Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Spirit of Resurrection

UV 450/10,000 Romans 8 v 11 The Spirit of Resurrection Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. The Spirit that lives in us is the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. This Uni-verse reveals the secret that it was the Holy Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead. The self-same Spirit of Resurrection dwells in us who believe, to quicken or revive our dormant spiritual being. As He dwells in us, our bodies and minds become the tabernacle of God. We will lead righteous lives and avail the promise in the Psalms thereby that we will hear the voice of rejoicing in the tabernacle of the righteous. Isn’t it an awesome fact that the same Spirit of Resurrection that did the impossible of bringing the dead and crucified Jesus back to life is at work in our bodies though we are not yet physically dead? Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb. The ministry of the Holy Spirit to Jesus was over in the act of resurrection but His work in us is life-long. He will do the impossible in our lives too of putting to death what needs to be put to death and bringing alive dead hopes. The same Holy Spirit brought back to life the dead womb of the barren and aged Sarah. The Holy Spirit will resurrect our marriages, our families, our careers, our ministry, our health, our dreams as we partner with Him. There were several barriers that were laid to the hope of Jesus coming back to life as He promised. All His blood was drained out to the last drop. A massive stone was placed at the mouth of the tomb that could be moved only by several soldiers together. A strong guard of armed Roman soldiers was placed before the tomb. All the sin of mankind and its consequence of death, past and prospective was laid against the person and name of Jesus by attribution. Nobody believed or gave Jesus a chance to make a come-back. But, the Holy Spirit broke through all these physical, natural and supernatural barriers. The Holy Spirit will similarly break all the barriers, bondages and obstacles in our lives in order to fulfill God’s purpose and will. He will revive, renew, restore and resurrect. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 29, 2012

The liberating Fear

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man The presence of God in us and with us magnetises us so that we attract what is good and repel what is evil just as a current of electricity magnetises an iron bar. The commandments of the Lord God, Creator of the Universe are the true law. The laws of man are but a mere shadow of it. The fear of God and the fact that we will one day be judged for every work of our life including every secret in our life, whether it be good or evil will guard us. The love of God and His commandments enshrined in His Word will goad us in the right direction. The fear of God is not a debilitating fear but an all pervasive liberating fear. It is the one fear that gives us freedom from all other fears. The love of God is the other side of the coin. True respect for a person is not reflected in fear on the outside and contempt or hatred from within but in love on the inside and obedience and reverence on the outside. Our personal relationship with God should manifest this kind of true respect. This uni-verse states unequivocally that this is the whole duty of man. There is no need for any other ritual or show of religiousity. It is of the essence of life. It is wholesome, life-sustaining and life-enhancing. The commandments of God gives us a framework within which we can act. It is like the frame of a beautiful painting. Without the frame, the painting however beautiful would not last too long and it cannot be mounted in a suitable way to reflect its beauty to people and the world at large. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sure to Cure

UV 448/10,000 Jeremiah 33 v 6 Sure to cure Jer 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth Joy, peace and truth are not an option but a necessity for a man to be healthy. The Lord promises to heal and cure not just our bodies but all areas of our lives and relationships that are sick or unhealthy. There is no panacea or cure-all but He is able to cure all things in His time. We need to perceive or behold this truth that God is the Lord of healing. He can command it to happen in an instant or cause it to happen over time in a progressive manner. Either way He is the One who cures and heals us of all our diseases and all that brings unease or lack of peace in our lives. It is through the revelation of truth that the Lord often brings healing and peace in our lives. The Lord speaks healing into our lives. His Word is sure to cure.The use of the word “will” and not “ may” or “ can” underlines the truth that it is a certainty and not a matter of doubt or speculation of ‘ Will He or won’t He?”. The healing is certain and the peace is abundant or overflowing. We cannot contain our peace but we will be compelled to share it with others. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Messengers of God

UV 447/10,000 The messenger of the Lord Mal 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts Today, those who are competent in information technology are called knowledge workers. But, the ultimate knowledge that affects us both immediately and for ever is the personal knowledge of the Lord of hosts. This knowledge imparts wisdom to us as we know what to do and when to do it. The Lord uses the lips of such as those who know Him personally to be His messengers. Every believer is a priest and a king in His kingdom. Every believer carries a message from the Lord to the church and the world at large. We cannot add anything to the message that the Lord gives. We are enjoined to preserve the message without distorting it. When we realize that we are messengers of the Lord, we will feel a great sense of responsibility. We carry the message of the Lord to the people and carry the burden of the people to the Lord. This was the role being performed by Moses. People should seek the truths concerning God, salvation, sin, suffering and eternal life from us. This uni-verse also places the responsibility of people to listen to the messengers sent by God. Our response should be one of respect and reverence for the message and accept it as the Word from the Lord. The messenger of God should not speak the Lord’s message in return for material or monetary gifts. We must not violate the covenant of Levi- not to exchange the truth for allurements of the world. We must not compromise or be partial. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 25, 2012

Password to resources of Heaven and Earth

UV 446/10,000 Password to access the resources of Heaven and Earth Psalm 124 v 8 “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made Heaven and Earth” Satan is a fowler or a bird-hunter. He hunts down our soul as a hunter tries to snare a bird. Our soul escapes from his net when we cry out to the Lord, when we call His name. The Lord who made heaven and earth is on our side. Hence, we have joined the winning side. He gives us help in all the predicaments of life. Jesus is the password or key by which we can access the resources of heaven and earth. That is why He said, “ Ask in my name.” Our Father in heaven will grant that which we ask as Jesus is His beloved Son and has the full favour of Jehovah. There is no powerful foe whose evil designs He cannot defeat. There is no pressing need that He cannot meet. There is no ailment He cannot heal. As the Lord who made heaven, He gives us help from above. He sends His Holy Spirit to aid, prompt, guide and counsel us. He gives us spiritual gifts. He sends His angelic host to guard us. He gives us His Word as a daily manna to feed and strengthen us. He gives us assurance of forgiveness and eternal life. He is our present as well as everlasting help. But, He does not often give unsolicited help. We need to humble ourselves and look upwards and inwards for His help. Looking for help is an act of faith as it implies that we cannot do it on our own strength or with our own resources. Looking to Him for help implies that we believe that He can do it though the situation looks impossible. As the Lord who made the earth, He gives us help in this world: to succeed in our professions, for grace and protection of the family, for provision and for promotion. He enlarges our territory or the domain of our influence. He makes our enemies a footstool for our rise. Though He has set the entire universe and all in it in motion according to some natural laws, He alone can supercede these laws based on cause and effect. He alone knows the factors that limit us as His creatures, the gaps in our lives. He will help us overcome the limiting factors and fill the gaps in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Breathe in the Word, Breathe out Prayer-praise

UV 445/10,000 Breathe in the Word and breathe out prayers 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness Some versions of the Bible translate this uni-verse as “ all scripture is God-breathed.” Indeed, Scripture is the breath of God. It is the spiritual equivalent of pure and unadulterated oxygen. When we read, reflect on, remember, meditate, analyse, imbibe, apply and obey it, we are truly inspiring the life- giving breath of God that first brought man to life. It is a different matter that much of the world today needs to be put on ventilator support. The fact remains that there is no substitute for scripture as there is no substitute for oxygen. The word, “ all” implies that every part of the canonized scripture is inspired by God and is both useful and essential. Once we recognize that scripture is the breath of God, then we will also realize that we need to continually breathe in scripture. We can intake portions of scripture and breathe out prayers and praises continually. This process is co-terminous with our own physical breath. When we stop breathing, then we can stop imbibing scripture and breathing out prayers and praise. Scripture is useful for discerning the truth, to discover what is correct doctrine, for admonition, for training in righteousness. In life every thing that happens to us leads to unconscious conditioning. When we learn and apply scripture, it leads to conscious training. It corrects the distortions in our perceptions of the essential truths of life and the lop-sided priorities of our lives are set right. Since scripture is eternal and unchanging, it is dependable in all generations and all circumstances. Divine inspiration is not the power of a few power- filled lives but it is the right, privilege and daily necessity of every child of God. The purpose of Scripture is to know who God really is and to make us like Him, perfect. It will equip us for every type of good work. Scripture establishes different types of balance in us: the God-man balance, the family balance, the work-life balance, the balance between the past, present and the future. It gives us an insight into every deep thing: the mind of God, the mind of Christ, the mind of man. It also gives us a realistic picture of the faults and failings of saints of the past and encourages us that if they could make it with their failings, we too can make it. Scripture is a perfect blend of knowledge, wisdom and practical application. It has many functions and real life applications and that is why so many metaphors are used to describe scripture: it is law, food, milk, breath, sword and shield,fire and hammer, dwelling, lamp and light and treasure. It is the spiritual corollary of all our physical necessities of life. In other words, it is necessary for our spiritual birth, growth,health and healing, strength, productivity, effectiveness, guidance,security, power, success and victory. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Triumph of hope over Experience

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Ruth ' s steadfastness in remaining faithful to her husband and his people has been applauded and upheld as a model for all to follow. The hapless Naomi had little to offer her widowed daughter in law. Death of her husband had absolved her of any ties or any need to remain with Naomi. But Ruth swore by her allegiance to Naomi ' s God and her people. She refused to be persuaded by Naomi's logic to return to her own people unlike the other daughter in law Orpah. The results are significant. Orpah was never heard off after her leaving. Ruth continues to inspire the faithful in every generation. Ruth added meaning, purpose and companionship in Naomi's otherwise empty life. Naomi's God-given wisdom gave Ruth a sense of guidance and security. As a result Ruth won the favour of Boaz, her Kinsman-redeemer. She goes on to be a mother and a forebear of the Messiah Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer. The lesson to be drawn from the bitter- sweet true story of Ruth is that regardless of the situation, we should hold on to the remnants of our faith: hold on to Jesus, never give up, never say , "all is lost", stick to the basics of our faith. The Sovereign Lord who sees our faithfulness will vindicate us. He will turn our empty lives into fruitful ones, our bitterness ad sadness into sweetness and joy. Maintain a sweet attitude despite bitter experience, a victorious feeling despite many failures, a triumphant hope despite a traumatic and tragic past. It is the triumph of hope over experience, conviction over opinion and faith over circumstance. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 22, 2012

Awaken and impact

UV 443/10,000 Awaken your power, Realize your potential Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee It is on account of our faith that the Lord reckons and declares us as righteous. By faith, the only Righteous One, God Himself resides in us. His presence illuminates our lives. His glory or the full extent of His power and grace rests upon us and within us. He Himself is our light. He shows us the paths we should travel in. We no longer fall short of His glory. Glory implies the fullness of God’s power, purpose and grace. Arise and shine means we need to awaken and impact. It is a command and divine mandate, not an option. We no longer can live listless and lackluster lives. We must reflect the power and glory of God. When we reflect on this truth and meditate on His Word continually, we become the reflectors of His light. Trainers and psychologists talk about unlimited power and self realization. We cannot realize our own selves unless we are “ God-realized people.” The Holy Spirit will awaken us to make us realize what is our calling, purpose, gifting and potential. The Lord takes all our little pluses and minuses and transforms it through one big plus of His story and history, the Cross of Jesus Christ. The question is : is it our story? If not, make it. If so, tell it. The word “ shine” means that we should attempt to “ do our utmost for the Highest.” We must continually seek the Lord’s help to maximize the realization of our potential, to fulfill His will for our lives. Areas of our lives, our character and our activities might remain unsurrendered to the Lord. Unless, we surrender these areas too to the Lord, the glory of the Lord cannot be revealed. We will shine our torchlights when the Lord is calling us to be a lighthouse in our generation. A light is not selective in where it shines. Similarly, wherever we are placed, we need to shine. We need to shine as priests and Ministers of God even as we need to shine as professionals. Called to be a royal priesthood, we need to combine seemingly contradictory qualities of piety and authority, firmness and meekness, excellence and humility, grace and strength. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Absence of faith is sin

UV 442/10,000 Absence of faith is sin Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin Adam doubted God’s word of command to him not to eat of the fruit of knowledge. He believed the words of his wife Eve and Eve believed the words of Satan. Hence, to believe the words of our fellow beings or of the evil one over the words of God is sin. The Word of God defines faith as trusting the Word of God. It is described as righteousness. The absence of trust in the Word is sin. Doubt and not disobedience was at the root of original sin. Faith in contrast is the root of salvation. When our faith is strong, it means we have a good root. When the root is good, the fruit and the rest of the plant will also be good. There are two kinds of people in this world: people of fate and people of faith. The former doubt if God is in control of their lives. Whatever happens is due to fate or destiny. The latter believe that God is in control. Whatever happens it is for our good and God has allowed it. They believe that the purposes of God cannot be thwarted. God is pleased when we demonstrate unwavering faith. Even if a shadow of doubt crosses our minds, we should drive it away by reaffirming our faith in His Word. Adam ate the fruit for the sake of knowledge. We must eat the Word of God to enhance our wisdom. We are willing to eat something only when we are sure it will not harm us. It implies that we must not just reluctantly believe God’s Word but we need to delight in it and relish it as someone would enjoy a sumptuous meal. He said, “ I will come in and sup with you and you will sup with me.” God also enjoys eating our words of affirmation and worship. Prateep V Philip

The need for exhortation

UV 441/10,000 The need for daily teaching and encouragement Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. In the Lord’s prayer, the “ daily bread” we ask the Lord to give us is not just the physical food but spiritual food or exhortation and encouragement we need daily. The deceitfulness of the world can take us away from the Lord even in a single day. Besides, our hearts and minds can be deceived by our own inner lusts. The daily dose of ‘ good news’ will encourage us and give us hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that we might be going through right now. The phrase, “ while it is called To day” implies that while we still have time,opportunity and grace. We need to urge, comfort and motivate each other to walk in faith despite whatever challenges we face at the present time. It calls for a deeper and more personal level of engagement in each other’s lives. Much of the western world has hardened their hearts through the deceitfulness of the doctrine of secularism. When I met with one of the leaders who mentored us back in his base in the UK, he said, “ Evangelism is much easier in India where people allow you to talk about faith. In the UK , under the guise of secularism and private space, they quickly clamp up and say that it is a matter strictly between them and God and nobody else has a right to interfere.” Sin does not announce itself as sin but comes camouflaged in many natural, subtle and appealing colours. It can come in the form of an unconscious habit, a failing in character that one has not noticed, a rationalization, a covering up or living in denial of the truth in particular matter. Hence, the ministry of exhortation that includes rebuking in a spirit of love and correction is an essential part of the building of people in service of God. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attitude towards riches

UV 440/10,000 Attitude towards worldly riches Psalms 49 v 20 Psalms 49 v 20 “ A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” A small letter “a” separates the word “ beast” from “ best” and that letter stands for attitudes. Our attitudes are both our address and our true identity- it is where our spirits and minds live and it also defines who we are and where we are going. A man who places his confidence in his wealth is compared to a beast that perishes. His wealth cannot save him on the day of his death. An understanding of God, who alone can save him, is the one thing that distinguishes him from the beasts. No wonder that science that cannot understand God and the things of God places man on par with the beasts, calling all as animals. This uni-verse places the wealthy of this world, the Bill Gates, the Ambanis, the Tatas, the Warren Buffets and you name them, on par with the beasts that perish. Their wealth will perish with them. Recently, I heard a believer taking pride that the CEO of the company he is working in currently is rated among the ten most powerful people in the world. I replied that even the poorest saved soul is spiritually richer, more powerful and significant than Bill Gates. Scripture exhorts us not to be overawed at the splendour of a man’s riches for he will join the generation of his fathers who never saw the light of life. Apart from the Old Testament and the New Testament, the world’s testament also points to God as the author of our salvation. The history of the world is testament to the mortality and transient nature of wealth, beauty and power. When J R D Tata died, his last words were “ It is so sweet to die.” ( si doux a mourir) It will certainly be sweet to die if we truly understand the meaning and purpose of life. But, unfortunately for mankind, the second death is continual and eternal dying that never ends. The price of salvation or to be able to live forever, being so high –it cannot be paid for with all the wealth in the world. It could be paid for only by the best sacrifice of the Best and not of a beast - by the sinless blood of the Lamb that God Himself provided in Jesus, prefigured in the ram that Jehovah provided Abraham to replace his son Isaac. Isn’t it incredible and wonderful that God Himself provided a sacrifice to Himself that is acceptable, perfect and complete payment for mankind falling short of His absolute standards? Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Overcomers

UV 439/10,000 The Overcomers Revelation 12 v 11 Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death Weakness is a part of human nature; the power to overcome comes from God. The power to overcome weakness, the power to overcome the enemy of our souls –both come from our belief in the sacrificial death of Jesus. We cease to become lovers of our own selves and our own lives and become lovers of Jesus. As a sign of our love for Jesus, we live a testimonial life or a life lived in accordance with the Word of God. Testimonies are oral evidence to prove a particular point. Similarly, in whatever we say and do, our lives are evidence of the saving grace and power of God. The words spoken by Jesus are the living breath that inspires us. We relate His Word to our work,our worship, our sense of worth,in short our own little world. In other words, as we bring into alignment all areas of our lives with the Word of Christ, we experience victory over what brings death or defeat in that specific area. We believe we will also have victory over the second (eternal) death that cannot hurt us any more. We will be given a crown of life, a symbol of having overcome, at the end of our earthly existence. However short the life of a human being is, it is long enough for us to understand the work of Christ on the cross and the words of Christ in diverse practical situations in life. The conqueror goes round the world conquering domains and all manner of things only to find that the only thing he needed to conquer was his or her own self. He seeks an externalized victory. We realize that the real challenge is not in overcoming or dominating others. The real challenge is overcoming the ruling principle of sin and death in our lives. It is an inner victory. A couple of years ago, the Lord showed us a sign of a reverse rainbow. I was trying to discern the meaning of the unique reverse rainbow. Then, it came to me like a bolt of lightning- the reverse acronym for the colours ROYGBIV when deciphered means The Great King Brings Inner Victory. Real overcoming is about inner victory. We obtain inner victory by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of testimony. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Profiting from Prophecy

UV 438/10,000 I Corinthians 14 v 3 The functions and utility of prophecy 1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort In these last days, the Lord has poured out His spirit on all flesh that our sons and daughters will prophesy, our old men will see dreams and our young men see visions. This is literally true, a few years ago, the Lord spoke through our eight year old daughter,” Do not judge others, I am at the door.” Later, He told us ,” I am speaking to you through your children as you are not listening to me.” Prophecy has the function of admonition or warning from the Holy Spirit to change our ways. God is a wonderful Person- it is natural He speaks to us or communicates through signs and wonders. We must not respond with disbelief or we grieve the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we should not make prophecy our staple diet replacing the Word in our lives. Very often the most effective and true prophecy is accompanied by a specific portion of scripture to corroborate the prophetic utterance. For instance, the Lord said in a prophetic word, “ I am going to split your tongue.” That utterance was accompanied by a specific reference to the verse in James, “ Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” The purpose of this prophecy was to build up my communication pattern to be more wholesome and effective. It was meant to edify or build me up. It is intended to build a godly character. It is sometimes given to give guidance in decision making and to fulfill a God –given vision. Once, I was specifically told, “ You have good ideas but you need to form a team to implement the ideas.” Through prophecies, the Lord reveals whether He is pleased or not with our spiritual progress. He exhorts us to move faster if He is not. In times of testing and trial of our faith, the Lord speaks a prophetic word to encourage us to remain faithful and not to give up. Recently, my daughter prayed with a prophet just before she left for her final examinations. She received a prophetic word, “ You will have a testimony between your examinations.” Accordingly, she fell ill the day before the last paper in her graduation examinations. Remembering the prophetic word,we could encourage her to muster her reserves and go and write the final paper. This prophecy was meant for her and our comfort. Similarly, she received last year a word of prophecy from someone on God TV that “ a young lady in India is praying for an university admission in the UK.” Accordingly, a month ago, Praise the Lord, she received an unconditional offer of admission in the desired law school in London. Altogether, prophecies are meant for the building up of our faith in the fact that the Lord is concerned about us as a loving Parent and He does speak to us directly and personally as a person speaks to another. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Goals and Ground Rules of the Competition

UV437/10,000 2 Timothy v 5 The goals and ground rules of the competition: “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” St Paul exhorted the believers to display the dedication of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete and the diligence and patience of a farmer. An Olympic athlete trains daily for a minimum of four years in order to compete in an event that would last a few seconds and to win a trophy that will loose its luster in a short time. But, we compete for an eternal prize, of sharing in the glory of the Risen Lord. On His victory stand, there is no second or third place. We are all declared winners where formerly, we were sinners. We will not keep the rules unless we learn and observe them even daily while on training for the main event. The rules according to which we are to run the race of faith are all laid down clearly in the scriptures. Following these rules make us competent to fight and endure hardship as a soldier, to run with discipline as an athlete and to plant seeds and to nurture the seedlings till the time of harvest as a farmer. The athlete learns from a coach even as we learn from the Holy Spirit who is our pace setter. He tells us sometimes to slow down and sometimes to run faster. The soldier learns from and obeys the directions of the commanding officer. We learn from and obey Jesus who is our Commander- in -Chief. The farmer learns from experience and nature. We too learn from experience and nature. In the process,we develop qualities to compete, to endure, to fight, to plant and nurture , not just for the short run but for challenges over the long haul, too. We have opted out of the rat race of the world only to enter the faith race of the Word. A life of faith is not a life of ease. We should not just live laid back lives but work towards some trophy, whether spiritual, physical, mundane,literary,academic or artistic or else our intellectual, emotional and spiritual muscles will atrophy. The athlete strives for personal victory, the soldier for collective victory and the farmer for victory over the forces of nature. Hence, we too can strive for victory in different domains for whatever we do brings glory to the Lord as an athlete’s victory brings honour to a grateful nation that rewards him in return, a soldier contributes to securing national victory for which he is honoured and a farmer earns his living from the produce of the harvest, even as he feeds the hungry from the excess over his own needs of the crop. In this context, it is important the believer sets realistic but challenging goals for himself or herself in different areas of life: spiritual, physical health, finances, familial and professional. Achieving the goal will enable us to win a crown that we can then lay at the feet of Jesus. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 15, 2012

Defining attitudes and acts of forgiveness

Uv 436/10,000 Defining our attitudes and actions towards our enemies Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust The preceding verse speaks about four categories of adversaries: those who curse us, those who hate us, those who despitefully use us and those who persecute us. They too, being potentially children of our Father in Heaven, need us to pray for their redemption from the one enemy of mankind who prompts them to do these things. Faith is about the conversion of the potential into the real. Just as the Son of God rises on us daily with healing in His wings, we need to pray for these lost brothers and sisters that He would shine His light in their lives, too to open their eyes to the evil inhabiting their minds and causing them to act unjustly towards His own. We should not pray for their destruction but pray for the healing of their souls. Don’t destroy the enemy, destroy the enemity. Their enemity for us is destroying them without their knowing from within. We must pray for healing compassion upon them and for the rain of blessings upon them. When we pray in this manner, we please the Lord in that we are truly His children just as Jesus forgave those who abused Him, spat on Him, wrongly accused Him, tortured Him,ignored Him, betrayed Him, mocked Him, impaled Him, did injustice to Him and murdered Him. His act of pleading with the Father to forgive them is the greatest act of forgiveness in the history of the world and indeed, all of eternity that draws all mankind to Him in all generations. He knew they would not do these things if their eyes were opened to the truth that He personified. He knew they would not do these things if they had complete knowledge of who He really is and what He stands for. Though none of us have suffered in the same measure as Jesus did, we need to foster the same attitudes that Jesus had for the four categories of adversaries. Such forgiveness is the essence of being a child of God. It also heals us of inner bitterness, hurts, grudges, resentment and such useless baggage of the past that could cramp our lifestyle and steal us of our potential. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Studied Quietness and the Call to Excel

UV 435/10,000 I Thessalonians 4 v 11 The studied quietness and the call to excel 1Th 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; Normally, we tell our children to be quiet and study. But, this uni-verse states study to be quiet. When we study the Word of God,we will gain the assurance that we are in His safe hands. The assurance, that nothing happens by accident, that God is in control and all that happens even the seemingly bad will turn out for our good, keeps us calm and quiet. Our confidence is in the Lord and not in our own strength or resources. We are like the child that lies weaned in the mother’s arms, quiet, peaceful, satisfied and not having any great ambition other than knowing the Lord more and more. At the same time, we are not to become complacent or over confident of ourselves. We need to diligently apply ourselves to our work. Paul wrote to the Thessalonican believers in this manner as he found many among them were idle gossipers who were busy with the affairs of others and slothful in their own work. Paul himself set an example by working with his own hands and making tents for a living. He did so as he did not want to make himself a burden for others. We must not take God’s work and His provision for granted by saying, “ God will provide.” He will provide by giving us the abilities to work and He will provide through our work. He will provide the harvest through the factors He alone can control- the climate and weather, the winds, pests and rain. It is our responsibility to plant the seed to meet our future need. He will bless our business but busyness is our response of faithfulness. It is not an option but a command. We work as if we depend only on ourselves and expect results as if we depend only on God. Many people have the wrong notion that the only way to serve God is to take up full time ministry. When we were young,we were trained to “make our careers a carrier for God.” With this perspective, we realized we needed to study hard in order to qualify or to be catapulted to a good career path. In the process, we showed our heels to many of our more talented and gifted classmates and compatriots for the ever accompanying grace of God takes us to a new orbit of performance. In this way, our motivation and ambition is not selfish or worldly or materialistic. We should not give up our professional work unless there is a specific calling or vision to fulfill. Instead,we must excel in our fields of domain expertise and be an ambassador for God. An ambassador lives in another land for the sake of his own country. Similarly, we are citizens of heaven living in an eartly land, representing the Kingdom of God, carrying the concerns and messages of God to the people of that land in diverse ways. We are representatives of God on earth by divine election. We have to live a life worthy of such a high calling. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Be a Scribe for the Lord

UV 433/10,000 Ezra 7 v 6 Be ready to be a scribe for the Lord Ezr 7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. Ezra was a ready scribe who had yielded his time, energy and ability to the Lord. The Lord held him in his hand as one would hold a pen to write all that He wanted Israel to be and to do. The result was that Godly favour was upon his life for “ the hand of the Lord his God was upon him.” He succeeded in His God-given purpose for his life. Godly favour brought in its wake kingly favour. The king granted all that Ezra required and requested. This is a pattern we can repeat in our lives: we need to write a journal of what the Lord teaches us individually and the things He uses us as a willing and enthusiastic medium to communicate to others in the church, in our families and in our respective workplaces. When we do so regularly with the diligence that Ezra did, the Lord is pleased with us and will doubly bless our lives and work. He will establish the work of our hands and extend the borders of our influence. It could be in the form of a blog or a splog( a spiritual blog) that you write regularly. In later days, it will not just encourage others but it will remind us of the Lord’s goodness to us. While we were students we were told that writing is ten times more effective than mere reading. It is also true that writing what the Lord communicates to us and through us is ten times more effective and powerful than mere speaking. I recall the early years of my faith life when we were exhorted to maintain a “ Prayer Record” of what we asked and what the Lord answered. Years later when we review such written records, it greatly strengthens our faith. Apart from what testaments the prophets and apostles left behind that form scripture today, we can leave a testament of what the Lord wrote in and with our lives. Like Ezra, we will win the favour of those who are positioned above us in our professions and workplaces. Above all, the hand of the Lord will be upon us. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Horse Power versus God Power

UV 432/10,000 Horse Power versus God’s Power Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. Remembering the name of the Lord our God, or holding it in reverence and love constantly produces more power than horses and chariots. Nations trust in their military power and form alliances with bigger powers or a Superpower. People trust in their position or contacts or abilities or money power. History and experience shows that there is no safety or security in any of these. Instead, we must find our security in the Lord. The Lord is so mighty, His mere shadow is sufficient to defend us. Hence, we do not trust in horse power or human power but in the name of the Lord. Why is the name of the Lord given so much importance? The name of the Lord who is the “ I AM” , the self-existent Being is the key to having a personal relationship with God. Only a person has a name. We have names to identify us in our families, societies and workplaces. A person’s name is the key to his or her identity and personality. Just imagine the chaos and confusion, if all of us were to forget our names or be bereft of names for any period of time. Our names are usually the names our parents gave us after our birth. But, God is not named by any other being nor can He be named by mankind. In order for us to know His name, we need Him to reveal it to us as He did to Abraham, Moses and other prophets. The essence as well as the full extent of God’s power and grace, His personality, character and identity is contained in the name of the Lord. The names of our near and dear are always floating uppermost in the average person’s thoughts and consciousness. When we constantly hold the name of the Lord Jehovah and the other members of the Trinity uppermost, we have access to all who God is: His power, His mercy, His grace, His love. Unlike the names of people that need not be meaningful but mere insignificant sounds, the name of the Lord signifies different aspects of His personality and character: Jehovah Jireh means the one who provides. Jehovah Nisi, I am the One who gives you victory, Jehovah Rapha, I am the One who heals you, El Shaddai, I am the Almighty One, Jehovah Shalom, the One who prospers and gives you peace. The Name of the Lord God is a window through which we mortal and finite beings can see and experience the immense power of God. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 11, 2012

The 4 S formula of communication

UV 431/10,000 James 1 v 19 The 4 S formula of communication Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath The golden thumb rule of communication 2:1 , that is, to hear at least double of what we speak since God has given us two ears and only one mouth can save us a lot of trouble in real life. I also call it the 4 S formula from swift-slow-speak-slow in the uni-verse. We must discipline ourselves so that we spend more time listening and less time talking. We develop patience in waiting to hear the viewpoint of others before making known our own. We must not multiply our words even in worship but wait in the presence of the Lord to hear the Trinity speaking to us. Scripture is uncompromising in declaring that a multitude of words is a sure sign of folly and sin. St James appealed to the early believers as beloved brethren in order to impress upon their hearts this vital truth. We must be quick to hear not just the words but to understand the feelings behind those words, the context and the purpose of the speaker. When we practice this habit and art, we will be skilled enough to pick up the meanings conveyed by silence and body gestures or body language. Words rush out of our mouths faster than horses run out of stables as we do not exercise control of the reins that the mind can tie over the mouth. It reminds me of the time we used to do horse riding. The horse I used to ride would suddenly gallop without provocation or command while the rest of the class were trotting around. We feel some passion or emotion and act or speak like a galloping horse out of control and then, we think and regret. This pattern of communication and life is FAT or Feel-Act-Think. It is bound to fill our life with misery and failure. Speaking is also action- since it is the action of the mouth and vocal cords. Instead, we must practice Think- Emote- Act or the TEA pattern of communication. FAT will make us and others suffer while we will enjoy TEA. The absence of anger management in today’s world is leading to a higher suicide, murder, divorce, crime as well as unrecorded and unregistered misery rates. Of the five segments of self management, Thought, Temperament, Tongue, Talent and Time, two relate to the temper and the tongue. This uni-verse connects the two as anger is often expressed and caused by the inappropriate use of the tongue. Our words often provoke anger even though a gentle answer can quiet fierce wrath. A careless word can create a major domestic storm just as a careless match can start a forest fire. I read the other day the insightful observation of how a careless match can start a forest fire while a whole box of matches lies wasted while lighting a camp fire. The destructive use of the potential of our tongues and temper does not require much thought or training or planning. It will just happen. But, for our lives to be constructive and productive, to be a blessing we need to consciously exercise control over the reins on our mouths and our temper. For the next ninety days, we can resolve to watch our communication and that of others to analyse if it is based on a FAT or a TEA pattern. Simultaneously, we can ask the Lord for wisdom and grace to fill the gaps in our communication and anger patterns. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Don't Flirt with the World

UV 430/10,000 James 4 v 4 Don’t flirt with the world Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. If we are truly a Friend of God, we will live as strangers and pilgrims in this world. Our bodies are the tents of our soul, our homes are not our permanent residences. Flirting with the world is the equivalent of adultery. The world has topsy-turvy standards, where right is wrong and wrong is right. The citizens of a particular nation exhibit what is known as national character. For instance, the Japanese are hardworking and patriotic, the Germans are disciplined and industrious, the Americans are creative and inventive. Similarly, the citizens of the Kingdom of God called out of all nations and people should exhibit a consistent character of love for God, purity of thought, contentment, wisdom and humility. When we flirt with the world and its systems, we are feeding the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life that deceive us into sin and harden our hearts against God. We can discern the truth of God’s Word when we recognize along with economists and leaders that the recent ongoing recession was actually caused by human greed or lust of the flesh. People including many church leaders influenced by the global capitalist system only want to possess more and more. The love for God has grown cold. The Word of God warns us that adultery is like stacking burning coal on one’s lap. We are called to live contented lives but instead , we live contentious lives. . To be a Friend of God implies that we should subject ourselves willingly and joyfully to the requirements of the Law or the Word of God. As oil and water cannot mix, we cannot mix with the standards and priorities of the world. We must constantly feed ourselves with the Word and purify ourselves of the spirit of compromise with the world. We must take in prayer the matters of the world to the Lord and communicate the matters of the Lord to the world. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Unique Giftedness

UV 429/10,000 I Corinthians 7 v 7 Unique giftedness. I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God, one has this gift and another has that. The gifts given from above and that are endowed within us are far more precious than even the costliest gift we can give to each other. Writing in the context of celibacy, Paul underlines that the gifts from God are unique and personal. The gifts can be related to our talents, our temperament as well as our mental, emotional and spiritual equipment. Some are “lifestyle gifts” that enable us to live in a particular sacrificial way, giving up things that are considered a necessity for others. This uni-verse is an explicit acknowledgement of the uniqueness of the calling and the giftedness of every believer as a member in the body of Christ. Once the Lord rebuked me saying, “ I have given you many gifts and talents but you are not using it.” I began to wonder about what the Lord wanted me to do. That word of rebuke stimulated me to attempt writing the world’s longest praise song, “ The Great I Am.” Though I was and am a musically challenged person, I knew the Lord had given me the flair to write. I began to attempt the greatest elaboration in history of who God is in terms of how He defined Himself to Moses, “ I AM WHO I AM.” After writing my description of the Great I Am, the Lord sent people with the right set of gifts to turn the long poem into the longest praise and worship song. Thereafter, the Lord said he was pleased with me that I am using my talents for His glory. Once, I told myself that even in writing I am good at writing cryptically and briefly condensing larger content to pithy lines but that I was not able to elaborate. But, the Lord said, “ I will help you elaborate.” He instructed me to write meditations on one verse at a time: the uni-verse. Today, more than a year later, I am poised to publish the first two volumes of Uni-verse: The Word-Empowered Life of Love. He does not only give us gifts but He helps us grow and use it. We must desire the pure spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit: the gift of discernment is useful to us to make right and godly choices in key issues in life. It is not wrong to desire such gifts. Our strong desire would create a space in our hearts and lives for the Lord to fill it generously with His gift. The Lord is by nature a Giver, a generous One at that. He says, “ Open your mouth and I will fill it.” We need to express our desires to the Lord for godly gifts and He will surely grant it as He alone can. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our belief gives us relief

UV 428/10,000 Psalms 94 v 13 Our belief gives us relief “You grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.” Our belief in the Lord, His Word and His work of redemption gives us relief from our present trouble. It is our belief that sets us apart from the wicked and the deceived. The latter get caught in the very pit they dig for the righteous, the very net they set up to snare the children of God. The Lord removes the big and small mountains in our lives and turns it into level paths for us to walk. In my childhood, I faced a different set of difficulties from those I faced as an adult. But, the Lord was faithful in every situation as He was faithful in saving David and giving him victory in many battles against traditional foes of Israel. Our belief gives us hope. The Lord knows how to redeem us in every situation, big or small. Our belief gives us strength and patience. Our belief will not belie or fail us. Our belief in the Word of God is crucial for the working out of solutions to many of the challenges we face in life and at work. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sorrow and Joy are the Lord's Warp and Woof

UV 427/10,000 Pain and pleasure are the Lord’s warp and woof Psa 90:15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Gladness and sadness, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow are both equally used by the Lord like an expert weaver uses a shuttle to weave the warp and the woof of a garment. Our nervous system is made so that we feel both pain and pleasure. We are so wired that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. Our minds feel both sorrow and joy. The Lord does not crush us under the weight of sorrows. Our belief in Him will give us relief. He redeems us from our troubles and sends help our way through any of the angelic host or through any human or natural agency. He weaves a pattern of faith, of victory and of salvation through our positive as well as negative experiences. In this uni-verse, the Psalmist is praying, “ Lord , give me as many days to rejoice as the days I was troubled and hurt.” When we look back, we clearly see that the Lord has given us many more days of peace and joy than days when we were sick or depressed. He knows that we learn more from times of pain than from good times. Occasionally, He does send afflictions and troubles our way. During this time, we must sit up and ask ourselves and the Lord, “ What is the lesson You want me to learn from this situation?” Once I was so troubled after receiving one affliction close upon the heels of another, I made a covenant with the Lord, “ Lord whatever You have to teach me, just send me an early warning. I will be sensitive to Your move and message in my life. I will not wait till You have knocked me to the floor or broken me.” Even if my toe hits a stone, I will assume and enquire that the Lord wants me to take some warning or gain some learning or heed some wisdom in my life. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hot Bread

UV 426/10,000 Every word has power Mathew 4 v 4 Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God The Word has power as it comes from the mouth of God. The power of God, the love of God, the grace of God is embedded in every word. No word is spoken in vain or is empty or futile. It is the spiritual bread of Heaven that sustains us through our entire lives. It satisfies our hunger and thirst for truth, knowledge and wisdom. It answers the questions and doubts of our minds about eternal questions: why are we here? Where are we heading? Is death the end of life? Where will we spend eternity? What should we do while we live on earth? What is our purpose? The Word of God when it is freshly spoken or revealed to us in the presence of the Lord is like hot bread. It is also honeyed bread like the manna provided by God to feed the Israelites in the desert as it comes with delicious slices of promises of God. It is vitaminised bread that will stimulate the different parts of the Body of Christ. Jesus described Himself as the Bread of God broken and given to mankind for our nourishment. We face different challenges, temptations and difficulties. When we walk through different desert experiences, the Bread is available for us to nourish us. The living Word will rise from the pages of the Bible to urge us on, to encourage us, to strengthen us from within. The Word is the text in context. It might have been first written or spoken in a completely different context but today, it fits perfectly into our contexts and situations. In the ancient times as in modern times, people hang on every word that is spoken by the head of the state or government. How much more should we hang on every word spoken by the Lord? The Word of God is the unleavened bread- there is no trace of insincerity, deceit or exaggeration. It is the unadulterated truth. It pierces our soul. Our spirit waxes fat and healthy when we feed on a daily balanced diet of the Word. Our minds are freed from worries and anxieties. The words we speak will also be blessed and useful. We need patience and faith for the Word to operate in our lives to produce comfort and hope. Prateep V Philip

Rejoice in every good thing

UV 425-10000. rejoice in every good thing Deuteronomy 26 v 11 "and thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you." Instead of pining and fretting for what we desire but do not have or grumbling about the one thing or few things that trouble or upset us, the Word asks us to rejoice in every good thing that the Lord has given us. We need to rejoice or celebrate or be thankful in the fellowship of believers as well as unbelievers, that the former will worship the Lord with us and the latter will believe that the Lord is a giver of good gifts. Only when our spirit is joyful can we worship God. We need to constantly rejoice in the Lord. We need to be recounting all the blessings the Lord has endowed us with. When we do so, the Lord seeing our faithfulness in little things will increase the measure of our blessedness. He will give miraculous resolution to persistent problems or supernatural strength to endure or overcome these. The reference to the house, to the Levite and to the stranger implies that we should rejoice at home with our family, in the church and at our workplaces and wherever we are. The joy we constantly exude will itself radiate the love and grace of God. Joy is not just a fleeting emotion that we feel when we experience pleasure or success for the word rejoice means it is an act of will, a decision to be be overflowing with joy despite the circumstances or happenings. The Word says, " be joyful in all circumstances." Our happiness does not depend on happenings but on Who we believe and trust and depend on. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Three Dimensions of Spiritual Life

UV 425/10000 I Corinthians 13 v 13 The Three Dimensions of Spiritual life " And now these three remain: faith,hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." The Word affirms life as a three dimensional phenomenon. The three dimensions of the spiritual life are faith, hope and love. These are the three basic values from which all other values are only derivatives. Faith is needed for our relationship with our loving Creator. Hope is needed in our daily lives and work to move from day to day. Our hope is that things will get better, that our needs will be met, our desires fulfilled, our objectives achieved. Love is needed in our relationships. Faith is the root while hope and love are the fruits from that root. With faith,hope and love we can competently handle all of life' s challenges. All our thoughts, words and actions over time will be characterised by faith, hope and love. These three values together form the DNA and matrix of our lives. Socrates said that " knowing ourselves is the essence of knowledge." But the Word says that love is the essence of life which should lend its flavour to all we think,speak, feel and do. Love is defined not only by what it is, namely, patience and kindness but what it is not, namely, not rude, not selfish, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not angry or irritable. Love is the greatest as it is the agape love of God that made Him reach out to save mankind. The other day a speaker said so rightly, " My earthly father loves me because I am his son but God loves me because He is love." Humility is a by-product of faith of knowing who we are vis a- vis the Almighty Creator. We stop struggling with the Lord as Jacob did and surrender to the knowledge and hope that He knows what is best for us. Joy is a by-product of the hope we have in Christ. The end result is that we move from a state of no control, to self control and finally to " God control" of our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On Lapping The Word

UV 424-10,000 On Lapping The Word Judges 7 v 5 " So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him," Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink." Once the Lord said, " you are like a dog that laps My Word like a dog laps milk. ". The image can be understood when we visualise a dog drinking milk from a vessel and a dog drinking water. The dog that drinks the milk laps it up with a lot of joy and gusto till it laps up the last drop while the dog that drinks the water will move away after licking the surface of the water a few times. Even the dog knows that the milk is precious, valuable and rare while water is copious and easily obtainable. The Lord helped Gideon to sift and sort the volunteer troops by the manner in which they drank the water. Similarly, we can today sift and sort teams by the manner in which they deal with the Word of God. Are they superficial and lukewarm in their attitude and intake of the Word or are they eager and enthusiastic? I often pray Lord " Lord please sift and sort the leaders and teachers of the church and in the world.". Leaders should be firebrand like Gideon's troops. We should be torches of "Holy Spirit fire" within the earthen pots that are our bodies. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Work with One Hand,Word in the Other

UV 423-10,000 Work with one hand, the Sword of the Word in the other Nehemiah 4 v 17 They that builded the wall, those that carried the burden and those that laded, with one hand wrought the work and with the other carried a weapon The Lord revealed in a time of prayer that the whole year we are to be like the Jews in Nehemiah's time who did their work with one hand and carried a sword in the other to defend themselves in the event of an attack by those who were opposed to them and their work. We need to do our work as professionals in this world while at the same time carry the sword of the Word of God in the other. Somebody posted a comment the other day that the Bible is the most powerful anti-virus, to which I replied that it is in fact the software of human beings. Without it we will go haywire. With it we will be able to perform the functions the Lord has set before us. It needs no update as it is eternal and automatically updates itself to our latest need and situation. It will never become obsolete even if our hardware, our bodies and intellects become worn out. Our faith is a weapon of defence but the Word of God is a weapon of offence. It will keep the enemy at bay while we do our work and carry on with our lives. Unlike the weapons of the world it is a life- giving, life -sustaining and life -enhancing weapon. It will help us overcome the challenges from without and bring about the changes from within. Building the wall is a symbol for building the Kingdom of God. When we do our allotted earthly tasks and assignments diligently, we are contributing our mite. The Lord Almighty contributes His might through the instrumentality of His revealed Word to overcome the daunting, hidden, visible and invisible challenges in building the Kingdom. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 1, 2012

Why do the faithful face greater and frequent trials?

UV 422-10,000 Peter 3 v 7 Faith is tried like gold These have come so that your faith that is of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire -may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed Fire is employed to test if a substance is gold. The properties of gold namely that it melts at a particular temperature and solidifies at a particular temperature, that it exhibits a certain lustre are revealed under the heat of the fire. Similarly, like an expert goldsmith the Lord uses suffering to test our endurance, our melting point. Fire is used to purify the gold ore of its dross or impurities. Similarly, the Lord uses trials to refine our faith and our character. He has less work to do on us and in us if we subject ourselves to an ongoing voluntary self refinement process prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit. The third function of fire is to shape and mould the gold into distinct shapes,designs and forms. The Lord uses trials and tribulations to shape us with distinct and unique testimonies of His grace,glory, power and wisdom. Gold is certified for genuineness and purity. Similarly, the Lord certifies as He alone can the authenticity and purity of our faith. Another additional function of faith trials is to test the endurance and value of our works of faith. Prateep V Philip