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Jan 16 22

God-Honoring Priorities

by J. M. Farro

   “The devil loves it when we say we believe, then prioritize everything in our lives ahead of God.” – A. W. Tozer, Pastor, Preacher, Author (1897-1963)

   I find this quote by A. W. Tozer extremely convicting.  I know how easy it can be to profess to love and follow Christ, and yet fail to maintain God-honoring priorities.  We live in a busy world filled with devil-devised distractions, responsibilities, and obligations.  I say this because even though God’s Word clearly instructs us to seek the Lord about how we spend our time, energy, and money, we don’t comply to the degree that would keep us in His perfect will and timing in every area of our lives.

   The Bible says:  “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB)  How can we best “understand what the will of the Lord is” in every situation, and in every area of our lives?  We dig deeply into the Scriptures, asking the Holy Spirit to help us to understand them, and to apply them to our lives.

   Romans 12:2 (NIV) says:  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  We are either going to be filled with the world or the Word.  When we are filled with the world, we are going to think and behave like the world – reaping its death and destruction, and suffering needlessly.  But when we are filled with the Word of God, our minds will be renewed, and we will not only be able to discern God’s will in every situation, but we will reap spiritual and earthly blessings reserved only for His faithful ones.

   I believe that if we would spend more time seeking God’s priorities for our lives with an open heart and a willing mind, we would witness Him and His blessings showing up in our circumstances in greater ways than ever before.  And we would give Him more of the glory He deserves.  Scripture tells us:  “The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”  (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)  I am determined to have a heart that is “completely His.”  How about you?

   Lord, today, I ask You to help me to always make it my goal to please You. (2 Corinthians 5:9-10)  I pray that You would empower me by Your Spirit to no longer live for myself, but only for You and Your purposes for me. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)  Thank You that as I spend time in Your Word renewing my mind, You will lead me along the paths of Your greatest blessings and breakthroughs!  

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 9 22

Seek God Earnestly and Diligently

by J. M. Farro

   “But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He REWARDS those who [EARNESTLY AND DILIGENTLY] seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6 AMP

   This Bible verse states very plainly that we simply cannot please God without faith.  It also tells us that He gives us special rewards when we seek Him “earnestly and diligently.”  When we do something “earnestly,” we do it in a thorough and serious way, intending to succeed.  It means we keep seeking God until we find Him, not resting until we hear from Him in our situation or circumstance.  Doing something “diligently” means doing it energetically and persistently.  It’s the opposite of doing it lazily or shoddily.  We are more likely to be diligent about something if we love doing it.  When we love to seek God, we will naturally seek Him energetically and perseveringly, expecting Him to answer our call, and to fulfill our needs

   In walking closely with the Lord these past 30 years, I have discovered that one of the ways He “rewards” us for “earnestly and diligently” seeking Him, is to make us sensitive and obedient to His Spirit’s leading, especially in desperate times.

   If you want to learn what someone’s relationship with the Lord is really like, watch them closely when they are facing difficulty and pain.  They often don’t know how to pray, how to read their Bible, or how to hear God’s voice.  Often, they will seek out mature believers first, instead of seeking God.  And the results are often disastrous.

   Please don’t be like them.  Don’t seek the Lord half-heartedly.  Seek the Lord diligently and earnestly NOW, so that when trouble comes, you will readily receive the answers, victories, and rewards that He reserves only for His faithful ones.  Today, let me leave you with this precious promise from the Lord: “When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed…I’ll turn things around for you.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14 MSG)

   Lord, I ask that You teach me how to seek You earnestly and diligently all the rest of my days.  Remind me to always seek You first when I have any questions, dilemmas, or difficulties.  Don’t let me live my life dependent upon anyone but You.  But do send others to help me when it is Your will for me, after I have sought You.  Thank You for the untold rewards that will be mine for seeking You with all my heart!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 2 22

God’s Antidote for Disappointment

by J. M. Farro

   “I am the Lord; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.”  Isaiah 49:23 NIV

   I once saw a famous baseball player talking about his faith on television.  He spoke about how placing our confidence in people was a mistake, and how we should only put our hope in God.  In fact, he made a startling statement like, “People will let us down 100 percent of the time, but God will never let us down.”  If I had heard this man talking like this before I became a committed Christian years ago, I might have thought he was being terribly cynical.  But now I know better.  The Bible says, “It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in people.” (Psalm 118:8 NLT)  The truth is, whenever we put our confidence in people, or become dependent upon them for our needs, we will be disappointed.  Only God can make the statement – “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed” – and have it hold true. (Isaiah 49:23 NIV)  Jesus did not have a cynical or suspicious nature, and yet He did not put His confidence in people.  Scripture says:  “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because He knew what people were really like.  No one needed to tell Him about human nature.” (John 2:24-25 NLT)  Jesus loved people enough to die for them, but His faith and hope were in God, not in man.  We need to follow His example. (1 Peter 1:21)

   Years ago, I heard a godly man say that whenever we compromise God’s Word to gain or keep something or someone, we will lose what we are trying to hold on to.  I have learned the hard way that there is a lot of truth to that statement.  If you are involved in a relationship that is not God’s best for you, and you turn your back on the Lord’s will to please this person, you will either watch them slip away from you no matter what you do, or what is sweet between you now will eventually become sour.  Even when we are in God’s perfect will relationship-wise, we will face disappointment regularly.  So why would we want to be involved with a relationship that wasn’t God’s best for us?  If our confidence and hope are properly placed in God, HE will fulfill all our needs and desires.  Even when the Lord uses others to meet some of our needs, we are not to become dependent upon these people, or to place our confidence in them.  While we should appreciate them, we should depend only upon God.

   Some believers compromise their Christian values because they are afraid of being alone.  But those fears are unfounded because God has promised to provide ALL our needs if we let Him, and that includes our social and emotional needs.  Jesus knew better than anyone what it was like to be disappointed and alone.  Just before He went to the cross He said to His disciples:  “The time is coming – in fact, it is already here – when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving Me alone.  Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me.” (John 16:32 NLT)  Jesus knew that even if all of His loved ones deserted Him, His Heavenly Father would still be there for Him.  That’s a message for all of us to take to heart.  Today, it is my earnest prayer that you will put your wholehearted trust in the only One who can ever truthfully say – “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you!”  (Hebrews 13:15 TLB)

   Lord, right now, I commit myself to You and ask You to bring me into the center of Your will in every area of my life.  Don’t let me compromise my relationship with You to please myself or others.  When others disappointment me, I ask that You comfort me and remind me that Your presence and provision are always available to me.  Thank You that because my hope is in You, I won’t be disappointed!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 26 21

Our ‘New Beginning’ God

by J. M. Farro

   “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out!  Don’t you see it?  There it is!”  Isaiah 43:18-19 MSG  

   When my mother died several years ago, some of family members were lamenting the fact that her death brought “the end of an era” for our family.  In an effort to encourage them, I began telling them that endings can bring new beginnings.  We weren’t meant to keep looking back.  When we do, we get stuck.  God wants His people continually moving forward.  He wants us constantly looking ahead to the good things He has in front of us.

   This doesn’t mean that the Lord expects us to forget our loved ones when they leave this earth.  Not at all.  We should keep them in remembrance, and even talk about them to others.  But a season of mourning should never become a lifetime of mourning.  We can’t leave one foot in the past and expect to move forward, as the Lord intends for us to do.  When we are driving in our car, if we keep looking in our rearview mirror, we will eventually veer off course, and we will never get where we are supposed to go.

   Our God is a “new beginning” God.  He desires that we live our lives with great expectations about our future.  The Message Bible puts it this way:  “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life.  It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’” (Romans 8:15 MSG)  I am eagerly looking ahead to the amazing new things the Lord has in store.  How about you?

   Lord, when I suffer any kind of loss, help me to turn to You for the deep and lasting comfort, consolation, and healing that can only come from You.  Work in my heart and mind so that I will keep looking forward, and don’t let me get stuck in the past.  Fill me with a sense of hopeful expectation for my future.  Thank You that as I walk closely with You throughout each day, You will lead me along pleasant paths of peace, joy, breakthroughs, and blessings!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 19 21

A Fresh Wind for Our Sails

by J. M. Farro

   “Bring me back from gray exile.  Put a fresh wind in my sails!”  Psalm 51:12 MSG

   Here is the perfect verse to pray when you need a fresh touch from the Lord.  When you have lost your enthusiasm, your motivation, or your ambition.  When you need a Holy Spirit “nudge” to get going again.

   Perhaps you have heard someone say, “That took the wind out of my sails!”  It means that something happened, or someone said something, that made them feel less confident or determined to do something they had planned to do.  It means that they were left feeling disappointed, discouraged, and without hope.

   Perhaps you felt inspired by God to start a new project, a new career, a new job, or even a new ministry.  But then something or someone came along to discourage you, and to get you off track.  Or, perhaps the Lord has been showing you a new way to handle your finances in order to make them increase, instead of decrease.  Maybe God has been challenging you to start a new dietary plan or exercise routine that would improve your health and well-being.  Since Satan and his evil cohorts are aggressively against you making progress of any kind, they will do their best to send people across your path who will – intentionally or unintentionally – try to thwart your efforts.

   As followers of Christ, you and I are never without hope.  When people or circumstances threaten to deter or discourage us, we can turn to our God and say, “Put a fresh wind in my sails, Lord!”  Then, when you feel your mood brighten and your spirit lift, don’t forget Who deserves your thanks and praise!

   Lord, when I have lost my enthusiasm, ambition, or motivation to do what You are leading me to do, please give me a Holy Spirit nudge to get going again.  Fill me with a holy determination to lay hold of all the good things You have for me in this life.  Deliver and protect me from all disappointment and discouragement, and fill me with a fresh sense of hope.  Thank you that as I turn to You for help, You WILL put a fresh wind in my sails!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 12 21

Remove Every Obstacle

by J. M. Farro

   “And it shall be said, ‘Build up, build up, prepare the way; Remove EVERY OBSTACLE out of the way of My people.’”  Isaiah 57:14 NASB

   The Scriptures have a lot to say about obstacles.  One definition of obstacle is: “a thing that blocks one’s way, or prevents or hinders progress.”  If you read the Bible, you discover pretty quickly that our God is a God of progress.  It’s His will that we would be constantly growing in faith, increasing in our knowledge of Him, and becoming more like Christ all the time.  

   Henry Ford, the American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company, said this:  “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”  I submit that for the Christian, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the Savior. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

   Because the Lord knew that we would face opposition from the world, our own flesh, and the devil, He made provision for us ahead of time, and the promise above is one example.  As we are going about our daily business, focused on becoming all that God created us to be, and accomplishing all that He has called us to do – and we face resistance and opposition – the Lord intervenes and shouts to heaven and hell, “Remove EVERY OBSTACLE out of the way of My people!”  And we witness Him moving mountains on our behalf.  We participate in the process by praying, standing on His Word, and worshiping Him.

   Look at these words of Jesus in the Message Bible: “If you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over HUGE OBSTACLES.  This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump.  Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.’” (Matthew 21:21-22 MSG)  Hallelujah!

   Perhaps all you are seeing right now are obstacles.  You are not reading this message by chance today, dear one.  Take these words to heart, act on them in faith, and wait on the Lord to make a way for you where there seems to be no way!

   Lord, show me how to lay hold of You and all that You want me to have in this life, and in the next.  Teach me how to pray believing prayers, to study and stand on Your Word, and to worship You in ways that You desire and deserve.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You and Your purposes for my life, You will remove every obstacle out of my way!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 5 21

When All Else Fails

by J. M. Farro

   “Tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!” James 5:16 TPT

      Some years ago, the Lord showed me a famous quote that said, “Prayer succeeds when all else fails.”  These words were spoken by a man named E. M. Bounds, a lawyer, army chaplain, and clergyman who was known for his books on prayer.  At the time, I was struggling with some bad habits that were hindering my walk with God, and I was feeling hopeless and helpless.  Discovering this life-giving quote radically changed my perspective, and filled me with the hope I needed to overcome what I thought was impossible to overcome.

   One of the scriptural promises that bolstered my faith during this time was First John 5:14-15 (NIV): “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  This precious promise gave me the confidence I needed to pray and stand in faith for my deliverance.  Didn’t the Lord want me free from anything and everything that would hinder me from becoming all that He created me to be?  Absolutely.  So I could pray for freedom knowing that God was on my side, and that if I just refused to give up, and kept on praying, my victory was assured.

   Scripture says, “The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” (Proverbs 13:4 NIV)  The Holy Spirit showed me that if I will be “diligent” in prayer for those things that are my “desires” for myself and my loved ones – healing, salvation, freedom, provision – those desires will be “fully satisfied” by God Himself.

   Perhaps you have some deep desires and needs of your own today, and you feel as though you have tried everything, and failed miserably.  Take heart, dear one, because God is willing and able to help you.  I encourage you to keep praying and believing for those loved ones who have turned their backs on God.  Keep praying for those breakthroughs that you and yours desperately need.  Keep praying for the fulfillment of those promises and dreams that the Lord has planted in your heart.  When all else fails, your prayers WILL succeed!

   Lord, teach me how to pray prayers that are aligned with Your will and purposes for myself and others.  Give me the faith to believe that You want me and my loved ones to be saved, healed, free, and well provided for.  Deliver me from all of my fears and doubts, and show me how to pray and stand on Your great and precious promises in every situation and circumstance.  Thank You that when all else fails, my prayers WILL succeed!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 28 21

Calm Me Down and Cheer Me Up

by J. M. Farro

   “When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up.”  Psalm 94:19 MSG

   There are days when I feel as though my emotions are out of control.  Sometimes I know the reason for it, and other times, I don’t.  I have learned that it’s difficult to make wise decisions when I’m upset, anxious, depressed, or discouraged.  It’s difficult to pray effective, faith-filled prayers.  And the smallest task or obligation can seem overwhelming.

   When we feel like this, we can be tempted to withdraw – from other people, and even from the Lord Himself.  That’s when it’s critical for us to turn to God right away, and to pour out our hearts to Him.  He understands us even when we don’t understand ourselves.  He knows what we need better than we do.  Sometimes we have an idea of what would satisfy, heal, or comfort us.  But the truth is that usually, we haven’t got a clue what will help us most.  That’s why having an intimate and deeply personal relationship with the Lord is essential.  He always has a good report when the world and our inner selves are voicing doom and gloom.

   I love the Message Bible translation of Psalm 94:19:  “When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up.”  I have lost count of how many times I have cried out, “O Lord, calm me down and cheer me up!”  It’s amazing how I can feel like I need a sedative and a stimulant at the same time.  Praying this precious and powerful verse of Scripture delivers both, without any side effects. 

   I have lived a long time, and I have never seen as many troubles and pressures in the world as I am seeing now.  We have to remember that the Bible says that the devil is “filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:12 NIV)  If we will cling to the Lord and rely on His wisdom, strength, and comfort, we will not only overcome Satan’s attacks, but we will be able to fulfill our part in advancing God’s Kingdom.  So, the next time you find yourself “upset and beside yourself,” remember that the Lord is ready and waiting to “calm you down and cheer you up!”

   Lord, remind me not to try to make important decisions when my emotions are out of control.  Help me to reach out to You for comfort and strength the moment I have a need for them.  Teach me how to pray effective, faith-filled prayers, and draw me into a deeper walk with You.  Thank You for equipping me to be an overcomer and a world-changer for Christ!

   *Purchase J. M. Farro books on Amazon! Browse Amazon’s J. M. Farro page by clicking here!

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

    *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farro — with mid-week 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 21

How to Purchase J. M. Farro Books

by J. M. Farro

To Purchase J. M. Farro Books on Amazon, click here!

To Purchase J. M. Farro Books on ETSY, which can be signed by the author, click here!

Nov 21 21

Toxic Thoughts

by J. M. Farro

   “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.”  Proverbs 14:30 AMP

   This Amplified version of the verse above is my favorite translation for this Scripture.  I memorized it years ago, and I like to declare often, “My calm and undisturbed mind and heart are life and health to my body!”  Through His Word and Spirit, the Lord has taught me that my thoughts can greatly affect my emotional, mental, and physical health. 

   Recently, I read a new translation of this proverb that spoke to my heart in fresh, new ways.  “A mind that does not have trouble causes the body to be well.  But when someone thinks bad thoughts about other people, he becomes sick.” (Proverbs 14:30 EASY)  In other words, we don’t have to SPEAK negative words about another person in order to bring harm to ourselves, because even just THINKING “bad thoughts” about someone can make us “sick.”  As I meditated on this principle, the Spirit of God brought to my remembrance the many times this truth played out in my life – and in my body.

   Many years ago, when I was a young wife and mother, I sought medical treatment for severe depression and anxiety.  As I poured out my heart to my psychiatrist, he told me that it was perfectly okay to think bad thoughts about others, because my thought life couldn’t affect me or anyone else.  It’s no wonder that this man wasn’t able to give me much help, because years later, after I began studying the Bible, I discovered that our negative thoughts CAN do us serious harm – even causing us to suffer from anxiety and depression.

   Let’s look again at the Amplified translation of Proverbs 14:30: “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.”  Do we need to SPEAK words of envy, jealousy, or wrath for us to experience these emotions?  No.  All we have to do is to think and feel them inside of ourselves for them to be toxic for us.  The condition of our minds and hearts WILL affect our BODIES.  If you don’t believe it, the next time you start feeling sick, ask yourself what – or who – you have been thinking about.  Pray for wisdom and revelation, and allow the Lord to teach you how to cultivate “a calm and undisturbed mind and heart”!

   Lord, teach me how to discipline my thoughts.  Help me to make a habit of rejecting toxic thoughts as soon as they enter my mind.  Show me how to continually renew my mind with Your Word and truth.  Help me to avoid listening to, or watching, things that have a tendency to disturb me.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You in these areas, You will bless me with a “calm and undisturbed mind and heart!

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

   *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!

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