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Jun 25 18

Restore Me to Full Health

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health.”  Psalm 41:3 ESV

   Earlier this year, the Lord showed me some new translations of the Scripture above in Psalm 41.  And He challenged me to believe Him for a total restoration of my health.  At the time, I was suffering from some serious knee problems, and I was earnestly seeking Him for wisdom and healing.  If I were to be honest, I’d have to tell you that part of me thought that I should just resign myself to a certain amount of knee problems as I got older.  But, thankfully, another part of me – the spirit part of me that believes God’s Word is Truth – was determined to trust God for a full recovery.

   I decided to lay hold of the Lord’s promise to “restore [me] to FULL health.” (Psalm 41:3 ESV)  And every day for the next few months, I declared, “The Lord is restoring me to full health!”  And, “Thank You, Lord, for restoring me to full health!”  I prayed for wisdom for my healing, along with my declarations, and I continued to keep my regular appointments with my doctors, including my chiropractor.  I took over-the-counter pain meds if I needed them.  And I kept reminding the Lord that I was counting on HIM to heal me, knowing that without His involvement, all the doctors and meds in the world wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans.

   As my knees began to improve, I thanked God for every bit of progress I was making.  When my knees were about 50% better, I was tempted to settle for just that much healing.  But the Holy Spirit wasn’t about to let me stop there.  He kept reminding me that I was believing Him for FULL health, and that I had asked the Lord to “COMPLETELY heal [me]” (NET).  So I kept believing.  And several months later, I am thanking and praising God that my knees are 100% better.

   Now I am praying and standing on Psalm 41:3 for OTHER healings that I need.  I am also claiming this promise for my loved ones.  And I am sharing all this with you today in order to help you understand that our God is a healing God, and He loves to hear us pray for healing for our spirits, souls, minds, emotions, and bodies.  Whether our affliction is a minor pimple or a major illness, we have the privilege of asking for His healing touch.  If we ask Him to lead us along His perfect pathway of healing and wholeness, He will let us know if we need to see a doctor or therapist, or to take a supplement or medication.  And if we will follow His lead and keep our eyes on Him – and not on our symptoms or our circumstances – He will show us how to walk in the very best health we can while we are on this earth.  Are YOU prepared to ask the Lord to restore you to “full health” today?

   Lord, I long for Your healing touch today.  I choose to believe that Your Word is true, and that You delight in healing Your devoted ones.  Teach me how to search out Your healing promises, and to pray and stand on them for all of my healing needs.  Increase my faith to believe Your promises that seem too good to be true.  Fill me with patience to wait on You for my healing when it takes longer than I would like it to, and never allow me to lose hope.  Thank You that as I diligently seek You and Your guidance in these matters, You will lead me along Your perfect pathway of healing and wholeness!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

   *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

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   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

Jun 17 18

Stop Mixing Worry with the Word

by J. M. Farro

   “We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith.”  Hebrews 4:2 MSG

   During my quiet time with the Lord recently, I asked Him why a certain promise I had been standing on for a long time had still not come to pass.  As I listened for His still, small voice, I sensed Him saying to me, “Stop mixing worry with My Word.”  He led me to a passage in Scripture where Jesus talks about sowing the Word of God into our hearts and lives.  “Then the cares and anxieties of the world…creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMP)  There it was as clear as day – our cares and anxieties have the potential to neutralize the effectiveness of the Word of God in our lives and circumstances.  Suddenly, I understood the importance of Peter’s instructions to us when he wrote:  “[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on [God], for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP)  This is no warm and fuzzy verse to simply comfort us in hard times.  It’s an admonition from the Lord to refuse to try to handle our own burdens and concerns, so that we can receive the most benefit from His Word and promises in every situation we face.  In some cases, heeding this warning can make the difference between victory and defeat, safety and destruction, and even life and death.

   The Bible talks about the failure of the Israelites during their desert wanderings to benefit from the promises of God.  Hebrews 4:2 (NKJV) says:  “But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”  God had a promise of rest for His people, but it didn’t do them any good because they failed to believe it and receive it in faith.  Hebrews 3:19 (AMP) puts it this way:  “So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].”  We, too, can shut ourselves out from the promises of God when we refuse to believe and trust God in a situation.

   It’s interesting that right after Peter tells us to cast all of our cares and anxieties on God, he says:  “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP)  In other words, we mustn’t open the door to Satan and his dark forces through fear, anxiety, dread, or doubt.  All these things make us vulnerable to the enemy, and they have the potential to rob us of God’s best.  Next, Peter tells us to:  “Withstand [the devil]; be firm in faith [against his onset – rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:9 AMP)  How do we build up our resistance against violent attacks like these?  We become strong in spirit by spending regular “quiet times” with God.  We get still before Him.  We pray undistracted prayers.  We read and study His Word.  We memorize it and meditate on it “day and night,” as the Bible instructs. (Joshua 1:8)  And we lift praise and thanksgiving to God throughout the day, every day.  Notice that while Peter admits that Satan will come against all believers, he also indicates that those who stand firm in their faith will be better able to withstand his attacks.

   Today, I’m telling you the same thing that God told me that day:  Stop mixing worry with the Word.  Start mixing faith with each promise that God speaks to your heart, and refuse to cave in to unbelief.  Then reap the harvest of blessings and rewards that are your inheritance in Christ!

   Lord, forgive me for trying to mix doubt with Your Word, expecting to get a good result.  Teach me how to cast ALL of my cares and worries upon You, and to resist carrying them myself.  Thank You that as I do my part to build my faith, I will receive the fulfillment of every promise You put in my heart!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

   *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

 

Jun 11 18

Remove the Source of Temptation

by J. M. Farro

   “If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Matthew 5:29-30 AMP

   These commands from Jesus can be applied in many ways, but let me share with you how He gave me a clear lesson in these principles through my love of hot chocolate.

   Now, drinking hot chocolate is not inherently bad, but drinking it in excess to the point of harming your health is most certainly a sin in God’s sight.  Part of my problem was that I didn’t just like hot chocolate – I loved it.  Perhaps I was even IN love with it.  I considered it my guilty pleasure.  I deserved it after a long, hard day.  I began experimenting with different kinds of hot chocolate, and I eventually created a combination of them that made a truly decadent drink.  Not only was this combo filled with exorbitant amounts of sugar, but also of caffeine, which led to it seriously affecting my ability to sleep at night.

   When the Lord showed me the Scriptures above, I knew that it was time to deal severely with my hot chocolate habit, and that He would give me the grace to separate myself from it.  The first thing God told me was, “Do not bring any more hot chocolate into your house.”  So I made a quality decision not to purchase any more of it.  Then the Lord led me to throw out every trace of hot chocolate that was already in my home.  When I hesitated for a day or two, He knew exactly why, and He said, “Do not worry about the cost.  I will reward you and honor you for your sacrifice.”  So I went about the painful business of disposing of all of my hot chocolate stashes.

   Wouldn’t you know it?  As soon as I started dealing severely with my bad habit, it seemed like everyone everywhere was drinking hot chocolate.  I cried out to God to deliver me from my unholy cravings.  And while it didn’t happen overnight, I eventually did experience total deliverance and healing.  I haven’t had a mug of hot chocolate in months, because I’m not certain that I could resist falling back into my old patterns if I began drinking it again.

   What turned the tide for me was following Jesus’ advice in the verses above – “Remove yourself from the source of temptation.”  There are times when we need to literally separate ourselves from people, places and things that tempt us to sin against God, in order to do His will.  Jesus’ command to tear out our eye and cut off our hand means that He expects us to take extreme measures in order to obey Him.  When the Savior calls us to lay something down, it’s because He has something better for us up ahead that is waiting for us on the other side of our obedience – something that He desperately does not want us to miss out on.

   I believe that the Lord is speaking to you through this message today.  Will you answer His call to come up higher in your devotion to Him, and to experience life at its very best?

   Lord, show me what things You would like me to deal with right now that are keeping me from Your highest purposes and plans for me.  Deliver me from all my fears, and reassure me that You will be with me, and help me every step of the way.  Remind me that Your Holy Spirit dwells within me to empower me to do whatever You call me to do.  Thank You for the untold rewards that I will reap as I follow Your lead into a greater level of obedience and holiness!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

   *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

Jun 3 18

God Watches Over Our Plans and Paths

by J. M. Farro

   “For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).”  Psalm 1:6 AMP  

   If you have surrendered your life to Christ, then the promise above applies to you.  Here, the Lord assures you that He knows you intimately, and He is committed to watching over you, and looking out for your welfare.  However, He also assures us that those who are “living outside God’s will” shall “perish” in the end.

   The Living Bible puts it this way:  “For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom.” (Psalm 1:6 TLB)  God is intimately involved in your “plans and paths,” and as you seek and serve Him daily, He will see that you stay on course, and fulfill your God-given purpose and potential.

   The Lord’s promise in Romans 8:28 (NASB) is similar: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Only those who truly love the Lord, and are pursuing His purposes for them, can claim this promise.  Troubles and trials will come to the godly, as well as the ungodly, but the major difference is that only those who are living their lives for Christ will see Him transform their trials into triumphs.  As the Scripture says, “Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, but the Lord rescues him from them ALL.” (Psalm 34:19 AMP)  Those of us who have lived a long time, and walked with the Lord for decades, can testify to God’s faithfulness and dedication to His promises.

   Any way you look at it, it profits us to live for God, and to walk in His will.  It is in His will where we will find the supernatural protection and abundant provision that He has for us here on earth.  Today, rejoice in the divine promises that have your name on them, including this one – “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.  In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.” (Psalm 37:18-19 NIV)  Hallelujah!

   Lord, I surrender my life and my heart to You anew this day, and I ask You to fulfill all Your good purposes for me.  Keep me under Your watchful care every moment of every day, and be intimately involved with every detail of my life.  Remind me when hard times come that You are committed to working them out for my good.  Thank You that as I live my life for You, I will enjoy Your continual presence, protection, and provision!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

   *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

May 27 18

How We Should “Walk”

by J. M. Farro

   “[We] have not ceased to pray…that you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things…”  Colossians 1:10 AMP

   The Bible often refers to the Christian’s “walk.”  In this context, the word “walk” refers to our lifestyle, or our conduct.  As the Lord led me to study some of the aspects of our Christian walk, He also led me to pray for them to be realized in my life, and the lives of others.

   In Wisdom.  Proverbs 28:26 (NIV) says:  “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.”  In every situation we face, we can pray that we would approach it with godly wisdom.  If we walk in wisdom in our relationships, we will avoid becoming involved with companions who are outside of God’s will for us.  If we use wisdom in handling our finances, we will be “kept safe” from debt and lack.  And if we walk in wisdom where our health and body care are concerned, we will spare ourselves the suffering and sickness that come from neglecting our health.  Are you facing a difficult situation right now?  Apply God’s wisdom to it, and watch what happens.

   In Truth.  The apostle John wrote:  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4 NIV)  As God’s people, we have the privilege, and the responsibility, to walk in His truth.  Jesus prayed to the Father:  “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV)  By devoting ourselves to Scripture – reading it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and applying it to our lives – we will be better equipped to recognize the deceptions of our enemy, Satan.  This is essential, because if the devil can make us believe a lie, he can have tremendous influence over our lives.  Jesus said:  “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” (John 18:37 NIV)  Scripture has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts, and by studying it diligently and prayerfully, we will be better able to walk in truth and holiness.

   In Peace.  The Bible says that we are “called to live in peace.” (Colossians 3:15 NLT)  That means that no matter what our circumstances are like, it is possible for us, as followers of Christ, to walk in peace.  Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) gives us some insight into how we can cooperate with God to achieve this kind of supernatural peace.  “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”  This verse reveals the importance of disciplining our thoughts, and deliberately keeping our minds set on God and the things of God.  Our minds have a natural tendency to dwell on dark and negative thoughts, instead of pure and positive ones.  By reprogramming our minds with the truths in Scripture, and making a deliberate decision to put our trust in the Lord, we can walk in the peace that is our inheritance in Christ.  (John 14:27)

   In Love.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].  And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP)  God is deeply concerned about our “love walk.”  He calls us to love everyone with His kind of love.  He has a right to demand these high standards from us because He has given us His Holy Spirit to pour the God-kind of love into our hearts on a continual basis. (Romans 5:5)  We won’t be intimidated by these lofty divine demands if we will keep in mind that love is not a feeling – it’s a decision.  And it’s a decision that you and I are able to make in every situation, because God provides the power as we provide the will. (Philippians 2:13)

   What aspects of YOUR walk with God could use some improvement today?

   Lord, from this day forward, I pray that I would always walk in wisdom, in truth, in peace, and in love.  Thank You that as I pray according to Your will this way, and as I cooperate with Your Spirit, I can be confident that my “walk” will please and glorify You!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

May 21 18

Things Will Become Clear in the Days to Come

by J. M. Farro

   “In the days to come you will understand all this.”  Jeremiah 30:24 NLT

   About 45 years ago, my husband, Joe, was in an auto accident that demolished the small sports car that he loved with all his heart.  The collision wasn’t his fault in the least, and this fact made it even harder for him to bear.  Joe’s insurance company considered the car totaled, and issued him a check for it right away.  When he went to a dealership to pick out a new vehicle, he settled on a beautiful new Pontiac LeMans.

   While all this was happening, Joe and I happened to be at the same college, and in the same Sociology class.  We hadn’t said a word to each other until our professor put us in a skit together, and we had to spend some one-on-one time with each other.  That’s when Joe told me that he was going to pick up his new car later that week, and he asked if I would like to go for a ride in it.  When he told me that it was a Pontiac, I jumped at the chance, because it was my favorite kind of car, and I owned one myself.  I fell in love with that car as soon as I laid eyes on it, and I eventually fell in love with Joe.  When he asked me to marry him on our first date, I laughed, but I couldn’t deny that, even then, there was something special between us.

   Today, if you hear Joe tell the story about his heartbreaking car accident those many years ago, he will say that he believes that God allowed it so that he could buy the car that would capture my attention when we finally met.  Only seven months before, I had gone through a painful breakup with my high school sweetheart, and at the time that I met Joe, my heart was seriously hardened.  God knew that this new car would be the icebreaker that was needed to begin the process of softening my heart again.

   Perhaps you are in a situation like Joe’s today, and the Lord is saying to you, “In the days to come you will understand all this.” (Jeremiah 30:24 NLT)  You are wondering what the Lord is up to, and you can’t imagine how any good could come out of what you’re going through.  You are not reading this by chance, dear one.  God wants you to know that your disappointment and pain are not in vain.  He is going to transform them into something beautiful before your very eyes.  Trust Him.  Call out to Him.  And watch Him do what only He can do!

   Lord, when You allow me to suffer in ways that threaten to rob me of the peace and joy that belong to me in Christ, speak words of comfort to me, and help me to hear and heed Your voice.  Guard me from a hard and unbelieving heart, and fill my mind with thoughts that will bring healing to my hurting soul.  Thank You for transforming my troubles into my greatest triumphs in Jesus’ name!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

May 14 18

Obstacles to Fulfilling Our Ministry

by J. M. Farro

   “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”  Colossians 4:17 NLT

   The Bible tells us that every believer in Christ has a ministry to fulfill.  The apostle Paul wrote: “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” (Colossians 4:17 NASB)  And again, he stated:  “Complete the ministry God has given you.” (2 Timothy 4:5 NLT)  What are some of the obstacles to fulfilling our ministry that we might face as we live our lives for Christ?

   Sloppy living is one.  Instead of living the selfless, holy lives that the Lord has called us to, we become self-absorbed and self-indulgent.  We choose relationships outside of God’s will for us.  We focus on worldly concerns, instead of on the Lord’s plans and purposes for our lives.  We long for the approval of others, instead of the praise from God.  Paul wrote: “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT)  Simply put, people pleasers will not complete their ministry.  Neither will those who settle for a sloppy lifestyle.  Scripture says:  “Keep a close watch on all you do and think.  Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help others.” (1 Timothy 4:16 TLB)  Christlike character enables us to fulfill the call of God on our lives, and to impact others for Christ.

   Another way we can leave our ministry unfinished is to wear ourselves out and quit.  We neglect our health.  We have poor eating habits.  We don’t set reasonable boundaries for our work.  And worst of all, we try to perform our work in our own strength, instead of depending on God’s.  The Bible says: “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11 NASB)  The Lord wants us to depend upon His Spirit for divine enablement, so that the work we do in His name will be fruitful, without wearing us out.  When we are relying on God’s power in our work, there should be a “flow” to it; it should not be a major struggle.  As a result, we will be less likely to quit and walk off the job.  And as we prove ourselves faithful, the Lord increases our strength, and entrusts us with more opportunities and responsibilities.  As Paul wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do His work.  He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him.” (1 Timothy 1:12 NLT)

   Becoming angry, resentful, or indignant can also prevent us from fulfilling our ministry.  We become results-oriented, and resent it when our expectations aren’t fulfilled.  We chafe at a lack of recognition, reward, or pay.  We become offended when others don’t do what they’re “supposed” to in our sight.  We desperately want to feel significant, but we keep going about it the wrong way.  Scripture says: “Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].” (James 4:10 AMP)  As we surrender ourselves and our desires to God, He will fill our lives with purpose and meaning, and He will use us, bless us, and promote us in extraordinary ways.  Paul had the right idea when he said: “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:24 NLT)

   Adopting the attitude that others will do the work instead can hinder us from completing our ministry.  We may minimize our value or worth.  We may think that others are able to do a better job than we can. We fail to understand that there are things that only we can accomplish for the Kingdom, and that no one else can fulfill our purpose on this earth.  The Bible says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)  You were created by God with specific plans and purposes in mind.  You have a divine destiny, and only you can fulfill it.  There may be people on this earth that only you can reach.  You have a job to do!  Do it with enthusiasm, thankfulness, and joy – knowing that you will make an eternal difference in this world.

   Lord, today I surrender to You anew all that I am, and all that I have.  Reveal to me the nature of the ministry that You have called me to perform at this time in my life.  Teach me how to rely on Your Spirit to equip and empower me to serve You.  Thank You that as I follow Your lead, I will live a life of victory, blessing, and purpose!

    *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

May 7 18

Be Merciful and Blessed

by J. M. Farro

   “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’?  You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment.  Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.” (Job 19:28-29 NLT) 

   When my husband, Joe, and I moved to our current home with our two young sons many years ago, we realized pretty quickly that the children in our neighborhood were, for the most part, troublemakers.  So we made the difficult decision of forbidding our sons to play with them.  As a result, we began experiencing a barrage of attacks on our home and property.  The destruction to our house was so severe that our insurance company eventually paid to have all of our aluminum siding replaced.  When the attacks were especially serious, we would call the police, and even get the courts involved, which, unfortunately, did us very little good.  Once, when the police did come to our aid, Joe overheard one of our neighbors telling them, “They deserve it!  They’ve brought all this on themselves!”  We were shocked, and could hardly comprehend that this lady would think that we deserved such mistreatment because we set boundaries for our children which we knew were in their best interests.  Not long after that, this lady’s husband left her for another woman, and her life and family have never been the same since.

   When I think about this woman, I can’t help thinking about some verses in the book of Job which say – “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’?  You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment.  Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.” (Job 19:28-29 NLT)  Our hostile neighbor never realized that her spitefulness was going to cause her to reap a bitter harvest that would tear apart her own family.  I have learned over the years how wishing harm to come to someone can have a boomerang effect, and can come back to haunt us in the future.  Jesus said as much when He told us – “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment.  Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.  Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”  (Luke 6:37 MSG)

   Joe and I forgave our neighbor long ago, and we have been on good terms with her for many years now.  We never bring up the past, or accuse her for her hurtful words or attitude.  And God has blessed us greatly in this neighborhood by causing us to live in peace here, and to find favor with all of our neighbors.

   Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 NIV)  Who is it that you need to show mercy toward today?

   Lord, I long to be merciful, just as You are merciful.  Please work in my heart, so that I can show everyone the kind of love and respect that You do.  Guard me from a bitter, spiteful, and critical spirit.  Remind me that You have forgiven me for a lot, and I need to forgive others. (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32)  Thank You for the rewards and blessings that I will reap as I love and live Your way!

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

Apr 30 18

The Benefits of Our Righteousness in Christ

by J. M. Farro

   “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

   Let me ask you something today.  How aware are you that you are the righteousness of God in Christ, as stated in the verse above?  Is your awareness enabling you to receive all the benefits of your salvation?  You and I may never have perfect faith, but the truth is that we only need the simplest of faith to receive many of the blessings of our righteousness – our right standing with God through Christ.  Let’s look at two of them here.

   Scripture tells us:  “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)  This truth alone is enough to make Satan and his demons shudder.  Unfortunately, a lot of Christians never realize the “great power” that their prayers have, so they have a tendency to pray less than they should.  This passage of Scripture goes to great lengths to try to help God’s righteous ones to understand the power of their prayers, as the next verse says:  “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!” (v. 17)  Think about that.  The prophet Elijah did some amazing things, as recorded in the Bible, yet the text here says that our prayers have just as much power as his did.  Many times, when I’m praying, especially when my faith is being stretched to believe for a miracle, I will declare – “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, and my prayers are powerful and effective!” (NIV)  Then faith rises up in me to dispel all doubt.

   Next, the Bible tell us that “[Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 NASB)  Because Jesus took upon Himself our sin, and gave us His righteousness instead, we are no longer slaves to sin. (Romans 6:22)  We may still sin, but now, we don’t have to.  Now we have a choice.  And as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, we become more like Christ all the time. (Romans 8:29)  When the Scripture says, “by His wounds you were healed,” some Bible scholars and Christians believe that it only refers to spiritual healing, but countless more believe it refers to healing for our spirits, souls, AND bodies.  I personally agree with the second group of folks, and I have proven it in my own life and body countless times.  Because we live in a fallen world – and in fleshly bodies – we will still sometimes sin, and we will likewise sometimes suffer from sickness and disease.  I not only pray for healing when I need it, but I speak authoritatively to my body – and to sickness and disease – and I have seen God work miracles on my behalf.  I still have some health problems that persist, but that doesn’t stop me from praying and standing on God’s promises of healing for my mind and body.  And when a symptom attacks my body, I declare with confidence and conviction – “I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ, and by His wounds I am healed and made whole!”

   I encourage you to spend extra time in the Scriptures searching out the benefits of your righteousness in Christ.  Then work with God to reap the fullness of His blessings in every area of your life!

   Lord, please give me revelation from heaven – and help me to apply it to my life – so that I always have a keen awareness of my righteousness in Christ.  Teach me about all the benefits of my salvation, including answers to my prayers, and healing for my spirit, soul, and body.  Thank You that as I seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, I will have everything I need to live the abundant life in Christ!  (Matthew 6:33)

   *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

Apr 22 18

How to Maintain Your Peace

by J. M. Farro

    “God wants His children to live in peace.”  1 Corinthians 7:15 NLT

    I have gone through periods of my life when I have let my problems – and the problems of others – bother and affect me more than is healthy or wise for me.  When this was happening to me recently, the Lord showed me two ways to maintain my peace and joy right in the midst of my troubles.

   First, He told me, “DON’T THINK ABOUT IT.”  Before I began studying the Bible in-depth, I honestly believed that I had no control over my thought-life.  Then I read, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV)  The truth is that as believers, you and I have Holy Spirit power on the inside of us to “cast down” the thoughts that are opposed to God’s Word and ways. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV)  Years ago, the Lord taught me to say – “I’m not having that thought!  Jesus doesn’t think like that, and neither do I!” – every time a thought came into my mind that was opposed to “the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)  Scripture promises that when we deliberately shift our thoughts to the Lord – trusting His character and His good intentions for us – we will enjoy His unshakable peace in the midst of problems:  “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

   The Lord’s will for us is to be filled with His peace no matter what is going on in our lives, but He requires our cooperation.  Remember the passage where Jesus tells His disciples that He’s leaving them His peace?  In the Amplified translation, we find that we have a part to play in order to enjoy this kind of peace:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  [Stop ALLOWING yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not PERMIT yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” (John 14:27 AMP)  Since Satan and his dark forces are constantly working overtime to steal our peace, we are going to have to be aggressive in holding on to it, with the Spirit of God’s help.  In Psalm 55:22 (NIV), David the shepherd-king says, “My thoughts trouble me…”  We are working against ourselves when we allow our own thoughts to make us miserable.

   The second thing God told me was, “DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.”  One of the truths that the Lord has been impressing upon me lately is in Proverbs 21:23 (AMP):  “He who guards his mouth and his tongue guards himself from troubles.”  The New Living Translation puts it a little more bluntly:  “Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.”  The older I get, the more painfully aware I become of how many times I make my problems worse by opening my mouth when I should keep it shut.  My loved ones can tell you how many times I have told them, “You can’t un-ring a bell,” when I was warning them to watch their words.  So many times, I have wished that I could take my words back, and suffered unnecessary pain and damaged relationships because I simply said too much.

   When I was growing up, there was a popular saying that went like this – “Tell it like it is.”  There was even a popular song with that title at the time.  Well, I’m here to tell you that according to the Word of God, “telling it like it is” isn’t always a good idea.  One Scripture that has helped me in this area is, “Steer clear of foolish discussions which lead people into the sin of anger with each other.  Things will be said that will burn and hurt for a long time to come.” (2 Timothy 2:16-17 TLB)  Our words have consequences.  God warns us about this fact time and time again in His Word, including in Proverbs 18:21 (AMP):  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.”  God’s will for us is to live in peace, but we can actually relinquish our peace by speaking words that invite trouble, chaos, and strife into our lives and our relationships.

   Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)  Let’s you and I cooperate with the Savior to maintain our peace, so that others will be drawn to Him through us!

   Lord, You make it clear in Your Word that it is possible to live in this world while enjoying Your matchless peace.  Teach me how to continually reject the wrong thoughts, and to replace them with Your thoughts instead.  Instruct me how to speak words of life and healing when I am tempted to say the wrong things.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in this area, I will enjoy the peace that surpasses all comprehension all the rest of my days!  (Philippians 4:7 NASB)

    *Comments or Prayer Requests?  Please email Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with all-new mini devotionals in addition to the standard weekly devotionals. You can access this group by clicking here!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   *Visit Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!