A Devotional by Pastor Cesar Castellanos
Today’s Bible Verse
Power to Overcome
The Apostle Paul had a very clear understanding of the concepts of eternal life and resurrection from the dead. During one of his many spiritual experiences, he was caught up to the third heaven where God showed him things that only the angels know. Some people think this may have happened when Paul was stoned and thrown out of the city of Lystra.
On May 25th, 1997, when we had two meetings at one of the largest auditoriums in the city, I preached about the power of a blessing. My message was based on Romans 8:11 but I had no idea that this text was about to affect my life in such an incredible way! When the service had finished, my family and I left for a hotel where we made a reservation to celebrate our second daughter’s birthday. Ten minutes after leaving we found ourselves faced with the greatest challenge that had ever confronted us. I was driving at the time and when I stopped at a red light, two men on motorcycles, pulled alongside our car and without saying a word, began shooting. The traumatic experience that we lived through felt like being in a movie. There was broken glass, bullets and blood everywhere. Moments later, my wife and my four daughters watched as death came to try and take me away from them. In a few seconds I felt myself being transported somewhere; my spiritual body quickly fell away from my physical body. It was like I was so far away from everyone else, as if I was entering another dimension. It was at that very moment that my wife took hold of my arm and with great authority spoke these word to me, “Cesar do not die!” I heard her voice in the distance; while at the same time I heard another voice asking me, “Do you think you’re going to live or die?” Immediately, I remembered the passage I had been preaching from that very day and I confessed it out, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in me, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to my mortal body because of his Spirit who lives in me” (Romans 8:11).
As I finished speaking this out, I felt the spirit of life coming back to me. I slowly turned to my wife and said, “How are our daughters?” It took ten minutes to reach the hospital and all that I could mouth were the words of that passage. I fell into a coma for ten days and during this time I felt death constantly hovering over me, but the Lord gave me complete victory.
Something to Think About
For many people the dilemma of knowing whether there is life after death continually plays on their minds. However, if life were over when people died, it would mean that Jesus offered His life in vain. This is why we preach that Jesus is the One who raises people from the dead. For me there is no shadow of a doubt that there is life after death. Moreover, there are rewards for those who are faithful and have persevered in their faith. In the same way there is punishment for those who persist in their wickedness. Something I am equally sure of is that this life is the time in which we decide where we will spend eternity.
“Father, thank You for giving us the assurance that we will spend eternity with You after we die. Like Job we say, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me” (Job 19: 25 – 27).
Today’s Bible Reading
- Old Testament: 2 Samuel 23-24; Psalm 118
- New Testament: Mark 16; Galatians 6