What was your worst day with God? Ah, I’ve got your attention, don’t I? Most likely because no one’s ever asked you this question. It’s a topic that forces you to think.
Should I go first?
I’ll never forget my worst day with God. Actually, there were several. I’m sure you can say the same.
My five-year old daughter woke up healthy one morning. By day’s end, she was semi-comatose. I carried her in my arms into the hospital as she lost control of her bowels. One look at the color of her skin and fingernails and I knew I was losing her. A mother knows.
Where is God when something like this happens to an innocent child?
He was there. In that hospital room. Bolstering my husband and me. Sending believers to comfort my daughter who was in agony, to encourage her parents to not give up hope. Sending the best infectious disease specialist that Pittsburgh had to offer – a doctor who became an unrelenting private investigator seeking the cause of my daughter’s journey to death.
God was there when the doctor discovered the name of the deadly disease. He was there when the doctor understood how to treat it. And He was there when we brought her home. Pink-fleshed, smiling, but weak.
Where was God the day my husband lost his job – our sole income? Where was He when we sold our house and still had no job or another place to live? Where was He the week our cash ran out?
Without question, God was there that shocking day, only 12 days before Christmas, when my husband’s company let people go. He sent our minister to pray with us and to advise us to seek God’s wisdom daily. He sent other believers to pray with us and for us. He sent believers who helped us financially. He sent offers of residence from numerous people when our home became someone else’s. He provided an inheritance when we faced fiscal despair – an inheritance for which we had waited 18 very long years.
Those were my worst days with God.
Joyce Meyer, the Christian evangelist, says that she would rather have a worst day with God than a best day without Him. Now that’s a statement. One with which I wholeheartedly agree.
Why? The answer is so simple. Because on my worst days – and they have been wretched – I was not alone.
We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 2 Corinthians 5:7
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
Ever have trouble sleeping? Do you wake up and feel afraid and anxious? Does your heart pound and your stomach feel like it’s in knots?
Maybe you feel worried or anxious when you’re awake? Is it hard to focus on anything other than the thing that’s got you worried?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. You see, you’ve got a nasty case of fear. Oh, you can call it worry or anxiety, but what it really is – if we get right to the heart of it – is plain old fear.
When fear gets bad enough, it can take control of you. But I don’t need to tell you that.
How do you get rid of this nasty condition? Your doctor can give you a prescription that will take away the anxiety, but once the medication wears off, you’ll be right back in the middle of – you guessed it – fear.
However, there is another way to get rid of your fear. This way works permanently.
FEAR HATH TORMENT. Let’s take a closer look at this statement and update the language. FEAR HAS TORMENT. Now let me restate this phrase: When you are afraid, you are tormented. Think about that for a moment. Isn’t that true? When you are afraid, you aren’t happy or satisfied or content. No, you are tormented.
Do you want to live your life being tormented? I didn’t think so. What can you do to get rid of this fear that causes torment?
PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR. What is perfect love? It’s God. God is perfect and God is Love. “To cast” is to throw away. So now, let’s restate this phrase: God throws away fear. Do you get it? God is able to remove our fear!
Finally, let’s put these two phrases together: PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR BECAUSE FEAR HATH TORMENT. God throws away fear because fear has torment.
This is all very nice, Cynthia, but how are these two phrases going to rid me of my fear and torment? Well, they won’t unless you believe that God is all-powerful and can heal you from your fear. And, to be honest, it’s going to require some effort on your part.
For too many years of my life, I suffered from fear, worry and anxiety. Sleepless, tossed-and-turned nights were the norm until a year ago when one of my sisters in Christ gave me this Bible verse from 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear hath torment.” And she broke it down for me like I just did for you.
Once my friend gave me the tools, whenever I awakened during the night, I would say out loud: “It is written: Perfect love casts out fear because fear hath torment and I will not be tormented anymore!” And then a funny thing happened: I discovered that I would immediately fall back to sleep. Peaceful, perfect sleep.
One night when fear awakened me, I sat up in bed and loudly growled, “Put your tail between your legs and get out of here, Satan. Fear hath torment and I won’t be tormented anymore!” Surprisingly, my husband slept through it. But I was certain I saw Satan run out of the room.
I wrote the verse on an index card and carried it with me every day, peeking at it whenever anxiety tried to show up. I personally needed the repetition of the verse to help me fight this daily battle. Somehow the repetition gave me the power and the confidence to overcome.
I made up my mind that, with God’s help and the help of this Scripture, I was going to overcome my lifelong battle with fear and worry and anxiety. I was tired of being tormented.
I was ready to go to battle to overcome this demon. You see, I came to realize that I was having a spiritual battle. Satan loved it when I allowed fear to have power over me. It meant that I wasn’t trusting God to take care of things.
One more definition: “Fear means you don’t trust God to take care of the problem that is bothering you.” (Isn’t that an eye-opener?).
So, what do you say? Tired of torment throughout the day and during the night? Are you ready to trust God to handle your problem? Are you ready to go to battle against the Fear Demon? Then suit up, friend. Put on God’s armor and keep that verse wrapped like a shield around your heart.
Now, go slay your Fear Demon. And when you slay him, drop me a line. That way, I can add another demon-slayed notch to my belt. And so can you.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Even demon-slayers need some encouragement! Leave a comment and let me know how this article affected you. Have a fearless day, friends!
Cynthia Howerter © 2012
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Jesus Calling: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional is written by missionary Sarah Young from Jesus’ point of view. It is filled with uniquely inspired treasures from heaven for every day of the year. A Best-selling book in 2011 and 2012.Read More
Christmas comes but once a year and when it comes, it brings good cheer! says an old song. If that is true, then I am filled to overflowing with good cheer.
The first of many guests arrived on December 15th, a group of three and a Shih Tzu. By the next evening, three more guests and a German shepherd joined us. Including my husband and me, that brought the number of folks staying at the Howerter Inn to 8 people, two guest dogs and two resident cats.
Good food and good cheer overflowed at our house. Our halls were decked with laughter and joy and an abundance of foods. I know our guests enjoyed themselves because one of them is still here on January 2nd, two others having departed last evening after dinner.
As the long holiday winds to a close, I cannot help but reflect on the past year. Do you ever do this? I mean, reflect on the past year?
If I begin my reflection at last Christmas, 2010, it begins with indescribable joy! After 18 months of unemployment and the selling of our home in April, 2009, my husband was given a wonderful job. He works for and with good people. God proved to the naysayers that anything is possible with God. Even giving a 50-something year old man a very good job. With God, never say never.
God generously and graciously bestowed a new house upon my husband and me. A beautiful house where our family and friends can gather and praise God for His mighty blessings.
I joined an on-line writers group of Christian women from numerous states. We check in daily and pray for each others’ needs. And even though we don’t get to see each other except at the writers conference in May, we have grown close praying for each other. We count on each other to encourage, offer advice, laugh, cry and pray.
The Lord sent me on a lovely trip to Williamsburg in February with my Aunt Betty Ann. Aunt and I had a wonderful time and we still reminisce and laugh about our memories. In March, God allowed me to accompany my daughter to Charleston on a business trip where we toured the beautiful historic city in the afternoons and evenings.
But just two days after arriving home, my daughter’s apartment was broken into and things she had worked hard to purchase were stolen by someone who chose not to work. Thankfully, my daughter’s schedule was changed at the last minute or she would have been home when evil came for a visit. The police detective told me that had my daughter been home at the time of the break-in, she most likely would have been raped and murdered.
We know it was Providence who changed her schedule unexpectedly. God spared her the violence that most certainly would have occurred had she been home. So in the face of evil, God kept His Word and good came out of it. We praise God with everything in us - how can you not?
While at the May writers conference in Asheville, North Carolina, I became very ill. By the end of the conference, I was too ill to drive the 8 hours home. I needed to leave the conference center, however, as there were no available rooms once the conference ended.
I asked God to help me find a nearby place where I could stay and recuperate until I was well enough to drive home. Help came the next morning in a phone call from our friends in Georgia. As soon as they heard how ill I was, they insisted I drive the two hours to their house. And even though they were leaving the next day on a previously planned trip, they stocked the refrigerator with foods I could eat and sent me to an area doctor. I stayed for days until I could make the lengthy trip home. God’s hand was on me.
Living in a new area, I became lonely. I will admit that I was slow to speak to my Father about this. Okay, so it didn’t even occur to me to speak with God about it until I was miserable with loneliness. And as a result, I was lonelier longer than I had to be.
But once I asked God to send true Christian friends to me, they began materializing, one at a time. How often do we miss out on blessings because we don’t speak to God about our situations?
I longed for a critique partner. So I prayed for one. See how I was learning to turn to God with everything? He sent me a gifted writer from Alabama whom I had met at the writers retreat in 2010. We email our work to each other, then critique the writing over the phone.
I longed for a writing mentor, and after asking God to send at least one mentor – if not several - they materialized in the form of talented women writers from West Virginia, South Carolina and Virginia.
From our unemployment experiences, we learned to thank God every single day. Even when nothing has occurred. Even when bad things happen. As I reflect over the past year, it is obvious that God was with my family and me. He protected us, He nurtured us, He encouraged us, He cared for us, He provided for us, He loved us.
Do you know God intimately? Do you have this kind of relationship with Him? I pray that you do. But if you do not, you can. Yes, you can! In fact, He’s waiting for you to invite Him into your life, your heart. Remember what happened when I didn’t ask God for his help? Nothing.
“The opening up of Your Word give light. It gives understanding to the child-like.” Psalm 119:130.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2011Read More
“What are your favorite Christmas memories?” I asked my readers last week with the promise that I would post the best one. The stories that were submitted were so special that I wasn’t able to choose just one. So, here for your enjoyment are the favorite recollections of several readers.
From Deb Traverso of Falling Waters, West Virginia:
“I think I’ll sit this one out because my favorite Christmas tradition annoys my son. On a day in December when he least expects it, I crank up the stereo speakers and wake him to the joyful (and VERY loud) tunes of the Muppets singing the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” He always forgives me by at least 11 a.m., when he realizes I can make him lunch. It’s great fun.”
From Jana Sloan Hall of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:
“Some of my fondest childhood Christmas memories are centered on the dime store nativity set in our living room. It had a light in the top for the star. Many evenings as my mother was preparing dinner and darkness filled the room my mother, brother, and I would gather around the nativity set and softly sing Christmas carols. It became a holy time. For us, God’s Incarnation was there in our living room. We were filled with awe and wonder. My brother treasures that little nativity set and puts it out each year in his home. I treasure my memories.”
From Twyla Boyer Hajdukiewicz of Long Island, New York:
“One of my favorite Christmas memories won’t bring any awards, but perhaps smiles and understanding. I was single, living in the Pittsburgh area, working full-time, singing in the church choir, and (as a single person) invited with some insistence to FOUR homes for Christmas dinner – two in the North Hills, one in the South Hills, and one in the Mon Valley. It would have taken about 8 hours of driving to go to all of them and though I loved each friend dearly, I wasn’t looking forward to rushing about and spending most of Christmas Day in my car. Well, it seemed God knew I needed rest because I started to come down with bronchitis, beginning Christmas Eve morning. It sounds terrible, but I was actually gleeful about it. I knew that with enough cough drops and Chloraseptic I could make it through Christmas Eve services and that I would have a very good reason to just stay home, which was what I really, really wanted to do. I called each friend and explained that I’d be unable to make it, went to the video store and rented five movies I’d been wanting to see, stopped at Boston Market and the grocery to buy enough Christmas dinner stuff to last a few days, made it to church and through the singing, then went home and spent all day on Christmas being a slug on the couch, watching wonderful movies (some rented, some on tv), sleeping whenever I felt like it, eating roasted chicken, stuffing, potatoes, spiced apples and pie whenever I wanted. It was totally peaceful, totally relaxing, and I enjoyed every second of my respite from the craziness of how the world does Christmas. I got to see my friends later, on different days over the course of a couple of weeks, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy my time with each one in a totally unhurried manner. It’s definitely not the stuff of Normal Rockwell, but it sure was nice for a year to be able to take Christmas off from everything.”
Thank you, Deb, Jana and Twyla for being my guests today on SOAR WITH EAGLES and for sharing your Christmas memories!
I wish all of my readers a wonderful Christmas. As we celebrate with our families and friends, let us remember the priceless eternal gift from our Heavenly Father – the birth of our Savior. Without the birth of Jesus Christ, not one of us would have the hope, the promise of spending eternity in heaven with God, our Father. While on earth, Jesus taught each one of us how to live according to God’s Will, and in doing so, our lives are rich no matter what our circumstances may be.
And so, this Christmas season, whether you face prosperity or hardship, know that God loves YOU so deeply and unconditionally that He has given you a gift that will never break, fade or tarnish. If you don’t know this blessed Jesus, I invite you to seek Him. He is right here, waiting for you. All you have to do is call His name and He will show you how to know Him.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Cynthia Howerter © 2011Read More