THE FAVOR OF GOD

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"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."

2 Chronicles 16:9a

There was no other king like Asa; no one could explain how just a few soldiers had managed to defeat the powerful Ethiopian army. But Asa and Israel knew how; he had leaned on God and God had fought for him, shattering his powerful adversity in an instant. However, when he found himself faced with another great battle, he decided to lean on Ben-hadad, king of Syria, and made alliances with this pagan nation. Asa forgot that God had forbidden him from doing this. For this reason, the Lord had to send the prophet Hanani to exhort the king, saying, “You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war,” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Asa lost his opportunity to defeat the nation that had been his worst enemy. He was even filled with rage against the prophet, imprisoning him and then oppressing the people. When he was struck with sickness in his feet, he did not lean on God; instead, he merely sought out the local doctors and eventually died, (2 Chronicles 16:12-13).

One of the greatest evangelists that this world has had was Dwight L. Moody, who once heard a preacher say, “The world has not seen what God can do with a person who has completely surrendered to Him.” He made these words his own and said, “That man is me.” He then became one of the most fiery evangelists of his time. The Psalmist said, “Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate His rule with trembling” (Psalms 2:11). The fear of God is to act in the right way. This includes not responding in the wrong way, even though as human beings, we may have to confront certain kinds of fears over and over again.

One day, while we were walking through one of the parks in Orlando, I told a pastor friend to come with me onto a roller-coaster. When I looked at his face, he was so pale I thought something had happened to him and asked him if he was feeling all right. He told me, “The thing is, I am scared of roller-coasters, and I don’t think I’m capable of getting on.

I started to laugh and said, “Thank God it’s only that and nothing serious.”

In panic, this man told me, “Please, pastor, don’t ask me to get on the roller coaster.”

When he calmed down, I told him, “Do you like to drive fast?”

He said, “Of course.”

"I’ll tell you this as a reason to get on the roller-coaster: a roller-coaster is like driving a car really fast but without the danger of getting a speeding ticket!” I encouraged him to enjoy this attraction and recommended, too, that he didn’t close his eyes, “Because you should know where your ‘car’ is headed.” Not only was he freed from that fear, but also he was able to enjoy the different attractions in the park. Some think that fearing God is to feel panic, but it is completely the opposite; the fear of the Lord is to enjoy an excellent relationship with Him.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“There are events in the life of a human being that mark and alter the course of his destiny. I remember two situations that marked my life forever. The first was the death of my younger brother who was only five years old. The second was my encounter with Jesus, when I received the revelation of the Cross. I was ten years old when my family experienced the loss of my dearly loved younger brother. He was the most special person to me; we would play together every day, and I felt like his protector because we spent most of our time together. When my dad gave me the news that he had drowned in our pool, I felt that all of my dreams and hopes were destroyed in an instant. Life had lost its meaning, and I no longer wanted to live without my little brother by my side. From that day, I changed a lot. I remember my dad saying as he gave me the news, ‘Nothing could be done, but you must be strong because your mother is very upset.’ His words left me shocked; my reaction was so strong that I could not cry. I became an introverted girl that could not express her feelings; I was always angry and bitter. I grew up asking myself, ‘How could God allow this to happen? Why is my family in this situation?’ I was filled with resentment toward God, my family, and even myself.

Since my brother died around my birthday, I struggled with guilt. As I grew up, I kept hiding my wounds, hiding my emotions, and defying the entire world. I was about to turn fifteen years old when I finally received what I needed.

“On a certain day, I was in a place I had not planned on being, but now I know it was in God’s plans. A stranger, who today is one of my best friends, Manuela Castellanos, came up to me and talked to me about Jesus. A short time afterward, I went to an Encounter. At the start, my heart was hardened; I felt angry and only thought of leaving that place. All the girls cried during the ministry, but this only made me angrier. I had rebellion and bitterness in my heart. After being like this during the entire encounter, Pastor Johanna Castellanos approached me and spoke to me with great sincerity. I remember her words well, ‘I don’t know you, nor do I know the things you have lived through, but what I do know is that if you are here, it is not by coincidence. God brought you to this Encounter, and today you must open your heart so that He can change your life. You have nothing to lose!'

In that instant I determined to open my heart and talk to God. ‘I will open my heart. If You really have a purpose in having me in this place, do something in my life now.’ The next teaching session changed my life. I sat at the front and listened intently as they preached about the Cross. Suddenly, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. God was healing my heart; He broke me, healed my wounds, and brought genuine repentance into my heart. In this message, I had the revelation of the Cross and my life was transformed.” (Ashley Lawrenson)

TODAY'S DECLARATION
"I know the power of God and have His blessing because I enjoy walking with Him."

Today's post is an excerpt from Pastor Cesar Castellanos' book, Declarations of Power for 365 Days of the Year: Volume Three.

TODAY'S BIBLE READING

    • Old Testament: Nehemiah 8; Proverbs 12:1-14
    • New Testament: Luke 17:20-37; 2 Timothy 2:14-26