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Apr 11 21

From the Lord Comes Deliverance

by J. M. Farro

   “Lord, how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me!  Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’”  Psalm 3:1-2 NIV

   There are times in our lives, even as believers, when we feel as though we are surrounded by trouble and turmoil.  Psalm 3, written by King David, is a good example of one of those occasions.  David writes: “Lord, how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me!” (v. 1)  Even when it seems as though people are against us, we have to remember that it is Satan and his forces of darkness that are behind our troubles.  [“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NLT]  Having this perspective will move us to use the powerful spiritual weapons at our disposal – including prayer, God’s Word and promises, the Name of Jesus, and the armor of God – which will be far more effective than any worldly weapons.

   In the very next verse, David declares: “Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’” (v. 2)  In times of trouble, turmoil, or pain, we may hear words like, “God is not going to save you this time.  You are on your own.  This trouble is going to be the end of you.”  Whether the source is our own carnal minds or the forces of darkness, we can reject those words, and begin dwelling on – and declaring – the truth of God’s Word and His promises.  How did David respond to those who were saying that God would never “deliver him”?  He declared: “But You, Lord, protect me.  You bring me honor; You give me hope!” (v. 3 ERV)  Besides declaring God’s goodness and willingness to help him, David responds with prayer: “I will pray to the Lord, and He will answer me from His holy mountain.” (v. 4 ERV) 

   David’s confidence in God is so complete that he records: “I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me.  I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.” (v. 5-6 NLT)  The fact is, David WAS surrounded by thousands of enemies, because he wrote this psalm during his son Absalom’s attempts to steal his father’s throne.  Even so, David didn’t lose any sleep.  He trusted the Lord to protect and deliver him, and God didn’t disappoint him.  When we demonstrate the same kind of faith that David did, we won’t lose any sleep during times of trouble, either. 

   David ends this psalm by saying: “From the Lord comes deliverance.  May Your blessing be on Your people.” (v. 8)  The Message Bible says it this way: “Real help comes from God.  Your blessing clothes Your people!”  Hallelujah!  The Lord miraculously delivered David, and He will do no less for you!

   Lord, in times of trouble, turmoil, or pain, help me to turn to You for help.  Teach me how to pray the prayers of Your heart, and to reject thoughts and words of doubt and defeat.  Protect me, bring me honor, and give me hope.  Fill me with Christlike confidence and peace, so that I can sleep soundly each night, and wake up refreshed each morning.  Thank You that as I look to You for my deliverance, I will receive the “real help” that only You can provide!

   *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

 

Apr 4 21

Give God the Right to Direct Your Life

by J. M. Farro

   “Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust Him along the way, you’ll find He pulled it off perfectly!”  Psalms 37:5 TPT

   After I graduated high school many years ago, I enrolled at a state college nearby.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that this college had accepted almost a thousand more students than they could accommodate, and when I went to sign up for classes, I couldn’t get any of the ones I needed for my major.  I was devasted, and I felt that my only choice was to go back to the job I was working at during the summer, and to put my education on hold.  A year later, I enrolled at a local county college, and it was here that I met my future husband, Joe.  That was almost 48 years ago, and we are still together, with two grown sons and three grandchildren.

   As I look back, I can’t help but marvel at how the Lord brought Joe and I together.  We are the same age, but God saw to it that Joe’s college education was delayed for a whole year, too.  The Lord made sure that Joe and I were in the same Sociology class at the same time.  And He had our professor put us in the same skit together, so that we had no choice but to talk to each other and get to know each other.  Truly, the way that God directed our steps was nothing short of a miracle.

   The Bible says: “Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust Him along the way, you’ll find He pulled it off perfectly!” (Psalms 37:5 TPT)  Because the Lord has given us the will to choose and to make our own decisions, we must give Him “the right to direct” our lives.  He won’t force His will on us, even though His will for us is always what is best for us.  Receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior won’t guarantee that God will direct our steps each day.  We have to intentionally commit our ways and our days – even every situation and need – to the Lord continually, in order for us to walk in His perfect will.  This takes trust, which is why this Scripture mentions this requirement.  So my challenge to you today is to give God the right to direct your life every day, in every way.  Then, in whatever test or trial you might face – “you’ll find He pulled it off perfectly!”

   Lord, today I give You the right to direct my life.  I surrender to You all of my hopes, dreams, and plans.  Please align my will with Yours in every area of my life, and help me to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential.  Use Your Word and Your Spirit to guide me along Your perfect paths of peace, wellness, and abundance.  Thank You that as I allow You to direct my steps, I will live a life of victory and success!

   *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

 

Mar 28 21

How To Help Change Your Nation

by J. M. Farro

   “Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.”  Job 17:9 NIV

   Some years ago, the Lord led me to the verse above, and He instructed me to pray that all of the righteous people in my nation would “hold to their ways,” so that those of us with “clean hands” would “grow stronger” all the time.  Then, we would see our land totally transformed for the glory of God.  The Amplified translation says it this way: “Yet shall the righteous (those upright and in right standing with God) hold to their ways, and he who has clean hands shall grow stronger and stronger.”

   We get it wrong when we focus on the wicked too much, and expect them to change.  We think that ungodly people are the key to healing our nations.  But the truth is that we believers are the ones who have the responsibility to change and be transformed.  You see this truth in the familiar Bible verse that says: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)  Do you see where the onus is?  It’s on God’s people to repent and change their ways. 

   One reason why countries like the United States are moving further away from God is that there aren’t enough Christians holding to righteous ways.  Too many of us are compromising our biblical convictions, and aligning our thoughts, words, and actions with the world, instead of the Word.  Instead of standing out, we are blending in with our culture and society.  It’s hard to tell the Christians from the non-Christians a lot of the time.  Is it any wonder that things are getting darker?

   Scripture promises, “[The Lord] will even deliver the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; yes, he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” (Job 22:30 AMP)  When we are holding to righteous ways, we can intercede for the lost and wicked, and see many of them turn to God.  Then, they will be a part of the solution, instead of a part of the problem in our societies.  So let’s be quick to confess our sins, and to ask the Lord to forgive and cleanse us. (1 John 1:9)  And let’s make serving God with wholehearted devotion our number one priority!

   Lord, please use me and my fellow followers of Christ to touch and transform our nation in mighty ways.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins, and make us quick to repent and leave our wrongdoing behind.  Fill us with a holy boldness to speak for You in ways that will influence our culture and society for good.  Thank You that as we hold to our righteous ways, You will make us mighty world-changers 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

 

Mar 21 21

Ungodly Counsel

by J. M. Farro

   “Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes]…” Psalm 1:1 AMP

   When my mother died two years ago – 21 years after my dad’s death – my sister sent me a copy of one of my father’s college papers, which she discovered as she was cleaning out my parents’ home.  This assignment of my dad’s was a written biography about the life of my great-grandfather, Horatio.  As I read about this relative of mine that I never knew, I marveled at how this man came from a poor family of farmers in Italy to America to start a new life with his loved ones.  Horatio worked hard for many years, and eventually, he bought some rental properties that would provide an ample income in his retirement for him and his family.  Life was good, until my great-grandfather began taking bad advice from his own sons, who convinced him to invest in a business which eventually failed, and caused him to suffer a significant loss.  Fortunately, Horatio had money in the bank, which kept him from losing everything.  Several years later, though, his sons convinced him to invest in another business that went bankrupt, and this time, he and his family were left destitute.  It was then that my grandmother – a young widow with two small sons (one of them being my father) – had to go to work to support her parents, as well as her own children.

   As I thought about the devastating mistakes that my great-grandfather made, I recalled King David’s words in Psalm 1: “Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes]…” (Psalm 1:1 AMP)  Horatio received and acted upon ungodly counsel from his sons, not just once, but twice.  And it cost him dearly.  You and I have to be very careful about who we receive advice from.  God will send godly counselors into our lives as we walk closely with Him throughout each day, but He won’t force us to take their sound advice.  Most of all, the Lord Himself offers to be our Guide.  He says: “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you.  Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalm 32:8-9 NLT)  If we want God’s best in every area of our life, then it’s absolutely essential that we cooperate with Him all the way.  Also, Jesus called the Holy Spirit who dwells in us the “Counselor,” whom He said would remain with us forever. (John 14:16 AMP)  Along with the Word of God, we have everything we need to make wise decisions throughout our lives. (Psalm 119:105)  Let’s not make the same mistakes that some of those who went before us made.

   Lord, teach me how to seek You for the wisdom and guidance that You promise me in Your Word. (James 1:5; Jeremiah 33:3)  Bring godly counselors into my life, and help me to make the most of them.  Guard me from ungodly advice that will lead me away from Your plans and purposes for me.  Make me sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading in all things.  Thank you that as I keep my eyes on You, “You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny!” (Psalm 73:24 NLT)

   *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

Mar 14 21

Wisdom for Good Decisions

by J. M. Farro

   “For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom.  Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10 TLB

   The other day, my husband, Joe, and I had a serious dilemma.  We needed to make an important decision, and we needed to make it fast.  We talked about it for a while, hesitating and realizing that if we made a mistake, we could suffer far-reaching consequences.  Suddenly, it dawned on me that we should pray about it.  Joe and I joined hands and petitioned the Lord for His wisdom.  As soon as we finished praying, Joe knew exactly what we should do, and I wholeheartedly agreed with him. 

   The Lord showed me through this experience that sometimes, we make consulting Him more complicated than it has to be.  Scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)  The truth is that having wisdom starts with having a healthy fear of God.  That doesn’t mean that we have to be afraid of God, but that pleasing Him is always our number one priority.  My husband is not a super-spiritual person by any means.  But he can hear from God when he needs to because he has a deep reverence for Him and His laws.  If God says in His Word that something is wrong, then Joe agrees with Him.  The Living Bible translation of Proverbs 9:10 says, “For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom.  Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.”  Joe doesn’t have a lot of head knowledge about God, but he knows Him personally, and that is what allows my husband to gain insight and understanding from above when he needs it.

   Joe and I know people who make poor decisions on a regular basis.  Why?  Because they have no fear of God, and no respect for His Word.  Some of these folks are well-educated.  They do all kinds of research and collect all kinds of information before they make a decision, but they still suffer for it.  This is because, as the Bible says, “Knowledge begins with fear and respect for the Lord, but stubborn fools hate wisdom and refuse to learn.” (Proverbs 1:7 ERV)  We all make mistakes, but those of us who love and revere the Lord are more likely to learn from our mistakes, and to see God make them work out for our good. (Romans 8:28)  If you have an intimate and eternal relationship with God through Christ, then you have the potential to make wise decisions and live a good life.  And that’s my heartfelt prayer for you today!

   Lord, today I choose to make You and Your laws my number one priority.  Fill me with a deep reverence for You, Your ways, and Your Word.  Help me to know You personally and intimately.  Fill me with divine wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.  Teach me how to make good decisions every time.  Thank You that as I live my life for You, I will experience life at its very best!

   *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

Mar 7 21

Our Connection to God

by J. M. Farro

   “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 NIV

   I recently heard from an old acquaintance who had a dear friend who was gravely ill.  She asked me to pray for this man, because she said that I always seemed to have a special “connection” to the Lord, which enabled me to get amazing answers to my prayers.  What’s interesting is that I have heard this before – that I have a special “connection” to God, which makes my prayers more powerful than the average Christian.  And if you were to ask me how you could have this kind of divine connection, too, here is what I would say to you.

   First off, I would tell you that besides receiving Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to truly surrender your heart and life to Him.  You must give Him access to every area of your life, not just the spiritual part.  Jesus wants you to submit to His lordship where your relationships, your career, and even your entertainment are concerned.  You can’t separate the secular and the sacred.  Every moment of your life must be lived to the glory of God.  That doesn’t mean that the Lord expects you to be perfect.  Only Jesus lived a perfect life on this earth.  But it means that you live every day of your life with this command in mind – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

   Second, in order to have a deep connection with God, you must heed the Savior’s instructions in John 15:7 (AMPC): “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.”  Here is a powerful principle that leads to powerful prayer.  You must believe God’s Word, considering it “truth,” as Jesus called it in John 17:17.  And you must believe ALL of it.  If you say, “Well, I just have a problem with some parts of the Bible,” then your connection to God – and your prayers – will be greatly hindered.  Scripture says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9 NIV)  The Message Bible says it this way, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him.”

   Years ago, when the Lord was teaching me how to pray effective prayers, He showed me Psalm 119:173 (NIV): “May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.”  God revealed to me that if I would choose to believe and honor His Word, His laws, and His precepts – over and above the laws of our culture and society – I would get “ready” answers to my prayers.  The bottom line is that we are either going to be filled with the Word or the world.  There is “no neutral ground” with God. (Luke 11:23 MSG)  Which will YOU choose?

   Lord, today I surrender every aspect of my life to You, and I make You Lord over every area of my life.  Help me to honor and glorify You with all of my thoughts, words, and actions.  I choose to believe Your Word, and to consider it truth.  Teach me how to pray effective prayers.  Thank You that as I remain vitally united to You, and Your Words remain in me, I will receive ready answers to my prayers!

   *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

Feb 28 21

Sheltered By God’s Promises

by J. M. Farro

   “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  Matthew 5:7 AMP

   When my 10-year-old grandson, William, was staying with my husband, Joe, and me this past week, as he usually does, he began telling us about an experience he had when he was in the first grade.  One of his classmates told their teacher that Will had used “a bad word.”  Knowing that it was a lie, my grandson panicked and did his best to convince his teacher and his other classmates that it wasn’t true.  However, none of the other kids spoke up for Will, even though they knew that he was innocent.  Instead of giving my grandson the benefit of the doubt, his teacher punished him for the offense.  She made him sit in a corner of the room all by himself, while all of the other children busily went about creating Valentine’s Day cards for each other.  Before my husband and I could respond to Will’s heartbreaking story, our grandson began singing the praises of his first-grade teacher.  It was obvious that he loved her and thought the world of her, and he wanted us to know it.  What was Will doing?  He was extending mercy to the teacher who had deeply hurt him, and who had treated him unfairly.

   Will’s experience makes me think of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7 NIV)  One thing that most Christians miss is the fact that our Savior doesn’t just want us to show mercy to others so that THEY can be blessed.  He wants us to show mercy because He knows that there are great earthly and heavenly rewards waiting for US when we continually walk in love and forgiveness.  The Amplified translation of this verse says, “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  Hallelujah!  Do you want to be “content”?  Show mercy!  Do you long to be “sheltered by God’s promises”?  Show mercy!  God is saying that when we are merciful when others don’t deserve mercy, we are abiding in a place of divine peace, protection, and provision.  So be generous with your mercy.  And watch the blessings of God’s promises chase you down and overtake you!

   Lord, You instruct us to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 NIV)  So please give me a heart of mercy like Yours.  When others treat me unjustly, or hurt me in any way, help me to respond in a Christlike manner.  Remind me often that Your Word says that “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NIV)  Thank You that as I extend the mercy of God to others, I will experience the fullness of Your promised blessings!

   *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

Feb 21 21

Place Them in God’s Hands

by J. M. Farro

   “He is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in His hands safe and secure…” 2 Timothy 1:12 TPT

   The Lord showed me this verse of Scripture at the beginning of this year.  He wanted to let me know that if I would just “place” my loved ones “in His hands,” He would keep them “safe and secure” for me.  Who are these loved ones of mine?  They are the ones who are living apart from God, and for whom I have been earnestly praying for years.

   This verse begins by stating, “The confidence of my calling enables me to overcome every difficulty without shame, for I have an intimate revelation of this God.”  We who have an “intimate revelation” of God know without a doubt that He loves our unbelieving loved ones even more than we do, and He has an even greater desire to see them saved and serving Him.

   The rest of this verse says, “And my faith in Him convinces me that He is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in His hands safe and secure until the fullness of His appearing.”  Notice that it is our “faith” in God that “convinces” us that He is “more than able” to keep and protect ALL that we place in His hands – “until the fullness of His appearing.”  We may not see any visible evidence that the Lord is working in our loved ones’ lives, but by faith, we know without a doubt that He is!

   If we have a revelation of the one true God, and we have an intimate and eternal relationship with Him, then we can entrust to Him all those loved ones who have turned their backs on Him, or who never believed in Him in the first place.

   Don’t live another day fretting about your unbelieving loved ones.  That won’t do you or them a bit of good.  Instead, make this the year that you hand them over to the Lord, confident that they are safe and secure in His hands!

   Lord, today I commit to You all of my unsaved loved ones.  Show me how to pray effective prayers for them.  Fill me with an unshakable peace, knowing that they are in Your hands, and that You love them even more than I do.  Help me to be careful about what I say when they are in my presence.  Allow them to see Jesus in me at all times.  Thank You for Your promise to save every member of my household because of my faith in Christ!  (Acts 16:31)

   *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

Feb 14 21

Invite God into Your Work

by J. M. Farro

   “Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:3 TLB

   The Lord showed me years ago that all of my work will be more enjoyable, productive, and successful if I will invite Him into it.  He reminded me of John 15:5 (NIV), where Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”  God wants us to be fruitful for His glory, no matter what kind of work we are doing.  It starts with surrendering our lives to Christ, and walking closely with Him throughout each day.  As we commit each endeavor to Him, and ask for His wisdom and strength, His Spirit infuses us with divine power that enables our efforts to be successful and productive.  When Jesus says, “Apart from Me you can do nothing,” He means that we can do nothing of eternal value without His help.  When we do our work in the name of Christ – even if it’s the most mundane work – we will receive earthly and eternal rewards for our efforts.

   The other verse that I stand on daily for my endeavors is Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  This doesn’t mean that I can be a concert pianist through Christ’s power, but that I can accomplish everything that He has called me to do, as I rely on His strength.  I like the Living Bible translation which says: “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”  I can love unlovable people when I depend on Christ’s strength to do it.  I can be the wife, mother, and grandmother that God wants me to be when I rely on the Master’s power.  And I can minister to others as I am called to when I draw on Christ’s strength which abides in me through His indwelling Spirit.  When I put John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13 together, I can declare with all truthfulness: “Lord, apart from You, I can do nothing, but through You, I can do all things!”  Hallelujah!  Below is a prayer based on the Word of God that I pray every day.  I can testify to its power, and I encourage you to pray it, too.  God bless you!

   Lord, apart from You, I can do nothing, but through You, I can do all things.  So I commit to You this day all of my ways, all of my works, all of my intentions, endeavors, and efforts, and I ask that You direct them, perfect them, bless them, anoint them, and crown them with success, in Jesus’ name.  And help me to enjoy and profit from every moment and aspect of them! 

   (John 15:5 NIV; Philippians 4:13 NKJV; Proverbs 3:6 TLB; Psalm 138:8 NASB; Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT; Proverbs 14:23 NIV) 

   *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

Feb 7 21

Don’t Envy Sinners

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord.  You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.”  Proverbs 23:17-18 NLT

   I encourage you to do some serious soul-searching today, and ask yourself if you have ever – even for a moment – envied sinners.  I was guilty of this very thing myself many years ago, before I had a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord.  Back then, I was a “casual Christian.”  I was saved and on my way to heaven, but I never experienced the discernible presence of Almighty God for myself.  Once I surrendered my life to the Lord for real, just before my 40th birthday, I discovered that God wanted to reveal Himself to me in life-changing ways, and that He wanted to be involved with every aspect of my life on a moment-by-moment basis.  Now, I truly pity the people who are trying to live this earthly life without the awesome presence of God.

   The Passion Translation of the above verses says: “Don’t allow the actions of evil men to cause you to burn with anger.  Instead, burn with unrelenting passion as you worship God in holy awe.  Your future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away.”  God doesn’t want us to waste our time or energy burning with anger over the evil actions of the wicked.  Instead, He longs for us to burn with passion for His awe-inspiring presence.  The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said: “How is the prosperous sinner the better for his prosperity when judgment overtakes him?  As for the godly man, his end is peace and blessedness, and none can rob him of his joy; wherefore, let him forego envy, and be filled with sweet content.”  When we focus on the wicked – instead of on our God and all that He blesses us with here on earth, and all that He will bless us with in heaven – we rob ourselves of the joy and contentment that Christ died for us to have. (John 16:22)

   Elsewhere in Proverbs it says: “Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked. For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.” (Proverbs 24:19-20 NLT)  These verses remind me of a quote by the theologian Charles Bridges: “Our hearts, instead of envying sinners, should be full of compassion for them, for they have nothing to look forward to but death.”  As born-again children of the Most High God, we would do well to pity and pray for these poor souls, and to minister to them as the Holy Spirit leads us to.  Today, let us give thanks that “[our] future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away”!

   Lord, please work in my heart so that I will never spend a single moment of my life envying sinners.  Instead, show me how to pray for them, and to minister to them according to Your will.  Help me to long for Your presence continually, and to dwell on all the good things You have for me in this life, as well as in the next.  Thank You that as I worship You in holy awe, I will experience Your sweet contentment and joy!

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