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Dec 17 18

Our Christmas List for God

by J. M. Farro

   “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow.”  John 16:24 TLB

   Every year, my family members and I make out our Christmas lists for each other.  This year, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to make out a Christmas list for HIM.  At first, I was reluctant because I pray regularly for my needs and desires, and I didn’t see any point in writing out a list of things to petition Him for.  But as I meditated on the possibility, I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted me to document those things that I would like to see come to pass in my life, and in the lives of others.  As I started making out my list, I thought of many things that I wanted for myself, and I hesitated to write them down because they seemed so selfish.  Then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Jesus’ words in John 16:24 (TLB):  “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of JOY will overflow.”  So I began recording all the petitions I could think of that would bring me joy if God answered them.  In no time at all, I had two full pages of requests.  Now I am on my third page, and I know that my list is still not complete.

   The Lord instructed me to not make vague requests, but to be as specific as I could.  He reminded me of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 (AMP):  “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [SPECIFIC] REQUESTS known to God.”  Many times, we are simply too lazy to pray for exactly what it is we want the Lord to do on our behalf, and then we wonder why our prayers go unanswered.

   It’s interesting that we find in the Scriptures numerous references of Jesus asking people who have approached him with an obvious need, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  (Luke 18:41; Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:51)  He surely must have known that the blind people crying out to him wanted their sight restored.  Yet He did not act on their behalf until they told Him specifically what they wanted Him to do.  God desires that we demonstrate humility and dependence upon Him by coming to Him personally with our requests.  And when we ask for the tiniest thing, we are showing Him that we are not too proud to rely on Him for every little thing.

   Notice Paul’s instructions on prayer in the verse above – “by prayer and petition WITH THANKSGIVING.”  Many times our requests are not answered because we simply aren’t thankful for the blessings that God has already given us.  We waste time and energy complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves, instead of counting our blessings, and giving thanks for all of the good in our lives.  If you are a habitual complainer, I can tell you with certainty that you are not only making yourself a prime target for the devil, but you are also severely hindering your prayers.  Don’t blame God for not giving you the desires of your heart when you are pointedly ignoring all that He has already graciously given you.  Only those who continually demonstrate an attitude of gratitude before the Lord and others will see answers to their prayers that will absolutely amaze them.

   Don’t overlook Paul’s instructions to “CONTINUE to make your [specific] requests known to God.”  Many Christians have the attitude, “I prayed about that already.  God knows what I want.”  And then they casually and carelessly go on about their daily business without renewing their petitions before the Lord.  That may be fine in some cases, but many times, what we are praying for has the potential to do some serious harm to the kingdom of darkness, and Satan and his evil forces will come against us with some major resistance.  That’s when the Lord wants us to press in and press on until the answer comes.  Scripture reveals that Jesus taught this powerful principle to His disciples when it records, “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)

   If you think that you can keep your Christmas list for God in your head, you could be missing out on the fullness of His blessings this season.  The Bible indicates that there can be some extraordinary benefits to writing our desires, dreams, and visions down. (Habakkuk 2:2)  Perhaps you have not allowed yourself to think seriously about those things that are in your heart that you would love to see come to pass for yourself and others.  I understand how you feel, but I am asking you to trust God enough to record even the most “secret petitions of your heart,” and to take a leap of faith and believe that He longs to answer your requests “infinitely beyond [your] highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” (Psalm 37:4 AMP; Ephesians 3:20 AMP)  Merry Christmas!

   Lord, teach me how to live a Christ-centered life.  Remind me that as Your child, I have the privilege of asking You for the desires of my heart, as well as for my needs.  Forgive me for grumbling and complaining, and for overlooking the blessings You have already given me.  Open my eyes to all the good things in my life, and help me to focus on them from now on.  Thank You that as I live my life with an attitude of gratitude, I will pave the way for You to work wonders in my heart, life, and circumstances!

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

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

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

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Dec 9 18

The Lord will Put You in Charge

by J. M. Farro

   “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”  Matthew 25:23 NIV

   The verse above from Jesus’ Parable of the Talents reveals an exciting principle for Christ-followers – when we are faithful with a few things, God will put us in charge of many things.  Over the years, the Lord has put me in charge of numerous projects – and not just ministry-related ones.  I have learned that when God puts me in charge of something, He has very specific expectations for it, and for me. 

   More than once, I have encountered people who caused me to lose my focus, and to rattle me somehow.  I have heard myself grumbling to the Lord and saying things like, “Why do people have to be such troublemakers?  Why are they making my job so hard?”  And in my spirit, I have heard the Lord tell me, “I have put you in charge – now take charge!”  And I know that God is counting on me to exercise my authority to bring the project involved into line with His will – even if it means eliminating certain people and influences.

   As Jesus indicated in this parable, as we show ourselves to be faithful and trustworthy with a few things, God will give us even more responsibilities.  If we meet every challenge that comes our way with wisdom, courage, and strength from the Lord, we will impact this world for Christ in eternal ways.  Whether our assignments come in the form of parenthood, servanthood, ministry, or any leadership role at home or in the workplace, if we will take charge when we are put in charge, God Himself will see to it that we perform with excellence, and He will give us favor in the sight of those involved.  And the day will come when we will hear the Lord say those glorious words to us – “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

   Lord, please make me a devoted and trustworthy servant so You can bless me and use me in mighty ways for Your glory.  When You put me in charge of people and projects, help me to take charge, and to exercise the authority You have given me, in order to prove my faithfulness to You.  Thank You that as I commit all of my efforts to You, and depend on Your guidance and grace, You will give me greater responsibilities and greater rewards!

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

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

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

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

Dec 2 18

Healing Broken Relationships

by J. M. Farro

   “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge.  Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry – get over it quickly; for when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:26-27 TLB 

   Years ago, I had the worst argument with my father that I ever had in my life.  My husband, Joe, was away on a business trip at the time, and my parents had come to visit me and our two sons.  Unfortunately, my dad was in one of his argumentative moods, and he started yelling at me for no reason.  I tried to calm him down, but when I realized that this was impossible, I went into my bathroom and got on my knees to pray.  I asked the Lord to intervene on my behalf, and to show me how to handle my dad’s anger.  That’s when I clearly sensed Him telling me to ask my parents to leave my home.  I had never thrown my mom and dad out of my house before, so it pained me to ask them to leave.  I will never forget the look on my mother’s face as she tearfully hugged my sons and walked out the door.

   When I poured my heart out to the Lord later that day, He led me to a verse in Proverbs, which says, “Throw out the mocker, and fighting, quarrels, and insults will disappear.” (Proverbs 22:10 NLT)  He reassured me that I did the right thing when I asked my father to leave my home, because he gave me no other choice.  But while the Lord was reassuring me, He also gave me a warning by showing me some verses about the dangers of unforgiveness.  “Be angry [at sin – at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.  And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” (Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP)  This was a reminder to me of how destructive harboring resentment against someone can be to our lives, our relationships, and especially our fellowship with God.  Holding a grudge can give Satan and his demons permission to “steal, kill, and destroy” what is near and dear to us – including our mental, emotional, and physical health. (John 10:10)

   I made a quality decision that day to forgive my father for his shameful and hurtful behavior, and I asked the Lord to forgive him, too.  When I prayed for wisdom for what to do next, I sensed God telling me to give my dad time to think about what he did.  Weeks went by without any word from my parents, and my heart ached.  Then one day, I felt led to sit down and write my dad a heartfelt letter.  I let him know that I didn’t want us to go on living separate lives.  I put the letter in the mail, and before the end of that day, I received a phone call from my father.  He asked if I would forgive him for his awful behavior, and I told him that I had already forgiven him, and I thanked him for his call.  After that, my dad and I got along great until the day he died.

   To this day, I find it interesting that my father didn’t call and apologize until I actually mailed my letter to him, expressing my desire to reconcile.  My dad had no idea that I had written him a letter when he made that call to me.  But God knew.  He wanted me to do my part in the reconciliation before he prompted my dad to make that call.  Holding grudges and harboring resentment don’t fit who we are as followers of Christ.  I can tell you from personal experience that if you will do your part to heal the broken relationships in your life, God will do His!

   Lord, help me to have the kind of relationships that please and glorify You most.  Show me how to establish and enforce godly boundaries to protect myself and others from those who would mistreat us.  Teach me the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger.  Work in my heart so that I will always be quick to forgive, and so that I will never hold grudges or harbor resentment against anyone.  Thank you that by Your grace, I will live in the freedom of forgiveness, and not in the bondage of bitterness!

   *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 25 18

Commit Everything You Do to the Lord

by J. M. Farro

   “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him to help you do it, and He will.”  Psalm 37:5 TLB

   I was helping my 8-year-old grandson, William, with his homework the other day, when he began getting fretful about having to write a summary about the book he just read.  As a means  of encouraging him, I began sharing with him how I pray and commit my work to the Lord before I sit down to write anything.  I told him, “Do you think I could have written so many books without relying heavily on God’s help to do it?  No way!”  Will’s eyes got really big, and it was plain to see that he understood the point I was trying to make.  He prayed, and then dove into his assignment enthusiastically, completing it with speed and excellence.

   Over the years, I have leaned heavily upon God’s promise in Psalm 37:5 for all of my endeavors.  “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him to help you do it, and He will.” (Psalm 37:5 TLB)  In fact, before I sat down to write this message, I prayed for God’s wisdom and help.  Whether I am baking a pie, mopping the floors, or having a difficult conversation with a loved one, I am holding the Lord to His promise to help me, once I have prayed and invited Him to oversee and direct my efforts.

   This past weekend, my husband, Joe, was working on a major home improvement project, and I noticed him spending countless hours calculating and analyzing, instead of actually beginning the work.  All his procrastination accomplished was to make his impending task loom larger and larger by the minute.  By the third day, I finally took my husband by the hand, committing his project to the Lord, and asking God to help him, and to deliver him from all his fears.  Suddenly, Joe had the courage to begin the work, relying on the Lord to complete it.

   As followers of Christ, you and I don’t have to become anxious or fearful about our assignments or responsibilities.  We have heavenly resources at our disposal, simply for the asking.  I encourage you to “commit everything you do to the Lord,” and watch what He will do for you and through you!

   Lord, before I tackle any kind of task – large or small – please remind me by Your Spirit to commit my efforts to You.  Deliver me from all my fears, including my fear of failure and defeat.  Give me the faith I need to truly believe that You want to help me with my work, and that You will, once I have invited Your presence and Your power.  Thank You for the divine favor, success, and joy that I will experience as a result of leaning upon You, instead of my own abilities and skills!

   *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 20 18

The Saving Power of Praise

by J. M. Farro

   “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.”  Psalm 50:14-15 NLT

   I spent most of my Christian life failing to understand the value and importance of praise and thanksgiving, mostly because I didn’t understand the incredible power behind it.  Just how powerful is a believer’s heartfelt praise?  It’s powerful enough to neutralize satanic forces, and I’d say that’s pretty powerful.  Scripture tells us:  “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2 NIV)  One reason why Satan tends to flee from an atmosphere of energetic praise is that he absolutely despises it.  You have to understand that the devil, more than anything, wants to be worshiped.  In fact, he had the audacity to try to get Jesus Himself to bow down and worship him. (Matthew 4:8-9)  So it galls Satan when he hears anyone thanking and praising the Lord.  On the other hand, our God loves and appreciates our expressions of worship.  The Bible even tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)  So while praise and worship cause the dark forces to flee, they actually usher in the presence and power of God.

   In recent months, the Lord has been teaching me about the delivering power of praise.  I was seeking His help and direction for a troubling situation one morning, when He led me to Psalm 50, where the Scripture says:  “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God… Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.” (Psalm 50:14-15 NLT)  The Lord helped me to realize that when I’m in a painful place, He doesn’t want me becoming fretful or fearful.  He wants me to keep my eyes on Him, and to speak and sing praises to His name for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He’ll do in the days ahead.  It IS a sacrifice to praise and thank God when we’re hurting so badly that we don’t think we can last another minute, but that’s the best thing we can do.  Praise shifts our focus from ourselves and our problems to God, and to His limitless power and love.  It opens the door to divine intervention, and it shuts the door on the plans of Satan.  And if you take a very close look at these verses with a keen spiritual eye, you will discover something amazing:  When we live a thankful and praiseful lifestyle, and we call on God for help when we’re in trouble, He rescues us – and then we give Him MORE thanks and praise.  It’s a divine cycle that meets our needs and gives God glory, all at the same time.

   The final verse of Psalm 50 says:  “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.  If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NLT)  As believers, we are meant to honor God, and one of the best ways we can do that is to give Him our heartfelt thanks and praise in good times and in bad.  When we do, He will reveal more of Himself to us, and we will witness His mighty saving acts on our behalf!

   Lord, teach me how to praise and worship You in ways You desire and deserve.  Help me to constantly look around me, and find things to give You heartfelt thanks for every day and night.  When I begin to worry, complain, or feel sorry for myself, remind me to shift my focus to You and Your blessings.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in this area, I will live the victorious, fruitful, abundant life that You’ve had in store for me all along!

   *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 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!

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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!