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Dec 11 17

Our Christmas List for God

by J. M. Farro

   “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow.”  John 16:24 TLB

   Every year, my family members and I make out our Christmas lists for each other.  This year, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me to make out a Christmas list for HIM.  At first, I was reluctant because I pray regularly for my needs and desires, and I didn’t see any point in writing out a list of things to petition Him for.  But as I meditated on the possibility, I knew in my heart that the Lord wanted me to document those things that I would like to see come to pass in my life, and in the lives of others.  As I started making out my list, I thought of many things that I wanted for myself, and I hesitated to write them down because they seemed so selfish.  Then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance Jesus’ words in John 16:24 (TLB):  “Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and your cup of JOY will overflow.”  So I began recording all the petitions I could think of that would bring me joy if God answered them.  In no time at all, I had two full pages of requests.  Now I am on my third page, and I know that my list is still not complete.

   The Lord instructed me to not make vague requests, but to be as specific as I could.  He reminded me of Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 (AMP):  “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [SPECIFIC] REQUESTS known to God.”  Many times, we are simply too lazy to pray for exactly what it is we want the Lord to do on our behalf, and then we wonder why our prayers go unanswered.

   It’s interesting that we find in the Scriptures numerous references of Jesus asking people who have approached him with an obvious need, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  (Luke 18:41; Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:51)  He surely must have known that the blind people crying out to him wanted their sight restored.  Yet He did not act on their behalf until they told Him specifically what they wanted Him to do.  God desires that we demonstrate humility and dependence upon Him by coming to Him personally with our requests.  And when we ask for the tiniest thing, we are showing Him that we are not too proud to rely on Him for every little thing.

   Notice Paul’s instructions on prayer in the verse above – “by prayer and petition WITH THANKSGIVING.”  Many times our requests are not answered because we simply aren’t thankful for the blessings that God has already given us.  We waste time and energy complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves, instead of counting our blessings, and giving thanks for all the good in our lives.  If you are a habitual complainer, I can tell you with certainty that you are not only making yourself a prime target for the devil, but you are also severely hindering your prayers.  Don’t blame God for not giving you the desires of your heart when you are pointedly ignoring all that He has already graciously given you.  Only those who continually demonstrate an attitude of gratitude before the Lord and others will see answers to their prayers that will absolutely amaze them.

   Don’t overlook Paul’s instructions to “CONTINUE to make your [specific] requests known to God.”  Many Christians have the attitude, “I prayed about that already.  God knows what I want.”  And then they casually and carelessly go on about their daily business without renewing their petitions before the Lord.  That may be fine in some cases, but many times, what we are praying for has the potential to do some serious harm to the kingdom of darkness, and Satan and his evil forces will come against us with some major resistance.  That’s when the Lord wants us to press in and press on until the answer comes.  Scripture reveals that Jesus taught this powerful principle to His disciples when it records, “One day Jesus told His disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer, and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.” (Luke 18:1 TLB)

   If you think that you can keep your Christmas list for God in your head, you could be missing out on the fullness of His blessings this season.  The Bible indicates that there can be some extraordinary benefits to writing our desires, dreams, and visions down. (Habakkuk 2:2)  Perhaps you have not allowed yourself to think seriously about those things that are in your heart that you would love to see come to pass for yourself and others.  I understand how you feel, but I am asking you to trust God enough to record even the most “secret petitions of your heart,” and to take a leap of faith and believe that He longs to answer your requests “infinitely beyond [your] highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams].” (Psalm 37:4 AMP; Ephesians 3:20 AMP)  Merry Christmas!

   Lord, teach me how to live a Christ-centered life.  Remind me that as Your child, I have the privilege of asking You for the desires of my heart, as well as for my needs.  Forgive me for grumbling and complaining, and for overlooking the blessings You have already given me.  Open my eyes to all the good things in my life, and help me to focus on them from now on.  Thank You that as I live my life with an attitude of gratitude, I will pave the way for You to work wonders in my heart, life, and circumstances!

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

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

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

Dec 4 17

The Secrets of His Promises

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 27 17

Unexpected Options

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 20 17

Turning Misery into Ministry

by J. M. Farro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 13 17

Praying God’s Word with Power

by J. M. Farro

   “For the word of God is living and powerful.”  Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

   I recently heard from a woman who said that she was thoroughly enjoying reading my devotionals, because they taught her how to pray the Word of God.  She told me that her prayer life had become “stale,” and so had her quiet time with the Lord, before she learned this principle.  She said that she was passing this “treasure” on to others, so that they would find “the comfort and power that praying the Word offers.”

   I knew exactly what this woman was talking about, because years ago, I had discovered how praying God’s Word could not only revolutionize a person’s prayer life, but every other aspect of their life, as well as the lives of those around them.  I bought a stack of books filled with Scripture-based prayers, and began using them daily.  I also began memorizing Bible verses and promises, and putting them in prayer form.  As a result, I witnessed the power of God working in my life, and the lives of my loved ones, like never before.

   I knew from the very beginning that praying God’s Word wasn’t going to do me much good if I didn’t believe that it was truly the Word of the living God.  So I made myself a list of Scriptures that would remind me of the truth and power of God’s Word.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].” (1 Thessalonians 2:13 AMP)  When we put our trust in the Word of God, we can experience its supernatural power in our hearts and lives.  But there’s more.  As we share God’s Word with others in faith, we can expect the Lord to get involved in our ministry efforts, and to cause them to produce results.  Mark 16:20 (KJV) says: “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

   Whenever I pray God’s Word, I expect it to bear fruit in the hearts, lives, and circumstances I’m focusing on.  And that’s a realistic expectation, according to the Scriptures.  Isaiah 55:10-11 (NLT) says:  “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with My word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”  We may not see the fruit with our eyes for quite some time in some instances, but the Lord has promised that eventually, it will manifest.  As we do our part, God will do His.  As the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, “I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12 AMP)  You will never catch God sleeping on the job.  He is always alert and listening for His Word, whether we pray it in faith, or we speak it out in faith to ourselves or others.

   The Bible says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalm 119:89 NKJV)  Whenever I see this Scripture, I think about a bumper sticker I have seen that says:  “God said it.  I believe it.  That settles it.”  If you don’t make up your mind that God’s Word is true, then you will be an easy target for Satan’s deceptions, and he will be able to torment you with fear and doubt on a regular basis.  And you will not be able to pray or speak the Word with power.  Scripture says:  “But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2 NKJV)  As inherently powerful as the Word of God is, it will do us little good if we fail to believe it.  Isaiah 62:6 (AMP) says: “Put the Lord in remembrance of His promises.”  When we have a problem, we have the privilege of going to God and holding His Word up to Him in prayer, and in faith.  When our prayers are promise-centered, instead of problem-centered, we will see the Lord move mountains on our behalf.  Today, practice praying God’s Word with me, and say – “Lord, increase our faith!”  (Luke 17:5 AMP)

   Lord, show me how to pray and speak Your Word with power.  As I pray your Word in faith, let me see You working wonders in my life and circumstances, and those of my loved ones.  Thank You that Your Word profits me because I mix it with faith!

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

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

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

Nov 6 17

Ask for a Sign

by J. M. Farro

   “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”  Isaiah 7:11 NIV

   My husband, Joe, has a long-time friend who has struggled with his faith for years.  Recently, this man’s faith got a major boost when his grandson was hospitalized because of a sudden and serious affliction.  As he left his house to head for the emergency room to see his grandson, he spotted a neighbor walking along the road at a distance.  This neighbor had taken walks around the neighborhood every day for many years, and in all that time, she never so much as glanced at my husband’s friend whenever he drove by.  Desperate to hear from God that his grandchild would recover, this man prayed, “Lord, give me a sign that my grandson is going to be all right.”  Seconds later, the lady stopped in her tracks, looked at my husband’s friend, and gave him a huge wave.  Tears sprang to the man’s eyes as he recognized the sign from heaven that he had so desperately needed.  And he is telling everyone who will listen about the kindness and goodness of God.

   Many Christians are afraid to ask God for signs because of Jesus’ words in the Gospels, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.” (Matthew 12:39 NKJV)  But we have to keep in mind that when the Master spoke these words, He was mainly addressing the religious people of His day who were not sincere God-seekers, and who would never believe in the Savior, no matter what He did.  Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see that not only did many of God’s people ask for signs, but in many cases, the Lord actually offered them signs, when He knew that it would strengthen their faith in Him.

   Scripture tells us that God called King David “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22)  Yet in the Book of Psalms, we discover that David prayed:  “Give me a sign of Your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.” (Psalm 86:17 NIV)  David was, in effect, asking God to give him a sign of His approval, some reassurance that the Lord was standing with him against his adversaries.

   The prophet Isaiah records an occasion when God offered to give King Ahaz of Judah a sign.  “Ask me for a sign, Ahaz, to prove that I will crush your enemies as I have promised.  Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want.” (Isaiah 7:11 NLT)  Here, the Lord was willing to strengthen the king’s faith with a sign of impending victory.  Instead, Ahaz foolishly turned down God’s offer.  “No,” he said, “I wouldn’t test the Lord like that.” (Isaiah 7:12 NLT)  The verses that follow reveal that God was actually angered by the king’s refusal to ask for a sign.

   There are times when I feel impressed in my spirit to ask the Lord for a sign that would encourage my heart in a situation.  I receive confirmation that these impressions are from Him when I receive the answer to my request in defining ways.

   God does not want us depending on signs as a way of living the Christian life.  We are to “live by faith,” not by sight or signs. (Romans 1:17)  But it would be wise for us to be sensitive to those times when the Lord is telling us – “Ask for a sign from your God.  Ask anything.  Be extravagant.  Ask for the moon!”  (Isaiah 7:11 MSG)

   Lord, teach me how to pray for signs when it’s Your will and pleasure for me to do so.  Help me to become more sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading by devoting myself to Your Word and prayer.  Thank You, Lord, that the signs I seek will increase my faith and glorify You!

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

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

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

Oct 30 17

A Life Worth Living

by J. M. Farro

   “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life [worth living] and tranquility and prosperity [the wholeness of life’s blessings] they will add to you.”  Proverbs 3:1-2 AMP

   There is a lie that’s been going around for centuries that even some Christians believe.  It’s that we have no influence over how long we live on this earth.  Perhaps you have heard someone say, “When your number is up, it’s up!”  I used to hold this fatalistic view myself, until I began studying the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Let’s look at a few Scriptures here, to try to get God’s perspective in the matter.

   Proverbs 3 says, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” (Proverbs 3:1-2 NIV)  Notice the part that says that obeying God’s instructions will “prolong your life many years.”  What are we to do with these verses if we are to buy into the lie that we have no control over the outcome and length of our life?

   We see this principle showing up in the Word of God repeatedly.  Proverbs 10:27 (NIV) says, “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”  God says that you can “add length” to your life by maintaining an attitude of reverential fear toward Him.  Why?  Because His principles are life-giving principles, and they are designed to enable and encourage us to obey the laws He instituted in this universe to benefit us most.

   Proverbs 9:11 (NIV) says, “Through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.”  Worldly wisdom will tell you to live it up, to do what feels good, and to do whatever it takes to succeed in the eyes of the world.  But godly wisdom is different.  It tells us to live according to God’s teachings and ways so that “years will be added to your life.”

   Look at the Amplified translation of Proverbs 3:1-2:  “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life [worth living] and tranquility and prosperity [the wholeness of life’s blessings] they will add to you.”  Extending our lives simply for the sake of living longer isn’t always desirable if we aren’t living well.  In fact, if most of us were honest, we would have to admit that we have seen some people living long lives who were absolutely miserable.  That’s not what the Lord is talking about here.  Instead, He is saying that if we will walk in obedience to Him on a consistent basis, He will lengthen our years of a “life worth living” – a life filled with peace, prosperity, and “the wholeness of life’s blessings.”  Hallelujah!

   I read an article about a doctor in New Hampshire who had been a coroner for more than 20 years, and who had to perform so many autopsies on people who had overdosed on illegal drugs, that he finally couldn’t take it anymore, and quit his profession.  He enrolled in seminary to become a minister, so he could try to prevent as many people as he could from throwing their lives away.  Do you really believe that all of these people died because their “number was up”?  Absolutely not.  They died prematurely because they never knew God, or His promise of long life for those who devote themselves to Him and follow His ways – and they saw their lives as meaningless.

   The bottom line is that while God is ultimately in control, He has given us the power to make good choices over bad.  In fact, He says in His Word:  “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.   Now choose life, so that…[the Lord] will give you many years.” (Deuteronomy 30:19,20 NIV)  Every day, we are faced with choices that will lead to life, or to death.  If we will find out what God says in His Word about what to say “yes” to, and what to say “no” to – and do our best to obey Him – we will experience, not just a longer life, but a life worth living!

   Lord, help me to never buy into the lie that nothing I do can influence the outcome or length of my life.  Fill me with a passion for Your Word that moves me to read and study it on a regular basis.  Grant me revelation knowledge that will help me to live according to Your wisdom, instead of the world’s.  Thank You that as I reverence and obey You and Your Word, I will experience “the wholeness of life’s blessings!”

   *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 23 17

Seeds of Protection

by J. M. Farro

   “The merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself [for his deeds return to bless him], but he who is cruel and callous [to the wants of others] brings on himself retribution.”  Proverbs 11:17 AMP

   My husband and I were out having dinner recently, when I reached into my wallet to get my credit card and discovered that it was gone.  As I began to mentally retrace my steps, I realized that I must have left it in the ATM machine at my bank an hour before.  My first instinct was to panic, but I forced myself to remain calm so that I could pray for God’s wisdom and help.  Immediately, I sensed the Lord speaking reassuring words to my spirit – “You have sown seeds of protection.”  A sudden peace swept over me, and I prayed for the Lord’s guidance.  He led me to call my credit card company to tell them what had happened, and they advised me to find out from my bank if someone had turned in my card.  As I followed their instructions, I discovered that some kind soul had found my card in the machine, and had, indeed, returned it to my bank.

   As I pondered this scenario and gave my thanks and praise to God, He reminded me of a powerful principle in Proverbs 11:17 (AMP):  “The merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself for his deeds return to bless him.”  When we are merciful and kind to others, especially in situations that tempt us to be otherwise, we are sowing seeds of protection that will come back to bless us later on.  Every time we are patient with the slow cashier at the store, we are destined to reap a harvest of protection and provision from the Lord somewhere down the line.  Each time we are tempted to speak a critical word to a family member, but instead bite our tongues, we are positioning ourselves for someone to give us a break when we need it most.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Proverbs 5:7 NASB)  In other words, as we sow seeds of mercy everywhere we go, we are planting a harvest of blessings that will come back to us later on.

   The NIV translation of Proverbs 11:17 says:  “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.”  What we have to remember is that there are negative consequences attached to our mistreatment or neglect of others.  When we go through life overlooking the needs of other people, or taking advantage of someone else, we give the devil and his evil forces a mighty inroad into our lives.  And as Jesus warned, Satan comes only to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10)  When we are critical or cruel to others, instead of sowing seeds of protection, we are making ourselves vulnerable to spiritual attack.  The Lord desperately wants to protect us, but He requires our cooperation, and our obedience to His laws.

   I have to smile every time I think of that kind soul who returned my credit card.  He has sown some powerful seeds of protection that will come back to bless him in the days to come.  What kind of seeds are you sowing today?

   Lord, I thank You for Your laws of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-8), and I ask You to do such a mighty work in my heart and life now, that from this day forward, I will only sow seeds that will come back to bless me and my loved ones.  Thank You for the supernatural protection and provision that I will reap as I plant seeds of kindness everywhere I go!

   *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 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