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Sep 19 21

True Ministers of God

by J. M. Farro

   “We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.” 2 Corinthians 6:3 ESV

   In this passage of Scripture, the apostle Paul emphatically states that he and his co-workers have continually walked in integrity, and therefore, have placed no obstacle in the way of anyone who would come to faith in Christ.  He even goes so far as to insist that no one could find any fault with their ministry.  Their character, conduct, and conversation would never cause a potential believer to question the trustworthiness of the Gospel.  Paul and his co-laborers were certainly not perfect, but no one could claim that they preached morality, but lived in sin.  They were continually clearing the path to faith in Christ by remaining above reproach in their ministry and their personal conduct.

   The Living Bible translation of the above verse reads: “We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the way we act, so that no one can find fault with us and blame it on the Lord.”  The plain truth is that we, as servants of God, have the power to attract people to the Lord, or to drive them away from Him.  How we live our daily lives – and how we conduct whatever ministry God has given us – can have a direct impact on others.

   Paul wrote: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it.” (2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP)  It is wise for us to continually examine ourselves with the help of the Holy Spirit, and to be quick to correct our course, if necessary, through confession and repentance.  We can pray as David the shepherd-king did – “Examine me, Lord; put me to the test!  Purify my mind and heart.” (Psalm 26:2 CEB)

   Right after Paul talks about his life and ministry being above reproach, he says: “In fact, in everything we do, we try to show that we are true ministers of God.  We patiently endure suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind.” (2 Corinthians 6:4 TLB)  One way we can show the world that we are “true ministers of God” is to remain full of faith and patience in times of “suffering and hardship.”  When others see us heavily depending on God and remaining hopeful in times of “trouble,” they will sit up and take notice.  I have witnessed for myself how this kind of testimony can lead others to Christ.  Today, make yourself available to the Lord, and watch what He will do in you and through you!

   Lord, help me to never put any obstacles in anyone’s way that would hinder them from coming to You.  I ask that You examine and evaluate my life and my ministry continually, and that You teach me how to examine myself.  Empower me to remain full of faith, patience, and hope during times of trouble and trial.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in these areas, You will make me a powerful world-changer for Christ!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Sep 12 21

The Importance of Joy

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

   In the Bible, the concept of joy is serious business.  It is not a superficial warm and fuzzy kind of feeling.  It’s a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and it can help the believer overcome all kinds of adversity.  The verse above reveals that we gain strength from the joy that God gives us.  And the Scriptures indicate that when we lose our joy, we can become victims of despair, and even sickness.  Proverbs 17:22 (TPT) says, “A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul.  But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.”  Have you ever gotten sick after something happened to disappoint or depress you?  I have.  Next time you are ill, ask yourself if you have been struggling with negative emotions.

   Proverbs 15:15 (TPT) says, “Everything seems to go wrong when you feel weak and depressed.  But when you choose to be cheerful, every day will bring you more and more joy and fullness.”  Ever notice how your moods can affect your whole outlook on life?  When you are feeling down, it can seem like nothing is going right, and everyone around you irritates you.  But if you are feeling particularly cheerful one day, almost nothing bothers you.  When you are filled with the joy of the Lord, you feel strong, capable, and ready for anything.  That’s why a joy-filled believer is hard for the devil to handle.  If the enemy can steal your joy, he can rob you of almost anything, including your health.

   Romans 14:17 (NIV) says that the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  That should tell us just how valuable joy is to the believer.  Jesus spoke about joy a lot.  It was the Savior’s desire that His disciples would be filled with joy. (John 16:22; 17:13)  In John 16:24 (NLT), Jesus says, “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.”  And in First Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT), Paul writes, “Always be joyful.”

   The Bible tells us that God wants us to serve Him with joy.  Psalm 100:2 (ESV) says, “Serve the Lord with gladness!”  And Deuteronomy 28:47-48 (NIV) says that because God’s people refused to serve Him “joyfully and gladly,” He would cause them to serve their enemies instead.  The Lord deserves to have us serve Him with joy, and He has given us His Holy Spirit as our source of joy.

   Let me encourage you to memorize Psalm 86:4 (NIV), so that the next time you need a fresh dose of joy, you can pray like David did: “Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.”  Before you know it, you will be filled with the joy of the Lord, and nothing will be able to keep you down!

   Lord, I ask that by Your Spirit, You would fill me with everlasting joy.  Give me a happy heart that does me good like a medicine, and a cheerful mind that works healing in every part of me. (Proverbs 17:22 AMP)  Whenever I am tempted to despair, remind me of the importance of joy, and how You deserve a cheerful servant.  Thank You that Your joy makes me strong and resistant to defeat!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Sep 5 21

God Takes Care of His Own

by J. M. Farro

   “It is useless to get up early and stay up late in order to earn a living.  God takes care of His own, even while they sleep.”  Psalms 127:2 CEV

   You would be hard pressed to find people more in debt than my husband, Joe, and I were for most of our marriage.  Not only did we make a lot of poor financial decisions over the years, but I was a stay-at-home mom the entire time we were raising our two sons, and we only had my husband’s income to depend on.  Joe always worked at least two jobs, and on top of that, he took college classes in the evenings to earn his four-year degree.  Times were hard, and I spent most of my time home alone with our children.  

   I didn’t surrender my life to the Lord for real until I was almost 40 years old.  By then, we were so deeply in debt that we pretty much resigned ourselves to staying that way.  It wasn’t until I began studying the Bible in-depth that I realized that God wanted His people debt free.  I began earnestly praying for God’s wisdom for Joe and me for every area of our lives, including our finances.  And I began studying and memorizing biblical promises of increase, provision, and prosperity, and praying them every day.  One of my favorites was Psalm 127:2 (ERV): “It is a waste of time to get up early and stay up late, trying to make a living.  The Lord provides for those He loves, even while they are sleeping.”  In other words, what counts most is not how hard we work, but the quality of our personal relationship with God, who is able to give blessings to His beloved ones even while they sleep.  The Lord is not advocating laziness here, but He’s emphasizing the fact that He must be our first priority.  Jesus Himself stresses this truth when He says: “Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well [the things you need], and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to.” (Matthew 6:32-33 TLB)

   The older Joe and I got, the more people we encountered who tried to make us fearful about our retirement.  Financial planners warned us that we would not have enough money after Joe stopped working.  But each day, I would turn to the Lord in prayer, and He would remind me again of His promise in Psalm 127:2 (TPT): “It really is senseless to work so hard from early morning till late at night, toiling to make a living for fear of not having enough.  God can provide for His devoted lovers even while they sleep!”  Each night, I went to sleep on this promise, trusting the Lord to provide for us abundantly as we slept.  When Joe gave his retirement notice to his employer one full year before he left his job, we were still in debt.  But right before his last day at work, God opened up the windows of heaven and supplied us with enough money to pay off all of our debts, including our mortgage, and we have been debt free ever since.  Today, if you are in need of a financial miracle yourself, remember this truth – “God takes care of His own, even while they sleep!”

   Lord, don’t ever let me be driven by the fear of not having enough.  Remind me often that if I will just make my relationship with You my number one priority, You will abundantly supply all of my needs, and You will give me the desires of my heart. (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 37:4)  Thank You that as I sleep on Your promises of provision, I will wake up rested, refreshed, and energized!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Aug 29 21

Let’s Not Be Stupid

by J. M. Farro

   “The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever.” Psalm 92:6-7 ESV

   During my time with the Lord earlier today, I was reading Psalm 92, when the Lord spoke to my heart.  He said that His people are being stupid and acting like fools when they think that evildoers won’t pay for their evildoing.  Look carefully at the verses above.  God says that though the wicked seem to flourish and succeed, “they are doomed to destruction forever.”  Verse 9 confirms this truth when it says, “For surely Your enemies, Lord, surely Your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.” (Psalms 92:9 NIV) 

   One of the best reasons to read the Bible on a regular basis is to be reassured throughout its pages that those who are faithful to God and His Word will be rewarded, and those who are not will suffer the due penalty of their wicked deeds.  Jesus calls out to us from the Scriptures, saying – “Look, I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Revelation 22:12 NIV)  One thing we must keep in mind is that the closer we get to the Savior’s return, the more evil we will see reigning throughout the earth.  Why?  Because “[Satan] is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12 NIV)

   Psalm 92 ends with a beautiful description of those who are faithful to the Lord.  “The righteous will flourish like the date palm [long-lived, upright and useful]; They will grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic and stable].  [Growing in grace] they will still thrive and bear fruit and prosper in old age; They will flourish and be vital and fresh [rich in trust and love and contentment].” (v. 12, 14 AMP)  Through thick and thin, God’s people will  have stability and vitality, and we will flourish and thrive, continuing to bear fruit even in our old age.  But there’s more.  “[They are living memorials] to declare that the Lord is upright and faithful [to His promises]; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (v. 15)  You and I will testify to everyone around us that God is good and faithful to His promises.  Hallelujah!  From now on, let’s not be stupid.  Let’s continually give thanks and praise to our God that we are bound for heaven and glory!

   Lord, when I am tempted to lament over the prosperity of the wicked, remind me of the glorious future that You have for me.  Teach me how to pray the prayers of Your heart for the lost people of this world.  Give me the right words at the right time to minister to them according to Your will.  Thank You that as I remain faithful to You and Your Word, You will make me a living memorial of Your goodness and Your faithfulness to Your promises!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Aug 22 21

Our Heavenly Guard

by J. M. Farro

   “You guard all that is mine.”  Psalm 16:5 NLT

   One of the things I love most about knowing and serving God is that when we commit ourselves to Him, He becomes committed to us.  He cares about what we care about.  And He looks out for our interests.  Of course, in many cases, He expects us to partner with Him in order for us to experience the blessings of His protection and provision.  One way we can do that is to pray and stand on His promises.  Psalm 16:5 above is the perfect example – “You guard all that is mine.”  I have prayed and claimed this promise for myself and my family for years, and we have reaped its benefits many times.

   One night some years ago, while my husband, Joe, and I were asleep, someone tied an explosive device to our above-the-ground pool in an attempt to blow a hole in it.  The thought of thousands of gallons of water flooding our property was more than enough to make me feel uneasy.  When my husband called the police to report the incident, the officer who inspected the damage could not believe that the explosion did nothing more than create a small crater in the side of our pool.  There was no doubt in my mind that the Lord had protected us from what could have been a terrible calamity, and I thanked and praised God for His protection.

   Another scriptural promise that I hold dear says, “You will know that your home is safe.  When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing.” (Job 5:24 NLT)  This promise is one that I have counted on when storms have hit our area, or when my family and I have had to be away from home.  I like the way the Living Bible says, “You need not worry about your home while you are gone.”  Hallelujah!  God has made it clear that He longs to be our Protector – and He will reveal Himself as such when we take Him at His Word!   

   Lord, I am so grateful that You desire to guard all that is mine and my family’s.  Teach us to cooperate with you fully to that end, so that we never have to worry about anything that belongs to us.  Help us to continually walk in wisdom so that we’ll never foolishly put ourselves or our possessions at risk.  Thank You that You will bring to nothing every scheme and plan that would come against us! 

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Aug 15 21

Fear No Evil

by J. M. Farro

   “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”  Psalm 23:4 NIV

   As I go about my daily business in the midst of this unrelenting global pandemic, it saddens me to be surrounded by fearful people everywhere I go.  Lately, some profound words of Shakespeare have been constantly in my thoughts: “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.”  What does this saying mean on a practical level?  It means that people who constantly fear death feel the stress associated with it many times before actually dying.  Think about the kind of stress that fear puts on the human mind, heart, and body.  It’s the kind of stress that fosters anxiety, depression, and all kinds of bodily ailments – including headaches, stomach ailments, inflammation, and pain.  Now think of how all of this is suppressing a body’s immune system at a time when immunity is crucial to fight off pathogens of all kinds.  It makes me even more determined to resist being afraid.

   David the shepherd-king wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” (Psalm 23:4 NIV)  How could David say, “I will fear no evil” in dark times?  The key is found in his words, “for You are with me.”  David focused on the presence of God during times of danger and difficulty.  I love how the Living Bible translates his words in this verse: “Even when walking through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.”  Hallelujah!

   When Jesus and His disciples were caught in a sudden violent storm on the Sea of Galilee, and the Savior was sound asleep in their boat, they were so overwhelmed with fear that they roused the Master and exclaimed, “Teacher, do You not care that we are about to die?”  After Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the waves, He proceeded to rebuke His disciples – “Why are you afraid?  Do you still have no faith and confidence in Me?” (Mark 4:38, 40 AMP)  Jesus is contrasting fear with faith here, and He makes it clear that He equates fear with a lack of faith.  One of my study Bibles gives this explanation – “Faith here means trust in God’s helping power in crisis, a help that is both present and active in Jesus.”  If you are a follower of Christ, everywhere you go, you carry the overcoming presence and power of God with you, because the Holy Spirit dwells in you.  Jesus said, “Be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20 TLB)  And He meant it.  Today, you and I can say with confidence and conviction – “I will fear no evil, for You are with me!”

   Lord, forgive me for my fears, and for my lack of faith in You and Your helping power in times of crisis.  On the basis of Your Word, help me to stop allowing myself to be agitated and disturbed, and to not permit myself to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled. (John 14:27 AMP)  Thank You for making me an overcomer in every situation and circumstance!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

 

Aug 8 21

What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

by J. M. Farro

   “Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him.  When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’  ‘Lord, I want to see,’ he replied.  Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’” Luke 18:40-42 NIV

   There is a phrase spoken by Jesus and recorded in the Gospels that is amazing, but often overlooked.  It’s, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41; Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:36; Mark 10:51)  I believe that this is a question that the Lord asks all of us on a regular basis, but unfortunately, we rarely recognize it, or respond to it.  In Luke 18, a blind beggar boldly calls out to Jesus and stops Him in His tracks.  When the Savior asks him what he wants, without hesitation, the beggar replies, “Lord, I want to see.”  I think if I had been in this beggar’s place, I probably would have analyzed my situation and my worthiness before I dared to ask for a miracle.  I might have said, “Lord, I would really like my vision restored, but I probably don’t deserve it, so if it’s not Your will, I’ll understand.”  Fortunately, this beggar didn’t make that mistake.  He took a leap of faith and asked Jesus to heal him, and when the Lord did, He told him, “Your faith has healed you.”  The fact of the matter is that it often takes great faith to ask God for His help.  We read promises in the Bible such as John 16:24 (TLB) – “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow” – and we think to ourselves, “That’s just too good to be true; it couldn’t possibly be that simple.”  But the truth is that it usually is.

   The apostle Paul wrote: “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.  And God’s peace shall be yours…” (Philippians 4:6-7 AMP)  The Lord has practical reasons for inviting us to continually make our wants, needs, and desires known to Him.  As we share our thoughts and concerns with Him freely, we are able to let go of our fears and anxieties, and receive His supernatural peace.  How can we enjoy our lives, or touch the lives of others, if we are constantly bound by fear and fretting?  We wouldn’t be much use to God that way, so we really aren’t just being selfish when we approach Him with our wants – we are positioning ourselves to be more fruitful and productive for His glory.

   Peace is not the only thing we need in order to be the most useful to God.  We need to be filled with supernatural joy, too – because the Bible says that this kind of joy is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)  Jesus said: “Up to this time you have not asked a [single] thing in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]; but now ask and keep on asking and you will receive, so that your joy (gladness, delight) may be full and complete.” (John 16:24 AMP)  Here again, we see the emphasis on continually requesting the Lord’s help and blessings.  As we do, the Savior says that we will experience the kind of joy that fills up our entire being, and leaves no room for depression or despair.

   One of the reasons why believers often hesitate to tell the Lord what they really want is that they are afraid they will ask for the wrong thing.  They lack confidence in their ability to pray according to God’s will, as the Bible instructs them to. (1 John 5:14-15)  But believers who are devoted to the Lord and His Word don’t have to be timid about asking Him for the desires of their hearts.  As Jesus Himself said: “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7 AMP)  We simply cannot pray correctly apart from knowing and believing the Word of God.  Having a working knowledge of the Scriptures renews our minds, and helps our thoughts and desires to line up with God’s.  When that happens, we wouldn’t even want anything that wasn’t God’s perfect will for us – so if our prayers weren’t answered, we would trust that it was in our own best interests.

   I believe that this message is for you today, and that Jesus Himself is asking you – “What do you want Me to do for you?”  How are you going to answer Him?

   Lord, teach me how to pray with the confidence and boldness that I know are Your will for me.  Fill me with a love for You and Your Word that will move me to spend time in Your presence and the Scriptures each day.  Thank You that from now on when You ask me – “What do you want Me to do for you?” – I will respond in ways that will bless my life and glorify You!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

 

Aug 1 21

Publicly Declare Your Trust in God

by J. M. Farro

   “Oh, how great is Your goodness to those who publicly declare that You will rescue them.  For You have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence You.” Psalm 31:19 TLB

   Years ago, when my husband, Joe’s, company announced that they were closing in a few months’ time, most of the employees began to grumble and complain.  And some of them were downright angry.  Although Joe was very disappointed, he decided to keep a good attitude to the very end.  When people asked him what he was going to do about being jobless, my husband would just tell them, “God always takes care of me!”  During that long period of unemployment, Joe had moments of doubt and fear, but they didn’t last long, and he always maintained a deep-down belief that the Lord was going to provide for him.  Eventually, God opened the door to a new job for Joe that was closer to our home than we ever expected, and that offered him more money than he had asked for.  Everyone knew that this new opportunity was a miracle from God, and that Joe’s faith in Him had paid off.

   Whenever I think of this experience, a Scripture in Psalm 31 comes to mind: “Oh, how great is Your goodness to those who publicly declare that You will rescue them.  For You have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence You.” (v. 19 TLB)  I believe that when Joe began “publicly declaring” that God would provide for him, he set in motion a divine rescue operation.  I could almost imagine the Lord saying, “Look at My servant, Joe – he is letting everyone know that he is trusting in Me, and that I am going to take care of him!”  As His Word promises, God poured out upon my husband the “great blessings” that He had “stored up” for him, when Joe demonstrated his faith in the Lord to “rescue” him.

   Hebrews 10:23 (EASY) says: “We know that we can trust God to do the things that He had promised.  So, we must continue to expect those things.  We must tell other people that we trust God.  We should not stop doing that.”  If we truly believe that God is true to His Word and promises, we shouldn’t keep that knowledge to ourselves.  May the psalmist’s declaration of faith always be true of you, and of me – “I don’t keep it a secret or hide the truth.  I preach of Your faithfulness and kindness, proclaiming Your extravagant love to the largest crowd I can find!” (Psalm 40:10 TPT)

   Lord, teach me to be more vocal about my faith and trust in You.  Deliver me from all my fears, and fill me with a holy boldness that honors You.  Give me opportunities to impact others, and to draw them to You.  Thank You that as I publicly declare my trust in You, You will bless me with supernatural success, protection, and provision!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Jul 25 21

Are You Resisting God’s Peace?

by J. M. Farro

   “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

   I have a beautiful framed painting in my home with a simple verse of Scripture that says, “For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14 NKJV)   It speaks of Christ and the kind of peace that only He can give.  I love the Complete Jewish Bible translation which reads, “For He Himself is our Shalom.”  Hallelujah!

   Jesus told His disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart!  And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 TLB)  The Savior gifts all of His followers with the Holy Spirit, who enables the Prince of Peace Himself to dwell on the inside of us continually.  But sometimes we forget that we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to walk in the peace of Christ on a moment-by-moment basis.

   One of the best ways to do that is to heed God’s instructions in Psalm 55:22 (AMP): “Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).”  The Lord offers us His unshakeable peace, but we can resist that peace by insisting on carrying our own burdens.  It’s up to us to “release the weight” of them – letting them go, and entrusting them to an all-sufficient God who can carry them and sustain us so that we won’t falter or fail.  This is how we can avoid being crushed by our own burdens, and suffering physically and mentally under a weight that we were never meant to bear.  We can pray, “Lord, I’m giving You this burden.  I surrender it to You, and I ask You to release me from its ability to harm me in any way.”  That’s a prayer that our loving God is more than happy to answer.

   The apostle Paul prayed, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NASB)  This is a prayer that we can pray for ourselves on a regular basis.  It is a prayer inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself, so it’s one that we know the Lord will answer.  (1 John 5:14-15)  For the same reason, praying the promises of God is supremely powerful.  Scripture says: “For the good man – the blameless, the upright, the man of peace – he has a wonderful future ahead of him.  For him there is a happy ending.” (Psalm 37:37 TLB)  I have seen so many people who didn’t experience “a happy ending” that I have begun earnestly praying for one for myself – and I am determined to be a person of “peace” and to live an “upright” life before God.  Today, ask yourself if you are resisting the peace of Christ, or cooperating with Him all the way!

   Lord, on the basis of Your Word, I ask that You “continually grant me peace in every circumstance.”  Help me to cooperate with Your Spirit by casting all of my cares and burdens upon You, instead of trying to carry them myself.  Remind me not to worry about anything, but to pray about everything – with thanksgiving – so that Your unshakeable peace will guard my heart and mind at all times. (Philippians 4:6-7)  Thank You that as I follow Your Spirit’s leading, You will never allow me to slip, falter, or fail!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Jul 18 21

Let God Turn Your Enemies into Allies

by J. M. Farro

   “When a person’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He causes even his enemies to make peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 NASB

   Yesterday, my husband, Joe, was telling me about how he was helping our next-door neighbor with his lawn tractor problems.  That may not sound like anything special to you, but to me, it was nothing short of a miracle.  You see, when we moved here 30+ years ago, we began having serious problems with our neighbors as soon as we stopped allowing our sons to play with the neighborhood children.  It hadn’t taken us long to realize that many of the kids in our community were troublemakers, and that they were having a negative effect on our sons.  As the neighborhood gang began targeting us, and doing serious damage to our home and property – and their parents took their side instead of ours – we took them to court.  But that did no good at all because all of our neighbors refused to tell the truth.  One night, we caught the kids red-handed doing damage to our house, and when the police arrived in response to our call, my husband did something amazing.  He forgave the troublemakers and refused to file charges against them.  The police warned my husband that he was making a big mistake, but since that night, we have lived here in peace.  Today, we have a great relationship with the parents of those former troublemakers.

   One of the promises of God that I was earnestly praying and standing on all those years of trouble and turmoil was Proverbs 16:7 (NASB): “When a person’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He causes even his enemies to make peace with him.”  Being angry with our neighbors – even though we had good reason to be – just made the situation worse.  However, when we began doing things God’s way – and following His promptings to forgive our neighbors – He literally caused our enemies to “make peace” with us.  Suddenly, our enemies became our allies.

   The Bible says: “People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the blessings that come from right living.” (James 3:18 ERV)  Working for peace is not easy.  It’s hard work, and it often involves us humbling ourselves before God and others.  Scripture tells us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NIV)  There are some people in this world that we will never get along with because they are just plain toxic, and they will do us more harm than good.  But in many cases, it will be possible for us to get along with others as we “work for peace in peaceful ways.”

   Today, let us take to heart God’s promise from the Message Bible, which says – “You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” (James 3:18 MSG)  Amen!

   Lord, work in my heart and make me the peacemaker You want me to be.  Grant me a spirit of humility, and help me to do the hard work of getting along with others.  Give me the discernment to recognize those who would do me more harm than good.  Thank You that as I strive to please You in all my ways, You will turn my enemies into allies!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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