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Oct 15 17

Equipped for Confrontation

by J. M. Farro

   “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us.  We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.  That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”  Colossians 1:28-29 NLT

   As Christians, we are often called by God to confront others about their conduct and conversation.  You and I don’t have the luxury of letting things “slide,” but instead, we have to deal with behaviors and situations that are offensive to the Lord.  This often puts us in conflict with others, even some of our closest loved ones.

   Sometimes, God gives us a restlessness in our souls when we are failing to deal with something or someone that He wants us to handle personally.  There will be no peace for us until we obey the Lord in the matter.  If we will seek Him for His wisdom and courage in the situation, He will use us mightily to impact the lives of those around us.

   Here is the best news in all this – we can rely on the Holy Spirit for help.  Jesus said, “Make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:14-15 NIV)  The Master says, “Make up your mind not to worry beforehand,” because He knows that we have a tendency to overthink things.  We will have an entire conversation with someone else in our heads, and we will try to anticipate what they are going to say to us, and what we will say in response.  And we will scare ourselves or make ourselves mad before we ever speak a word.  That’s why Jesus says, “I will give you the right words at the right time – so stop worrying!”

   There have been times when I have prayed, “Lord, please deal with them about this matter – You know that if I try to do it, I will say the wrong thing!”  Most of time, God says “no” to my appeal, and He withholds His peace until I deal with the matter according to His will and timing.

   It’s true that confronting someone about their improper behavior can be a messy business.  It can be risky because we never know how the other person will react.  I have seen things turn ugly pretty quickly when I have dealt with others at the Lord’s direction.  But I will tell you the absolute truth – God always works things out for my good somehow when I obey Him in this area.

   The apostle Paul wrote:  “So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us.  We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.  That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” (Colossians 1:28-29 NLT)  We are called by Christ, and endowed with His wisdom, to “warn” others when their behavior or speech is offensive to God, and to “teach” them the right way to live.  Our purpose is not to hurt or belittle them, but to “present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.”  As Paul indicated, it can be hard work, so we must depend on “Christ’s mighty power” that continually works within us.

   If you sense that the Lord is prompting you to deal with something or someone today – and you are hesitating – let me encourage you by saying, “You can do this!”  You have the Spirit of the living God on the inside of you, and He will equip you and enable you to obey Him, even in the most difficult of situations.  Let your declaration of faith be the same as the apostle Paul’s today – “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power!”  (Philippians 4:13 TLB)

   Lord, if there’s anyone I need to confront about anything right now, please reveal it to me.  Give me the right words at the right time by Your Spirit, so that my efforts will be successful.  Prepare hearts ahead of time, so that my words will be well received.  Thank You that as I obey You in this area, You will ultimately work all things together for my good!

   *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

 

Oct 9 17

Resist Defeat!

by J. M. Farro

   “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”  Hebrews 10:35-36 NASB

   These verses are some of my most favorite in all of Scripture.  One reason for this is that praying and standing on the promises of God – expecting Him to fulfill them on my behalf – has radically changed every area of my life, including my prayer life.

   But reaping the rewards of God’s promises isn’t always easy.  In fact, most of the time, it’s downright difficult.  In order to “receive what was promised,” we have to “do the will of God.”  And in order to do God’s will, we “have need of endurance.”  And this is where we often miss it.

   Biblical “endurance” is not passively exercising patience in a situation.  But this kind of endurance is active, energetic, and even aggressive.  One definition of scriptural endurance is “an energetic resistance to defeat.”  Think about that.  In order to receive the fulfillment of God’s promise in a situation, we often have to aggressively resist the defeat that the devil has planned for us, and to forcefully lay hold of the victory that the Lord has in store.

   There are many ways that we can resist defeat in a situation.  We can come against defeat with prayer, especially prayer based on the Word and promises of God.  We can also speak God’s Word and promises in the form of declarations of faith.  We can worship the Lord, because the enemy despises hearing us praise our God.  And we can thank God in advance for fighting, and winning, the battle for us.

   What we have to remember is that Satan is aggressive, so we must be aggressive, too.  Passivity will rob us of the blessings, opportunities, and rewards that God has for us.  But resisting defeat through Spirit-led strategies will lead us to victory.  Ask the Lord for His battle plan today, and pray that He will help you to do your part!

   Lord, teach me how to resist defeat in every situation and circumstance that I encounter.  When I am tempted or inclined to take a passive stance, remind me of what it could cost me.  Teach me how to pray bold prayers, how to claim Your promises, and how to praise You in the midst of my trials.  Thank You that as I aggressively exercise endurance in every battle, I will always emerge victorious!

   *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

 

Oct 2 17

Do It for the Lord

by J. M. Farro

   “Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward.  [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).”  Colossians 3:23-24 AMP

   The whole time I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a godly grandmother living with me and my family.  “Granny” taught me my first prayers, and she gave me my very first Bible lessons.  She was also the first one to teach me how to do things “as unto the Lord.”  As a young child, if I had a difficult or distasteful task to do, I would go running to my grandmother with my complaints and resentments, and she would tell me – “Just do it, and say, ‘All for You, O Lord.’”  Somehow, saying those words beforehand made all the difference.  When I had school work to do, and I dreaded it, I offered it up to the Lord, and I really felt like I was doing it for Him, instead of for my teacher, or anyone else.  When my parents asked me to be nice to my siblings after they hurt me or made me angry, I did it for the Lord, instead of for them.  Whenever I used this strategy, I was not only able to do things that I couldn’t have done otherwise, but I even did them with a good attitude.

   When I began studying the Bible in-depth after I surrendered my life to Christ shortly before my 40th birthday, I was delighted to discover that my grandmother’s instructions actually had some scriptural basis.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…” (Colossians 3:23 NKJV)  I have found this principle especially handy as a wife and mother.  When I have asked my family to do something for the umpteenth time, and my pleas have gone unheeded, I have often opted to do it myself, saying, “All for You, O Lord.”  That doesn’t mean that I don’t confront my loved ones when I feel it’s warranted, but that there are times when I sense that the Lord would rather have me keep quiet and handle the matter myself, than make an issue of it.  If I didn’t offer these things up to the Lord, there would be no way that I could do them without resentment or complaint, and there would be a lot more strife in my household.

   Paul goes on to say in this passage that no matter what we are doing, the One we “are actually serving is the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:24 AMP)  In other words, we need to keep a heavenly perspective when we are performing tasks at work, at school, and in our homes.  If we will keep our focus on pleasing God wherever we are, and whatever we’re doing, we will be less likely to be dishonest, to do shoddy work, or to have a bad attitude.  Ultimately, it’s the Lord we will answer to for our attitudes and actions.  Paul concludes this passage by warning, “He who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”  (Colossians 3:25 NASB)

   In this passage, and in another one like it by Paul, we discover that the Lord is eager to reward us for the things we do with a right heart.   Ephesians 6:6-8 (MSG) says:  “Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do.  And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God.  Good work will get you good pay from the Master…”  Not only does the Lord want us to do our best in everything we do, but He wants us to do it with enthusiasm and joy.  How do we accomplish this?  By keeping in mind that we are actually doing it for GOD, and that our reward will come from HIM.

   The next time you are in the middle of something that prompts you to ask – “Why on earth am I doing this?” – remind yourself that it’s “because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.” (Colossians 3:22 AMP)  And claim by faith those blessed rewards that belong to those who do it for HIM!

   Lord, teach me how to perform all of my tasks wholeheartedly, and with enthusiasm and joy.  Remind me that I am actually doing them for You, rather than for people.  When I am tempted to complain, or become resentful or angry, help me to declare, “Lord, this is for You!”  Thank You that as I am faithful to obey, You are faithful to richly reward me!

*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

Sep 25 17

Equipped for Greater Things

by J. M. Farro

   “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

   The last time I read the account of David’s victory over Goliath, I thought about how the Lord prepared this shepherd boy for the day of battle well before it arrived.  In First Samuel 17, we find David trying to convince King Saul to allow him to fight the giant, and it is here that David reveals exactly how God has prepared him for his divine assignment.  “David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.  When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.  When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear….’” (1 Samuel 17:34-36 NIV)  I have read this passage many times, but this time the Lord used it to remind me of how He prepares you and me for the divine assignments He has in mind for us.

   When my oldest son, Joseph, was a Junior in high school, the Lord led him to start a Bible Club that met once a week after school.  By helping my son to prepare his teaching lessons each week, I learned how to study the Scriptures, take notes, and write messages based on God’s Word and biblical principles.  As the “Club Mom,” I offered to drive home every student who wanted to attend the meetings, but didn’t have a ride home.  While driving these teens around each week, they often shared with me their deepest concerns, fears, and hopes, and I did my best to advise, comfort, and encourage them with godly wisdom and insight from the Word of God.  All of these skills have proven to be very valuable to me in my ministry today.

   After Joseph graduated from high school, my younger son, John, took over the leadership of the club, and I had several more years of preparation for my future assignments from the Lord.  I taught Vacation Bible School for five years, and as I taught the Word of God to young children, I learned the value of keeping my teaching simple, understandable, and practical, so that people of all ages could relate to it.

   The Bible says:  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)  When people ask me how they can have a ministry of their own, I tell them to get to know God and His Word.  It is the Word of God, along with the Spirit of God, that teaches us, trains us, and makes us “thoroughly equipped” for every task the Lord assigns.  Just as the Lord did not call David to face Goliath without preparing him in advance, He will not call us to a major task or position without equipping us with the skills we need to succeed.

   Some of those circumstances that you are in right now are being used by God to prepare you for promotion.  As Scripture admonishes, “Do not despise these small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)  Instead, perform your present duties with a godly attitude, and begin giving God thanks for equipping you for the greater things He has in store!

   Lord, open my spiritual eyes so that I may see my current circumstances and assignments from Your perspective.  Forgive me when I grumble or complain about where I am right now.  Help me to understand that all You give me to do has value and meaning in Your sight.  Thank You for preparing me for my divine destiny and purpose!

  *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!

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

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

Sep 20 17

New Devotional Book for SINGLES from J. M. Farro!

by J. M. Farro

The Promise-Powered Life for SINGLES

by J. M. Farro

 

   *The devotionals in this book are designed to challenge and inspire teens, young adults, and singles of every age – including single moms – to live a Christ-centered life of victory and purpose!

   *Inside, you will find Spirit-led devotionals showing you how to lay hold of your healing in Christ, how to break destructive patterns that are hindering your spiritual growth and success, how to thrive and grow closer to the Lord during seasons of loneliness, how to break free from a compulsive need to please others, how to avoid and overcome unhealthy relationships, how to stand firm against the rising tide of immorality and ungodly philosophies, how to enter into godly and life-enriching friendships, how to have divine protection and provision, how to hear and recognize the voice of God, and much more!

   *To Order this book in Paperback from the J. M. FARRO ETSY STORE, click here!

   [Books purchased through ETSY can be autographed and personalized according to your instructions.]

   *To Order this book from Amazon in Paperback or Kindle, click here!

   *To order a signed copy of this new Singles book (for $7.00 + 3.82 shipping) with a Credit Card or PayPal (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.

 

Sep 18 17

Call On Him in Truth

by J. M. Farro

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.”  Psalm 145:18 NIV

When I was struggling with some negative emotions recently, the Lord brought the above verse to my remembrance.  I had just had a very hurtful and disappointing experience, and I just couldn’t seem to shake off the negative feelings that were clinging to me.  I kept telling myself that I shouldn’t feel the way I did, and that I shouldn’t let things bother me so much.  But no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t break free from the oppressive emotions that were pulling me down.  As I was praying and seeking God about the matter, I began to sense that He was saying to me – “Why don’t you stop talking about how you SHOULDN’T feel – and start telling Me how you DO feel?”

That’s when the verse above took on new meaning for me.  It showed me that if I want to have a truly intimate relationship with God, then I have to be completely honest and open with Him at all times.  In this situation, part of me didn’t want to admit that I was feeling jealous, prideful, and fearful.  And I certainly didn’t want to admit that I was feeling sorry for myself.  I wanted to think that I was above all that, and that I was in control.  But it wasn’t until I turned to God and said – “This is how I REALLY feel, Lord…and I need Your help” – that I began to experience the peace and freedom that He wanted me to lay hold of.

It’s true that if we are going to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we’re going to have to regularly shake off sinful attitudes like pride and selfishness.  But many times, before we can successfully shake them off, we need to share them honestly with God, and then ask Him to forgive us, cleanse us, and give us more of His grace.  Otherwise, they will keep coming back to haunt us.  Sometimes, we even need to share these wrong attitudes with a godly person who is trustworthy, and who will intercede for us.  Scripture says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16 NIV)  Praying for those who have hurt and offended us is an important part of the healing process, too.  The Bible tells us that the Lord didn’t restore to Job all that he had lost, until he prayed for the friends who had deeply wounded him. (Job 42:8,10)

The Amplified translation of Psalm 145:18 reads:  “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth.”  As we strive to be sincere in all of our dealings with God, we will enjoy sweet and intimate fellowship with Him.  One way that will help us to stay on track in this area, is to regularly ask the Lord to examine our hearts and minds.  David’s prayer in Psalm 139 is a perfect way to do that:  “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

Don’t try to hold anything back from God.  It will only keep you from experiencing the fullness of His presence and blessing in your life.  Call upon Him in truth and sincerity today, and discover a deeper walk with Him than you have ever known.  May this precious promise from the Lord sustain you – “Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done!”  (Psalm 37:5 MSG)

Lord, help me to be quick to tell You honestly when I am struggling with negative attitudes and emotions, and to ask for Your help.  If it’s Your will for me to confide in a fellow believer, please show me who that should be.  Remind me to pray for those who hurt me, so that I may walk in wholeness.  Thank You that as I call on You in truth, I will enjoy a vibrant relationship with You!

*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!

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

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

Sep 10 17

Remember Me

by J. M. Farro

   “O Lord God, remember me, I pray!”  Judges 16:28 NKJV

Years ago, when I began studying the Bible in-depth, I started praying what I now call my “Remember Me” prayers.  As I studied the Scriptures, I couldn’t help but notice how many times God’s people prayed prayers like these.  Many times, when these folks were in trouble, they often included this simple phrase in their pleas for divine assistance.

Hannah is the perfect example.  She was a godly woman who desperately wanted a child of her own.  Year after year, she hoped and prayed for a son, but as the Bible says, “The Lord had left her childless.” (1 Samuel 1:6 AMP)  One day, as she was weeping and pouring her heart out to the Lord, she said:  “O Lord Almighty, if You will only look upon Your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget Your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life…” (1 Samuel 1:11 NIV)  The Lord’s response to her prayer was astounding.  Scripture says, “Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her.” (1 Samuel 1:19 NIV)  The Message Bible best describes God’s response to Hannah’s prayer when it says, “God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.” (1 Samuel 1:19 MSG)  When Hannah cried out to the Lord, “Remember me!” she wasn’t just saying, “Don’t forget me, Lord!” – although that was part of it.  She was saying, “Do something on my behalf, Lord!”  And He did.  He gave her a son who became one of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history, the prophet Samuel.

The last prayer that Samson ever prayed was a “Remember Me” prayer.  He said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me…” (Judges 16:28 NASB)  And as a result, Samson was able to defeat more of his enemies at the end of his life, than in all the years he lived before.  I have often prayed Samson’s prayer myself when I was feeling discouraged, and in need of a good dose of divine strength.  And I am always amazed at the awesome results that such a simple prayer can bring.

The Bible doesn’t record Jesus praying any “Remember Me” prayers, but it does record His remarkable response to one.  While the Savior was dying on the cross, one of the criminals hanging next to Him said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42 NIV)  And as Scripture reveals:  “Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.’” (Luke 23:43 NIV)  Here was a simple prayer that changed the course of a man’s eternal destiny.

Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see God’s people asking Him to “remember” them.  Jeremiah prayed, “Remember me and take notice of me.” (Jeremiah 15:15 NASB)  And David prayed, “According to Your love remember me, for You are good, O Lord.” (Psalm 25:7 NIV)  These people are not just asking for mere remembrance, but for God’s miraculous touch upon their lives.  One of the best examples of this is in the Book of Psalms, where it is written:  “Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people, come to my aid when You save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of Your chosen ones…” (Psalm 106:4-5 NIV)

The Lord is ready and able to act on our behalf, but He often waits for us to call upon Him in prayer.  If you are in need of a touch from God today, just say, “Jesus, remember me…”

   Lord, teach me how to pray “Remember Me” prayers that will not only change my life, but the lives of those around me.  When I am feeling forgotten, alone, or afraid, remind me that I need only call out to You for help.  Today, I stand upon Your precious promise which says, “The Lord remembers us and He will surely bless us!” (Psalm 115:12 NLT)

*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!

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

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

Sep 5 17

Enter God’s Rest

by J. M. Farro

   “Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.  For we also have had the Gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.  Now we who have believed enter that rest…”  Hebrews 4:1-3 NIV

   This portion of the Book of Hebrews reflects back on the disobedience of the Israelites after Moses led them out of bondage in Egypt.  God commanded His people to take possession of Canaan, promising them His protection and provision.  But because of their unbelief, they rebelled against God, who then swore that they would never be allowed to enter His rest in the Promised Land.

   The passage above indicates that today, God invites us to enter His rest through putting our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, and believing His promises.  The rest referred to here is not only one of eternal rest after this life, but also a rest we can enter here on earth.  How do we enter that kind of rest now?  By believing God and taking Him at His Word, as the verses above tell us.

   The apostle Paul reveals this principle in prayer form in the Book of Romans: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NKJV)  Believing God brings us peace, joy, and rest.  Doubting Him causes fear and torment.  We are not talking about mere optimism here, but a deep, abiding trust in a God who wants the best for His children, and who is faithful to His promises.  Every time we are in a trial, we are going to have to choose between believing in God’s ability and willingness to protect and provide for us – and doubting Him.  The Book of Hebrews equates unbelief with disobedience. (Hebrews 3:12; 4:11)  And disobeying God always robs us of His best.

   Hebrews 4:9-10 (AMP) says, “So there remains a [full and complete] Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own.”  Too often, we work at trying to accomplish things that only God can.  Those are the times that God wants us to cease our labors and put our trust in Him.  Then we can walk in peace, knowing that God is working on our problems.

   Today, I urge you to enter God’s rest concerning that unsaved family member, that financial burden, and that healing need.  May this precious promise from the Lord encourage your heart today – “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!”  (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

   Lord, in all my daily tests and trials, deliver me from my doubts and fears, and help me to enter Your rest.  Instill in me a growing love for Your Word, and remind me of Your faithfulness to Your promises.  Give me a trusting heart, that I may never miss out on Your best for me.  Thank You that Your joy, peace, and rest shall be mine all the days of my life!

*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!

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

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

 

Aug 28 17

Confirming God’s Will

by J. M. Farro

“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”  Matthew 18:16 NASB

Years ago, I heard a powerful teaching about how, in certain situations, we can discern God’s will by asking Him to confirm it through the mouths of others.  This biblical principle is based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:16 (NASB), where He tells His disciples:  “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”  The Lord has allowed me to use this principle in certain cases when I have sought Him in prayer and in the study of His Word, and have still had trouble discerning His will for me.  One such case was when I began having some serious tooth pain, and I hesitated to make an appointment with my dentist because we had no dental insurance.  I desperately wanted to know the Lord’s will, because we would have to rely heavily on His provision to cover the cost of my treatment.  As I sought the Lord in prayer, I said, “Lord, You know our financial situation and our lack of insurance coverage now.  If it is Your will for me to see the dentist at this time, then please cause Joe to confirm that I should go.”  When I approached my husband about the matter, he urged me to make an appointment right away.  As it turned out, I was so thankful that I had seen my dentist without delay, because I had some significant tooth problems that needed prompt attention.  We became especially confident that we had the Lord’s blessing, when He put it on my dentist’s heart not to charge us a penny for the visit.

I have seen God’s people successfully use this principle with their doctors, employers, coworkers, and neighbors, as well as with relatives and friends.  We all have people in our lives who the Lord can use to guide us along His chosen paths for us.  Sometimes, others will readily agree with what we believe is God’s best for us.  But then there are the times when someone will stubbornly refuse to come into agreement with us.  In some cases, it is the Lord who is causing them – or allowing them – to be disagreeable, for our own good.  In other cases, the person we consult will set himself or herself against God’s will.  We always have the option of asking the Lord to change their hearts, but if He chooses not to, we must trust that there is a good reason why He doesn’t.  Scripture says:  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.” (Proverbs 21:1 AMP)  Quite often, I hear from young people who are frustrated about their parents not allowing them to do something that they are convinced the Lord wants them to do.  I tell them to pray and ask God to change their hearts, for He is certainly able to do that, if He so chooses.  Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see examples of the Lord’s ability and willingness to soften or harden people’s hearts in order to suit His divine purposes.

What if WE are the ones who are sought out by others to confirm God’s will in their life?  In that case, we would be wise to pray for the Lord’s wisdom before we decide to agree or disagree, because He will hold us accountable for our decision.  Scripture gives us a very clear description of godly wisdom:  “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness.  Then it is peace-loving and courteous.  It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds.  It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.” (James 3:17 TLB)  While believers are called to take a firm stand against wrongdoing, we must be sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit’s leading to be ready to “yield to others” when God calls us to.

A word of caution:  There will be times when the Lord will expect us to obey Him in a matter without confirming His will for us through someone else.  In those cases, we will have to rely solely upon His Spirit and His Word.  What daunting circumstances are you facing today that are begging for God’s supernatural wisdom?  Right now, ask the Lord if it would please Him to guide you through the mouth of someone else.

   Lord, help me to discern when it’s Your will to confirm Your best for me through someone else.  Remind me that in some cases, it will take some time for You to change someone’s heart.  Make me sensitive to Your Spirit’s leading, so that I will promptly come into agreement with those things You want me to.  Thank You for the divine wisdom and grace that are my inheritance in Christ!

*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!

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Aug 21 17

The Power of a Peacemaker

by J. M. Farro

  “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.”  James 3:18 TLB

   There are times when my husband, Joe, is his own worst enemy.  The fact that he knows and admits this gives me hope that he will someday become all that God created him to be.  Joe is keenly aware that, over the years, he has missed out on numerous opportunities and rewards, simply because he has a tendency to lose his temper and act unwisely.  Years ago, when we started having problems with the neighborhood kids, what began as a tense situation escalated into an all-out war that lasted for years, and resulted in serious damage to our home and property – all because my husband acted rashly when the trouble first began.  Joe and I have been married for more than 42 years, and I believe that the Lord brought us together so that I could pray for him, and encourage him to be calm and think twice before he does or says something that he will regret later on.  When I am tempted to get weary in my role as a peacemaker, I remind myself of an account in Scripture that never fails to encourage me.

   Before David the shepherd-warrior became king, he and his 600 men were in the desert guarding the flock and workforce of a wealthy man named Nabal.  As was customary during that time, David sent one of his servants to humbly ask Nabal for any sort of provisions that he would be willing to give David and his men.  Nabal, being the fool that he was, answered David’s plea with contempt, and refused to give him or his men anything.  David’s response to this blatant insult was – “A lot of good it did to help this fellow.  We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen.  But he has repaid me evil for good.  May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” (1 Samuel 25:21-22 NLT)  As David arms himself and 400 of his men to take vengeance on Nabal and his household, he is intercepted by Nabal’s wife, Abigail, who has been informed of her husband’s rash behavior by one of her servants, and who comes bearing a wealth of provisions for David and his men.  Abigail bows before David and pleads with him not to act rashly, so that when he finally takes his place as king of Israel, he will not have on his conscience the burden of needless bloodshed and personal vengeance. (1 Samuel 25:30-31)  David recognizes that this woman is sent by God to prevent his wrongdoing, and he relents from annihilating Nabal and his household.  When Abigail tells her husband about the provisions she has given David and his men, Nabal has a stroke and dies.  David, recognizing Abigail as the wise woman she is, makes her an offer of marriage, and she accepts.

   Abigail is one of the most admired people in Scripture, with good reason.  She illustrates how God’s people are to assume the role of peacemaker when they are called upon by the Lord to intervene in tense situations.  Jesus said:  “Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous – with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!” (Matthew 5:9 AMP)  In other words, there are divine rewards and blessings reserved only for those who answer the high call of peacemaker as followers of Christ.

   Maybe you think that it’s beneath you to rescue others from acting rashly in volatile situations when the Lord calls you to.  Scripture says otherwise.  “Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong.  Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command.  If anyone thinks he is too good to stoop to this, he is fooling himself.  He is really a nobody.” (Galatians 6:1-3 TLB)  Right now, you might be reading this because God has someone in mind that He wants you to assist in this area.  Whether it’s a spouse, child, parent, coworker, sibling, or friend — follow the Lord’s lead and experience for yourself the incredible power of a peacemaker!

   Lord, teach me how to be a peacemaker for Christ.  Give me the divine wisdom, discernment, and courage I need to succeed in this role.  Show me how to pray for, encourage, and advise those whom You put in my path.  And provide me with a fellow peacemaker when I am the one who needs rescuing.  Thank You for the rich rewards that are awaiting me as I follow and promote Your kind of peace!

*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!

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

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