faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Facing Discouragement

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

(2 Kings 6:16, NIV)

The King of Aram was determined to capture the nation of Israel. He set an ambush and waited for the king’s men. Israel’s troops showed up…but they weren’t surprised by the attack. They’d been prepared for it, and they fought valiantly.

This happened again and again. Finally, the King of Aram demanded to know which one of his troops was a spy for Israel. One soldier came forward to explain that the prophet, Elisha, was warning Israel about these planned ambushes.

So, the King of Aram decided that he needed to kill Elisha so his plans to ambush Israel would be successful. When he learned where Elisha was, he gathered his troops and surrounded the area.

The next morning, Elisha’s servant looked out the window. He was shocked to see so many troops and more than a little afraid. Elisha saw his servant’s discouragement and uttered a bold prayer.

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

(2 Kings 6:17, NIV)

When you’re facing discouragement, it can be easy to focus on what you see—the hard heart of your spouse, the deaf ears of your child, the cruelty of your parent. But just as there was a holy army around Elisha, there is one around you, too. You are not walking into the battle alone. You are backed by the “Lord of Heaven’s armies.”

God, sometimes, all I can see are obstacles and hardship. Open my eyes. Remind me again that You’re fighting this battle with me. You are present with me even now! In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Holy Delays

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”

(Isaiah 61:1, NIV)

Neil had been traveling for a work conference. He’d booked an early morning flight in the hopes that he’d be home with his wife in time for dinner. But due to an unpredictable weather system, his flight was changed.

Then he learned that he’d been bumped from his second flight. No matter what he said or did, Neil couldn’t seem to snag a spot. The airline offered to put him up in a hotel for the evening, but Neil declined. He really wanted to be with his family, so he waited.

Finally, around ten o’clock that evening, Neil boarded the plane. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the plane lift off. He was counting down the hours until he could be with his wife. 

When Neil glanced at the woman in the seat next to him, he realized she was reading one of his favorite books. They struck up a conversation about what books were on their summer reading list. Finally, Neil asked, “Why are you traveling so late? Did your flight get bumped too?”

“Oh no.” The woman gave him an embarrassed smile. “I just helped my daughter into a rehab center.”

Neil shared the story of his own son’s addiction. “Don’t give up. God set Jonathan free after years of addiction. He can do the same for your daughter, too.” 

Encountering delays can be frustrating. But sometimes, God orchestrates a delay so you can reach out to someone who’s struggling in darkness and desperately needs hope.

God, thank You for delays and setbacks! Everything serves Your purposes. The next time I’m delayed, let me remember this story and look for someone I can minister to. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Dwelling Place

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.”

(Psalm 90:1, NIV)

Harper lived in a small Southern town most of her life. When she graduated high school, her mother was ill. So, Harper decided on a college that she could commute to. In the evenings, she would come home to care for her mother and keep the household running.

Eventually, Harper’s mother recovered. As graduation loomed closer, Harper received several job offers. The most promising one was over two thousand miles away. She prayed over the decision and felt God was leading her to the city.

But a few days after the move, Harper called her mother in tears. Nothing was familiar. She missed her favorite spot under the oak tree and the sound of her siblings racing down the stairs. She couldn’t navigate public transportation as easily as she could her beloved country roads.

“You’re homesick,” her mother explained. “I know it’s scary right now. But God has placed you where you are for a reason. Trust Him in the middle of the unknown.” 

Sometimes, God calls us to places that are unfamiliar. These unfamiliar places can be physical like Harper’s was, or they can be spiritual or mental. When moments of homesickness arrive (and they will), remind yourself that God is your home. He’s holding onto you, and you’re safe in His arms.

God, I’m scared. This doesn’t look anything like I thought it would. I confess I want to run back to what’s familiar. Please help me to stand in this place, to remember that You’re my home and I’m not alone. Thank You for holding onto me. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Losing a Pet

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

(Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Joanna was diagnosed with Lupus several years ago. She was unable to work and had to apply for disability. Her grown daughters often came over to handle weekly tasks for their mom, like cleaning the house and doing laundry. They did grocery shopping for her and coordinated all of her medical appointments.

Still, both of her daughters were busy raising families of their own, so Joanna often found herself alone. But Joanna had the comfort of her poodle, Spunky. The small dog seemed to have a knack for knowing when Joanna needed comfort and often cuddled with her at just the right moment.

When Spunky passed away, Joanna was devastated. Her beloved pet had been her companion, comforter, and friend for years. He’d been there for her during some of the darkest moments of her life.

Losing a beloved animal can feel just as painful as losing a member of your family. One way to deal with your grief can be to do something to honor your pet’s memory. This could be in the form of a monthly donation to your local animal shelter, creating a special scrapbook for your pet, or planting a tree in memory. 

God, thank you for the time I had with {pet’s name}. Please comfort me in my grief and show me how I can honor the beloved friend You gave me. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Facing the Unexpected

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

(Matthew 6:7-8, NIV)

Becky was in the fourth grade when her father lost his job. He’d tried to stand against corruption in the company and been fired by his boss instead.

Although she was young, Becky was old enough to know her father was having trouble at work. During a family dinner, one of the older kids mentioned that Dad had been fired.

Becky dropped her fork to her plate and turned to her father. “What’s going to happen now?”

Her father glanced around the table at his worried children’s faces and quietly said, “What’s going to happen now is what will always happen—we’ll trust God, and He will provide for us.”

It can be jarring when the unexpected happens. You lose your job. Your child runs away from home. Your spouse walks out. Your parent suddenly dies. Now, you’re left feeling like Becky – scared and alone.

But just like Becky could trust her father’s words, you can trust your Heavenly Father to provide for your needs. 

God, give me strength when the unexpected happens. When I feel like I’m falling apart, hold me together with Your strength and grace. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Peace With Loss

“Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”

(Luke 24:31, NIV)

Aaron was twenty when his best friend was killed in a mugging gone wrong. He was devastated. He’d grown up with his friend and considered him the brother he’d never had. 

For a long time, Aaron walked around in a haze. He couldn’t understand how his friend could die so young. The two boys had often talked about all of the adventures they’d have together after college. They planned to go river rafting, attend the Olympics, and run a charity race.

He kept searching for answers, troubled when all he could come up with were more questions. What if he’d been there that night to protect his friend? What if his friend had taken a different path home instead? 

It wasn’t until Aaron was reading Luke 24 that he found comfort. The disciples had been grieving for their friend, too. They even spoke with Jesus without recognizing him.

As Aaron continued reading, he realized that Jesus had overcome death, and he would see his friend again. Aaron explains, “I doubt I’ll ever understand why, but I know that death doesn’t have the final word. My friend is at peace because Jesus overcame the power of the grave.”

God, when I grieve, help me to remember this is not the end. You are powerful over all things, including the grave. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ so I could know hope. In His name, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Never Alone

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

(Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

Kevin was seventeen when he heard the word “cancer.” Overnight, his world changed. Before the diagnosis, Kevin had worried about how he’d done on his math test, which college he should attend, and when he’d find a girlfriend.

Now, Kevin was facing very different concerns. Would he survive surgery to remove the tumor? Had the cancer spread? What treatment options would give him the best chance at survival?

Although Kevin had always been active in his church youth group, God suddenly felt far away. He felt like he’d been dropped into another country where he didn’t speak the language. Even though people were talking to him, he couldn’t hear what they were saying.

His boss from the pizza shop stopped to check on him. He said, “Kevin, I don’t know why this is happening to you and your family. I don’t have any words of wisdom to share with you. I just want you to know that God is still present…even in the middle of your darkness.”

God, when I’m surprised by bad news, please send me comfort and reassurance. Help me to remember that You’re still here and You’ll never leave me. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Stand Firm

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

(Psalm 40:1-2, NIV)

“It’s over.” The two words from her husband changed everything for Elizabeth. She tried to save her marriage. She begged her husband to reconsider. She sought advice from older women in her church who were married. She read marriage books by the dozens.

She prayed for her husband, spending hours in her closet. As a child of a broken home, the one thing Elizabeth had never wanted was a divorce.

But despite her prayers and her pleading, the divorce went through. It was finalized just four years after she’d gotten married. Elizabeth felt like a failure. She was heartbroken.

Sometimes, you can do everything right. You can read the right books. Attend the best seminars. Pray for miracles and still watch in agony as a loved one walks away from you.

When you’re grappling with loss, God can lift you out of the mire. It may take time before you feel like you’re back on solid ground. But rest assured that you are held in His perfect embrace, dear one. 

God, help me in the middle of loss to look to You. Pull me out of this darkness and set me back on solid ground. Hold onto me in the moments when I feel like everything’s falling apart. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Not Strong Enough

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

(Matthew 9:2, NIV)

Sharon’s life looked perfect on the outside. She was married to a godly man who loved her deeply. She had three beautiful, healthy children. She worked part-time in a job that she found fulfilling.

But still, Sharon couldn’t shake the depression that followed her around. She didn’t understand why she was depressed. She’d had a great childhood with loving parents. She’d never suffered any significant illnesses or diseases. 

Still, she struggled to get out of bed each morning. She felt guilty for being depressed. “You don’t have a real reason to be sad,” she reminded her reflection in the mirror.

One day, her husband gently suggested Sharon should see a counselor. 

“I feel like I should be strong enough to overcome this on my own,” Sharon said.

“You don’t have to be,” her husband responded. “Just like the paralyzed man needed people to carry him to Jesus, sometimes we need people to carry us. Let me help you. I’ll go with you to see the counselor and support you every step of the way.”

God, when I can’t do it on my own, send sweet friends and a loving community to wrap their arms around me. Let me feel their support and care each step of this journey. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Forgiving Injustice

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

(Luke 23:34, NIV)

One of the hardest parts of forgiving someone is coming to terms with the injustice of what’s happened. 

Maybe it was a car accident that took your ability to walk while the other driver wasn’t punished at all. Maybe it was the conniving woman who destroyed your marriage, and she now has a beautiful family. Maybe it was the illness that slowly stole your beloved parent from you.

Jesus knows how injustice feels. He knows the pain and agony of watching those who hurt Him. He’s cried as the paramedics cut you free from the crumpled car, sat in that waiting room with you, and watched as someone you once loved slowly disappeared before your eyes.

He knows because He’s been there. When no one stood up for Him, when He had no defender, when evil was determined to crush Him, He was alone. He felt utterly forsaken with no one to show Him any kindness.

And in that moment, His only thought was of you. He chose the pain, the shame, the abuse, the humiliation, the torture, the mocking. He endured it all so that He could welcome you into the kingdom, dear one.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

(Isaiah 53:4-5, NIV) 

God, in the middle of injustice, remind me again that I am not alone. That Jesus paid the ultimate price so that I could know peace and comfort, no matter what my circumstances are. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for what You’ve done for me. I will love and serve You forever. In Your matchless name, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Embrace Grace

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

(1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Amy Ford was nineteen when she discovered she was pregnant. She opted to abort the baby, but minutes before the procedure she fainted. She took it as a sign and canceled the abortion.

She decided she would keep the child and raise it as her own. She told her friends, family, and church about her decision. Some people chose to pull away from her, and she felt lonely during her pregnancy.

When the baby’s father proposed, Amy said yes. She was four months along when they made the decision. So she reached out to a pastor she knew and asked him to perform the ceremony.

But the pastor refused. He claimed he couldn’t bless a union like theirs because Amy and the baby’s father had sinned greatly.

Years later, the same pastor got in touch with Amy. He shared that his response to that situation had haunted him for years. He longed to make it right. 

He had seen Amy launch Embrace Grace, an organization dedicated to reaching out to mothers of unplanned pregnancies. So, the pastor invited her to speak to his congregation.

After her message, he stood up and publicly apologized. Amy and her family forgave the pastor, and now he’s a beloved mentor to their family.

It’s not easy when someone within the church hurts you. But healing and redemption are possible through the gift of forgiveness. 

God, when those in the church hurt, help me to repay them with a blessing. Give me the courage and strength to show grace. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Shown Mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

(Matthew 5:7, NIV)

Logan was in the kitchen, making his girls their school lunches when he heard the scream. He went running into their bedroom, prepared to face an intruder, huge insect, or other threat to his daughters.

Instead, what he found was Zoey, his five year old, tearfully trying to fix a book with a torn page. Also in the room was Scarlett, his six year old, who was very upset about the book. “Daddy, I told her. I told her to be careful.”

Logan knelt to examine the book and took it from Zoey’s hands. “This is something I can help with. It just needs tape. Scarlett, it’s not a big deal.”

Scarlett gestured to the page. “Yes, it is! This was a library book, and I let her borrow my card.” She sniffed. 

Logan sighed and set the book down. “Scarlett, do you know what mercy is?”

When she shook her head, he said, “It’s when you forgive somebody for hurting you. Even if they didn’t mean to. Zoe, did you do this on purpose?”

“I just wanted to look at it for a minute…I didn’t mean for it to happen. I’m sorry, really,” Zoey said quietly.

Logan grabbed tape and pieced the page together again. “God likes it when we show mercy toward each other. Scarlett, does that sound like something you’d like to try?”

Scarlett glanced from the book to her sister. “I want to…can I ask God to help me?” 

God, let me show mercy when someone else hurts me. But I can’t do it on my own. I need Your strength in order to forgive. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Eva’s Grandson

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19, NIV

Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when her family was sent to an Auschwitz concentration camp. Because she had a twin sister named Miriam, she and her sister were experimented on. 

Dr. Josef Mengele, known to many as the “Angel of Death,” would perform cruel and unusual medical operations. He was fascinated by twins, and they were often the subject of his torture. 

Often, Eva and her sister would be injected with various substances. One of these injections made Eva very sick. She heard Mengele claim that she would die shortly. That’s when she made a decision to prove him wrong and live in spite of her conditions.

After months of cruelty, Eva and her sister were rescued from the brutal camp. The girls eventually moved to Israel, where they finally felt safe for the first time in years.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Holocaust, Eva read aloud a letter of forgiveness that she’d written to the Nazis and those working with them. 

Rainer Höss heard of her letter and reached ohttps://amzn.to/3i0kQN5ut. He was the grandson of a top SS guard, and he wanted to meet her. The pair’s first meeting was at Auschwitz.

They stayed in touch and were friends until Eva died on July 4, 2019. Eva even described Rainer as her grandson, the two having adopted each other as family. 

God, help me to forgive those that have wronged me. Show me how to let go so I can live without hate or bitterness in my heart. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.


If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Secret Forgiveness

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

(Psalm 103:8, NIV)

Laura’s husband walked out on her to be with another woman. At first, Laura was devastated. She was an orphan and had no family other than her husband. “I felt like she took the one person who meant the whole world to me,” Laura said.

As the years passed, Laura healed from her husband’s betrayal. Eventually, God brought a new man into her life. When he asked her to marry him, she was delighted, and they began to plan for an autumn wedding.

Laura didn’t want to bring baggage from her past into her new marriage, so she reached out to her pastor. “I can truthfully say I’ve forgiven him and her,” she said. “It took a lot of work, but I bear them no malice. My question is, should I share the fact that I’ve forgiven them?”

Laura’s pastor said, “Forgiveness is about your heart, not theirs. If you say you’ve forgiven someone, and they haven’t sought you out, you risk offending the other party and opening yourself up to more emotional wounds. But if someone comes to you, confessing their sin and seeking forgiveness, then offer it freely and wish them the best.”

God, please show me if there’s someone who needs to hear that I forgive them. If they don’t, give me the peace to move on. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Loving Greatly

Simon was a religious leader living in Capernaum. He invited Jesus to dinner one night. Maybe he was intrigued by the thought of the Messiah. Maybe he hoped to catch him in some half-truth to prove that Jesus wasn’t who he said he was.

Whatever his reason, Simon extended the invitation, and Jesus accepted. During those times, it was customary for a host to offer water to cleanse the feet of his guests. 

The host would also kiss a guest and anoint his head with oil. These acts were done to show great love and honor toward a guest.

But Simon had done none of these things for Jesus. Instead, he had shown great dishonor and ignored his guest’s needs. So, a woman came forward. She was a sinner, a woman that many in that time considered to be unclean.

While she was attending to Jesus, those around her begin to make judgments. Maybe there were loud whispers, awkward stares, or lewd comments made. 

It was Jesus who defended her, saying:

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

(Luke 7:47, NIV)

When someone has been forgiven by God, and it changes their hearts, they love BIG. They choose to embrace grace, and they’re quick to honor Jesus in all things. 

God, help me to be someone who loves You and honors You, regardless of who’s around. Fill me up with Your love, and let me pour it into others that need Your grace. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

See also: A Look at What Happened Because of an Unnamed Woman in the Bible

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Brotherly Love

“But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”

(Genesis 33:4, NIV)

Esau and his younger brother, Jacob were twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. From the time they were in the womb into their adult years, they fought. The two had such distinct personalities that they were as different as night and day.

When he was hungry, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. He exchanged it for a bowl of stew. A temporary meal was what he traded for his heritage.

After time passed, Isaac aged. He was no longer able to see, and he knew his time on earth was growing short. He called for his older son, Esau, to prepare him a meal. And then he would bless him.

But Jacob disguised himself and claimed the blessing for himself. This enraged Esau, so Jacob fled to a distant country. For the next two decades, the brothers remained strangers. 

When Jacob went to return home, he heard that Esau was coming to greet him. He was terrified that his brother was planning to slaughter him and his family. So, he went humbly, bowing before his twin. 

Esau ignored the gifts and instead tackled Jacob in a hug. Together, they wept, and all was forgiven between the two. 

Do you have a sibling you need to forgive, or someone you long to reconcile with? Take a page out of Jacob’s book and pray over your reunion. 

God, You see what’s happened between me and (sibling’s name). I ask for healing and forgiveness over this situation. Please restore us to a loving relationship. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Welcome to the Table

“David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’”

(2 Samuel 9:1, NIV)

When David had finished uniting his kingdom and defending his country, he thought again of his beloved friend, Jonathan. Longing to show kindness in his friend’s memory, he calls for a search to be done. Does Jonathan have any family that he could look after?

After interviewing a few people, David discovers that Jonathan does still have some family left, a son by the name of Mephibosheth who was crippled in a fall when he was just a small child.

So, David orders for Mephibosheth and his son to be brought to him. Typically, new kings would completely destroy the family of the previous king. 

These executions would be carried out so that no one from the family would come to assassinate the newest king. That means that when David called for Mephibosheth, the crippled man was probably anxious. 

He expected a sword to greet him. Instead, he’s given a position of favor within the kingdom. In many ways, this is a story of what happens to Christians. Jesus rescues and restores us to a right relationship with Him, allowing us to dine at the table He’s preparing in Heaven. 

God, You have invited this beggar to eat at Your table and shown me kindness I don’t deserve. Thank You for Your amazing love. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Not Getting Even

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

(Genesis 50:20, NIV)

Joseph was one of the first victims of human trafficking. His jealous brothers sold him, and he was taken to be a servant in a foreign land. 

The fear he must have felt as he traveled to a strange country had to be overwhelming. But what could he do? Thousands of miles from home and without any money, he had no options.

So, Joseph became a servant. He worked hard, and it wasn’t long before other people began to notice. Because God was with him, Joseph quickly advanced to his master’s right hand man. He was in charge of everything Potiphar owned.

Potiphar’s wife took special notice of Joseph and began harassing him on the job. When he continued to decline her advances, the woman eventually claimed that Joseph had assaulted her.

Joseph was sent to prison without a trial or defender. But even there, God was with him, and Joseph prospered. Eventually, Joseph became the second most powerful man in Egypt, serving directly under the Pharaoh. 

Years later, Joseph’s brothers were worried about retaliation. They came to him promising to be his slaves, and Joseph was finally in a position to pay them back. He could have ordered them and their families to be executed. He could have sent them to prison for what they did.

This is his moment for retribution, but Joseph never takes it.

That’s a simple way to tell if you’ve forgiven someone. Ask yourself, “If I had the opportunity to repay someone for the evil they’ve done to me, would I take the chance?” 

God, let me be like Joseph, who never sought to hurt his brothers for the evil they’d inflicted on him. Instead, let me focus on You and Your plan to redeem this situation for Your glory and my good. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: From Death to Life

“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.”

(Psalm 79:9, NIV)

Mary Johnson was at work when she learned her son had been murdered. She struggled through the next few months including the trial of his killer, Oshea Israel. Oshea was just sixteen years old when he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

At the trial, Mary said she forgave Oshea. But she carried around anger and bitterness with her constantly. 

She struggled with feeling hate toward Oshea. That changed when she read a beautiful poem about two mothers who were grieving over the loss of their sons. One had lost her son to violence at the hand of the other one’s son.

The poem sparked in Mary a vision for an organization that could help heartbroken mothers who had lost a child. But she knew she needed to work on forgiving Oshea, so she reached out to him in prison.

When the two met together, they talked for over two hours. Mary offered forgiveness again, and before she left Oshea asked if he could give her a hug. As she walked out of the prison that day, Mary felt all of the hate and bitterness leave her body.

In 2010, when Oshea was released from prison, Mary threw him a party. The two now travel together and speak at events, sharing their story. Her organization is aptly named From Death to Life.

God, help me not to hang onto bitterness and hatred in my heart. I don’t want to drag this anger with me for the rest of my life. Help me to release this burden to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Show Mercy

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

(Matthew 18:33, NIV)

Chris was a wealthy man who owned a lot of real estate. He was a shrewd business owner, but he was also known to be a generous giver in his community.

On one cold January morning, Chris met with his financial manager. They talked for a while, then began to review his accounts. Chris quickly discovered that there was one account where he was owed a huge sum of money.

“Why haven’t you collected this amount yet?” Chris asked.

His manager pointed to a note in the file. “When I called this man, he told me his young daughter had just been diagnosed with a severe muscle disease. I know you’ve always been kind to those less fortunate, so I told him you’d review the account in a few months and you’d make a decision then.”

So, Chris had his financial manager arrange a meeting time for later that week. When Chris met the man, he brought up the account. 

The man began crying. He begged for more time. “Two weeks after my daughter’s diagnosis, I lost my job. My wife and I took our savings and used it to fund a few months of her treatment.”

Chris forgave the debt and agreed to allow the man and his family to live in the property for an additional six months rent-free. 

But a few weeks later, Chris heard the man was suing another person in small claims court over a few dollars. 

“How could you do this?” he asked his tenant. “Shouldn’t you have had mercy when you’ve been granted so much?”

God, help me when I’m tempted to deny mercy. Let me remember all of the times You’ve shown me grace and offer that same kindness to my fellow human beings. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Healing from Deep Wounds

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”

(Proverbs 10:12, NIV)

On the outside, they were the perfect family. But Annie knew better than most people that looks didn’t always tell the full story. Her father had served in the Vietnam War and had suffered a severe head injury that he’d never been treated for. 

But Annie and her siblings never knew that. They only knew a cruel man that would often erupt into violent rages. “All of us kids just tried to stay out of his way growing up.” 

It wasn’t until her mom’s death that Annie began to put the pieces together. “I came across some of my mom’s old journals and discovered the truth. She wrote about my dad and what a wonderful man he was before his injuries. It made me realize for the first time why she never left.”

Even with the journals that answered so many questions, Annie still carried a lot of pain. Then one day, a family friend called to say her dad was in the hospital.

Annie made the seven-hour drive to her father’s bedside to find a frail shadow of the man she’d once known. He’d suffered several strokes and didn’t seem aware of his surroundings. 

All of her siblings refused to visit their father, so Annie stayed by his side day and night. “Sitting there, I started reading to him. He’d always been such a big reader and halfway through a book, I started bawling. I realized that I forgave him, for the person he was and the person he could have been, for the pain and the sadness.”

Her dad finally passed away two days later, and Annie felt peaceful for the first time in decades. “It was incredible, really. I felt peace once I knew he was at peace. I think he’s with my mom in Heaven, and I imagine them going on picnics together, talking and laughing.”

God, family can leave some of the deepest wounds. Help me to be an agent of healing and forgiveness in my family. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!