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Aug 18 19

Prepare and Strengthen Our Hearts

by J. M. Farro

   “O Lord, You have heard the desire and the longing of the humble and oppressed; You will prepare and strengthen and direct their hearts, You will cause Your ear to hear.” Psalm 10:17 AMPC

   When I got the news recently that my husband, Joe, needed yet another medical procedure on his heart, my own heart sank.  He had suffered a massive heart attack years before, and had open-heart surgery some years later.  And we had hoped and prayed that Joe’s heart problems were behind us.  So when I heard this latest news, bitter disappointment swept over me.

   As I poured my heart out to God, He gave me the promise above.  He assured me that He heard my prayers and cries, and He was aware of my pain.  I began praying this promise with all my heart, believing that the Lord would honor His Word to me. 

   I said, “Lord, please ‘prepare’ my heart!”  I felt so unprepared for this latest surgery.  I knew that I would have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning in order to get Joe to the hospital in time for his procedure, and I knew that it meant that I would be sleep deprived.

   I also prayed, “Lord, ‘strengthen’ my heart!”  I would have to endure long hours of sitting in a hospital waiting room while the doctors operated on Joe’s heart.  I knew that there would be moments when I would be tempted to become fearful and fretful.

   When I prayed – “Lord, ‘direct’ my heart!” – I was asking the Lord to provide me with all of the guidance and direction I would need to navigate these troubled waters skillfully and successfully – fully cooperating with God so that He could bring great good out of them. (Romans 8:28)

   Psalm 10:17 reassures us that when we turn to the Lord in times of difficulty and pain, He hears the desires and longings of our hearts.  And He will anoint, equip, empower, and enable us to not just endure our trials – but to emerge triumphant for our good and His glory!

   Lord, when trouble comes, let my first response be to turn to You with all my heart.  Show me which promises apply to my circumstances, and enable me to lay hold of them and receive them as my own.  Prepare me, strengthen me, and direct me to receive Your best in every situation I face.  Thank You that as I look to You for help, and follow Your lead, I will experience Your matchless presence, power, and peace!

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

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

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

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

 

Aug 11 19

Blame or Blessings?

by J. M. Farro

   “Jesus said, ‘You’re asking the wrong question.  You’re looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do.’”  John 9:3 MSG

   I just found out that a very dear reader of mine passed away.  Sam was a great man of faith, and an inspiration to everyone who knew him.  But in the last few years of his life, he struggled with a recurring illness.  He would write me regularly, asking me to pray for him, and he would always tell me how much my writings encouraged his heart and his faith.  He had no doubts that God was going to heal him, and that the day would come when he would be completely whole.

   A few months ago, I noticed that Sam’s communications with me began sounding much different.  He would ask me how he could know if he was hearing from God.  And he would express his fears that Jesus was going to abandon him in his time of need.  He pleaded with me to tell him what he was doing wrong, and why God wasn’t healing him.  And it became obvious to me that people around him were blaming him for his illness and his lack of faith to be healed.  Each time, I reminded Sam of the truth of God’s Word and promises, and he would thank me, and seem more at peace.  The last time I heard from Sam was only days before he died.  I was greatly saddened because this great man of faith had left this earth questioning God’s goodness and faithfulness.

   The Bible tells us of a time when Jesus came upon a man who was blind from birth.  His disciples asked Him if his affliction was caused by his own sin or his parents’.  Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:3 NKJV)  The Message Bible records the Master’s words as saying, “You’re asking the wrong question.  You’re looking for someone to blame.  There is no such cause-effect here.  Look instead for what God can do.’” (John 9:3 MSG)  In other words, the disciples’ focus was wrong.  They were looking to assign blame to someone as the cause of this man’s blindness, while Jesus wanted them to focus on God’s willingness and ability to intercede on the man’s behalf.

   No one will ever know this side of heaven if Sam would have survived if he hadn’t been surrounded by people pointing the finger at him.  That’s why I am telling myself and you today to be very careful about what we say, or even infer, when someone is hurting.  We are called to lift people up in the name of Jesus, and to minister truth and hope to them – and to do it in ways that will draw them closer to God, instead of causing them to doubt Him.  We can assign blame, or we can administer blessings.  Which will you choose?

   Lord, make me a loving, giving, and forgiving person in ways that will touch and change lives for Your glory.  When you put people in my path who are suffering in any way, help me to pray for wisdom as to how You would have me minister to them.  You have said that “mercy triumphs over judgment,” so enable me by Your Spirit to show mercy to everyone I come in contact with. (James 2:13)  Thank You that as I allow Your love and wisdom to flow through me to others, Your blessings will overflow in my own life!

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

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

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

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

Aug 4 19

What We Hope for is Waiting for Us

by J. M. Farro

   “What is faith?  It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen.  It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.”  Hebrews 11:1 TLB

   I love the Living Bible translation of Hebrews 11:1.  It speaks to my heart like no other.  It defines faith in ways that I can relate to.  It reminds me that the kind of faith that God approves of is a deep-down confidence that something we want is really going to happen – if not today, then the next day, or somewhere down the line.  It’s feeling certain in our hearts that “what we hope for is waiting for us,” even though we can’t yet see it with our eyes.

   The Lord gave me a great example of how I can know for sure if I am really trusting Him and taking Him at His Word.  Suppose I tell my grandson, William, “Will, I’m going to take you to the zoo!”  He doesn’t look at me dubiously and say, “I’ll believe it when I see it!”  No, he immediately begins thanking me.  He says, “Thank you, Grammy!  That’s so nice of you!  I can’t wait until I see the lions and the tigers!  I’m going to take lots of pictures of the monkeys.  And I’m going to eat popcorn and ice cream while I’m there.  Hooray, I’m going to the zoo!”  William is confident and certain that what he hopes for is waiting for him up ahead.  That is true childlike faith – the kind of faith that God approves of.

   Unfortunately, many times, when the Lord shows us a promise in His Word that He wants us to lay hold of, we begin reasoning in our minds in ways that literally talk us out of our blessings.  We think, “That promise can’t be for me.  How could that possibly come to pass in my life?”  We begin to think that because we can’t envision HOW God could make it happen for us, it couldn’t possibly happen.  Or, if we begin believing a promise that speaks to our hearts, we start to doubt it when we are faced with delays and detours.  We forget that in God’s kingdom, delays are not necessarily denials.

   I heard someone say that when we thank God AFTER He blesses us, that’s called “gratitude.”  But when we thank Him BEFORE the blessing, that’s called “faith.”  When we are confident that something we want to happen WILL happen…when we are certain that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we can’t see it up ahead…we are demonstrating the “kind of faith the men of old gained divine approval” for. (Hebrews 11:2 AMP)  Today, start thanking God in advance for the answers to your prayers, and watch Him bring His promises to pass!

   Lord, work in my heart so that I can have the kind of faith that You approve of most.  Show me which promises You long to bring to pass in my life, and help me to lay hold of them by faith.  When the answers to my prayers don’t come as quickly as I’d like them to, remind me that delays are not necessarily denials.  Thank You that as I praise You in advance for Your blessings, You will reward my faith in extraordinary ways!

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

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

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

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

Jul 28 19

Change the Channel

by J. M. Farro

   “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV

   I was watching a movie on a Christian TV station the other night, and suddenly, one of the characters sustained a severe injury.  One look at her gaping wound was enough to cause me to immediately change the channel.  Unfortunately, the gruesome images in my mind still remained, and as I prayed for the Lord’s help, He reminded me of a powerful teaching that I heard not too long ago that applied to my situation.

   When we begin to think on things that are not good for our health or well-being, we can immediately “change the channel” mentally, and “fix [our] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable,” as well as “things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)  You and I are not at the mercy of our thought life.  Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we have the power to reject thoughts and images that don’t honor or glorify God, and that have the potential to do us harm.

   Scripture tells us: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV)  When we are bombarded by unclean and unholy “imaginations” and images, we can cast them down – rejecting them – and replace them with thoughts that are good and wholesome.  In this way, we are “changing the channel” in our minds, and taking our thoughts captive in order to obey Christ.

   The Bible says that what we watch and listen to can affect us for good or for evil.  Proverbs 4:23 (AMP) reads: “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”  When we expose ourselves to movies, TV programs, music, magazines, and media filled with sex, violence, or profanity, we are feeding on trash and ministering death to ourselves.  We are literally polluting and poisoning our own “springs of life,” and harming our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.  And we are partnering with Satan and his dark forces to create demonic strongholds in our minds and hearts.

   God has equipped His children with everything they need to succeed in this life, and that includes a healthy heart and mind.  Let’s be quick to “change the channel” mentally and literally whenever ungodly “imaginations” come our way!

   Lord, I want to please You with my thoughts, words, and deeds.  Give me the strength and the wisdom I need to avoid every kind of media and material that would poison and pollute my mind and heart.  Teach me how to cast down imaginations that are not pleasing to You.  Help me to cooperate with Your Spirit to live a holy, healthy, and happy life.  Thank You that as I guard my heart above all else, You will enable me to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential!

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

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

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

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

 

Jul 21 19

Instead of Worrying, Pray

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 14 19

Fulfilling Our Glorious Destiny

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                                          

Jul 7 19

Stand Your Ground

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 30 19

Overflow with Confidence in God’s Promises

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 23 19

Drop the Issue

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 17 19

God’s Perfecting Power

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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