Skip to content
Sep 2 18

What Are You Afraid Of?

by J. M. Farro

   “I, I’m the One comforting you.  What are you afraid of – or who?  Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead?  Some poor wretch destined for dust?  You’ve forgotten Me, God, who made you, who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth.”  Isaiah 51:12-13 MSG

   When was the last time you knew that you had to have a very difficult conversation with someone – a conversation that could result in that person lashing out at you?  Do you remember the feelings of fear and dread that you experienced?

   The last time I was in this situation, I suffered in silence, until I turned to the Lord for His perspective and consolation.  He led me to Isaiah 51:12 (NLT), which says, “I, yes I, am the one who comforts you.  So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?  Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who stretched out the sky like a canopy and laid the foundations of the earth.”  This was the Lord’s righteous indignation against my fearing people more than Him.

   This passage continues – “Will you remain in constant dread of human oppressors?  Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies?  Where is their fury and anger now?  It is gone!” (Isaiah 51:13 NLT)  If the Lord was trying to make me feel ashamed, He succeeded.  He made me realize that as a servant of the Most High God, I didn’t need to be afraid of people, because He would protect me and defend me as long as I was in submission to Him, and looking to Him for help.

   I love how the Message Bible says, “But what will come of the tantrums?” (Isaiah 51:13 MSG)  It is utterly ridiculous for God’s chosen ones to quake and quiver when people rail against us.  Instead of magnifying our problems or other people, we need to magnify our great God.  When we do, no person on earth and no devil in hell will be able to harm a hair on our heads! (Luke 21:18)

   Lord, forgive me for the times when I had more fear of people, than faith in You.  When I am tempted to dread my dealings with others, remind me of how committed You are to protecting me and causing me to succeed.  Teach me how to magnify You, Your power, and Your love – and to minimize other people’s tantrums and threats against me.  Thank You that as I give You Your rightful place in my life, I will never have to fear anyone but You!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Aug 27 18

God-Haters vs. God-Lovers

by J. M. Farro

   “I give out good and get back evil from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.”  Psalm 38:20 MSG

   I came across this verse in my devotional time with the Lord, and He gently began to remind me that not everyone is going to repay me with good when I do good to them.  In fact, some people will actually hate me for it.  What is most painful is that some of these folks will be among my own loved ones, and some of them will even call themselves Christians.  But the truth is that they have no love for God, or for His people.

   The New Living Translation of this verse says:  “They repay me evil for good and oppose me for pursuing good.” (Psalm 38:20 NLT)  Not everyone is going to be happy when we do our best to pursue good in this life – some people will actually become our adversaries because of it.  Case in point:  We may hear from God in a situation, and then start out trying to follow His will, and then be met by opposition, and begin wondering if we heard God right.  It’s always a good idea in these cases to ask the Lord for confirmation and clarification.  But chances are, we are already on the right track, and the enemy of our souls is working behind the scenes to stir up people to come against us.  If we will stand firm in doing the good that God has assigned us, we will eventually reap the rewards for our obedience. (Galatians 6:9)

   Jesus told His disciples:  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18-19, 20 NIV)  Because the Savior endured the worst kind of persecution when He was here, He is able to relate to our suffering, and He is ever ready to give us all the comfort and encouragement we need to not only endure, but to overcome.

   As the Scripture above in Psalm 38 says, God-haters can’t stand a God-lover.  And that’s okay.  Our goal is not to please people, but to please God. (2 Corinthians 5:9)  And if we look to Him for wisdom and strength, He will protect us and provide for us as we live our life for Him!

   Lord, make me a God-lover in every way, and cause me to grow closer to You every day.  Help me to spend my life doing the good works You have called me to, and to do them wholeheartedly and with joy.  When I suffer persecution because of my devotion to You, comfort me and empower me to respond in a Christlike way.  Thank You that as I make pleasing You my number one priority, You will promote me and give me even greater responsibility for Your glory!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Aug 20 18

Favor Us and Give Us Success

by J. M. Farro

   “Let the Lord our God favor us and give us success.  May He give permanence to all we do.”  Psalm 90:17 TLB

   Moses is given credit for writing this psalm.  In it, he laments how short our lives are, and how full of misery they can be.  So it’s no surprise that before he finishes this psalm, he asks God to “give permanence to all we do.”

   We all want to leave our “mark” on the world.  We all want to believe that when we are gone, we will be missed.  The good news is that if we will just live our lives for Christ while we are here, He will guarantee that our efforts will have a lasting impact on this world – not just for ourselves, but for His glory.

   If we want to leave a godly legacy behind us, then it’s important that we ask the Lord to “favor us and give us success” as we go about performing the deeds that He has assigned to us.  The devil and his minions will do their best to interfere with our efforts, but with God on our side, and with Him opening doors for us and making us stand out in a crowd, our success is guaranteed.

   Psalm 112 says: “Those who are righteous will be long remembered.  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (v.6,9 NLT)  You and I don’t have to worry that the works we do in the Lord’s name while we are here will be forgotten after we are gone.  God Himself is going to see to it that we are remembered and honored for our good deeds in this life – as well as in the life to come – simply because we performed them in obedience to Him. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

   The apostle Paul had it right when he said, “Nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 TLB)  Let’s you and I pray Moses’ prayer so that we can become the world-changers for Christ that we are destined to be!

   Lord, grant me Your favor as I go about my business each day, performing the tasks You assign to me.  Give me success in all of my endeavors, and prosper the works of my hands.  Make me stand out in a crowd in ways that will bring glory to Your name.  Thank You that I and my good deeds will be remembered forever because of Your faithfulness to Your Word!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Aug 12 18

Make God’s Laws Your Own

by J. M. Farro

   “The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.  They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from His path.”  Psalm 37:30-31 NLT

   I have been declaring these verses over myself for years, and applying them to my life on a regular basis.  I believe it’s one reason why the Lord uses me to teach others about Him.

   The key points of these Scriptures for me is that as I make God’s laws my own, I will remain on His perfect paths for my life.  As I walk in obedience to His Word, I will be able to discern right from wrong in every situation, and I will be equipped to offer godly counsel to others.

   Some Christians are trying to live their lives without agreeing with God’s laws and precepts.  They listen to what the world says about behaviors and lifestyles, and they buy into the lies and the deceptions of the enemy.  As a result, they keep slipping off of God’s perfect paths for them – the paths along which they would find divine provision, protection, and every aspect of the abundant life that Jesus promised. (John 10:10)

   Scripture says:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT)  One way that we can cooperate with God for our transformation is to diligently study His Word, which is Truth.  The more we do this, the more we will be able to think like God and see things from His perspective.  Then we will “learn to know God’s will for [us]” – even in the littlest details of our lives.

   Remember this:  God’s will for your life is knowable and doable through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.  Today, make God’s laws your own, and you will “never slip from His path”!

   Lord, help me to walk in agreement with You and Your Word every day, in every way.  Teach me how to cooperate with You for the renewal of my mind, so that I will not copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but instead will imitate You in everything I do. (Ephesians 5:1 NLT)  Thank You that as I make Your laws my own, I will enter into Your full blessing and purpose for my life!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Aug 5 18

Exaltation will Come!

by J. M. Farro

   “When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person.”  Job 22:29 NKJV

   When I woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling of dread, I immediately grabbed myself a cup of tea, and opened my bible.  There, the Lord led me to His promise in Job 22:29 (NKJV): “When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person.”  I truly was feeling downcast at the moment, so God had my undivided attention, to say the least.  The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and revealed to me that whenever I feel this way, I have to “say” certain things in order to rise above my feelings.  In this case, I was to say, “Exaltation will come!”  So I began exclaiming the phrase over and over with all my heart.

   Then I looked up the word “exaltation” in a secular dictionary, and the definitions I found were – “a feeling or state of extreme happiness; elation, joy, rapture, ecstasy, bliss, delight, and gladness.”  Another definition stated, “the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character.”  And then I read with joy, “The resurrection and ‘exaltation’ of Christ.”  Seeing this in a secular dictionary was even more confirmation from the Lord for me.  And I sensed Him telling me, “When people or circumstances cast you down, if you will declare in faith, ‘Exaltation will come!’ then I will deliver you from the hands of those who mean you harm – even the devil himself – and I will fill you with My joy, and promote you.”  Hallelujah!

   All this brought to mind a passage in Psalm 71, which says: “You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.”  (Psalm 71:20-21 NKJV)  You see, when the Lord brings us out of trouble as a result of us depending on Him for help, He doesn’t just bring restoration of what we lost – no, He brings us out better than before – “increasing” our “greatness”!  But notice the psalmist had to say, “You shall increase my greatness.”  He was speaking out his faith in God’s ability and willingness to exalt him.

   The Living Bible translation of Job 22:29 says: “If you are attacked and knocked down, you will know that there is Someone who will lift you up again.  Yes, He will save the humble.”  Take this message to heart today, dear one, and let the lifting up and exaltation begin!

   Lord, when I am cast down by people or circumstances, help me to demonstrate my humble dependence upon You.  Teach me how to use my words to express my faith in Your willingness and ability to bring me out even better than before.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You for my deliverance and success, You will fill me with joy, and elevate me in rank, power, and character!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Jul 30 18

The Faith of Abraham

by J. M. Farro

   “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping – believing that he would become the father of many nations.  For God had said to him, ‘That’s how many descendants you will have!’”  Romans 4:18 NLT

   God has used this verse countless times to encourage me when I have been faced with hopeless situations and was tempted to lose heart.  I find Abraham’s example of faith so profoundly inspiring, and it never ceases to give me hope.  The phrase, “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping,” speaks of the kind of faith that defies hopelessness.  Abraham was keenly aware of his doubtful situation.  In fact, the next verse confirms this: “Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.”  (Romans 4:19 NIV)  Abraham was not in denial.  He clearly was facing the facts of his situation, yet Scripture says that he did this “without weakening in his faith.”  No wonder God honored this man the way He did.

   How many of us in Abraham’s situation would have held on to the promise of God?  Some believers think that you have to be in a kind of state of denial in order to receive the miraculous in hopeless situations, but that is not the case.  Real faith says, “I know my situation looks hopeless, but I also know that I belong to a God who has a history of moving mountains for His children, and I am keeping my eyes on Him!”  You don’t have to know HOW God is going to keep His promise to you, all you have to know is that He will do it!

   Romans 4:20-21 (NIV) says, “Yet [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.”  The Message Bible puts it this way: “Abraham didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions.  He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God.”  One thing is certain – a lack of faith will make us waver.  It will cause us to doubt God’s ability and willingness to do the impossible on our behalf.  It is God’s desire that we be “fully persuaded” that He is able to work wonders in our lives, even when our circumstances are screaming defeat at us.  Notice that verse 20 reveals that Abraham “gave glory to God” while he was waiting for God to fulfill His promise to him.  Abraham didn’t wait until the manifestation of his miracle to give thanks and praise to the Lord – that doesn’t take much faith.  But he began thanking God in advance, strengthening his own faith in the process.  The Living Bible brings this out best when it says: “He praised God for this blessing even before it happened.”

   Scripture says that it is “those who have the faith of Abraham” who receive the promises of God. (Romans 4:16 NIV)  If we want to receive the kind of blessings that Abraham did, we need to demonstrate the kind of faith that he did.  That means we will have to push logic and reasoning aside, and focus on God and His promises.  If you are a child of God, and if you will follow Abraham’s example, rest assured that as God worked wonders for this great man of faith, He will work wonders for you, too!

   Lord, teach me to have the faith of Abraham.  When I encounter “hopeless” situations, help me to keep my eyes on You, instead of on my circumstances.  Remind me not to wait for the manifestation of my miracle before I give You thanks and praise.  Thank You that as I follow Abraham’s example of faith, I will impact the lives of others and glorify You!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Jul 22 18

Approval Games

by J. M. Farro

   “Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” John 5:41-42 NLT

   During one of my quiet times with the Lord recently, He began teaching me and warning me about seeking approval from the wrong people.  When He led me to the verses above, I rejoiced when I read Jesus’ words saying, “Your approval means nothing to Me, because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” (John 5:41-42 NLT)  He showed me that when I try to win the approval of people who don’t truly love God – who aren’t living their lives to please Him – then I am sinning against Him, and I will suffer the consequences.

   The truth is that we cannot walk closely with the Lord when we are walking in agreement with people who are opposed to God and His Word – people who don’t seek His will when they make decisions for themselves and others.  If I am in close relationship with them, their choices will affect me, and are bound to do me harm.

   In this same passage of Scripture, Jesus says, “How can you believe [in Me], when you [seek and] receive glory and approval from one another, and yet you do not seek the glory and approval which comes from the one and only God?” (John 5:44 AMP)  People who have no love for God will care more about receiving praise from other people than from Him, and they will live their lives for the approval of others.  If we are not careful, we can easily get caught up in their “approval games,” as I like to call them.  I also like to say that these people suffer from the “look how wonderful I am” syndrome.  Everything is all about THEM, and God has no room in their hearts or in their lives.

   Here’s the thing:  These people are destined to make bad decisions on a regular basis because they have no reverence or respect for God.  As Proverbs 9:10 (NLT) says:  “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  And if we are in close relationship with these foolish folks, their poor decisions will spell disaster for us, as well as for themselves and others.  This is not God’s best for His devoted ones like you and me.

   Jesus said, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.  What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15 NIV)  Some people are masters at fooling others into thinking that they are good and right, and that their motives are pure, but they cannot fool the God Who detests the things they hold in high esteem – including money, power, prestige, and promotion that do not come from Him.  And they are destined to reap what they sow. (Galatians 6:7-8)

   When we are tempted to seek approval from the wrong people, we should adopt the Master’s mindset which says, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to Me, for as I know so well, you don’t have God’s love within you.” (John 5:41-42 TLB)  And we should continually “make it our goal to please [God].” (2 Corinthians 5:9 NIV)  When our focus is right, our “honor and reward” will come from God Himself! (John 12:26 MSG)

   Lord, forgive me for the times when I cared more about receiving approval and honor from others, instead of You.  Deliver me from pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness, and from everything that would separate me from You and Your perfect plans for me.  Fill me with divine discernment that will help me to see people as they really are, and don’t let me be fooled by those who would use or abuse me.  Help me to imitate You in that “You do not care about anyone’s opinion, for You are not swayed by appearances.” (Matthew 22:16 ESV)  Thank You that as I focus on pleasing and glorifying You in all I do, I will live a life of purpose and abundance!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

Jul 15 18

What Blessings God Has for Us Now

by J. M. Farro

   “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what blessings He must have for us now that we are His friends and He is living within us!”  Romans 5:10 TLB

   One of the passages in the Bible that I turn to most when I need some encouragement is in Romans Chapter 5.  Here, the apostle Paul talks about how Christ’s work on the cross has saved us, justified us, and reconciled us to God.  He writes, “And since by His blood He did all this for us as sinners, how much MORE will He do for us now that He has declared us not guilty?  Now He will save us from all of God’s wrath to come.” (v. 9)  I’m so grateful that I will be saved from God’s future wrath, but sometimes I need to dwell on what He is going to do for me in THIS life.

   Paul goes on to say,  “And since, when we were His enemies, we were brought back to God by the death of His Son, what BLESSINGS He must have for us NOW that we are His friends and He is living within us!” (v. 10)  God is not content with giving us eternal life for the future.  He wants us to live an abundant life right here, right now – through His Spirit who “is living within us!” – and this is one of the many reasons why He sacrificed His Son. (John 10:10)  The Lord showed me years ago that He doesn’t limit His blessings to spiritual blessings.  He has earthly blessings for us, too, when we continually seek Him, and give Him first place in our lives. (Matthew 6:33)

   Next, Paul says, “Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God – all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins – making us friends of God.” (Romans 5:11 TLB)  When you and I received Christ as our Lord and Savior, we entered into a “new relationship with God,” which gives us access to His divine wisdom, power, and favor – and to an unlimited source of blessings.  Jesus now calls us His “friends” (John 15:15), and He tells us, “The Father Himself loves you dearly because you love Me and believe that I came from God.” (John 16:27 NLT)  If God extended the blessing of eternal life to us when we were His “enemies” (v. 10), how many more blessings will He extend to us when we are living our lives for Him?

   Today, rejoice that your blessings from the Lord are for HERE, as well as the hereafter, and begin to make the most of your inheritance in Christ today!

   Lord, I thank You that You showed Your “great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT)  I praise You for Your precious gifts of salvation and eternal life.  I am so grateful that You call me Your friend, and that You love me dearly.  Please give me insight and understanding into how You desire to bless me with earthly blessings, as well as spiritual ones.  Teach me how to seek first Your Kingdom and righteousness, and to always give You first place in my life.  Thank You for every blessing, reward, and opportunity that You have for me now that I am Your friend and You are living in me!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

 

Jul 8 18

Get Over It!

by J. M. Farro

   “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge.  Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry – get over it quickly; for when you are angry you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:26-27 TLB

   Years ago, I had a neighbor who was a believer and a Christlike example to everyone she met.  Then one day, she lost her job, and she began to experience some serious financial problems.  She did her best to rely on the Lord for wisdom and strength, but eventually, she gave in to feelings of anger and bitterness.  She felt alone in her most desperate times, and she became resentful toward those who she felt had abandoned her in her time of need.  When she began telling me how she wanted to see her loved ones suffer because of their treatment of her, I began to reprove her and warn her that her ungodly attitude could only spell disaster.  Nevertheless, she persisted in her bitterness, and she eventually had an emotional breakdown and was committed to a mental institution.

   When I think about this lady, I can’t help thinking about the warnings that the apostle Paul gives us in Ephesians 4:26-27 (AMP):  “When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.  Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].”  Instead of “getting over it quickly,” as one translation says, this woman nursed her anger and held fast to it until it festered inside of her and destroyed her from within.  Her ungodly behavior also invited satanic attack, because the devil can use our sin to bring about greater evil. 

   The apostle Paul reiterates this point in Second Corinthians 2:10-11 (NASB), when he talks about being aware of Satan’s “schemes,” and not allowing him to “take advantage” of us through unforgiveness.  Any way you look at it, anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness are highly destructive, and they can wreak havoc in a believer’s life.  I heard someone say, “Bitterness is like taking poison, hoping that your enemy will die.”  This strategy doesn’t make a bit of sense, and yet countless people live by it every day.

   After Paul talks about the destructiveness of anger and bitterness in Ephesians 4, he goes on to say:  “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.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (v. 29-30 NIV)  My resentful neighbor planned her own downfall when she began speaking ill of her loved ones, and wishing them harm.  Her words grieved God’s Spirit, and they opened the door for the Destroyer to come into her life to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) 

   Paul continues by saying:  “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)  This lady lost sight of how much the Lord had forgiven her, and how much mercy He extended to her on a regular basis.  If she couldn’t find it in her heart to forgive her loved ones for their sake, then she should have at least done it for the Lord, to whom she owes so much.

   Maybe you are thinking right now about how impossible it can seem to forgive those who deeply hurt you.  Let me assure you that if you are a follower of Christ, you have heavenly resources at your disposal to “fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil].” (1 Timothy 6:12 AMP)  The Spirit of the living God abides in you continually, and He equips you with the same awesome power that raised Christ from the dead. (Ephesians 1:19-20)  As you make the decision to walk in love and forgiveness, the Spirit Himself enables you to carry out the Lord’s will. 

   Paul declared:  “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” (Philippians 4:13 TLB)  We can make that same declaration as we rely on Christ’s Spirit to empower us.  Who is it that YOU need to forgive today?

   Lord, I thank You that through the blood of Christ, You have forgiven all of my sins.  Give me a heart like Yours so that I can extend that same forgiveness to others.  When I am tempted to remain angry or bitter toward anyone, remind me of what it could cost me.  Thank You for the divine love that Your Spirit continually pours into my heart!  (Romans 5:5)

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

 

Jul 1 18

In Their Misery They Will Seek God

by J. M. Farro

   “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; in their misery they will earnestly seek Me.”  Hosea 5:15 NIV

   When I heard from a young Christian man who asked for prayers for his wife, my heart went out to him.  As he described how she suddenly turned her back on him and their marriage, I could almost feel the pain and anguish in his heart.  Not only did this wife leave her husband behind, but she began living a shockingly immoral lifestyle that left him dumbfounded and confused.  I earnestly prayed for this couple and their marriage, knowing that God is a miracle-working God, and that nothing is impossible with Him.  That evening, I was listening to a sermon by one of the most well-respected evangelists of our time.  As he prayed aloud for those living in sin and apart from God, He declared, “Lord, make them miserable in their sin!”  I was stunned.  I had never heard anyone pray like this before, and I wondered if this kind of prayer was even scriptural.

   So I spent some time in focused prayer and Bible study, seeking an answer from the Lord.  That’s when the Holy Spirit led me to Hosea 5:15 (NIV) which says, “Then I will go back to My place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek My face; IN THEIR MISERY they will earnestly seek Me.”  Here, because of their sin and guilt, the Lord withdraws from His people until they become miserable enough in their sin to turn away from it, and to turn to God once again.  I knew this was the confirmation from the Lord that I needed, and I began earnestly praying that He would make the wife of the man who wrote me so absolutely miserable in her sin day and night, that she would turn to God with all of her heart and soul.  I must tell you that in all my years, I have never seen someone living such a depraved lifestyle come out of their pit of sin so swiftly and completely.  This wife returned to the Lord AND her husband, and she began loving them sincerely, and living the life that God called her to.

   Scripture says, “But by means of their suffering, He rescues those who suffer.  For He gets their attention through adversity.” (Job 36:15 NLT)  Because some people will not turn – or RETURN – to the Lord unless they are suffering and miserable, there may be times when we will have to repeatedly ask the Lord to intensify their misery.  But we should never do it unless we have sought the Lord in prayer about it, and felt in our spirit that it is the right thing to do in His sight.  The fact is that we can’t always pray “fluffy” prayers for everyone all the time.  There’s simply too much at stake.  When we see people living in sin without a sense of remorse or repentance, it’s our responsibility as Christ-followers to pray for them to come to their senses and turn to the Lord – whatever it takes.  If these people are especially dear to us, it can be downright painful to pray for their misery.  But we have to remember that their eternal fate is most important to God, and so it should be to us.

   The Bible tells us that “though [the Lord] brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.  For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” (Lamentations 3:32-33 NLT)  God is not a sadist.  It’s His desire to do good to everyone.  But because of His just and righteous nature, He cannot condone or excuse wrongdoing, or bless disobedience.  So there are times when He must withdraw from wrongdoers, and allow them to suffer the consequences of their unwise actions.  As their disobedience opens the door for Satan to come into their lives to “steal, kill, and destroy,” they become prime targets for the dark forces and all of their malicious plans and purposes. (John 10:10)  Unfortunately, this is what it will take for some people to come to their senses.

   I encourage you to ask the Lord if there is anyone you know who could benefit from some “misery” prayers right now.  Then listen carefully for His voice as He speaks to you from His heart about those who need Him in their lives in a greater way!

   Lord, thank You for filling me with Your Spirit to help me pray according to Your will. (Romans 8:26-27)  Teach me how to pray prayers that will make a real difference in people’s lives – not just for today, but for all eternity.  Help me to devote myself to Your Word, so that my mind will be renewed to Your truth, and I will become more sensitive to Your voice at all times.  Deliver me from the tendency to pray weak and wimpy prayers, and instill in me a boldness that will pray the bold prayers that You desire.  Thank You that as I follow Your will in this area, You will use me to touch and change lives for Your glory!

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

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

   *For information on how to purchase J. M. Farro books, click here!

   *Check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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