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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!

   *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 1 19

Honesty is the Best Policy

by J. M. Farro

   “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.”  Psalm 34:12-13 NIV

   I didn’t dye my hair until I was in my mid-fifties.  I didn’t have a lot of gray to cover, but just enough that it was getting annoying.  To save money, I thought I would color my hair at home with my husband, Joe’s, help.  Unfortunately, our first attempt resulted in orange hair for me.  At that point, I decided that a trip to a hair salon was a good idea.  The only problem was that my regular hair stylist was on vacation.  I prayed for God’s wisdom and chose a new salon that was only a mile away from my home.  It was the perfect choice.  The ladies there knew just how to cover my orange hair by matching my natural dark brown hair color.

   The next time I saw my regular hair stylist to get my usual haircut, I felt funny about telling her that I had found another salon to color my hair.  This lady had become a dear friend of ours because she had been cutting hair for our entire family for many years.  I prayed and asked the Lord to give me the right words to speak to her about my new colorist, because I knew that I wanted to continue to get color at the other salon on a regular basis.  I thought about lying and telling her that I was coloring my hair at home, in order to spare her feelings, but then decided that it wasn’t an option for me, especially since this woman knew that I was a believer.

   Several years later, I was relieved and thankful that I had made the choice to be honest with my friend.  She lost her own salon when her landlady forced her to leave, and she went to work for the salon where I had been getting my hair colored the past few years.  What’s really uncanny is that my area has an abundance of hair salons, and the chances of my friend losing her 30-year business and choosing to work at my colorist’s salon were very slim.  And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

   The Bible says, “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” (Psalm 34:12-13 NIV)  I am more convinced than ever that the old saying is true – “honesty is the best policy.”  “Telling lies” can come back to haunt us, and can even destroy cherished relationships.

   Scripture says, “Don’t tell lies to each other; it was your old life with all its wickedness that did that sort of thing; now it is dead and gone.” (Colossians 3:9 TLB)  Once we are saved, deception no longer fits who we are, especially since the Spirit of Truth dwells in us. (John 14:17)

   It’s my heartfelt prayer that you and I will stand out for Christ in a dark and deceptive world by being people of honesty and truth!

   Lord, I earnestly desire to “see many good days,” so please help me to resist lies and deception all the rest of my life.  Work in my mind and heart so that I may always value truth the way that You do.  Remind me often that the Spirit of Truth abides in me, and that lying no longer fits who I am as a follower of Christ.  Thank you that as I sow seeds of truth wherever I go, I will reap a harvest of life, wholeness, and peace!

   *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

Mar 24 19

Open and Closed Doors

by J. M. Farro

   “These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.  What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.”  Revelation 3:7 NIV

   When my 12-year-old car broke down and needed thousands of dollars of repairs, I prayed for God’s wisdom, and asked Him what His will was for my situation.  When I was certain that I had gotten permission from the Lord to lease a new car, I discussed the matter with my husband, Joe, who gave me his hearty approval.

   We went to the car dealership where we had bought cars before, and we test drove two vehicles.  I picked one out, and that’s when we waited for the salesman to give us a price on that particular model.  I had in my mind a specific amount to pay monthly that I did not want to exceed.  And while I waited for the salesman to consult his manager, I prayed, “Lord, if this car is not Your best for me, then shut every door against us purchasing it.”  God knew that I was sincere, and when the salesman and his manager quoted me a price that was over $100 more than I was willing to pay each month, I refused it, thanked the men kindly, and walked out the door with my husband.  Part of me was screaming inside, “You fool!  What are you going to do about your car situation now?”  And I heard my spirit answer, “I’m going to trust God to provide me with the perfect vehicle at the perfect price!”

   There is a powerful principle in Revelation 3:7 for believers who want to make decisions based on God’s will and purposes for them.  This verse reads, “These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David.  What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.” (Revelation 3:7 NIV)  The text here refers to Christ, and I have discovered over the years that when I need to make a decision of some kind, I can ask Him to shut against me all the wrong doors, and to open wide before me all the right ones.  And I have found that He is faithful to do that when I pray this principle with sincerity.

   I will be honest and tell you that the next five days were very difficult for me.  I wondered just how long I could go without having transportation of my own.  And I kept reminding the Lord that I was counting on Him to provide me with an affordable vehicle – and soon!  My husband and I had decided that he should take a day off from work to go car shopping.  Before we left the house that day, Joe got a call from the sales manager at our dealership.  He came down more than $100 in price, and he offered us a more expensive model of the car we liked best, with more options.  Joe told him that we would think about it, and he hung up the phone.  A few minutes later, the sales manager called back again and offered us an even lower price on the more expensive model.  After we prayed about it, Joe and I took the man up on his offer, and I drove my new car home that very day.

   As I was thinking about this experience, I felt a surge of gratitude that I had the courage to ask God to shut the door on anything less than His best in my situation.  If I hadn’t, I might have settled for a mediocre outcome.  How might this spiritual principle apply to your situation today?

   Lord, teach me how to receive Your very best outcome in every situation I face.  Don’t ever let me settle for less than Your perfect will for me.  Shut against me every wrong door, and open wide before me every right door – making me sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading all the way.  Thank You that as I make following Your lead my highest priority every day of my life, I will experience Your abundant provision and supply!

   *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

Mar 18 19

God’s Will is Not Automatic

by J. M. Farro

   “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.”  1 John 5:14-15 NIV

   These verses of Scripture prove a principle that many Christians never get a hold of, and I believe it grieves the heart of God.  I have heard some of the Lord’s followers say things like, “I don’t have to pray for God’s will, because if something is His will, it will just happen.”  If that were true, the Holy Spirit would never have inspired the apostle John to say that “if we ASK anything according to [God’s] will, He hears us . . .” and “we know that we have what we ASKED of Him.”

   The fact is that much of God’s will for us is not automatic.  Much of the time, He expects His followers to partner with Him for His will to come to pass on this earth.  One reason this is true is that the Lord has given us a free will, and He is not in the habit of imposing His will on us.  Instead, He constantly attempts to lead us along His pathway of righteousness and abundance.  He says to us, “Follow Me,” rather than dragging us by the heels to go His way.

   Also, let us not forget that we have a formidable spiritual enemy, Satan, who has multitudes of demons at his service.  And he is constantly working overtime to lead us away from God and His perfect plans for us.  He will tempt us, accuse us, and deceive us as much as he can in order to get us to buy into his dark and destructive ways.  The last thing he wants to do is to see us walking in the perfect will of God, where we can do some serious harm to his kingdom.

   No, the will of God is not automatic.  If it were, Jesus would never have instructed us to pray to the Father, “May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 NLT)  You and I have a job to do while we are here.  And that job includes us getting to know God and His Word so well that praying His will for ourselves and others becomes second nature.  When we “approach God” with “confidence” and “ask anything according to His will,” He will move heaven and earth to bring His will to pass!

   Lord, fill me with a desire to study Your Word, and to get to know You better all the time.  Do a thorough work in me so that the desires of my heart will never be in conflict with the desires of Yours.  Remind me often of the heavy resistance in the spiritual realm to Your plans and purposes in this earthly realm, and teach me to be relentless in prayer.  Thank You that as I “ask anything according to [Your] will,” You will move mountains for my good and for Your glory!

   *For autographed books (with FREE domestic shipping for a limited time!), check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

 

Mar 10 19

Praise Him as You Pray

by J. M. Farro

   “I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke.”  Psalms 66:17 NLT

   My husband, Joe, and I got hit with a barrage of problems recently.  First, my computer crashed.  Then my car broke down, and the company that held our extended warranty refused to pay for the necessary repairs to make it drivable again.  On top of that, the new exercise bike I purchased arrived damaged, so that I couldn’t use it.  As the weeks dragged on, it seemed as though the right solutions were constantly evading us.

   All during this time, I prayed and stood on God’s promises, expecting the Lord to act on our behalf.  But doors kept closing, and the problems kept coming.  I finally got on my knees and asked the Lord to show me what I had to do to receive the assistance and answers that I knew He had in store for us.  That’s when the Holy Spirit showed me the answer in Psalm 66:17 (NLT):  “I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke.”  I was already doing the “crying out to God” part, but I wasn’t “praising Him as I spoke.”

   Once I realized my mistake, I began praising God that, although my car was in disrepair, Joe and I still had his car to rely on.  Though I didn’t yet have a properly working computer, I expressed gratitude that the one I had as a backup was better than nothing.  And even though my new exercise bike was unusable at the time, I thanked God that I still had my broken down old one that I could squeeze a workout out of on occasion.

   As I mixed praise with my prayers, something wonderful happened.  Everything began falling into place, and doors began to open, so that all of our problems were resolved suddenly and beautifully.

   As I pondered this experience, the Lord brought to my remembrance Philippians 4:6 (NIV), which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  The Lord invites us to come to Him with our prayers, petitions, and requests.  But if we don’t mix our prayers “with thanksgiving,” as this verse instructs, we can’t blame Him when our answers don’t come.

   God has custom-made solutions in store for us when we lift up our petitions to Him with heartfelt praise.  And He will accomplish for us what we could never accomplish on our own!

   Lord, when trouble strikes and I call on You for help, remind me to “praise You as I speak.”  Give me a grateful heart, and teach me how to count my blessings in the midst of my problems.  Guard me from grumbling and complaining, and help me to look for the good in every situation.  Thank You that as I mix praise with my prayers, You will move mountains and open doors on my behalf!

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