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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!

   *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 2 18

What Are You Afraid Of?

by J. M. Farro

   “I, I’m the One comforting you.  What are you afraid of – or who?  Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead?  Some poor wretch destined for dust?  You’ve forgotten Me, God, who made you, who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth.”  Isaiah 51:12-13 MSG

   When was the last time you knew that you had to have a very difficult conversation with someone – a conversation that could result in that person lashing out at you?  Do you remember the feelings of fear and dread that you experienced?

   The last time I was in this situation, I suffered in silence, until I turned to the Lord for His perspective and consolation.  He led me to Isaiah 51:12 (NLT), which says, “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.  So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?  Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth.”  This was the Lord’s righteous indignation against my fearing people more than Him.

   This passage continues – “Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors?  Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies?  Where is their fury and anger now?  It is gone!” (Isaiah 51:13 NLT)  If the Lord was trying to make me feel ashamed, He succeeded.  He made me realize that as a servant of the Most High God, I didn’t need to be afraid of people, because He would protect me and defend me as long as I was in submission to Him, and looking to Him for help.

   I love how the Message Bible says, “But what will come of the tantrums?” (Isaiah 51:13 MSG)  It is utterly ridiculous for God’s chosen ones to quake and quiver when people rail against us.  Instead of magnifying our problems or other people, we need to magnify our great God.  When we do, no person on earth and no devil in hell will be able to harm a hair on our heads! (Luke 21:18)

   Lord, forgive me for the times when I had more fear of people, than faith in You.  When I am tempted to dread my dealings with others, remind me of how committed You are to protecting me and causing me to succeed.  Teach me how to magnify You, Your power, and Your love – and to minimize other people’s tantrums and threats against me.  Thank You that as I give You Your rightful place in my life, I will never have to fear anyone but 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!

Aug 27 18

God-Haters vs. God-Lovers

by J. M. Farro

   “I give out good and get back evil from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.”  Psalm 38:20 MSG

   I came across this verse in my devotional time with the Lord, and He gently began to remind me that not everyone is going to repay me with good when I do good to them.  In fact, some people will actually hate me for it.  What is most painful is that some of these folks will be among my own loved ones, and some of them will even call themselves Christians.  But the truth is that they have no love for God, or for His people.

   The New Living Translation of this verse says:  “They repay me evil for good and oppose me for pursuing good.” (Psalm 38:20 NLT)  Not everyone is going to be happy when we do our best to pursue good in this life – some people will actually become our adversaries because of it.  Case in point:  We may hear from God in a situation, and then start out trying to follow His will, and then be met by opposition, and begin wondering if we heard God right.  It’s always a good idea in these cases to ask the Lord for confirmation and clarification.  But chances are, we are already on the right track, and the enemy of our souls is working behind the scenes to stir up people to come against us.  If we will stand firm in doing the good that God has assigned us, we will eventually reap the rewards for our obedience. (Galatians 6:9)

   Jesus told His disciples:  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18-19, 20 NIV)  Because the Savior endured the worst kind of persecution when He was here, He is able to relate to our suffering, and He is ever ready to give us all the comfort and encouragement we need to not only endure, but to overcome.

   As the Scripture above in Psalm 38 says, God-haters can’t stand a God-lover.  And that’s okay.  Our goal is not to please people, but to please God. (2 Corinthians 5:9)  And if we look to Him for wisdom and strength, He will protect us and provide for us as we live our life for Him!

   Lord, make me a God-lover in every way, and cause me to grow closer to You every day.  Help me to spend my life doing the good works You have called me to, and to do them wholeheartedly and with joy.  When I suffer persecution because of my devotion to You, comfort me and empower me to respond in a Christlike way.  Thank You that as I make pleasing You my number one priority, You will promote me and give me even greater responsibility 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!

Aug 20 18

Favor Us and Give Us Success

by J. M. Farro

   “Let the Lord our God favor us and give us success.  May He give permanence to all we do.”  Psalm 90:17 TLB

   Moses is given credit for writing this psalm.  In it, he laments how short our lives are, and how full of misery they can be.  So it’s no surprise that before he finishes this psalm, he asks God to “give permanence to all we do.”

   We all want to leave our “mark” on the world.  We all want to believe that when we are gone, we will be missed.  The good news is that if we will just live our lives for Christ while we are here, He will guarantee that our efforts will have a lasting impact on this world – not just for ourselves, but for His glory.

   If we want to leave a godly legacy behind us, then it’s important that we ask the Lord to “favor us and give us success” as we go about performing the deeds that He has assigned to us.  The devil and his minions will do their best to interfere with our efforts, but with God on our side, and with Him opening doors for us and making us stand out in a crowd, our success is guaranteed.

   Psalm 112 says: “Those who are righteous will be long remembered.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (v.6,9 NLT)  You and I don’t have to worry that the works we do in the Lord’s name while we are here will be forgotten after we are gone.  God Himself is going to see to it that we are remembered and honored for our good deeds in this life – as well as in the life to come – simply because we performed them in obedience to Him. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

   The apostle Paul had it right when he said, “Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 TLB)  Let’s you and I pray Moses’ prayer so that we can become the world-changers for Christ that we are destined to be!

   Lord, grant me Your favor as I go about my business each day, performing the tasks You assign to me.  Give me success in all of my endeavors, and prosper the works of my hands.  Make me stand out in a crowd in ways that will bring glory to Your name.  Thank You that I and my good deeds will be remembered forever because of Your faithfulness to Your Word!

   *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!

Aug 12 18

Make God’s Laws Your Own

by J. M. Farro

   “The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.  They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from His path.”  Psalm 37:30-31 NLT

   I have been declaring these verses over myself for years, and applying them to my life on a regular basis.  I believe it’s one reason why the Lord uses me to teach others about Him.

   The key points of these Scriptures for me is that as I make God’s laws my own, I will remain on His perfect paths for my life.  As I walk in obedience to His Word, I will be able to discern right from wrong in every situation, and I will be equipped to offer godly counsel to others.

   Some Christians are trying to live their lives without agreeing with God’s laws and precepts.  They listen to what the world says about behaviors and lifestyles, and they buy into the lies and the deceptions of the enemy.  As a result, they keep slipping off of God’s perfect paths for them – the paths along which they would find divine provision, protection, and every aspect of the abundant life that Jesus promised. (John 10:10)

   Scripture says:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)  One way that we can cooperate with God for our transformation is to diligently study His Word, which is Truth.  The more we do this, the more we will be able to think like God and see things from His perspective.  Then we will “learn to know God’s will for [us]” – even in the littlest details of our lives.

   Remember this:  God’s will for your life is knowable and doable through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.  Today, make God’s laws your own, and you will “never slip from His path”!

   Lord, help me to walk in agreement with You and Your Word every day, in every way.  Teach me how to cooperate with You for the renewal of my mind, so that I will not copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but instead will imitate You in everything I do. (Ephesians 5:1 NLT)  Thank You that as I make Your laws my own, I will enter into Your full blessing and purpose for my life!

   *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!

Aug 5 18

Exaltation will Come!

by J. M. Farro

   “When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person.”  Job 22:29 NKJV

   When I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling of dread, I immediately grabbed myself a cup of tea, and opened my bible.  There, the Lord led me to His promise in Job 22:29 (NKJV): “When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person.”  I truly was feeling downcast at the moment, so God had my undivided attention, to say the least.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and revealed to me that whenever I feel this way, I have to “say” certain things in order to rise above my feelings.  In this case, I was to say, “Exaltation will come!”  So I began exclaiming the phrase over and over with all my heart.

   Then I looked up the word “exaltation” in a secular dictionary, and the definitions I found were – “a feeling or state of extreme happiness; elation, joy, rapture, ecstasy, bliss, delight, and gladness.”  Another definition stated, “the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character.”  And then I read with joy, “The resurrection and ‘exaltation’ of Christ.”  Seeing this in a secular dictionary was even more confirmation from the Lord for me.  And I sensed Him telling me, “When people or circumstances cast you down, if you will declare in faith, ‘Exaltation will come!’ then I will deliver you from the hands of those who mean you harm – even the devil himself – and I will fill you with My joy, and promote you.”  Hallelujah!

   All this brought to mind a passage in Psalm 71, which says: “You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.”  (Psalm 71:20-21 NKJV)  You see, when the Lord brings us out of trouble as a result of us depending on Him for help, He doesn’t just bring restoration of what we lost – no, He brings us out better than before – “increasing” our “greatness”!  But notice the psalmist had to say, “You shall increase my greatness.”  He was speaking out his faith in God’s ability and willingness to exalt him.

   The Living Bible translation of Job 22:29 says: “If you are attacked and knocked down, you will know that there is Someone who will lift you up again.  Yes, He will save the humble.”  Take this message to heart today, dear one, and let the lifting up and exaltation begin!

   Lord, when I am cast down by people or circumstances, help me to demonstrate my humble dependence upon You.  Teach me how to use my words to express my faith in Your willingness and ability to bring me out even better than before.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You for my deliverance and success, You will fill me with joy, and elevate me in rank, power, and character!

   *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!

Jul 30 18

The Faith of Abraham

by J. M. Farro

   “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping – believing that he would become the father of many nations.  For God had said to him, ‘That’s how many descendants you will have!’”  Romans 4:18 NLT

   God has used this verse countless times to encourage me when I have been faced with hopeless situations and was tempted to lose heart.  I find Abraham’s example of faith so profoundly inspiring, and it never ceases to give me hope.  The phrase, “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping,” speaks of the kind of faith that defies hopelessness.  Abraham was keenly aware of his doubtful situation.  In fact, the next verse confirms this: “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”  (Romans 4:19 NIV)  Abraham was not in denial.  He clearly was facing the facts of his situation, yet Scripture says that he did this “without weakening in his faith.”  No wonder God honored this man the way He did.

   How many of us in Abraham’s situation would have held on to the promise of God?  Some believers think that you have to be in a kind of state of denial in order to receive the miraculous in hopeless situations, but that is not the case.  Real faith says, “I know my situation looks hopeless, but I also know that I belong to a God who has a history of moving mountains for His children, and I am keeping my eyes on Him!”  You don’t have to know HOW God is going to keep His promise to you, all you have to know is that He will do it!

   Romans 4:20-21 (NIV) says, “Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”  The Message Bible puts it this way: “Abraham didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions.  He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God.”  One thing is certain – a lack of faith will make us waver.  It will cause us to doubt God’s ability and willingness to do the impossible on our behalf.  It is God’s desire that we be “fully persuaded” that He is able to work wonders in our lives, even when our circumstances are screaming defeat at us.  Notice that verse 20 reveals that Abraham “gave glory to God” while he was waiting for God to fulfill His promise to him.  Abraham didn’t wait until the manifestation of his miracle to give thanks and praise to the Lord – that doesn’t take much faith.  But he began thanking God in advance, strengthening his own faith in the process.  The Living Bible brings this out best when it says: “He praised God for this blessing even before it happened.”

   Scripture says that it is “those who have the faith of Abraham” who receive the promises of God. (Romans 4:16 NIV)  If we want to receive the kind of blessings that Abraham did, we need to demonstrate the kind of faith that he did.  That means we will have to push logic and reasoning aside, and focus on God and His promises.  If you are a child of God, and if you will follow Abraham’s example, rest assured that as God worked wonders for this great man of faith, He will work wonders for you, too!

   Lord, teach me to have the faith of Abraham.  When I encounter “hopeless” situations, help me to keep my eyes on You, instead of on my circumstances.  Remind me not to wait for the manifestation of my miracle before I give You thanks and praise.  Thank You that as I follow Abraham’s example of faith, I will impact the lives of others 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!

Jul 22 18

Approval Games

by J. M. Farro

   “Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” John 5:41-42 NLT

   During one of my quiet times with the Lord recently, He began teaching me and warning me about seeking approval from the wrong people.  When He led me to the verses above, I rejoiced when I read Jesus’ words saying, “Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” (John 5:41-42 NLT)  He showed me that when I try to win the approval of people who don’t truly love God – who aren’t living their lives to please Him – then I am sinning against Him, and I will suffer the consequences.

   The truth is that we cannot walk closely with the Lord when we are walking in agreement with people who are opposed to God and His Word – people who don’t seek His will when they make decisions for themselves and others.  If I am in close relationship with them, their choices will affect me, and are bound to do me harm.

   In this same passage of Scripture, Jesus says, “How can you believe [in Me], when you [seek and] receive glory and approval from one another, and yet you do not seek the glory and approval which comes from the one and only God?” (John 5:44 AMP)  People who have no love for God will care more about receiving praise from other people than from Him, and they will live their lives for the approval of others.  If we are not careful, we can easily get caught up in their “approval games,” as I like to call them.  I also like to say that these people suffer from the “look how wonderful I am” syndrome.  Everything is all about THEM, and God has no room in their hearts or in their lives.

   Here’s the thing:  These people are destined to make bad decisions on a regular basis because they have no reverence or respect for God.  As Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) says:  “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  And if we are in close relationship with these foolish folks, their poor decisions will spell disaster for us, as well as for themselves and others.  This is not God’s best for His devoted ones like you and me.

   Jesus said, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.  What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15 NIV)  Some people are masters at fooling others into thinking that they are good and right, and that their motives are pure, but they cannot fool the God Who detests the things they hold in high esteem – including money, power, prestige, and promotion that do not come from Him.  And they are destined to reap what they sow. (Galatians 6:7-8)

   When we are tempted to seek approval from the wrong people, we should adopt the Master’s mindset which says, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to Me, for as I know so well, you don’t have God’s love within you.” (John 5:41-42 TLB)  And we should continually “make it our goal to please [God].” (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV)  When our focus is right, our “honor and reward” will come from God Himself! (John 12:26 MSG)

   Lord, forgive me for the times when I cared more about receiving approval and honor from others, instead of You.  Deliver me from pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness, and from everything that would separate me from You and Your perfect plans for me.  Fill me with divine discernment that will help me to see people as they really are, and don’t let me be fooled by those who would use or abuse me.  Help me to imitate You in that “You do not care about anyone’s opinion, for You are not swayed by appearances.” (Matthew 22:16 ESV)  Thank You that as I focus on pleasing and glorifying You in all I do, I will live a life of purpose and abundance!

   *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!

Jul 15 18

What Blessings God Has for Us Now

by J. M. Farro

   “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what blessings He must have for us now that we are His friends and He is living within us!”  Romans 5:10 TLB

   One of the passages in the Bible that I turn to most when I need some encouragement is in Romans Chapter 5.  Here, the apostle Paul talks about how Christ’s work on the cross has saved us, justified us, and reconciled us to God.  He writes, “And since by His blood He did all this for us as sinners, how much MORE will He do for us now that He has declared us not guilty?  Now He will save us from all of God’s wrath to come.” (v. 9)  I’m so grateful that I will be saved from God’s future wrath, but sometimes I need to dwell on what He is going to do for me in THIS life.

   Paul goes on to say,  “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what BLESSINGS He must have for us NOW that we are His friends and He is living within us!” (v. 10)  God is not content with giving us eternal life for the future.  He wants us to live an abundant life right here, right now – through His Spirit who “is living within us!” – and this is one of the many reasons why He sacrificed His Son. (John 10:10)  The Lord showed me years ago that He doesn’t limit His blessings to spiritual blessings.  He has earthly blessings for us, too, when we continually seek Him, and give Him first place in our lives. (Matthew 6:33)

   Next, Paul says, “Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins – making us friends of God.” (Romans 5:11 TLB)  When you and I received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we entered into a “new relationship with God,” which gives us access to His divine wisdom, power, and favor – and to an unlimited source of blessings.  Jesus now calls us His “friends” (John 15:15), and He tells us, “The Father Himself loves you dearly because you love Me and believe that I came from God.” (John 16:27 NLT)  If God extended the blessing of eternal life to us when we were His “enemies” (v. 10), how many more blessings will He extend to us when we are living our lives for Him?

   Today, rejoice that your blessings from the Lord are for HERE, as well as the hereafter, and begin to make the most of your inheritance in Christ today!

   Lord, I thank You that You showed Your “great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT)  I praise You for Your precious gifts of salvation and eternal life.  I am so grateful that You call me Your friend, and that You love me dearly.  Please give me insight and understanding into how You desire to bless me with earthly blessings, as well as spiritual ones.  Teach me how to seek first Your Kingdom and righteousness, and to always give You first place in my life.  Thank You for every blessing, reward, and opportunity that You have for me now that I am Your friend and You are living in me!

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