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Want to be successful? The secret is to know when to celebrate. 

18 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

(February 10, 2017)

Is he ever a type A personality! Driven, zealous, bold, and often forceful. I’m talking about Paul’s commitment to win souls for Christ.

Can’t help it, but often he moves me with his unwavering faith, and he wins my admiration for his endurance. But sometimes he baffles me with some statements he makes, like this one: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

He delights in weakness? In suffering? Boasting about our weakness is an insane contradiction to the world’s standards where we need to appear strong, in control, all together, and have our success shine before others.

Paul shouts the total opposite. But a little pondering brings logic to his thinking. Boasting in areas in which we’re weak brings us to our knees to recognize our vulnerability, our powerlessness, and our feeble ways. And voila! That’s when God’s power bursts through with His ability to do the impossible, level walls of opposition, and remove hurdles we never could on our own.

Celebrate with me; let’s dig out those weaknesses, insecurities, the I-don’t-measure-up feelings, and toss out the inhibitions they caused. And with Paul’s same boldness, wait in expectation for God’s power to be made perfect in them.

How quickly will you celebrate your weaknesses?

Janet

Source: Want to be successful? The secret is to know when to celebrate. | Janet Perez Eckles

Three steps to getting your prayers answered.  

11 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

February 3, 2017

I really don’t want to walk in the rain, I thought.

“C’mon let’s go anyway,” hubby said as we walked out the front door. The wind was blowing and a few sprinkles came down.

I hesitated but relinquished to his insistence. “The sun will come out; trust me,” he said.

I held his hand as we made it to the driveway. “Wait a minute,” he said as he opened the car door, “let me grab the umbrella from the trunk, just in case.”

Umbrella? I thought he was confident it wouldn’t rain. I thought he was acting in faith that the sprinkles would stop. His words said one thing, but his actions said another.

We do that too, don’t we? We declare we have faith God will take care of the situation. We just know that our trust is complete. But as we claim to believe God will show up and solve all our needs, our actions tell a different story.

And when we do our best to walk on that faith, something inside whispers doubt. And next, we focus on the circumstances urging us to act contrary to what we said we believe.

But there’s help. If you’re walking in a downpour of conflict or disappointment, in 1John3:14-15 are nestled three powerful ways for you to walk through any circumstance with confidence, secure and firm.

Step 1:  “…our trust isn’t placed in things of this world, in the situation or in others. Not at all, this is the confidence that we have toward him [Jesus]…”

Step 2:  We know to ask not according to our whims, but according to God’s will, “…that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

Step 3:  Sleep comes easy at night because with renewed confidence, we declare: “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

Do you believe in this truth…or are you holding onto the umbrella of doubt?

Janet

Source: Three steps to getting your prayers answered. | Janet Perez Eckles

 

Janet’s devotional, Contagious Courage: A 30-Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety is reduced to 99 cents and is part of a promotion that is giving away an Amazon Kindle Fire or $50.00 in cash through Pay Pal. Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter 

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Three truths to keep you from giving up.

4 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

(January 20, 2017)

I can’t help it, I’m just nosy as can be. During one of the events in my trip to Cuba, I sat beside one of the ministry leaders.

“What part of Cuba do you come from?” I asked.

“Santiago de Cuba,” she said with joy in her voice.

As I shooed flies and fanned myself to create a bit of breeze in that intense humid heat, I bombarded her with questions. In the typical passion-filled Cuban style, she answered them all. Here is the summary:

She traveled 33 hours with an 11-month-old son in her arms. The trip began in a dilapidated car, springs protruding from the seat. No luxuries such as air conditioning, thus, the opened windows let all the dust in from the dirt roads. The roof was metal making the blistering heat more intense.

“How long was the trip in that car?” I said.

“Twelve hours to our first stop.”

She and the family and other families had to sleep on the cement floor of the terminal so as not to miss the first morning’s chance for transportation to the next stop. This time it was in an old truck in same conditions as the car.

Thirty-three hours later the families arrived accompanied by dozens of others who came from remote parts of Cuba to attend the event.

I was stunned. Not only at the hardship that no one in the States would even consider enduring. But I was amazed at the joy she exuded. Not a word of complaint. No words of “poor-me.” No tone of frustration. Only joy in her laughter. A sweet spirit in her willingness to serve us visitors. Imagine that. Us, who arrived in Cuba seated comfortably in a jet.

“I’m amazed at your perseverance,” I said.

She chuckled. “We love to do what God calls us to do. And the way to serve Him is to travel where we can minister to more people. That’s our reward.”

Her reward? That’s what keeps them going. The end result that keeps them energized. And the final accomplishment that gives them the strength to endure it all.

Shame on me. While on the rough road of life, the reward is often the last thing I think of. How about you?  When we find ourselves riding in a dilapidated car of heartache, we want to give up. When we’re melting in the heat of broken relationships, we want the comfort of reassurance. Or when we find ourselves sleeping in the cement floor of pain, we cry out to be freed from the torment.

Thank you God! For He has three steps to keep us moving forward in the vehicle of perseverance:

  1. No matter what you’re facing, give it all you got—the faith to believe, the commitment to endure and the strength not to give up because God said: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”
  2. Although you may not see the results, the changes or the solutions yet, joy still bubbles inside… “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
  3. Your efforts are not for the benefit of the other person or to change the circumstance; rather, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23

If we do it all for Him, freedom comes. If we focus on His reward, the journey is doable. And if we know God is with us, no matter how rough the journey, confidence increases, and peace comes back once again.

What will happen if you focus on God’s reward during your journey today?

Janet

 

Source: Three truths to keep you from giving up. | Janet Perez Eckles

The only way to be safe from troubles. 

21 Jan

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

Why did I give in?

Some years ago, my friends and I walked on the soft sand in the Cabo San Lucas beaches.

She elbowed me. “You’re going with us. C’mon, parasailing will be fun.”

I frowned. “You’re nuts. I’m not doing that,” I said. “Going up in the air with nothing underneath me? Ain’t happening.”

“You’ll love it.” She shook my arm and her voice grew with excitement. “C’mon where’s your sense of adventure?”

My sense of adventure was at home in Orlando, where it belonged—safe and secure.

With her nudging, a little tiny part of me said, “Why not…what could happen?”

I gave a long sigh. “All right, I’ll go.”

Once I was strapped in, the man placed my hands on the leather bands. “Hold on tight.”

Slowly, we were lifted up in the air and the wind lifted my hair. My friend giggled, oohed and aahed. Then she said, “Whatever you do, don’t fool with the metal hook.”

Ah! The hook. The one latch that connected the seat to the parachute. Should that hook come undone, or should I somehow open it and let the strap loose, I’d plop 30 feet into the Pacific Ocean and turn into an afternoon snack for the sharks below.

Crazy experience. But crazier is the fact that we’re also dangling above the tension of life. Almost daily we’re threatened by the teeth of anxiety that could devour our peace and bite into our confidence.

Knowing that, we should never, never undo the hook that connects us to the One who keeps us afloat. The One who sustains us above the fangs of adversity. The One who holds us beyond the reach of despair.

And when we’re safely connected to His power, we’re secure and protected from any and all dangers, threats or evil that hovers about. Nothing can touch us for “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-18).

In Him all things hold together. What relief, what freedom! Not in our efforts, our performance, our image, or our crazy ways. None of that holds our life together. It’s only the connection with Him who has the power to lift us above problems, struggles, and daily battles that can keep us secure and safe.

What are you connected to these days?

Source: The only way to be safe from troubles. | Janet Perez Eckles

How to turn your weaknesses into strengths

14 Jan

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Guilty. Self-pity nearly won. There was a time in my life when I felt unworthy and useless like the pulp my juicer spits out. Memory of that season rushed in when my friend and I had lunch last week.

“You won’t believe it,” she said.., “After I juice, I use the pulp to sprinkle on my salads…it turns out delicious!”

She didn’t discard the pulp, rather, she put it to good use. God did the very same with me. When blindness struck at the age of 31, I thought my life was over. I thought I’d be relegated to stay inside my four walls, empty of achievements and like useless pulp, ready to be dumped in the garbage disposal of life.

Did you ever have moments like that? Feeling like your value, your purpose and your passion is dry? We all have. But when God is in the midst, He uses what little we may have, what flaws we display, what mistakes we made or how low we feel. He crafts something deliciously beautiful.

That’s because no matter how we try to overcome our weaknesses, God is trying to turn them into strengths. He uses our weaknesses to make great things. He molds sad circumstances to success. And He turns our losses into gain.

He did that with me. I had asked God to remove my blindness. He didn’t. Instead, He turned my physical blindness into 20/20 spiritual vision.

In a different way, Paul also encountered adversity, painful and unpleasant, He confessed:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10).

What weakness of yours will you delight in?

Source: How to turn your weaknesses into strengths. | Janet Perez Eckles

The key to endure everything

7 Jan

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

What was I thinking? I only taught him half a lesson.

I held my 6-year-old grandson’s face in my hands. “Sweet boy. Before you go into a room and the door is closed, you need to knock, OK?”

I felt his head nod between my hands.

Later on, he followed my new rule. After a few quick knocks, he walked right in.

“Come here, sweet boy,” I said. “Nana forgot to tell you that you need to wait for someone to say, Come in before entering the room.”

My desire is for that beautiful boy to grow up in Jesus’ footsteps. To follow His lead. Emulate His ways and imitate Jesus’ sensitive nature.

And His sensitivity shows when He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 16:20).

He stands, waits and lingers at the door of our heart until we open it and say, “Come in.”

And that’s when a new beginning happens. With Jesus residing in our heart, we taste new freedom and rely in new power. We can face all the tomorrows. We endure all adversity. We walk through dark valleys, leave fear behind and welcome a New Year with confidence wrapped in the warmth of His security.

Have you heard Him knock at the door of your heart lately?

Source: The key to endure everything. | Janet Perez Eckles

What to do when our world turns upside down.

31 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

11-20-16-convertible-jan-e1478897209951Do I really want to do this? I thought. I sat in the back of a bright red, shiny convertible. As one of the winners of the alumni merit award for my alma mater, I was invited to ride in the homecoming parade.

At first, I was hesitant to do such a foolish thing. But as folks cheered and waved, I waved back. They cheered some more and I was delighting in connecting with the crowds lined along the side of the streets.

“Get the phone, Honey” I said to my hubby seated beside me. “Let’s get a live video on Facebook.”

The bright sun made it difficult to see the screen, yet he diligently followed through. He held the phone showing the scenery, the crowd and the decorated floats as I related the details of the event.

Later, we read this comment, “Looks like you’ve been partying a bit too much.”

Partying? What in the world did he mean? We quickly understood the comment when we saw the video. Goodness gracious, it was upside down!

Isn’t that like life? When we’re enjoying the experiences, thinking all is well, we find that unexpectedly, things happen, turmoil appears, suffering shows up and we find our world turning upside down with sorrow.

But when we know, truly know God, we can wave at the world, cheer our triumph and declare with shining reassurance these truths found in Psalm 23 – The Message Translation (MSG)

“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.” (Psalm 23:1)
“You have bedded me down in lush meadows; you find me quiet pools to drink from.” (Psalm 23:2)
“True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” (Psalm 23:3)
“Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” (Psalm 23:4)
“You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” (Psalm 23:5)
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.” (Psalm 23:6)
What is your life missing these days?

Source: What to do when our world turns upside down. | Janet Perez Eckles

How to find triumph in tragedy

24 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

hanging-stockings

My son Joe’s empty stocking on the fireplace seared my heart. It had been twelve years since Joe’s tragic death.

Christmas no longer called for a celebration. Not anymore. Not when you have a vital part of your life missing. Festivities don’t have the joy they should.

And Christmas trees don’t emanate the usual scent.

Actually, my days needed to erase the Christmases, the birthdays, the holidays—all ushered pain rather than delight. They reminded me of what I once had and now what was gone.

The world celebrated, greetings of good wishes filled the room. But when tragedy turns your world upside down, no amount of cheer can bring clarity to the fog of sadness.

Strange, though, often, it’s the scorching pain that forces our eyes to open to a bigger picture. It did for me as I rewound memories of past Christmases.

Years ago, when our three sons, including Joe, were still young, I focused on providing a perfect Christmas; a perfect tree to wrap a perfect celebration. As a result, little things tended to roil in me such as a light strand that refused to shine because of a burned bulb. Annoyed at the glitch, I promptly set off to resolve it. I fussed, I rearranged, plugged and unplugged until frustration grew hot in me.

How foolish and silly. I focused on that one bulb, dismissing the glow of the star atop the Christmas tree.

I’ve done the same with light bulbs that burned in my life—from broken relationships to shattered plans. Exerting tons of energy trying to fix them, I missed Christ, the newborn King—the star that gave significance to my life. The star that covers shadows of gloom and sorrow.

Joe’s memories changed—his sweet smile, his tender hugs and his sense of humor now sit atop of my life, casting off that glow to bring back the joy.

To remind me that he’s not gone, not from my heart, not from my mind, nor have the images of his spunky self vanished.

When that void in our heart aches to be filled, it’s Christ’s star of comfort that makes it whole. When bitter sorrow robs the spirit of Christmas, it’s the star of His everlasting love that whispers joy. When a health diagnosis shakes our world, it’s His star of reassurance that shines the certainty of new tomorrows. When our finances rob our security, it’s the star of God’s provision that ushers the radiance of reassurance. It’s the same star that never loses the brilliance of hope. The hope that, through Christ, tragedies turn to triumph.

Source: How to find triumph in tragedy. | Janet Perez Eckles

Why do our prayers go unanswered?

17 Dec

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

12-09-16-airplane

Am I being silly with this prayer request? I thought as I asked God for help.

“You’ll never make it,” the airline agent said on the phone as I booked my flight. “You only have 30 minutes and you have to go through the airport to change airlines. The aircraft is very small with limited seating.”

“Book me anyway,” I said.

Was that faith or foolishness on my part?

Weeks later, I boarded the flight from Orlando to St. Louis. Holding on to the airline agent’s arm, she helped me to my seat inside the airplane. I settled down, folded my white cane and stuck it in the front pocket of the seat.

I buckled in. “Okay, Lord, I need a miracle,” I began my silent prayer, “place beside me a young man who can walk fast, and who’s nice enough to offer to help me to the gate to catch my next flight.”

But as rare as it was, no one sat beside me, I mean no one. Lord, what’s up with that! I can’t afford to miss my next flight.

We were descending and the announcement came through, “Ladies and gentlemen, seems like the air current was in our favor; we’ll be arriving in St. Louis 20 minutes early.”

I grinned. God is so good! That would make it very possible to reach the next flight. So I thought…

“Can you run?” I asked the airline escort waiting for me at the exit of the airplane.

“Sure can,” he said.

And we did. We zipped past passengers, up the elevator and dashed to the gate. I handed my ID to the agent behind the counter.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am,” the gate agent said. “The flight is completely full.”

I took a deep breath. “No you don’t understand. God made it so I could get here on time. Please, please look again, there has got to be one more seat left,” I pleaded.

“It’s a seven-seater aircraft,” he said, “how much do you weigh?”

“How much do you want me to weigh,” I chuckled. “One hundred thirteen.

“Hmmm…seems like one passenger didn’t show up,” he said. “I’ll get your boarding pass.”

I nearly reached over the counter and hugged him.

That lesson taught me a lot. So often God tests our faith, our trust and our commitment to remain calm.

He probably did that for you, too. When you so badly want to get on the flight that takes you to the answer, you ask and beg. And just when you are specific in your prayer request, He seems silent. He seems distant, ignoring your request.

But if hope seems to vanish and doubt knocks at the door, He’s whispering: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8).

In the desperation of your request, will you trust He’s working on the answer…not in your way but His?

Source: Why do our prayers go unanswered? | Janet Perez Eckles

Six ways to soothe your soul. 

19 Nov

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

10-28-16-6

I wasn’t prepared to hear this revelation. A group of seven folks sat around the table, eager to learn about the writing craft. And I planned to impart all I knew about my writing journey.

“How about if we share a bit about our story,” I said, hoping to know a bit about them.

Everyone took their turn. And then the lady seated in a wheelchair to my left spoke.

“I lost my leg. But I still have my courage,” she said in a peaceful tone.

I gave a silent gasp. She not only had a leg amputated, but she lost her sight too.

“I want to write my story,” she said, “to inspire others who might be feeling sorry for themselves,”

Admirable desire for sure. But little did she know that God had already written her story. He wrote all the details: He knew the moment she would receive the bad news from the doctor. He knew the limitations put on her life. He had written her future. He jotted down her every need and He’s still writing her story.

He’s also writing your story and mine, too. So we can be free to let go that anxiety about the future and instead, take a deep breath of relief. He’s aware of what we’re facing. What is being cut off from our life. What is diminishing. What we lost. What we miss. He knows the joy and hard times of tomorrow. And best of all, He’s written in the tablet of His love our victory over grief.

That tablet is the Bible. No matter what you’re missing in life, whisper these six truths found in Psalm 139. They will soothe your soul:

  1. He knows me intimately. “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.”
  2. He knows my every move. “You know when I sit and when I rise…”
  3. Even my thoughts are familiar to Him. “You perceive my thoughts from afar.”
  4. He knows where I came from and where I’m going. “You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
  5. He knows what I’ll say, “Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely…O LORD.”
  6. He is close enough to touch my pain. “You have laid your hand upon me.”

If He knows your thoughts, your words, ways and whims, how can He not know how to soothe your soul?

Source: Six ways to soothe your soul. | Janet Perez Eckles

 

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I considerate it a privilege to pray for you. Please send updates to previous prayer requests, too. You can send them HERE.

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