Thursday, May 31, 2012

The faith muscular system

UV 422/10,000 The faith muscular system Isaiah 41 v 20 Isa 41:20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it The claims of Jesus Christ are evidence based. Therefore, in every generation believers who saw, knew, considered and understood have been and continue to be His witnesses. Our faith is experience based as we see the move of the Lord in our lives in a variety of situations and ways. Our life is value based and our leadership, principle-centred. As a young believer, I was told that faith is like a muscle. But, just the other day, the Lord told me that our faith is like a muscular system, a connected collection of different sets of muscles to hold and move different parts of the Body of Christ. Our heart-faith is the simple child like faith that leads to salvation. Our mind-faith is the faith that transforms our thoughts, emotions and decisions. The faith muscles of our eye enables us to see the vision that the Lord has for the world, for the church and for ourselves. They enable us to see and understand what the human eye cannot see. The hand muscles enable our work to be blessed and the fruits thereof multiplied. Our faith muscles of the leg blesses our journeys and the places we go to. Our faith muscles of the mouth blesses our pronouncements. We call into being that which is not as if it is. Our ear muscles blesses our hearing. Our faith muscles of the tongue enable us to taste the good things that the Lord sends our way and to praise Him. The faith muscles of our face enable us to smile through difficult situations. But, we should see, know, consider and understand that through it all it is the hand of the Lord had done what He had decided and fulfilled the purpose He has for creating us. On our part, we need to exercise every part of our faith-muscles. That is why Paul writes,”Physical exercise is of some value but spiritual exercise is of far greater value.” If we do not exercise a particular muscle, it will atrophy and will not function well. For a whole year when I was in a desk job, I found that the muscles connecting my upper legs and lower were paining. The orthopaedician said that for want of exercise, they had shrunk and he suggested a series of stretching exercises to make them longer and supple. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Absolute Power of God

UV 420/10,000 Psalms 66 v 7 The absolute power of God Psa 66:7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. The Lord rules human history with His unseen hand. The rise and fall of civilizations are determined by him. Once in a time of prayer, He asked, “ who is the most powerful person on the earth? Is it not the President of the USA. Am I not more powerful than him?” His eyes survey every nation and He sifts and sorts both individuals and families as well as nations. The power of the US President is highly limited by constitutional checks and balances and confined to a four year term but the Lord’s power does not know either geographical or time limits. There is no one like Him, none like Him in all the earth or the universe. He is greater, stronger and higher than any other. His power is awesome and unlimited. When we stand in the gap and pray for different nations, the Lord in His sovereign power intervenes in that nation, touches lives and wins many souls. He will also deal with the proud and rebellious. His judgements are swift, certain and just. Nebuchadnazzer the mighty king acknowledged the awesome power of the God of Daniel. The power of God is not a mere philosophical postulate but a real- time phenomenon as the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh and his army discovered as they drowned in the Red Sea while pursuing the hapless Israelites. Yesterday, the Lord revealed to me that the Israelites being freed from Egyptian rule was the first non violent freedom movement in history that He himself led. Our lives too must manifest the power of God. People should see the events of our lives and acknowledge that it is the supernatural power of God that sustains us. Recently, a senior officer in Government called me and asked me about my career. He acknowledged that it was the supernatural power of God that sustained me. The odds against us might often be huge but it is all insignificant when confronted with the power of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Shepherd after God's heart

UV 419/10,000 Jeremiah 3 v 15 Shepherds after God’s heart Jer 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. The word, “ pastor” comes from “ shepherd” or the one who takes the sheep to the pasture to feed. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd but in every generation He has anointed shepherds over his flock who imbued with knowledge and understanding fed the flock from the Word of God. All of the pastors start off as sheep or as believers but are groomed by Lord over a period of time to become transformed into being shepherds. A shepherd must be moulded after God’s own heart, loving, caring, considerate and humble. From the Lord’s perspective, feeding the sheep or believers with the Word of God is the equivalent of leadership. A shepherd must be devoted to the well being of the last person in his flock like the shepherd who went looking for the lost sheep. A shepherd who is a hireling is more interested in the profit or the lucre that the sheep will bring in. Such a hireling is only interested in shearing the sheep of their earnings and not in defending or providing or feeding them. In contrast, a true shepherd or pastor is not interested in self aggrandisement or self glorification but in reflecting the love of the very heart of God. A shepherd needs two gifts : the Word of knowledge and the word of wisdom. He must know the apt portion of scripture to share at the needed time. He must also have the sensitivity to people’s needs and be able to give wise counsel. A knowledge of the Word accompanied by a deep understanding of people will enable a shepherd or pastor to be effective. The Lord promises to give such faithful pastors who would lead or feed the sheep. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Leaven that keeps us from Heaven

Uv 418/10,000 Exodus 13 v 3 The Leaven that keeps us from Heaven Exo 13:3 "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten" Egypt in today’s parlance is a metaphor or a symbol of bondage. The Lord has called us out of spiritual bondage to the powers of darkness into spiritual freedom. He has freed us from the house of bondage so that we will return to the Father’s house. We are freed by the might and the mercy of the Lord. The Lord asks us to remember the day of our personal “Passover” when we first received Him into our hearts, the day when we received eternal life and the right to call Him Appa, the day we came into our divine inheritance. It is to be celebrated as our spiritual birthday. I was asked by the friend who led me to Christ to write the date of my re-birth 31-7-1979 right next to the invitation verse Revelation 3 v 20 as a constant reminder of that day, my decision and my entry into the Lord’s house of freedom. The Israelites were asked not to eat any bread with yeast or leaven in it to mark their freedom from bondage. A little leaven can keep us from heaven. Leaven or yeast is a symbol for anything that deceives us, that makes us puffed up like bread that has yeast in the dough. The yeast adds no real nutritional value to the bread. Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. It meant the outward observance of the Word of God without truly honouring or loving God. Their love of their power and of the world made them puffed up like bread with yeast. We must therefore avoid all such hypocrisy in our daily lives where we have an outward show of faith without the inner devotion and power. We must not just mouth the right born again language and do the right things in the public eye while doing as it pleases us in the private. The house of bondage is also a symbol or metaphor for outward religious rules and practices that makes us feel good and self righteous. Our relationship with the Lord must be sincere and true at all times, when we are with other people and when we are on our own. The word,’ sincere’ comes from the root words that mean “ without wax”. We must be authentic, without wax and without masks in the presence of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Honour for Honour

UV 417/10,000 I Samuel 2 v 30 Honour for honour 1Sa 2:30 " Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed" We are blessed when we live with faith in the Lord Jesus. We are doubly blessed from generation to generation when the previous generation as well as the successive generation live in faith. As mortal human beings,we can only think in terms of three generations: as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob constituted a bloodline of faith. The Lord sees our generations forever. The successive generations are in the hands of the Lord. We honour the Lord when we speak to one another in psalms and quoting scripture and by teaching our children from His Word. Our homes would be blessed and protected. We need to honour the Lord in different ways when we live in faith. We honour His name and He promises to set us on high and satisfy us with long life. We honour the Lord with our praises and godly conversation. But, we cannot honour the Lord just with our lips. He will distance Himself from us as He sees that we do not love and honour Him in and with our hearts. We honour the Lord by giving from the firstfruits of our substance. We honour the Lord by keeping His commandments. We honour the Lord by revering His Word as truth and obeying it. We honour the Lord by keeping the Sabbath and being faithful in sticking to our commitment to have a daily quiet time. We honour the Lord by not denying Him in our workplace. We honour Him both by our silent witness, our open confession of our faith and by sharing our testimony of His grace and mercy in our lives. We honour the Lord in good times and bad times, when we give Him glory and thanksgiving for our victories, opportunities and blessings and at the same time, do not complain or murmur or grumble when things seem to be going the other way. We honour the Father when we honour the Son and hold the teachings of Jesus precious. We honour the Lord when we are sensitive and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and do not grieve Him. We honour the Lord with our time and He will add hours to our days and years to our life. One of the lessons I learnt quite early in my life and career is that the Lord is no man’s debtor. When I honoured the Lord by giving Queen Elizabeth II a Bible with a word of blessing written on the front page, He honoured me with a Queen’s Award within five years. When I honoured the Lord as a student, He blessed me with a top rank in the state. When I honoured the Lord for every blessing He sent me, He opened new doors and opportunities. When I honoured the Lord in the downtimes in my career and life patiently without complaining, He gave me promotions due to me in due time. As I honoured the Lord for the increase in my substance, He has blessed me even more. As I honoured the Lord by teaching our children about His faithfulness, He has kept them safe and secure in situations where I could have done nothing to help them. At the same time, the converse is also true that the Lord will despise those who dishonour Him. The judgement is swift and certain. Take the case of John Lennon- he boasted that he was more popular than Jesus and a manic killer shoots him to death for no obvious reason. When we ignore the Lord, He will be happy to leave us to our ignorance. When we become arrogant in our ignorance, we will pay for our arrogance. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 25, 2012

Alpha and Omega, First and Last

Rev 1:11 " Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. " All our beginnings and endings are in the Lord as He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and ending of this day and all the events of this day are in His hands. The beginning and ending of our lives, our careers, our children, our families, our hopes and dreams, our thoughts, words and deeds, our plans are all overseen, underwritten and guaranteed by Him. From first to last, He is with us. Why should we get stressed out with what happens in between? Why should we loose hope? Why should we get depressed or angry? Why should we become anxious or worried about the future? He is the all knowing and all encompassing One. He encircles us completely with His love. He surrounds us with His awesome power. He fulfills our every need. There is no perfect parent on earth but the Lord alone is the perfect Parent. Once our vision of God, the unseen and unsearchable One is in place, everything else in life will fall in its due place. There is no need to struggle as psychologists put it for self actualization or self fulfillment as He fulfills us and completes our understanding, our personality and our purpose. It gives us assurance, a sense of certainty and a sense of control. That is why I say that the locus of control lies within a man and not without. We need to consider the vision of God and write it down as it is so vital and important for the transformation of our lives. We need to reflect on the question- in what ways has the Lord been the Alpha and Omega of our lives in practical and real ways in the recent and distant past? In what ways do we expect Him to continue to be the Alpha and Omega of our future? We must not keep the vision of who God is with ourselves. We must communicate it along with our testimony of its fulfillment in our lives to the rest of the church. There are different levels of maturity that believers in the body of Christ are at. Out of the seven churches mentioned in this UV, only two had qualities that were commendable and no failing. The vision of who God really is will enable the different types of believers to grow in maturity. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The secret of blessedness

UV 415/10,000 The secret of blessedness Zep 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. Those who think they are the mighty of the earth, do not seek the Lord as they feel they are self-sufficient and self-reliant. Their pride and wickedness keep them from seeking the Lord or His mercy. They do not realize that regardless of their exalted position or power the Lord in His righteous judgement can crush them as a man would crush an ant under his heel. It is only the meek or humble who seek the Lord. We must first seek His mercy since the best of us cannot match His absolute standards of holiness and goodness. Thereafter, we must seek to be righteous like Him by His grace or divine enablement. Then,we must seek to further humble ourselves as the Lord teaches us new things. When we do this, we will find the Lord’s favour or blessing and we will be saved or hidden from His anger and judgement. We should not seek to be rich or famous or glamourous for there is a deep sorrow or curse hidden in each of these : instead, seek to be blessed. Led by the Holy Spirit I recently composed the following poem or song to express the secret of blessedness. Blessed is my heart as I believed Jesus, Blessed is my head as I thought His thoughts,\ Blessed is my mind as I understand His Word, Blessed are my limbs as I walk with Him. Blessed are my lips as I praise the Lord, Blessed are my hands as I work for Him, Blessed are my feelings as I feel for Him, Blessed are my memories as I remember His deeds Blessed are my decisions as I acknowledge the Lord, Blessed are my words as I try to please Him, Blessed are my hopes as I trust in Him, Blessed are my motives as I move in Him. Blessed are my people as I pray for them Blessed is my home as I worship Him Blessed is my profession as I confess Him Blessed is my life as I obey Him. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Being a Shepherd

UV 414/10,000 Isaiah 44 v 28 Being a shepherd Isa 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid Cyrus, the king was declared by God to be His shepherd. Cyrus though he was not born a Jew and he did not traditionally believe Jehovah was declared to be a shepherd. The Word says that “ the Lord stirred up the spirit of the king Cyrus “ to declare the mission to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. A shepherd in the Lord’s eyes is the one who feeds His sheep. He is the one who performs all that pleases the Lord. Once in a time of prophetic prayer, I was disappointed to hear that my name was not yet written in the “book of the Shepherd.” The Book of Revelations speaks of the books in plural that the Lord opens: one book is the book of the Living in which the names of all those who believe in Jesus is written. The second book is the Book of the Shepherd. After I started this daily meditation series – the Uni-verse, the Lord confirmed that I am now included among the shepherds of God. We need to find out what pleases the Lord and do it daily. It pleases Him that we spend time at His feet in our daily quiet times. It pleases Him that we dwell on and in the Word of God. It pleases Him that we live righteous lives. It pleases Him that we do not seek revenge and we forgive those who harm us. It pleases Him that we bear witness to His love and mercy. It pleases Him that we teach others to live in fellowship with Him. It pleases Him that we give for the needs of the saints. It pleases Him that we do all we can to build the Kingdom of God. It pleases Him when we pray to the Lord to stir up the spirit of kings and authorities all over the world to show favour to Israel, Jerusalem and the building of the church or the kingdom of God. One of the ways we minister is to declare in faith that Israel be redeemed, that the children of God be built up and established as the temple of God. Re-birth by faith as well as spiritual growth are both goals that the Lord sets before all mankind. Recently, the Lord affirmed that He was pleased with my faith as He said to me, “ your body is my church of prayer.” When a person is lead into the faith, we must ensure by patient labour that firm and strong foundations are laid. The Word of God, prayer, fellowship and witness are the four pillars that hold up the foundation. On that strong foundation, we need to build up with a life that is marked by good deeds, noble thoughts, pleasant words and kindness. The superstructure can be built with hay and stubble or with gold,silver and precious stones. The choice is ours depending on how sensitive we are to the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Focus on the Locus

UV 412/10,000 Focus enables postponement of desires and accomplishment of goals. Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Faith is the bridge that connects the visible with the invisible, the present with the future, uncertainty with certainty and life on earth and life eternal. The cross of Calvary is the eternal bridge that connects all things, God with man, an individual with the church, an individual believer with the heritage promised to Abraham, the present day with the past and the future. Jesus by laying down His eternal and absolutely holy or righteous life as a sacrifice upon the Cross is the One who commenced writing the story of faith in our lives. He focused His life by rejecting the idea of being put to shame on the cross as a sentenced convict and instead focused on the joy of being at the right hand of God for eternity. Emotional intelligence is often defined as the ability to postpone a desire to fulfill a greater good. In this context, a faith focus enhances spiritual intelligence or the ability to give up an earthly good for a greater eternal purpose. Jesus is both the Word and the Author. An author is one who is an authority on a particular subject or the creator of a particular story. Jesus is the authority on matters of faith and the spiritual world. He introduces us to the Father and He introduces the Father to us. We are enabled to have a personal relationship with Almighty God through the person of Jesus. In this sense, He is the Alpha of our lives, the beginning of a life of faith. Our faith at the best of times is not complete or perfect. There are gaps in our faith that Jesus will fill as a dentist fill the gaps between our gum and the teeth. Jesus does not just start things in our lives. He is also the Finisher, the one who completes the good work He has begun in us. He not only wrote the script for our lives but also sent us the Holy Spirit to interpret and live it out. He will provide us the strength and the wherewithal to do so. In this sense, He is the Omega. He is the same yesterday, today and for evermore. He does not change the goal posts or the goals. We can rely on the consistency and faithfulness of Christ. We need to focus on Jesus. He is the locus of our lives, the center point from which we branch out to do our daily acts of living and our livelihood. When we focus on Jesus, we will be enabled to postpone our earthly desires, reorder our priorities, take correct decisions, work to plans, execute the plan of God in our lives and accomplish the purpose of our existence. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bondage breaker and Burden lifter

UV 412/10,000 Exodus 6 v 6 Deliverance from burdens and bondage Exo 6:6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: Our bonding with the Lord as His children and as the children of Israel by adoption enables us to be delivered by Him of all our worrisome burdens and our wearisome bondage. A burden is a load that is acting on our minds at the present moment while a bondage is a long standing issue. The Lord does not just promise to lighten our loads but promises to rid us of our bondage. The three persons of the Trinity affirm ,” I am the Lord” implying that the lordship and sovereignty of God is challenged when we are in bondage and under burdens. The purpose of God is also sought to be defeated by bondage and burdens. A bondage is imposed on us from outside by a greater power. A burden is a problem we create for ourselves. We cannot worship the Lord with freedom and in the spirit of truth and holiness when we are reeling with suffering from bondage and burdens. We cannot fulfill our potential when we are struggling under such a yoke. The bondage can be due to an external or internal factor. Egypt is a symbol of our bondage to the world’s belief systems. On account of this kind of bondage, we perceive ourselves not as autonomous persons capable of making our own decisions or as free and beloved children of the Almighty God but as slaves of something or someone bigger and more powerful than ourselves. We become bond-servants of limiting beliefs and habits. Our bondage leads to unbearable burdens of guilt, fear and hopelessness being imposed upon us. Our bondage leaves traces of its pervasive cultural and psychic influence on our minds. The Lord is compassionate. He sees both the persecutor and the persecuted. He judges the oppressor and delivers the oppressed. The Lord promises to deliver us from all such bondage. He delivers us with an outstretched arm, implying by direct intervention in our lives. The word “outstretched” is used to signify that the Lord will use all His power if needed and spare no efforts to cause our complete deliverance. He also delivers us with judgements or by the Holy Spirit convicting us of areas we need to change by laying the relevant scripture on our minds. All the righteous judgements of God are contained in the Word. The Israelites sought their freedom from the bondage of Pharaoh so that they can go into the desert and worship God. That was the first step they took to lead them into the land of milk and honey. We are freed so that we can worship Him both in the desert experience and in the land of milk and honey. The milk is a metaphor for the Word of God while honey is a metaphor for the sweet promises of God that strengthen us for our present challenges and prepare us for eternal life. Even when we find ourselves in a desert experience, we dwell in the land of milk and honey as long as the Word is with us and in us. Prateep V Philip

Return on investment

UV 411/10,000 Isaiah 55 v 11 Return on Investment Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it The word that comes from the mouth of God since it comes from the eternal, absolute and true Being , it is not limited in time and space. Even if it is originally spoken in a particular time and context, say to Joshua, (“ I will be with you even as I was with Moses” ) or to Peter, ( “this is the Rock on which I will build my church), it applies equally to each of us. The Word is a living word- it is alive, active and energetic at the present moment as when it was first spoken or written. It is not empty or meaningless or vain like most of the words that we are used to speaking in our daily conversations. It will fulfill the purpose of God in our lives. It will not return void or it will not fail in fulfilling the will of God. Even a country’s most revered law –its constitution is subject to frequent changes but the Word of God is immutable for it does not change with time. The Lord is consistent and faithful to His Word. It is ancient in origin but up to date in its relevance, utility and validity. The Word of God accomplishes the purpose of God in our lives. It is like an arrow that we load on the bow of our faith to hit the target that the Lord sets for us. We need to believe that the Word is truly from the Lord, that it is eternal, infallible and complete for all our needs. There will be a definite return on the time we invest in studying and applying the Word of God. A sense of diligence, delight and patience are called for in order to experience the wonders that are hidden in the Word. It pleases God when we take delight in His Word for it is a mark of our faithfulness. The riches of God’s grace, love and mercy are unsearchable on the Internet’s search engines or in our books of wisdom, knowledge and learning but can be found only in His Word. The Word will prosper in the thing to which the Lord sends it- this implies that the Lord speaks a specific portion of scripture or a “rhema “ word into the specific situation in which we find ourselves. The word , ‘prosper’ implies that the action of the Word is a progressive process. As the problem or challenging situation develops, the solution that is promised or assured by God in His Word will also develop. He will bring it into fruition. The action of fulfilling the Word is triggered by the hand of the Lord who acts in response to our prayerful, faithful application of the Word in different specific areas of our lives. This is the reason why I hold that even one verse from the mouth of God or uni-verse is better than all that is written in all the books of knowledge and wisdom of mankind through the ages. If we want our lives to be accomplished and prosperous and not void or vain, we must be virtually obsessed with the Word from the mouth of God. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Walls that surround us

UV 410-10,000 Isaiah 49 v 16 The walls that surround us Isa 49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me We sometimes hurriedly write on our palms certain names and their particulars so that we will not forget it. It gets erased in a short time. When we completed our training, our trainer got our names inscribed on brass plates on the fort wall through which we marched out. Similarly, the Lord has not just written but engraved with His own blood our names on His palms. A mother would find it difficult to forget the child she bears. But, even a mother might forget her children at times but the Lord remembers us at all times. He relishes the moments we spend with Him. He keeps an account of the tasks we attempt for Him. He will reward and compensate us at due time in His own inimitable way. Walls are a symbol of security. The presence of the Lord is like walls around us. The Lord raises up His divine protection around us like walls that surround us. He raises up a strong fencing around us as we depend on Him. His love too surrounds us like walls. His eyes are also upon the walls of our homes on a continual basis. When we continually pray and praise God, the walls of the presence of the Lord will keep growing in height and strength around us. He also closes up some walls or blocks our way so that we do not take that path. Walls can also be an obstruction or obstacle in our progress. The Lord also sees the walls that the enemy builds to block our progress. He will open a door through these walls of opposition and resistance. Unlike the walls of our homes, the walls of the Lord ‘s love and protection move with us. His walls keeps out what should be kept out and keeps in what should be kept in. These are not walls to constrain us or to bind us but walls to give us freedom. We must always turn to these walls of the Lord’s presence often to pray. When we stop having fellowship with the Lord, when we stop praying and imbibing the Word, when we stop having fellowship with other believers, the walls begin to crumble and develop cracks and holes. The Lord also builds each of us to be a bronzen wall in our nations for the building of His Kingdom, to establish His reign and rule in the hearts of mankind, to afford protection to the weak and needy. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 18, 2012

Prisoners of Hope

UV 409/10,000 Prisoners of Hope Zechariah 9 v 12 Zec 9:12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee Our stronghold is the Lord Himself. Right through the day and through our lives, we must keep turning or returning to Him to renew our hope, to strengthen our faith, to reinforce our commitment and to reaffirm our personal relationship with Him. Our hope is in the Lord and His promises to us. Without hope, we become like dried bones. Without hope we are effectively reduced to a skeletal existence- existing but barely existing. But, Christ in us is the hope of the glory that is yet to be revealed to our physical eyes but are visible to our eye of faith. That hope gives us newness and fullness of life as well as joy and strength in the present moment to endure some momentary trials and troubles for His sake as His prisoners. Remembering the various manifestations of grace and mercy of the Lord in our lives when we were as constrained as prisoners of the world gives us further hope and confidence in the Lord as our Redeemer. A prisoner moves from one day to another in the hope that he would one day be released. Even the one on death row holds the hope against hope that he might receive clemency, that he might be pardoned and set free. Similarly, though we are imprisoned in our earthly bodies and caught in the systems of the world, we live with hope that the Lord, who has promised to release us from all our captivities, will set us free. The words in the Uni-verse “ even today” emphasizes that the Lord is acting in our lives to sustain and enhance our hope and faith in the present moment, the hour of need at the point of need and not just in some distant or remote future after our earthly sojourns. I recall during a visit to the Central jail telling the prisoners that every one including those who were outside prison were also prisoners of a different kind. Many of our past sins, fears, guilt and worries take control of our minds and become strongholds in their own right. It is the Word of God that breaks these powerful sources of conditioning and brings about transformation in our perspectives, priorities, choices and habits. A prisoner is set free, only to find that when he is out of jail, he is confronted by the harsh realities of the world. He is homeless, friendless and he is shunned by even his kith and kin. He is not sure what he needs to do to pick up the broken threads of his life. Inside prison he at least knew what awaited him each day. But, the Lord promises that he will render double portion of blessing compared to yesteryears. Instead of shame and confusion, we will have clarity of vision, honour and redoubled strength, everlasting joy and a double portion of anointing. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Lord provides a messenger

UV 408/10,000 He sends a messenger before us Mar 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee When we went to China a couple of years ago as a family, we had no acquaintance with anybody there. But, a chance call enabled me to realize that a pastor friend of mine had gone with family a little ahead of us on exactly the same route, visiting the very same cities. The Lord who knew of our plans had sent a messenger ahead of us to prepare the way. Once we landed in China we knew how literally, he prepared the way for the taxi driver did not understand a word of English nor did any one in the hotel. The pastor arranged a contact of his who showed us the way around and translated for us. We may make our plans but the Lord knowing our plans sends his messenger ahead of us to prepare the way. He could send his angelic host ahead of us to remove spiritual obstacles and dangers. He could also send a human representative to help us in the most unexpected places. He will subtly but surely bring about the right set of circumstances to enable us to fulfill our purpose. Abraham’s servant prayed for ‘ good speed’ as he sought to fulfill his master ‘s wish to find a wife for his only son Isaac out of his own people. The Lord had provided Abraham a faithful servant as his messenger and gave him a sign that he should look for to confirm who should be taken back as wife for Isaac. The sign was that the woman who offered him and his camels drink from her pitcher after she had drawn water from a well would be the favoured one. It was another of the Lord’s well-arranged coincidences- a woman who is grand daughter of Nahor, a brother of Abraham comes to the well at the time of Abraham’s servant’s arrival there. Rebekah’s kindness to Abraham’s servant is on account of the Lord’s favour upon Abraham. As the Lord prospered the servant’s journey, He will prosper our journey. The world might shoot the messenger but the Lord provides the messenger. The important aspect of this precept is that we need to commit our ways to the Lord. We need to commit the success of our mission, our work and the fulfillment of our journey’s into His competent and caring hands. The mission might be related to our work or profession or it might be about finding a suitable mate for our grown up children or it might be a goal that we have set for ourselves. We need not wring our fingers and ask in despair, “ Who will help us?” Once we have committed like Abraham and his faithful servant our mission into the Lord’s hands, He will send apt help at due time. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God against heavy odds

UV 407/10,000 God against heavy odds 2 Chronicles 20 v 12 2Ch 20:12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee Sometimes the odds against us is so heavy. We are faced with a mighty opposition, an array of forces out to thwart us. At such times, we must understand that we cannot fight relying on our own strength. We may be at a loss what exactly to do. But, when we focus our eyes on Jesus, He will give us deliverance. Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah was at a loss what to do against the formidable forces of the Ammonites and the Moabites. But, he humbled himself and sought the Lord. He acknowledged Him as being much mightier than his earthly adversaries. He recalled the testimony of how the Lord had delivered the Israelites from many adversaries and gave them the land. He remembered how the Lord had delivered them from the sword, judgement, famine and pestilence. They fasted, prayed and sought the Lord’s help. Then, the Lord heard and gave a word of prophecy through a Levite, “ the battle is not yours but the Lord’s.” The Jesus we know is the mild and meek person who would not harm an insect. But, in the book of Revelation, John wrote of the vision of Jesus as the Commander in Chief of the armies of heaven. His eyes are like a flame. His tongue, a fiery sword. He is seated on a white horse followed by the army of risen saints dressed in white and clean linen. He has the title, King of kings and Lord of Lords. He is dressed in a robe that is dipped in blood and on it is written the words, “ The Word of God.” Indeed, greater is He than they that are against us. We need to focus our eyes on this vision of Jesus who rose from the dead to judge death itself. He will not condemn us to misery or failure or bondage or defeat. We have victory by the blood of Jesus, the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit and the word of testimony and prophecy. The first washes us clean, the second equips us, the third sanctifies, empowers and guides us and the fourth encourages and exhorts us. When we face mighty obstacles, we must magnify God and minimize our troubles. As my mentor used to say, “ If you have a small god, you have big problems. If you have a big God, you have small problems.” Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weapon Training

UV 406/10,000 Protection from every weapon and every tongue Isaiah 54 v 17 Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. This uni-verse includes the human tongue as a weapon in the arsenal against us. It is a promise that the Lord who knows how every weapon , whether man-made or biological referred to in the previous verse as “ waster”, is formed will keep that weapon from overcoming us. No tongue that is raised against us in accusation or unfair judgement can stand. The Lord will put the accuser to shame and those who conspire against us shall surely fail. He sees where and how each weapon originates. He also sees its trajectoru and He will direct that it will fall short of hitting, harming or hurting us. Alexander the conquering hero in a fit of rage threw a javelin and speared an old general to death. But, when Saul the infuriated king tried to do the same to the young and defenceless harp-playing David, the latter escaped. This promise of protection from every type of weapon, natural and supernatural, is a privilege or inheritance of the servants of the Lord. We need to be servants of the Lord to be entitled to such protection. We are deemed righteous by virtue of our faith in the Lord. Hence, when we are accused, it is as if the Lord Himself is accused. We should pray for God’s judgement upon false accusations. He promises to contend with those who contend against us. Our faith acts as a spiritual shield in 360 degrees to defend us from every type of burning arrow that the enemy of our souls fires at us: a barbed accusation, a new type of virus, a drunken motorist, an IED. Just as an inheritance has to be claimed before it can be enjoyed, we need to claim such protection as our heritage, our “born again” right as children of the Almighty, merciful, living and loving Father. To claim an inheritance, one has to prove he or she is a legal heir. The Holy Spirit certifies that we are indeed spiritual heirs of Christ,the first born. We should not wait till we are attacked with natural or supernatural weapons. Instead, we must pray proactively and build our defence against all types of weapons, accusations, slander, violence, diseases. A servant of God is not a weak doormat or push-over personality. Every servant of God is a soldier of God who wears the full array of the spiritual armour: the helmet of assurance, the shield of faith,the belt of truth, the sword of the Word, the shoes of readiness to proclaim and witness. It is only a poor or ill trained or careless soldier who will go to the battlefront with one of these elements in the array missing. Just as a rider of a two wheeler in today’s battlefield road traffic conditions who fails to wear a helmet is asking for trouble, a believer who does not actively use these elements daily is inviting the enemy to pierce a weapon through the chink in his or her armour. Our prayer life must be a constant reflection that all the elements are in use and not left to rust in a “Sunday showcase.” Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Truth that sets us free

UV 405/10,000 The Truth that sets us free John 8:32 Joh 8 v 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free The truth referred to in this uni-verse is the Truth or truth with a capital T. Truth is personified in Jesus. He said, “ I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me.” The Jews worshipped Jehovah the Father with fear and awe. But, Jesus set us free from the spirit of fear in our relationship with God and gave us the spirit of kinship with the Father that we are free to call Him, “ Abba Father.” This is the first and most important freedom that we gain through our faith in Christ- a personal and most intimate relationship with our loving Father who breathed our souls into our lives. He now will breathe life back into our souls. We experience true freedom. It is said, knowledge is power but wisdom is liberty. When we know Christ as our personal redeemer, we become wise and free indeed. The truth also sets us free from the law of sin and death. We are given eternal life from the moment we know Christ. We are freed from the power of sin, that is death though we are not freed from the presence of sin as long as we live on this planet. We ae freed from the penalty of sin. We are freed from the fear of death that haunts every mortal being. We are freed from the fear of failure, the fear of curses and the fear of the future or the fear of the unknown. We are freed from the law of “ hamartia” or shortcoming in our being, thinking, feeling, doing and accomplishing. We are free to pursue perfection and to excel in spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, professional and physical terms. There is a poignant line in the movie, “ The Sound of Music,” “ Somewhere in my miserable past, I must have done something good.” We are set free from this feeling that every thing good or bad that happens in our lives is due to some good or evil done by us in the past. We are set free from this “karmic” captivity. We are set free from fatalism or the lack of a sense of control over our own lives. We realize that the Almighty and loving God is in absolute control of our lives. The third freedom we have in Christ is that we are freed by studying and applying the law of liberty that is the Word of God. The Word of God is the truth. It is the truth revealed , verse by verse, precept by precept that sets us free. We are freed from our anxieties and worries as the Lord feeds us from His Word. He assures us of provision, guidance and protection. The fourth freedom is the freedom that the indwelling Holy Spirit gives us by virtue of the joy, peace and leading He gives us from moment to moment. The Holy Spirit is called the spirit of liberty. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit we have the freedom of fellowship with the Trinity. The words, “ the truth shall make you free,” implies that the process of knowing the truth and being set free is a lifelong process. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The fruitful Root

UV 404/10,000 The fruitful root Rom 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. When we believe the word of God and receive Christ as His incarnated Word, we become grafted onto His holy root. We become the firstfruits of His harvest. Since the root , that is Christ is good, we by our faith in Him become the good branches. If the branches are truly connected with the holy root, then it will bear the fruits of the spirit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. We become holy or perfect as the Father by virtue of our faith in His perfect Son, our Root. The Word of God says that the “ leaves will be used as medicine and the fruits as food.” Our thoughts and words in the course of our lifetime are as numerous as the leaves of a tree. Our thoughts and words should be used to heal, to help, to encourage, to reflect God’s wisdom, to ease tensions, to deliver from pain, to bless. The fruits of a tree are relatively less numerous when compared with the leaves. The fruits are our godly actions. Our actions should nourish and strengthen people in their faith and lives. The fruits are also the contributions we make to the world in making it a better place in some small or big way. The child of God is compared to the olive tree as the olive tree endures for many hundreds of years. Its leaves symbolize peace. Its fruit, the olives are useful to be eaten as well as to extract oil. The Psalmist adds that our children will be like olive plants while the believing wife is like a fruitful vine. There are many wild and degenerate vines but Jesus is the true Vine. We need to live our lives conscious that we are grafted onto Him. We must not bear thorns and thistles or bramble that are fit only for the fire to consume. Such thorns and thistles are used to pierce and hurt people as it was used to pierce the holy brow of Jesus with a crown of thorns. We must therefore take care not to use our words to sting others or our actions to hurt others. Rather, our words should heal, build up the faith of others and our actions should point people to the love of God. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 11, 2012

Being strong is not an option

UV 403/10,000 Joshua 1 v 9 Being strong is not an option Jos 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Being strong and faithful is not an option that the Lord gives us- it is His commandment. The enemy uses fears and discouragement to shake us off the path of faith and eternal life. But, the commandment to be strong and courageous comes with the promise that the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go. The word ‘strength’ in this context does not refer to our natural abilities, our intellectual or emotional strength but it refers to our spiritual ability to endure difficulties for the Lord, our patience to wait for the fulfillment of His promises to us. The word ‘courage’ originates from the word, “ couer” or heart, the core of our being. We must be strengthened and hopeful in our inmost being. Joshua and the Israelites in their march to the land promised to them encountered natural barriers like the Jordan , man-made barriers like the wall of Jericho and several formidable foes like the Midianites and the Jebusites who opposed their advance. Faith is demonstrating hope when fear would have been justified and it is about advancing towards the goal even when giving up seemed a better option. Joshua relied on the presence of the Lord to underwrite their victory. The size of the enemy’s army or the military prowess of his opponents did not deter him. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us. He will fulfill the words of promise that He has spoken to us. Yesterday, I attended the funeral of Ryan, my cousin’s five year old son who died of injuries sustained in a road mishap last week. Even in this tragic hour, my cousin sang the song, “ Count your blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done..” He had suffered the worst possible test of a man to loose his beloved son. He had suffered the pain of our Father in loosing His son on the cross and yet he held on to his faith and testified to the Lord’s goodness. He exhorted everyone to be strong and faithful to the Lord and and not to be sorrowful. He was neither afraid nor disappointed or bitter with the Lord at the great loss the family had endured. He accepted the fact that the Lord has the right to pick the best flower from His garden at the time of His choosing. In good times, we must build up our faith. In times of adversity, we must utilize these reserves of strength. The Lord’s presence in us and with us is the source of our strength, power, courage, wisdom and grace. In difficult situations, He will enable us to fight with God-given strength. In impossible situations, He will give us courage to face it with grace, wisdom and serenity. Joshua overcame natural barriers, man-made barriers and supernatural barriers in fulfilling the will of God. We too by increasing our strength and enhancing our courage and discounting or denying our fears, regrets, worries and disappointments can overcome natural, man-made and supernatural challenges. The supernatural presence of our Lord is the source of our strength and courage. Our hearts and minds are the receptacles just as a pool of water at the bottom of a cliff receives water from the ever-flowing waterfall. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Joy of Eating the Word

UV 402/10,000 The Joy of Eating the Word of God Jeremiah 15 v 16 Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. We are surnamed after our Father. We are called after His name. He has also called us by our first names as a sign of our intimacy. As a father would provide nourishment for his children, our Father in heaven has provided nourishment in the form of words. Our task is to seek and find His words and to eat them. We need to value His word as more than necessary food. We should enjoy the taste of His Word more than choice morsels. It is like marrow and fatness to our soul. When we eat it we become fat- faithful, available and teachable. The alternative to eating the Word of God is contained in the English expression, “ eat your own words”- it is sickening, weakening and humiliating. Meditating on the Word of God is much like eating food. The moment it touches our tongue or our spirit of discernment, it will taste sweeter than honey. Then, we must savour it. We must bite it, chew it , break it into pieces, swallow it and digest it. It is honey in the mouth but become bitter in the stomach, meaning that the Word turns into a medicine and germicide to heal and deliver. It will provide us the unknown vitamin –Vitamin G that is vital for eternal life. Vitamin G is guidance, it is power, it is strength, it is endurance, it is character. It is wholesome,balanced and complete. Digesting the Word implies understanding its essence and turning it into essential principles for daily living. He teaches us by means of the Holy Spirit line by line, precept by precept and experience by experience. The Word will not only fill our mouths but will also fill our spiritual pockets as it gives us more to purchase from the heavenly counter. How much do we respect the words of people in position and authority in this finite world! How much more should we esteem and obey the words of the Lord of hosts, or the Lord of the armies of heaven, the camp of the angels, the King of Zion. When we study the Word of God, we can easily realize and recognize that these are not mere words of a human author. It is the sheer pleasure and delight of a doting Father in His children. These are the words of a loving and all-wise Creator who cares for every detail of our lives and provided for it in His Word. We call ourselves with the pronoun “ I” on account of the identity He has given us as His children. We can say “ I Am” as He is the “ Great I Am”. Therefore, we should respond with, “ I believe, I trust, I rejoice, I desire Your Word though I cannot see You. Your words and its divine inspiration is enough for me to believe and to celebrate life. Your Word is a precious software in my life, without it I grope hungry, thirsty and directionless in the darkness. Your Word lights up my little universe.” Over time, the Lord will prove Himself true and faithful to every word that He has spoken into our lives. The Lord says, “ Taste and do not waste. Test and do not rest.” He will rush to fulfill His promises, to keep His appointments with us, to take us to the desired destinations. Two days ago, the Lord revealed this specific uni-verse and said, “ I am delighted with you as you eat my Word and bring out its essence for many to enjoy.” Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Hiding Place

UV 401/10,000 God is our refuge Deuteronomy 33 v 27 Deu 33:27 The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. The eternal God is the One who is from beginning to end. He is with us from beginning to end of our lives. He is with us from beginning to end of our family life. He is with us from beginning to end of our work or professional life. His strong and everlasting arms uphold us. Yesterday, saw a child that was born recently lying peacefully , reclining in its mother’s arms. Similarly, we can trust our loving and caring Creator and Redeemer to hold us in His arms. The child knows or understands little about the parent and yet reposes complete trust. We are also to blindly trust the Eternal One. As an eagle attacks the chicks, the enemy attacks human beings in different ways at different times. Yesterday, I heard the sad news of a cousin’s young child lying in ICU,after having sustained a head injury in a bad car crash. That cousin had just recovered a few months back from a debilitating nervous disorder. As I finish writing this meditation I have received the sad news that little Ryan has passed away. The enemy attacks us with diverse strategies to destroy our faith. But, we should not wait for such events to seek the Lord and His protection. We must hide under His wings as the chicks hide under the mother hen’ s wings even as eagle attacks in our lives are imminent. With one hand He will hold us and with the other, He will push the enemy away. The words from His mouth ,” Destroy them” is like a sword of fire that destroys all threats to our spiritual, emotional and physical well being. The word “ them “ is used as the threat is not singular but plural, from many directions and in many forms but from one source, the enemy of our souls. My death encounters have taught me the unction of constantly remembering and honouring the presence of the Lord, of continually hiding in Him. He is truly my refuge at all times. I desire to pass on this anointing of praying and hiding in the Lord to many so that they are spared the sorrows of this world, so that they experience His complete protection and provision. We must practice continuously a deeper and more intense intimacy with the Lord. He must surround our thoughts, our relationships, our emotions, our hopes and dreams, our communication, our challenges and problems, our adversaries and circumstances. His arms are long enough to reach around us and all our fears and death threats. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 7, 2012

Greater works than Jesus

UV 400/10,000 Greater works than Jesus –John 14 v 12 Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. We believe Jesus is the Son of God who reveals the fullness of the Father in His own words and deeds. Jesus said , “ Believe in me either because of my words or my works.” No man that has ever lived has spoken greater truths in words or done greater deeds culminating in the greatest non verbal expression of love- the act of dying on the cross and resurrecting from the dead. Belief in Him is the driving force of our lives. Other great men would feel threatened if their followers did or claimed to do greater works than they themselves. But, the sense of security of Jesus and His knowledge of His position were so absolute that He made this tremendous promise to those who believed in Him and His words or His works that they will do greater works than Jesus Himself. What are the works He did? He called the dead back to life, He gave sight to the blind, He caused the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the dumb to talk, the sick to be healed, cast out demons. He also walked on water. He has promised that we as believers would be able to do these things and greater things than these. What are these greater works? It could be a surprise and an unique event in each of our testimonial lives. Jesus gives this power to us to do greater things so that we would be His representatives on earth. He gives this power as He has gone to the Father’s side. We enjoy a viceregal status in the Kingdom of God upon earth. We declare in faith and proclaim victory over sin, death, disease on His behalf and He causes it to happen. That is why Jesus said that the church is His “ better half.” Accordingly,the apostles did greater things : like people getting healed as their shadow fell upon them, people getting healed with their aprons and handkerchiefs. We should not shy from doing the works of Jesus and also expect to do greater things than even Jesus. We can’t do anything without Him. We can do all things with Him. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The joy of corrective suffering

UV 399/10,000 The joy of correction Job 5 v 17 Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: We should deem ourselves blessed when He checks our detours away from Him and His Word and puts us back on track. He has a right and a duty to so correct us even as a loving father corrects his child. Cain despised the chastening of the Lord as He pointed out that his motives and his actions were not right. Cain was not sensitive enough to realize this. Instead, he hardened his heart and went on to destroy himself. Our attitude towards the Lord’s correction should be that of a traveler who once lost in the desert rejoices on finding the path that leads to the oasis. Instead of despising or hating such correction even though it might be painful for a time, we must be thankful and welcome it. Till we see the solution or the breakthrough or the end of our trial, we must exhibit the attitude of Job in all his suffering- one of patient endurance and hope. The Lord assures us that once the lessons of that experience are learnt, He will bind our wounds and heal our pains. He will more than just restore us. Job was given twice of whatever he had or owned before his trial. We too can save the Lord a lot of trouble in finding ways to correct us by yielding to His spirit and accepting correction straightaway by studying the Word and obeying the instructions of the Lord in our daily lives. How do we recognize that the Lord’s hand is involved in an experience? If we emerge stronger and better from a painful experience and not sadder and bitter, it is a sign that the Lord has allowed us to go through that test for a purpose. Joseph never pitied himself or hated God for allowing him to go into captivity, the bondage of slavery and prison. He knew that the Lord had allowed it to fulfill the dream that he had given him while he was yet a child. Hence, even as we go through a painful chastisement, a visitation from the Lord, we must hold on to our hope, our dream and our trust that out of it all a greater good will come. Such a faith will come when we understand the true love of God. My own ordeal both by water and by fire purified my faith and removed a lot of the dross and the gloss. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wolf values versus Sheep values

UV 398/10,000 Sheep values versus Wolf values Mat 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. The believers in Christ are expected to have sheep values: obedience to the Shepherd, gentleness, faith, peace, grace, simplicity, meekness, kindness, love, mercy, joy, patience, goodness, humility, contentment and self control. But, the Lord warned them before sending them into the world that the people of the world espoused values of the wolf:ruthlessness, aggression, cunning, sharp intelligence, desire for personal gain, greed, complexity, cruelty, deceit, impatience, evil, pride, arrogance, untruthfulness, pleasure and self seeking ways. In order to cope with such opposing value systems, the Lord exhorts us to be wise as serpents even though we are harmless as doves. Or else we will become chicken feed for the wolves. We must not do anything that has even the appearance of evil- meaning, we should not wear the ,masks of deceit. To be wise as a serpent implies to know the devices and methods adopted by Satan and his agents in this world and to try to stay clear of these traps. To be gentle as a dove, means that even though we are aware of the evil lurking in the world, we will not be a party to it. We must be careful and resourceful. We must be wise in our words and in our decisions. Though we do not harm others, we must try to keep ourselves from being harmed. Our apparent innocence and trust should not make us gullible. We must not fall prey to guile. We must have the innocence of a child in our belief but not the innocence of a child in our understanding. We must have the understanding of an adult. We need to understand the nature of evil, the forms of evil and the extent of evil in the world. We must understand that we are living in a grossly imperfect world with topsy turvy standards. We must not be superficial in our judgement and understanding. Yet,we are to respond to the Lord’s call to try to be perfect. He gives us grace or enablement in every situation. Despite the heavy odds of a sheep against a wolf, we are guaranteed victory. When we are wise as a serpent,we will know our threats but we should not expose our vulnerabilities to the system. We will take effective counter measures to deal with the threats, like praying ahead of an imminent attack, storming heaven to overcome the powers of darkness manifest on earth. We wear the shield of faith to counter every type of fiery arrow or dart of misfortune that the enemy can throw against us. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Process of Perfection

UV396/10,000 The girdle of strength Psa 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. God has set before us the goal of perfection. Jesus said, “ Be perfect because your Father in heaven is perfect.” But, the Trinity knows that we are made of flesh and blood and are prone to the weaknesses of our human nature. We pursue the perfection of the Father, following the example and the way of Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and inspired by the Word of God. Hence, the Lord provides us with strength from within and grace from above to pursue perfection. We are not perfect but as long as we are on the path of faith, our way is perfect. As long as we pursue perfection, we will catch up with excellence. Perfection is our destination while excellence is our constant companion. As we walk on the path of perfection, faith is like a girdle that a person used to wear into which all the upper garments were tucked into. A girdle strengthens the mid-riff. Faith gives us a similar grip on life. Purpose, power, hope, meaning, values are all tucked into this girdle. Perfectionists in this world strive unceasingly for their notion of perfection and wear themselves and others out in a tantalizing process. But the path of perfection that we walk is like the process of metamorphosis of an egg into a butterfly. Two stages of stillness alternate with two stages of activity, namely the egg and the chrysalis with the caterpillar phase and the butterfly phase. Our every day must in some way reflect this process – we must lie still in the presence of the Lord for some time to just be with Him and reflect. We must listen to His voice speaking to us during these times. Then, we must be like the caterpillar crawling around – meaning working slowly and surely to fulfill the objectives we have been set. We must also be ravenous like the caterpillar in our appetite to consume the Word in order to grow. Finally, we will be like the butterfly,ready to fly away from the trappings of sin, death and suffering- a perfect creation. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Concern for Israel

UV 396/10,000 Isaiah 45 v 11 Concern for Israel Isa 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me The Lord as the Maker of Heaven and Earth is concerned about all creation. He is especially concerned about His children who are born out of faith in the promise through our predecessor in faith Abraham in former times and through His very Seed, Jesus Christ in latter times. It is amazing that in this uni-verse, the Lord almost sets aside His sovereignty and says, “ you can command me concerning the work of my hands.” It does not mean that we can presume to command the Almighty God but it means that the Lord has bound Himself by His promises to mankind. He is concerned about Israel. Israel at the macro level is the church, the body of believers in the promises of God. Israel at the micro level is you and me. He is concerned about our past, present and future. He is concerned about our thoughts, emotions and actions. He is concerned about our spirit, minds and bodies. He is intimately concerned about our well being. It is not just out of a sense of responsibility as the Creator but out of a sense of love and commitment as a lover, a true friend, a Father and an all knowing Master of the universe. As parents, we are concerned not only about the present well being of our children but we spare our thoughts, actions and prayers for their future. Our concern translates into words, plans and actions. It sets in motion things that will emerge in the future for the good of our children. The Lord says, “Ask of me concerning my children, of things to come.” It is the province or domain of man to know the things that are currently happening. But it is the exclusive domain of God to know the things that are to come. He revels or delights in revealing it in response to “asking.” The word ask means to request as well as to inquire. Daniel inquired of the Lord to reveal the secrets and mysteries of the dreams of kings. He asked with prayers, fasting and sackcloth. It implies that asking of the Lord means that we should prepare ourselves and arrange our inner being with humility and reverence, with faith and thanksgiving, with eager expectation and hope, with a sense of trust and surrender to the sovereign will of God. We need to inquire of the Lord to reveal secrets and mysteries concerning our workplaces or professions. We also need to ask for the fulfillment of our dreams and desires. We need to ask of the Lord about the future of the world, the nations, the nation of which we are a part, our families, our children. Asking means an attitude of faith and surrender, diligence in seeking and persistence in knocking on the door of Heaven. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Purpose of Good Works

UV 395/10,000 The purpose of good works Mathew 5 v 16 Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven The purpose of good works is not our personal salvation but to glorify God by substantiating in our goodness that we are His creation. Good works are not the root of salvation but the fruit. In the Old Testament, it is written that “ your good works are like dirty rags” before an absolutely holy God. Good works by itself are grossly insufficient to correct our lives with God or to justify ourselves. However good our works, we will still fall far short of His absolute standards of love and holiness. Good works are not intended to bring us a good name but in order that the Lord’s name be glorified on earth. It is not to earn brownie points with God or to impress people but to point people to God. It is a testimony to other people to trust in the goodness of God. It is an evidence that the faith tree that grows in us is a good tree and not an unfruitful or dead tree. When a person has sown, watered and nurtured a plant over the years and when it finally yields fruits, he or she rejoices over the fruit. Similarly, the Lord rejoices over the fruit of good works He sees in our lives. When we have the light of truth in us as against the deception of untruth, it cannot be held back or prevented from shining forth into the outer world. It is reflected in the fruit of the spirit which are basically character traits of the Father made manifest in us by the Holy Spirit. It is expressed through acts of charity and goodness towards people around us and particularly to the needy. We are expected to be zealous to do good works. When I was Superintendent of Police of a district I issued a direction to all police personnel working under me to do one act of service beyond the call of duty every day. There was a rich harvest of good deeds done all over the district. When I was transferred from the district, the district police gifted me with a beautiful rosewood picture of Jesus. Though I had not used words to express my faith, they realized that it was the love of Christ that inspired me. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Higher Rock

UV 394-10,000 The higher Rock Psalm 61 v 2 Psa 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Regardless of where we come from or from what financial, cultural or social background we come from, there are times when our minds are flooded with thoughts of anxiety. Our hearts are overwhelmed with emotions. These are the times when we cry out to the Lord in our helplessness and hopelessness. In such times, our faith is often weakened and we loose our focus. In such moments it is the Holy Spirit who leads us to take shelter in the Lord. The Rock is used as a metaphor for the Lord as He is unchanging, everlasting and competent to help and shield us in our every trouble. He leads us in such moments of affliction into His comforting and reassuring presence that is as strong, stable and secure as a rock. He calms our fears and restores perfect peace to our minds. The image that this uni-verse paints is that of a dove that hides from the storm of life in the crevice of a mighty rock. The winds and waters of the threatening storm cannot touch or reach the dove. It remains a mute spectator even as the rock shields it and the storm passes away. It is said that worry is worship offered to the wrong god. We must instead turn to the Rock that is Jesus and confide in Him our fears and anxieties. When we cry out to Him, He destroys these weapons of the enemy and keep it from hurting us in any way. His might, power and grace is made available to us. It is awesome that even as we cry out to the Lord, He is also attending to the prayers of billions of others like us who are overwhelmed by the issues in their own lives. None of these issues can shake or cause any trepidation in the Lord for His strength, His resources, His wisdom, His mercy, His love is higher beyond anything we can imagine. Prateep V Philip The Great I Am- a long song of worship and praise