God and Our Dreaded Painful Moments

by Janet Perez Eckles

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Hubby and I, along with our dear friends, headed to North Carolina for a fun visit. As we crossed from one state to another, the driver took instructions from the rest who did the navigating.

“Uh, oh…I see the red line, that means traffic coming up,” my friend said. “Let’s take a different route.”

For the next few minutes alternate routes were discussed, considered, and explored to avoid “the red area,” because after all, that meant traffic. And we were having none of that. But before we knew it, we reached the dreaded “red zone.” And to our relief, the slowdown was slight, so very slight. All that fretting for nothing.

That’s what we humans do all the time, don’t we? We dread the red zone of adversity, the time when we might not be able to handle life. We cringe at the thought of reaching a place where we might be stuck in helplessness or in illness or in financial trouble. So, worried about that day, we work hard to avoid that at all costs.

But all the while, God is preparing the way for us to face those painful moments. He does this through His almighty, supernatural power; He’s already present at those upcoming “red zones” of life.

Reassurance comes in two different ways:

He established a prerequisite for us to be safe and completely protected: “’Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation’” (Psalm 91:14-16 NIV).

Since He knows the danger, keeping us safe is His promise: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).

How lovely life becomes when we truly believe in these promises. As we ride on the highway of life, we know God is ahead of us, making the way, waving the green flag, and making sure that with His help, we will navigate through all the red-zones of life.

Father, guide me away from fear of the pain that tomorrow might bring. Guard me from the worry about what might happen. I invite you to be the driver of the vehicle of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an author and international  speaker. Through her physical blindness, she teaches  thousands to walk by faith, conquer fear, and  and relish in the richness of God’s promises.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: What adversity are you dreading these days?

My True Love

by Janet Perez Eckles

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again…” Jeremiah 31:4-5a NIV 

A few years back, two girlfriends and I relaxed in the balcony of a hotel room, chatting about groups popular in the 1970’s. We swayed to the oldies, singing the lyrics with the same gusto as the year we wore bell bottoms.

We confessed: every one of us back then looked for The True Love. Each of us had a list of requirements for the husband of our dreams.

Back then, all traits on the list seemed crucial. Now, the fact that Mr. Right needed to be built with muscles of a football player seems sadly shallow. But whatever our secret list held, we all questioned: “Did we marry the man of our dreams? Are we sharing our home with the husband who displays true love?

How unrealistic. How immature of us to expect that the true love would be inside the man who said, “I do” at the altar. If any of us were tricked to thinking the perfect man wore that tuxedo beside us in church, disappointment was as sure as dirty dishes in the kitchen.

That delusion is the reason that happiness faded away in the darkness of long nights. And married bliss was lost in the hamper of dirty clothes.

The only true love comes from the man who wore but a cloth and displayed muscles ripped by lashes on the way to Calvary. And when we make Jesus our only true love, our husbands play the perfect role–our mate, our companion, and lifetime friend.

While swaying to the music of God’s divine, true love, in expectation we sing with joy. The exquisite blend of love and reassurance only Jesus brings echoes through our hearts. It’s the formula, divine and true, that brings peace to storms. Logic to life. And gives a colorful hue to married life.

And that life shines when we read what was tucked in the Valentine card God signed with His promise: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again…” (Jeremiah 31:4-5a NIV).

Father, when life is broken, desires echo with emptiness, and we wonder how to find true love, your reassuring commitment soothes the anxiety and your reminder brings a new song to my life. Thank you for the love no one else can give and the promise no one else can keep. In Jesus’ name I thank you. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles helps thousands to look beyond circumstances and overcome fear. She is a best-selling author and international speaker. Her writing and virtual  presentations help thousands turn their trials to successful, joy-filled lives. 

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: Whose promise of love fills your heart? Whose love do you count on?

My Christmas Companion

by Janet Perez Eckles 

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11 NASB

“Christmas?” a friend asked, “Who feels like celebrating anything these days? There may not even be any Christmas this year.” You and I don’t have to share in this pessimism. We don’t, because hope shines bright when we consider this:

The bush that Moses encountered was just an ordinary bush until it burned without consuming it. The staff was just a staff until it turned into a snake. The rock was one of many, until Moses struck and water gushed out. The Red Sea was just a body of water until God parted it for His people to cross on dry land. David’s rocks were simple stones, until he used one to defeat Goliath. Mary was a humble peasant girl, until God touched her with a miracle.

See? That’s how it works. Our life might seem impossible, needy, and desperate for a miracle…until something happens. We encounter the wonder of God’s power. Our future might be a series of unknown tomorrows, until the horizon of His riches appears. Our dreams might seem elusive, until we believe God’s love conquers all.

And this is how His conquering power works: “The virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us” (Matthew 1:23 NIV).

He worked it out. Through Jesus, He’s with us. That’s why all worry, fear and stress must go out the window because He’s with us. And because He is, we have His company through the darkness. Because He is with us, we know for tomorrow, victory awaits.

We know it will come. All we have to do is glance back and remember what He has done through the ages: an ordinary bush burned with a message, because God was there. A simple rock produced gushes of water, because God was there. A virgin gave birth, because God was there. A sea of water created a barrier, but it opened up because God was there.

Today is no different. He’ll put something in our path that may burn to get our attention, so we will listen. He will make living water flow to quench the thirsty soul. He will make the impossible possible. And He will give us the stones of courage to defeat the giants we face.

He did the same with Joshua, as he faced a giant too. It was called fear and insecurity. God knew. So, He spoke to Joshua’s fear: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

Wherever we go? Yes. That promise came alive for Joshua. And it’s alive for us, too. God ushered he and His people across the Jordan river to the other side, where the promised land waited for them.

As we cross our own river of pain, He will be with us too, ushering us to the other side where His richness awaits.

That’s why this Christmas, with open arms and grateful hearts, we can accept the gift of His constant presence. That gift is wrapped in His love, held with the ribbon of His faithfulness, and adorned with the seal of His promise.

Lord, this Christmas will be different for me because my joy will not come from circumstances, decorations, presents or gatherings. My genuine joy is found in You, and in the reassurance that no matter what surrounds me, you are with me. In Jesus name.

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles helps thousands to look beyond circumstances and overcome fear. She is a best-selling author and international speaker. Her writing and virtual  presentations help thousands turn their trials to successful, joy-filled lives. 

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: How does knowing that God is with you and for you (Romans 8:31) make a difference in your life?

Dancing with Expectation

by Janet Perez Eckles

Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you With My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NIV

I kissed hubby good-bye. And with white cane in hand, I turned to the clerk behind the airport counter. “I’ll be traveling alone,” I said.

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. But this time, I wasn’t heading to a speaking engagement or to visit a friend. Instead, with anticipation for adventure, I headed to a Christian writer’s conference.

And the first day, while planning to attend events, workshops and networking sessions, one challenge continued to creep up: unable to see my surroundings, how would I maneuver from session to session in that large hotel?

In the private room of my heart, a little worry tried to come in. But God’s Word in Psalm 119:105 silenced that. “My Word will be a lamp to your feet, and a light unto your path” (NIV). How sweet those words. And how reassuring that promise. I didn’t have to know how He would lead. I just knew He would.

His timing would be precise, and His ways perfect.

At the end of a session, I grabbed my white cane, and from nowhere, I heard a sweet voice. “Janet, can I help you get to the next class?” I beamed with gratitude. No matter where I was, that same angelic offer from Lisa, a friend—an angel—came at the precise moment.

During conferences of life, the treasures are often brought about by challenges and even trials. That’s right, adversity was what opened my eyes to see what compassion looks like. Tough moments gave me a glimpse of the features that describe kindness. And moments of uncertainty revealed the certainty of God’s provision.

When my life had been undisturbed by trials, I’d been blind to the beauty of God’s love. To the goodness that often has wings. And sadly, I’ve been deaf to God’s voice that whispers the way.

All that changed. With a new tone of gratitude shining in my soul, and a spirit of thanksgiving swirling in my heart, confidence trickles in. Reassurance repeats: God goes before us, guiding, showing and protecting.

When using the white cane to navigate through life, we might lose our direction. Heartache might jar our senses. Disappointment might bring gloom. And financial crisis might darken our days. But God will send an angel to nudge us and point to His Word: “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you With My righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV).

The certainty of His word gives a new meaning to each morning. Puts a new song into my days. And with thanksgiving painting my world, I dance with expectation in my soul.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

TWEETABLE
Dancing with Expectation – encouragement from Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker, author and founder of J.C. Empowerment Ministries. Through her books and conference messages, she empowers thousands to overcome fear, conquer worry and live triumphantly.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: Is there someone in your life who has expressed love through their service?

Seven Ways to Know God is Watching Out for Us

by Janet Perez Eckles

The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Psalm 121:5 NIV

Fall is almost here. We go into it with memories of hot summer days, walking on the sand and splashing in the water. This not-so-silly episode in one of Florida’s beach stands out…

“C’mon, Nana.” My granddaughter impatiently pulled my hand. Even at four years old, she knew to lead her blind Nana.

“Don’t go too far,” hubby said, from where he relaxed on a lounger.

With her small hand tight in mine, our feet sunk into the hot sand as we drew closer to the water. We jumped over the waves, giggled, collected shells, and giggled some more.

After a long while I realized I had no idea where we were—maybe too far from hubby. Was he still watching us?

I got on one knee and held my granddaughter’s wet cheeks between my hands. “Sweet baby, look at me, do you see Papa anywhere?”

“Nope. C’mon Nana, let’s jump.”

Suppressing the panic that cramped my stomach, I said silent prayers, the kind that blurts out from the heart. The kind you want to word just right so God would be quick to answer. And my silent pleas were those that bordered on self-pity. “Oh, if I could only see a little bit, this wouldn’t happen.”

With all traces of patience tossed into the sea, I quickly drew closer to a group of folks talking. “Excuse me,” I waved in the direction of their voices. Would you have a cell phone?” I said. “I think I lost my husband.”

As I gave the first few numbers for them to dial, I heard a familiar voice right behind me. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, there you are.” I grinned with relief at my hubby.

“I was watching you both the whole time,” he said.

A little shame swept over me. Not because of what had just happened. But I remembered how often, during tough times in my life, I doubted, I panicked, I feared that God took His eyes off me. I worried I had drifted too far from His love, His provision, and His care.

We all do that sometimes, don’t we? We listen to the news; fear grips us. We learn of the growing statistics of the virus; anxiety invades our peace. And the whole time, we wonder is God there? Is He watching? Does He care?

Even in the midst of our well-meaning prayer, doubt creeps in, because we’re still walking on the hot sand of uncertainty. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fear leaves, doubt ends, and faith comes. They do when we follow these seven steps:

1. Readjust our priorities. Do we seek the answer to our prayer with more passion than we seek God Himself? Some seek answers first, but here’s God’s order of priorities: “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

2. Resist the temptation to recite memorized, perfect prayers, with lovely words and deep insights. God simply wants the genuine expression of our heart. He’s listening. He even knows what we need before we ask Him, “…when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7 NIV).

3. Recognize that sometimes we don’t know how to pray or what our requests should be. So, we can freely ask for Him to show us what to pray for. Confident that He’s aware of every detail, we whisper to Him, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

4. Remember that His answer is always in His timing, not ours because a thousand years in God’s sight are like a day that has just gone by (Psalm 90 NIV).

5.Relax and relish in the fact that while we wait, He’s at work in us, in our heart, in our situation because, “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 NIV).

6. Remove anxious thoughts. In the silence of the moment and in the power of His presence, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).

7. Embrace profound confidence, not in the world or government, but in the power of God because “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14–15 NIV).

Father, we praise You because You have Your watchful eye on us and You observe our anxious moments. Knowing that each tomorrow is in Your hands, peace fills us. In Jesus name we thank You.

TWEETABLE
Seven Ways to Know God is Watching Out for Us – insight from author Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker, author and founder of J.C. Empowerment Ministries. Through her books and conference messages, she empowers thousands to overcome fear, conquer worry and live triumphantly. Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite go-to verse when you struggle with doubt or fear?

What Do Our Kids See in Us?

by Janet Perez Eckles

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.             Philippians 4:6 NASB

I sat at the kitchen counter, wrinkled tissue in hand. I thought I had no more tears to cry. But still, they flowed. With no warning, an incurable retinal disease had robbed my eyesight. I had sunk into a dark pit of gloom and desperation. With no treatment surgery or medication available, my hope had vanished along with the motivation to continue with life.

At 31, everything had turned upside down. Tormenting thoughts about my inability to care for my three-, five-, and seven-year-old sons kept me awake at night.

I dabbed my tears with the edge of my pillow case, and asked God for answers. I begged Him to heal my blindness and for a hint of hope to return.

He answered. He granted what was important. And He did so in an unexpected and a beautiful way.

One morning, I ran my fingertips along the side of the bed to find my way out of my bedroom. I followed the wall toward my three-year-old’s room. His whimper echoed in the hallway. I can’t find my puppy,” he said.

Once in his room, I extended my arms toward him, and kissed his chubby cheek. “We’ll find him.” I lifted his blanket and my fingers found the soft stuffed animal.

But finding a simple item didn’t compare to the needs my sons would have as they grew up. They needed a Mom who could see.

Lord, help us, I prayed.

God heard my cry. The day after that incident, Mom came to visit. She sat beside me on the couch. “This is what we’ll do,” she said. “I’ll move in with you.” She squeezed my hand with her thin fingers. “I’ll be your eyes,”

Her words caressed my aching heart, filling it with gratitude.

She left her comfortable condo and moved in a room in our home. With her loving flexibility, we established a routine. Years swept by. Her hair is now snow white, and at 90 lbs. and 4’9”, her love is as big as the city in which we live.

More than taking on some chores for the family, she taught me the value of selfless love.

She recently turned 91 and hasn’t lost the spark in her voice that exudes confidence in the Lord. It’s even more evident now, as we face the current circumstances that have shaken our world. Her mind is sharp, and her faith is strong. Her trust, peace and joy remain.

And what remains in my heart is the desire to give that same gift to my own sons. In the midst of adversity, I want to imitate my Mom, living out Philippians 4:6 (NASB) before them: “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”

My prayer has changed. Asking for a healing of my blindness isn’t my main priority anymore. I place these requests before the Lord instead:

Lord, grant me enough faith so my sons can see me praising God even when all falls apart. Help me to express gratitude for big and small things. Show me, Lord, how to erase fear and worry with my words that echo Your promises. Even when I cannot see tomorrow, will you show me how to embrace Your peace for today? And as my sons grow up and lead their own families, will You remind them life is not about seeing our surroundings, but about allowing others to see your love in us.

TWEETABLE
What Do Our Kids See in Us? – encouragement from Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez ecklesAbout the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker, author and founder of J.C. Empowerment Ministries. Through her books and conference messages, she empowers thousands to overcome fear, conquer worry and live triumphantly.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: Is there someone in your life who has expressed love through their service?

 

My Secret Love

by Janet Perez Eckles

We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19 NIV

Some months back, two girlfriends and I relaxed in the balcony of a hotel room, chatting about groups popular in the 70’s. We swayed to the oldies, singing the lyrics with the same ease as the year we wore bell bottoms.

We confessed. Each of us back then looked for the true love. Each of us had a list of what we looked for in the husband of our dreams. Back then, all traits on the list seemed crucial. Now, the fact that Mr. Right needed to be built with muscles of a football player echoes with sad shallowness.

But whatever our secret list held, we all questioned. “Did we marry the man of our dreams? Are we sharing the house with the husband who displays true love?

How unrealistic. How immature of us to expect that the true love we sought would be inside the man who said, “I do” at the altar. If any of us were tricked into thinking the perfect man wore that tuxedo beside us, future disappointment was as sure as dirty dishes in the kitchen.

That delusion is the reason for happiness to fade away in the darkness of long nights. And married bliss is lost in the hamper of dirty clothes.

The only true love comes from the man who wore but a cloth and displayed muscles ripped by lashes on the way to Calvary. And when we make Jesus our only true love, our husbands can play the role they were meant to have–our mate, our companion and lifetime friend.

While swaying to the music of God’s divine, true love, expectations sing with joy. The exquisite blend of love and reassurance only Jesus brings echoes nearby. It’s the divine and true formula that brings peace to storms. Brings logic to life. And gives a colorful hue to married life.

And that life shines when we read what was tucked in the Valentine card God signed with His promise: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again…” (Jeremiah 31:4).

Father, when life is broken, desires echo with emptiness, and we wonder how to find true love, your reassuring commitment soothes the anxiety and your reminder brings a new song to my life. Thank you for the love no one else can give and for the promise no one else can keep. In Jesus’ name I thank you. Amen.

TWEETABLE
My Secret Love – insight and encouragement from Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez ecklesAbout the author: Blindness tried to darken her life, but Janet Perez Eckles became an international speaker, best-selling author, personal success coach, radio host and best playmate to her grandchildren. Her books include Contagious Courage: a Thirty Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety and Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God’s Fiesta. You can learn more about Janet at www.janetperezeckles.com.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: How has living in the love of God affected your relationships?

Dancing in His Light

by Janet Perez Eckles

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption , the forgiveness of sins.                                                                                                                                                             Colossians 1:13-14 NASB

“Sit down,” my Mom said patting the sofa beside her. “Listen to this invitation that just came in the mail: The Foundation Fighting Blindness is sponsoring a dinner dance in the dark.”

I wrinkled my nose. “What in the world is that?”

“It’s kind of clever,” she said, “It’s a fund-raiser for research. And also to give folks a chance to experience what it’s like to be blind. The whole event will be held in the dark.”

“Crazy,” I said. “You can be sure hands will be in the mash potatoes. And who knows how many glasses of water will be spilled. And, with no lights, wait till they have to visit the bathroom.  Lots of fun there, for sure.”

Living for thirty years in physical darkness, I’ve grown accustomed to it. In fact, I often forget I’m blind. Okay, you can laugh. It’s kind of silly, but I do forget. In fact, that dinner dance in the dark is way too familiar to me.

But to be fair, I had time to adjust and it’s no big deal now. But for sighted folks to be thrown into a dark room, what a bizarre thing!

But…sigh… not as bizarre as living where spiritual darkness is not an event, a fund-raising dance, or even a temporary episode, but a life-long choice.

I’ve been there. While physically sighted but spiritually blind, I sunk into secret disobedience. In the darkness, I slammed into obstacles while I groped, vainly searching for happiness. Barriers like relentless pride, shameful stubbornness, and disgusting cynicism all blocked my path, resulting in emotional bruises, cuts, and wounds.

But thank you, thank you, Lord. The day He turned on the light for me, the light of His Word, the splendor of His ways and the clarity of His path, new life began for me. Like a flower blooming, my heart opened up to joy and His reminder ever echoes in me: “… for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible” (Ephesians 5:8-13 NIV  ).

…and for me, now visible is the dance floor where Jesus leads the dance, step by step, day by day, to the melody of His promises and the harmony of His grace.

TWEETABLE
Dancing in His Light – insight on accepting God’s Light from Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez ecklesAbout the author: Blindness tried to darken her life, but Janet Perez Eckles became an international speaker, best-selling author, personal success coach, radio host and best playmate to her grandchildren. Her books include Contagious Courage: a Thirty Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety and Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God’s Fiesta. You can learn more about Janet at www.janetperezeckles.com.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: How does light make a difference in your life today?

Fighting the Impossible

by Janet Perez Eckles

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”                                                                                                                             Job 1:6-7 NIV

Did he say the earth? Gulp. Friend, you and I are on that same earth on which he roams. And we need to watch out because “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

He’s probably licking his lips, staring at us. And when we’re alone, seated on our bed of self-pity, surrounded by walls of gloom, lamenting our impossible situations, we become more appetizing. We’re more appealing because we’re weighed down by negativity. And we’re weakened by moments of hopelessness.

I’ve been there. And unaware of what an inviting prey I was, I was soon to be his spiritual lunch.

The giant I faced towered over me, reminding me of my frailty, whispering I was defenseless.

That’s the place the enemy wants us, mired in defeat and deceived in thinking that victory will only come when the impossible problem would be removed.

David faced that kind of giant. And like you and I, David probably had to shoo off the enemy’s lies: that problem is too big, destruction is inevitable, the pain will be fierce, or you are doomed to lose. The enemy also presented opposition from all sides: his brothers doubted David’s abilities, King Saul scratched his head in bewilderment, and when Goliath saw David’s size, he laughed.

But God smiled … and prompted David to shed the armor King Saul had given him.

The metals and chains were way too cumbersome for his thin body. Armed with a simple slingshot and a handful of stones, He trusted in a power outside himself: the faithful competence of the Living God.

Have you faced a giant looming over you? One that mocks your courage and laughs at your faith? The lies that say your 2-inch faith is no match for the 9-foot giant of impossibilities? The deception that promises you’ll never see relief, healing or triumph?

We’ve all faced that at one time or another. And in desperation we mistakenly slip on the wrong kind of armor—our own abilities, wisdom, and solutions. But as we drag ourselves toward the battlefield, we find that human armor hinders us. It’s too heavy with pride.

That’s when you and I do what David did. We shed that wrong armor and pull out our best weapon instead. It’s the gigantic love God has for us that must fuel our courage. That’s why David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty” (1 Samuel 17: 45 NIV).

Did you read that? The God David spoke about is not just any god. He’s the Lord almighty, creator of the universe, and immensely powerful.

Troubles can come from all sides bearing the sword of anguish, the spear of anxiety and the javelin of fear. But you and I come in the name of the Lord–with confidence, with resolve and trust that through Christ, the victory is already won.

And holding the smooth stones of faith, bearing the spiritual weapon of God’s faithfulness, we can face any giant of impossibility in the name of the Lord.

I had to make that choice. When my son was killed, I heard the lie that I would never find peace again. But the giant’s lies are no match for God’s truth, that God’s restoring power could heal that which seared, restore what was broken, and defeat the giant who threatened my peace.

To us, our problems can seem gigantic, but to God they are minuscule. They’re big when we see them with human eyes. They shrink when we see them through Christ’s eyes. And as we gaze at our problem we have a choice: either to live hoping for blessings, or to bless the hope we already have in Christ.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.     1 John 4:4 NIV

janet perez ecklesAbout the author: Blindness tried to darken her life, but Janet Perez Eckles became an international speaker, best-selling author, personal success coach, radio host and best playmate to her grandchildren. Her books include Contagious Courage: a Thirty Day Journey to Overcoming Stress and Anxiety and Simply Salsa: Dancing without Fear at God’s Fiesta. You can learn more about Janet at www.janetperezeckles.com.

Join the conversation: What giants are you facing? What lies are you hearing about your situation? What are the truths that will silence them?

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

What Fills My Emptiness

by Janet Perez Eckles

Getting rid of junk is so liberating. The other day I got busy, I rolled up my sleeves, and began with closets, then drawers. As I tossed out jars of who-knows-what in my bathroom drawer—old tubes of lipstick, creams that probably ended up there since I was a teenager—to my delight, I found the little bottle of perfume I’ve been searching for months. It was my favorite for its delicate, yet delicious scent.

Without hesitation, I popped the glass lid off, brought it to my nose, and the scent was, well, blah. How could that fancy bottle of perfume have lost its fragrance? Well, it was like many things in life—a new car, new house, new career, and even new relationships—all eventually losing their zest over time.

Have you been there? At first, they shine with promises and fill that part of us that hungers for satisfaction and fulfillment. But then something happens—a misunderstanding, bad decisions, wrong path taken, or mistakes that lead to regrets.

Before you know it, the luster fades. Expectations turn to disappointment. and the scent of  happiness evaporates.

We handle most of this. But when that which we held so dear, when something we counted on or someone in whom we trusted lets us down, we are disappointed. Disappointment turns to grief as the hurt remains. The fragrance once sweet is now gone, and the smell of heartache fills the air instead.

Oh, how I wish to tell you I’ve not known that kind of grief. But I have. And when empty boxes of tissues fill my trashcan, I hold on to the one thing that remains, the only thing that will never disappoint.

What still holds the fragrance of hope and of comfort is love. But not the love of a friend or family member. It’s the love of Christ. The love from which we can never be separated. It’s the love that promises to ease loneliness, bring back joy, and fill the emptiness disappointment has left behind.

Christ’s love contains all we need. It’s available. It’s free, and it’s ours.

The Apostle Paul was convinced of this. . . and we should be too. He wrote: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV).

Surrounded by His love, saturated by its fragrance and relishing in its power, no matter what rejection, cruelty of life, or pain of broken dreams we experience, we’re loved, truly loved. That reality will always remain.

Father, how foolish of me to trust in others for security and love. Remind me, Lord, each moment that your love is more than enough, it’s sufficient. And I can trust that it never loses its promise of protection, reassurance and comfort.

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. Her best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta invites you to experience the simplicity of finding joy even in the midst of hardship, broken dreams, and sorrow. With engaging stories, Simply Salsa gives practical steps to overcome fear and celebrate life once again.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced a time when your fragrance of joy was replaced by sorrow? How has the love of Christ made a difference in your life?

Photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash