Skip to content
Jul 15 18

What Blessings God Has for Us Now

by J. M. Farro

   “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what blessings He must have for us now that we are His friends and He is living within us!”  Romans 5:10 TLB

   One of the passages in the Bible that I turn to most when I need some encouragement is in Romans Chapter 5.  Here, the apostle Paul talks about how Christ’s work on the cross has saved us, justified us, and reconciled us to God.  He writes, “And since by His blood He did all this for us as sinners, how much MORE will He do for us now that He has declared us not guilty?  Now He will save us from all of God’s wrath to come.” (v. 9)  I’m so grateful that I will be saved from God’s future wrath, but sometimes I need to dwell on what He is going to do for me in THIS life.

   Paul goes on to say,  “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what BLESSINGS He must have for us NOW that we are His friends and He is living within us!” (v. 10)  God is not content with giving us eternal life for the future.  He wants us to live an abundant life right here, right now – through His Spirit who “is living within us!” – and this is one of the many reasons why He sacrificed His Son. (John 10:10)  The Lord showed me years ago that He doesn’t limit His blessings to spiritual blessings.  He has earthly blessings for us, too, when we continually seek Him, and give Him first place in our lives. (Matthew 6:33)

   Next, Paul says, “Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins – making us friends of God.” (Romans 5:11 TLB)  When you and I received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we entered into a “new relationship with God,” which gives us access to His divine wisdom, power, and favor – and to an unlimited source of blessings.  Jesus now calls us His “friends” (John 15:15), and He tells us, “The Father Himself loves you dearly because you love Me and believe that I came from God.” (John 16:27 NLT)  If God extended the blessing of eternal life to us when we were His “enemies” (v. 10), how many more blessings will He extend to us when we are living our lives for Him?

   Today, rejoice that your blessings from the Lord are for HERE, as well as the hereafter, and begin to make the most of your inheritance in Christ today!

   Lord, I thank You that You showed Your “great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT)  I praise You for Your precious gifts of salvation and eternal life.  I am so grateful that You call me Your friend, and that You love me dearly.  Please give me insight and understanding into how You desire to bless me with earthly blessings, as well as spiritual ones.  Teach me how to seek first Your Kingdom and righteousness, and to always give You first place in my life.  Thank You for every blessing, reward, and opportunity that You have for me now that I am Your friend and You are living in me!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jul 8 18

Get Over It!

by J. M. Farro

   “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge.  Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry – get over it quickly; for when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:26-27 TLB

   Years ago, I had a neighbor who was a believer and a Christlike example to everyone she met.  Then one day, she lost her job, and she began to experience some serious financial problems.  She did her best to rely on the Lord for wisdom and strength, but eventually, she gave in to feelings of anger and bitterness.  She felt alone in her most desperate times, and she became resentful toward those who she felt had abandoned her in her time of need.  When she began telling me how she wanted to see her loved ones suffer because of their treatment of her, I began to reprove her and warn her that her ungodly attitude could only spell disaster.  Nevertheless, she persisted in her bitterness, and she eventually had an emotional breakdown and was committed to a mental institution.

   When I think about this lady, I can’t help thinking about the warnings that the apostle Paul gives us in Ephesians 4:26-27 (AMP):  “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.  Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].”  Instead of “getting over it quickly,” as one translation says, this woman nursed her anger and held fast to it until it festered inside of her and destroyed her from within.  Her ungodly behavior also invited satanic attack, because the devil can use our sin to bring about greater evil. 

   The apostle Paul reiterates this point in Second Corinthians 2:10-11 (NASB), when he talks about being aware of Satan’s “schemes,” and not allowing him to “take advantage” of us through unforgiveness.  Any way you look at it, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness are highly destructive, and they can wreak havoc in a believer’s life.  I heard someone say, “Bitterness is like taking poison, hoping that your enemy will die.”  This strategy doesn’t make a bit of sense, and yet countless people live by it every day.

   After Paul talks about the destructiveness of anger and bitterness in Ephesians 4, he goes on to say:  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (v. 29-30 NIV)  My resentful neighbor planned her own downfall when she began speaking ill of her loved ones, and wishing them harm.  Her words grieved God’s Spirit, and they opened the door for the Destroyer to come into her life to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) 

   Paul continues by saying:  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)  This lady lost sight of how much the Lord had forgiven her, and how much mercy He extended to her on a regular basis.  If she couldn’t find it in her heart to forgive her loved ones for their sake, then she should have at least done it for the Lord, to whom she owes so much.

   Maybe you are thinking right now about how impossible it can seem to forgive those who deeply hurt you.  Let me assure you that if you are a follower of Christ, you have heavenly resources at your disposal to “fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil].” (1 Timothy 6:12 AMP)  The Spirit of the living God abides in you continually, and He equips you with the same awesome power that raised Christ from the dead. (Ephesians 1:19-20)  As you make the decision to walk in love and forgiveness, the Spirit Himself enables you to carry out the Lord’s will. 

   Paul declared:  “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” (Philippians 4:13 TLB)  We can make that same declaration as we rely on Christ’s Spirit to empower us.  Who is it that YOU need to forgive today?

   Lord, I thank You that through the blood of Christ, You have forgiven all of my sins.  Give me a heart like Yours so that I can extend that same forgiveness to others.  When I am tempted to remain angry or bitter toward anyone, remind me of what it could cost me.  Thank You for the divine love that Your Spirit continually pours into my heart!  (Romans 5:5)

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jul 1 18

In Their Misery They Will Seek God

by J. M. Farro

   “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; in their misery they will earnestly seek Me.”  Hosea 5:15 NIV

   When I heard from a young Christian man who asked for prayers for his wife, my heart went out to him.  As he described how she suddenly turned her back on him and their marriage, I could almost feel the pain and anguish in his heart.  Not only did this wife leave her husband behind, but she began living a shockingly immoral lifestyle that left him dumbfounded and confused.  I earnestly prayed for this couple and their marriage, knowing that God is a miracle-working God, and that nothing is impossible with Him.  That evening, I was listening to a sermon by one of the most well-respected evangelists of our time.  As he prayed aloud for those living in sin and apart from God, He declared, “Lord, make them miserable in their sin!”  I was stunned.  I had never heard anyone pray like this before, and I wondered if this kind of prayer was even scriptural.

   So I spent some time in focused prayer and Bible study, seeking an answer from the Lord.  That’s when the Holy Spirit led me to Hosea 5:15 (NIV) which says, “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; IN THEIR MISERY they will earnestly seek Me.”  Here, because of their sin and guilt, the Lord withdraws from His people until they become miserable enough in their sin to turn away from it, and to turn to God once again.  I knew this was the confirmation from the Lord that I needed, and I began earnestly praying that He would make the wife of the man who wrote me so absolutely miserable in her sin day and night, that she would turn to God with all of her heart and soul.  I must tell you that in all my years, I have never seen someone living such a depraved lifestyle come out of their pit of sin so swiftly and completely.  This wife returned to the Lord AND her husband, and she began loving them sincerely, and living the life that God called her to.

   Scripture says, “But by means of their suffering, He rescues those who suffer.  For He gets their attention through adversity.” (Job 36:15 NLT)  Because some people will not turn – or RETURN – to the Lord unless they are suffering and miserable, there may be times when we will have to repeatedly ask the Lord to intensify their misery.  But we should never do it unless we have sought the Lord in prayer about it, and felt in our spirit that it is the right thing to do in His sight.  The fact is that we can’t always pray “fluffy” prayers for everyone all the time.  There’s simply too much at stake.  When we see people living in sin without a sense of remorse or repentance, it’s our responsibility as Christ-followers to pray for them to come to their senses and turn to the Lord – whatever it takes.  If these people are especially dear to us, it can be downright painful to pray for their misery.  But we have to remember that their eternal fate is most important to God, and so it should be to us.

   The Bible tells us that “though [the Lord] brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.  For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lamentations 3:32-33 NLT)  God is not a sadist.  It’s His desire to do good to everyone.  But because of His just and righteous nature, He cannot condone or excuse wrongdoing, or bless disobedience.  So there are times when He must withdraw from wrongdoers, and allow them to suffer the consequences of their unwise actions.  As their disobedience opens the door for Satan to come into their lives to “steal, kill, and destroy,” they become prime targets for the dark forces and all of their malicious plans and purposes. (John 10:10)  Unfortunately, this is what it will take for some people to come to their senses.

   I encourage you to ask the Lord if there is anyone you know who could benefit from some “misery” prayers right now.  Then listen carefully for His voice as He speaks to you from His heart about those who need Him in their lives in a greater way!

   Lord, thank You for filling me with Your Spirit to help me pray according to Your will. (Romans 8:26-27)  Teach me how to pray prayers that will make a real difference in people’s lives – not just for today, but for all eternity.  Help me to devote myself to Your Word, so that my mind will be renewed to Your truth, and I will become more sensitive to Your voice at all times.  Deliver me from the tendency to pray weak and wimpy prayers, and instill in me a boldness that will pray the bold prayers that You desire.  Thank You that as I follow Your will in this area, You will use me to touch and change lives for Your glory!

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 25 18

Restore Me to Full Health

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to full health.”  Psalm 41:3 ESV

   Earlier this year, the Lord showed me some new translations of the Scripture above in Psalm 41.  And He challenged me to believe Him for a total restoration of my health.  At the time, I was suffering from some serious knee problems, and I was earnestly seeking Him for wisdom and healing.  If I were to be honest, I’d have to tell you that part of me thought that I should just resign myself to a certain amount of knee problems as I got older.  But, thankfully, another part of me – the spirit part of me that believes God’s Word is Truth – was determined to trust God for a full recovery.

   I decided to lay hold of the Lord’s promise to “restore [me] to FULL health.” (Psalm 41:3 ESV)  And every day for the next few months, I declared, “The Lord is restoring me to full health!”  And, “Thank You, Lord, for restoring me to full health!”  I prayed for wisdom for my healing, along with my declarations, and I continued to keep my regular appointments with my doctors, including my chiropractor.  I took over-the-counter pain meds if I needed them.  And I kept reminding the Lord that I was counting on HIM to heal me, knowing that without His involvement, all the doctors and meds in the world wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans.

   As my knees began to improve, I thanked God for every bit of progress I was making.  When my knees were about 50% better, I was tempted to settle for just that much healing.  But the Holy Spirit wasn’t about to let me stop there.  He kept reminding me that I was believing Him for FULL health, and that I had asked the Lord to “COMPLETELY heal [me]” (NET).  So I kept believing.  And several months later, I am thanking and praising God that my knees are 100% better.

   Now I am praying and standing on Psalm 41:3 for OTHER healings that I need.  I am also claiming this promise for my loved ones.  And I am sharing all this with you today in order to help you understand that our God is a healing God, and He loves to hear us pray for healing for our spirits, souls, minds, emotions, and bodies.  Whether our affliction is a minor pimple or a major illness, we have the privilege of asking for His healing touch.  If we ask Him to lead us along His perfect pathway of healing and wholeness, He will let us know if we need to see a doctor or therapist, or to take a supplement or medication.  And if we will follow His lead and keep our eyes on Him – and not on our symptoms or our circumstances – He will show us how to walk in the very best health we can while we are on this earth.  Are YOU prepared to ask the Lord to restore you to “full health” today?

   Lord, I long for Your healing touch today.  I choose to believe that Your Word is true, and that You delight in healing Your devoted ones.  Teach me how to search out Your healing promises, and to pray and stand on them for all of my healing needs.  Increase my faith to believe Your promises that seem too good to be true.  Fill me with patience to wait on You for my healing when it takes longer than I would like it to, and never allow me to lose hope.  Thank You that as I diligently seek You and Your guidance in these matters, You will lead me along Your perfect pathway of healing and wholeness!

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 17 18

Stop Mixing Worry with the Word

by J. M. Farro

   “We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith.”  Hebrews 4:2 MSG

   During my quiet time with the Lord recently, I asked Him why a certain promise I had been standing on for a long time had still not come to pass.  As I listened for His still, small voice, I sensed Him saying to me, “Stop mixing worry with My Word.”  He led me to a passage in Scripture where Jesus talks about sowing the Word of God into our hearts and lives.  “Then the cares and anxieties of the world…creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless.” (Mark 4:19 AMP)  There it was as clear as day – our cares and anxieties have the potential to neutralize the effectiveness of the Word of God in our lives and circumstances.  Suddenly, I understood the importance of Peter’s instructions to us when he wrote:  “[Cast] the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on [God], for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP)  This is no warm and fuzzy verse to simply comfort us in hard times.  It’s an admonition from the Lord to refuse to try to handle our own burdens and concerns, so that we can receive the most benefit from His Word and promises in every situation we face.  In some cases, heeding this warning can make the difference between victory and defeat, safety and destruction, and even life and death.

   The Bible talks about the failure of the Israelites during their desert wanderings to benefit from the promises of God.  Hebrews 4:2 (NKJV) says:  “But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”  God had a promise of rest for His people, but it didn’t do them any good because they failed to believe it and receive it in faith.  Hebrews 3:19 (AMP) puts it this way:  “So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].”  We, too, can shut ourselves out from the promises of God when we refuse to believe and trust God in a situation.

   It’s interesting that right after Peter tells us to cast all of our cares and anxieties on God, he says:  “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP)  In other words, we mustn’t open the door to Satan and his dark forces through fear, anxiety, dread, or doubt.  All these things make us vulnerable to the enemy, and they have the potential to rob us of God’s best.  Next, Peter tells us to:  “Withstand [the devil]; be firm in faith [against his onset – rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:9 AMP)  How do we build up our resistance against violent attacks like these?  We become strong in spirit by spending regular “quiet times” with God.  We get still before Him.  We pray undistracted prayers.  We read and study His Word.  We memorize it and meditate on it “day and night,” as the Bible instructs. (Joshua 1:8)  And we lift praise and thanksgiving to God throughout the day, every day.  Notice that while Peter admits that Satan will come against all believers, he also indicates that those who stand firm in their faith will be better able to withstand his attacks.

   Today, I’m telling you the same thing that God told me that day:  Stop mixing worry with the Word.  Start mixing faith with each promise that God speaks to your heart, and refuse to cave in to unbelief.  Then reap the harvest of blessings and rewards that are your inheritance in Christ!

   Lord, forgive me for trying to mix doubt with Your Word, expecting to get a good result.  Teach me how to cast ALL of my cares and worries upon You, and to resist carrying them myself.  Thank You that as I do my part to build my faith, I will receive the fulfillment of every promise You put in my heart!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jun 11 18

Remove the Source of Temptation

by J. M. Farro

   “If your right eye makes you stumble and leads you to sin, tear it out and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  If your right hand makes you stumble and leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Matthew 5:29-30 AMP

   These commands from Jesus can be applied in many ways, but let me share with you how He gave me a clear lesson in these principles through my love of hot chocolate.

   Now, drinking hot chocolate is not inherently bad, but drinking it in excess to the point of harming your health is most certainly a sin in God’s sight.  Part of my problem was that I didn’t just like hot chocolate – I loved it.  Perhaps I was even IN love with it.  I considered it my guilty pleasure.  I deserved it after a long, hard day.  I began experimenting with different kinds of hot chocolate, and I eventually created a combination of them that made a truly decadent drink.  Not only was this combo filled with exorbitant amounts of sugar, but also of caffeine, which led to it seriously affecting my ability to sleep at night.

   When the Lord showed me the Scriptures above, I knew that it was time to deal severely with my hot chocolate habit, and that He would give me the grace to separate myself from it.  The first thing God told me was, “Do not bring any more hot chocolate into your house.”  So I made a quality decision not to purchase any more of it.  Then the Lord led me to throw out every trace of hot chocolate that was already in my home.  When I hesitated for a day or two, He knew exactly why, and He said, “Do not worry about the cost.  I will reward you and honor you for your sacrifice.”  So I went about the painful business of disposing of all of my hot chocolate stashes.

   Wouldn’t you know it?  As soon as I started dealing severely with my bad habit, it seemed like everyone everywhere was drinking hot chocolate.  I cried out to God to deliver me from my unholy cravings.  And while it didn’t happen overnight, I eventually did experience total deliverance and healing.  I haven’t had a mug of hot chocolate in months, because I’m not certain that I could resist falling back into my old patterns if I began drinking it again.

   What turned the tide for me was following Jesus’ advice in the verses above – “Remove yourself from the source of temptation.”  There are times when we need to literally separate ourselves from people, places and things that tempt us to sin against God, in order to do His will.  Jesus’ command to tear out our eye and cut off our hand means that He expects us to take extreme measures in order to obey Him.  When the Savior calls us to lay something down, it’s because He has something better for us up ahead that is waiting for us on the other side of our obedience – something that He desperately does not want us to miss out on.

   I believe that the Lord is speaking to you through this message today.  Will you answer His call to come up higher in your devotion to Him, and to experience life at its very best?

   Lord, show me what things You would like me to deal with right now that are keeping me from Your highest purposes and plans for me.  Deliver me from all my fears, and reassure me that You will be with me, and help me every step of the way.  Remind me that Your Holy Spirit dwells within me to empower me to do whatever You call me to do.  Thank You for the untold rewards that I will reap as I follow Your lead into a greater level of obedience and holiness!

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

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

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

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

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

Jun 3 18

God Watches Over Our Plans and Paths

by J. M. Farro

   “For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).”  Psalm 1:6 AMP  

   If you have surrendered your life to Christ, then the promise above applies to you.  Here, the Lord assures you that He knows you intimately, and He is committed to watching over you, and looking out for your welfare.  However, He also assures us that those who are “living outside God’s will” shall “perish” in the end.

   The Living Bible puts it this way:  “For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom.” (Psalm 1:6 TLB)  God is intimately involved in your “plans and paths,” and as you seek and serve Him daily, He will see that you stay on course, and fulfill your God-given purpose and potential.

   The Lord’s promise in Romans 8:28 (NASB) is similar: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Only those who truly love the Lord, and are pursuing His purposes for them, can claim this promise.  Troubles and trials will come to the godly, as well as the ungodly, but the major difference is that only those who are living their lives for Christ will see Him transform their trials into triumphs.  As the Scripture says, “Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, but the Lord rescues him from them ALL.” (Psalm 34:19 AMP)  Those of us who have lived a long time, and walked with the Lord for decades, can testify to God’s faithfulness and dedication to His promises.

   Any way you look at it, it profits us to live for God, and to walk in His will.  It is in His will where we will find the supernatural protection and abundant provision that He has for us here on earth.  Today, rejoice in the divine promises that have your name on them, including this one – “The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.  In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.” (Psalm 37:18-19 NIV)  Hallelujah!

   Lord, I surrender my life and my heart to You anew this day, and I ask You to fulfill all Your good purposes for me.  Keep me under Your watchful care every moment of every day, and be intimately involved with every detail of my life.  Remind me when hard times come that You are committed to working them out for my good.  Thank You that as I live my life for You, I will enjoy Your continual presence, protection, and provision!

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

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

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

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

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

May 27 18

How We Should “Walk”

by J. M. Farro

   “[We] have not ceased to pray…that you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things…”  Colossians 1:10 AMP

   The Bible often refers to the Christian’s “walk.”  In this context, the word “walk” refers to our lifestyle, or our conduct.  As the Lord led me to study some of the aspects of our Christian walk, He also led me to pray for them to be realized in my life, and the lives of others.

   In Wisdom.  Proverbs 28:26 (NIV) says:  “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.”  In every situation we face, we can pray that we would approach it with godly wisdom.  If we walk in wisdom in our relationships, we will avoid becoming involved with companions who are outside of God’s will for us.  If we use wisdom in handling our finances, we will be “kept safe” from debt and lack.  And if we walk in wisdom where our health and body care are concerned, we will spare ourselves the suffering and sickness that come from neglecting our health.  Are you facing a difficult situation right now?  Apply God’s wisdom to it, and watch what happens.

   In Truth.  The apostle John wrote:  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4 NIV)  As God’s people, we have the privilege, and the responsibility, to walk in His truth.  Jesus prayed to the Father:  “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NIV)  By devoting ourselves to Scripture – reading it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and applying it to our lives – we will be better equipped to recognize the deceptions of our enemy, Satan.  This is essential, because if the devil can make us believe a lie, he can have tremendous influence over our lives.  Jesus said:  “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” (John 18:37 NIV)  Scripture has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts, and by studying it diligently and prayerfully, we will be better able to walk in truth and holiness.

   In Peace.  The Bible says that we are “called to live in peace.” (Colossians 3:15 NLT)  That means that no matter what our circumstances are like, it is possible for us, as followers of Christ, to walk in peace.  Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) gives us some insight into how we can cooperate with God to achieve this kind of supernatural peace.  “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.”  This verse reveals the importance of disciplining our thoughts, and deliberately keeping our minds set on God and the things of God.  Our minds have a natural tendency to dwell on dark and negative thoughts, instead of pure and positive ones.  By reprogramming our minds with the truths in Scripture, and making a deliberate decision to put our trust in the Lord, we can walk in the peace that is our inheritance in Christ.  (John 14:27)

   In Love.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].  And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us…” (Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP)  God is deeply concerned about our “love walk.”  He calls us to love everyone with His kind of love.  He has a right to demand these high standards from us because He has given us His Holy Spirit to pour the God-kind of love into our hearts on a continual basis. (Romans 5:5)  We won’t be intimidated by these lofty divine demands if we will keep in mind that love is not a feeling – it’s a decision.  And it’s a decision that you and I are able to make in every situation, because God provides the power as we provide the will. (Philippians 2:13)

   What aspects of YOUR walk with God could use some improvement today?

   Lord, from this day forward, I pray that I would always walk in wisdom, in truth, in peace, and in love.  Thank You that as I pray according to Your will this way, and as I cooperate with Your Spirit, I can be confident that my “walk” will please and glorify You!

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

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

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

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

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

May 21 18

Things Will Become Clear in the Days to Come

by J. M. Farro

   “In the days to come you will understand all this.”  Jeremiah 30:24 NLT

   About 45 years ago, my husband, Joe, was in an auto accident that demolished the small sports car that he loved with all his heart.  The collision wasn’t his fault in the least, and this fact made it even harder for him to bear.  Joe’s insurance company considered the car totaled, and issued him a check for it right away.  When he went to a dealership to pick out a new vehicle, he settled on a beautiful new Pontiac LeMans.

   While all this was happening, Joe and I happened to be at the same college, and in the same Sociology class.  We hadn’t said a word to each other until our professor put us in a skit together, and we had to spend some one-on-one time with each other.  That’s when Joe told me that he was going to pick up his new car later that week, and he asked if I would like to go for a ride in it.  When he told me that it was a Pontiac, I jumped at the chance, because it was my favorite kind of car, and I owned one myself.  I fell in love with that car as soon as I laid eyes on it, and I eventually fell in love with Joe.  When he asked me to marry him on our first date, I laughed, but I couldn’t deny that, even then, there was something special between us.

   Today, if you hear Joe tell the story about his heartbreaking car accident those many years ago, he will say that he believes that God allowed it so that he could buy the car that would capture my attention when we finally met.  Only seven months before, I had gone through a painful breakup with my high school sweetheart, and at the time that I met Joe, my heart was seriously hardened.  God knew that this new car would be the icebreaker that was needed to begin the process of softening my heart again.

   Perhaps you are in a situation like Joe’s today, and the Lord is saying to you, “In the days to come you will understand all this.” (Jeremiah 30:24 NLT)  You are wondering what the Lord is up to, and you can’t imagine how any good could come out of what you’re going through.  You are not reading this by chance, dear one.  God wants you to know that your disappointment and pain are not in vain.  He is going to transform them into something beautiful before your very eyes.  Trust Him.  Call out to Him.  And watch Him do what only He can do!

   Lord, when You allow me to suffer in ways that threaten to rob me of the peace and joy that belong to me in Christ, speak words of comfort to me, and help me to hear and heed Your voice.  Guard me from a hard and unbelieving heart, and fill my mind with thoughts that will bring healing to my hurting soul.  Thank You for transforming my troubles into my greatest triumphs in Jesus’ name!

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

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

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

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

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

May 14 18

Obstacles to Fulfilling Our Ministry

by J. M. Farro

   “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”  Colossians 4:17 NLT

   The Bible tells us that every believer in Christ has a ministry to fulfill.  The apostle Paul wrote: “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” (Colossians 4:17 NASB)  And again, he stated:  “Complete the ministry God has given you.” (2 Timothy 4:5 NLT)  What are some of the obstacles to fulfilling our ministry that we might face as we live our lives for Christ?

   Sloppy living is one.  Instead of living the selfless, holy lives that the Lord has called us to, we become self-absorbed and self-indulgent.  We choose relationships outside of God’s will for us.  We focus on worldly concerns, instead of on the Lord’s plans and purposes for our lives.  We long for the approval of others, instead of the praise from God.  Paul wrote: “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT)  Simply put, people pleasers will not complete their ministry.  Neither will those who settle for a sloppy lifestyle.  Scripture says:  “Keep a close watch on all you do and think.  Stay true to what is right and God will bless you and use you to help others.” (1 Timothy 4:16 TLB)  Christlike character enables us to fulfill the call of God on our lives, and to impact others for Christ.

   Another way we can leave our ministry unfinished is to wear ourselves out and quit.  We neglect our health.  We have poor eating habits.  We don’t set reasonable boundaries for our work.  And worst of all, we try to perform our work in our own strength, instead of depending on God’s.  The Bible says: “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified.” (1 Peter 4:11 NASB)  The Lord wants us to depend upon His Spirit for divine enablement, so that the work we do in His name will be fruitful, without wearing us out.  When we are relying on God’s power in our work, there should be a “flow” to it; it should not be a major struggle.  As a result, we will be less likely to quit and walk off the job.  And as we prove ourselves faithful, the Lord increases our strength, and entrusts us with more opportunities and responsibilities.  As Paul wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do His work.  He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve Him.” (1 Timothy 1:12 NLT)

   Becoming angry, resentful, or indignant can also prevent us from fulfilling our ministry.  We become results-oriented, and resent it when our expectations aren’t fulfilled.  We chafe at a lack of recognition, reward, or pay.  We become offended when others don’t do what they’re “supposed” to in our sight.  We desperately want to feel significant, but we keep going about it the wrong way.  Scripture says: “Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].” (James 4:10 AMP)  As we surrender ourselves and our desires to God, He will fill our lives with purpose and meaning, and He will use us, bless us, and promote us in extraordinary ways.  Paul had the right idea when he said: “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:24 NLT)

   Adopting the attitude that others will do the work instead can hinder us from completing our ministry.  We may minimize our value or worth.  We may think that others are able to do a better job than we can. We fail to understand that there are things that only we can accomplish for the Kingdom, and that no one else can fulfill our purpose on this earth.  The Bible says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)  You were created by God with specific plans and purposes in mind.  You have a divine destiny, and only you can fulfill it.  There may be people on this earth that only you can reach.  You have a job to do!  Do it with enthusiasm, thankfulness, and joy – knowing that you will make an eternal difference in this world.

   Lord, today I surrender to You anew all that I am, and all that I have.  Reveal to me the nature of the ministry that You have called me to perform at this time in my life.  Teach me how to rely on Your Spirit to equip and empower me to serve You.  Thank You that as I follow Your lead, I will live a life of victory, blessing, and purpose!

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

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

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

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

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