Monday, April 30, 2012

The Word-driven life

UV 393/10,000 John 8 v 31 The Word-driven life Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; Steven Covey wrote the well known book, “ Principle-Centered Leadership” and “ Seven Habits ..” Rick Warren wrote the book, “ The Purpose-Driven Life” but Jesus underlines the centrality of the Word-driven life. A mark of a true and committed disciple as distinguished from a passing or casual believer is the continuity of the Word of God and therefore, of Christ in our lives. The Word will throw light on our purpose. The Word will enable us to focus on godly principles of leadership. The Word will distinguish us as salt and light in this world. The diligent study and obedience to the Word is the touchstone of discipleship. The word, ‘ continue’ means to hold on till the end. The law in normal parlance is used to judge, to condemn, to imprison and to punish but James calls the Word of God, “the perfect law of liberty. “ It is used to show mercy and grace, to set free, to reward, to honour , to lift up, to endow people with the eternal and abundant life. It transforms us from mere listeners to doers. It transforms our hearts through the mind and so impels our hands and legs to go places and to act in alignment with the will of God. Continuing in the Word means continually focusing and meditating on it. It means reading, studying, remembering, memorizing, applying, obeying, honouring, following the Word in our daily lives. Continuing in the Word means that it penetrates and saturates our minds or our intellect, emotions and will. When we continue in the Word, it will teach us what we should continually do or in other words, it teaches us the discipline of what habits we need to develop in our lives. When we continue in the Word, it will teach us when to speak and what to speak. When we continue in the Word, it will shape our emotions and free us from anger, anxiety, fear, hatred, doubts, greed, discontentment, frustration and fill us with hope, joy, peace and grace. When we continue in the Word, it will guide us in our decision making and our choices. We will increase in wisdom and favour with God and man even as life- giving sap rises up in a plant’s stem to nourish the different parts of the plant. When we continue in the Word, it will make us fruitful and productive in our lives. When we continue in the Word, our darkened intellects will be transformed and lit up. We will be able to see beyond the here and now, beyond our mundane needs and desires into the eternal and everlasting. We shall indeed know the truth about ourselves, about others and about our Creator God. We shall know about the character and attributes of God: His abundant love and mercy. Such knowledge will set us free from being tied and tethered to the earth. It will set us free from our sinfulness and our shortcomings. We are set free to fulfill our God given and God intended potential. We are set free to experience life in all its fullness and abundance. When we begin to respect the Word, we affirm that we are disciples of Christ but when we continuen in the Word, the Lord affirms that we are indeed His disciples. To be a disciple of Christ implies to follow the disciplines that Christ practiced and preached. Prateep V Philip The Great I Am long song

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Choose Blessing over success and happiness

UV 392/10,000 The blessings of obeying the Lord’s voice Deuteronomy 28 v 2 Deu 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. The world conditions us to pursue success and happiness. But, the Word of God exhorts us to seek the blessings of the Lord. When we place our trust in God and His Word, the Son of God Jesus, we are deemed by faith to fully obey the commandments of God. All the blessings that are promised in verse 1 to 14 of Deuteronomy chapter 28 will be our heritage. We will be blessed in the city and in the country. Our food and our drink will be blessed. Our journeys would be blessed. We will succeed in whatever we put our hand to . Our enemies would be defeated and driven helter-skelter in several directions. Our children and even our possessions would be blessed. We will be the head and not the tail. Whichever side the coin falls, it will be heads up for us. These are the blessings of grace that we do not deserve. We are also protected from the curses of disobedience: the curse upon our children, curse upon our journey, curse upon our food and drink, the dread of our enemies, the curse upon our possessions and our work. These are the blessings of peace or the curses which we deserve that the Lord protects us from as we hide in Christ. Warren Buffet known as the richest man in the world is today afflicted with cancer. Of what avail is his great wealth to him? Instead, if he had chosen to be blessed by the Lord, it would have been an eternal investment that would have good him in good stead both here and now and in the hereafter. All these blessings of grace and peace will first follow us, then it will overtake us and be upon us. The presence of the Lord or the glory of the Lord will shine upon us. It is impossible for any man to fully follow or obey the law of the Lord but since our faith in Christ is equated with complete obedience, we inherit these blessings of total righteousness. We only need to believe, diligently study the Word of God, pray incessantly, exercise our faith and obey the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit prompting us from within. Prateep V Philip

The breaker

UV 391/10,000 The breaker Micah 2 v 13 Mic 2:13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them. The Lord goes ahead of us in all our struggles and pathways as a path-breaker. He clears the way ahead of hurdles and obstacles. No person or combination of forces can stand in His way. The gate is a metaphor for His overarching purpose in our lives as well as a particular stretch of our life journey where we have set ourselves a goal or a desire or a short term objective. Greater is He that is with us than they that are with them. “they” refers to those who oppose us or who criticize us. It also refers to the spiritual forces of darkness. It also could refer to our own self limiting and God limiting beliefs. As king He is sovereign and absolute in His powers and prerogatives. His authority is sufficient to alter our sense and perceptions of the reality. The Lord underwrites or guarantees our success. In His hands, our arriving at our divine destination is certain. He will ensure safe and sure passage for each of us. “The Lord is on the head of them all” is a faith declaration that He anoints us. Change challenges us but challenges change us. He prepares us for both change and challenge. Jim Rohn wrote that “ change is inevitable but growth is intentional.” Growth is God –intended and God-enabled. He intends that we grow to our full potential. He enables us to grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding, favour and in the fruits of the spirit. He gives us breakthroughs in different areas and stages of our lives. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Light a candle

UV 390/10,000 Light a candle Mathew 5 v 15 Mat 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. When we are people of faith and we live according to our faith in Christ, we become a candle to the world. In the face of any problem or challenge that the world throws at us the candle within us will say, “ Can handle”. When we always think we can, we end up becoming a candle. When we keep doing what we can do, we end up doing what we cannot do. A candle does not distinguish between those whom it should give light to and those it should not. It gives light to all. Similarly, we must share God’s love with all, to friend and foe, to those we like and do not, to those who need it and those who think they do not. The candle consumes its own wax in order to give light. Similarly we must live sacrificial lives. The wax is also a metaphor for the Word of God and the wisdom of the Lord. The same flame that exudes light, provides the heat to melt the wax to feed the wick. The Word and wisdom will make us shine for God in a world of darkness. Just as a candle is used to light other candles and flames, we must be the cause for other people to shine for the Lord in the contemporary darkness. Just as a candle cannot think that just because it burns brightly, it is the source of light and energy, that it is virtually, the sun, we must always have a humble view of our role and contribution. We are called not to be the wicked but to be the wick that burns brightly. There must be a sense of burning passion and zeal in us for righteousness and excellence. We must not keep the faith and grace the Lord has given us a secret. We must not try to hide it or conceal it from others. We must not extinguish the flame of faith that the Lord has lit in us. Instead,we must position ourselves as leaders who lead people to the true light. Our professions and the place where we live and work is the candlestick that holds us up for the world to see. While burning, we must also be aware and watch and pray for protection against the forces and factors that threaten to extinguish the flame. We must use our talents and gifts to glorify our Maker, our Father in heaven. When we strive to attain His perfection, we catch up with excellence. The spirit that burns in us is the incandescent light of excellence. The candle never gives up mid-way, saying it is tired or has burned enough but continues to burn till the last drop of wax. Similarly, we too must burn to give warmth and light to all, all through our lives. We must exhibit the attitude of persistence and perseverance in our faith and in our work. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Law of Humility

UV 389/10,000 The law of humility 1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: When we submit to each other, we are humbling ourselves before others. When we submit to God Almighty, we are humbling ourselves before Him. The Holy Spirit resists or refuses the proud but gives grace or favour to the humble. It is a law of the Kingdom of God that when we sow in humility, we will reap in spiritual exaltation. The Lord will exalt or lift us up in all our circumstances in His time. Exaltation can come in the form of a promotion, a breakthrough we were waiting for, good tidings we were eagerly awaiting, an unexpected change in fortunes, an upliftment of the spirit and so on. When we receive the gospel into our lives and live faithful lives, we are humbling ourselves. The gospel is breaking news that breaks the heart hardened by sin and heals the broken-hearted. When we submit our plans to God, we are humbling ourselves for we are saying, “ We can’t do it all by ourselves, we need your help.” The Lord will help us in miraculous, subtle and mysterious ways. When we submit our problems and challenges to the Lord, we are humbling ourselves for we are saying,” Lord, we do not have strength to face and solve these problems but You are mighty and able.” When we believe that the Lord has given us whatever abilities and talents we have and we are to use these for His glory, we will keep ourselves from developing an attitude of pride. A significant clause to the law of humility is that the Lord will honour us in due time. When we wait patiently in hope, we are humbling ourselves. When we refuse to compartmentalize our lives and avoid saying that this much is for the Lord and the rest is mine and when we acknowledge Him in all our ways, we are humbling ourselves before the Lord. The Word of God says that when we look to the interests of others and regard others better than ourselves, we are being humble. Humility comes from seeing ourselves and others from the Lord’s perspective. Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 23, 2012

The reproach

UV 388/10,000 The reproach of Christ versus the reproach of Egypt 1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. The word reproach means a ‘cause or occasion of blame, disapproval, discredit or disgrace’. Is it not a mystery that in the well known faith chapter of Hebrews, it is written that Moses preferred the reproach of Christ to the pleasures of Pharaoh though Moses preceded Christ by several centuries ? In the book of Joshua, it is written that the Lord rolled away the reproach of Egypt at a place which came to be known as Gilgal for that very reason. ( Joshua 5 v 9). Our faith establishes a connectivity between disparate events in different ages for Christ is the ageless One. Moses could see Him with the eye of faith as the Saviour to come even as the Lord called Moses to be the one to lead the Hebrew slaves out of Egyptian bondage. Christ rolls away all the reproaches or the negative dimensions of our lives even as the heavy stone that blocked His grave was rolled away by an angel. When we are rebuked or persecuted for our faith in Christ we ought to consider ourselves blessed. We ought to be cheerful about it for with it comes the promise of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of glory and of God who will rest on us and comfort, counsel and guard us. When we are spoken ill of on account of our faith, the Lord is glorified in that His power would be made manifest in diverse ways. When we are reproached for our faith in Christ it is a signal for God to intervene. It is an opportunity for Him to reveal His mighty hand, so far restrained by His mercy and grace. It is time for judgement to be executed and to show the world at large that the Lord is with us and His favour rests on us. Looking back we must thank God for the reproaches in our lives before we turned to Christ for redemption. We must also be thankful for all the occasions when we suffered reproach for Christ. The former is a heavy yoke of the curses and limitations imposed on us by our human nature and condition. The latter is a lighter yoke that the Lord will help us bear and emerge shining as victors, triumphant in spirit, resilient in attitude, grateful in suffering. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The wings of faith

UV 387/10,000 The wings of faith Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. We need to wait for the Word of the Lord to be fulfilled. As we wait with faith and patience, we can renew our strength by feeding on the Word. The Word provides a balanced spiritual diet of commands to obey, teachings to understand, warnings to heed and promises to claim. As young eaglets are fed choice morsels by the mother eagle to develop strength and wings, the Holy Spirit feeds us in the early years of our faith life. As our faith matures, our two wings of prayer and Word are strong enough to enable us to fly. As young eaglets are first initiated into the experience of flying by being carried on the eagle’s wings, the Lord will initially carry us. Then, as the eagle would catch the eaglet by the pinion and release it into the air, the Lord tests our faith by different difficult challenges. The eaglets learn to glide in the air and overcome the fear of flying and falling. We also learn to run after the Lord, to run for the Lord and as we run on the feet of Word and prayer, He strengthens our feet. He keeps us from dashing our feet on the stones. He encourages us to keep running and not to give up. He gives us the energy and stamina. We are in a relay race for Him, carrying the baton of the gospel of hope and love from one generation to another. There are times when we have to just wait, times when we have to fly, times when we have to run and times when we have to walk. When we walk too we must not walk only on one leg of prayer but on two legs, one where we remember the Word the Lord has spoken into our lives from time to time and two, where we pray based on the Word. The alternation and synchronization of the simultaneous disciplines of imbibing the Word and prayer in our lives keeps us growing along with the sequencing of times of waiting, walking, running and flying keeps us from getting tired and discouraged, prevents us from being unfruitful and keeps us from loosing our balance and sense of direction and vision. Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 20, 2012

What is your shade and shadow?

UV 386/10,000 Jonah 4 v 10 What is your shade and shadow? Jon 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: The Lord made the gourd grow over Jonah to provide him shade from the sun. It made him exceeding glad. Then, He sent a east wind and scorching heat that made Jonah speak a death wish for himself out of his anger and frustration. The Lord used the gourd as a training aid to teach Jonah that He had compassion on the people of Nineveh whom He had made though they did not know Him or acknowledge Him. Similarly, in life we lean on many things and take pleasure in the comfort, prestige and security these perishable things give us. A member of my family who was extremely wealthy depended on his wealth to give him shade and he was exceeding glad about the security and prestige it gave him in the whole state. But, owing to some failed projects, he accumulated an enormous debt in the evening hours of his life. At this stage, he got dejected and kept saying, “ I wish I die quickly.” At this point, the Lord spoke through this scripture and told him that if he cared so much for his prosperity for which he had worked hard and He had removed it for a time, how much more does the Lord care for His children who do not have perishable souls. The Lord has compassion on all He has made. He specially has compassion on His children. He also has compassion on all those who do not believe, know or acknowledge Him as their Father in heaven. He has complete passion, complete understanding, complete love, complete knowledge and shows complete care and protection of all mankind. He has prepared a home and a destiny for each of us. It is not an earthen pit of the grave where the worm destroys our bodies like it destroyed the gourd. We need to take shade while we still have breath in our nostrils. We should find our shelter in the shadow of the Almighty, not in the shadow of our wealth, or position or influence or achievements. We need to be exceedingly glad as we take our shade under the wings of the Lord. Our soul must delight in God much more than Jonah delighted in the gourd. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two options

UV 385/10,000 Two options James 5 v 13 Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. We have two options before us all the time. In good times, praise and thank God. In bad times, pray. Through all time, God remains good and He will reveal His goodness to us in different ways. The reality is that people tend to ignore God when everything is going good for them. They blame God when the tide turns against them. I recently heard a cousin’s wife calling God a sadist for taking away her husband at the age of 68. But for all these years, when they were financially well off, enjoyed each other’s company and travelled the world, she did not think it fit to offer praise to God. We can train our thoughts to always be in this sequence: praise and pray, praise and pray. When we are afflicted either with sickness or financial crisis or persecution or opposition, the Lord is closest to us. He is present with us in that situation. His grace is sufficient for our healing, our deliverance, our provision, our protection and our victory. In such moments, we seek the Lord more intensely. Mature believers learn to praise God even for the temporary troubles and tribulations that build in them greater faith, character and patience. In times when the going is good and it is fair weather, we must not forget the Lord. Instead, every good fortune, every blessing of health, every blessing of life, every breakthrough,every relationship, every help, every gift and talent, every opportunity, every source of joy, happiness and pleasure in our lives must turn into a psalm of praise unto the Lord. A time must come when we can alternately pray and praise even as we alternate between breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide. Prateep V Philip

On being rooted and grounded

UV 384/10,000 Ephesians 3 v 17 On being rooted and grounded Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, The otherwise fickle heart of man, the otherwise flinching mind of man are anchored by faith in Christ. Once in a prophetic word, the Lord exhorted believers to be rooted in Him even as our teeth is rooted in our gums. Unlike false teeth that can be removed, the teeth remain firmly embedded in the gums. The root supplies nourishment to the teeth and keeps it healthy and strong. The second metaphor hinted at in the word, “ grounded” implies that we should be like the house that is built on rock. All our actions, thoughts, feelings and words should be founded on the love of Christ. He demonstrated in full the love of God for man and the love of man for God as well as the love of man for mankind. We must love God as Christ loves Him and love each other as He loves us. We must cut deep into the rock of the Word of God and lay our foundations so that neither trouble nor persecution nor false teaching nor fear or doubt can shake our faith in Christ. Even to just understand the dimensions of the love of God will fill us with the fullness of God. We need to meditate on His love towards us. The vertical dimension is the height of His love- what is the greatest act of love He has shown to us? It is our salvation by the blood of Christ. The breadth of His love refers to the wide variety of ways in which He has shown His love for us in our lives. The length of His love refers to the continuity, constancy and consistency of His love towards us. The depth of His love refers to the extent of His mercy and grace towards us. We need to meditate and ask ourselves how have we manifested God’s love in our lives. What is the greatest act of love we have shown towards the Lord? In how many ways are we manifesting our love towards the Lord? To what extent would we go in our love for Him? How consistent and unbroken is our fellowship and worship of the Trinity? When all these dimensions of love are in place in our lives, then we have created a house, a dwelling place , a tabernacle for God. He dwells in us by faith and we dwell in Him. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Process of God ordained afflictions

UV 383/10,000 The process of God ordained affliction Jonah 1 v 17 Jon 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights The Lord who created the great whale could prepare it to swallow Jonah. It was the means of deliverance for Jonah who would otherwise have drowned. The Creator Lord caused the natural elements to rise to fulfill His supernatural purpose. Jonah had consented to the sailors throwing him overboard to save themselves from the tempest. He had given up hope of escaping the wrath of God. But, the Lord was merciful and caused the whale to save his life. But, He did not instantly cause the whale to eject Jonah but allowed him to remain in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. These 72 hours were a time of disciplining and shaping of the character of Jonah. The heat of the whale’s belly was necessary to melt the hardness and rebellion of his heart. During the three days and three nights, Jonah reflected on his life and purpose, how he had failed to do the bidding of the Lord to go and cry against the wickedness of Nineveh. He prayed to the Lord and cried out to Him. The Lord did a work of change in his heart during these three days and nights. If deliverance is taking time to show up in the tempests of our lives, it might be because the Lord has to teach us a lesson or two. Similarly, we too go through a process of God ordained affliction. Jesus too spoke of His identification with Jonah in His death and burial in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights for a work of change in the hearts of all mankind to make it right with God. It might be a good exercise to similarly cry out from our hearts for three days and nights for different challenges and areas of breakthrough we are looking for in our lives. At the end of the three days and nights, the Lord caused the whale to vomit Jonah out safely on the shore. He was now ready to testify of the Lord’s judgement to the people of Nineveh. At the end of three days and nights, Jesus was resurrected from death and received all power in Heaven and on earth. Let us bring one issue before the Lord in a focused manner for 72 hours, crying out for help, desperate for God, hoping for deliverance and the Lord who ordained that challenge will also provide the breakthrough. Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Sovereignty of God

UV 382/10,000 Romans 9 v 15 The Sovereignty of God Rom 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. The Lord ‘s will prevails in all matters. It might seem for a time that all on earth can do as they please or as the Nike ad puts it “ Just do it”. But, the Lord’s Word says, “ Don’t just do it but do the just.” He is the Rock of eternity. When we act against His will we are knocking our fragile selves against the Rock. His will is sovereign and supreme. The word “ sovereign “ means pure, precious, of ultimate and absolute value. The sovereignty of God means that He has the discretion to show mercy and favour upon who He chooses. He raised up Pharaoh to harden the latter’s heart against the Israelites to reveal His power through Moses. He raised up Moses by redeeming him from the slaughter of Hebrew infants and caused him to be brought up in the royal household of Pharaoh himself. He caused Pharaoh’s daughter to show compassion upon the floating baby. He caused Moses to be driven out of Pharaoh’s household to be broken in the wilderness of his life. He brought him back to lead the Hebrew slaves of Egypt out of bondage back to the promised land. Today, the mighty Pharaoh is a nameless, faceless and despised despot while Moses is a revered, oft remembered Biblical hero, a type of the Messiah to come. Likewise, the Lord hardens the hearts of those He chooses to. Many of those who have hardened their hearts against us are those whom the Lord has allowed to do so for a purpose. It is for the raising up of the staff and the crushing of the head of the serpent for the lifting up of the name of God. We can resist the devil and he will flee. But, we cannot resist the will of God for He means no ill to us. He delights in pouring His mercy and grace to the point of overflowing in those who chooses to be vessels of mercy. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The River of Life

Eze 47:3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. “ The Bible” , someone said so beautifully ,” is so shallow a child can wade through it and it is so deep a theologian can drown in it.” Jesus is seen in this vision and in a similar vision in the book of Revelation as a man who holds a reed or a measuring line in His hand. He measures the waters through which we pass. He leads us first ankle deep, then knee deep, then waist deep and then shoulder deep but He will not let the water pass over our heads. The depth referred to in this uni-verse is both the depth of the truth and insight of the Word as well as the depth of our experience in the light of the Word in our everyday world. Just as the ancient Israelites were taken through many waters: the water of the Red Sea and the water of the Jordan, we too in our individual walk do pass through many waters. The Lord measures our faith as we pass through these waters. He also measures the depth of the water to know how much we can endure. The water is also a reference to the “living water” of the Holy Spirit and the Word. As we grow in faith, the Lord takes us to greater depths in our knowledge and understanding of the Word and the experience of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Spirit is an experience of complete immersion in the Holy Spirit. After this experience, streams of living water of joy, peace,hope and love will begin to flow from our hearts and lives. The gifting of the Holy Spirit in our lives will lead to many fruit trees to grow on the river bank whose fruit will be spiritual food for the spiritually hungry and whose leaves would be healing for the spiritually and physically sick. Prateep V Philip

The Level Playing Ground

UV 380/10,000 The level playing ground Col 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Christ creates a perfectly level playing ground for all of us. Neither our nationality, our religious background, our cultural background or our status counts. Christ is the be all and end all of life. Everything we do begins and ends in Him. He is no respecter of persons. He is rich unto all- any one who calls unto Him. He is not partial and hence, He reaches out to all. Other leaders and teachers attempted to point people to God. But, Jesus pointed us to God and said, “ Father, these too are your children even as I Am.” Christ is above any and all great religious leaders and teachers. In Christ, we are each above them too. He fills us with the full measure of His wisdom and knowledge. He enables us or gives us grace to fulfill our potential and His purpose. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Hence, we can entrust to Him the project of our life from beginning to end. It also means that when we involve Him in a specific challenging project in our lives, He will guide and lead us step by step. He will see us through to completion and perfection. He leads us through a mix or balance of a supernatural and natural path of growth. Every thing in our lives are as fragile as an egg shell- be it health, wealth, wisdom, power, beauty, hope, strength: but there are two ways to break an egg shell - from an external force that could mean injury or destruction or from an internal source that could mean growth,life and progress. Man breaks the shell of life using technology or force from outside in a wrenching, destructive way. The Lord uses nature and the supernatural to break the shell from within in a process of growth for which the wait requires patience but the results are enduring Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 13, 2012

The power of Prophecy

UV 379/10,000 Ezekiel 37 v 4 The power of prophecy accompanied by the Word Eze 37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. When we are in a valley experience or a time of feeling low in spirit and emotions, a time of despondency and hopelessness, the Lord will send someone to prophesy and encourage us with His Word. Our difficult experiences in life sometimes reduce us to being just bare bones or dry bones but the Word from the Lord by way of a specific promise or rhema verse or uni-verse to us, will revive our spirits. The dry bones are a symbol of the dryness of our spirit, the lack of faith, the inner listlessness that the Lord desires to replace with a new vigour, enthusiasm and hope. We will be edified or built up again, adding sinew and flesh and life to our skeletal existence. We will be given the gifts of the Word of wisdom-what to decide and do and the Word of knowledge- what to know and proclaim. This uni-verse throws light on the restorative power of the Word of God. When we hear the Word of God, our faith will be boosted up. Our new life will be revived with the resurrection power of the Lord, the same power that restored Him to life, the same power by which He commanded the dead Lazarus and the dead Tabitha to wake up from the dead. Our minds will be energized by the thought of God and the thoughts of God. The breath that He will command from the four winds or four directions to enter our nostrils is not mere air but the spirit of God. Bone will be joined to bone- this is a metaphor for the disjointed parts of our live coming together in a wholesome way in union with the Lord. The muscles that are newly formed are a symbol of the new strength and power that He will infuse us with. Prophesy is not about fortune telling or foretelling but it is a revelation of the mind of God concerning us. It is meant to encourage us and edify us. It is accompanied by confirmation from the Word of God. It is not only about individual edification but about the whole body of Christ. Prophecy and the vision will encourage the whole body of believers to rise from spiritual apathy like a mighty army of God to do His will- to bring salvation to all nations. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Rejected Capstone

Psa 118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. In Daniel’s vision, He sees how a rock that is not cut with human hands becomes a great mountain that fills all nations. It fills the void left by the decline and fall of great kings and empires that have feet of clay or full of human frailties. That rock is Jesus. He is a rock of escape for humanity, the Rock of our salvation. He is the cornerstone and the keystone in God’s House of salvation. A master sculptor or a master builder searches carefully to look for the right kind of stone to sculpt or build with. There are stones that look solid from the outside but have fault lines and flaws running deep inside. The world accepts stones from the quarry but will not accept that which the Lord God Himself has provided. This living stone is a stone of stumbling for some and a stone of offence for others as it exposes their lives or offends their beliefs. In association with Him, we too become part of the cornerstone and keystone. We too will be rejected by the builders or key decision makers in our societies, organizations, firms, governments, families and even churches but eventually, we will be part of the cornerstone, grace or thanks to the Capstone. Hence, even when we are rejected by any or all, we should not be dejected but strengthen our faith by staying rooted in our foundation and draw strength by keeping our eyes fixed on the Capstone. Many people literally treat Jesus as the cornerstone and push Him to the corner of their lives. Scripture says that those who willingly fall on the cornerstone will be broken in spirit but those on whom it falls will be crushed, implying that they will fall. It is the same stone that is responsible equally for the rise of some and the fall of some. This is the stone that is both the foundation of our lives and the capstone or the stone in the topmost portion of the building towards which we grow. It unites both the strength( the foundation) and the purpose (the purpose ) of our lives. It is a precious stone and a tried or tested stone. When we rub against this stone, our rough edges and places or the angularities of our character get smoothened. This is the touchstone to test another stone or precious metal. The Lord our Maker uses this touchstone to test whether we do make the grade, whether we are Kingdom material. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Divine Exchange

UV 377/10,000 The divine exchange 2 Corinthians 8 v 9 2Co 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. The earth and its fullness thereof as well as the rest of the universe belongs to the Lord Jesus. Yet, He limited Himself to be one of us, the poorest among us. In the act of the infinite God limiting Himself to the finite, He opened a new gateway for mankind. The divine exchange is located at the very gateway of Heaven. The leaven of deceit and doubt and doublemindedness can keep us from Heaven. Those who entered this gateway by faith since sight and experience is not immediately possible, can change any aspect of their lives that they want to change. Since this divine exchange cannot be paid for or earned or deserved, it is only by grace we can enter this gateway. Christ exchanged His riches for our poverty, our sinfulness for His virtue, our imperfections for His perfection, our weakness for His strength, our pride for His humility, our hatred for His love, our sadness for His joy, our mortality for His immortality and eternal life, our curses for His blessings, our sickness for His healing, our doubts for His clarity, our selfishness for His selflessness, our failures for His success, our emptiness for His fulfillment, our lusts for His love, our insecurity for His security, our folly for His wisdom. It is this divine exchange that enables us to affirm, “ The Lord is my Shepherd: I shall not want.” Whatever I lack, I can borrow from the Lord. What He gives, He does not take back. We are expected to be rich in faith and rich towards the Lord. When He looks at us and sees that we have a little faith but do not avail of the divine exchange, we will look naked before Him. He hates to see us wretched,miserable, naked, poor and blind. He says, “Come to my divine exchange and leave what you have of your misery and poverty and take abundantly of my spiritual riches.” These are the true riches that neither moth nor rust can destroy nor thief take away. The words “ moth or rust” refer to natural processes of life and the decay that accompanies aging. The thief refers to the supernatural enemy, Satan who attempts to rob us of our peace, our prosperity and our blessings. These riches will not loose their luster or value with time but like old wine gets stronger and better as the days go by. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Set apart to be godly

UV 376/10,000 Set apart to be godly Psa 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. God wants man to be God-like but man wants to be like God. God wants man to be God-like in his character and motivation. But man wants to be like God in terms of His position and power. This is the essence of the struggle of man with God. The very word,” Israel” means struggle with God. The Lord says, “ Cease from your struggles. Rest in my arms. I have set you apart for my self.” The words, ‘set apart’ means that we are dedicated as special purpose vessels to carry the Lord’s message to the world. We are set apart as a special people to praise the works of the Lord. Set apart also implies that we are distinguished in the eyes of God and that we are His workmanship to exhibit His attributes and glory. The word, ‘know’ is used in this uni-verse to show that we need to move from just belief to knowledge level. As we are set apart for God, we are a holy people unto the Lord. Our belief in His Word and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. It is said that God does not call qualified people rather He qualifies the called through the process of sanctification. We are set apart as a royal priesthood, children of the Most High God, a peculiar people, a holy nation, a chosen generation. We are called to be just and good in our generation, fearing the Lord for His awesome power and impartial judgement, loving Him in return for His great and sacrificial love. He sets us apart and establishes us to fulfill His purpose and plan for us individually and for the cosmos as a whole. When do we call unto Him? We do not wait till we are in distress to call unto the Lord. The godly are in constant communion with the Lord. We commune in our heart with Him. Our emotions and thoughts are intermingled with His. He sustains us by means of His grace in times of troubles and temptations. Many people resort to prayer only when they are neck deep in trouble or debt or ill health. They treat the Lord as the police are looked upon in many nations: a last resort in times of trouble. But, the godly cry unto the Lord morning and noon and evening. David praised the Lord seven times a day. Daniel prayed thrice a day. David was a king-hence, he spent more time with the Lord than Daniel the administrator. The more busy we are or the greater our responsibility, the more time we should spend at the feet of the Lord. We need to avail of His consistent wisdom, His sustaining grace and His prevailing power. He promises to hear us when we call unto Him. He does not just passively hear us and forget our pleas. He will even mount on the clouds and descend to us in our hour of need. He will alter or transcend the laws of the universe or change the course of history to intervene effectively on our behalf. Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 9, 2012

Access by faith to both grace and glory

UV 375/10,000 Our Access by faith to both grace and glory Romans 5 v 2 Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. When you believe God's Word over the word of the world, that is the point faith overcomes doubt,courage overcomes fear, hope overcomes despair, justice overcomes injustice, life overcomes death, prosperity thinking overcomes poverty thinking, healing overcomes sickness, strength overcomes weakness, success overcomes failure, love overcomes selfishness..- This is the point at which new life begins to sprout and flourish in us. This is the point on the fulcrum of life on which the lever of eternity rests. With it we can lift great loads and move mighty mountains. Faith in Jesus is one basket we can put all our eggs ( past, present,future, health, finances, family, friends, hopes, fears, doubts, eternity, profession, reputation, relationships.. ) in. Each of these aspects of life are as fragile and perishable as an egg shell but under the Lord’s protective wings, it is not only preserved but grows from within as new life hatches from within an egg. Just as we can’t make an omelette without breaking the egg, we can’t get a chick without it hatching. Our faith in Jesus is initially like a tiny seed. But , it needs to grow and mature for the glory of God. Grace in the process of growing and glory of God at the end are the two hallmarks of faith. The access point or the door through which we receive both grace and glory is faith in Jesus. Our hope in the glory of God is what enables us to rejoice regardless of the circumstances, whether in sickness or health, poverty or prosperity, pain or pleasure, failure or success. Rahab the prostitute was saved on account of her faith in the words of the Israelite spies she harboured for a night. She acted on their words and tied a scarlet rope outside her house. That scarlet rope is a symbol of her faith in their words. She was accepted into the Israelite nation later, married a Jew: this much is grace. She went on to be one of the forebears of Jesus the Messiah Himself : this is glory. Today, our faith in Jesus is the scarlet thread that connects all aspects of our lives and links together grace with glory. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Be a God pleaser

UV 374/10,000 Galatians 1 v 10 Be a God pleaser Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. As godly leaders, we are called not to be man-pleasers but God-pleasers. Scripture uses the word,” eye-pleaser” for a person who seeks to please his earthly boss. As long as the boss’ s eye is upon him, he would be at his best but the moment the boss is absent, his true colours would be visible. But, Christ knows our every thought and emotion. We cannot just do lip service to Him and then do as we please. We are called to Trust, Obey, Learn and Love from our hearts. If Jesus is the bridge connecting the temporal and the spiritual, the temporary and the eternal, this is the TOLL we need to pay to traverse that bridge. The world knows only two categories of leaders: good and great. Scripture asks us to transcend the levels from good to great to godly. As servants of Christ,we are to imitate Him in all our ways. St Paul wrote, “ Imitate me even as I imitate Christ.” St Paul never tried to please even St Peter and the other apostles. St Paul recognized that being a servant of Christ meant that one would not be very popular with others. His only motivation was to win the commendation of the Lord: “ Well done, you good and faithful servant.” The Lord has often encouraged me by saying, “ You are a God pleaser, not a man-pleaser. You are a simple servant.” Many people start off as servants but as they grow in stature and the size of their ministry and influence, they become too busy even for the Lord to approach them. They compete with the men of the world in pomp and paraphernalia, in protocol and in the number of layers that one need to go through in order to reach them. The leader aspect in the “ servant-leader” model is emphasized and the “ servant” aspect is given the go by. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Experience all power of Easter

UV 373/10,000 Experience all power of Easter Mathew 28 v 18 Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Death is the ultimate challenge for mankind. it nullifies all our achievements, our emotions,our hopes. It erases all our memories. It makes a mockery of the meaning and purpose of life. Everything is brought to nought. It gets its power from the sin of mankind. It took the only sinless One to pay the price of our lives with His priceless and eternal life. But, being sinless and eternal, He could take back upon Himself the life that He voluntarily, knowingly and willingly gave up. Now, death is only a rest, an entrance to a better, brighter, more joyful, victorious and eternal existence. Now, resurrection power is available to all who believe, trust and accept the sacrifice of the sinless One- Jesus. Jesus in His Resurrection from the dead proved He has power over death. In His ministry on earth, He showed He had power over sin and judgement by forgiving sinners. After His Resurrection, Jesus was given all power in heaven and in earth by the Father in Heaven. It implies that Jesus is the Sovereign and ultimate ruler on earth and in Heaven. His earthly life and ministry was a celebration of grace and mercy. His Resurrection heralded the celebration of power. He has all power to execute judgement on the wicked and unrepentant. He has unlimited power to heal and deliver. He has all power to bless and multiply. The word “ all” implies that nothing is beyond the writ and jurisdiction of Jesus in His multiple roles as Redeemer, as Friend, as Healer, as Deliverer, as Counsellor, as Everlasting and Mighty God, as Head of the Church, as Lamb and Lion. He has in turn given or delegated all power and authority to us to teach people of all nations and backgrounds to believe, to observe all that Jesus taught. He has given us power to teach, to heal and to deliver. We can even summon people from death. We can pronounce healing and deliverance in people’s lives. A friend of mine used to say, “ He has conferred a PhD on each of us: preaching, healing and deliverance.” The dead will come to life. The blind will see. The deaf will hear. The crippled will walk. These are signs and wonders that will happen on earth from the authority and power of Jesus. But beyond this, Jesus is given after His Resurrection all power in heaven. It is by this spiritual fact that we are given power so that what we bind in heaven is bound on earth and what we release in heaven is released on earth. If we have been given all power, then why do we yield to temptation and pressure, succumb to circumstances and become subject to moods,insecurities, doubts and fears? Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 6, 2012

Doing a beautiful act for Jesus

UV 372/10,000 Do a beautiful act for Jesus Mathew 26 v 13 Mat 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her For a woman her bottle of perfume is one of the most precious possessions that she would not give up easily. But for a harlot it was one of the means of her profession- a necessity. Yet, Mary Magdala unreservedly poured a whole alabaster jar of the most expensive perfumed oil upon Jesus anointing Him from head to foot. The disciples were indignant not that a woman of low reputation had done this act for their Master but that she had wasted the equivalent of a whole year’s wages in this manner. In the gospel of Mathew as well as Mark, it is immediately after this event that Judas decides to betray Jesus. It appears that it was the immediate provocation for his betrayal. But Jesus chided them and lauded the woman for doing a “ beautiful thing” for Him for which she would be remembered all over the world and through history. He said that she was preparing His body for burial. Her one act would be her eternal memorial. A memorial we can understand from this passage is not what others build for us in the shape of a tomb after our death- it is what we do for the Lord while we are alive. What is our memorial? What is the beautiful thing we have done in our lifetime so far for the Lord? Are we willing to give up what is precious for the Lord? I asked myself that question. Perhaps, my giving a Bible to Queen Elizabeth II with a testimony of God as a faithful King of Kings was the beautiful thing I did for the Lord. Or my writing the longest praise and worship song of the Lord called “ The Great I Am” was my memorial for the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Turning Thorns into Crowns

UV 371/10,000 Turning Thorns into Crowns Mathew 27 v 28 Mat 27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! The physical thorns that pierced into the scalp, forehead and head of the sinless One- Jesus are a symbol of the pain, the mental agony, the worries, the anxieties, the fears, the deceit of riches and the three types of lust that afflict humanity. Jesus by wearing the crown of thorns transformed our mental, physical and spiritual thorns through His suffering on the cross into a crown of righteousness, the crown of life and eternal life that adorns our heads as believers. The crown is a symbol of triumph, of royalty and of power. No more if we truly believe and we do not want to mock Jesus again for bearing our thorns, the thorns that hurt our spirit, mind and flesh , should we subject ourselves to worries, fears, deceitfulness of wealth and lust. Every time we do so, we are mocking Jesus like the Roman soldiers afresh. All our kneeling and praying would almost seem like in jest as if we believe that He has not overcome all these on our behalf. When we continue to wallow in anxiety and worries, or indulging ourselves in evil desires or in the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye or pride of life, we are kicking against the thorns like King Saul did. Pilate focused on the charge that He claimed to be the King of the Jews as Pilate was only concerned with if there was a political threat to Roman rule. The Jewish priests were concerned that He claimed to be the Son of God. The Jewish people bound themselves and subsequent generations to a curse by saying that “ let His blood be upon us and our children too.” They had put a reed in His right hand as a mock scepter to show that He was as weak as a reed. Yes, He was so gentle in the face of such harshness and cruelty that He would not break a reed. People may see us too as weak as a reed and mock us. But, as we kneel in His presence and recognize that He was not a mere political head or King of the Jews but Lord of the universe, that even the waves and winds would obey Him, that demons would flee at His command at the mention of His Name, that life threatening diseases would be healed by His touch, that the dead would be summoned back to life, that the infirm and paralytic would walk, then we would be as assured and calm as Jesus is. We must take an account of the thorns that cause us to sorrow in our lives and place it not on the head of Jesus but cast it at His feet and He would turn it into crowns or sources of strength, power and celebration. He would consign our thorns that torment us to fire and destruction. He would turn us into a royal diadem and a scepter of righteousness to execute His will on earth as it is in Heaven. As the scepter of righteousness, one of the objectives we must give priority to as a church is to pray for the redemption of Israel, for the lifting of the curse and spiritual blindness and hardness of hearts of the Jewish people. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Process of Transformation

UV 370/10,000 2 Corinthians 3 v 18 The Process of Transformation 2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. We were created in the image of God. Our spirit was originally the mirror image of God. We lost it on the way even as a child looses her innocence as she is exposed to the world. When we look into the Word,we are looking into a mirror in which we can perceive the character, purpose and will of our Lord. As we keep looking into this spiritual mirror, we learn about the new facets of His image. The Holy Spirit will remind us and help us refocus on that image and shape us up so that over a period of time, our resemblance to the Lord’s image will increase. We are not transformed over night but over a lifetime and degree by degree, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moment by moment. Transformation means not conforming to the world’s standards and conforming instead to God’s standards. Jesus standard of forgiveness is that we must forgive our brother or sister 70 time 7 or in other words without keeping count of our grudges. His standard of love vis a vis the Father is that we must love Him with all our heart, all our strength and all our mind or in other words, we must constantly express our love for God in thought, word and deed, in spirit, mind and body, in prayers, praise and worship, in emotions, decisions and actions. His standard of love vis a vis our fellow beings is to love another as we love ourselves, to do unto others what we would have them do to us. When we end our time of devotion or meditation on the Word, we must not forget the areas we do not resemble the image of God. Our self awareness combined with the consciousness of God will initiate the process of change in our lives so that we get better incrementally. A realistic parent does not expect his child to become an Olympic athlete overnight. Similarly, the Lord expects us only to keep taking tiny, stumbling baby steps towards perfection, His glory or His standards. He knows that when our spiritual muscles become strong and surer, then we will take the giant leap of faith. Over time, our thought process will change from ANT to APT or from Automatic Negative Thought to Automatic Positive Thought, our priorities of learning from KSA or Knowledge, Skills and Attitude to Attitude, Skills and Knowledge. Our life pattern will change from Substance ( or having ) first , Performance( doing next) and Image ( being last) to IPS or Image ( being first) , Performance ( doing next ) and Substance ( having ) last. The elements in our composition whether we are a believer or a non believer, a saint or sinner are the same. It is only the pattern of their arrangement that is changed. It is the transformation of our patterns that makes us “ new creations.” Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The walls of Jericho and Jerusalem

UV 369/10,000 Two types of wall being broken down and built up Hebrews 11 v 30 Heb 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. Our beliefs based on the Word of God are as solid as incontrovertible facts. We can call them “ faith-facts”. The faith-facts will lead us to do faith-acts and the faith-acts will lead to faith-events just as the books of the Old Testament led to the Gospel and the Gospel led to the Acts of the Apostles. The Jews under Joshua believed the walls of Jericho would come down as they went around it seven times. This was a faith-fact that led to the faith-act of their actually going around it seven times and the faith-event of the walls falling down. One of the faith-facts revealed to me just the day before is that each of us and collectively,we have walls of Jericho being built around us that obstruct us in our spiritual progress and pilgrimage. Left to itself, the spiritual equivalent of the Great Wall of China will be built around us keeping us from fulfilling the purpose of God. The walls of Jericho is a metaphor for all that obstructs us, opposes us, makes us weak and ineffective, keeps us from fulfilling our potential and the will or purpose of God. It amazed me to hear that Rick Warren, the famed and celebrated author of “ The Purpose-Driven Life” has been side-tracked into a major compromise of his faith. I hope I am proved wrong at least on this. The point is that simultaneously, we need to pray and act in the spirit to bring down the walls of Jericho around us and around the body of believers and to pray and act in the spirit to build the protective walls of Jerusalem around us. The presence of God will be built up around us like solid walls and ramparts of a fort. The walls of Jerusalem that Nehemiah undertook to rebuild in his time are a symbol of the need for building up our faith all round us, to plug the gaping holes, the doubts, the fears, the prejudices, the confusion in certain areas of our lives. We need to simultaneous bring down the walls of Jericho and build up the walls of Jerusalem. We need to do this two-way faith act all seven days of the week 24 x 7. Thus, the kingdom of darkness will be demolished and the kingdom of light, the kingdom of God will be built up in us and around us. Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are you a Friend of God?

UV 369/10,000 Are you a Friend of God? James 2 v 23 Jas 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God The word “ friend” that is so commonly used by every one has a deep mystical root for the root of friend is “ phile” which means love. We cannot please God by our good deeds for He knows the motivation behind our good deeds is selfish- it is to impress, to build a fa├žade of righteousness. But, when we believe Him, He is pleased. He calls us His friends or His lovers. We become righteous or holy or God-like by imputation. We enjoy a personal relationship with Him. He becomes our best friend- the only one who remains consistent and faithful throughout our earthly existence and even beyond. This is an awesome event or faith-fact as it makes each one of us who believe potentially more influential than the most powerful person on the planet, currently the President of the US of A. Friendship, fellowship, communion, intimacy with mankind was the very purpose of all creation. The person who lead me into a saving faith in Christ, opened our conversation with the question, “ Do you have a personal relationship with God?” At the time, I could not quite understand how I could have a personal relationship with an un unknown and unseen spiritual Being. He was actually asking me if I was a Friend of God. When we become Friends of God by accepting the provision for our life and salvation, Jesus, we can converse with the Lord God as with a friend. He proves His friendship by His one act of mercy and grace: The greatest thing a friend can do for his friends is to sacrifice his life for them- this is exactly what Jesus did on the cross in history. A friend also communicates. Jesus taught us and continues to teach us whatever He heard or hears from the Father. He proves to be our friend by being faithful to His words. He proves His friendship by meeting us at the point of our need. We can now relate to Him –may not be face to face but certainly verse by verse and prayer by prayer, promise by promise, hope by hope, mercy by mercy, grace by grace. We can prove our friendship with God by believing His Word. When we believe His Word, we validate it in and with our lives. We can prove our friendship with God by trusting Him for our future. We can prove our friendship by obeying all that He commands us to do. The Lord has created our universe so that at any point in time, mankind knew certain facts and had certain “givens” but He always holds a margin in His hands that is secret, unknown. Believing Him for that margin is obedience that makes Him befriend us. Disbelieving Him for that margin is disobedience for when we disbelieve Him or His word, we are actually declaring Him untrustworthy or a liar. Another precept that Jesus taught is that friendship or intimacy with the world is hostility towards God. We have a clear but difficult choice to make at the best of times: to follow the ways of an invisible and eternal God or to follow the ways of the present, visible and temporal world. When we choose the ways of the world, we become unrighteous or ungodly by imputation. We become opponents to God Himself. No wonder Jesus said, “It is better to suffer an amputation” rather than the latter predicament! Listen to “ I Am a Friend of God” song Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The One Habit that transforms us

UV 368/10,000 The One Habit that transforms us Colossians 3 v 16 Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. The riches of God’s wisdom resides in His Word, Jesus Christ. The teachings of Christ are the fountainhead of His wisdom and grace. The source of a large river like Jordan are three smaller springs. Similarly, the Word of Christ is the wellspring of joy, wellbeing, wisdom and glory that lies deep inside our hearts. The word “ dwell” implies to remain in one place or under the same roof lifelong or for a substantial part of life. It means that we need to focus on knowing, understanding and applying the Word of God. When Christ presides over our lives as King of Kings, His Word resides in us giving us access to all wisdom. Solomon soon after he was anointed and crowned as king asked for an understanding heart to know how to judge his people. He was specifically given a wise and understanding heart specifically for the purpose of ruling his people. But, we are given through the Word of Christ all wisdom- wisdom in our thoughts, emotions, desires, wisdom to discern, wisdom to apply, wisdom to number our days, wisdom to make a difference, wisdom in our decisions, actions and reactions. We are also given grace or divine strength to apply, to obey, to change, to put into practice. The Word of Christ is a good root. In our garden we have an ancient teak tree’s massive root on display. The branches of the root over a hundred years had, invisible to the human eye, spread out massively in different directions to be able to hold the big and growing tree in place through many storms. Today, the tree has gone, the root remains. Similarly, the Word takes root invisibly in our hearts and has several powerful underground branches like understanding, knowledge, practical application, insight, appreciation, uncommon sense, faith promises, precepts.. The underground root system holds up visible branches of teaching, admonition, praise and worship. The inflow will lead to the outflow. The inflow of the Word will lead to the visible or audible outflow of conversation or communication laced with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. As we teach it, we will be taught and admonished as it is a double-edged sword cutting both the hearer and the speaker. As we sing, we will be admonished about where we are falling short by the Holy Spirit. If we store it in our heads, it will not affect our lives. It will only be so much theological knowledge. As my mentor used to say, the shortest journey of transferring it from our memories to our hearts( less than a foot ) is the longest, most difficult and also most impactful. “Singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” implies that it needs divine enablement to have a heart of constant worship. I have been a musically challenged person, able to enjoy soulful music but not able to sing or replicate it. But, when I wrote the “ Great I Am” long song under inspiration, the Lord confirmed with this uni-verse that it was divine enablement that produced the lyric of the song. I had one objective in mind to make it longer than the longest Psalm 119 and to make it as comprehensive a praise song as possible giving expression to all that the Lord is and does and will do in our lives. Today, praise God the long song reaches thousands of people every day on the net. The music or song is only the medium of the galloping horse, the Word is the rider. The music exists for the Word and not the other way around. Prateep V Philip