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Nov 11 18

God Will Do Even More

by J. M. Farro

   “I will do EVEN MORE for you than I did before.  Then you shall know I am the Lord.”  Ezekiel 36:11 TLB

   In walking closely with the Lord all these years, I have discovered that there are many times when He likes to surprise us with a “new and improved” version of the blessings He bestows on us.

   Case in point – my recent dishwasher adventures.  When God blessed my husband, Joe, and me with the nicest dishwasher we ever had in our 40+ years of marriage, we were elated.  For six months, we enjoyed our fancy new appliance, before it began malfunctioning and causing us frustration.  After almost a year of headaches and heartaches, our state’s Attorney General’s office forced the manufacturer to replace our defective dishwasher for free.

   Joe and I would have been more than happy with a comparable replacement, but that wasn’t good enough for our God.  He had the manufacturer pay for an updated model that worked even better than our original one did.

   With our first dishwasher, we couldn’t use the detergent dispenser because it wouldn’t open early enough in the washing cycle to dissolve properly, and our dishes always came out with a sticky film on them.  With our new machine, we can use our dispenser and have all of our items come out sparkling clean.

   Whenever anyone brushed up against our old dishwasher, it would immediately turn on and start filling with water.  Our new appliance has all of the controls “recessed,” so that they can’t be turned on by mistake.

   Our original dishwasher never thoroughly dried our dishes, while our new one has an “extended dry” feature that works amazingly well.

   God could have easily replaced our old dishwasher with a new one just like it, but He didn’t.  He gave us a new appliance with “new and improved” features that made our old one look inferior.  And even though He enabled us to get our first dishwasher at a great price, He provided us with the new one at absolutely no cost to us.

   God tells us in His Word, “I will do EVEN MORE for you than I did before.  Then you shall know I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 36:11 TLB)  God has “new and improved” blessings in store for you in every area of your life.  He wants to do “even more” for you than you could ever hope or dream.  Trust Him.  Seek Him with all your heart.  Give Him first place in your life.  And lay hold of the “even more” blessings He has in store for you!

   Lord, I praise You for the “new and improved” blessings that You have in store for me.  Help me to live my life in such a way that I will never have to miss out on the fullness of Your blessings.  When I face adversity or injustice, remind me to turn to You first, and to put my wholehearted trust in You and Your promises.  Thank You that as I keep my eyes on You, You will right my wrongs and restore what I lost – and give me “even more!”

   *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!

Nov 4 18

What We Permit or Forbid

by J. M. Farro

   “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”  Matthew 18:18 NLT

   When I began having excruciating pain in my right leg, I mentioned it to my doctor, and he warned me that it could be from a blood clot.  He was so alarmed, that he insisted that I have an ultrasound on my leg right away.  Even though I had been praying about the pain in my leg from the moment it started – trusting God that it was nothing serious – hearing the alarm in my doctor’s voice unnerved me.  As I poured out my heart to the Lord, He reminded me that doctors are trained to think of the worst-case scenarios when they hear about their patients’ symptoms.  God also reminded me that Satan will always try to make things look worse than they really are.

   When my ultrasound results showed that I didn’t have a blood clot or anything seriously wrong, I was greatly relieved.  As I gave thanks to God, I sensed Him saying to me that even though the pain in my leg was nothing serious, that didn’t mean that I should have to live with it the rest of my life.  I could ask and trust Him for total healing.

   The Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:18 (NLT):  “I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”  So with the authority that God had given me in Christ, I began speaking to the pain in my right leg, forbidding it to remain in my body, and commanding it to leave forever in Jesus’ name.  A few days later, I noticed that the pain in my leg was gone, and I was so glad that I had not resigned myself to living with it.

   Some translations of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:18 (CEV) say:  “I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but He will not allow anything you don’t allow.”  Sometimes, when we are under attack from the forces of darkness, the Lord is waiting for us to use our authority in Christ to begin aggressively disallowing attacks on our bodies, our relationships, and our finances.  That’s when we have to open our mouths and forbid things like sickness and disease, and debt and lack, and strife and discord to remain.  Then God Himself will back up our words, and He will push back the forces of darkness on our behalf.

   Right now, you may be passively accepting things in your body, your family, or your finances that are not God’s will for you.  Today, ask the Lord to show you what to permit and what to forbid – and never again miss out on His very best for you!

   Lord, forgive me for the times that I have settled for less than Your best.  By Your Spirit, help me to discern what You want me to allow in my life and in my family, and what You want me to forbid.  Teach me how to make the most of my authority in Christ at all times, and to never passively accept the things that are not Your will.  Thank You that as I stay on the attack, instead of under attack, I will experience the abundant life that is my inheritance in Christ!

   *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!

Oct 28 18

Don’t Be a Brooder

by J. M. Farro

   “God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.”  Ecclesiastes 5:20 NLT

   When I was getting counseling for depression and anxiety as a young wife and mother many years ago, my therapist told me something that I had never heard before or since – she said that I liked to “brood.”  I didn’t give her comment much thought until the Lord challenged me to spend some time addressing the possibility that she was right.

   So I looked up the definition of “brood,” and I found words like “worry, fret, agonize, mope, sulk, and overthink.”  And then I saw the phrase, “to think deeply about something that makes one unhappy.”  And I realized that I do, indeed, have a tendency to brood.

   Why would anyone think deeply about things that make them unhappy?  Sometimes we just want to spend some time feeling sorry for ourselves, especially when we feel as though others don’t seem to care about our unhappiness.  But the truth of the matter is that self-pity is a sin because it is rooted in pride, and born of self-absorption.  It also comes from a spirit of ingratitude, causing us to focus on what we don’t have, instead of what we do have, and what we should be grateful for.

   Scripture says:  “God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” (Ecclesiastes 5:20 NLT)  It’s sad to say, but there have been times when I have been so busy brooding, that I couldn’t enjoy my life the way God wanted me to.  Jesus didn’t suffer and die so that His followers could spend their lives worrying, fretting, or sulking.  He said, “I came that they may have and ENJOY life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (John 10:10 AMP)  It’s an insult to our Lord when we allow the problems and pressures of life to rob us of the joy that His sacrifice purchased for us.

   One of the definitions of “brood” is “to meditate.”  And God tells us clearly that He desires His people to meditate on His Word.  “Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.  Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT)  David had revelation from heaven in these matters, and that’s one reason why he prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14 NLT)  And we would be wise to do the same.

   Lord, forgive me when I am inclined to waste precious time brooding, sulking, or moping around.  Deliver me from a tendency to feel sorry for myself, and give me a heart of gratitude and thankfulness.  Remind me often that You paid a terrible price so that I could enjoy my life here on earth, as well as in heaven.  Thank You that as I meditate on Your Word and promises day and night, I will live a life of purpose, abundance, and joy!

    *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!

Oct 22 18

Making the Most of Your Time

by J. M. Farro

   Jesus replied, “It is not the right time for Me to go now.  But you can go anytime and it will make no difference.”  John 7:6 TLB

   In the past 26 years that I have been walking closely with the Lord, He has shown me the verse above in John 7:6 countless times.  It is usually when friends, family, or others are making plans, and I have the option to get involved.  Many times, these occasions and activities seem rather frivolous, and once in a while, they are downright foolish.

   Thankfully, I have gotten in the habit of seeking God about how I spend my time, my energy, and my money.  And very often, He leads me away from getting involved in things that may not be sinful, but that just aren’t productive or constructive.  Occasionally, I have to resist feeling sorry for myself when I sense the Lord warning me to make better use of my time, and reminding me of His high calling on my life.

   If you are a follower of Christ, then you too have a high calling on your life.  Your time, energy, and money are not your own – they belong to God, and you are simply a steward of them.  And to be wise stewards, you and I must invest these and all of our resources wisely.  How your unsaved friends and family members spend their time is inconsequential to God and man because they are not living for Christ.  On the other hand, every moment of your life lived for the Lord is extremely valuable to Him and to others, whether they know it or not.

   Notice how Jesus says to those who aren’t serving God, “You can go anytime and it will make no difference.” (John 7:6 TLB)  He understood that because He was continually led by the Spirit of God, every moment of His life was God-ordained and had the potential to make an eternal difference.

   The apostle Paul had it right when he said:  “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB)  With God’s help, make every moment of your life count – and watch the Lord bless, promote, and use you in mighty ways for His glory!

   Lord, I recommit my life to You this day, and I ask that You make me sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading at all times.  Help me to know You better each day by spending undistracted and unhurried time in Your presence and Your Word.  Teach me how to make the most of my time so that You can make my life count in greater ways than ever before.  Thank You that as I live my life for You, and give You first place in my life, You will give me more and more opportunities to make an eternal difference in people’s lives for Your glory!

   *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!

Oct 14 18

Beyond Our Highest Expectations

by J. M. Farro

   “You did awesome things beyond our highest expectations.”  Isaiah 64:3 NLT

   Even though it was 29 years ago, I can still clearly recall the first moment I set eyes on the house we are living in now.  At the time, we had just sold our second home in another state, and we desperately needed another place to live.  We had just put a bid on a house that we were sure would be perfect for us, but had lost it because another buyer outbid us.  I cried bitter tears because I was sure that we had missed out on the only option we had to avoid putting our furniture in storage and living in a hotel.  The disappointment overwhelmed me, and I got on my knees and pleaded with the Lord to intervene on our behalf mightily and speedily.

   That’s when my husband, Joe, and I came upon our present home.  There was a “For Sale” sign out front, and as we gazed at it, I said, “There is no way that this house is in our price range.”  Fortunately, my husband insisted that we call the realtor and ask about it.  The information said that this house was in “immaculate move-in condition.”  And, yes, it was in our price range.  How could that be, when the home we just lost a bid on was in the same price range, but needed thousands of dollars in repairs?

   Joe and I were dumbfounded as we toured the house that was to become our new home.  The inside truly was in move-in condition, with new carpeting and beautiful wallpaper throughout.  And the property was larger than we ever dared ask for, with a majestic farm and field behind it.  The fact that the house was already vacant and owned by a relocation company made it possible for us to buy it and move into it in only nine days.

   Scripture says: “You did awesome things beyond our highest expectations.” (Isaiah 64:3 NLT)  God loves to surprise His children by going above and beyond what we expect.  Joe and I were prepared to settle for that first house we put a bid on, even though it would cost us thousands of dollars just to make it look presentable.  We had no idea that the Lord had us lose that first house in a bidding war so that He could give us something infinitely better.

   Perhaps you have suffered a disappointment of your own, and you are wondering what God is up to.  I encourage you to trust Him and His good intentions, and believe that He has something even better in store for you.  When you take your stand in faith, He will exceed your highest expectations!

   Lord, only You know the true depth of my pain whenever I suffer a disappointment.  Reveal Yourself to me as my Comforter and Healer, and fill me with a fresh sense of hope.  Teach me how to pray the prayers of Your heart, and to believe that You are always up to something good in my life.  Thank You that as I put my wholehearted trust in You, You will do awesome things beyond my highest expectations!

   *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!

Oct 7 18

Call Upon the Name of Jesus

by J. M. Farro

   “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Acts 2:21 NASB

   It was during my private devotional time with the Lord one morning when He showed me Acts 2:21, where the apostle Peter was quoting Joel 2:32.  And He showed me that I wasn’t making the most of this promise of His.  So I took some time to study these verses out, and I discovered that we make a mistake when we only apply these promises to our initial new birth experience.

   Many Bible scholars and commentators believe that when God says that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” He is inviting His people to call upon Him to act on their behalf in every area of their lives – in every point of need.  When we limit the blessings of this promise to our initial salvation experience, we are robbing ourselves of deliverances that we can gain access to when we accept its broader applications.

   Now, when I have a specific need, I often draw upon the power of God’s promise by mixing it with faith. (Hebrews 4:2 NKJV)  I say, “Lord Jesus, You said that everyone who calls on Your name will be saved, so I am asking You to deliver me from the aches and pains in my body.”  Or, “Lord Jesus, I call upon Your name today for deliverance from debt and lack.”  Or even, “Jesus, I ask You to save me from this ungodly habit.”  I often get even more specific than this in my requests, and you can, too.

   The Amplified Bible reads:  “And it shall be that whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord – Christ] shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21 AMP)  If you adore and worship the Lord Jesus, then you have the privilege of calling upon Him for deliverance in every situation and circumstance.  Call upon Him today, and discover just how eager He is to prove His faithfulness to His Word!

   Lord, I want to receive all the benefits of Your “very great and precious promises,” and I ask You to help me do that by giving me revelation and insight into how they apply to my life. (2 Peter 1:4 NIV)  Teach me how to call upon Your name to receive all the benefits of my salvation.  Don’t let me rob myself of the untold divine deliverances You have in store for me.  Thank You that as I call upon Your holy name whenever I need Your saving help, I will experience Your faithfulness and Your presence in a greater 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!

Sep 30 18

God’s Mysterious Methods

by J. M. Farro

   “Oh, what a wonderful God we have!  How great are His wisdom and knowledge and riches!  How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His methods!”  Romans 11:33 TLB

   I have a special fondness for the Scripture above because it reminds me how “impossible” it is for me to “understand [God’s] decisions and His methods.”  And it helps me not to overthink things, but to just pray for His wisdom and help, and to leave the results in His very capable hands.

   When I was a young mother with two little children, my husband, Joe, and I decided to sell the small house we lived in.  Our home was in a private lake community with dirt roads and very few creature comforts.  We didn’t expect to get much money for the sale, so we decided to sell our house without a realtor, and to list it in the local newspaper.  We were stunned when we got an offer the same day from a lady who refused to leave our home until we accepted her check for a sizable deposit.

   Several years later, we decided to sell our second home, and once again, we tried to sell it without a realtor.  But after many weeks of not receiving any acceptable offers, we resigned ourselves to listing our home with a local realtor.  This man warned us that because there were literally hundreds of houses for sale in our area, we shouldn’t expect an offer anytime soon, and we shouldn’t expect to get our full asking price.  We were amazed when we got three offers for our home right away, and the buyer we selected gave us the price we wanted, and would take occupancy in only a matter of weeks.  People told us that we would have to put our furniture in storage and live in a hotel while we looked for a new home in another state, but God intervened in a mighty way, and enabled us to find and buy the home we are in now in only nine days.

   One of the most important lessons we learned in all this was that we should have prayed for God’s guidance when we decided to put our second home up for sale.  Because we had such a good experience selling our first home without a realtor, we assumed that we should use the same method to sell our second home.  But God had other plans for us.  And when we got into agreement with Him and His methods, that’s when doors starting opening, and things began falling into place.

   The Amplified translation of Romans 11:33 says: “…How untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are [God’s] ways (His methods, His paths)!”  Don’t try to figure out the Lord’s mysterious methods, but do ask for His wisdom and direction so you can receive His very best in all you do!

   Lord, help me never to limit Your activity in my life by my small thinking.  Expand my vision, and remind me often that Your methods are mysterious and infinite in number.  Teach me to consult You and Your perspective in all of my ways and decisions.  Thank You that as I seek Your wisdom and follow Your lead, You will open doors and obliterate obstacles so that I can receive Your very best!

   *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!

Sep 23 18

Keep Praying Until the Answer Comes

by J. M. Farro

    “But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, ‘Lord, help me!’” Matthew 15:25 NLT

   The Bible account of the Canaanite woman coming to Jesus for healing for her demon-possessed daughter is a familiar one to many of us.  As she cries out to the Messiah, first He pointedly ignores her.  But she isn’t deterred.  Scripture says, “But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, ‘Lord, help me!’”  Jesus flatly refuses to help her, and even compares her to a dog because of her heritage.  Instead of being insulted and walking away, this determined woman says, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  How does Jesus respond?  He declares joyfully, “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire.”  The Bible goes on to say, “And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (Matthew 15:27-28 NASB)

   The Lord has often led me to this account when I have become discouraged over unanswered prayers.  When I have been tempted to settle for less than God’s best.  When I have begun thinking, “Maybe it’s just not God’s will for me.”  When I felt like this recently, the Lord led me to the Message Bible’s translation of Matthew 15.  The Canaanite woman’s response in verse 27 says, “You’re right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master’s table.’”  God spoke to my heart and said that this desperate mother was rewarded because she wasn’t too proud to beg for the Savior’s intervention.  She simply wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

   When I studied this passage out, I discovered that Bible commentators say that this woman was practicing Jesus’ own teaching in Luke 18, where He teaches on persevering in prayer using “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.”  Scripture introduces the Savior’s lesson with the statement, “One day Jesus told His disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.” (Luke 18:1 TLB)  The fact that Jesus calls the Canaanite woman’s faith “great” tells us that her refusal to quit seeking His intervention was pleasing and glorifying to God.

   I must tell you that I am not too proud to plead with the Lord when I or my loved ones need His help.  Some of my most incredible breakthroughs have come as a result of begging for God’s mighty intervention.  Jesus commends the Persistent Widow in His parable, and ends His teaching with a profound question – “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [this kind of persistent] faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 AMP)  What blessings, rewards, and opportunities are you at risk of missing out on if you don’t persist in your prayers?

   Lord, teach me how to have the kind of “great” faith that pleases You most.  By Your Spirit, empower me to persevere in prayer when I don’t receive my answers as quickly as I would like.  Remind me that there are forces in this world that will stop at nothing to hinder the answers to my petitions.  Thank You that as I earnestly seek You and Your will for every area of my life, You will shape my prayers and pleas so that they always honor 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!

Sep 16 18

Go Ahead and Complain

by J. M. Farro

   “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior:  Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for THEM.”  Matthew 7:12 MSG

   I have made an observation about people, in general, over the years, and it goes like this:  We complain when we should be grateful, and we DON’T complain when we should call someone to account for their unacceptable behavior.  Of course, this is a generalization, but I am seeing it more and more in our society.

   Unfortunately, Christians may be more guilty of this than most people, because we are constantly aware of the verses in the Bible that warn against complaining. (1 Corinthians 10:9-11)  Too often, we keep silent when we should speak.  Perhaps a good principle to apply in these matters is Ecclesiastes 7:18 (NIV): “Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”

   When my almost-new dishwasher began malfunctioning, I called the manufacturer’s customer service department and voiced my complaint.  What began then was a harrowing series of service visits to my home – a dozen, in fact – without the problem being resolved.  Our dishwasher was still under warranty, and we didn’t get charged for any of the visits or replacement parts, so the manufacturer figured that we had nothing to complain about.  But to say that the entire process was frustrating is a gross understatement.

   You can bet that I was praying the whole time, and seeking the Lord for His guidance and assistance in the matter.  Even so, the dishwasher problems persisted for almost a year.  I kept pleading with the Lord, and with the manufacturer, for a new dishwasher at no cost to me and my husband.  All the company would do is extend our warranty for another year for free.

   I finally got to the point where I said, “No more!”  No more service visits, and no more replacement parts for our appliance.  That’s when I contacted my state’s Attorney General’s office.  The Lord had spoken to my heart that this manufacturer was doing this to other customers – not just me – and that was enough motivation for me to take my complaint to the next level.  A few weeks later, the manufacturer hired a “white glove” service to remove our old defective dishwasher, and to install a brand new one – at absolutely no charge to us.

   Jesus said, “Do for others what you want them to do for you.  This is the teaching of the laws of Moses in a nutshell.” (Matthew 7:12 TLB)  There are times when the Lord wants His people to complain about shoddy work and mediocre service – not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of others.  God cares about the relatively “small” injustices, as well as the major ones.  In each and every case, let us ask our Master, “What would YOU have me do?”

    Lord, Your Word says that You are “a God of justice,” and that I am called to “imitate” You. (Isaiah 30:18 NIV; Ephesians 5:1 NLT)  So whenever I encounter injustices of any size, give me the wisdom and guidance to know what You want me to do as Your “representative” in this world. (Colossians 3:17 NLT)  Don’t allow me to be silent when You want me to speak up, and give me “the right words at the right time” to voice my complaint according to Your will. (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT)  Thank You that as I complain Your way, You will bless me and others for Your glory!

   *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!

Sep 9 18

Increasing Freedom from Anxiety and Fear

by J. M. Farro

   “May God bless you richly and grant you increasing freedom from all anxiety and fear.”  1 Peter 1:2 TLB

   When I first saw this verse in the Living Bible years ago, I said, “I want that, Lord!”  I have struggled with anxiety and fear for most of my life, and until I began reading the Bible, I thought that I had no choice in the matter.  Here, the apostle Peter was telling me that I could actually experience “increasing freedom from ALL anxiety and fear.”

   But how?  My answer came in the form of the Amplified translation of this verse.  “May grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be yours in increasing abundance [AS YOU WALK CLOSELY WITH GOD].”  How do we walk closely with the Lord?  We spend time alone with Him – reading His Word, listening for His voice, praying and sharing our most private thoughts and deepest desires with Him.  And we make pleasing Him our number one priority – being willing to offend even our closest loved ones, rather than offend Him.

   Scripture says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3 NKJV)  In order for us to walk closely with God, we need to be in agreement with His laws, His truth, and His principles.  The more we align our beliefs and actions with Scripture, the better we will hear the Lord’s voice and be empowered to obey Him.  This involves following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

   The apostle Paul wrote, “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25 NLT)  The Amplified translation puts it this way: “If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage – our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit].”  Walking closely with God means walking in the Spirit, and becoming more and more like Christ all the time.

   As followers of Christ, you and I have the potential and privilege to experience “increasing freedom from ALL anxiety and fear.”  Let’s not settle for anything less.

   Lord, teach me what it means to walk closely with You.  Renew my mind so that I will always be in agreement with Your laws and Your truth.  Help me to spend undistracted and unhurried time alone with You and Your Word on a regular basis – pouring out my heart to You, listening for Your voice, and drawing on Your strength.  Thank You that as I follow Your Spirit’s leading in every area of my life, I will experience the freedom from anxiety and fear that is my inheritance in Christ!

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