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Jun 10 19

Guide and Strengthen Yourself and Others

by J. M. Farro

   “For it will be pleasant if you keep [the words of the wise] in mind [incorporating them as guiding principles]; Let them be ready on your lips [to guide and strengthen yourself and others].  So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord, I have taught these things to you today, even to you.”  Proverbs 22:18-19 AMP

   This passage of God’s Word provides us with some of the best reasons to memorize the Scriptures.  When we “keep them in mind” they become “guiding principles” for our lives.  In other words, they determine our beliefs and our values.  And we begin to see everything and everyone from the perspective of Almighty God, instead of through the eyes of the world.  We learn what to say “yes” to, and what to say “no” to, and we position ourselves to fulfill our God-given purpose and potential.

   When we obey the Lord’s instructions to “Let [the Scriptures] be ready on [our] lips,” we allow them to “guide and strengthen [us] AND others.”  Speaking the Word of God out loud to ourselves is a very effective and powerful way to boost our faith and encourage our hearts.  When we declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” our spirits are lifted, and suddenly, we can rise above our circumstances, instead of feeling the crushing weight of them upon us. (Philippians 4:13)

   We can also use memorized Scripture to “guide and strengthen others.”  When people we know are going through hard times, and are looking for direction and consolation, we can share with them the promises of God.  The Lord will provide these golden opportunities to share His Word, and He will give us “the right words at the right time,” so we can make an eternal difference in others’ lives through the power of His Spirit. (Matthew 10:19-20 NLT)

   The passage above reveals its supreme purpose in memorizing Scripture – “So that your trust and reliance and confidence may be in the Lord.”  It is the Word that we have stored in our hearts that feeds our faith on a continual basis.  To neglect the Word of God is to starve our spirits.  On the other hand, keeping our spirits on a continual diet of Scripture makes us strong in spirit, and makes us formidable opponents of Satan and his dark forces.  Jesus used memorized verses of Scripture against Satan in the desert. (Matthew 4:4,7,10)  And we can do the same thing.  We can answer every temptation with the Word of God, which the apostle Paul called “the Sword of the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:17)

   We are living in a dangerous age where our trust and confidence in the Lord are continually being tested.  By memorizing Scripture and having it ready on our lips, we can overcome every challenge, and we can become the world-changers for Christ that He has called us to be!

   Lord, help me to memorize Your Word on a regular basis through the power of Your Spirit.  Teach me how to wield this “indispensable weapon” against all the doubt and unbelief that come against me. (Ephesians 6:17 MSG)  Help me to have Your promises ready on my lips to guide and strengthen myself and others, according to Your will and purposes.  Thank You for making me an overcomer and a serious threat to the forces of darkness!

   *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 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

Jun 2 19

If Anyone Attacks You

by J. M. Farro

   “If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”  Isaiah 54:15 NIV

   Shortly after I wrote about how the Lord has cared for and protected my pet ducks since I stopped complaining about them, and continually give thanks for them, my duck, Libby, became very ill.  At first, it didn’t occur to me that Libby’s sudden illness was a spiritual attack.  But after days of prayer and seeking God, I realized that it was no coincidence that, right after I gave my testimony about my pets, one of them was stricken.  I began using my authority in Christ to bind all satanic activity against Libby, and from then on, her health began to steadily improve.  In more than 19 years of raising ducks, I have never seen one so close to death recover so quickly and completely.

   One of the verses that the Lord gave me during Libby’s illness was Isaiah 54:15 (NIV).  “If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”  It was this precious promise that reassured me that God was not behind Libby’s illness, and that it was an attack from the forces of darkness against one of my pets in retaliation for giving my testimony of God’s goodness.  This promise also confirmed that Satan and his evil cohorts would have to “surrender” to me when I exercised my authority in Christ.

   The Message Bible translation of this verse says, “If anyone attacks you, don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them, and if any should attack, nothing will come of it.” (Isaiah 54:15 MSG)  Because God is sovereign, it’s too easy for us to think that when trouble comes our way, God is responsible, because He is allowing it.  Satan would like nothing better than for us to have this mindset, because then he can wreak havoc in our lives unhindered.

   When we are under attack in any way, it’s always a good idea to get alone with God, and to pray for His perspective in the matter.  We can ask Him questions, and pray for confirmation and clarification, so that we can know what – or who – is behind the attack.  We may find out that the dark forces are retaliating for a testimony we gave, or that we somehow opened a door and made ourselves vulnerable to demonic activity because of some sinful behavior.  Even if our trouble is our own fault, we can confess our sin, receive God’s forgiveness, and ask for His saving help.

   Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV)  Let’s make the most of our authority in Christ so that “if any should attack, nothing will come of it!”

   Lord, when my loved ones or I are under attack, reassure me that it is not Your doing.  Give me Your perspective in the matter, and reveal to me what is behind each assault on me and mine.  Teach me how to exercise my authority in Christ so that whoever attacks me will surrender to me.  Thank You that as I turn to You for revelation and assistance, my victory and success are guaranteed!

   *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 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

May 26 19

Be Someone’s Cheerleader

by J. M. Farro

   “So speak encouraging words to one another.  Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG

   I used to have a friend who once shared with me her exasperation with her husband, saying, “Why should I have to be his cheerleader?”  Apparently, there were times when this woman’s husband looked to her for encouragement, and instead of responding with a kind word of reassurance, she became indignant and indifferent.  Eventually, my friend and her husband were separated and divorced.

   What is encouragement?  It’s “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”  The Bible makes it clear that followers of Christ are called to be encouragers.  “Encourage each other and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMP)  Scripture even goes so far as to say that encouragement can prevent believers from developing a hard heart, and from falling into sin.  “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

   Life has a way of pushing us down, but we have the power to lift others up with a kind word of reassurance.  “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25 NLT)  And we are called to make a difference in someone’s life with an expression of support, so that they, in turn, can make a difference in someone else’s life.  “Let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24 AMP)  We should never doubt that words of hope have the ability to save marriages, families, and ministries.

   In chapter six of the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul talks about how believers are engaged in a war with the forces of evil.  The Message Bible says, “Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (Ephesians 6:18 MSG)  In a way, you and I ARE called to be cheerleaders, especially for our fellow believers.  When the Lord puts someone in your path who needs a word of encouragement, will you be their spiritual cheerleader so that they can become all that God has created them to be?

   Lord, enable and anoint me by the power of Your Spirit to be the encourager that You have called me to be.  Teach me how to “pray for [my] brothers and sisters” in Christ, and to keep their spirits up “so that no one falls behind or drops out.”  Thank You that my words of encouragement will build others up and draw them to You!

   *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 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

 

May 19 19

How Silly Talk Becomes Sinful

by J. M. Farro

   “Let there be no filthiness and SILLY TALK, or coarse [obscene or vulgar] joking, because such things are not appropriate [for believers]; but instead speak of your thankfulness [to God].”  Ephesians 5:4 AMP

   I recently did a study on why the Bible condemns “silly talk” in the lives of believers, because I know that our speech can affect God’s ability to bless us and use us for His glory.  I discovered that God is not against humor, in general.  But He says that “silly talk” is “not appropriate” for followers of Christ in certain instances.

   First, humor can be sinful when it doesn’t fit the occasion.  In serious situations, or when we know that others are hurting, it is inappropriate for us to use humor to attempt to get people to “lighten up.”  Scripture says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15 NASB)

   Second, silly talk is wrong when it is self-serving, and we are trying to look clever at the expense of others.  The Bible says, “Anyone who would trick someone and then say, ‘I was only joking’ is like a fool who shoots flaming arrows into the air and accidentally kills someone.”  (Proverbs 26:18-19 ERV)  It’s okay to have a healthy sense of playfulness, but when our words are insulting or hurtful, we have crossed over into the enemy’s territory, and we are at risk of doing irreparable harm to our relationships.

   Third, humor is sinful when it is blatantly demeaning to another person or group.  Jesus said, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment.  Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.  Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” (Luke 6:37 MSG)

   Fourth, insulting others – even in jest – is sinful.  Jesus said, “If you insult someone, you will be judged by the high court.  And if you call someone a fool, you will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22 ERV)  Even if someone insults us first, it’s wrong for us to retaliate.  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV)

   The fifth one is a no-brainer.  It is never appropriate for a Christian to tell jokes that are rude, crude, or dirty.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

   We have all known people – including Christians – who try to be funny, but eventually go too far.  They totally ignore the effect that they have on other people, and that, in itself, is sinful.  We are called to “build others up,” and to constantly “speak of [our] thankfulness to God.”  The Lord once told the prophet Jeremiah, “If you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be My spokesman.” (Jeremiah 15:19 NIV)  God is saying the same thing to you and me today.  Let’s not hinder Him from blessing us and using us to the full extent that He longs to!

   Lord, I regret the times that I have tried to be funny and get a laugh from others at the expense of someone else.  Work in my heart so that I will avoid the kind of silly talk and coarse joking that “are not appropriate for believers.”  Teach me how to speak “kind words [that] heal and help,” and to avoid “cutting words [that] wound and maim.” (Proverbs 15:4 MSG)  Thank You that as I speak words of life and thankfulness to God, You will bless me and use me in extraordinary ways for Your glory!

   *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 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

May 13 19

Peace is Protection

by J. M. Farro

   “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”  Proverbs 14:30 NIV

   As I was going about my business the other day, the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “Peace is protection!”  As I sought Him during my devotional time, He showed me some Scriptures to help me understand this principle.

   Proverbs 14:30 (AMP) says: “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.”  Suddenly, I understood what the Lord was trying to tell me.  When we maintain “a calm and undisturbed” mindset as we face each day and all that it brings – when we avoid envy, jealousy, and wrath (anger) – we are ministering “life” and “health” to ourselves.  And we are literally protecting our hearts, minds, and bodies.

   As we look at other translations of this marvelous verse, we can glean more insight from it.  The NLT version reads: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.”  The Living Bible says: “A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away.”  And the Message Bible says: “A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.”  Think for a moment what “runaway emotions” means.  We are talking here about some of the most destructive emotions we can have, including anger, jealousy, envy, malice, spitefulness, and bitterness.  While displaying these emotions can do others harm, they will mostly harm ourselves, and that’s the main point that this Scripture is trying to make.

   Jesus didn’t die so that His followers could suffer the same fate that those who reject Him do.  One reason He sacrificed Himself was so that we could enjoy the kind of peace that only the Prince of Peace can give.  He said: “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.  [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]” (John 14:27 AMP)  When we are facing dark and painful times, if we will allow the Savior’s “perfect peace to calm [us],” and to give us the “courage and strength” we need for “every challenge,” we will lay hold of the victories and rewards that He has in store for us.  And we will experience the divine protection that only His peace can give!

   Lord, today I ask You to teach me how to resist “runaway emotions” and all of the destruction they can bring.  Grant me “a calm and undisturbed mind and heart” that constantly ministers life and health to my body and every fiber of my being.  Thank You that as I walk in the peace that You bought for me on Calvary, I will have the courage and strength I need for every challenge I face!

   *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 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

 

May 5 19

Keep Away from Strife

by J. M. Farro

   “It is an honor for a man to keep away from strife [by handling situations with thoughtful foresight], but any fool will [start a] quarrel [without regard for the consequences].”  Proverbs 20:3 AMP   

   I have discovered a principle in my six decades of living that to this day baffles me:  Starting an argument is the easiest thing to do, and ending it is the most difficult.  So when I saw the proverb above in the new Amplified translation, I decided to take some time to study it in-depth.

   What is strife?  It can be a bitter quarrel or conflict, discord, competition, or rivalry.  And in the eyes of God, it’s a sin.  So God says that our behavior is honorable when we “keep away from strife.”  I love how the Amplified Bible tells us one way to avoid strife.  “By handling situations with thoughtful foresight.”

   What is “thoughtful foresight”?  It’s “the act of looking to and thinking about the future.”  In other words, it’s having “regard for the consequences,” as the second half of Proverbs 20:3 states.  It’s asking ourselves in that split second that we have before we respond to a tense situation, “Where might this argument lead me or us?  Do I really want to go down that road?  What if there’s no turning back?”

   It helps to remember that Satan wants to make a big deal out of everything, even the smallest differences between us and others.  He knows that if he can get us into strife with our loved ones, neighbors, or coworkers, he can create havoc in our lives and in our relationships.  We can neutralize his sinister maneuvers by refusing to take the bait when he tries to use others to steal our peace.  One thing that helps me tremendously is to refuse to have a “me-against-them” mindset.  The devil is adversarial, and when we see others as our bitter adversaries, we are playing right into his evil hands, and we will suffer for it.

   The Bible says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:16 KJV)   Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in.  As followers of Christ, you and I must take strife seriously, and avoid it like the plague, if we are going to be the world-changers that He has called us to be.  When we make the decision to be peacemakers instead of troublemakers, we will have all the help of heaven on our side!

   Lord, teach me how to “keep away from strife,” as You have called me to.  Work in my heart so that I can be a peacemaker and a world-changer for Christ.  Help me to cooperate with You and Your Spirit to develop the fruit of patience in me.  Don’t let me live my life “without regard for the consequences” of my hasty words and actions.  Thank You that as I do my best to obey You in this area, You will bless me and use me in new and exciting ways for Your glory!

   *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 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

Apr 28 19

Shutting the Door on the Destroyer

by J. M. Farro

   “And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us…” 1 Corinthians 10:10-11 NRSV

   When my husband, Joe, and I first began raising pet ducks many years ago, we had a beautiful female named Daisy.  Because we also had two male ducks at the same time, we really had our hands full.  It wasn’t long before I began complaining and grumbling about all of the work involved with being duck owners.  As I cleaned up after them each day, I found myself praying, “Lord, please don’t let these pets be such a burden to me!”  Even though Daisy’s breed of ducks had an expected lifespan of up to 8 years, our Daisy fell ill and died after only 18 months.  We were heartbroken, and I sought the Lord to find out what we could have done differently to extend her life.

   The Lord showed me that my grumbling and complaining – and continually calling our little Daisy a “burden” – opened the door to the Destroyer, and caused her to die prematurely.  Scripture tells us:  “And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us…” (1 Corinthians 10:10-11 NRSV)  I knew that the Lord was right.  I had definitely contributed to Daisy’s premature death, and I repented for my sin, and asked God for His forgiveness.  I also asked Him to help me to resist complaining in the days to come, knowing that I could not do it on my own.

   Since I learned this painful lesson many years ago, I have done my best to resist grumbling about my pets and the work involved with their care.  And it has made all the difference.  Today, our duck Libby is seven years old, and our drake Larry is 19.  And every time I do my daily duck chores, I declare, “Thank You, Lord, for Libby and Larry!”  And I keep saying it, especially when I am cleaning up their worst messes.  I am practicing God’s scriptural principles which say, “In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 AMP)  “Continually giving thanks to God” for Libby and Larry has not only extended their lives, but has made my chores easier and more enjoyable for me.

   Pets can die for all sorts of reasons, so we shouldn’t assume that we did something wrong when they pass away.  But we have to remember that we have an enemy, Satan, who makes it his business to “steal and kill and destroy” every chance he gets. (John 10:10)  And we mustn’t make his job easier by cooperating with him by using our mouths to complain instead of give thanks.  What – or who – is it that you can give thanks to God for today?

   Lord, today I ask Your forgiveness for the times that I have complained and grumbled about the people and things you have blessed me with.  Give me a grateful heart, and remind me that my gratitude creates a hedge of protection around the things and people I love.  Thank You that as I resist complaining, and instead “continually give thanks to God,” Your divine blessings of provision and protection will continually flow in my life!

   *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 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

Apr 22 19

Peace and Stability

by J. M. Farro

   “I have set the Lord always before me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:8 NIV

   During my devotional time with the Lord one morning, I asked Him how I could have more peace and stability in my life.  I was getting weary of feeling like I was on an emotional roller coaster all the time, and I knew that God had something better for me.  When He led me to the verse above, I asked Him to give me some insight into what this Scripture meant about keeping the Lord “before me.”

   First, He showed me that I have to continually put God’s ways and interests before my own.  Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV)  In other words, we should always put “His way of doing and being right” above our own. (AMP)  The Lord promises in the second half of this verse that as we get our priorities straight, He will provide everything we need to live the abundant life He’s called us to.  (“All these things shall be added to you.”)

   Second, I need to keep the Lord before my eyes.  Scripture says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)  As we stay focused on Christ – instead of on ourselves, other people, or the events that surround us – our faith will be steady and strong, and we will be less likely to stray from God’s perfect plans for us, which He says are plans for prosperity and peace. (Jeremiah 29:11)

   Third, I must keep the Lord before me by letting Him stay in the lead.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 NKJV)  Christians are often referred to as “Christ-followers.”  By allowing the Lord to take the lead in every area of our life, and in every matter that concerns us, we will be spared from all of the obstacles, hardships, and heartaches that He desperately wants us to avoid.

   Besides keeping the Lord “before” us, we need to keep Him at our “right hand,” as this verse from Psalm 16 says.  “Right hand” here means the place of highest honor, which is where the Scripture says Jesus is, in respect to the Father.  “Then God put [Christ] in the place of honor at His right hand as Prince and Savior.” (Acts 5:31 NLT)  As we give the Lord His rightful place in our life, we will experience the unshakable peace and stability that His Word promises.  The verse that follows in this psalm reveals that our Christ-centered life will also result in abundant joy and thanksgiving to God:  “No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts His praises!”  (Psalm 16:9 NLT)

   Do you long to have more peace, joy, and stability in your life?  Then follow this biblical formula for success, and take hold of the blessed inheritance that is waiting for you in Christ!

   Lord, today I surrender myself to You anew, and I place You on the throne of my life, where You belong.  When something or someone threatens to take Your rightful place, deal with me until my wholehearted devotion to You is restored.  May my declaration of faith forever be – “I have set the Lord always before me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken”!  (Psalm 16:8 NIV)

   *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 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

Apr 14 19

When We Miss God

by J. M. Farro

   “I do nothing without consulting the Father.”  John 5:30 NLT

   I recently heard a godly man say, “The problems you are facing today are a direct result of your failure to seek God’s wisdom in the past.”  As I gave some thought to his bold statement, I realized that there was a lot of truth in it.  And I immediately began thinking of how it applied to my current car situation.

   A few years ago, my husband, Joe, decided to buy an extended warranty for our oldest car.  He had figured everything out on paper, reasoning that this plan was going to save us a lot of money in the long run.  The only problem was that he didn’t pray about it before he handed more than $2,000 over to this insurance company.  And when our car broke down and needed almost $3,000 worth of repairs, this company refused to honor our warranty.  After several weeks of pleading and demanding, we faced the painful reality that we had been swindled.

   As I sought God about the matter, I asked Him to forgive Joe and me for failing to seek His wisdom and guidance before we shelled out so much money for that auto warranty.  And I asked Him to come to our rescue, even though we didn’t deserve it.  Soon afterwards, we got a call from the manufacturer of our vehicle, saying that they would pay for more than 90% of our repair bill.  And we thanked God for His mercy and grace.

   In John 5:30 (NLT), Jesus says, “I do nothing without consulting the Father.”  If we would follow the Savior’s example, we could save ourselves a world of unnecessary loss, disappointment, and regret.  We could even save a lot of time and money.  While God can, and often does, redeem the mistakes we make, He would much rather keep us out of trouble in the first place – IF we would just seek His wisdom and guidance when we have a decision to make.

   What is it that the Lord desires you to consult Him about today?

   Lord, when I have decisions or plans to make, help me to turn to You for Your perfect wisdom and direction.  Guard me from depending upon my own reasoning and rationale, which could lead to making costly mistakes.  Thank You that as I learn to consult You and seek Your perspective for all of my purchases, plans, and projects, I will save time, money, and energy in the long run!

   *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 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

Apr 7 19

Don’t Dwell on the Past

by J. M. Farro

   “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”  Isaiah 43:18 NIV

   The house that I grew up in is up for sale right now.  My dad has been dead for almost 22 years, and my mom passed away five months ago.  Our old house has been cleaned out so thoroughly that it looks very much like it did when it was new and we moved into it over 50 years ago.

   As I studied the realtor’s photos of each room of our old home, I tried to visualize my family and me in each one.  I pictured my father, my mother, and my three sisters – even my paternal grandmother – laughing, sharing, and even crying within the walls of that house.  And waves of sorrow swept over me.  As I began to feel physical symptoms in the pit of my stomach, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to stop.  But I kept dwelling on the past, even though it was causing me pain, not caring about the consequences.

   The next day, I woke up feeling sick all over.  I sought the Lord for His wisdom, already knowing in my heart what the cause of my illness was.  Just as I suspected, those moments I spent dwelling on my family history the night before – soaking in the grief and the feelings of loss – had impacted my physical body and my health.  God gave me clear confirmation in the matter, allowing me to suffer the natural consequences of my actions, so that I would be much more careful in the future about dwelling on the past in ways that could do me harm.

   God commands His people in the Scriptures, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” (Isaiah 43:18 NIV)  Why is the Lord against us dwelling on the past?  Because doing so can cause us to get stuck where we are.  When our focus is on the past, it’s too easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves.  Or to focus on our regrets.  Or to think that our best days are behind us.  Worst of all, dwelling on our past can make us feel unthankful for all of the blessings in our lives, especially the blessings we have in the present.

   In the next verse of this passage of Scripture, God goes on to say, “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)  If we put these two verses together, we see that the Lord wants us to resist dwelling on the past so that we can “perceive” the “new thing” He wants to do in our lives.  He knows that if we are unreceptive to the brand-new things He’s about to do, then we might delay or prevent them from coming to pass.  Don’t miss the excitement that is in the Lord’s voice within these verses.  He knows that what He has in store for us is far better than anything we could imagine.  The Living Bible translation bears this out when it says, “But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do!” (v. 18)

  What is it in your past that you have been dwelling on?  On behalf of the Lord, I urge you today – “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)

    Lord, I don’t want to miss out on any of the wonderful plans You have for my life.  Teach me how to resist dwelling on the past in ways that will cause me to get stuck.  Show me how to constantly move forward into the better things You have for me up ahead.  Guard me from self-pity, feelings of regret, and unthankfulness, and help me to maintain an attitude of gratitude at all times.  Thank You that as I keep my eyes of faith open, I will be able to perceive the new things You have in store for me!

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