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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!

*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 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

Aug 14 17

Jesus is Willing

by J. M. Farro

“The Lord is ready to save (deliver) me.”  Isaiah 38:20 AMP

During my quiet time with the Lord one morning, I came across some words of King Hezekiah’s, when he was stricken with a fatal disease, which greatly encouraged my heart.  He said, “The Lord is ready to save (deliver) me.” (Isaiah 38:20 AMP)  If you know the story, then you know that, after the Lord told Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah that he was going to die, the king prayed for healing, and God restored him to health.  Hezekiah’s prayer, and his faith in God’s willingness to heal him, opened the door to renewed health and long life.

Most Christians will admit that they believe God can do the impossible.  But when you ask them if they believe He is WILLING to do the impossible in their situation, they often falter in their faith.  And this is where a lot of believers miss it.  Believing that God is able is one thing.  Believing that God is willing moves us over into the realm of the miraculous.

Three out of four Gospels give an account of a man with leprosy who approaches Jesus for healing.  He says to the Savior, “Lord, if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  Jesus responds with, “I am willing.  Be healed!” (Luke 5:12,13 NLT)  If you look up the word “willing” in the dictionary, you will find definitions such as, “To wish, desire, take delight in.”  Some definitions even say that it expresses the idea of being “ready” to do something.  Many times, when I have needed healing in my body, the Spirit of God has reminded me of Jesus’ expression of willingness in the Gospels, and I have begun declaring, “Jesus is willing and able to heal me!”  Often, just reminding myself of the Lord’s willingness to act on my behalf is enough to dispel my doubts, and to enable me to lay hold of the healing that God has in store for me.

In the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Chapter 18 of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story about a helpless widow who appeals to an unjust judge for mercy and justice.  As we read this account, we discover that this judge has no fear or respect for God or man, but because of the widow’s bold and persistent appeals, he finally gives in to her demands.  With this parable, Jesus illustrates God’s readiness and willingness to respond to our prayers and cries for help.  If an unrighteous, ungodly judge is willing to answer someone’s pleas for help, how much more will a holy and just God be ready and willing to answer His beloved when they cry out to Him for help!  (Luke 18:1-8)  The Lord not only desires us to call on Him for assistance, but He encourages us, and challenges us, to call on Him with confidence and expectancy.

Today, you can increase your ability to receive from God by making a quality decision to believe that He is willing to act on your behalf in every situation you take to Him in prayer.  Open your spiritual ears, and listen to the Savior saying to you right now, “I am willing…!”

Lord, forgive me for my doubts and my unbelief.  I confess them as sin before You.  Give me the faith to believe that You are not only able, but willing, to help me every time I call on You.  Enable me to cooperate with You for the building of my faith by spending regular time in prayer, praise, and the reading of Your Word.  Thank You that as I place my faith in Your infinite power, goodness, and mercy, I will witness You working wonders on my behalf!

*Join the new J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with 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 7 17

Help in Our Struggles

by J. M. Farro

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  Philippians 2:13 NLT

I can still remember the first time I saw this verse in the Bible.  I had been struggling in my walk with God, and I had become frustrated and discouraged.  I wasn’t satisfied with my spiritual progress, and I was disgusted with my many shortcomings.  God used this verse to reassure me that I was not alone in my struggles.  He showed me that He is always at work in me, giving me the desire and the power to do His will.

I still stand on this promise every day, especially when I am having trouble obeying God, or when the enemy is assailing me with guilt and condemnation.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)  God has promised that He is not going to abandon us or give up on us.  He will stick with us and work with us each and every day of our lives.

Psalm 23:3 (NKJV) says, “[The Lord] leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  The Living Bible puts it this way, “He helps me do what honors Him the most.”  Once we have received Christ as our Savior, God is committed to helping us grow in grace and to become increasingly more like Christ.  Philippians 4:13 (TLB) says, “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and the power.”  God will never ask us to do anything that He won’t empower us to do.  The enemy will try to convince us otherwise, but we must not make the mistake of falling for his lies.

I love what the apostle Paul says in his letter to the Galatians:  “Have you lost your senses?  After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (Galatians 3:3 NLT)  Paul points out that it is God Who saves us and fills us with His Spirit as a result of our believing the message of the Gospel.  And it is God Who, by the power of His Spirit, helps us grow spiritually.  We can’t earn our salvation or become Christlike through our own human efforts.  All we can do is cooperate with God and allow Him to transform us into the likeness of Christ a little at a time.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed when we think of how far we are from being like Jesus.  We need to remember that God can’t deal with us about all of our sins at the same time, because it would crush us.  At just the right time, the Holy Spirit will convict us about a particular sin.  That’s when we need to agree with God that we are sinning.  Then we need to ask for God’s forgiveness, and for His help to do His will.  God will show us steps we can take to do our part in the process.  And as we do our part, God does His by giving us the power to obey Him.  Some of our deliverances will come more quickly than others.

One of the most powerful prayers we can ever pray is, “Lord, change me.”  If you will pray like this every day with all your heart, God will do awesome things in and through you.  Most of all, always remember that the Lord sees your heart.  He knows you love Him and want to please Him.  Let me leave you with a promise from God to encourage your heart today:  “May the God of peace Himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again.  God, who called you to become His child, will do all this for you, just as He promised!”  (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 TLB)

Lord, when I feel overwhelmed by my shortcomings, grant me Your reassurance, and sustain me with Your peace.  Give me the desire and the power to do what pleases You in all things.  Show me how to cooperate with Your plan to make me more like Jesus each day.  Thank You for turning my discouragement and defeat into victory and praise!

*Join the new J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with 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

Jul 31 17

Be Joyful in Hope

by J. M. Farro

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12 NIV

One of the purposes of the Word of God is to equip us to be the overcomers that Christ died for us to be.  In Romans 12:12 (NIV), the apostle Paul describes ways of living above our circumstances, no matter what we may be facing.  He says:  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

“Be joyful in hope.”  This means that, no matter what is going on around us, and no matter where we are at the time, we are constantly looking ahead.  The Living Bible translation says:  “Be glad for all God is planning for you.”  As followers of Christ, we are never without hope.  We know that even if our circumstances seem negative now, brighter days are up ahead for us.  Why?  Because God is a good God, and His love for us is everlasting and unfailing.  The psalmist wrote:  “But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged.  Don’t be upset.  Expect God to act!  For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do.  He is my help!  He is my God! (Psalm 42:11 TLB)  When our hope is in the Lord and His goodness, we will experience the supernatural joy that is our inheritance in Christ.

“Patient in Affliction.”  Paul is urging us here to be patient in times of trouble.  This is absolutely essential, because when we become impatient in a situation, we often act unwisely and apart from the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and we rob ourselves of God’s best.  There are some blessings that we can never receive until we have gone through a period of patiently waiting on God for them.  And we have to remind ourselves often that we simply cannot improve on the plans that God has in store for us.  Whenever I am tempted to get ahead of God in a situation, I recall some very wise words that I once heard a godly man say:  “God’s plan is worth the cost of a delay.”  Hebrews 6:12 (NKJV) instructs us to, “Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  Be determined to lay hold of your share of the promises of God by exercising patience in times of tension and trouble.

“Faithful in prayer.”  It’s been said that the greatest sin is prayerlessness.  Too often, we miss out on seeing God show up in a situation in a mighty way because we fail to pray about it, or we stop praying about it too soon.  Scripture says:  “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)  We live in an “instant” generation.  We demand instant results, and we often get them.  But that’s not God’s way.  He tells us, “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly].” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP)  Some Christians are worried about praying too hard and long for certain things, because when the answer doesn’t come in a “reasonable” amount of time, they fear that they are out of God’s will.  But more than likely, in most cases, we step out of God’s will when we STOP praying for something that the Lord has put on our heart.  One way that will help us to determine God’s will in a situation is to see how it aligns with God’s Word.  The Bible says that we can be confident that God will answer our prayers when they are in harmony with His will – but it doesn’t say WHEN He will answer them. (1 John 5:14-15)  The Message Bible translation of Romans 12:12 says:  “Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.”  What circumstances and lives could YOU see changed by following Paul’s formula for success?

Lord, when a loved one or I are faced with dark or difficult times, remind me to be joyful in hope.  Give me the patience I need to wait for Your timing and Your best.  And teach me to persevere in prayer “until the answer comes.”  Thank You for the victories and rewards that will be mine as I follow Your Spirit’s lead!

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

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

Jul 24 17

Refuse to Worry

by J. M. Farro

“Refuse to worry and keep your body healthy.”  Ecclesiastes 11:10 NLT

God gave me this Word after my husband, Joe, began talking to me at length about his retirement.  He said that he wasn’t exactly sure when he would retire, only that we should start thinking seriously about it, because it could be within the next few years.  Joe mentioned that when the time came, we would have to curtail our spending, and we might even have to move to a more affordable area.  As I listened, I could feel the fear and anxiety welling up inside of me.

When I got alone with the Lord later that day with an open Bible, I asked Him for His perspective on the conversation with my husband, and that’s when I read, “Refuse to worry and keep your body healthy.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10 NLT)  As I meditated on this verse, God showed me that it was crucial for me to refuse to become anxious or fearful by putting my wholehearted trust in Him for the future.  The Lord reminded me that while He has plans to do us good, and to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11), Satan and his dark forces have plans to do us harm.  (John 10:10)  When we are living by faith, we hook up with God’s good plans for us.  And when we live in fear, we risk opening the door to the devil and his evil plans for us.  Since worry is rooted in fear, the Lord expects us to resist it with all the power He provides us with through His indwelling Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:7)  He also expects us to take Him at His word when He says that He will supply all of our needs, and He will never leave us, nor forsake us. (Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 13:5)

The Lord also expected me to do my part to keep my body healthy by doing my best to eat well, exercise, and get the proper rest.  But while these things are all important, they are no substitute for living a life of faith.  The Bible says:  “Train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)  I work out almost every day, but I also spend time with the Lord each morning in prayer and Scripture reading.  I have lived long enough to know that those who spend their time and energy focusing on their physical health alone, often die sooner than believers who are more focused on their relationship with the Lord.  Because I really want to enjoy my “golden years,” I am determined to follow God’s instructions for living, and to give Him first place in my life.

Whether or not you are facing retirement soon, I believe that if you will take this Word from the Lord to heart, it will not only extend your life, but it will make your life worth living.  So refuse to worry.  Protect your health.  And live the abundant life that belongs to you in Christ!

   Lord, I want to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential, so teach me how to rely on Your Spirit to live without fear, dread, or worry.  Help me to keep my body healthy by getting the proper rest and exercise, and practicing good eating and drinking habits.  Empower me to live a disciplined lifestyle, and to look to You for all of my needs.  Thank You that as I keep my trust in You and Your promises, I will experience life at its very best!

*Join the new J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with 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