepted by God. We are accepted not because of what we do or don’t do; we are accepted not because of how we succeed or if we’re good. We are accepted not because of who we are, but because of who God is.

God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and to as many as receive Him, He gives the power to be sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). Talk about accepted!!

We are not only accepted “in” the beloved, we are accepted “by” the Beloved Himself!

My Scrabble word “accepted” reminds me I already have what I want. When I am feeling less than acceptable, I hold it in my hand, wrap my fingers around it and the truth it represents, and tell myself, “This is what God gave me. This is who I am.”

Can you take that truth in?

If you feel invisible, it may be because, deep down, you never really embraced the truth about yourself — that you are accepted by God, admired by Him and have His full and unconditional love.

Just like Lisa glued the word “accepted” to a Scrabble ledge for me, ask God to glue the word “accepted” to your heart so that, with every heartbeat, this truth is reinforced and becomes woven into the very fiber of your being.

Oh my friend, you are accepted by God. That is your reality.

When you accepted Christ, He accepted you. You may sometimes feel rejected, but how you feel is not who you are! You are acceptable, accepted — no exceptions!

Lord, please write this truth on my heart. Help me trust what You say about me more than I trust how I may feel about myself. Protect me from the lies that tell me I am what I do or how I feel. Thank You for accepting and loving me without conditions. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Hosea 2:19-20, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.” (NASB)

Do You Have What You Want or Want What You Have? By: Sharon Jaynes

Do You Have What You Want or Want What You Have? Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need (Psalm 23:1 NLT).

Friend to Friend

Flutter. Flutter. Bang! Flutter. Flutter. Bang! Momma and Papa Bluebird danced in front of our sunroom windows, trying frantically to break through the glass barrier. Time and time again they banged their feathered heads against the panes. What were they pursuing? Where were they trying to go? What had caught their eye? Why were they so persistent? I wanted desperately to help them solve their dilemma, but I couldn’t figure out what the dilemma was.

After three days of this featherbrained, frenzied activity, I decided to put myself in their position, get a bird’s-eye view, and examine the situation from their perspective. I stepped out onto the patio, stood in front of the windows, and there it was. In the reflection of the glass was mirrored their birdhouse, some thirty feet behind me.

Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird’s lovely cedar-shingled home with decorative finial, sat on a tall pole nestled under the protective branches of an old oak tree. Their bed and breakfast came equipped with an adjoining spa—a concrete birdbath surrounded by fragrant rosebushes bursting with red blossoms. But instead of being satisfied with their high-rise estate, they were banging their heads against the pane striving for a mirage—a mere reflection.

Amazingly, a few times they turned around, soared to their home, and crawled through its opening for a reprieve. But before long, they were dive bombing into the glass again, trying to gain entrance into an illusion of something better.

This made me think of my own life and the many times I go flutter, flutter, bang—flutter, flutter, bang—striving for something that is just a cheap imitation of God’s perfect provision for my life.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans that I have for you, to prosper you, and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”

And yet I argue, “Yeah, I know that God. I know you’ve provided me with this home and this job and with this wonderful life. But, well, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or anything, but I reaaaaly would be happy if you’d give me a house like Mary’s over there. And you know Beth? Well I reaaaaly would be happy if you made me a Bible teacher like she is. And you know Teresa? If I could just be as sweet as she is, I’d be satisfied. Then there’s Laura. Now God, she has the prettiest silky hair. Could I just have hair like hers? Don’t get me wrong, Lord. I do appreciate you given me hair, but if I could just have…………….”

Well, you get the picture.

Flutter. Flutter. Bang! Flutter. Flutter. Bang!

The banging birds may have knocked themselves silly, but they also knocked some sense into my hard head. God has provided me with everything I need. As the psalmist wrote, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1 NLT).

I can flutter about looking at the mirage of happiness in other people’s windows, or I can nestle down in contentment and not get my feathers ruffled trying to get more. The way to keep from fluttering around from one mirage of happiness to the other is to stay close to home and be satisfied with my own nest, my own feathers, and my own chicks.

I’ve learned that I’m most content when I’m at home in the Father’s will, nestled in His protective branches, and nurtured by His Living water.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me when I complain about what I don’t have and when I am not thankful for what I do have. Thank You for being my Shepherd who has given me everything I need. I love you so much.

In Jesus’ Name,