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Oct 18 20

God Protects the Simplehearted

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.”  Psalm 116:6 NIV

   When I first began reading my old NIV Bible many years ago, and I came across the word “simplehearted,” I imagined someone who was foolish, unwise, or irrational.  Then I looked more closely at how my study Bible defined a simplehearted person: “The person who is childlike in his sense of dependence on and trust in the Lord.”  All of a sudden, it dawned on me that being simplehearted is something that God values and looks for.

   Before I began studying the Scriptures for myself, it never occurred to me that the Lord valued people who leaned heavily upon Him.  I had some understanding about Jesus appreciating childlike faith, but I never dreamed that He wanted us to be heavily dependent upon Him.  Perhaps I was afraid to use my faith as a “crutch” as some unbelievers claim.  Once I got a hold of the truth, I began to see God’s hand working mightily in my life.

   I began making a list of Scriptures that talk about living a life of dependence upon the Lord.  James 4:10 (NLT) says: “When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him, He will lift you up and give you honor.”  Who couldn’t use a little more “honor” in their life?  Lamentations 3:25 (NLT) says: “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.”  We will see more of the goodness of God in our lives as we lean more heavily upon Him and His leadership.  The apostle Paul said, “I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” (Colossians 1:29 NLT)  Paul depended on Christ for his strength, and we can do the same thing.  Jesus Himself said, “I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord – but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders].” (John 5:30 AMP)  If the Master needed to depend on the Father for wisdom and guidance, how much more do we?

   The Passion Translation of Psalm 116:6 says: “So I’ve learned from my experience that God protects the childlike and humble ones.  For I was broken and brought low, but He answered me and came to my rescue!”  Our God is committed to saving and protecting those who depend on and trust in His power, wisdom, and goodness.  Does that describe you today?

   Lord, I don’t want to live my life apart from You in any way.  Teach me how to depend on You in every area of my life, just as Jesus did.  Help me to do all of my work depending on Your mighty power, instead of my own strength.  Thank You that as I continually admit my dependence upon You, You will lift me up and give me greater honor than ever before!

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

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

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

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

Oct 11 20

The Desires of Your Heart

by J. M. Farro

   “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4 ESV

   Have you ever thought about all of the rich and famous people who committed suicide, or who cut their lives short by abusing alcohol or drugs?  I have.  And I believe I know one of the many reasons why these people end up this way.  They never receive the true desires of their hearts.  They may attain some measure of “success,” but God can never give them the deep desires of their hearts because they don’t have a personal relationship with Him.

   Psalm 37:4 says that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts.  What does it mean to delight ourselves in Him?  When I asked the Holy Spirit this very question, He brought Second Corinthians 5:9 (NIV) to my remembrance: “So we make it our goal to please Him.”  When we live our lives focused on pleasing God above everyone else, including ourselves, we will be delighting ourselves in the Lord, and He will keep His promise to give us the desires of our hearts.  That doesn’t mean that He will indulge every whim of ours, but that He will satisfy all of the desires in our hearts that are good and godly, and that will bring glory to Him.

   Another Scripture about this subject is found in Psalm 145:19 (NIV): “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.”  Here, God reveals that He is eager to fulfill the desires of those who hold a deep reverence for Him, and He will answer their prayers, and rescue them in times of trouble.  The Passion Translation says it this way: “Every one of Your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for.  For You hear what their hearts really long for and You bring them Your saving strength.”  Hallelujah!

   The Amplified Translation of Psalm 37:4 says: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”  There are desires in your heart right now that you don’t even know are there.  But God knows, because He put them there – and He will answer these “secret petitions” of yours as you live your life for Him!

   Lord, work in my heart so that I will always make it my goal in life to please You in all things.  Fill me with a deep reverence for You, Your ways, and Your Word.  Align my desires with Yours, so that they never conflict with Your plans and purposes for me.  Thank You for hearing what my heart really longs for, and giving me even more than what I ask for!

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

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

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

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

Oct 4 20

Secure Homes

by J. M. Farro

   “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”  Isaiah 32:18 NIV

   Here is a promise that I have been praying and standing on for myself and my family for decades.  Today, it has taken on new meaning for me because of the civil unrest that has been spreading across my nation.  It is the desire of God’s heart to have His people living in “peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.”  He knows the anguish that we suffer when we are surrounded by violence, hostility, and chaos.  The Bible says that “God wants His children to live in peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15 NLT)  I believe that this applies, not only to our lives, but to our surroundings, too – including our neighborhoods. 

   Most of God’s promises and blessings are not automatic.  We often have to actively pray for them, and go through a period of standing in faith for them, before we experience their full manifestation.  If you are in an unsafe environment right now, and you begin to earnestly pray Isaiah 32:18, God will either remove you from the place you are in now, or He will sovereignly transform it so that it comes in line with His promise.

   Thirty-one years ago, when my family and I moved into the home we are in now, we began experiencing vicious attacks on our home and property almost immediately.  I wasn’t walking closely with the Lord at the time, and I had no working knowledge of His Word and promises.  But several years later, when God got a hold of me, and I got a hold of His Word, I began faithfully praying and standing on Isaiah 32:18, and I eventually witnessed Him totally transforming my entire neighborhood.  It didn’t happen overnight, but I didn’t let that deter me.  Filled with a holy determination to receive God’s best, I held tight to His promise until one day, I looked around and realized that my family and I lived in a peaceful dwelling place, a secure home, and an undisturbed place of rest.  I continue to stand in faith for my surroundings because I don’t want to become complacent.  In light of what is going on in my nation right now, I’m so thankful that I have persevered in prayer and in faith. 

   What about you?  Do you live in a peaceful dwelling place?  If you do, give thanks to God, but don’t take it for granted.  Keep praying and standing on God’s promises for it.  If you don’t live in an undisturbed place of rest right now, pray about it – and keep on praying.  The Lord will either transform it for you, or He will remove you from it completely.  Always remember – “God wants His children to live in peace!”

    Lord, I believe that it is Your will for me to live in peace and security.  When my surroundings are not tranquil, show me how to pray for relief and rescue.  Teach me how to develop a working knowledge of Your Word.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You for my safety and protection, I will experience the kind of peace that can only come from You!

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

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

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

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

Sep 27 20

Holy Spirit Blessings

by J. M. Farro

   “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth…”  John 14:16-17 AMP

   In the verses above, Jesus is referring to the Holy Spirit.  This Amplified translation gives us greater insights into the many facets of the blessings and benefits of this precious gift from God.

   Helper – The Holy Spirit can help us with all of the details and responsibilities of our daily lives like no one else can.  When we commit our intentions, ways, and works to the Lord each day, it is His Spirit who directs our efforts and causes them to succeed.

   Comforter – A Scripture that I claim often in times of heartbreak says: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow].” (Psalm 147:3 AMP)  I know that it is the Holy Spirit consoling and comforting me when I pray and stand on this promise, and He will do the same for you.

   Advocate – When we commit our battles to the Lord, it is the Holy Spirit who shows Himself to be our Defender.  Jesus said that the Spirit of God would give us “the right words at the right time” whenever we face opposition. (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT)

   Intercessor – When we don’t know how to pray for ourselves, it is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us according to God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)  He will also show us how to pray effective prayers for others, and He will impart revelation knowledge to us about their true needs.

   Counselor – I have had various types of professional counseling over the course of my lifetime, but I have never experienced the kind of healing from humans that I have received from the Holy Spirit.  He is our best defense against depression and anxiety.

   Strengthener – When we are facing distressing circumstances and we cry out to God for His strength, it is the Holy Spirit who infuses us with His power.  The apostle Paul wrote: “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16 NLT)

   Standby – A “standby” can be defined as: “a person or thing ready to serve or be put into service on an emergency basis.”  Hallelujah!  When trouble strikes, the Holy Spirit is already on the scene to lead us to victory in our situation, and to make sure we receive the best possible outcome.

   The Bible says: “Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12 AMPC)  Ask the Lord to help you to make the most of His precious gift!

   Lord, help me to understand and appreciate all of the benefits and blessings of Your precious Spirit.  Remind me often that Your Spirit continually abides in me to strengthen, defend, counsel, and comfort me, and to even enable me to pray the prayers of Your heart for myself and others.  Thank You for teaching me how to make the most of Your precious gift!

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

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

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

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

Sep 20 20

Stand Firm in Your Faith

by J. M. Farro

   “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”  Isaiah 7:9 NIV

   As I have been walking closely with the Lord these many years, one of the strongest commands He has ever given me is to stand firm in my faith.  As He says in the verse above, if we don’t stand firm in our faith, we will not stand at all.  When Jesus was telling His disciples about the end times, He said: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13 NIV)  We are seeing an “increase of wickedness” like never before.  And even some Christians are being seduced by the works and agents of Satan.  But that is not God’s will for you and me.  We are told to “Be subject to God.  Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 AMP)  As we walk in obedience to the Lord and His commands, we will have victory in Christ.

   Scripture says: “Stay alert!  Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)  If we will remain on high alert as we live our lives for Christ, the Holy Spirit will make us attuned to demonic attacks, so that we can respond by standing firm in our faith and aggressively resisting them.  Notice that Satan has to constantly look for people who are vulnerable to his assaults.  That means that if he comes against us and finds us resistant to his evil strategies, he has to flee from us and go find someone else to “devour.”

   One reason why it’s so important for us to stand firm in our faith is because our witness can affect and influence others in negative and positive ways.  Scripture says: “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet.  Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT)  If you have loved ones who aren’t saved, or who are wavering in their faith, your standing firm in good times and bad can point them to Christ.  Is your marriage on shaky ground?  Stand firm in your faith!  Does your family seem to be crumbling before your eyes?  Stand firm in your faith!  Do you need healing for your body or your emotions?  Stand firm in your faith!  The good news is that we don’t stand firm in our own strength.  Not at all.  As the Bible tells us: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:21 NIV)  Hallelujah!

   Has God given you work to do for His Kingdom?  Then, “Stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)  God has a lot more to say about the importance of you standing firm in your faith, but let me leave you with these instructions from His Word – “Be on guard.  Stand firm in the faith.  Be courageous.  Be strong!”  (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT)  

   Lord, remind me often that if I don’t stand firm in my faith, I won’t be able to stand at all, and I will make myself an easy target for the forces of darkness.  Help me to cooperate with You for the building of my faith by spending undistracted, unhurried time with You and Your Word on a regular basis.  Make me a powerful witness for You, especially in the eyes of my own loved ones.  Thank You that as I stand firm in my faith by Your grace, You will empower me to do great exploits for Your glory! (Daniel 11:32 AMPC)

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

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

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

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

Sep 13 20

God’s Purpose for You

by J. M. Farro

   I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me.”  Psalm 57:2 NLT

   David the giant slayer wrote this psalm while he was hiding in a cave trying to evade murderous King Saul and his army.  At the time, it didn’t look as though the Lord would ever fulfill His purpose for David, who was destined to become the next king of Israel.  Yet in the midst of all this trouble, David writes: “I cry out to God Most High, to God who WILL fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2 NLT)

   You can sense David wrestling with his fears as he begins this psalm saying: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!  I look to You for protection.  I will hide beneath the shadow of Your wings until the danger passes by.” (v. 1)  David is not in denial.  He is a skilled warrior and strategist, and he understands that the odds are against him.  He pleads for the Lord’s intervention because he knows that he will never survive or succeed without divine help and protection.

   In the face of what looks like certain defeat, David declares: “My heart is confident in You, O God; my heart is confident.  No wonder I can sing Your praises!(v. 7)  How can David be so confident in the Lord in the midst of daunting circumstances?  Verse 10 reveals the answer.  “For Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”  David has chosen to put his hope in God’s love and faithfulness.  So he doesn’t wait until his miracle manifests; he begins singing God’s praises right in the midst of his troubles.  I believe that this is one reason why the Lord called him “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22 NIV)

   The Amplified translation of Psalm 57:2 says: “I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!”  Perhaps you are in the midst of circumstances right now that have you wondering if the Lord will ever fulfill His purposes for you.  Maybe this pandemic has stalled your dreams of success, or even dashed them to pieces.  God is saying to you through this message today that He still has extraordinary plans for your life.  Trust Him.  Praise Him.  And witness what He will do in you, through you, and for you – right in the midst of your trials and tribulations!

   Lord, when it feels like I am facing impossible circumstances, remind me that You are the Most High God, and nothing is impossible for you.  Help me to focus on Your love and faithfulness in ways that will protect me from negative thoughts and attitudes.  Teach me to sing Your praises before my miracle manifests.  Thank You for rewarding me and bringing to pass Your purposes for me!

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

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

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

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

Sep 6 20

Search for Faithful People

by J. M. Farro

   “How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people!  My greatest pleasure is to be with them.”  Psalm 16:3 GNT

   I share these sentiments by King David about God’s faithful ones.  One of my “greatest pleasures” during the course of this pandemic has been to “be with them” virtually online.  When I was in lockdown for months at a time, communicating and commiserating with my fellow followers of Christ through emails and social media would often be the highlight of my days.  The spiritual bonds we share with each other allow us to minister to each other in life-enriching ways.

   Elsewhere in the Psalms, David says: “I will search for faithful people to be my companions.  Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.” (Psalm 101:6 NLT)  David was constantly on the lookout for people who were faithful to the Lord, and who would be faithful to him.  He spent most of his life surrounded by treacherous people who betrayed him and meant him harm.  Some of these enemies were his own loved ones.  I like how the Passion Translation says: “My innermost circle will only be those whom I know are pure and godly.  They will be the only ones I allow to minister to me.” (Psalm 101:6 TPT)  If David – and even Jesus – were very careful about who they let into their innermost circle, shouldn’t you and I be, too?

   It gives me great comfort to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who share my deep love and devotion to the Lord.  Even though I will never meet most of them on this earth, it brings me great joy to think that we will all be together in Heaven for all eternity.  When it feels like the whole world is against us, you and I can console each other with the truth that this life here on earth is not all there is for us – and that, in fact, the best is yet to come!

   Lord, teach me how to search for faithful followers of Yours to be my companions.  I pray that my innermost circle will only consist of those who are above reproach in Your sight.  Help me to choose only godly people to minister to me, and to advise and counsel me.  Thank You for surrounding me with those who are faithful to You and to me!

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

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

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

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

 

Aug 30 20

Wisdom for Relationships

by J. M. Farro

   “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  James 1:5 NIV

   One of the questions that people have asked me in my 20+ years of ministry is how they should handle arguments in their marriages and other relationships.  I tell them that I am not an expert in this area by any means, but I have been married for 45+ years, and the Lord has taught me some things that have helped my marriage to actually improve over time.

   First and foremost, when a problem arises in one of my relationships, I pray for divine wisdom, based on the promises of God.  Scripture says:  “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 AMP)  My husband, Joe, and I received Christian marriage counseling many years ago, and it did help us to some extent.  But it wasn’t as helpful as going directly to God for wisdom and guidance.  The Lord sees into our hearts, and He sifts our motives.  He alone knows about our emotional scars, and our warped attitudes.  And because He created each one of us, He knows what is best for us, and how to heal us.  When we cry out to Him, He is readily available to us every moment of every day. 

   The next verse in this passage reveals a major requirement for receiving an answer from the Lord when we pray for guidance.  “But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6 AMP)  When we truly believe in “God’s willingness to help,” He will send us revelation from heaven that will transform our relationships and bring healing.

   Another piece of advice that I give people is to keep the devil out of their marriage by refusing to stay angry.  Unforgiveness will destroy a relationship faster than anything else.  The Bible says:  “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)  God allows righteous indignation, and He will show us how to confront our loved ones with their sin when we ask for His wisdom.  But when we hold on to our anger and resentment, and we withhold forgiveness from others, we are opening the door to demonic activity that can destroy the very relationships we cherish most.  God has the perfect plan for healthy relationships for you and yours.  Will you seek His wisdom and grace in this area?

   Lord, please show me how to have godly relationships that honor You.  Teach me to pray for Your wisdom and guidance, so that I will always know how to respond correctly to issues and disagreements that arise.  Help me to forgive others quickly and thoroughly the way You do.  Heal me of all past hurts, and all toxic mindsets.  Thank You that as I follow Your leadership in this area, You will protect my relationships, and make them a source of joy and fulfillment for me!

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

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

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

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

Aug 23 20

Rescue Precious Lives from Destruction

by J. M. Farro

   “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off.  Go after them.  Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.”  James 5:19-20 MSG

   My guess is that every person who is reading this message today has known at least one person who has wandered away from God.  When these people are adults – even our own adult children – it can be tempting to “write them off,” thinking that we are helpless to change their minds.  I have been guilty of this very mindset myself.  But what if it is God’s will for us to “go after them” instead?  Here are some ways we can do that.

   We can pray for the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened so they would come to know the truth. (Ephesians 1:18)

   We can bind Satan and his demons from operating against them, and trying to hinder them from accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. (Matthew 18:18)

   We can pray that the Lord of the harvest will put laborers in their path who will minister the truth of the Gospel to them in life-changing ways. (Matthew 9:38)

   We can ask God to give them receptive hearts, and to give us opportunities to share the truth with them.  But sometimes, we will not be the one that the Lord uses to reach them.  We can, however, plant seeds in their hearts that someone else can water in the days ahead.  Perhaps most importantly, we can set a Christlike example for them, so that we will not be a stumbling block to their faith.

   The Lord wants to use you and me to “rescue precious lives from destruction.”  When we do, we will be “preventing an epidemic of wandering away from God.”  Who is it that the Lord wants you to help rescue today?

   Lord, help me not to simply write people off when they wander away from You.  Anoint and enable me to go after them, and to get them back, so I can rescue their precious lives from destruction by Your grace and power.  Help me to set a Christlike example at all times, and teach me how to bind the enemy from operating against me and my loved ones.  Thank You for using me to prevent an epidemic of wandering away from You in this world!

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

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

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

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

Aug 16 20

Absolutely Above Suspicion

by J. M. Farro

   “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.”  2 Corinthians 8:21 AMPC

   For most of his life, my father worked as an executive for a prestigious firm in New York City.  When I was 20 years old, I got a job working for a Manhattan company that was moving to New Jersey, which is where we lived.  My dad was thrilled when I told him that, for several weeks, I would be working in an office building that was within walking distance of his company.  One afternoon, I walked with my dad back to his building after we had lunch together.  As I reached up to give my dad a kiss on the cheek in the lobby, he froze and said sternly, “You can’t kiss me in here,” and then he walked away.  To this day, I remember the pain of rejection that I felt at that moment.

   I didn’t realize it at the time, but my father taught me a very valuable life lesson that day.  He taught me that appearances do matter.  No one in my dad’s workplace lobby could have known that I was his daughter.  All they saw was a young woman kissing an older man.  Those who knew my father only casually at his workplace would have known that I was most definitely not his wife, and they immediately would have drawn the wrong conclusions.  My dad could have thought, “I’m not doing anything wrong.  I don’t care if people get the wrong idea.”  Instead, he cared about people’s perception at his workplace.

   Scripture tells us: “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” (Romans 12:17 NIV)  In other words, God cares very much about appearances.  The Amplified translation of this verse says that we should always be “aiming to be above reproach in the sight of everyone.”  This means that we should not only be totally innocent of wrongdoing, but that we should also avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing.  The Bible says: “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.” (2 Corinthians 8:21 AMPC)  The Passion Translation says it this way: “For we intend to do what is right and we are totally open both to the Lord’s inspection and to man’s.”

   As Christians, you and I are being closely examined, inspected, and scrutinized everywhere we go.  Let’s not give the devil, or anyone else, any ammunition to use against us or our most cherished relationships.

   Lord, please plant deeply in my heart the truth that You are very concerned about appearances, and that You expect me to have the same mindset.  Remind me often that I, and my actions, are being scrutinized everywhere I go, and that suspicious minds are all around me.  Thank You that as I hold myself to the highest of standards in my conduct, conversation, and companionships, You will protect and bless my most cherished relationships!

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