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Feb 18 19

Boosting Our Prayer Power

by J. M. Farro

   “And [we] receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.”  1 John 3:22 NIV

   This Scripture reveals an important Biblical principle – the power of our prayers is directly related to our obedience to God’s Word, and to our desire to do what pleases Him.  As we progress in our level of obedience to the Lord, the effectiveness of our prayers will increase.  I have seen this principle at work in my own life, as well as in the lives of other believers who walk closely with the Lord.  Proverbs 28:9 (NIV) says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”  This is another verse which shows a connection between our obedience and our prayers.  Even though we have made a decision to trust Christ as our Savior, we cannot expect ready answers to our prayers when we ignore God’s commands.  Psalm 66:18-19 (NIV) says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”  If we want God to honor our prayers, we cannot wink at sin, or have unconfessed sin in our lives.

   We also cannot afford to harbor unforgiveness toward anyone.  Jesus made that clear when He was teaching us how to have mountain-moving faith in Mark 11:  “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (v.25 NIV)  The Bible reveals that the quality of our relationships can determine the effectiveness of our prayers.  Peter says that husbands must “be considerate” of their wives and “treat them with respect” so that their “prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 NIV)  This principle applies to our other relationships, as well.

   Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7 NASB)  The Lord is promising us here that if we will live for Him and obey His Word, He will hear and answer our prayers.  If you have unsaved or backslidden loved ones, your prayers can make all the difference in their lives.  Job 22:30 (NIV) says, “[The Lord] will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”  Our prayers of intercession can be especially powerful when we are fully committed to the Lord.  This is particularly important when we are unable to reach our loved ones with our conversation or example.  Our prayers can be our best “secret weapon” in winning them to Christ.

   Scripture admonishes us to, “Find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:10 NIV)  If we will do our part in committing ourselves to learning and doing God’s will, the Lord will do His part in blessing us and honoring our prayers.  God does not expect us to do it on our own.  Philippians 2:13 (NLT) promises:  “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  And we can pray like David did:  “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (Psalm 143:10 NIV)  I encourage you to start getting serious about obeying God, and start boosting your prayer power today!

   Lord, forgive me for the times that I have not taken my prayer responsibilities seriously.  Remind me that my prayers can bring salvation to the lost, healing to the sick, and deliverance to those in trouble.  Give me the grace and the desire to do Your will in all things.  Thank You that as I sow seeds of obedience, I will reap an abundant harvest of answered prayer!

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

   *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!

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

Feb 10 19

Look UP to God

by J. M. Farro

   “When all these things begin to happen, stand and look UP, for your salvation is near!”  Luke 21:28 NLT 

   The Lord taught me some valuable lessons on pain and suffering recently which helped me to gain a more godly perspective on them.  He warned me not to turn inward to self-pity, or outward to anger – but to turn upward to God.

   A good definition of self-pity is:  “A self-indulgent dwelling on one’s own sorrows or misfortunes.”  Anything that causes us to focus too much on ourselves is a detriment to our health and well-being.  It’s also destructive to our relationships.  It doesn’t bring us closer to others; it actually drives them away.  It doesn’t help us to heal, but it keeps us bleeding.  Self-pity is actually a form of pride.  It causes us to get our eyes off of God and onto ourselves.  We may initially like the attention it gets us from others, but eventually, it will cause them to turn away from us.

   An effective antidote for self-pity is thankfulness.  Scripture says:  “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP)  No matter what is going on in our lives, we always have reason to give thanks to God and praise Him.  It’s an insult to the Lord when we dwell on our misfortunes and losses, and we neglect to recognize and dwell on all of the blessings He showers us with daily.  Turning inward to self-pity is definitely not God’s will for us when we experience times of difficulty and pain.

   Turning outward to anger or revenge isn’t God’s will for us, either.  It can be tempting to get mad at God or others when we’re faced with painful circumstances.  It’s so easy to play the “blame game” when we’re hurting.  But that’s not God’s way.  Jesus told His disciples:  “You’re looking for someone to blame… Look instead for what God can do.” (John 9:3 MSG)  When we’re in a painful place, we need God’s help more than ever.  But we’re not likely to get it if we’re not treating people right. 

   In every situation we face, God’s got a plan for our victory.  But we have to cooperate with His plan, and do things His way, if we want to receive His highest and best.  Scripture says:  “Don’t let your suffering embitter you at the only one who can deliver you.” (Job 36:18 TLB)  How foolish it is to get mad at God when things don’t go our way, since He is the only One who is able to offer us any real and lasting help.

   And that’s why the Lord tells us that instead of looking inward or outward in times of trouble, we should look UPward to Him.  The Bible says:  “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  So we will not fear…” (Psalm 46:1 NLT)  Those of us who have made Christ our Savior and Lord have a God who is always approachable, available, and responsive to our needs.  He is “always ready” to provide us with His wisdom (James 1:5), His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9), and His comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ).  All we have to do is ask. 

   I’ve discovered that one of the best things we can do in difficult times is to release our hurt and heartache to God, and to tell Him:  “Lord, I’m planting my trouble and pain as a seed, and I’m trusting You to grant me an abundant harvest of blessings and rewards in return.”  God loves to cause our problems to profit us somehow. (Romans 8:28)  Even when we are suffering the consequences of our own stubborn disobedience, He is there to help us all along the way, and to make sure we gain some benefit from our misery. 

   When Jesus spoke to His disciples about a time of great tribulation that would someday come upon the earth, He said:  “When all these things begin to happen, stand and look UP, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28 NLT)  Are you looking UP today?

   Lord, when trouble comes my way, help me to resist feeling sorry for myself, or blaming others for my problems.  Remind me that if my focus is on myself or others – instead of You – I will only be intensifying and prolonging my misery.  Thank You that as I keep my eyes on You, and follow Your lead, I will experience the supernatural peace and power that can only come from Christ!  

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

   *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!

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

                                                                                                                                  

Jan 27 19

Released and Free

by J. M. Farro

   “But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2 NLT

   The Scripture above is often quoted when the topic of healing is discussed.  I have prayed this precious promise from God, and stood on it in faith many times over the years when I have needed healing, and I have experienced its power for myself.

   One day during my private devotional time with the Lord, He showed me that I wasn’t receiving all of the benefits of this verse of Scripture.  And He had me focus on the second part of this verse, which reads, “And you will go FREE, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” (NLT)  The NIV translation says, “And you will go out and leap like calves RELEASED from the stall.”  The Holy Spirit revealed to me that Malachi 4:2 doesn’t just promise God’s faithful ones healing – but it also promises that we will be released from whatever has us bound, and we will experience a freedom that can only come from the Lord Himself.

   Sometimes, we are bound by our own bad habits.  Other times, Satan and his demons are oppressing us.  And then there are cases where we have allowed others to do us harm because we have failed to use godly wisdom in establishing boundaries for our relationships.  The good news is that whatever, or whoever, has been holding us captive cannot keep a hold on us when the supernatural delivering power of Almighty God comes on the scene.

   The very next verse in this passage says, “‘Then you will tread upon the wicked as ashes underfoot,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 4:3 TLB)  Now, put these verses together as promises from God, and believe that He is willing and able to heal you, release you, and cause you to overcome everything and everyone that is coming against you.  I can tell you from personal experience that it is just a matter of time before the Lord shows up and brings His Word to pass!

   Lord, I thank You that because I fear and reverence You, You have healing in store for me when I take You at Your Word.  I ask that You release me and set me free from everything that is hindering me from fulfilling my God-given purpose and potential.  Remind me that You have given me authority over all the power of the enemy, and teach me how to make the most of that authority. (Luke 10:19)  Thank You that as I take my stand in faith, I will prove to be the overcomer You have destined me to be!

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

   *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!

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

Jan 20 19

Bitterness or Joy

by J. M. Farro

   “Only the person involved can know his own bitterness or joy – no one else can really share it.”  Proverbs 14:10 TLB  

   My husband, Joe, and I have known each other for more than 45 years.  On our first date, I shared my entire life story with him – the good and the bad – and instead of him being turned away, he actually told me that day that he was going to marry me.  As close as we have been all these years, the truth of Proverbs 14:10 (NIV) still rings true:  “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

   When I suffer a loss or a disappointment, as compassionate as my husband is, he cannot fully empathize with me and my pain.  To be honest, there have been times when I have been angry with my husband because he couldn’t relate to my suffering.  Then I would have to remind myself of the Scripture above, and how even he cannot share or feel the depth of my anguish, and it’s wrong for me to impose unreasonable expectations upon him.

   But there’s good news.  Hebrews 4:15 (AMP) says:  “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.”  You and I have a Savior who “knows exactly how it feels to be human.”  He “sympathizes and understands” our weaknesses, and He feels our pain.  In His earthly existence, He wept human tears, and He suffered the pain of rejection and betrayal, as well as unimaginable injuries and wounds.  And as one Bible commentator puts it, “He has taken His human experience with Him into heaven.”

   One translation of Proverbs 14:10 (ERV) says, “When you are sad, no one else feels the pain; and when you are happy, no one else can really feel the joy.”  Christ is the exception to this rule.  When we are hurting, He feels our pain.  When we are joyful, He shares our joy.  As followers of Christ, you and I have a Savior who not only feels what we feel, but who sympathizes with us, and wants to comfort us and lift us up.  Best of all, He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and He can do for us what no one else can do.  Turn to Him.  Run to Him.  And release your cares and hurts to Him.  He’s waiting for you!

   Lord, today I surrender to You all of my disappointments, my losses, my hurts, and my wounds.  Heal me, comfort me, and strengthen me as only You can.  Vindicate me and right my wrongs.  Fill me with a fresh sense of hope.  Turn my misery into miracles.  And draw me closer to You – and deeper into Your purposes for me – than I have ever been before.  Thank You for making Yourself real to me now in healing, comforting, and life-changing ways!

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

   *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!

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

 

Jan 13 19

The Right Place at the Right Time

by J. M. Farro

   “I have observed something else under the sun.  The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.  The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy.  And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.  It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”  Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT

   If you carefully and thoughtfully read the verses above penned by King Solomon, they can either make you rejoice or get depressed.  Here, he says that being the fastest or the strongest won’t necessarily make you a winner.  And being highly educated or skilled won’t guarantee that you will be successful or prosperous.

   I take great comfort in the fact that Solomon ends this verse by concluding, “It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”  Why do I find this comforting?  Because I have gotten in the habit of praying daily, “Lord, please make sure that I am always in the right place at the right time.”  I know that God sees the big picture, while I only see a snapshot.  Scripture says that the Lord knows the end from the beginning, and He is ultimately in control. (Isaiah 46:9-10 AMP)

   To this day, I still marvel over the fact that more than 45 years ago, God lined up countless circumstances and people so that my husband, Joe, and I could meet in the same class at the same college, at just the right time.  Then, God orchestrated our move to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, when our children were school age so that our oldest son could launch the first successful Bible Club at his public high school, and so that both of our sons could meet their future wives.  There were times when Joe and I felt as though we were victims of our circumstances, but the truth was that God was directing our steps, and causing us to be in the right place at the right time, so that we could fulfill our divine destinies.

   The best thing that you and I can do each day is to obey God’s Word which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)  In other words, if we will get up each day asking and trusting the Lord to direct our steps, He will make sure that we are always in the right place at the right time.  Then, our provision, protection, and success are guaranteed by God Himself!

   Lord, I thank You that because I belong to You, You are ordering my steps and directing my paths.  Remind me often that it is not my abilities, gifts, or talents that will ensure my success, but You causing me to be in the right place at the right time.  When I am feeling as though I am a victim of my circumstances, readjust my focus, and help me to see things from Your perspective.  Thank You for leading me along the paths of Your greatest blessings all the rest of my days!

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

   *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!

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

Jan 7 19

Keep On Believing for Your Healing

by J. M. Farro

    “Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.’”  Mark 5:36 AMP

   Jesus’ words above are from Mark’s account of a synagogue leader who seeks out the Master to heal his dying daughter.  When messengers arrive to say that the little girl has already died, Jesus ignores their comments and urges the father to do the same, warning him not to become fearful, but to “keep on believing.”  When they reach the man’s house, Jesus raises the daughter from the dead, and gives her back to her grateful parents.

   I was reminded of this powerful passage about a year ago, when I began having so much trouble walking that I had to stop using my treadmill.  It never even occurred to me at first that I might never be able to use it again.  But as weeks turned into months, with no sign of my walking problems improving, thoughts would enter my mind saying, “You are never going to use that treadmill again!”  I knew it was the enemy’s attempt to discourage me, and to torment me with fear.  So I ignored him, and kept reminding myself of Jesus’ words in Mark 5:36 (AMP), “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.”

   While I prayed and stood on God’s promises of healing, I began using my low-impact stationary bike for my workouts.  My treadmill has always been in our guest room at the end of the hall, so I would see it many times a day as I went about my daily routine.  And I would wonder if I would ever use it again.  Then I would hear in my spirit, “Don’t be afraid – just keep on believing!”  And I would keep on praying and declaring God’s promises.  The entire time, I kept my usual doctor appointments, but I honestly didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to get well.  I was leaning heavily on God and His Word.  And after about six months, I felt so good that I was able to use my treadmill again.

   One of the lessons that God taught me from this experience was that the FEAR of sickness and disease can do just as much damage to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being as the ailments themselves.  The same goes for injuries.  I never did find out if I injured myself, or if some affliction made it difficult for me to walk.  And that’s okay, because I wasn’t focusing on the cause, but the cure.  So my advice to you today would be to work with God to live as free from fear as you possibly can.  When you get hurt or sick, remember the Lord’s words saying, “Don’t be afraid – just keep on believing!”  See the doctor and take medications if you need to, but don’t put your faith in them.  Instead, put your faith in God, and fight off fear with the help of His Spirit and His Word!

   Lord, teach me how to resist fear every time that it comes against me.  When I need healing of any kind, help me to ignore words of doubt from the enemy and other people.  Remind me to study Your Word diligently so that I will know exactly which promises to pray and stand on for my deliverance.  Thank You that by the power of Your indwelling Spirit, when I am faced with sickness, disease, pain, or injury, my declaration of faith shall be, “I will not be afraid – I will keep on believing!”

   *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!

   *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!

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

Dec 30 18

Even Now

by J. M. Farro

   “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”  John 11:22 NIV

   These words were spoken to Jesus by Martha, the sister of Lazarus.  Her brother had already been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived.  Yet here she confesses her faith in the Savior to do even the impossible.  Moments later, Martha witnesses a miracle as her brother is raised to life by the Master.

   Years ago, God began bringing me up to a new level of faith.  He taught me how to pray what I now refer to as my “even now” prayers.  I would be facing an impossible situation, and it would seem like all the doors before me had been closed.  My first impression would be to think, “I guess it just wasn’t God’s will.”  Then I would sense another impression coming up in my spirit telling me to continue praying in faith.  I might pray something like this:  “Lord, I admit this looks like a hopeless situation, but I know that even now, You can make a way where there seems to be none.  I ask that You do that, Lord.”  I have seen so many seemingly closed doors opened by praying like this, that my prayer life has been radically changed forever.  And I have used this principle in praying about small matters, as well as larger ones.

   Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NKJV)  I think it’s sad that our society has gotten so sophisticated and cynical that we have forgotten how to pray for the impossible.  In Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV), the Lord says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for Me?”  This statement should not only encourage us, but it should convict us as well.  Psalm 77:19 (TLB) says, “Your road led by a pathway through the sea – a pathway no one knew was there!”  The Israelites never could have imagined that God would make a way for them through the Red Sea.  Likewise, when we pray for the impossible, God will often make a way for us that will exceed our expectations.

   Psalm 77:14 (TLB) says, “You are the God of miracles and wonders!  You still demonstrate your awesome power.”  When we ask God for the impossible, we invite Him to work wonders in our lives – something He delights in doing.  Have you given up on a dream or vision that God has planted in your heart, because at this point, it looks like it can never come to pass?  What “impossible” situations do you have in your life right now that perhaps you have given up on too soon?  It could be that the Lord is just waiting for you to come to Him in faith today, saying, “Lord, I know that even now…”

   Lord, I ask that You increase my faith and expand my vision so that I can trust You to do the impossible in my life.  Help me to never put limits on You.  When I am tempted to give up on a situation too soon, remind me to ask You to make a way where there seems to be none.  Thank You that You are the God of the impossible and nothing is too difficult for You!

   *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!

   *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!

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

Dec 24 18

I Will Give You Back What You Lost

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost…and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you.  Never again will my people be disgraced.’”  Joel 2:25,26 NLT

   These verses in the Bible have special meaning for me because I didn’t become serious about my relationship with God until I was almost 40 years old.  There have been many times when I have lamented over the fact that my children weren’t raised in a true Christian home from the time they were born.  And I have often regretted that my relationship with my husband and our marriage didn’t get off on the right foot because of our lack of devotion to the Lord from the very beginning.

   If I allowed myself to dwell on things like these, I could come up with a multitude of regrets.  Thankfully, God gave me the verses above as a personal promise that He would work wonders for me by restoring the blessings I forfeited during all those years I was living for myself instead of Him.  And He has been true to His Word.  As I live this new life in Christ daily, I am continually amazed by the marvelous works of restoration that the Lord performs for me and my loved ones on a regular basis.

   If you will ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you as the God of Restoration, He will restore things in your life that you thought were lost forever.  I have seen Him restore broken families and relationships.  I have also seen Him breathe new life into lost dreams and visions.  And I have witnessed His miraculous power working in people’s lives to restore their health and finances.  But I think the things He restores that mean the most to me are our faith, joy, peace and HOPE.

   The Bible makes it abundantly clear – our God is in the restoration business.  And my life and the lives of many others are living proof.  If you are a child of the King, you don’t have to assume that all the losses that come your way are set in stone.  If you will give the Lord a chance to have the final Word, You will be amazed at what He can do to make your whole life shiny and new!

   Lord, today I believe and receive Your precious promises of restoration.  I ask that You work wonders in my life by transforming my losses into blessings.  Help me to do my part by seeking You daily and putting my trust in You.  Thank You for making my whole life bright and beautiful for Your glory!

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

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

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

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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