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Jan 15 18

Peace in the Days of Adversity

by J. M. Farro

   “Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and whom You teach from Your law, that You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.”  Psalm 94:12-13 AMP

   Years ago, the Lord showed me these verses and told me that if I will seek Him through His Word on a daily, consistent basis – receiving His teachings and instructions with a willing heart and mind – He would not have to continually use my circumstances to discipline me.  This is because, it is the Word of God that trains us to recognize, and become more sensitive to, the voice of God and His Spirit’s leading.  It is God’s Word that renews our minds, and enables us to see people and things from a godly perspective, rather than from a worldly perspective.  You could say that the Word “reprograms” us, so that we can walk in agreement with God, and His plans and purposes for our lives.

   As we become more sensitive to the Lord’s instructions, He grants us divine revelation and insight that enables us to enter into His peace and rest, right in the midst of adversity, so that we can experience a sense of security and stability that the world will never know.  God gives us a “knowing” that all of the schemes and evil tactics of the wicked will come to nothing in the end. (Psalm 112:10)  And He reassures us that He will cause every difficulty that comes our way to profit us and promote us, so that He can use us in greater ways to advance His kingdom.

   I encourage you to give the Lord plenty of opportunities to teach and instruct you through His Word.  It will be well worth the effort when you experience how He will give you “power to calm yourself and find peace in the days of adversity.”  Then you can watch from a place of safety and tranquility how the Lord will fight your battles and win the victory for you!

   Lord, show me how to give You plenty of opportunities to discipline and instruct me through Your Word on a regular basis, so that You don’t always have to use my circumstances to teach and correct me.  Help me to read Your Word for myself, and to spend time in total stillness before You, listening for Your voice.  Remind me often that it is Your truth that renews my mind, and enables me to see things from Your perspective, instead of the world’s.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in this process, You will bless me “with wisdom and prosperity,” as well as power to remain calm and peaceful, even in the midst of adversity! 

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Couples, click here!

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

   *Join the new 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 8 18

The Lord Can Give You Much More

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord can give you much more than that.”  2 Chronicles 25:9 NIV

   When my sons were teenagers, we went to our local Christian bookstore one evening because they were having a contest, and giving away numerous prizes.  The grand prize was a huge Christian music collection.  My boys entered their names, and prayed that they would win.  As it turned out, they didn’t win.  But later that night, the store owner shared a remarkable story with us about the winner, which inspired my sons and gave them consolation.  The young man who won the contest was a new believer in Christ, and just a few nights before, he had thrown out his entire collection of secular music, vowing to listen only to music that glorified His Savior.  The Lord used this contest to reward him with an entire new collection of music that he could enjoy with God’s blessing.

   This experience reminded me of the Biblical account of King Amaziah of Judah.  When the king was organizing his army, he paid $200,000 to hire 100,000 experienced mercenaries to fight alongside his own troops in battle.  Then a prophet of God told Amaziah that no matter how well his army fought, the Lord would not grant Him victory, as long as he was making unrighteous alliances.  The king’s response to this news was – “But the money!  What shall I do about that?”  The prophet replied, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” (2 Chronicles 25:9 TLB)  Amaziah wisely chose to obey God in the matter, and he dismissed the mercenaries, sending them home with their pay.  And the Lord rewarded the king’s obedience with a great victory in battle. (2 Chronicles 25:11-12)

   Both Amaziah and the young man who won the Christian music contest were faced with difficult choices.  Both of them stood to lose a lot if they chose to obey God.  Neither of them had any tangible proof ahead of time that they would be rewarded for their obedience.  But their decisions proved that they truly believed that if God asked them to give something up, He had something even better for them in mind.

   The truth is that whenever we choose to do God’s will, we can’t lose – we can only gain.  Jesus made this clear when He said: “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30 NIV)  Whenever we sacrifice relationships, material things, or anything else in order to please God, He will always make sure that we come out ahead in the end.  God is not a taker.  He’s a giver.  Once we get a revelation of this fact, we will be quick to make the sacrifices the Lord asks us to, knowing that it will be best for us in the end.  But being blessed shouldn’t be our main motivation for obeying God in situations like these.  We should want to please God simply because we love Him, and because we want to show our gratitude for all He is, and all He does.

   The apostle Paul had the right idea when he penned these words in the book of Philippians: “But all these things that I once thought very worthwhile – now I’ve thrown them all away so that I can put my trust and hope in Christ alone.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  I have put aside all else, counting it worth less than nothing, in order that I can have Christ, and become one with Him…” (Philippians 3:7-9 TLB)  Paul didn’t want anything to come between Him and God, and we should have the same attitude.

   What is it that’s standing between you and a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord?  Talk to Him about it today.  And believe that no matter what your obedience may cost you, the Lord has something better waiting for you up ahead!

   Lord, I ask that You reveal to me today anything that is hindering me from having a more vibrant relationship with You.  Help me to make the sacrifices I need to make so that I can become all You want me to be, and receive all You want me to have.  Thank You for transforming all of my “losses” into gains!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Couples, click here!

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

   *Join the new 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 2 18

Feeling Fragile

by J. M. Farro

   “How long will you assault me?  Would all of you throw me down – this leaning wall, this tottering fence?” (Psalm 62:3 NIV) 

   Not long ago, I suffered a disappointment that left me feeling down, depressed, and fragile.  I so desperately wanted to go away by myself and be left alone, but my circumstances wouldn’t allow it.  Those around me made some effort to understand what I was going through, but it was obvious that they just didn’t “get it.”  Instead of letting me have some time to myself to regain my strength, they asked even more of me than they usually did.

   I cried out to God for help, and I began voicing my complaints to Him.  “Don’t they get it?  I’m hurting now.  I’m feeling fragile.  I need some time to myself!”  The truth is that I wanted some time to brood.  Do you know what brooding is?  If you look the word up in the dictionary, you will find words such as “sulk,” “mope,” “agonize,” “fret,” and “worry.”  One definition is “to think deeply about something that makes one unhappy.”  Yes!  That’s exactly what I wanted to do.  I wanted to think deeply (not just casually) about the things that were making me miserable.  How stupid is that?  Yet, that’s how I felt at the time.

   I sought the Lord in prayer with an open Bible, and as I asked Him to speak words of comfort to my hurting soul, He led me to David’s words in Psalm 62.  Verse 3 leaped off the page, into my heart:  “How long will you assault me?  Would all of you throw me down – this leaning wall, this tottering fence?” (Psalm 62:3 NIV)  Hallelujah!  David “got it.”  He knew what it was like to go through a painful time, and to feel fragile as a result.  I marveled at the idea of this formidable, fearless soldier who defeated the giant, Goliath, feeling like a “leaning wall” and a “tottering fence.”  And suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone in my misery.

   I thought of David feeling “assaulted” by those around him when he was at his weakest point.  Here was the man who God Himself called, “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22 NIV)  How did he handle himself at a time like this?  I got my answer in verses 7 and 8.  “My protection and success come from God alone.  He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me.  O my people, trust Him all the time.  Pour out your longings before Him, for He can help!” (Psalm 62:7-8 TLB)  When David felt assaulted by the circumstances of life and by other people, his first instinct was to turn to the Lord, to pour out his heart to Him, and to place his trust in Him.  And I knew that if I wanted to come out of my trials victorious, I was going to have to follow his example.

   The Bible says:  “Only the person involved can know his own bitterness or joy – no one else can really share it.” (Proverbs 14:10 TLB)  The truth is, we can’t expect others to sympathize and empathize with us and our situation the way we want them to.  Placing unreasonable expectations on others, including our closest loved ones, will only serve to make us angry and resentful, and in the end, it will drive them away.  The only one who has the power to put himself in our place, and to feel our pain for real, is Jesus.  And that’s a good thing, because the fact is that He is the only One who can offer us the kind of help we need.

   Scripture assures us:  “Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior].  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.”  (Hebrews 4:14-15 AMP)  As one commentator put it, “We can turn with confidence to the God-Man, Jesus, who knows our frame, who wept human tears, and bore our sorrows, and was in all points tempted as we are, and who has taken His human experience with Him into heaven.”

   You are not going to find a better listener than Jesus.  You aren’t going to find anyone else who cares and understands the way He does.  Even when our problems are caused by our own stupidity, it’s Jesus who is standing by ready to comfort, console, and guide us.  And it’s He who has promised to work all of our troubles together for our own good. (Romans 8:28)

   So how do we respond to all this?  We heed Scripture’s admonition, which says:  “Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].”  (Hebrews 4:16 AMP)  Glory to God!  As followers of Christ, you and I have the privilege – and responsibility – to approach God with boldness and confidence, and to have a reasonable expectation to receive His mercy, grace, and assistance – and the appropriate blessings, to boot.

   When trouble strikes, when disappointment and despair are assaulting you, don’t suffer in silence, or reach out to others for something they can’t offer.  Instead, turn to the only One who has the power, the wisdom, and the desire to help!

   Lord, when I face disappointment, difficulty, and pain, remind me to turn to You first.  Deliver me from unreasonable expectations that would only serve to anger me, and to alienate me from others.  Guard me from the tendency to brood or feel sorry for myself.  When others are asking me for more than I can give during these times, speak to their hearts on my behalf, and strengthen me to respond according to Your will.  Thank You that as I make seeking You my first response to trials and troubles, You will lift me up and give me victory as only You can do!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Couples, click here!

   *Join the new 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 28 17

God Sees and Cares

by J. M. Farro

   “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.”  Psalm 31:7 NLT

   This encouraging verse penned by David in Psalm 31 has been a comfort to me more times than I can count.  When the Lord brought it before me the other day during my devotional time with Him, He impressed upon me that I should take it to heart, and ponder its deeper meaning.

   When David says to God, “You have seen my troubles,” I think about good King Hezekiah, a descendant of David’s.  The Bible records that Hezekiah was at the point of death, and was told by God to put his house in order because he would not survive.  Instead of resigning himself to his fate, Scripture says that he turns to the Lord in heartfelt prayer, and asks for mercy.  God’s response to the king is:  “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.” (2 Kings 20:5 NKJV)  And the Lord graciously adds fifteen years to Hezekiah’s life.

   In Psalm 56, David tells God, “You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.  You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)  The Lord takes note of every hurt and heartache that comes our way, and there isn’t a single tear that escapes His notice.  He is aware of our every disappointment and distressing situation, and He will act on our behalf when we look to Him for mercy and help.

   David’s declaration, “You care about the anguish of my soul,” reveals that he believed in God’s compassion toward him.  When we are in a trial, especially a prolonged one, voices of doubt may whisper that the Lord doesn’t care.  All we need to do is to turn to the Scriptures, and to meditate on passages that illustrate the extraordinary and indescribable compassion of God.  Matthew 9:36 (AMP) says:  “When [Jesus] saw the throngs, He was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd.”

   All through the Gospels, we see Jesus healing, comforting, and reaching out to hurting people, because of His deep compassion and love for them.  It was His love and compassion – and the Father’s – that sent Him to the Cross to die for our sins and our salvation.  The next time you are tempted to think that the Lord doesn’t care about your suffering or distress, meditate on Isaiah 63:9 (NLT), which says:  “In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them.  In His love and mercy, He redeemed them.  He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.”

   David’s words, “I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love,” show that he had a keen awareness of God’s eternal love.  His faith in the Lord’s love and goodness not only filled him with joy, but it gave him the confidence to pray for – and expect – the Lord’s mercy and help, even when he was in the midst of “impossible” situations.  In Psalm 62, David declares, “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard:  ‘Power belongs to You, God, and with You, Lord, is unfailing love.’” (Psalm 62:11-12 NIV)

   No matter what your circumstances are right now, God has all the power and love needed to help you to overcome and emerge victorious.  Dare to follow David’s example, and trust the Lord for your deliverance and success today!

   Lord, when I am going through a time of trial, remind me that You see and are aware of my troubles.  Help me to truly believe that You care about my hurts and heartaches, and that You love me with an everlasting love.  Thank You that as I put my hope in Your compassion and goodness, You will move in mighty ways on my behalf!

*For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Couples, click here!

   *Join the new 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 18 17

New from J. M. Farro: The Promise-Powered Life for Couples!

by J. M. Farro

   Inside, you will find Spirit-led devotionals showing you how to cooperate with the Lord in fulfilling your God-given purpose and potential, how to have the kind of childlike faith that enables you to lay hold of every blessing the Lord desires you to have, how to renew and revive your marriage and your God-ordained relationships, how to receive divine wisdom to solve every problem you face, how to believe God for your healing, how to resist fear in the midst of trouble and turmoil, how to experience peace even in chaotic circumstances, how to discern and experience God’s best in every situation, how to shake off discouragement and hostility from others, how to pray effectively for miracles, and much more!

   Each devotional includes a Scripture-based prayer and a Promise-Power Point so that you can learn how to pray and claim the promises of God in every area for yourself and your loved ones.  Discover how rewarding, meaningful, and joyful life can be when you apply the powerful biblical principles in “The Promise-Powered Life for Couples!”

   You can purchase this book from Amazon.com in Paperback and Kindle (digital) formats at https://smile.amazon.com/Promise-Powered-Life-Couples-Promises-Fulfilled/dp/1979859396

   To order autographed copies of this new Couples book from the J. M. Farro ETSY Shop, please use this link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

   To order a signed copy of this new Singles book (for $7.00 + 3.82 shipping for a total of $10.82) with a Credit Card or PayPal (only if you are in the U.S.), please use the BUY NOW button below. If you would like your book personalized for yourself or someone else, please specify that in the instructions area as you check out. Orders are shipped out promptly by First-Class Mail and will arrive in 2-5 days.




If you are in the U.S. and would like to purchase multiple copies of this book with a credit card or PayPal, please email Joanne at jmf@jmfarro.com .

Please direct any book-related questions to Joanne (J. M.) Farro at jmf@jmfarro.com.

Dec 18 17

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 that 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!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Couples, click here!

   *Join the new 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 11 17

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 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!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Singles, click here!

   *Join the new 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 4 17

The Secrets of His Promises

by J. M. Farro

   “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him.  With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.”  Psalm 25:14 TLB

   I remember sharing with a lady friend of mine years ago how my son was having some serious foot problems, and how I was praying and standing on God’s promise in the Bible which says, “[The Lord] will guard the feet of His godly ones.” (1 Samuel 2:9 AMP)  She immediately began criticizing me, and telling me that I was taking the Scripture out of context, and twisting its meaning.  Suddenly, I felt convicted, and I knew that I had to hear from God in the matter.

   As I got alone with the Lord in private prayer and conversation, I poured out my heart to Him, and let Him know in no uncertain terms that I wanted to obey His instructions which say that we should always “correctly handle the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)  I discovered that it was, indeed, the Holy Spirit who gave me that promise for my son’s feet, and that I could continue to pray and stand on it for his healing.  And God “confirmed His Word with signs following,” by protecting and perfecting my son’s feet, as only He could. (Mark 16:20 KJV)

   The Bible says, “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him.  With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.” (Psalm 25:14 TLB)  God personally gave me that promise for my son’s feet, but because He didn’t reveal the same promise to my friend, she could not comprehend what it meant to me, or the power that it carried for me and my loved one.

   The Holy Spirit is not going to direct us to misuse the Word of God, when He Himself is the Author of the Word.  If you are a follower of Christ, and filled with His Spirit, then God Himself assures you of this truth:  “You have an anointing from the Holy One [you have been set apart, specially gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit], and all of you know [the truth because He teaches us, illuminates our minds, and guards us from error].” (1 John 2:20 AMP)  Glory to God!

   So claim His promises with confidence, dear one, knowing that sooner or later, He WILL confirm His Word with signs following!

    Lord, fill me with a passion for Your presence and Your Word, and move me to spend time alone with You on a regular, consistent basis.  Remind me often that following these helpful disciplines will enable me to become more and more sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading.  Teach me how to pray and stand on Your “very great and precious promises,” according to Your perfect will and timing. (2 Peter 1:4 NIV)  Thank You for sharing the secrets of Your promises with me – and confirming Your Word with signs following – as I live my life for you!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Singles, click here!

   *Join the new 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

Nov 27 17

Unexpected Options

by J. M. Farro

   “You do not have because you do not ask God.”  James 4:2 NIV

   I have had a cute little portable electric fireplace for more than a year now.  I use it in certain rooms of my home in cold weather to take the chill off.  Unfortunately, the cord on it is so short that it really restricts me from using it the way I’d like to.  When we first bought it last year, and I asked my husband, Joe, for an extension cord for it, he warned me that it would be completely unsafe to use it that way.

   After getting totally frustrated with my little fireplace just last week, I decided to pray about it.  I asked the Lord to show me if I had any other options besides using it the way I had been for the past year.  Suddenly, I felt impressed to start looking online for a heavy-duty extension cord that I could safely use with my little heater.  I discovered that there are things called “Major Appliance” extension cords.  I asked my husband about it, and he not only approved, but he picked one up for me locally the next day.  Now, I can easily move my portable fireplace from one part of the room to another, the way I’ve always wished I could.

   When I thought about this experience later on, the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a verse in the book of James:  “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2 NIV)  Because I took my husband’s word that using an extension cord for my little fireplace was not an option – and because I didn’t consult God in the matter – I went for more than a year doing without something that would make my life a lot easier, and my situation a joy.

   What unexpected options could be yours today if you would simply ASK the Lord for them?

   Lord, I praise You for being an all-knowing God who has limitless options for His people.  Work in my heart and mind, and prompt me by Your Spirit, so my first response in every situation will be to ask for Your wisdom and expertise.  Guard me from assumptions that will rob me of Your best.  Thank You that as I refuse to settle for the opinions of others – and instead, call upon You – I will have unexpected options at my disposal every time!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Singles, click here!

   *Join the new 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

Nov 20 17

Turning Misery into Ministry

by J. M. Farro

   “It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.”  Philippians 4:14 MSG

   When I was having some persistent problems with my teeth, and the possibility of having to have a root canal loomed larger, I earnestly prayed that the Lord would spare me from it.  As it turned out, this dental procedure that I had always dreaded was my only recourse, and I couldn’t avoid it any longer.  I prayed through the entire thing, and I trusted the Lord to walk me through it.  When it was over, I was brooding about having to go through such an unpleasant experience, and I sensed the Lord reassuring me that it was not in vain – that He would bring good out of it somehow.

   A week or so later, I was at a family gathering, and I found myself exclaiming to one of my relatives, “I had my first root canal!”  I realized that I was taking some perverse pleasure in experiencing this unpleasant procedure firsthand, and initially, I was baffled by my attitude.  Then it hit me.  I was feeling a tremendous sense of satisfaction and joy in being able to say to others who have had root canals – “Now I understand just how you feel – I have been there myself, and I know what you are going through!”

   One thing is clear – it is scriptural to pray for protection and deliverance from trouble.  But I do think that there are times when God allows us to experience adversity firsthand, so that we can develop a heart of compassion toward others who are suffering.  I know that this has been true in my own life, and I have seen trials soften the hearts of others, too.  I certainly don’t recommend praying for trouble.  But I also don’t recommend succumbing to despair or doubt when adversity is staring us in the face.  God is a mighty and compassionate God, and He can – and will – bring good out of even the most daunting circumstances, if we will firmly place our trust in Him, and maintain a right attitude during these times.

   Having to go through painful and difficult experiences can also help us to pray more effectively for others who are in trouble.  When I hear from parents who are dealing with harrowing problems with their children, it’s easy for me to feel their anguish, because of my own painful experiences as a parent.  I believe that my prayers for these parents are much more fervent and effective, since I have developed a greater understanding and empathy toward their plight.

   David wrote: “I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.” (Psalm 31:7 NIV)  Though these words refer to the Lord, they can also apply to those of us who have become more Christlike through our trials and tribulations.  We, too, can have a greater depth of love and compassion toward others.  We can relate to their suffering, and feel their pain.  And we can be a great source of comfort and joy to them.

   Today, I encourage you to ask the Lord to help you to see your problems from a heavenly perspective.  Pray that God will enable you to believe that He can turn your misery into ministry.  Then you will know firsthand the joy and satisfaction of being able to say with all sincerity – “I understand what you are going through, and I’m praying for you!”

   Lord, teach me how to pray in faith for protection and deliverance from trouble.  When I do experience tests and trials, help me to understand their value.  Give me the faith I need to believe that You will bring good out of every adversity I face. (Romans 8:28)  Thank You that by Your grace, my difficulties will make me a more compassionate person, and a more effective intercessor!

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, including her new book for Singles, click here!

   *Join the new 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