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God, calm my storm

20 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

(May 19, 2017)

The experience was unique on my last trip home. The plane ride was bouncy and rough. I stretched out on the seat beside me in that 10-passenger small plane.

I must have dosed off because all of a sudden, I notice the engine slowing down, the plane seem to lose power. The engine turned way too quiet– a frightening kind of quiet. There was no one beside me to ask. A bit of worry knocked at the door. So I thought, “Lord, here I come, open those heaven gates.”

Suddenly, the plane stopped. Unable to see the surroundings, I had no idea we had landed. The change of the engine sound was because we were on the ground already.

Please make me feel good and tell me you did something silly like that, too. You assumed the worst when it was the best instead.

I don’t feel too bad, though. The disciples did something similarly as related in Matthew 8:23-26.

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, and “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Father, forgive me when I lose my faith and doubt that you’re in my boat, present during my storms. Grant me wisdom and conviction to know I’m never alone, to be calm when the winds of disappointment, of heartache and fear blow fiercely around me. I will count on the safety of your presence in the storms of all sizes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What storms are you facing today? Who’s in your boat.

Janet

 

Source: God, calm my storm. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

What brings security for a mom?

13 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

God chose to bring me into this world on a cold spring morning in La Paz, Bolivia. My mom sat up on that old, unsteady bed in a worn-out clinic.

“The baby…the baby…it’s coming,” she shouted.

The woman looked up as she sat on a squeaky chair. She sipped her coffee. “Sorry, Señora. The midwife went home for lunch.”

With sweat beads on her forehead, my mom pressed her hand on her stomach. Tears fell and she anguished with no one to help her deliver me.

Finally, the woman put her cup down and went to the door. “Can anyone help?” she called out into the courtyard. “A baby is coming.”

The delivery started, and I was born lacking adequate medical care.

That first year, with me in her arms, she stood in long lines to get a loaf of bread and some wilted carrots. The recent revolution in La Paz had turned the economy upside down. Everything was scarce except for Mom’s love.

Years later, we followed the daily routine. I sat before her on a box we used as a stool. “Someday we’ll leave Bolivia,” she said as she braided my black hair.

That day came after four years of preparation to meet the U.S. Immigration requirements. We sold all we had. And Mother and Father worked night and day to earn enough money for airplane tickets.

And that airplane took us to a special place. As a young girl, Mom had read the Spanish translation of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” which took place on the shores of the Mississippi River. Her dream was to someday visit those places.

And that’s how St. Louis, Missouri, became the city where we began our new life.

But the adjustment to the unfamiliar territory in America wasn’t as beautiful as the stories in those books. My parents, my younger brother nor I read or spoke English. Unable to understand food can labels, we ate cat food, thinking it was tuna.

Sixth grade girls surrounded my desk, pointed at me, whispered to each other and giggled. My pierced ears in 1964 was an oddity causing astonishment.

But Mom set the example. Her job was hard on her emotions. She endured harsh treatment and humiliation. And her lack of fluency in English kept her there for many years.

She sat at the kitchen table, reading her Bible while tears flowed.

And through her strength, she nurtured us, protected us and taught us perseverance. All served to mold my childhood.

Decades swept by. And unexpectedly, I had to enter another unfamiliar territory. My blindness at 30 thrust me into a dark, terrifying world.

But like Mom, God’s Word gave me eyes to see beyond my blindness. With headphones on, I heard the Bible.

God’s strength fueled my days to do the tasks of cooking, cleaning and doing laundry while unable to see. When obstacles came, God promised me His grace would remove them and cover my mistakes.

I was born in a third-world clinic. But God ushered me into a first-class place where His riches are available. His blessings abound. And when my days as a Mom turn difficult, I ease into His arms to soothe my soul and bring security back.

To those dear moms, I hope you have the happiest Mother’s Day ever!

Janet

VIDEO OF THE WEEK SNEAK PEEK   https://youtu.be/O8lt7uWvSuw

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Source: What brings security for a mom? ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Four ways to turn your life around.

6 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

    

I turned toward a new friend seated beside me during a writer’s conference. He’s got to be kidding! Did I hear him right? Did he say what I thought he said?

Those questions ricocheted in this crazy chica’s head when I heard him describe what he did on the side. I let out a quick gasp as he related, with a matter-of-fact tone, that he made jewelry out of, are you ready? …moose droppings!

I pinched my nose. “Tell me this is a joke,” I said.

“Nope.” (Friends, check the pictures above to prove it.)

Being from Alaska, he explained the process. And I tried really tried to understand this craft. My imagination went wild with not-so-pleasant images.

But, amigos got to spill it all. This brought to mind the yucky droppings of trials that had paraded through my days—blindness, my son’s death, the struggles of sorrow—all gave my life a bad smell of heartache.

But viola! God turned the trials to triumph as He saw beyond the pain, the sin, the ugly scenes and transformed it all to a shining jewel for His glory.

No, amigos, don’t you think for a minute I’m saying this chica is a jewel. But the triumph God ushered certainly is.

Your triumph is waiting for you too. In the horrible, ever-present battle you’re facing, He’s got his tools and is at work too. He is at work to clean, shine and make it glow.

And during the process, all you have to do is:

  1. Receive the joy for the moment. The joy that comes because you know He’s in control. The joy that resonates even when we don’t see the end result.
  2. Choose gratitude in expectation of what He will do.
  3. Look back at ways He transformed other smelly circumstances in the droppings of life.
  4. Spray the perfume of repentance on that smelly sin. When He’s done He will showcase His victory in you.

Life sometimes does stink. But no matter how unbearable the stench of sin or sorrow is, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Father, from a discarded soul, tainted with sin, smelling of pride, you polished life, beauty and sparkle through your son Jesus. Thank you that our life now has a glow of salvation, of freedom, of joy and hope. In His name we thank you. Amen

  • What painful situation stinks in your life now?
  • What will it take for you to allow Him to turn your trials to triumph?
  • What keeps you in the same rut?

Janet

Source: Four ways to turn your life around. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

How to feel satisfied. 

29 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Stuff piles up when I’m heading out of town. And sigh! There are not enough hours in a day to prepare. Can you relate?

I zipped my suitcase and turned to hubby. “Ugh…didn’t have time for a pedicure. I guess I’ll take care of that when I get there.”

But I didn’t have to do that because the Chinese lady seated beside me on the airplane took care of that.

As is my habit to talk to anyone seated beside me, I began chatting with her. I asked her a ton of questions and often I had to ask her to repeat what she said because her lovely accent got a bit heavy at times.

Then it was her turn. “So, you totally blind?” No sight?” she said.

“That’s right.”

“Ah!” she said, then paused. “Why you so happy when you cannot see?”

But before I answered, she asked, “And where is your husband, in other seat?”

“No, I travel alone.”

“Ah!”

Her gasps of admiration made me smile. And with no hesitation, I shared my journey of the power of Christ in me.

Then my boldness died down a bit. And as we sat in silence for a long while. In my heart, I asked the Lord, “Should I present her an opportunity to invite Jesus into her own life?”

He didn’t give me an answer. Then I decided that if she said something to me first, that would be God’s sign for me to go ahead.

Silence. More silence. Then she tapped my arm, “Excuse me, I go to bathroom.”

That was my sign. When she came back, I asked, “Would you like to do what I did and invite Jesus into your heart?”

“Maybe,” she said.

I turned to face her. “Does that mean yes?”

“Yes,” she said.

The moments that followed played God’s sweet symphony of His plan in action—a life in a new direction. A heart that embraced the Good News. And a stranger who is now the daughter of the King.

Full joy, complete satisfaction, and delight burst in me. And my feet didn’t need a pedicure anymore because Paul said: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15

Father, bring into my life more opportunities to share the Good News, to guide others to a saving knowledge of who You are, and give me boldness to tell all of your goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What path are your feet taking you on lately?

Janet

 

Source: How to feel satisfied. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Can you pass this test on how to get rid of worry?

22 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

Reblog April7, 2017

 

We sat for lunch outside the Christian camp. And a warm Cuba breeze brushed through. I shooed a fly, and then another and another. “I’m used to this,” I said to my friend beside me. “When my family and I lived in Bolivia, flies buzzed all over. No one complained. We accepted the nuisance as part of life.”

And although in the United States, flies have no place, worry does. Its effects buzz around and show up no matter how often we try to shoo them away.

Here’s what I discovered: Worry is a language, a specific way of communicating with God. Our worry talks to God. Which of these is your worry telling God?

  • You are not capable of resolving what causes me fear.
  • You are not able to rescue me on time.
  • You are not aware of the details of my situation.
  • You are not able to heal my hurting heart or restore my broken plans.
  • You are not powerful enough to protect me from the evil one or from his lies.

If you checked at least one, you got a low score as you’re talking the language of worry…unacceptable to Him and destructive to us.

Worry-talk contradicts God’s Word and discounts His promises.

But what if we use the language of faith? We would speak of God’s strength. We would declare of His mighty power to correct the wrong, to heal the wounds and to soothe the pain.

Believing He can, we in turn can shoo worry away, bringing peace back. And once in the place of peace we repeat what God has been saying through the ages. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

If we listen, we’d be singing, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust…” (Psalm 91:2b)

Pray with me: Father, Thank you that my worry dies in the truth of your Word. Thank you for that freedom. Thank you for your power at work in me to live with reassurance instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What has been worrying your heart lately?

Janet

 

Source: Can you pass this test on how to get rid of worry? ~ Janet Perez Eckles

12 ways to overcome sorrow.

15 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

Everyone celebrates Easter Sunday, but for so long, I was stuck on the Friday, the day of sorrow, the day of pain and the day of darkness. It was because the death of our son, Joe, had covered us with the veil of grief.

But one spring, right before Easter, healing came. It arrived with Christ’s example as He also dragged the cross of His own sorrow. He bled his pain.

Without complaint, sorrow scraped his heart too. And then nailed on the wood, he tasted the bitterness of betrayal mixed with the hardship of injustice.

Why did He not fight? Beg for freedom from the cross? Or curse His fate?

The answer nearly exploded in my heart. Because He knew glory awaited Him. He was certain eternity was his. And He counted on heaven.

“I want the same,” my soul cried out. And God heard my plea.

So with the celebration of the resurrection of hope, and the rebirth of my joy, came a new beginning – my own Easter Sunday. And while wearing the new outfit of healing, of joy and renewed gusto, I got busy creating a new joy-filled life.

When the day comes and my chair is empty at the dinner table, celebrating Easter, what will my family say about my life? While they scoop up a second helping of mashed potatoes or more slices of honey-baked ham, will they remember the way I dreaded my Calvary or will they recall how I lived my Easters?

How about you? Have you reached your own Easter of triumph for others to see? Whether sorrow or serenity, we’re subtly creating a legacy, weaving memories and painting strokes on our own portrait. The one our family will hold in their hearts.

And for the Easters to come, the portrait will display the life we lived, the values we held and the conviction that danced in our heart when we answered:

  1. Did we sink under the weight of our cross?
  2. Did we keep moving with the strength of hope?
  3. Did we relish on our own Easter of joy?
  4. Did we choose to see life beyond circumstances, or did circumstances see us to despair?
  5. Did we face challenges with determination, or did we allow them to determine our destiny?
  6. Did we look for tomorrow with passion, or did momentary trials rob the passion for today?
  7. Did we reach out to others to encourage them, or did our own discouragement reached out to hold us back?
  8. Did we live life rich with God’s reassurance, or did we live empty of His grace?
  9. Did fear steal our joy, or did God’s joy erase all fear?
  10. Did we do things for our own interest, or did we first take interest in God’s ways?
  11. Did we follow our plans, or did we first plan to follow God’s path?
  12. Did we fret over petty things, or find the power of God’s precepts?

No matter what the answer, there is no cross of pain that can hold us down; no suffering that can hold us back because Jesus is alive. And with passionate Love He declares, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Father, I thank you for the triumph. And I pray your everlasting love nourishes my desires, goals and dreams. I ask for wisdom to leave a legacy that honors you, resonates with my children’s children, and reflects my obedience to your precepts. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Janet

 

Source: 12 ways to overcome sorrow. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

What to do when feeling trapped.

8 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

Reblogged (March 31, 2017)

Sometimes God has a message for us in the oddest ways and even in the silliest situations. I pulled away from my computer and turned to hubby, listen to this story,” I said.

A baby camel looked up to his mother, “Mommy, why do we have these long eyelashes, these big hooves and a hump on our back?”

She turned to him. “God made us that way for a very special reason,” she explained. “Our large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand.”

“Why the big eyelashes?” he asked.

“It’s to protect our eyes from the sand.”

“Why the big humps?”

“That is to store fat and have enough energy to go long distances in the hot desert!”

“I see!” The baby camel stretched his neck and looked up at his mother. “The large feet are to keep us from sinking into the sand, the long eyelashes are to keep the sand out of our eyes, and the humps are to store energy to travel…then what are we doing in this cage in the middle of a zoo?”

I have asked the same question. Like the camel, I had all I needed to enjoy life. I had desires and dreams, and prepared my wings to fly high to success. But instead, I found myself in a cage of grief and heartache. Pitiful really, and definitely not the place I thought I belonged. At the age of 30, my eyesight closed in completely. I lost my joy, my purpose, and my freedom. Bars of gloom and desperation surrounded me.

Inside that cage, I longed for days gone by. Days when I could see. Days when life still held promises for tomorrow.

Have you ever been there? Have you known that longing?

If you have, like He did with me, God might be whispering this powerful truth right into your soul: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18)

When looking forward, we see the freedom from past longings. When we choose to see outside our cage, we see His hand calling. And when we choose to use what God gave us, we can live in the richness of today.

Pray with me:

Father, I need your reminder each moment of each day that you created me for much more than what I see within my cage. Thank you for showing me the way to the freedom you offer, fresh with your promises. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What has you trapped these days?

Janet

 

Source http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/what-to-do-when-feeling-trapped.html

 

Three reasons why you can’t let go.

1 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

Hubby and I agreed to get a brief video done. So I reached for my purse. “Wait a minute,” I said, “let me put on some lipstick before you begin.

Why can’t I toss vanity out the window? But dare I say that we all have a trace of that from time to time.

Some of us are way too appearance-conscious. We dress well to look sharp, wear black to look thin, fix the hair so we look young, and dress down to look cool.

And beyond how we look, we strive to do what might be impressive. We try hard to reach the top, we get busy to do good stuff or even go places to rave about what we did.

Those efforts aren’t bad, unless they rule our lives. Or unless they stir electric signals to the brain, keeping it awake when it should be resting.

At an Access Life event for folks and their families living with disabilities, a sort of strange animal taught me a big lesson about total trust and rest.

A friend put a “turin” in my hands. No misspelling there. This sort of weird little creature is half turkey and half chicken. The body of a chicken, the neck of a turkey and the head of a chicken. Since I’m not able to “see” it, I imagine it to be a sort of ugly creature.

But does it even show concern about its looks? You tell me. As I held it, it fell asleep. It had no clue a blind woman was holding it. It didn’t care how it looked, what appearance it displayed or even care about who took its picture. It showed no worry about others staring at her.

Why can’t we be like that? Why can’t we rest in peace just the way we are—with failures that might be known. With flaws that stand out. With weaknesses that are evident, or things left undone? And in face of it all, we, dare to live in complete trust. In total peace. And undisturbed confidence, the kind of confidence that we too fall asleep in God’s arms.

But we can. And here are three steps to enjoy sweet sleep in those long nights:

  1. Smile at the image in the mirror. Admire God’s creation and repeat: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14) If He made us wonderfully, why fret about our body?
  2. No matter what happens, what doesn’t happen, we rest, fully and completely because of where we are: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1-2) With Him as our fortress and refuge, worry and tension can’t exist.
  3. Let go what is yet undone. The work God is doing in us is not completed. The plans He has for us are still in action because God’s Word says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) If God prepared the work, He’s mighty enough to show us the way to accomplish it.

Father, when restlessness robs our sleep, may we recognize that your kindness, your nurturing and protection is enough to grant the calmness of our thoughts, the peace in our heart and the serenity for our days. We will claim full rest each night, in Jesus name, we declare. Amen.

  • What keeps you awake at night?
  • Do your thoughts align with God’s Word?
  • How do you find restful sleep?

Janet

 

 

Source: Three reasons why you can’t let go. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Help! I Have Too Much Debt

25 Mar

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

Life can turn dark in so many ways. We were heading to church and Hubby rolled down his window. As he opened his wallet, he said, “There’s a woman with a sign that says, “My kids need to eat.”

Some put up signs and some sink in self-pity for lack of funds. But many more curse their situation. The same way the Israelites did.

Remember how they grumbled when they thought God had forgotten them? They were hungry and thirsty. And they even mumbled about going back to Egypt where they were slaves! Crazy thinking, in my opinion. But we’ve done the same thing—wish we were in a different place, maybe one we knew long ago. And we murmur our misfortune.

I’m here to challenge you:  Toss that grumbling out the window, cross-out those pitiful remarks from your vocabulary, and kick out negative thoughts that take away your peace.

And instead, celebrate Chanukah with me. (Please don’t tell me you know what that is…I didn’t, and feel a bit embarrassed about it.)

So I asked. And a precious Jewish friend who now loves Yeshua as her Savior and Lord explained it to me. After I read the explanation, I was so touched by the meaning and the significance that I deposited a huge amount of joy right into the bank account of my heart.

So, read on, take in the message, and ponder on the absolutely wonderful truth God is reminding you through the recount. Here it is:

Chanukah is the Jewish holiday of the festival of lights – where we celebrate when a tiny band of men called the Maccabees conquered the Greek army and recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem. The Greeks had desecrated the temple and all the Jews could find was one day’s worth of oil to light the eternal light – which must burn continually, according to the Lord’s command.  It takes eight days to produce the proper oil from the olives to use in the temple. But in faith, they used the little bit of oil – and it ended up lasting the full eight days – enough time to consecrate the new oil. It was a miracle all around – and that is why we light a Menorah, called a chanukiah – each day for eight days – to honor the Lord for his faithfulness and miracles!

Okay, you know God is the same yesterday, today and forever…do you think He’ll provide what you need? When you need it? And give you the oil, though meager it might seem, to last to cover the biggest bill in the pile?

God worked a miracle long ago…and He will now too. Not enough oil, but still, they lit the candles in trusting, not doubting, not wondering, not questioning—but in faith—and why shouldn’t we do the same?

Pray with me: Lord, I place the oil of faith before you. And I count on your Word, your promise and your provision to take care of all my needs. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What needs will you bring before the Lord today?

Janet

 

Source:  http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/inspiration/help-i-have-too-much-debt.html

The bright side of disappointment.

18 Mar

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

Why does bad news come at the worst times? A while back, I sat at my computer, my fingers dancing on the keyboard when hubby walked in. “You won’t believe this…but it’s 95% certain I can’t go.”

He’s got to be kidding! We planned this vacation for a year; it was paid for in full. We looked forward to a bit of rest, a little distraction, fun times to renew our body and soul. This time away was God’s gift to us. Really, it was.

“You’ll have to find someone else to take my place,” he said.

I hate these kind of surprises. I blew out a long breath and, dropped my head on the back of my chair. Why does life have to be complicated by broken plans?

Maybe you’re going through that right now. Not something insignificant as spoiled vacations. But maybe someone let you down. Or maybe the answer you received left you numb with shock. Or even worse, what you thought would work, just ended in disaster.

But sadly we add to the disaster when we, on our own, try to swallow our pain, hold our chin up and attempt to deal with life’s disappointments.

We can’t. Rather, what we can do is look up and read the message that God writes with His love, bringing the bright side of any disappointment because each could be His new appointment. Those broken plans become His opportunity to bring new, better ones.

And here’s His reason: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

In His ways, a better path is revealed. In His path, a new direction appears. And in His way of thinking victory is in the horizon.

Pray with me: Father, I release my broken heart, my disappointment, and I welcome the solution and wait in expectation at your hand at work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What disappointment in your life will become God’s opportunity to do great things?

Hey friends, can you give me your feedback? Do you want me to include the prayer for you and the questions at the end? Or do you prefer shorter inspirational truths?

I delight in meeting your expectations.

Janet

 

Source: The bright side of disappointment. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

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