Skip to content
Jan 12 20

God’s Servants Must Not Quarrel

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.  A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” 2 Timothy 2:23-24 NLT

   Some time ago, I heard from a man who challenged some of my views.  I try to be open to other people’s opinions, especially when they are offered with good intentions, and in Christian love.  But I had the distinct impression that this man didn’t just want to offer me a different perspective – he wanted to debate with me.  I admit that I have a problem with Christians who want to debate.  Have you ever met any of these folks?  They don’t just want to understand your feelings about a particular subject.  They want YOU to know what THEY think.  And they are not going to be satisfied until they convince you that their opinions are the right ones.  They are a good example of the Proverb that says: “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2 NLT)

   I believe that some Christians have a God-given gift for debating.  But I also believe that this is more uncommon than most of us think.  If you look up the definition of “debate” in the dictionary, you will find words like “fight” and “argue.”  In fact, the word “battle” is at the root of “debate.”  Knowing this, I think God’s people need to take this kind of thing more seriously.  The apostle Paul wrote: “Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.  A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” (2 Timothy 2:23-24 NLT)  I can’t tell you how many times these verses have prevented me from becoming involved in foolish debates with other people, both Christians and non-Christians.  Why does the Bible warn against this sort of thing?  Paul says it beautifully – “It is of no value, and it only ruins those who listen.” (2 Timothy 2:14 NIV)  I have witnessed so many believers making this sad mistake, and doing more harm than good, that I have developed a healthy aversion to getting involved in these destructive discussions.

   One of the things I have learned from being in ministry is that if you want to make a real difference for God, you will attract a lot of opposition – from believers and nonbelievers alike.  The apostle Paul said that when God opened a door of opportunity for him, along with it came “many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:9)  We can’t expect the devil to roll out a red carpet for us when we make a decision to impact the world for Christ.  So we shouldn’t be too surprised when he incites people to challenge or criticize our views, or our ministry efforts.  When he does, the worst thing we can do is allow ourselves to become intimidated and fearful.  Giving in to these tactics will only cause the enemy to parade these troublesome people in front of us on a regular basis.  And we will never fulfill the call of God on our lives.

   When this man challenged me, I prayed and sought the Lord about it, asking Him for HIS perspective on the matter.  It was then that the Lord led me to a passage in Jeremiah that He had led me to many times before.  It says: “Get up and get dressed.  Go out, and tell them whatever I tell you to say.  Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.  For see, today I have made you immune to their attacks… They will try [to stand against you], but they will fail.  For I am with you, and I will take care of you.  I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:17-19 NLT)  God has made it clear to me more than once that if I want to be His mouthpiece, He expects me to say exactly what He tells me to say, without worrying too much about how other people react.  I heard one godly man put it this way – “Obey God, and let HIM take care of the consequences.”

   The next time someone challenges your ministry efforts, or tries to draw you into a debate, don’t automatically assume that you are doing something wrong.  You could be doing something right.  Let this precious promise from God’s Word encourage your heart today:  “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”!  (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)

   Lord, when someone challenges my beliefs or my ministry efforts, help me to turn to You for wisdom and guidance.  Give me the discernment I need to know when someone is trying to debate with me, to undermine my faith, or to hinder my service for You.  Guard me from foolish discussions that will do more harm than good.  Thank You that as I concentrate on pleasing You, I will enjoy increase, promotion, and honor!

   *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

 

 

Jan 5 20

When Others are Led Astray

by J. M. Farro

   “Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?”  2 Corinthians 11:29 NLT

   I was pouring my heart out to the Lord the other day about the new ground the devil and his cohorts were gaining as a result of more people than ever being led astray.  I could feel the anger and indignation rising up inside of me, and getting to the point where it was almost unbearable.  That’s when the Holy Spirit led me to the apostle Paul’s words in the Second Book of Corinthians:  “Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?” (2 Corinthians 11:29 NLT)  All of a sudden, I realized that I was in good company, because the great apostle Paul knew what it was like to “burn with anger” when others were “led astray.”

   Sometimes, as devoted followers of Christ, we need someone to validate our strong feelings when we see others “led into sin” (NIV).  Well, I’m here to tell you today that if you share the apostle Paul’s feelings and mine when you see others led astray, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone.  And you don’t have to stand idly by while Satan convinces more and more people to believe his lies.  You and I have a powerful weapon against the devil’s evil strategies, and it’s called prayer.  But if you allow him to deceive you into thinking that your prayers won’t make a difference, then he will gain even more ground in the days ahead.

   Besides praying, we can speak out and take action as the Holy Spirit leads us to, and we can set a Christlike example to the lost and wavering.  Most of all, we must NEVER compromise with the wicked.  Scripture says, “If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” (Proverbs 25:26 NLT)  We can’t expect to make an impact on this world for Christ when we are basing our values on this evil world’s system, instead of the Word of God.  Jesus said:  “Let Me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” (Matthew 5:13 MSG)

   What about the people who are leading others into sin?  Jesus describes their fate when He says:  “Stumbling blocks [temptations and traps set to lure one to sin] are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1 AMP)  Because our God is a God of justice and holiness, the people who lead others astray will one day suffer a terrible fate.  But there will be great rewards for those of us who refuse to compromise with the wicked, and who follow the Lord in wholehearted devotion.  Today, take heart in the knowledge that you and I are on the winning side!

   Lord, whenever I see others being led into sin, help me to pray the prayers of Your heart, and to take whatever action Your Spirit leads me to.  Teach me how to set a Christlike example on a consistent basis, so that You can use me to draw others to You and Your life-changing Truth.  Don’t ever let me compromise with the wicked in any way.  Instead, help me to stand strong again Satan’s evil strategies and deceptions.  Thank You that You are a God of justice, and I will reap a harvest of blessings for my faithfulness! (Isaiah 30:18 NIV; Galatians 6:9 NLT)

   *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

 

Dec 29 19

New Assignments

by J. M. Farro

   “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…you are to move out from your positions and follow it.  Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”  Joshua 3:3-4 NIV

   If you have been walking with the Lord for any length of time, then you probably already know how He likes to call upon His followers to accomplish things that are “over our heads” in our estimation.  Often, as soon as we get comfortable doing the works He’s assigned us to do, He presents us with a new assignment that challenges us even further.  This happened to me recently when the Lord began speaking to my heart about a new project that He wanted me to begin working on.  Not only was it something that I had never done before, but I wasn’t even sure I knew where or how to begin.  As I turned to the Lord in prayer with my misgivings, He led me to a passage in the Book of Joshua which encouraged me, and helped alleviate my fears.  “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…you are to move out from your positions and follow it.  Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” (Joshua 3:3-4 NIV)

   “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God…”  Here, the Lord was speaking to me about my focus.  If I was going to overcome the fears and misgivings attached to doing something so new and challenging, then I was going to have to keep my eyes on Him.  I thought of Hebrews 12:2 (TLB), which says “Keep your eyes on Jesus,” as well as the Amplified translation which says, “Looking away from all that will distract.”  When we set our mind to follow the Lord’s will, and especially to accomplish something that will impact the lives of others in His name, the dark forces are going to do everything in their power to distract us and get us off course.  But if we determine to stay focused on the Lord and His will for us, nothing and no one can keep us from the success and rewards He has in store for us.

  “You are to move out from your positions and follow it.”  This was God’s way of telling me that even if I was feeling fearful, I should still move forward, trusting Him to lead me.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27 NKJV)  The Lord is always there, ready to offer us His guidance and help every moment of every day.  When He assigns us a task, He doesn’t say, “Here’s your assignment.  Get started, and just do the best you can.”  No, He comes alongside of us, and wants to be with us every step of the way, with words of wisdom and encouragement, and with all the strength and power we need to succeed for His glory.  And for those times when we fear that we aren’t hearing clearly from Him, we can choose to believe that God is true to His Word and declare, “Thank You, Lord, that I always hear and follow Your voice!”

   “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”  God assured me that as I kept my eyes on Him, and as I determined to follow His lead, I would know which way to go, even though I was traveling through new territory.  The Lord’s promise to us is:  “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16 NIV)  You and I don’t have to be afraid when the Lord leads us “along unfamiliar paths” – not when we have the presence and power of a mighty and merciful God.  He longs to use you in new and exciting ways for His glory.  Will you answer His call?

   Lord, help me to never shrink back from any of the new assignments You have for me.  Teach me how to keep my focus on You, and to follow Your lead with Christlike confidence.  Grant me Your discernible presence as I pursue Your purpose for my life.  Thank You that as I travel along unfamiliar paths with You, I will have everything I need to succeed! 

   *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

Dec 22 19

Encouragement for the Faithful

by J. M. Farro

   “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”  1 Kings 19:18 NIV

   These comforting words were spoken by God to the great prophet, Elijah.  At the time, Elijah was feeling sorry for himself and lamenting the fact that he was the only one left in Israel who was true to God.  The Lord sets the prophet straight by reassuring him that a faithful remnant still exists in the land, and Elijah is not alone.

   I often hear from believers who are feeling downhearted and discouraged because of all the people around them who profess to be Christians, but who are living carnal, worldly lives.  If you are one of these faithful ones, I have some encouraging news for you today.  Just like there existed a faithful remnant in Elijah’s time, there exists one today.  The apostle Paul writes about it in Romans 11:2-5 (NIV), where he says:  “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” (v. 5)

   Even though we are not alone in serving the Lord faithfully, we will FEEL alone sometimes.  That’s when we need to heed some practical advice from the Bible so that we won’t lose heart or be tempted to backslide.  The author of Hebrews writes:  “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)  If we don’t keep our eyes on the Lord, and if we let our eyes shift to focusing on other believers – especially carnal ones – we can risk becoming doubtful and discouraged.  That’s exactly what the enemy of our souls, Satan, wants.  He will parade all kinds of Christians before us who are living sloppy lives.  And he will try to convince us that the Christian life is simply too hard, and that God is expecting too much from us.  Yes, it’s true that trying to live a Christlike life can be hard.  But those of us who have learned the hard way could attest to the fact that living our lives apart from Christ is even harder.  Besides that, God has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can follow Jesus and become more like Him each day, as we devote ourselves to Him and His Word.

   You may feel like you are the only believer who is suffering and feeling depressed right now, but you are not.  I know exactly how you feel.  And I am urging you, in the words of the apostle Peter, to “remember that Christians all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:9 NLT)  You are not alone in this fight.  Countless other faithful believers are standing alongside of you, and I am one of them.  As Paul instructed the believers of his day:  “Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, just as I do, and as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in worldly affairs, for then you cannot satisfy the One who has enlisted you in His army.” (2 Timothy 2:3-4 TLB)  Remember this – if you focus on the misdeeds of other Christians, you will live a life of frustration and mediocrity, and you will never be able to do much for God.  But if you will keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, you will live a life of excellence and abundance, reaping earthly and heavenly blessings that are reserved exclusively for God’s most faithful ones!

   Lord, forgive me for the times that I have gotten distracted and discouraged by compromising Christians.  I pray that from now on, their conduct will create in me a new resolve to devote myself to You and Your ways more and more.  Equip me for victory in every area of my life.  Thank You that my continued faithfulness will prove Your promises true!

   *Join the J. M. Farro Devotionals group on Facebook, and connect with J. M. Farrowith 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

Dec 15 19

Negative Reports

by J. M. Farro

   “You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”  Philippians 4:8 MSG

   When I was growing up, my paternal grandmother lived with me and my family.  She listened to news reports day and night, and she would relate the most disturbing ones to me and my sisters.  Granny used the excuse that she wanted to warn us about all of the evil in the world, but all she did was instill us with fear – not the healthy kind, but the irrational and destructive kind.  When we tried to tell her that she shouldn’t keep listening to negative reports, she would respond with a sarcastic comment such as, “Am I supposed to bury my head in the sand?”  I thought about my grandmother’s comments some years later when I was getting counseling for depression and anxiety, and my counselor warned me not to listen to daily news reports.  I distinctly remember her telling me, “It’s not good for you.” 

   Over the years, I have discovered how right my counselor was, and how subjecting myself to constant negative reports can fill me with fear and dread.  The Bible tells us: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)  The fact is that if we are going to keep these commands, then we are going to have to be careful about what we watch and listen to.  The Bible issues warning after warning about what we allow into our eyes and ears, and those who ignore these warnings can suffer mentally, emotionally, and physically

   What are some of the things that we can do to avoid the fears that the world’s system tries to instill in us?  First and foremost, we must keep our eyes on God.  Scripture says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2 TLB)  And also, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus.” (Hebrews 3:1 NIV)  It’s all about focus.  A good way for us to focus on God, and the things of God, is to spend plenty of time communicating with Him through prayer and simple conversation.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB)  Keeping a running dialog with God day and night is a powerful way to bring stability and security to our lives.

   If listening to the news regularly fills you with worry, then don’t listen to it.  You’d be better off “burying your head in the sand,” than allowing negative reports to make you fearful and anxious.  God has given us the ability to discipline our thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)  If we don’t use this ability to discipline our minds, and what goes into our minds, we will make ourselves vulnerable to the satanic “strongholds” that these verses speak of.  Isaiah 26:3 (TLB) says:  “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord.”  Every time your mind wanders in a dangerous direction, discipline your thoughts and get them squarely back on God.  Then you will experience His unshakable peace, no matter what is going on around you.

   Another thing we must do is to remind ourselves that God is in control, and He is still on His throne, no matter how chaotic things may seem.  David said:  “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19 NASB)  There were times when David was surrounded by tens of thousands of enemies, and he remained stable and confident in the Lord.  How did he do it?  He never forgot his God’s ability to rule and overrule.  He declared:  “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You stretch out Your hand against the anger of my foes, with Your right hand You save me.” (Psalm 138:7 NIV)  God knows how to take care of His people in the midst of trouble and turmoil.  And as David discovered and declared:  “In times of disaster [God’s people] will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.” (Psalm 37:19 NIV)   

   You and I have the power to live the abundant life in a world of chaos and uncertainty.  Let’s keep our eyes on the Master, so we can do exactly that!

   Lord, please help me to shun negative reports that will only serve to disturb and unsettle me.  Remind me often that no matter how chaotic my world gets, You are still in control.  Teach me how to keep a running dialog with You day and night in ways that will draw me closer to You all the time.  Thank You that as I keep my eyes and thoughts on You, I will experience Your unshakable peace!

   *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

Dec 8 19

Believe that Jesus is Willing

by J. M. Farro

   “Jesus reached out and touched him and said, ‘Of course I am willing to heal you, and now you will be healed.’”  Luke 5:13 TPT

   If you are in need of some form of healing today, then this verse of Scripture should cause you to rejoice.  Luke the Physician records an incident where a man with leprosy falls at Jesus’ feet, and begs to be healed.  He tells the Master, “If You are only willing, You could completely heal me.” (Luke 5:12 TPT)  Jesus doesn’t hesitate.  He reaches out and touches the man, and tells him, “Of course I am willing to heal you, and now you will be healed.” (Luke 5:13 TPT)  I especially like these verses in The Passion Translation, because they better express the emotion within this extraordinary event.

   Think about the faith of the afflicted man in this account.  He didn’t just have leprosy, but he had “an advanced case of leprosy.” (Luke 5:12 AMP)  Bible scholars say that this meant that a lot of his bodily tissue was already gone.  So he definitely needed a creative miracle.  And, to his credit, he believed that Jesus could give him one.  He just wasn’t certain if the Lord was willing to do it.  The Master puts the man’s doubts to rest by expressing His readiness to heal him, and then going ahead and doing it!  I have often had the same doubts that the man in this account demonstrated.  Perhaps you have, too.  We believe that the Lord is able to do anything – able to heal anything.  But we’re just not 100% convinced that He’s willing.

   There have been many times when I, personally, did believe that God wanted to heal me.  And I have seen Him work wonders on my behalf.  One such example is when, years ago, I was taking aerobics classes to get in shape.  I injured my left shoulder so badly that for years, I could hardly move it, and when I did, it caused me excruciating pain.  I suffered that way for more than ten years, until I surrendered my life to Christ, and began studying His Word in-depth.  I became convinced that God wanted me well and whole, and I began praying and standing on His promises of healing.  And, some months later, He did heal me.  Doctors told me that I was going to need surgery on that shoulder because it was severely, and irreparably, damaged.  But the Lord granted me a creative miracle – giving me a brand-new shoulder – and more than 25 years later, I am still free from pain.  And I could give you more testimonies of creative miracles like this one – including the time that the Lord delivered me from blinding migraine headaches, after I had them for decades.  

   I believe that God can, and does, use modern medicine and doctors to heal His people, and I see my own doctors regularly.  But I also believe that, because man’s ability to heal is so limited, the Lord often intervenes in mighty ways to deliver His devoted ones when they cry out to Him for help.  Jesus told two blind men who came to Him for healing, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29 NIV)  May we always demonstrate the kind of faith that takes the limits off of our God and His willingness to rescue us!

   Lord, when I need any form of healing, help me to turn to You first for wisdom and guidance.  Fill me with the faith I need to receive the healing You have in store for me, and help me to cooperate with You for the building of my faith by reading and listening to Your Word. (Romans 10:17)  Teach me how to take care of my health, and to see my doctors regularly.  But don’t let me hesitate to believe You for creative miracles when You are willing to grant them.  Thank You that as I keep my faith in You – and not in doctors or medicines – I will be a powerful testimony to others of Your glory and grace!

   *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

Dec 1 19

Anger Causes Mistakes

by J. M. Farro

   “A wise man controls his temper.  He knows that anger causes mistakes.”  Proverbs 14:29 TLB

   The other day, my husband, Joe, got a notice from our phone company saying that they would be increasing our services, and charging us considerably more money every month.  He was fuming, and he said that he was going to call them and complain.  I gave my husband a stern warning, telling him NOT to be angry when he made the call, because we needed God on our side, and we both knew that wouldn’t be the case if we were mistreating people.  And I earnestly prayed that the Lord would intervene on our behalf.

   When Joe called the phone company, he told them that he didn’t want our services increased, because we weren’t even using all of the ones we were already paying for.  The nice representative he spoke with checked our account, and she said that she would be happy to give us a rate reduction, so that our monthly bills would actually be lower than our current charges.  Joe was ecstatic, and he expressed his thanks to the lady.  Then she told Joe an interesting story.  A woman called and asked if her phone plan included international calls.  The phone company representative said that it did, and that she could actually give the woman a rate reduction, without losing any of her services.  Suddenly, the woman flew into a rage, and began yelling at the representative, and then abruptly hung up the phone.  Because of her anger, the woman totally misunderstood what the representative was trying to tell her, and she lost out on paying less money without sacrificing any of her current services. 

   Scripture says, “Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes.” (Proverbs 14:29 NLT)  Because that angry woman refused to control her temper, she didn’t possess the “great understanding” that would enable her to benefit from the offer that was being held out to her, and she made a costly “mistake.”  Her anger literally blinded her to the blessing that was available to her.  And my husband and I learned once again how important it is for us to remain calm and patient with people, so that God’s blessings will flow to us unhindered.

   The Bible says, “Don’t be quick to fly off the handle.  Anger boomerangs.  You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head.” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 MSG)  Anger is costly, and it always comes back to “bite” us in the end.  Let’s be people of patience, so that the Lord can pour out His blessings upon us in full measure!

   Lord, I want to learn to control my temper in every situation, but I can’t do it on my own.  By Your Spirit, anoint and enable me to exercise patience with everyone I come in contact with, especially in my own home.  Remind me that anger can be very costly, and that it can boomerang and do me – as well as others – great harm.  Thank You that as I submit to You and Your leadership continually, I will reap the blessed rewards of a patient spirit!

   *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

Nov 24 19

God Has Called You to Live in Peace

by J. M. Farro

   “God has called you to live in peace.”  1 Corinthians 7:15 NLT

   Did you know that, as a follower of Christ, God has “called you to live in peace”?  It’s true.  The Scripture above isn’t the only time that the apostle Paul imparts this truth to us.  He says it again in Colossians 3:15:  “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.” (Colossians 3:15 NLT)

   But God’s peace in our lives is not automatic.  We have to cooperate with Him to experience this kind of peace, “which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” (Philippians 4:7 TLB)  That’s because this fallen world will do its best – along with the forces of darkness – to rob us of the peace that is our inheritance in Christ.  The Amplified translation of Colossians 3:15 gives us insight into an important aspect of enjoying divine peace.  “Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise].  To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers].”  Did you see that?  We will experience an “inner calm” as we “walk daily with [Christ].”

   The kind of “walk” that the Scripture is talking about here is an intimate relationship with Christ.  When we feel distant from God, it robs us of the kind of peace and inner calmness that make us feel whole.  And when we feel like the Lord is a long way off from us, guess who moved?  Certainly not God.  WE are the ones who have drifted away from Him and His blessings.  How do we get back on track?  We begin by humbling ourselves before Him, expressing a heartfelt sorrow for our sins, and asking Him to help us to walk in intimate fellowship with Him all the rest of our days.

   As the verse above states, we should allow the peace of Christ to “be the controlling factor in [our] hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise].”  God uses His peace, or the absence of it, to guide us along His paths of purpose and blessing.  Each time we have a decision to make – whether large or small – we should seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom.  If we begin to move in a certain direction with peace in our hearts, we can keep heading in that direction.  But if we take a step and feel an absence of peace – a strong sense of hesitation or inner turmoil – then we should pause and wait to receive further direction from the Lord.  This way, we won’t make a problem worse than it already is, or miss out on the ultimate reward that God has for us up ahead.

   The Living Bible translation of Colossians 3:15 says:  “Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of His body.  And always be thankful.”  Let’s give thanks today for God’s indescribable gift of peace!

   Lord, I am so grateful that You have called me to live in peace.  Help me to live my life in such a way that makes the most of this precious gift that You have offered me.  Teach me by Your Spirit to cooperate with You every day, and to walk in intimate fellowship with You.  Show me how to allow Your peace to guide me in every choice and decision I make.  Thank You that as I pursue peace all the rest of my days, I will experience life at its very best!

   *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

Nov 17 19

Watch Your Words

by J. M. Farro

   “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” (Proverbs 21:23 MSG)

   My husband, Joe, and I have been raising pet ducks for almost twenty years now, and one of the things that has concerned us most all this time is keeping our ducks safe from predators.  Thanks to my husband’s ingenuity, our duck house is built like a fortress.  But during the day, Libby and Larry are allowed to roam around their spacious duck pen, which is surrounded by a high metal fence. 

   Last week, Joe was giving our fence some maintenance, and I joked that it would be nice if he would put some barbed wire on the top of it, to discourage hawks from landing on it.  Even though I hadn’t seen a single hawk land on our duck pen fence for more than a year, I thought my remark would sound funny.  But as soon as the words left my mouth, I got a “check” in my spirit, and I knew that I would regret saying them.

   Two days later, I went out to do my daily duck chores, and I saw a huge hawk sitting on our duck pen fence, staring at my ducks.  I shuddered, and then I shouted at the hawk and chased him away.  Then I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, saying, You called in that hawk.  I repented to the Lord immediately, and I prayed that He would help me to be more careful with my words in the future.

   As I thought about this incident, I recalled hearing a godly man say, “Don’t call the cat when you want the dog!”  We are “calling” things to ourselves all the time, whether we realize it or not.  And if we aren’t careful, we will “call in” the wrong things.  We can call sickness to ourselves with our own words, even though they may be spoken casually or jokingly.  I have heard people say, “The flu is going around again this year, and I just know that I’m going to catch it – I always do!”  We can call debt and lack to ourselves when we say things like, “I could never afford that!”  In my case, I “called in” a hawk, which was eyeing my pets, and thinking about how good they would be for lunch!

   Jesus said that Satan is the one who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 NIV)  But we can actually cooperate with the devil by speaking words that call destruction to us and our loved ones.  The Bible says, “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” (Proverbs 21:23 MSG)  Let’s save ourselves a lot of grief by watching every word we say!

   Lord, fill me with revelation that will help me to understand just how powerful my words really are.  Teach me how to “call in” good things for me and my loved ones.  Today, in the name of Jesus, I call in divine health and wholeness, and abundant provision and supply.  I call in supernatural peace and joy, and security and stability.  Thank You, Lord, that as I continually cooperate with You and Your Spirit, I will receive and enjoy all the benefits of my inheritance in Christ!

   *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

 

Nov 10 19

It Pleases God to Make Us Strong

by J. M. Farro

   “You are their glorious strength.  It pleases You to make us strong.”  Psalm 89:17 NLT

   When I came across the Scripture above during my devotional time with the Lord, I rejoiced.  Seeing in His Word that “it pleases [God] to make us strong,” filled me with a fresh sense of hope.  You and I don’t have to feel ashamed or guilty when we feel weak, or our faith begins to falter.  We just need to remember that the Lord is “[our] glorious strength,” and that He delights in filling us with His own power.

   But this process of God making us strong is not automatic.  We need to cooperate with Him in the process.  One way we do that is by praying for divine strength.  David the shepherd-king wrote, “When I pray, You answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need.” (Psalm 138:3 TLB)  It is a great encouragement to sense a surge of strength after we have asked the Lord to empower us.  When we are facing an unpleasant event or task, if we will petition God for an infusion of His strength, even the devil himself will not be able to weaken or defeat us.

   Besides praying for strength, we need to seek the Lord’s face and His presence in order to draw on His supernatural power.  In David’s song of thanksgiving in First Chronicles, he tells us, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence].” (1 Chronicles 16:11 AMP)  There is a measure of divine strength that we will only experience as a result of spending regular, focused time alone with God, without distractions or interruptions.  We all love to be able to take shortcuts to achieve our goals, but in God’s kingdom, there is simply no substitute for spending time in His presence – sharing our hearts with Him, reading His Word, and listening for His voice.

   In Psalm 18, David says of the Lord, “He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go.” (Psalm 18:32 TLB)  David depended on the Lord to enable him to fulfill His God-given purpose and potential, and you and I can do the same thing.  What is it that God is asking you to do, that begs for an infilling of His power today?

   Lord, please don’t let me go through this life without making the most of Your offer to strengthen me with Your own strength.  Teach me how to pray for Your strength on a regular basis, so that I never depend on my own limited power.  Fill me with a deep desire to seek Your face and Your presence daily, and show me how to plan my schedule around You.  Thank You that You are truly my “glorious strength,” and it pleases You to make me strong!

   *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