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Mar 7 21

Our Connection to God

by J. M. Farro

   “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 NIV

   I recently heard from an old acquaintance who had a dear friend who was gravely ill.  She asked me to pray for this man, because she said that I always seemed to have a special “connection” to the Lord, which enabled me to get amazing answers to my prayers.  What’s interesting is that I have heard this before – that I have a special “connection” to God, which makes my prayers more powerful than the average Christian.  And if you were to ask me how you could have this kind of divine connection, too, here is what I would say to you.

   First off, I would tell you that besides receiving Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to truly surrender your heart and life to Him.  You must give Him access to every area of your life, not just the spiritual part.  Jesus wants you to submit to His lordship where your relationships, your career, and even your entertainment are concerned.  You can’t separate the secular and the sacred.  Every moment of your life must be lived to the glory of God.  That doesn’t mean that the Lord expects you to be perfect.  Only Jesus lived a perfect life on this earth.  But it means that you live every day of your life with this command in mind – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

   Second, in order to have a deep connection with God, you must heed the Savior’s instructions in John 15:7 (AMPC): “If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”  Here is a powerful principle that leads to powerful prayer.  You must believe God’s Word, considering it “truth,” as Jesus called it in John 17:17.  And you must believe ALL of it.  If you say, “Well, I just have a problem with some parts of the Bible,” then your connection to God – and your prayers – will be greatly hindered.  Scripture says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9 NIV)  The Message Bible says it this way, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him.”

   Years ago, when the Lord was teaching me how to pray effective prayers, He showed me Psalm 119:173 (NIV): “May Your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen Your precepts.”  God revealed to me that if I would choose to believe and honor His Word, His laws, and His precepts – over and above the laws of our culture and society – I would get “ready” answers to my prayers.  The bottom line is that we are either going to be filled with the Word or the world.  There is “no neutral ground” with God. (Luke 11:23 MSG)  Which will YOU choose?

   Lord, today I surrender every aspect of my life to You, and I make You Lord over every area of my life.  Help me to honor and glorify You with all of my thoughts, words, and actions.  I choose to believe Your Word, and to consider it truth.  Teach me how to pray effective prayers.  Thank You that as I remain vitally united to You, and Your Words remain in me, I will receive ready answers to my prayers!

   *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

Feb 28 21

Sheltered By God’s Promises

by J. M. Farro

   “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  Matthew 5:7 AMP

   When my 10-year-old grandson, William, was staying with my husband, Joe, and me this past week, as he usually does, he began telling us about an experience he had when he was in the first grade.  One of his classmates told their teacher that Will had used “a bad word.”  Knowing that it was a lie, my grandson panicked and did his best to convince his teacher and his other classmates that it wasn’t true.  However, none of the other kids spoke up for Will, even though they knew that he was innocent.  Instead of giving my grandson the benefit of the doubt, his teacher punished him for the offense.  She made him sit in a corner of the room all by himself, while all of the other children busily went about creating Valentine’s Day cards for each other.  Before my husband and I could respond to Will’s heartbreaking story, our grandson began singing the praises of his first-grade teacher.  It was obvious that he loved her and thought the world of her, and he wanted us to know it.  What was Will doing?  He was extending mercy to the teacher who had deeply hurt him, and who had treated him unfairly.

   Will’s experience makes me think of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7 NIV)  One thing that most Christians miss is the fact that our Savior doesn’t just want us to show mercy to others so that THEY can be blessed.  He wants us to show mercy because He knows that there are great earthly and heavenly rewards waiting for US when we continually walk in love and forgiveness.  The Amplified translation of this verse says, “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”  Hallelujah!  Do you want to be “content”?  Show mercy!  Do you long to be “sheltered by God’s promises”?  Show mercy!  God is saying that when we are merciful when others don’t deserve mercy, we are abiding in a place of divine peace, protection, and provision.  So be generous with your mercy.  And watch the blessings of God’s promises chase you down and overtake you!

   Lord, You instruct us to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 NIV)  So please give me a heart of mercy like Yours.  When others treat me unjustly, or hurt me in any way, help me to respond in a Christlike manner.  Remind me often that Your Word says that “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NIV)  Thank You that as I extend the mercy of God to others, I will experience the fullness of Your promised blessings!

   *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

Feb 21 21

Place Them in God’s Hands

by J. M. Farro

   “He is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in His hands safe and secure…” 2 Timothy 1:12 TPT

   The Lord showed me this verse of Scripture at the beginning of this year.  He wanted to let me know that if I would just “place” my loved ones “in His hands,” He would keep them “safe and secure” for me.  Who are these loved ones of mine?  They are the ones who are living apart from God, and for whom I have been earnestly praying for years.

   This verse begins by stating, “The confidence of my calling enables me to overcome every difficulty without shame, for I have an intimate revelation of this God.”  We who have an “intimate revelation” of God know without a doubt that He loves our unbelieving loved ones even more than we do, and He has an even greater desire to see them saved and serving Him.

   The rest of this verse says, “And my faith in Him convinces me that He is more than able to keep all that I’ve placed in His hands safe and secure until the fullness of His appearing.”  Notice that it is our “faith” in God that “convinces” us that He is “more than able” to keep and protect ALL that we place in His hands – “until the fullness of His appearing.”  We may not see any visible evidence that the Lord is working in our loved ones’ lives, but by faith, we know without a doubt that He is!

   If we have a revelation of the one true God, and we have an intimate and eternal relationship with Him, then we can entrust to Him all those loved ones who have turned their backs on Him, or who never believed in Him in the first place.

   Don’t live another day fretting about your unbelieving loved ones.  That won’t do you or them a bit of good.  Instead, make this the year that you hand them over to the Lord, confident that they are safe and secure in His hands!

   Lord, today I commit to You all of my unsaved loved ones.  Show me how to pray effective prayers for them.  Fill me with an unshakable peace, knowing that they are in Your hands, and that You love them even more than I do.  Help me to be careful about what I say when they are in my presence.  Allow them to see Jesus in me at all times.  Thank You for Your promise to save every member of my household because of my faith in Christ!  (Acts 16:31)

   *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

Feb 14 21

Invite God into Your Work

by J. M. Farro

   “Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:3 TLB

   The Lord showed me years ago that all of my work will be more enjoyable, productive, and successful if I will invite Him into it.  He reminded me of John 15:5 (NIV), where Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”  God wants us to be fruitful for His glory, no matter what kind of work we are doing.  It starts with surrendering our lives to Christ, and walking closely with Him throughout each day.  As we commit each endeavor to Him, and ask for His wisdom and strength, His Spirit infuses us with divine power that enables our efforts to be successful and productive.  When Jesus says, “Apart from Me you can do nothing,” He means that we can do nothing of eternal value without His help.  When we do our work in the name of Christ – even if it’s the most mundane work – we will receive earthly and eternal rewards for our efforts.

   The other verse that I stand on daily for my endeavors is Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  This doesn’t mean that I can be a concert pianist through Christ’s power, but that I can accomplish everything that He has called me to do, as I rely on His strength.  I like the Living Bible translation which says: “I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”  I can love unlovable people when I depend on Christ’s strength to do it.  I can be the wife, mother, and grandmother that God wants me to be when I rely on the Master’s power.  And I can minister to others as I am called to when I draw on Christ’s strength which abides in me through His indwelling Spirit.  When I put John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13 together, I can declare with all truthfulness: “Lord, apart from You, I can do nothing, but through You, I can do all things!”  Hallelujah!  Below is a prayer based on the Word of God that I pray every day.  I can testify to its power, and I encourage you to pray it, too.  God bless you!

   Lord, apart from You, I can do nothing, but through You, I can do all things.  So I commit to You this day all of my ways, all of my works, all of my intentions, endeavors, and efforts, and I ask that You direct them, perfect them, bless them, anoint them, and crown them with success, in Jesus’ name.  And help me to enjoy and profit from every moment and aspect of them! 

   (John 15:5 NIV; Philippians 4:13 NKJV; Proverbs 3:6 TLB; Psalm 138:8 NASB; Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT; Proverbs 14:23 NIV) 

   *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

Feb 7 21

Don’t Envy Sinners

by J. M. Farro

   “Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord.  You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.”  Proverbs 23:17-18 NLT

   I encourage you to do some serious soul-searching today, and ask yourself if you have ever – even for a moment – envied sinners.  I was guilty of this very thing myself many years ago, before I had a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord.  Back then, I was a “casual Christian.”  I was saved and on my way to heaven, but I never experienced the discernible presence of Almighty God for myself.  Once I surrendered my life to the Lord for real, just before my 40th birthday, I discovered that God wanted to reveal Himself to me in life-changing ways, and that He wanted to be involved with every aspect of my life on a moment-by-moment basis.  Now, I truly pity the people who are trying to live this earthly life without the awesome presence of God.

   The Passion Translation of the above verses says: “Don’t allow the actions of evil men to cause you to burn with anger.  Instead, burn with unrelenting passion as you worship God in holy awe.  Your future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away.”  God doesn’t want us to waste our time or energy burning with anger over the evil actions of the wicked.  Instead, He longs for us to burn with passion for His awe-inspiring presence.  The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said: “How is the prosperous sinner the better for his prosperity when judgment overtakes him?  As for the godly man, his end is peace and blessedness, and none can rob him of his joy; wherefore, let him forego envy, and be filled with sweet content.”  When we focus on the wicked – instead of on our God and all that He blesses us with here on earth, and all that He will bless us with in heaven – we rob ourselves of the joy and contentment that Christ died for us to have. (John 16:22)

   Elsewhere in Proverbs it says: “Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked. For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.” (Proverbs 24:19-20 NLT)  These verses remind me of a quote by the theologian Charles Bridges: “Our hearts, instead of envying sinners, should be full of compassion for them, for they have nothing to look forward to but death.”  As born-again children of the Most High God, we would do well to pity and pray for these poor souls, and to minister to them as the Holy Spirit leads us to.  Today, let us give thanks that “[our] future is bright and filled with a living hope that will never fade away”!

   Lord, please work in my heart so that I will never spend a single moment of my life envying sinners.  Instead, show me how to pray for them, and to minister to them according to Your will.  Help me to long for Your presence continually, and to dwell on all the good things You have for me in this life, as well as in the next.  Thank You that as I worship You in holy awe, I will experience Your sweet contentment and joy!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

 

Jan 31 21

Healing in Your Hands

by J. M. Farro

   “At sunset, the people brought all those who were sick to Jesus to be healed.  Jesus laid his hands on them one by one, and they were all healed of different ailments and sicknesses.” Luke 4:40 TPT

   Some years ago, when three of my husband, Joe’s, doctors confirmed the presence of what they believed to be a large cancerous growth in his neck, he was scheduled for a biopsy.  When the test couldn’t be performed for several weeks, we were sorely disappointed because of the severe headaches that Joe was suffering with.  I began earnestly praying that God would heal my husband before his biopsy.  And I started laying my hands on him every night before he went to sleep.  When the day of his biopsy arrived, every test confirmed that the growth had totally disappeared and was nowhere to be found.  The doctors were left scratching their heads, and Joe and I thanked God for His miracle-working power.

   The Lord reminded me of this experience recently when I was praying for healing for myself.  He showed me the verse above from Luke 4:40, which talks about the people who were “healed of different ailments and sicknesses” when “Jesus laid His hands on them.”  Then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a promise from the Savior Himself: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in My name…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18 ESV)  It finally dawned on me that the Lord was telling me that I can lay hands on myself, in the name of Jesus, and experience my own recovery. 

   The Scriptures show that Jesus healed different people in different ways, so it’s always wise to pray for wisdom when we pray for healing.  It makes me think of the Savior’s mother saying, “Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.” (John 2:5 CEV)  Very often, when I need healing for my mind, emotions, or body, the Holy Spirit gives me a promise from Scripture to pray, confess, and stand on for my healing.  This time, He was telling me to lay hands on myself. 

   As I followed the Lord’s directions, I experienced the relief and recovery that God promises in His Word.  If you or a loved one need healing today, pray the following prayer in the name of Jesus – and open the door to divine healing and wholeness!

   Lord, I praise You for being a healing God, and that You delight in healing Your people.  Remind me often that as one of Your followers, I can lay hands on the sick and suffering, and they WILL recover.  Lead me along Your perfect pathway of healing and wholeness, and help me to follow You closely, and to cooperate with You fully all the way.  Thank You that whether my healing is instantaneous or progressive, I will experience Your miracle-working power!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Jan 24 21

Regrets and Dead Ends

by J. M. Farro

   “As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter.  But do you call that a free life?  What did you get out of it?  Nothing you’re proud of now.  Where did it get you?  A dead end.”  Romans 6:20-21 MSG

   Now that both of my parents have died, it is taking me and my sisters years to go through all of their old photos and mementos.  All of this has me thinking about my youth, and reflecting on the many things that I regret doing.  Sometimes, I treated my parents badly.  I disrespected them and ignored their rules, and it usually cost me dearly.  I got involved in relationships that my parents warned me against, and I endured suffering that I could have easily avoided had I taken heed of their wise counsel.

   As the verses above say, I did what I felt like doing.  I was ignoring God, His Word, and His wisdom, and I wasn’t bothering with right thinking or right living.  All I wanted was my freedom, but I didn’t realize that I was actually a slave to sin.  And what did I get out of it all?  Nothing that I am proud of now, just like the Scripture says.  All I have to show for those days are regrets and dead ends.

   The saddest part of all of this is that I was raised as a Christian, but I didn’t truly surrender my life to the Lord until I was almost 40 years old.  By that time, every area of my life was a mess.  Then I met the Risen Christ.  And the next two verses in this passage of Scripture became a reality in my life: “But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise!  A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!” (Romans 6:22 MSG)    

   Jesus has saved me from myself, and I will be singing His praises all the rest of my days into eternity.  This passage of Scripture ends with some powerful truths: “Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death.  But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” (v. 23)  Have you allowed Christ to save you from yourself yet?

   Lord, I want to live a life of freedom through Christ.  Save me from myself, and from all the powers of darkness.  Deliver me from regrets and dead ends.  Lead me into right thinking and right living.  I repent for all the wasted time that I have spent living apart from You and Your plans for me.  Fill me with Your Spirit.  Heal me and make me whole in every way.  Thank You for Your precious gift of eternal life through Jesus 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

Jan 17 21

Jesus is Praying for You

by J. M. Farro

   “Who then will condemn us?  No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”   Romans 8:34 NLT

   Now that we have said goodbye to 2020, and a new year has already begun, I encourage you to keep in mind a very comforting truth – Jesus is praying for you.  I think we would all admit that last year was an especially difficult one, especially in light of a worldwide pandemic ravaging most of it.  And that is why I believe that Christ wants His followers to remain hopeful that 2021 will not only be a better year – but an exceedingly blessed one.  Let me start off by sharing a famous quotation with you that has encouraged believers for more than a hundred years.  It’s by a Scottish preacher from the 1800s, and it says – If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne)  Just knowing that he was in the Savior’s prayers dispelled this godly man’s fears and anxieties.  Let this knowledge do the same for you.

   Here are some encouraging truths.  The Bible says that Christ “is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” (Romans 8:34 NLT)  The Passion Translation says that Jesus is “continually praying for our triumph.”  The Lord is committed to our success.  He has specific purposes and plans for us in this life, and He will help us to fulfill them and complete them, as we seek His face and His wisdom each day.  Whatever He has called you to do, Christ will help you to do it with passion, joy, and excellence, as you depend on Him for help.

   Scripture says that Jesus “is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:25 NLT)  The Lord doesn’t just save us, and then act like His job is done.  No.  The Message Bible translation says that Christ is “always on the job to speak up for [us].”  He is praying for us continually – when our bodies are hurting, and we need healing.  When we lose our job, or our finances are in a mess.  When we suffer rejection or lose a loved one.  And if we know that the Savior is praying for us, then we can know without a doubt that help is surely on the way.

   The apostle John wrote that when we sin, we can be sure that “we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ.” (1 John 2:1 NLT)  Any way you look at it, Christ is on our side, and He is committed to our success in every area of our life.  Today, He wants you to know that this can be the best year of your life – if you will simply remember that He will never leave you, and that He is praying for you!

   Lord, when trouble strikes and my heart is in turmoil, remind me that You are continually praying for me.  Reassure me that You have specific plans and purposes for me, and that I will see them come to pass as I walk closely with You throughout each day.  Teach me how to seek Your face and Your guidance on a moment-by-moment basis.  Thank You that as I give You first place in my life, You will transform all of my troubles into triumphs!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Jan 10 21

Creative Miracles

by J. M. Farro

   “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give You whatever You ask.”  John 11:21-22 NIV

   If you know anything about the Bible account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, then you know what a miracle it actually was.  Lazarus had already been dead for four days by the time that Jesus got to him, and a true creative miracle was needed in order for Lazarus to live and breathe again.  I am so deeply inspired by Martha’s (Lazarus’ sister’s) statement of faith in the verses above.  Even though her brother’s body had undoubtedly begun to decay already, Martha says that “even now” she believes Jesus can do the impossible.  Moments later, she and many others witness Lazarus being raised from the dead by the Savior.

   In recent years, God has been challenging me to believe Him for miracles on a regular basis.  For instance, I have been asking the Lord to heal my vision.  When I began doing this, part of me told myself, “Yes, God will heal your vision when you get to heaven.”  But then, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit saying, “Believe God for your healing right here and now.”  When I saw my eye doctor recently, he confirmed that my vision HAD improved, but it’s still not perfect, so I’m continuing to pray for my healing.  Do I realize that I am asking God to do a creative miracle?  Yes, I do.  I have discovered that God will do things when we pray, that He won’t do when we don’t pray.  As Scripture says, “You don’t have the things you want, because you don’t pray for them.” (James 4:2 GW)

   During an aerobic exercise class many years ago, I literally shredded my left shoulder.  After looking at my x-rays, my doctors confirmed that I needed surgery to replace my shoulder joints.  I was an extremely busy young mom at the time, so for ten more years, I endured the excruciating pain and lack of mobility.  When I surrendered my life to Christ, and began allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me how to pray for healing, I started rebuking the pain and injury to my shoulder, and I started speaking healing to my joints.  One day, I noticed that the pain and disability were totally gone.  And more than twenty years later, my shoulder still feels great!

   That day at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus told Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV)  God is prepared to do creative miracles in our relationships, our careers, our ministries, our finances, and even in our bodies – IF we will ask Him and trust Him to work wonders on our behalf.  What is the Lord speaking to your heart about on this subject today?

   Lord, I am so grateful that You are still in the miracle-working business.  Teach me how to pray for miracles for myself and others on a regular basis.  Fill me with an ever-increasing love for Your Word, which can build my faith, and enable me to pray effective prayers.  Thank You for Your ability and willingness to work creative miracles that will bring great glory to You!

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

   *For autographed books, check out the J. M. Farro ETSY Store at www.etsy.com/shop/JMFarro

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

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

Jan 3 21

Expect God to Act!

by J. M. Farro

   “But, O my soul, don’t be discouraged.  Don’t be upset.  Expect God to act!  For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do.  He is my help!  He is my God!” Psalm 42:11 TLB

   In the days leading up to this past Christmas, my ten-year-old grandson, William, was lamenting to me that he wouldn’t be able to shop at his school’s Secret Santa Shop, as he did in previous years, because of Coronavirus restrictions.  I tried to assure him that he needn’t worry because his loved ones, including me, would understand if he couldn’t give us gifts this year.  When Christmas Day arrived, William handed me a small box that had been carefully wrapped.  When I opened it, I discovered that it contained a small piece of paper on which he had written one single word – “Hope.”  As I looked at him with a bit of confusion, he explained that in his Sunday school class, they learned about giving gifts from God to their loved ones this year, instead of the usual store-bought ones.  I thanked my grandson, but I didn’t realize until later how valuable and precious his gift was to me.

   A few days later, during my quiet time with the Lord, I was reading my old, worn copy of the Living Bible.  When the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 42, four words in verse 11 leaped off the page and into my heart – “Expect God to act!”  That’s when I realized that over the course of this past year – a year filled with a global pandemic, hardship, isolation, and disappointment – I had lost a measure of hope, and I had stopped expecting God to act in some areas that I had been praying about for years.  Oh, I still prayed about these things, but it was as though the wind had been knocked out of my sails.  So the Lord has me writing this message today to encourage myself and you.

   Psalm 130:5 (TLB) says, “I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised.”  When we base our prayers on God’s promises, He wants us to believe that our expectations will eventually be met – IF we don’t quit hoping and praying before our answers come.  Psalm 71:14 (TLB) says, “I will keep expecting You to help me.  I praise You more and more!”  One way to prove that we are expecting God to act on our behalf is to begin thanking and praising Him in advance for the answer.

   Scripture says, “In the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3 NIV)  Are you laying your requests before the Lord each day, and waiting in expectation for His answers?  If so, then you can bank on His precious promise today – “The Lord is good to those who hopefully and expectantly wait for Him”! (Lamentations 3:25 AMP)

   Lord, I ask You to fill me with a fresh sense of hope today, especially in those areas where I need it most.  Help me to lay my requests before You each day, and to wait with expectation for Your answers.  Teach me how to base my prayers on Your promises, and to praise You in advance for Your intervention.  Thank You that as I keep my hope and expectation in You and Your faithfulness, I will experience Your goodness in greater ways than ever before!

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