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Sep 13 20

God’s Purpose for You

by J. M. Farro

   I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me.”  Psalm 57:2 NLT

   David the giant slayer wrote this psalm while he was hiding in a cave trying to evade murderous King Saul and his army.  At the time, it didn’t look as though the Lord would ever fulfill His purpose for David, who was destined to become the next king of Israel.  Yet in the midst of all this trouble, David writes: “I cry out to God Most High, to God who WILL fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2 NLT)

   You can sense David wrestling with his fears as he begins this psalm saying: “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!  I look to You for protection.  I will hide beneath the shadow of Your wings until the danger passes by.” (v. 1)  David is not in denial.  He is a skilled warrior and strategist, and he understands that the odds are against him.  He pleads for the Lord’s intervention because he knows that he will never survive or succeed without divine help and protection.

   In the face of what looks like certain defeat, David declares: “My heart is confident in You, O God; my heart is confident.  No wonder I can sing Your praises!(v. 7)  How can David be so confident in the Lord in the midst of daunting circumstances?  Verse 10 reveals the answer.  “For Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”  David has chosen to put his hope in God’s love and faithfulness.  So he doesn’t wait until his miracle manifests; he begins singing God’s praises right in the midst of his troubles.  I believe that this is one reason why the Lord called him “a man after My own heart.” (Acts 13:22 NIV)

   The Amplified translation of Psalm 57:2 says: “I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!”  Perhaps you are in the midst of circumstances right now that have you wondering if the Lord will ever fulfill His purposes for you.  Maybe this pandemic has stalled your dreams of success, or even dashed them to pieces.  God is saying to you through this message today that He still has extraordinary plans for your life.  Trust Him.  Praise Him.  And witness what He will do in you, through you, and for you – right in the midst of your trials and tribulations!

   Lord, when it feels like I am facing impossible circumstances, remind me that You are the Most High God, and nothing is impossible for you.  Help me to focus on Your love and faithfulness in ways that will protect me from negative thoughts and attitudes.  Teach me to sing Your praises before my miracle manifests.  Thank You for rewarding me and bringing to pass Your purposes for me!

   *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

Sep 6 20

Search for Faithful People

by J. M. Farro

   “How excellent are the Lord’s faithful people!  My greatest pleasure is to be with them.”  Psalm 16:3 GNT

   I share these sentiments by King David about God’s faithful ones.  One of my “greatest pleasures” during the course of this pandemic has been to “be with them” virtually online.  When I was in lockdown for months at a time, communicating and commiserating with my fellow followers of Christ through emails and social media would often be the highlight of my days.  The spiritual bonds we share with each other allow us to minister to each other in life-enriching ways.

   Elsewhere in the Psalms, David says: “I will search for faithful people to be my companions.  Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.” (Psalm 101:6 NLT)  David was constantly on the lookout for people who were faithful to the Lord, and who would be faithful to him.  He spent most of his life surrounded by treacherous people who betrayed him and meant him harm.  Some of these enemies were his own loved ones.  I like how the Passion Translation says: “My innermost circle will only be those whom I know are pure and godly.  They will be the only ones I allow to minister to me.” (Psalm 101:6 TPT)  If David – and even Jesus – were very careful about who they let into their innermost circle, shouldn’t you and I be, too?

   It gives me great comfort to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who share my deep love and devotion to the Lord.  Even though I will never meet most of them on this earth, it brings me great joy to think that we will all be together in Heaven for all eternity.  When it feels like the whole world is against us, you and I can console each other with the truth that this life here on earth is not all there is for us – and that, in fact, the best is yet to come!

   Lord, teach me how to search for faithful followers of Yours to be my companions.  I pray that my innermost circle will only consist of those who are above reproach in Your sight.  Help me to choose only godly people to minister to me, and to advise and counsel me.  Thank You for surrounding me with those who are faithful to You and to me!

   *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

 

Aug 30 20

Wisdom for Relationships

by J. M. Farro

   “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  James 1:5 NIV

   One of the questions that people have asked me in my 20+ years of ministry is how they should handle arguments in their marriages and other relationships.  I tell them that I am not an expert in this area by any means, but I have been married for 45+ years, and the Lord has taught me some things that have helped my marriage to actually improve over time.

   First and foremost, when a problem arises in one of my relationships, I pray for divine wisdom, based on the promises of God.  Scripture says:  “If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5 AMP)  My husband, Joe, and I received Christian marriage counseling many years ago, and it did help us to some extent.  But it wasn’t as helpful as going directly to God for wisdom and guidance.  The Lord sees into our hearts, and He sifts our motives.  He alone knows about our emotional scars, and our warped attitudes.  And because He created each one of us, He knows what is best for us, and how to heal us.  When we cry out to Him, He is readily available to us every moment of every day. 

   The next verse in this passage reveals a major requirement for receiving an answer from the Lord when we pray for guidance.  “But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6 AMP)  When we truly believe in “God’s willingness to help,” He will send us revelation from heaven that will transform our relationships and bring healing.

   Another piece of advice that I give people is to keep the devil out of their marriage by refusing to stay angry.  Unforgiveness will destroy a relationship faster than anything else.  The Bible says:  “Be angry [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], yet do not sin; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.  And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness].” (Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP)  God allows righteous indignation, and He will show us how to confront our loved ones with their sin when we ask for His wisdom.  But when we hold on to our anger and resentment, and we withhold forgiveness from others, we are opening the door to demonic activity that can destroy the very relationships we cherish most.  God has the perfect plan for healthy relationships for you and yours.  Will you seek His wisdom and grace in this area?

   Lord, please show me how to have godly relationships that honor You.  Teach me to pray for Your wisdom and guidance, so that I will always know how to respond correctly to issues and disagreements that arise.  Help me to forgive others quickly and thoroughly the way You do.  Heal me of all past hurts, and all toxic mindsets.  Thank You that as I follow Your leadership in this area, You will protect my relationships, and make them a source of joy and fulfillment for me!

   *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

Aug 23 20

Rescue Precious Lives from Destruction

by J. M. Farro

   “My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off.  Go after them.  Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.”  James 5:19-20 MSG

   My guess is that every person who is reading this message today has known at least one person who has wandered away from God.  When these people are adults – even our own adult children – it can be tempting to “write them off,” thinking that we are helpless to change their minds.  I have been guilty of this very mindset myself.  But what if it is God’s will for us to “go after them” instead?  Here are some ways we can do that.

   We can pray for the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened so they would come to know the truth. (Ephesians 1:18)

   We can bind Satan and his demons from operating against them, and trying to hinder them from accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. (Matthew 18:18)

   We can pray that the Lord of the harvest will put laborers in their path who will minister the truth of the Gospel to them in life-changing ways. (Matthew 9:38)

   We can ask God to give them receptive hearts, and to give us opportunities to share the truth with them.  But sometimes, we will not be the one that the Lord uses to reach them.  We can, however, plant seeds in their hearts that someone else can water in the days ahead.  Perhaps most importantly, we can set a Christlike example for them, so that we will not be a stumbling block to their faith.

   The Lord wants to use you and me to “rescue precious lives from destruction.”  When we do, we will be “preventing an epidemic of wandering away from God.”  Who is it that the Lord wants you to help rescue today?

   Lord, help me not to simply write people off when they wander away from You.  Anoint and enable me to go after them, and to get them back, so I can rescue their precious lives from destruction by Your grace and power.  Help me to set a Christlike example at all times, and teach me how to bind the enemy from operating against me and my loved ones.  Thank You for using me to prevent an epidemic of wandering away from You in this world!

  *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

Aug 16 20

Absolutely Above Suspicion

by J. M. Farro

   “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.”  2 Corinthians 8:21 AMPC

   For most of his life, my father worked as an executive for a prestigious firm in New York City.  When I was 20 years old, I got a job working for a Manhattan company that was moving to New Jersey, which is where we lived.  My dad was thrilled when I told him that, for several weeks, I would be working in an office building that was within walking distance of his company.  One afternoon, I walked with my dad back to his building after we had lunch together.  As I reached up to give my dad a kiss on the cheek in the lobby, he froze and said sternly, “You can’t kiss me in here,” and then he walked away.  To this day, I remember the pain of rejection that I felt at that moment.

   I didn’t realize it at the time, but my father taught me a very valuable life lesson that day.  He taught me that appearances do matter.  No one in my dad’s workplace lobby could have known that I was his daughter.  All they saw was a young woman kissing an older man.  Those who knew my father only casually at his workplace would have known that I was most definitely not his wife, and they immediately would have drawn the wrong conclusions.  My dad could have thought, “I’m not doing anything wrong.  I don’t care if people get the wrong idea.”  Instead, he cared about people’s perception at his workplace.

   Scripture tells us: “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” (Romans 12:17 NIV)  In other words, God cares very much about appearances.  The Amplified translation of this verse says that we should always be “aiming to be above reproach in the sight of everyone.”  This means that we should not only be totally innocent of wrongdoing, but that we should also avoid any suspicion of wrongdoing.  The Bible says: “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.” (2 Corinthians 8:21 AMPC)  The Passion Translation says it this way: “For we intend to do what is right and we are totally open both to the Lord’s inspection and to man’s.”

   As Christians, you and I are being closely examined, inspected, and scrutinized everywhere we go.  Let’s not give the devil, or anyone else, any ammunition to use against us or our most cherished relationships.

   Lord, please plant deeply in my heart the truth that You are very concerned about appearances, and that You expect me to have the same mindset.  Remind me often that I, and my actions, are being scrutinized everywhere I go, and that suspicious minds are all around me.  Thank You that as I hold myself to the highest of standards in my conduct, conversation, and companionships, You will protect and bless my most cherished relationships!

   *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

 

Aug 9 20

Saturated in Prayer

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing.  Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude.”  Philippians 4:6 TPT

   This verse of Scripture is one of the most often quoted passages in the Bible, with good reason.  It is God’s way of reminding us to get our focus off of the things of this world, and onto Him, so that we can walk in the supernatural peace that is our inheritance in Christ.

   This Passion Translation highlights how worry can pull us in different directions.  When it does, we can veer off course, away from the Lord’s best plans and purposes for us.  Then our impact on this world for Him will be greatly diminished.  I love how this translation says, “Be saturated in prayer throughout each day.”  This is similar to us being on the phone with God, and staying on the line with Him day and night.  This way, we are praying through every task, problem, and interaction with other people – bringing God’s involvement into every moment of every day.  Then this text says that we should offer our “faith-filled requests” up to the Lord with “overflowing gratitude.”  In other words, every request we make to God should be made with an attitude of faith in His Word and promises, as well as in His goodness.  And all of our petitions should spring from a grateful heart – not from a resentful or doubtful one.

   The next verse in this passage says, “Tell Him every detail of your life.”  The Lord knows that whenever we fail to talk to Him about a certain aspect of our lives, worry and anxiety creep in, and we forfeit our peace and joy.  That’s why the second half of this verse says, “THEN God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.” (v. 7)  When we allow God’s kind of peace to flow unhindered into our lives, we are positioned to receive revelation knowledge that can transform our problems into divinely-ordained solutions. 

   God did not create us to bear the burdens of this life alone.  From the very beginning, He fashioned us to live our lives totally dependent upon Him.  When we do, we will experience the abundant, victorious lives that Jesus died for us to have.  God bless you!

   Lord, deliver me from all anxiety and worry that would pull me in different directions, away from Your perfect purposes for me.  Teach me how to saturate every aspect of my life in prayers of faith.  Give me a thankful heart that will never take Your blessings for granted.  Thank You that as I cooperate with You to walk in Your indescribable peace, I will receive the revelation knowledge I need to live a victorious and successful life!

   *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

Aug 2 20

Things That Distract

by J. M. Farro

   “Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those worldly, meaningless things that distract – let Your priorities be mine], and restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways.”  Psalm 119:37 AMP

   It would be an understatement to say that this generation is the most distracted generation of all time.  Think about all of the time that we spend on our devices – all of the attention and energy we devote to unessential things – and it’s no wonder that our society is getting further away from God all the time.  We can see the devastating consequences of this reality all around us.

   The verse above from Psalm 119 is a good one for us to pray daily.  We are praying God’s will when we ask Him to turn our eyes away from “worldly, meaningless things that distract” us, and to make His priorities our own.  Psalm 101:3 (AMP) is another verse that talks about the importance of what we give our attention to.  “I will set no worthless or wicked thing before my eyes.  I hate the practice of those who fall away [from the right path]; it will not grasp hold of me.”  Some people think that what they spend time looking at has no bearing on the direction of their life, but the Bible says otherwise.

   Right after the Scriptures tell us about how God’s Word ministers life and health to all our flesh as we set our eyes and ears on it, we are told, “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 GW)  This is God’s way of telling us that what we give our attention to will greatly affect, not only our spirits, but our bodies.  I am extremely sensitive to what I look at and listen to.  That’s because I have done my best to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit when He prompts me to change the channel when I am listening to something, or viewing something, that can adversely affect my well-being.  If you think that your listening and viewing habits don’t affect your health, then the devil has you badly deceived.  You are providing him with an inroad into your life that will produce a harvest of destruction in the days ahead.

   The apostle Paul had the right idea when he wrote:  “You may say, ‘I am allowed to do anything.’  But I reply, ‘Not everything is good for you.’  And even though ‘I am allowed to do anything,’ I must not become a slave to anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12 NLT)  God wants us to devote ourselves to things that will benefit us – not harm us or distract us from His purposes for us.  Do some honest soul-searching right now, and decide to come up higher in this area today!

   Lord, on the basis of Your Word, I ask that You turn my eyes away from all of the worldly, meaningless things that distract me from Your purposes for my life.  Make Your priorities my own, and help me to live Your way each day.  Give me the discernment and determination I need to act wisely where my viewing and listening habits are concerned.  Thank You that as I guard my heart with all diligence, You will lead me in the paths of peace, wholeness, vitality, and success!

    *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

Jul 26 20

Our True Hero

by J. M. Farro

   “My true hero comes to my rescue, for the Lord alone is my Savior.” Psalm 3:8 TPT

   When I was growing up, Superman was my favorite hero.  Today, while I’m still a fan of the Man of Steel, this fictional character is in a totally different category for me.  Why?  Because as the Scripture above states, Jesus is “my true hero,” and He “alone is my Savior.”  This Passion Translation tells us in a footnote: “The Hebrew word used sixty times in the Psalms for deliverance is Yeshuah, a variant form of the name for Jesus.  This is pointing us to where our salvation is found.”  This doesn’t just refer to our new birth, but to every kind of deliverance we will ever need on this earth – from every sin, bondage, and evil addiction, and every form of harm, including sickness, disease, poverty, and lack.  Jesus is well able to deliver us from them ALL.

   The second half of Psalm 3:8 in this translation says: “What a feast of favor and bliss He gives His people!”  In other words, the Lord delights in showering His devoted ones with an abundance of special benefits and blessings.  And He fills us with the kind of joy that can only be experienced by those who walk in close fellowship with Him.  If you look up the definition for the word “bliss,” you see that it refers to “a state of perfect happiness, typically so as to be oblivious of everything else.”  This doesn’t mean that we become so happy and content that we live irresponsibly.  It means that even when we are facing hardship and heartache, we can still experience a deep, abiding joy that helps us to resist dwelling on our troubles.

   The Message Bible translation of Psalm 3:8 says, “Real help comes from God.”  When we need healing, real help comes from God.  When we need finances, real help comes from God.  When we are troubled by loneliness, fear, depression or rejection, real help comes from God.  If you are looking for “real help” today, you can’t do any better than making your real hero Jesus – and calling upon His mighty and precious name!

   Lord, today I appeal to You as my true hero and Savior.  Deliver me in every way that I need deliverance, and set me free in every way that I need freedom.  In every situation and circumstance, help me to refuse to look to anyone but You for help.   Shower me with Your favor, and fill me with Your joy.  Thank You that as I learn to rely on You more and more, You will prove to be my Rescuer and my Rewarder!

   *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

Jul 19 20

Don’t Live for the Praises of Others

by J. M. Farro

   “Of course you’re unable to believe in Me.  For you live for the praises of others and not for the praise that comes from the only true God.”  John 5:44 TPT

   One way that people, including Christians, can get off track where fulfilling their God-given purpose is concerned, is by living for the praises of other people.  Well-meaning people can try to get us involved in their agendas, which may sound good on the surface.  However, when we take a closer look and hold them up against the truth of the Gospel, we realize that they conflict with God’s agendas.  Some of these people who want us to stray from what the Bible teaches will see themselves as enlightened, and us as closed-minded.  They may even try to make us feel guilty when, in their eyes, we are not being loving, because we refuse to accept the sinful lifestyles that a corrupt society approves of.

   Jesus said: “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)  You and I have to be extremely wary of people who have no real love for God.  Christ had no desire to try to please them, and neither should we.  The Savior goes on to say: “I have come to represent my Father, yet you refuse to embrace Me in faith.  But when someone comes in their own name and with their own agenda, you readily accept him.” (v. 43 TPT)  Sadly, there are many people today who readily accept the worldly agendas of their own society and culture, and refuse to embrace Christ and His Gospel.  Then Jesus reveals: “Of course you’re unable to believe in Me.  For you live for the praises of others and not for the praise that comes from the only true God.” (v. 44 TPT)  Living for the praises of others, rather than of Christ, will ultimately destroy our faith and our witness, and prevent us from fulfilling our God-given destiny.

   In Luke 16, Jesus says: “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.” (v. 15)  The Passion Translation says, “The very things that you approve of and applaud are the things God despises.”  Look at some of the vile things that many are approving of and applauding these days.  It’s up to you and me to stand against these things that “God despises.”  As Christ’s representatives, it’s our job to be champions for biblical commands and principles in this world.  Scripture says: “What people say about themselves means nothing.  What counts is whether the Lord says they have done well.” (2 Corinthians 10:18 ERV)  When we live our lives in a way to receive the praises of God, He will bless us and use us in mighty ways for His glory!

   Lord, help me to avoid getting involved with worldly agendas that conflict with Your Word and Your laws.  When given a choice to offend You or other people, help me to choose to offend others every time.  Thank You that as I concentrate on pleasing You in all things, You will see that I fulfill my God-given purpose and potential 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

Jul 12 20

Your Progress will be Evident to All

by J. M. Farro

   “Practice and work hard on these things; be absorbed in them [completely occupied in your ministry], so that your progress will be evident to all.”  1 Timothy 4:15 AMP

   The verse above is from a passage of Scripture where the apostle Paul is instructing his spiritual son, Timothy, in the things of God.  Paul goes into detail about how Timothy should set a godly example to other believers, especially as a church leader.  These instructions and principles can be applied to all followers of Christ in some way.  We all have our own ministries.  Whether your primary job is to raise children, support a family financially, be a caregiver, or be a student, you have a “ministry” of some sort.  And if you let Him, the Lord will use you wherever you are to advance the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

   Notice that the Scripture says that our goal should be to make our progress “evident to all.”  In other words, we are to bear spiritual fruit that everyone can see.  We do this with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, once we surrender our lives to Christ.  The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)  These are lofty goals, to be sure, but God doesn’t expect perfection from us – only cooperation with His Spirit, so that we can make the progress He calls us to.  Without this kind of progress, we will have very little impact on our world.  I like to pray daily, “Lord, make me sensitive and obedient to Your Spirit’s leading in all things, so that I will always walk in Your perfect will, and receive Your absolute best!”

   The next verse in this passage in First Timothy says: “Pay close attention to yourself [concentrate on your personal development] and to your teaching; persevere in these things [hold to them], for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.” (1 Timothy 4:16 AMP)  Here again, the Scripture makes a connection between our personal development and our impact on this world.  Imagine being able to “ensure salvation” for yourself and those in your sphere of influence.  Some Christians reject this kind of responsibility.  They want to live their lives their own way, without anyone watching or assessing their behavior.  But this is totally unbiblical, because Scripture says: “Prove yourself to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15 NASB)  

   The apostle Paul wrote, “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it.” (2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP)  Do some serious soul-searching today, and ask the Lord how you can make a greater impact on this world for Christ!

   Lord, teach me how to be absorbed in the things of God – including Your Word – so that my progress may be evident to all.  Help me to concentrate on my personal development in order to ensure salvation for myself and others.  Remind me to speak the truth in love to everyone, and guard me from all deception.  Thank You that as I bear abundant fruit for Your glory, I will prove myself to be a powerful witness for You and Your Word!

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