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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

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!

Family Fun & Fitness, faith

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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Completely Faithful

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

(Hosea 3:1, NIV)

One of the most striking examples of forgiveness in Scripture is the story of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet living in Israel during a time of great unrest. 

The king on the throne frequently changed due to various assassinations. The Israelite people were being heavily taxed by another nation and lived in fear of being conquered.

But God had a message of hope and restoration for His people. That’s why He commanded Hosea to marry. But He didn’t want Hosea marrying just anyone. Instead, He instructed Hosea to wed a prostitute by the name of Gomer.

After being with Hosea for some time and bringing kids into their union, Gomer leaves Hosea. Hosea goes searching for and buys Gomer back so he can restore her to a right relationship with himself. 

This was done to illustrate that while Israel (and by extension those who love God) may be unfaithful at times, God (much like Hosea) is completely faithful. He loves you, even when you are far from Him, and there’s no price He won’t pay to bring you home.

God, You have stood with me through everything. You surround and protect me, caring for me always. Thank You for Your constant faithfulness! 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: A Beautiful Legacy

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” (Acts 13:38, NIV)

Steven McDonald was a police officer living in New York. He’d served in the military, and he was the third generation in his family to join the New York City Police Department. Not only was his career going well, but so was his personal life. Steven was a newlywed, and his wife was pregnant.

In July 1986, he was questioning a group of teenagers about a string of bicycle thefts. One of the suspects pulled a gun and fired three bullets at the cop, forever changing both of their lives.

One bullet struck Steven’s spine, instantly paralyzing him. Another went into his head, and the final one hit his throat, leaving him with a permanent speaking disability.

Amazingly, Steven forgave his attacker. He wrote letters to the teenager and encouraged him to turn his life around.

While most people would have lost all hope, Steven fought to help others. He worked as an inspirational speaker and motivator, visiting communities around the world to share his message.

Although he wasn’t able to work, Steven would still show up at the NYPD to encourage his brothers in blue. He also spent a lot of his time reaching out to cops who were injured in the line of duty. In January of 2017, Steven passed away following a heart attack. But he left behind a beautiful legacy.

God, help me to respond to hate with love and to cruelty with compassion. Let me be a living example of Your forgiveness and 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!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Love Covers All

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

(1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Nobuo Fujita was a Japanese aircraft pilot during World War II. One of his missions was to drop bombs over the coast of Oregon. After dropping two bombs, he flew back to his military base. 

Thankfully, the forest area where Nobuo dropped the bombs had an unusually wet season. The ground was saturated, and while one bomb sparked a fire it was easily contained and no one was injured.

Despite the fact that no one was hurt, Nobuo felt deep sorrow over what he’d done. So, he visited Brookings, Oregon, the town that was just miles from where he’d released those missiles.

When he arrived, Nobuo brought with him a samurai sword that had been in his family for centuries. He apologized for his actions and gifted the town with the sword. Despite some controversy, most of the townspeople welcomed Nobuo warmly.

Over the years, Nobuo would periodically return to Brookings. On one visit, he planted a tree where he’d dropped the bombs, as a symbol of peace and friendship.

The town continued to embrace Nobuo, and in 1997 he became an honorary citizen, proving that forgiveness can be stronger than hate. 

God, help me to demonstrate Your love by forgiving those who have wronged me. Let me welcome, with open arms, those that need my forgiveness. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encourageme

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: The Cost of Covering Up

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

(Psalm 32:5, NIV)

Sarah overcharged a client for a large project that her firm was handling. It was a mistake, but when she found it Sarah freaked out. She was still new at the company, and she worried she’d lose her job if anyone saw it.

So, Sarah rearranged numbers on one of her spreadsheets. She put the money into another fund and hoped that accounting wouldn’t look at the numbers too closely. 

When she left the office that night, she couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d done. She couldn’t eat that evening and had difficulty falling asleep. It was an honest mistake, she kept telling herself. 

Later that week, Sarah met her mentor for lunch. As the two women talked, Sarah eventually told her the whole truth. “I didn’t mean to do it, but now that I’ve covered it up I feel even worse. I keep a constant knot in my stomach.”

Her mentor nodded. “That stomachache is guilt eating at you. When you try to hide things, you make a situation worse.”

Sarah took a deep breath and asked the question that had been on her mind all week. “How do I make this right?”

Her mentor said, “Confess. First to God, then to your employer. It’s far better your boss hears about it from you instead of your client.”

God, help me when I’m tempted to hide my mistakes or sins. Give me the courage and integrity to tell the truth, no matter what. Help me to walk in honesty. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can con

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: The First Martyr

Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Acts 7:60, NIV)

Stephen was a Christian living shortly after the ascension of Jesus. Though little is known of his life, he first appears in Acts 6. At the time, some of the widows within the church were being neglected.

The apostles recommended that seven trustworthy men be chosen to distribute goods to the widows and care for them. Stephen was one of the seven chosen, and the writer of Acts notes that he was

“a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”

(Acts 6:5, NIV)

Stephen performed several signs and wonders among the people, most likely because of his close relationship with the Lord. Although others tried to debate his theology, Stephen was known for his wisdom.

Because he carried so much wisdom, some members of the early church were unhappy with him. They put him on trial, bringing his case before the Sanhedrin (or counsel).

Stephen eloquently defended his beliefs, but he was dragged outside. As his accusers began to throw rocks at him, Stephen looked to Heaven and called out for Jesus to receive his spirit.

Then he made a humble plea:

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” 

(Acts 7:60, NIV)

At that moment, most people would be tempted to make a different request. Perhaps, “Lord, avenge me,” or “Lord, deliver me.” But Stephen, knowing the full power of God, did not ask for vengeance or deliverance.

Instead, he accepted his death, and his final thought was not of himself but of those who were hurting him. What a beautiful testimony to his faith.

Jesus, when others are hurting me, help me not to focus on how I can get even. I long for others to come to know You, no matter what the cost is to me personally. 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: Carried to Jesus

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  

(Luke 5:20, NIV)

They called themselves The Three Musketeers as kids. Liam, Noah, and Jackson were friends since elementary school. They did everything together and were constantly playing pranks on each other. 

Instead of going their separate ways after high school graduation, they decided to rent an apartment together. But shortly after turning twenty, Liam became very ill. He had no family to look after him so Noah and Jackson took turns caring for him. 

They brought him to doctor after doctor. No one could explain why Liam had suddenly lost the ability to walk. Noah and Jackson suspected he had a neurological disease but neither knew enough to help their friend.

So, when they heard about a man named Jesus that was healing people, they decided to bring their friend. “Maybe this Jesus guy can help you, buddy,” Jackson said as he carefully loaded his friend into the back of his car.

Noah grinned. “Who knows? Maybe you’ll be running a marathon by this time tomorrow.”

But when Jackson and Noah arrived, they quickly saw the crowds were thronging Jesus. “There’s no way we’ll get close enough to get his attention,” Jackson said.

“Hold on, I have a crazy idea,” Noah said. The two men gathered a tarp from the trunk, made a makeshift gurney, and then carefully moved their sleeping friend. 

They climbed to the roof of the house where Jesus was and peeled away shingles until they had a large opening. Then they lowered their friend down until he was right in front of Jesus. Jesus not only forgave their friend, but He also healed him from his disease.

Sometimes, God sends people into our lives to help us seek His forgiveness. It might be a friend that prays for you faithfully, a parent that won’t give up on you, or a sibling who always has your back.

Thank You for the friends that carried me when I’ve been hurt, God. Let me return that kindness and carry someone else to You when they need it. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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

3o Days of Forgiveness in June: Loving Boundaries

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”

(Psalm 86:5, NIV)

Mary grew up with an alcoholic father. “When he wasn’t drinking, he was a good father. But as I got older, the times when he was sober became fewer.” 

By the time Mary graduated from high school, her father was rarely sober. “He wasn’t physically abusive. He’d just yell and carry on about everything. Anything could set him off,” Mary explains.

For years, Mary struggled with the concept of forgiveness. Then one day, she was having dinner with her friend Shannon when the topic came up. Because Shannon was a dear friend that she trusted not to gossip, Mary shared her past with her. 

“He’s not a bad person. He’d like to see his grandkids. I know I’m supposed to forgive and forget. I just don’t want him to damage my kids the way he damaged me and my siblings.” 

Shannon listened as Mary shared her heart. Then she said, “We’re not commanded to automatically forget someone’s actions. 

“As children of God, we are called to forgive. But it’s also wise to be aware of how your father affected you and how he might affect your children. You can set boundaries to protect yourself and your kids, such as not visiting your dad when he’s drunk. It’s healthy to set loving limits in your relationships.”

God, help me to set healthy boundaries with the people I’ve forgiven. I want to be kind, but I also know You don’t want me to be a doormat. Help me to stand up for myself and shine Your love at the same time. 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: Welcome Home

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”

(Luke 15:13, NIV)

Jordyn was the daughter of a wealthy businessman. One day, she approached her father and demanded her portion of her inheritance. She wanted to live it up while she was still young, she told him. 

Though her father’s heart was saddened by his daughter’s decision, he still gave her the value of her inheritance. He texted her each day she was gone, hoping for a reply. He followed some of her antics in gossip magazines, watching as she seemed to morph into a different person.

One morning when he texted Jordyn, he was surprised to receive a reply. It was short and got his attention instantly: I messed up, Daddy. I know that now. Can I come home?

With shaky hands, her father texted her back: Yes.

When Jordyn told the taxi cab driver to turn down her street, she couldn’t believe what she saw. There, on the front lawn was the biggest party she’d ever seen. As she stepped out of the cab, her father rushed to embrace her. 

Jordyn sniffed and stepped back, “Who are you throwing a party for?”

Her father gave her a watery smile, “It’s for you, baby girl. Welcome home!” 

It can be tempting to believe that you’ve gone too far to be redeemed. But you don’t have to hide out. Your Heavenly Father is waiting to welcome you home, beloved!

God, thank You for Your grace! When others discover Your love, let me be the first to join the welcoming committee! In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen. 

Will Sin Make You Lose Your Relationship with God?

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: The Love Itself

“Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

(Matthew 6:11-12, NIV)

Corrie Ten Boom was a watchmaker living in Haarlem, Holland. She was a devout Christian, and when the Nazis invaded her country she longed to stand up for the Jews who were being targeted.

She devised a plan to help Jews escape from Holland. Since she was a watchmaker, her family’s tiny watch shop provided the perfect cover because people could come and go throughout the day without suspicion. 

When Jews looking for refuge came to her store, she would guide them to her family’s home on the second floor. There, in a bedroom, was a hidden closet that could hold six people at a time. If there were inspections, Corrie would sound a warning buzzer throughout the house, giving the refugees time to hide.

But Corrie and her family were betrayed. She was sentenced to a concentration camp with her sister. After months of being in the prison, Corrie was released due to a clerical error.

Years later, when she was sharing messages of God’s forgiveness at a church, a man approached her whom she recognized. He had been a guard at the camp where Corrie was imprisoned. He greeted her and held out his hand.

In that moment, Corrie struggled with what to do. She sent up a prayer but couldn’t move a muscle. So, she prayed again, asking for the strength to forgive. She described the moment in her book, The Hiding Place:

“As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. 

“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness, that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

God, give me the strength to forgive my enemies. Grant me the love I need to fulfill Your command. 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!