Alphabet Faith Stories: Forgiving Fran

Change in one’s heart leads to forgiveness of others.

F: Forgiving Fran–Ephesians 4:32–“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of forgive(ness):

  • To cease to feel resentment against an offender
  • To give up resentment or claim to requietal
  • To grant forgiveness

Forgiveness phrases/thoughts:

  • Forgiveness makes you stronger
  • Forgiveness takes courage
  • Forgiveness is a gift
  • Forgiveness is freeing
  • Forgiveness changes you
  • Forgiveness helps let go of hate
  • Let it (forgiveness) teach you then “let it go”
  • Forgiveness according to Christianity

F: Forgiving Fran’s Story:

“Fran became a Christian at 15 years of age and accepted Christ into her life while attending a local church in her community. She began attending church regularly and joined the local church youth group and tried to participate in church functions as much as she was allowed. She also brought a number of her siblings to church as well.

Every Sunday one of the families in the church invited people to their home for dinner. They had four children near Fran’s age and asked her to join them for dinner after church. Fran’s parents were reluctant to allow her to go but finally gave in. This began a very long-time friendship with this particular family–but that is a story for another time.

Fran found herself talking more with the mother about her own family’s problems. They were role models and encouraged her to love and pray for her family. She did not have this in her home as her father was an alcoholic and verbally abusive to her brothers and sisters when he was drinking.

As the years went by, Fran fell in love with the oldest son and at the age of 20, they were married in the church where she found the Lord. Her parents attended the wedding, along with all of her siblings, even though there was a lot of tension between herself and her father.

Fran and her husband moved to a mid-western state where he finished his degrees while she worked for a church organization. She kept in contact with her family and many times Fran and her husband helped them with financial difficulties.

When they finally moved back to PA after a number of years, Fran’s family ended up living with them because her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. They had been living in Nebraska, so Fran and her husband went to bring them back to PA where her mother passed away in their home one month later. Her father continued to live with them and it was definitely a tense relationship between the two of them.

One evening, Fran and her father talked about the “past” and all of the things that had caused their broken relationship. She prayed with her father and asked forgiveness for her attitude toward him and he asked her to forgive him for any hurt he had caused her and everyone in the family. Three weeks later her father passed away.

Forgiveness began in Fran’s heart as she listened to her father’s story of when at the age of 19, he had accepted Jesus into his life but had, over many years, wandered away from his faith. She knew that she had to ask forgiveness not only from her father but also from her heavenly Father. That was the beginning of healing as a heavy weight was lifted off her shoulders.”

All of us have experienced at one time or another hurts caused by others and our first reaction is to “not forgive.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 that “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV) I believe that Jesus commands all of us to forgive one another.

Fran’s story was my story. I learned to forgive because my heavenly Father forgave me of my sin and wanted me to live my life fully for Him through His mercy and grace.

May the Lord bless you as you forgive others as well as yourself because God has forgiven you!



Alphabet Faith Stories: Effective Emily

A team works together

E: Effective Emily–II Peter 1:8–“For if you possess these qualities (goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love) in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Your Dictionary definition of Effective:

  • Having an effect; producing a result
  • Producing a definite or desired result; efficient
  • In effect; operative; active
  • Actual, not merely potential or theoretical
  • Making a striking impression; impressive
  • Equipped and ready for combat

Phrases often used with the word effective:

  • Effective actions need planning
  • The new policies have been effective
  • The students found the lesson to be effective
  • This is an effective tool to remove weeds
  • Effective teaching can be difficult

Effective Emily”s Story:

“Emily was a sixth grade teacher who taught a variety of subjects to her students. Today, however, she decided to teach them about “teamwork” and how important it is that they all work together as a team in order to achieve the results that were desired.

She began by dividing her students into two groups: the bears and the bobcats. The students were eager to see what type of game Miss Emily had for them, and they began to get excited as she explained the rules of soccer.

First, they all had to work together with everyone on their team; second they had to be considerate and kind to one another; and third they had to be happy for the winning team.

Everyone eagerly accepted the rules before they went outside to play soccer which was the one physical activity they all enjoyed playing on the playground. Captains were selected by Miss Emily, and they divided into two teams. Miss Emily had the captains shake hands before she blew the whistle to begin.

After the game began, Miss Emily noticed that two of the players on the same team were arguing with each other. As she approached them, she overheard one loudly say, “You could have made a point, but you slowed down.” The other team mate argued that “there was not enough open space for her to kick the ball toward the goal.” Miss Emily decided to pull the students aside to talk with them as the other students waited on the sidelines.

Miss Emily thought this would be a good time to go over the rules that were discussed and everyone had accepted before the game began. She readily saw that both students were not being kind to one another and not acting like a team player. As soon as she asked them about the rules, it was as though a “light bulb” went off and they both realized that they were not following the rules. They agreed that they could go back in the game and be a team player.

Both teams finished playing a great game and the score was tied. When Miss Emily talked about the outcome with her students, they were all pleased that they played a good game, did their best, and were able to learn about the importance of rules and being a good team player.

That day, Miss Emily felt impressed with her students’ attitudes and prayed that they would all be effective and fruitful not only in their educational endeavors but in living their lives for the Lord. After all, this was a Christian school and she felt herself fortunate that she was able to teach Godly principles as a teacher in her school setting.”

II Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (NIV) Let us all do our best and follow God’s commandments wherever He places us by allowing the Spirit to help us be effective in our daily living for Him.



Alphabet Faith Stories: Determined Debbie

Goal setting

D: Determined Debbie–I Corinthians 9:24-25–“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary dictionary for determination:

  • The resolving of a question by resolving or reasoning;
  • The act of deciding definitively or firmly;
  • Firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end (goal)

Common phrases used for the word determination:

  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way;
  • I will not rest until…;
  • There’s no stopping someone;
  • If it’s the last thing I do;
  • Won’t take no for an answer

Determined Debbie’s Story:

“From an early age, Debbie knew that she loved to run. She would run against anyone who would want to compete with her–family members and friends. She got so good at racing and winning that she was the first one everyone chose at school to be on their team.

As the years went by and Debbie was getting ready to graduate from high school, she was given an opportunity for a full athletic scholarship at one of the local colleges. She accepted this wonderful gift and upon graduation applied to be the head athletic director at her former high school. She was immediately hired and began at the beginning of a new school year.

During the number of years that Debbie was athletic director, she never waivered from teaching her students the importance of winning a race. However, she also taught them the importance of having a gracious attitude and doing their best no matter what the outcome. Pursuing a goal and a Godly purpose in their lives, plus a dedication to God’s will for themselves would help them with every decision that they had to make–school to attend, what job to accept, getting married, raising a family, etc.

Determination takes courage in pursuing your dreams. However, we need God’s help in order to reach the goals we have set for ourselves and to pray for his direction.

Romans 8:35-39 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (NIV)

Debbie lived out these principles in leading young people to set goals for themselves but with the help of God. She was able to teach them the importance of strength and courage to persevere and being steadfast in all things. God was their number one helper who would cheer them on to win the race for Him.”

Let us all continue to run the race that God has set before us by being an example of living our lives as role models for others to see Christ in us.



Alphabet Faith Stories: Compassionate Charlotte

First blossoms of Spring

C: Compassionate Charlotte. I Peter 3:8–“Finally, all of you live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word compassionate:

  • Having or showing compassion
  • Sympathetic
  • Granted to another due to distressing circumstances affecting an individual

Phrases used for compassion:

  • Compassionate friend
  • Compassionate smile
  • Compassionate leave of absence
  • Showed compassion (i.e. kindness, caring, and willingness to help others)

Compassionate Charlotte’s Story:

“Charlotte lived in a quiet neighborhood and knew her neighbors quite well. They had a Neighborhood Watch, yard sales, bake sales, holiday events, and numerous get togethers throughout the year. The neighborhood was always buzzing with the laughter of children playing together in the nearby park.

She knew the children by name, and they would often stop by while she was working in her garden and flowerbeds.

On one such occasion, she noticed that two of the children were not with the normal group. Charlotte asked one of the children where Ken and Judy were on this particular day. One of them said that they had not seen them for almost a week. Charlotte immediately wondered if the children were sick so she decided to stop by their house and check on them.

When her neighbor answered her door, Charlotte noticed that she had been crying but did not want to pry as to why. The neighbor proceeded to tell Charlotte that her husband’s company had cut back on employees and her husband had been laid off as well. They had been struggling to pay bills and put food on the table for the past two weeks.

Stunned, Charlotte asked if there was anything that the neighborhood could do for them. Shyly, the neighbor declined but thanked Charlotte for asking. Charlotte decided until she could think of a plan to help them, she immediately purchased some groceries and left them on the neighbor’s doorstep. Her neighbor opened the door, saw Charlotte, and then waved with a heartfelt gesture.

Since Charlotte was in charge of the Neighborhood Watch program, she decided that the entire neighborhood should get together and have a huge all-family yard sale, with the proceeds going to this family in need. She decided to contact all the neighbors and tell them about her idea. They immediately agreed to participate and decided on the date to have the yard sale.

Charlotte immediately made up flyers and began posting them around the neighborhood and in the downtown area. The response was overwhelming. She received several donations and everyone got busy sorting through things they wanted to donate.

The day of the event, they blocked off the street and people began arriving as early as 8 a.m. Food and drinks were set up under the pavilion and they ended up selling almost everything they had collected. At the end of the day when Charlotte and her friends tallied up the money, they had raised over $3,000 at the yard sale.

Charlotte and two of her neighbors went to Ken and Judy’s home and handed the money to their mother. She and her family had no idea that the yard sale and money they raised was for them. With tears in her eyes, she graciously thanked everyone for their hard work and said that the money would help them through this time until her husband began his new job next week.

As Charlotte and her neighbors walked back to their homes, they felt thankful that they had been able to help out a neighbor who was struggling and were praising God that her husband had found another job so quickly.”

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus uses a number of parables/stories to help his disciples understand various lessons that He wants them to learn. One such story is about the separation of the Sheep (right) and the Goats (left) which reiterates the meaning of compassion towards one another.

Matthew 25:35-36 says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothing and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”

For those who did not do these things, Matthew 25:41 says, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'” Matthew 25:46, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Charlotte showed the compassion for a neighbor in need and did her part with the help of her other neighbors to provide a financial need. When we bless someone else through our actions, God looks down and says, “Well done thou good and faithful/compassionate servant. I am well pleased.”

May we continue to show compassion and give help to those in need as God would have us to do.