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Jul 21 19

Instead of Worrying, Pray

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

   When I heard a godly man say that when we worry, we are actually practicing atheism, I felt convicted.  He said that by worrying, we were totally disregarding the fact that we, as followers of Christ, have a heavenly Father who has promised to protect us and provide all our needs.  And we were acting like orphans without any hope or help in this world.

   If we look intently at the verses above written by the apostle Paul, we can see that it’s God’s will for Christ to displace worry at the center of our lives.  When we “fret or worry,” it’s because we have taken our eyes off of our Savior, and either we are not praying about our concerns, or our prayers have no real faith behind them.  Then our burdens can become unbearable.

   Scripture says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)  How do we know when we are really trusting God to take care of us and our concerns?  Peace floods our minds and hearts, and worry dissolves and disappears.  One of the best ways to focus on God’s goodness and graciousness toward His children is to read and meditate on His promises.  When we are reminded that Jesus said, “Be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world,” fear and anxiety have to flee from us. (Matthew 28:20 TLB)

   Are you worried about your finances today?  God has promised to be your Provider. (Philippians 4:19)  Perhaps you are concerned about your health.  Remember that the Lord has promised to be your Healer. (Exodus 15:26)  Maybe you are facing injustice and oppression.  God has vowed to be your Vindicator. (Isaiah 54:17)  When you begin to worry about anything – “Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.”  Hallelujah!

   Lord, I regret all the time and energy that I have spent fretting and worrying.  Please work in my mind and heart so that whenever I start to worry, I will promptly pray about my concerns, and praise You for goodness.  Help me to spend time in Your Word and promises each day in ways that will build and bolster my faith.  Thank You for sustaining me with Your unshakeable peace as I live a Christ-centered life!

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

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

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

Jul 14 19

Fulfilling Our Glorious Destiny

by J. M. Farro

   “You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.”  Psalm 73:24 NLT

   One reason why it’s important for Christians to study the Bible, is that it reveals important truths we must know in order to reach our full potential in Christ.  One of these truths is that God has a “glorious destiny” planned for us. (Psalm 73:24 NLT)  This destiny doesn’t begin when we get to heaven, but it starts the moment we trust Jesus as our Savior – and continues to unfold as we walk in close fellowship with Him on a daily basis.  Because we will sometimes meet with resistance along the way, we must practice certain principles that will enable us to reach our goal.

   First, we must make up our minds to ignore the negative reports that come our way, and to keep our eyes on God and His divine promises.  When Moses sent out his twelve spies to scout out the Promised Land, all but two of these men came back with a negative report. (Numbers 13)  Because most of the Israelites put their faith in the “evil report,” instead of in God’s promise to give them the land, they were condemned to wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years.  We will face our own “evil reports” from time to time, and we will have to choose if we will put our faith in them, or in the promises of God that belong to those who believe.  Jesus gave us a powerful lesson in this area when He was on His way to heal a sick little girl in Mark chapter 5.  Before He and the girl’s father reached their destination, they were met with the report that she had already died.  Scripture tells us:  “Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said…‘Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.’” (Mark 5:36 AMP)  On your way to your glorious destiny, you are going to overhear some things that will fill you with fear and doubt.  If you will stand firm in your faith and ignore the negative reports, God will move heaven and earth to see that your destiny is fulfilled.

   Second, we must heed the advice of David the shepherd-king in Psalm 37:3 (NIV), which says, “Trust in the Lord and do good.”  While we are on our way to becoming all that God created us to be, and to accomplishing all that He destined us to do, we will be met with tests and trials of various kinds.  If we don’t regularly feed our faith with a steady diet of the Word of God, we will find it very difficult to keep our focus on the Lord, and to trust Him with all our hearts.  Consequently, we will waver in our commitment to faithfully serve Him and others.  Scripture says:  “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10 NLT)  There’s a harvest of untold blessings waiting for us.  But in order for us to reap it, we must keep on doing the right thing in every situation and circumstance – even when we are not getting the result we think is right.  Because of God’s indwelling Spirit, we can choose forgiveness over bitterness, loyalty over treachery, peace over strife, and love over hate.  And we can continue to perform the good works that the Lord has assigned to us, even when we are overlooked or unappreciated.  As we determine to, “Never tire of doing what is right,” the blessings of God will chase us down and overtake us. (2 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV; Deuteronomy 28:2)

   Lastly, we must continually give praise and glory to God, especially when doubt, fear, or confusion come our way.  The Bible calls Abraham our spiritual father (Romans 4:16), and with good reason.  When the Lord told him that he and his wife would have a child, even though they were well past the age for it, he chose to believe God.  And from the time he took his stand in faith, to the time his miracle was manifested, he praised the Lord.  Scripture says that “he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.” (Romans 4:20 AMP)  When our wait is long – when doubt and discouragement fill our souls – raising our hands and voices in praise to the Lord can lift us above our circumstances, and carry us on to victory.  In a time of great trouble and turmoil, the psalmist declared:  “Yet I still belong to You; You are holding my right hand.  You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” (Psalm 73:23-24 NLT)  May his declaration of faith be ours this day, and all the days of our lives!

   Lord, make me so firm in my faith that I will be able to ignore all of the negative reports that come my way.  Help me to trust in You and do good – in good times and in bad.  When I am tempted to doubt or become discouraged, remind me to press on and praise You.  Thank You for the harvest of blessings that’s headed my way right now!

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                          

Jul 7 19

Stand Your Ground

by J. M. Farro

   “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”  Ephesians 6:13 NIV

   I often hear from people who tell me, “I have been praying and standing on God’s promises in this situation for such a long time, and nothing is changing!  I have done everything I know how to do!  Now what?”  I can hear the exasperation, desperation, and discouragement in their voice, and my heart goes out to them.  I often share with these people what God has shown me when I have been in His “waiting room” myself.

   The apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 NIV)  Don’t miss the part that says, “after you have done EVERYTHING…stand.”  There will be times when we follow all of God’s instructions to us in a dire situation, and all we are expected to do then is to just hold our ground against the onslaught of Satan and his evil cohorts.  We don’t remain idle during these times.  We continue to diligently seek the Lord each day through prayer and Scripture reading.  We go about our daily business, choosing to put our wholehearted trust in God, and believing that He is often doing His BEST work when He appears to be silent and inactive.

   Paul tells us in the verse above that putting on the full armor of God is an important part of standing our ground.  I pray through each piece of God’s armor every morning, and I encourage you to do the same. (Ephesians 6:14-17)  Paul emphasizes the importance of this strategy.  “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (v. 11 NIV)  I have heard from people who told me that the difference between putting on God’s armor each day, and failing to do so, was like night and day in their lives.  Get in the habit of obeying God in this area, and cooperate with Him for your victory.

   Perhaps you are in the battle of your life today, and you are wondering what the Lord is up to.  I believe that the Spirit of God is saying to you right now – “Do not be afraid!  Take your stand [be firm and confident and undismayed] and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today.  The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.” (Exodus 14:13,14 AMP)  Hallelujah!

   Lord, teach me how to put on the full Armor of God each day, so that I can take my stand against the devil’s schemes.  When I have done everything I know how to do, remind me to stand my ground and allow You to fight my battles for me.  Reassure me that You do some of Your BEST work when You seem silent and inactive.  Thank You that as I resist fear, self-pity, and discouragement in the face of opposition, I will witness You winning the victory for me!

   *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 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

Jun 30 19

Overflow with Confidence in God’s Promises

by J. M. Farro

   “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”  Romans 15:4 AMP

   There are many reasons why followers of Christ should spend regular time in the Scriptures, and the apostle Paul names just a few of them here.

   They “instruct” us.  They teach us God’s ways so that we can live according to biblical principles and fulfill our God-given destiny.  They promote “endurance,” helping us to bear up under the most daunting circumstances with a godly attitude.  And they provide us with the “encouragement” we need to carry on when we are tempted to quit and give up doing what God has called us to do.

   Paul says that the Scriptures give us “hope.”  And they enable us to “overflow with confidence in [God’s] promises.”  Why is this so important?  Because the promises of God can give us hope in the most hopeless situations.  The author of Psalm 119 makes this clear when he says:  “Remember Your promise to me, for it is my only hope.  Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” (Psalm 119:49-50 NLT)

   My basic personality has always been shy, insecure, and reserved.  But I have accomplished things for God that only a confident person could do.  It wasn’t just the Spirit of God that enabled me, but my confidence in His promises.  I have memorized them and spoken them out of my mouth when fear, dread, and doubt have come against me – knowing that our faith is energized and increased whenever we hear the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

   When we “overflow with confidence in His promises,” we can enter into the healing and health God has for us.  We can lay hold of the abundant provision that the Lord has in store.  And we can reap all of the divine connections, breakthroughs, and rewards that have our name on them.  The Bible contains thousands of promises for God’s devoted ones.  Don’t miss out on your share of them!

   Lord, I praise You for Your Word and Your promises.  Help me to be more disciplined about spending consistent and focused time in the Scriptures.  Remind me that I can find instruction, encouragement, and comfort in Your Word that I can’t find anywhere else.  Thank You that as I devote myself to Your promises, I will become the overcomer You have destined me to be!

   *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 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

Jun 23 19

Drop the Issue

by J. M. Farro

   “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [DROP THE ISSUE, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others].” Mark 11:25 AMP

   In the above passage where Jesus is telling His disciples how to have mountain-moving faith, we discover that walking in forgiveness has a direct effect on our prayers.  We like to think of forgiving someone who offends us as a process.  We think to ourselves, I need time to get over how they hurt me.  And that may be true in some cases.  But Jesus reveals here that most of the time, we can forgive others instantaneously.  Why?  Because forgiveness is not a feeling – it’s a decision.

   Before I surrendered my life to Christ for real, I could hold grudges for years.  It was easy for me, because it came naturally to me.  Back then, I could sever all ties with someone – even someone who I had been in relationship with for years – without a thought.  If they offended me, I didn’t need them, so I would walk away and never look back.  Now I know that this kind of behavior is offensive to God, and that it greatly hinders my prayers.

   The Amplified translation of Mark 11:25 really hits home.  “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [DROP THE ISSUE, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others].”  Right in the middle of our prayers, we can make a quality decision to forgive those who have offended us.  We can think of how they hurt us, and we can promptly “drop the issue” and “let it go.”  Jesus says it can be that quick to get over our ill feelings toward someone, and to open the door to receiving ready answers to our prayers.

   Satan would like nothing better than for us to hold grudges, and to refuse to forgive.  He knows that unforgiveness can hold us in bondage, thwart God’s purposes in our lives, and prevent us from having mountain-moving faith.  With all that’s at stake – including our loved ones’ eternal destinies, we can’t afford to walk in unforgiveness.  Jesus says that you have the power to get over your offenses quickly.  Are you ready to obey Him?

   Lord, thank You for giving me the power by Your Spirit to choose to forgive others when they offend me in any way.  Help me to make that choice every time I suffer injustice, or any kind of hurt.  Comfort me and bind up my wounds as only You can do.  As for those who are “repeat offenders,” help me to forgive them, as I keep them at a safe distance from me.  Thank You that as I obey You in this area, my prayers will be more powerful, and I will make a greater impact on this world for Your glory!

   *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 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

Jun 17 19

God’s Perfecting Power

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”  Psalm 138:8 AMP

   When I began having some serious problems with my hands, the first thing I did was to turn to the Lord in prayer, and to ask for His wisdom in the matter.  He led me to stand on His promises for healing, and at the same time, to see a doctor for the intense pain I was experiencing.  After some medical tests, my doctor confirmed that I was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.  It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I knew in my heart that no matter what the diagnosis would be, I would continue to stand on God’s promises for my deliverance, and I would trust that the Lord was in control.  In a quiet moment of reflection, I heard Him speak to my heart, “I will perfect that which concerns you.”

   I was already well acquainted with this promise, because it had brought me great encouragement many times in the past.  It comes from Psalm 138, where David declares, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” (v. 8)  In the face of apparent defeat, the shepherd-king declares his victory, believing that it is God’s purpose that will prevail.  In this context, the word “perfect” means “to finish or complete so as to leave nothing wanting.”  David was in effect saying, “I know that the odds are stacked against me, but my God will have the last word!”

   When we are in a difficult situation, and we want the Lord to “perfect” that which concerns us, we must focus on two important things.  First, it is essential that we focus on God’s sovereignty.  That means we believe that, no matter what our five senses tell us, God is ultimately in control, and we are in His hands.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a part to play in our outcome – we do.  Our job is to promptly take our concerns to the Lord in prayer, and to trust Him for the answer, knowing that He can, and will, overrule human plans and policies, if necessary.

   I confess that it frustrates me when I hear believers say – “Well, I do trust God, but I don’t trust the people involved.”  They haven’t gotten the revelation that as we put our trust in the Lord, He will influence the attitudes, actions, and abilities of others. Those believers who don’t put their faith in this truth – and act accordingly – will lose out on God’s best in their situation.  When I am in a tight spot, I like to declare – “Thank You, Lord, that nothing’s impossible with You, nothing’s too difficult for You, and nothing can hinder You!” (Luke 1:37 NIV; Jeremiah 32:27 NASB; 1 Samuel 14:6 NLT)  By doing this, I am inviting God’s miracle-working power on the scene.

   Besides focusing on God’s sovereignty, we must focus on His supernatural promises.  If we will ask the Lord to lead us to the promises He wants us to claim in our situation, He will show us a verse in Scripture, and it will seem to leap off the page and into our hearts.  What is real faith?  It is the conviction that God will always do what He promises to do, regardless of the circumstances.

   When Moses and the children of Israel were facing what looked like impossible circumstances, and even Moses’ faith was faltering, the Lord admonished him by saying:  “Is the Lord’s power limited?  Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” (Numbers 11:23 NASB)  In truth, God’s power is not limited; but we can put limits on His involvement in our lives by a lack of faith.  Those who take the limits off God by claiming His promises with abandon will witness Him working mightily on their behalf.  This is what Abraham did, and look how Scripture praises his faith:  “He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions.  He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said.” (Romans 4:20-21 MSG)

   Today, the Lord wants to “perfect that which concerns” you.  Put yourself in a position for Him to do that by cooperating with Him in the process.  Then watch His perfecting power go to work!

   Lord, today I commit to You all of my concerns, and I ask that You perfect them on my behalf.  Deliver me from all of my doubts and fears, and replace them with a firm faith and trust in You and Your Word.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You for my victory in every situation, I will draw others to You and Your truth!

   *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 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

Jun 10 19

Guide and Strengthen Yourself and Others

by J. M. Farro

   “For it will be pleasant if you keep [the words of the wise] in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles]; Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].  So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord, I have taught these things to you today, even to you.”  Proverbs 22:18-19 AMP

   This passage of God’s Word provides us with some of the best reasons to memorize the Scriptures.  When we “keep them in mind” they become “guiding principles” for our lives.  In other words, they determine our beliefs and our values.  And we begin to see everything and everyone from the perspective of Almighty God, instead of through the eyes of the world.  We learn what to say “yes” to, and what to say “no” to, and we position ourselves to fulfill our God-given purpose and potential.

   When we obey the Lord’s instructions to “Let [the Scriptures] be ready on [our] lips,” we allow them to “guide and strengthen [us] AND others.”  Speaking the Word of God out loud to ourselves is a very effective and powerful way to boost our faith and encourage our hearts.  When we declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” our spirits are lifted, and suddenly, we can rise above our circumstances, instead of feeling the crushing weight of them upon us. (Philippians 4:13)

   We can also use memorized Scripture to “guide and strengthen others.”  When people we know are going through hard times, and are looking for direction and consolation, we can share with them the promises of God.  The Lord will provide these golden opportunities to share His Word, and He will give us “the right words at the right time,” so we can make an eternal difference in others’ lives through the power of His Spirit. (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT)

   The passage above reveals its supreme purpose in memorizing Scripture – “So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord.”  It is the Word that we have stored in our hearts that feeds our faith on a continual basis.  To neglect the Word of God is to starve our spirits.  On the other hand, keeping our spirits on a continual diet of Scripture makes us strong in spirit, and makes us formidable opponents of Satan and his dark forces.  Jesus used memorized verses of Scripture against Satan in the desert. (Matthew 4:4,7,10)  And we can do the same thing.  We can answer every temptation with the Word of God, which the apostle Paul called “the Sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:17)

   We are living in a dangerous age where our trust and confidence in the Lord are continually being tested.  By memorizing Scripture and having it ready on our lips, we can overcome every challenge, and we can become the world-changers for Christ that He has called us to be!

   Lord, help me to memorize Your Word on a regular basis through the power of Your Spirit.  Teach me how to wield this “indispensable weapon” against all the doubt and unbelief that come against me. (Ephesians 6:17 MSG)  Help me to have Your promises ready on my lips to guide and strengthen myself and others, according to Your will and purposes.  Thank You for making me an overcomer and a serious threat to the forces of darkness!

   *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 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

Jun 2 19

If Anyone Attacks You

by J. M. Farro

   “If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”  Isaiah 54:15 NIV

   Shortly after I wrote about how the Lord has cared for and protected my pet ducks since I stopped complaining about them, and continually give thanks for them, my duck, Libby, became very ill.  At first, it didn’t occur to me that Libby’s sudden illness was a spiritual attack.  But after days of prayer and seeking God, I realized that it was no coincidence that, right after I gave my testimony about my pets, one of them was stricken.  I began using my authority in Christ to bind all satanic activity against Libby, and from then on, her health began to steadily improve.  In more than 19 years of raising ducks, I have never seen one so close to death recover so quickly and completely.

   One of the verses that the Lord gave me during Libby’s illness was Isaiah 54:15 (NIV).  “If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”  It was this precious promise that reassured me that God was not behind Libby’s illness, and that it was an attack from the forces of darkness against one of my pets in retaliation for giving my testimony of God’s goodness.  This promise also confirmed that Satan and his evil cohorts would have to “surrender” to me when I exercised my authority in Christ.

   The Message Bible translation of this verse says, “If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, and if any should attack, nothing will come of it.” (Isaiah 54:15 MSG)  Because God is sovereign, it’s too easy for us to think that when trouble comes our way, God is responsible, because He is allowing it.  Satan would like nothing better than for us to have this mindset, because then he can wreak havoc in our lives unhindered.

   When we are under attack in any way, it’s always a good idea to get alone with God, and to pray for His perspective in the matter.  We can ask Him questions, and pray for confirmation and clarification, so that we can know what – or who – is behind the attack.  We may find out that the dark forces are retaliating for a testimony we gave, or that we somehow opened a door and made ourselves vulnerable to demonic activity because of some sinful behavior.  Even if our trouble is our own fault, we can confess our sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and ask for His saving help.

   Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV)  Let’s make the most of our authority in Christ so that “if any should attack, nothing will come of it!”

   Lord, when my loved ones or I are under attack, reassure me that it is not Your doing.  Give me Your perspective in the matter, and reveal to me what is behind each assault on me and mine.  Teach me how to exercise my authority in Christ so that whoever attacks me will surrender to me.  Thank You that as I turn to You for revelation and assistance, my victory and success are guaranteed!

   *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 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

May 26 19

Be Someone’s Cheerleader

by J. M. Farro

   “So speak encouraging words to one another.  Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG

   I used to have a friend who once shared with me her exasperation with her husband, saying, “Why should I have to be his cheerleader?”  Apparently, there were times when this woman’s husband looked to her for encouragement, and instead of responding with a kind word of reassurance, she became indignant and indifferent.  Eventually, my friend and her husband were separated and divorced.

   What is encouragement?  It’s “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”  The Bible makes it clear that followers of Christ are called to be encouragers.  “Encourage each other and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMP)  Scripture even goes so far as to say that encouragement can prevent believers from developing a hard heart, and from falling into sin.  “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

   Life has a way of pushing us down, but we have the power to lift others up with a kind word of reassurance.  “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25 NLT)  And we are called to make a difference in someone’s life with an expression of support, so that they, in turn, can make a difference in someone else’s life.  “Let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24 AMP)  We should never doubt that words of hope have the ability to save marriages, families, and ministries.

   In chapter six of the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul talks about how believers are engaged in a war with the forces of evil.  The Message Bible says, “Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:18 MSG)  In a way, you and I ARE called to be cheerleaders, especially for our fellow believers.  When the Lord puts someone in your path who needs a word of encouragement, will you be their spiritual cheerleader so that they can become all that God has created them to be?

   Lord, enable and anoint me by the power of Your Spirit to be the encourager that You have called me to be.  Teach me how to “pray for [my] brothers and sisters” in Christ, and to keep their spirits up “so that no one falls behind or drops out.”  Thank You that my words of encouragement will build others up and draw them to You!

   *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 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

 

May 19 19

How Silly Talk Becomes Sinful

by J. M. Farro

   “Let there be no filthiness and SILLY TALK, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].”  Ephesians 5:4 AMP

   I recently did a study on why the Bible condemns “silly talk” in the lives of believers, because I know that our speech can affect God’s ability to bless us and use us for His glory.  I discovered that God is not against humor, in general.  But He says that “silly talk” is “not appropriate” for followers of Christ in certain instances.

   First, humor can be sinful when it doesn’t fit the occasion.  In serious situations, or when we know that others are hurting, it is inappropriate for us to use humor to attempt to get people to “lighten up.”  Scripture says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15 NASB)

   Second, silly talk is wrong when it is self-serving, and we are trying to look clever at the expense of others.  The Bible says, “Anyone who would trick someone and then say, ‘I was only joking’ is like a fool who shoots flaming arrows into the air and accidentally kills someone.”  (Proverbs 26:18-19 ERV)  It’s okay to have a healthy sense of playfulness, but when our words are insulting or hurtful, we have crossed over into the enemy’s territory, and we are at risk of doing irreparable harm to our relationships.

   Third, humor is sinful when it is blatantly demeaning to another person or group.  Jesus said, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment.  Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.  Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” (Luke 6:37 MSG)

   Fourth, insulting others – even in jest – is sinful.  Jesus said, “If you insult someone, you will be judged by the high court.  And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22 ERV)  Even if someone insults us first, it’s wrong for us to retaliate.  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV)

   The fifth one is a no-brainer.  It is never appropriate for a Christian to tell jokes that are rude, crude, or dirty.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

   We have all known people – including Christians – who try to be funny, but eventually go too far.  They totally ignore the effect that they have on other people, and that, in itself, is sinful.  We are called to “build others up,” and to constantly “speak of [our] thankfulness to God.”  The Lord once told the prophet Jeremiah, “If you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesman.” (Jeremiah 15:19 NIV)  God is saying the same thing to you and me today.  Let’s not hinder Him from blessing us and using us to the full extent that He longs to!

   Lord, I regret the times that I have tried to be funny and get a laugh from others at the expense of someone else.  Work in my heart so that I will avoid the kind of silly talk and coarse joking that “are not appropriate for believers.”  Teach me how to speak “kind words [that] heal and help,” and to avoid “cutting words [that] wound and maim.” (Proverbs 15:4 MSG)  Thank You that as I speak words of life and thankfulness to God, You will bless me and use me in extraordinary ways for Your glory!

   *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 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