Skip to content
Jan 13 19

The Right Place at the Right Time

by J. M. Farro

   “I have observed something else under the sun.  The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.  The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy.  And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.  It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”  Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT

   If you carefully and thoughtfully read the verses above penned by King Solomon, they can either make you rejoice or get depressed.  Here, he says that being the fastest or the strongest won’t necessarily make you a winner.  And being highly educated or skilled won’t guarantee that you will be successful or prosperous.

   I take great comfort in the fact that Solomon ends this verse by concluding, “It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.”  Why do I find this comforting?  Because I have gotten in the habit of praying daily, “Lord, please make sure that I am always in the right place at the right time.”  I know that God sees the big picture, while I only see a snapshot.  Scripture says that the Lord knows the end from the beginning, and He is ultimately in control. (Isaiah 46:9-10 AMP)

   To this day, I still marvel over the fact that more than 45 years ago, God lined up countless circumstances and people so that my husband, Joe, and I could meet in the same class at the same college, at just the right time.  Then, God orchestrated our move to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, when our children were school age so that our oldest son could launch the first successful Bible Club at his public high school, and so that both of our sons could meet their future wives.  There were times when Joe and I felt as though we were victims of our circumstances, but the truth was that God was directing our steps, and causing us to be in the right place at the right time, so that we could fulfill our divine destinies.

   The best thing that you and I can do each day is to obey God’s Word which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)  In other words, if we will get up each day asking and trusting the Lord to direct our steps, He will make sure that we are always in the right place at the right time.  Then, our provision, protection, and success are guaranteed by God Himself!

   Lord, I thank You that because I belong to You, You are ordering my steps and directing my paths.  Remind me often that it is not my abilities, gifts, or talents that will ensure my success, but You causing me to be in the right place at the right time.  When I am feeling as though I am a victim of my circumstances, readjust my focus, and help me to see things from Your perspective.  Thank You for leading me along the paths of Your greatest blessings all the rest of my days!

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

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

   *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!

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

Jan 7 19

Keep On Believing for Your Healing

by J. M. Farro

    “Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, ‘Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.’”  Mark 5:36 AMP

   Jesus’ words above are from Mark’s account of a synagogue leader who seeks out the Master to heal his dying daughter.  When messengers arrive to say that the little girl has already died, Jesus ignores their comments and urges the father to do the same, warning him not to become fearful, but to “keep on believing.”  When they reach the man’s house, Jesus raises the daughter from the dead, and gives her back to her grateful parents.

   I was reminded of this powerful passage about a year ago, when I began having so much trouble walking that I had to stop using my treadmill.  It never even occurred to me at first that I might never be able to use it again.  But as weeks turned into months, with no sign of my walking problems improving, thoughts would enter my mind saying, “You are never going to use that treadmill again!”  I knew it was the enemy’s attempt to discourage me, and to torment me with fear.  So I ignored him, and kept reminding myself of Jesus’ words in Mark 5:36 (AMP), “Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.”

   While I prayed and stood on God’s promises of healing, I began using my low-impact stationary bike for my workouts.  My treadmill has always been in our guest room at the end of the hall, so I would see it many times a day as I went about my daily routine.  And I would wonder if I would ever use it again.  Then I would hear in my spirit, “Don’t be afraid – just keep on believing!”  And I would keep on praying and declaring God’s promises.  The entire time, I kept my usual doctor appointments, but I honestly didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to get well.  I was leaning heavily on God and His Word.  And after about six months, I felt so good that I was able to use my treadmill again.

   One of the lessons that God taught me from this experience was that the FEAR of sickness and disease can do just as much damage to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being as the ailments themselves.  The same goes for injuries.  I never did find out if I injured myself, or if some affliction made it difficult for me to walk.  And that’s okay, because I wasn’t focusing on the cause, but the cure.  So my advice to you today would be to work with God to live as free from fear as you possibly can.  When you get hurt or sick, remember the Lord’s words saying, “Don’t be afraid – just keep on believing!”  See the doctor and take medications if you need to, but don’t put your faith in them.  Instead, put your faith in God, and fight off fear with the help of His Spirit and His Word!

   Lord, teach me how to resist fear every time that it comes against me.  When I need healing of any kind, help me to ignore words of doubt from the enemy and other people.  Remind me to study Your Word diligently so that I will know exactly which promises to pray and stand on for my deliverance.  Thank You that by the power of Your indwelling Spirit, when I am faced with sickness, disease, pain, or injury, my declaration of faith shall be, “I will not be afraid – I will keep on believing!”

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

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

   *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!

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

Dec 30 18

Even Now

by J. M. Farro

   “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”  John 11:22 NIV

   These words were spoken to Jesus by Martha, the sister of Lazarus.  Her brother had already been dead four days by the time Jesus arrived.  Yet here she confesses her faith in the Savior to do even the impossible.  Moments later, Martha witnesses a miracle as her brother is raised to life by the Master.

   Years ago, God began bringing me up to a new level of faith.  He taught me how to pray what I now refer to as my “even now” prayers.  I would be facing an impossible situation, and it would seem like all the doors before me had been closed.  My first impression would be to think, “I guess it just wasn’t God’s will.”  Then I would sense another impression coming up in my spirit telling me to continue praying in faith.  I might pray something like this:  “Lord, I admit this looks like a hopeless situation, but I know that even now, You can make a way where there seems to be none.  I ask that You do that, Lord.”  I have seen so many seemingly closed doors opened by praying like this, that my prayer life has been radically changed forever.  And I have used this principle in praying about small matters, as well as larger ones.

   Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NKJV)  I think it’s sad that our society has gotten so sophisticated and cynical that we have forgotten how to pray for the impossible.  In Jeremiah 32:27 (NIV), the Lord says, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for Me?”  This statement should not only encourage us, but it should convict us as well.  Psalm 77:19 (TLB) says, “Your road led by a pathway through the sea – a pathway no one knew was there!”  The Israelites never could have imagined that God would make a way for them through the Red Sea.  Likewise, when we pray for the impossible, God will often make a way for us that will exceed our expectations.

   Psalm 77:14 (TLB) says, “You are the God of miracles and wonders!  You still demonstrate your awesome power.”  When we ask God for the impossible, we invite Him to work wonders in our lives – something He delights in doing.  Have you given up on a dream or vision that God has planted in your heart, because at this point, it looks like it can never come to pass?  What “impossible” situations do you have in your life right now that perhaps you have given up on too soon?  It could be that the Lord is just waiting for you to come to Him in faith today, saying, “Lord, I know that even now…”

   Lord, I ask that You increase my faith and expand my vision so that I can trust You to do the impossible in my life.  Help me to never put limits on You.  When I am tempted to give up on a situation too soon, remind me to ask You to make a way where there seems to be none.  Thank You that You are the God of the impossible and nothing is too difficult for You!

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

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

   *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!

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

Dec 24 18

I Will Give You Back What You Lost

by J. M. Farro

   “The Lord says, “I will give you back what you lost…and you will praise the Lord your God, who does these miracles for you.  Never again will my people be disgraced.’”  Joel 2:25,26 NLT

   These verses in the Bible have special meaning for me because I didn’t become serious about my relationship with God until I was almost 40 years old.  There have been many times when I have lamented over the fact that my children weren’t raised in a true Christian home from the time they were born.  And I have often regretted that my relationship with my husband and our marriage didn’t get off on the right foot because of our lack of devotion to the Lord from the very beginning.

   If I allowed myself to dwell on things like these, I could come up with a multitude of regrets.  Thankfully, God gave me the verses above as a personal promise that He would work wonders for me by restoring the blessings I forfeited during all those years I was living for myself instead of Him.  And He has been true to His Word.  As I live this new life in Christ daily, I am continually amazed by the marvelous works of restoration that the Lord performs for me and my loved ones on a regular basis.

   If you will ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you as the God of Restoration, He will restore things in your life that you thought were lost forever.  I have seen Him restore broken families and relationships.  I have also seen Him breathe new life into lost dreams and visions.  And I have witnessed His miraculous power working in people’s lives to restore their health and finances.  But I think the things He restores that mean the most to me are our faith, joy, peace and HOPE.

   The Bible makes it abundantly clear – our God is in the restoration business.  And my life and the lives of many others are living proof.  If you are a child of the King, you don’t have to assume that all the losses that come your way are set in stone.  If you will give the Lord a chance to have the final Word, You will be amazed at what He can do to make your whole life shiny and new!

   Lord, today I believe and receive Your precious promises of restoration.  I ask that You work wonders in my life by transforming my losses into blessings.  Help me to do my part by seeking You daily and putting my trust in You.  Thank You for making my whole life bright and beautiful 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!

Dec 17 18

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 of 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!

   *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!

Dec 9 18

The Lord will Put You in Charge

by J. M. Farro

   “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”  Matthew 25:23 NIV

   The verse above from Jesus’ Parable of the Talents reveals an exciting principle for Christ-followers – when we are faithful with a few things, God will put us in charge of many things.  Over the years, the Lord has put me in charge of numerous projects – and not just ministry-related ones.  I have learned that when God puts me in charge of something, He has very specific expectations for it, and for me. 

   More than once, I have encountered people who caused me to lose my focus, and to rattle me somehow.  I have heard myself grumbling to the Lord and saying things like, “Why do people have to be such troublemakers?  Why are they making my job so hard?”  And in my spirit, I have heard the Lord tell me, “I have put you in charge – now take charge!”  And I know that God is counting on me to exercise my authority to bring the project involved into line with His will – even if it means eliminating certain people and influences.

   As Jesus indicated in this parable, as we show ourselves to be faithful and trustworthy with a few things, God will give us even more responsibilities.  If we meet every challenge that comes our way with wisdom, courage, and strength from the Lord, we will impact this world for Christ in eternal ways.  Whether our assignments come in the form of parenthood, servanthood, ministry, or any leadership role at home or in the workplace, if we will take charge when we are put in charge, God Himself will see to it that we perform with excellence, and He will give us favor in the sight of those involved.  And the day will come when we will hear the Lord say those glorious words to us – “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

   Lord, please make me a devoted and trustworthy servant so You can bless me and use me in mighty ways for Your glory.  When You put me in charge of people and projects, help me to take charge, and to exercise the authority You have given me, in order to prove my faithfulness to You.  Thank You that as I commit all of my efforts to You, and depend on Your guidance and grace, You will give me greater responsibilities and greater rewards!

*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!

Dec 2 18

Healing Broken Relationships

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 the worst argument with my father that I ever had in my life.  My husband, Joe, was away on a business trip at the time, and my parents had come to visit me and our two sons.  Unfortunately, my dad was in one of his argumentative moods, and he started yelling at me for no reason.  I tried to calm him down, but when I realized that this was impossible, I went into my bathroom and got on my knees to pray.  I asked the Lord to intervene on my behalf, and to show me how to handle my dad’s anger.  That’s when I clearly sensed Him telling me to ask my parents to leave my home.  I had never thrown my mom and dad out of my house before, so it pained me to ask them to leave.  I will never forget the look on my mother’s face as she tearfully hugged my sons and walked out the door.

   When I poured my heart out to the Lord later that day, He led me to a verse in Proverbs, which says, “Throw out the mocker, and fighting, quarrels, and insults will disappear.” (Proverbs 22:10 NLT)  He reassured me that I did the right thing when I asked my father to leave my home, because he gave me no other choice.  But while the Lord was reassuring me, He also gave me a warning by showing me some verses about the dangers of unforgiveness.  “Be angry [at sin – at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.  And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” (Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP)  This was a reminder to me of how destructive harboring resentment against someone can be to our lives, our relationships, and especially our fellowship with God.  Holding a grudge can give Satan and his demons permission to “steal, kill, and destroy” what is near and dear to us – including our mental, emotional, and physical health. (John 10:10)

   I made a quality decision that day to forgive my father for his shameful and hurtful behavior, and I asked the Lord to forgive him, too.  When I prayed for wisdom for what to do next, I sensed God telling me to give my dad time to think about what he did.  Weeks went by without any word from my parents, and my heart ached.  Then one day, I felt led to sit down and write my dad a heartfelt letter.  I let him know that I didn’t want us to go on living separate lives.  I put the letter in the mail, and before the end of that day, I received a phone call from my father.  He asked if I would forgive him for his awful behavior, and I told him that I had already forgiven him, and I thanked him for his call.  After that, my dad and I got along great until the day he died.

   To this day, I find it interesting that my father didn’t call and apologize until I actually mailed my letter to him, expressing my desire to reconcile.  My dad had no idea that I had written him a letter when he made that call to me.  But God knew.  He wanted me to do my part in the reconciliation before he prompted my dad to make that call.  Holding grudges and harboring resentment don’t fit who we are as followers of Christ.  I can tell you from personal experience that if you will do your part to heal the broken relationships in your life, God will do His!

   Lord, help me to have the kind of relationships that please and glorify You most.  Show me how to establish and enforce godly boundaries to protect myself and others from those who would mistreat us.  Teach me the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger.  Work in my heart so that I will always be quick to forgive, and so that I will never hold grudges or harbor resentment against anyone.  Thank you that by Your grace, I will live in the freedom of forgiveness, and not in the bondage of bitterness!

   *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!

Nov 25 18

Commit Everything You Do to the Lord

by J. M. Farro

   “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him to help you do it, and He will.”  Psalm 37:5 TLB

   I was helping my 8-year-old grandson, William, with his homework the other day, when he began getting fretful about having to write a summary about the book he just read.  As a means  of encouraging him, I began sharing with him how I pray and commit my work to the Lord before I sit down to write anything.  I told him, “Do you think I could have written so many books without relying heavily on God’s help to do it?  No way!”  Will’s eyes got really big, and it was plain to see that he understood the point I was trying to make.  He prayed, and then dove into his assignment enthusiastically, completing it with speed and excellence.

   Over the years, I have leaned heavily upon God’s promise in Psalm 37:5 for all of my endeavors.  “Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust Him to help you do it, and He will.” (Psalm 37:5 TLB)  In fact, before I sat down to write this message, I prayed for God’s wisdom and help.  Whether I am baking a pie, mopping the floors, or having a difficult conversation with a loved one, I am holding the Lord to His promise to help me, once I have prayed and invited Him to oversee and direct my efforts.

   This past weekend, my husband, Joe, was working on a major home improvement project, and I noticed him spending countless hours calculating and analyzing, instead of actually beginning the work.  All his procrastination accomplished was to make his impending task loom larger and larger by the minute.  By the third day, I finally took my husband by the hand, committing his project to the Lord, and asking God to help him, and to deliver him from all his fears.  Suddenly, Joe had the courage to begin the work, relying on the Lord to complete it.

   As followers of Christ, you and I don’t have to become anxious or fearful about our assignments or responsibilities.  We have heavenly resources at our disposal, simply for the asking.  I encourage you to “commit everything you do to the Lord,” and watch what He will do for you and through you!

   Lord, before I tackle any kind of task – large or small – please remind me by Your Spirit to commit my efforts to You.  Deliver me from all my fears, including my fear of failure and defeat.  Give me the faith I need to truly believe that You want to help me with my work, and that You will, once I have invited Your presence and Your power.  Thank You for the divine favor, success, and joy that I will experience as a result of leaning upon You, instead of my own abilities and skills!

   *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!

 

Nov 20 18

The Saving Power of Praise

by J. M. Farro

   “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.”  Psalm 50:14-15 NLT

   I spent most of my Christian life failing to understand the value and importance of praise and thanksgiving, mostly because I didn’t understand the incredible power behind it.  Just how powerful is a believer’s heartfelt praise?  It’s powerful enough to neutralize satanic forces, and I’d say that’s pretty powerful.  Scripture tells us:  “From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2 NIV)  One reason why Satan tends to flee from an atmosphere of energetic praise is that he absolutely despises it.  You have to understand that the devil, more than anything, wants to be worshiped.  In fact, he had the audacity to try to get Jesus Himself to bow down and worship him. (Matthew 4:8-9)  So it galls Satan when he hears anyone thanking and praising the Lord.  On the other hand, our God loves and appreciates our expressions of worship.  The Bible even tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3)  So while praise and worship cause the dark forces to flee, they actually usher in the presence and power of God.

   In recent months, the Lord has been teaching me about the delivering power of praise.  I was seeking His help and direction for a troubling situation one morning, when He led me to Psalm 50, where the Scripture says:  “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God… Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.” (Psalm 50:14-15 NLT)  The Lord helped me to realize that when I’m in a painful place, He doesn’t want me becoming fretful or fearful.  He wants me to keep my eyes on Him, and to speak and sing praises to His name for who He is, for what He has done, and for what He’ll do in the days ahead.  It IS a sacrifice to praise and thank God when we’re hurting so badly that we don’t think we can last another minute, but that’s the best thing we can do.  Praise shifts our focus from ourselves and our problems to God, and to His limitless power and love.  It opens the door to divine intervention, and it shuts the door on the plans of Satan.  And if you take a very close look at these verses with a keen spiritual eye, you will discover something amazing:  When we live a thankful and praiseful lifestyle, and we call on God for help when we’re in trouble, He rescues us – and then we give Him MORE thanks and praise.  It’s a divine cycle that meets our needs and gives God glory, all at the same time.

   The final verse of Psalm 50 says:  “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.  If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NLT)  As believers, we are meant to honor God, and one of the best ways we can do that is to give Him our heartfelt thanks and praise in good times and in bad.  When we do, He will reveal more of Himself to us, and we will witness His mighty saving acts on our behalf!

   Lord, teach me how to praise and worship You in ways You desire and deserve.  Help me to constantly look around me, and find things to give You heartfelt thanks for every day and night.  When I begin to worry, complain, or feel sorry for myself, remind me to shift my focus to You and Your blessings.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in this area, I will live the victorious, fruitful, abundant life that You’ve had in store for me all along!

   *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!

Nov 11 18

God Will Do Even More

by J. M. Farro

   “I will do EVEN MORE for you than I did before.  Then you shall know I am the Lord.”  Ezekiel 36:11 TLB

   In walking closely with the Lord all these years, I have discovered that there are many times when He likes to surprise us with a “new and improved” version of the blessings He bestows on us.

   Case in point – my recent dishwasher adventures.  When God blessed my husband, Joe, and me with the nicest dishwasher we ever had in our 40+ years of marriage, we were elated.  For six months, we enjoyed our fancy new appliance, before it began malfunctioning and causing us frustration.  After almost a year of headaches and heartaches, our state’s Attorney General’s office forced the manufacturer to replace our defective dishwasher for free.

   Joe and I would have been more than happy with a comparable replacement, but that wasn’t good enough for our God.  He had the manufacturer pay for an updated model that worked even better than our original one did.

   With our first dishwasher, we couldn’t use the detergent dispenser because it wouldn’t open early enough in the washing cycle to dissolve properly, and our dishes always came out with a sticky film on them.  With our new machine, we can use our dispenser and have all of our items come out sparkling clean.

   Whenever anyone brushed up against our old dishwasher, it would immediately turn on and start filling with water.  Our new appliance has all of the controls “recessed,” so that they can’t be turned on by mistake.

   Our original dishwasher never thoroughly dried our dishes, while our new one has an “extended dry” feature that works amazingly well.

   God could have easily replaced our old dishwasher with a new one just like it, but He didn’t.  He gave us a new appliance with “new and improved” features that made our old one look inferior.  And even though He enabled us to get our first dishwasher at a great price, He provided us with the new one at absolutely no cost to us.

   God tells us in His Word, “I will do EVEN MORE for you than I did before.  Then you shall know I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 36:11 TLB)  God has “new and improved” blessings in store for you in every area of your life.  He wants to do “even more” for you than you could ever hope or dream.  Trust Him.  Seek Him with all your heart.  Give Him first place in your life.  And lay hold of the “even more” blessings He has in store for you!

   Lord, I praise You for the “new and improved” blessings that You have in store for me.  Help me to live my life in such a way that I will never have to miss out on the fullness of Your blessings.  When I face adversity or injustice, remind me to turn to You first, and to put my wholehearted trust in You and Your promises.  Thank You that as I keep my eyes on You, You will right my wrongs and restore what I lost – and give me “even more!”

   *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!