Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Inheritance of Promises

The Inheritance of Promises UV 535/10,000 Hebrews 6 v 12 That ye be not slothful but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises We are expected not to be like the lazy heir who knowing that he will inherit all the wealth of the father wastes his life and time. We are called to be diligent in knowing, understanding and claiming the promises of God contained in the Word and specifically spoken to us. We must imitate the long line of our faith fathers who through faith and patience inherited the promises. Abraham for instance waited for decades before the promise of an heir was fulfilled. We need to imitate the patriarchs and the apostles to replicate in our lives their kind of patience and diligence in our lives. We need to diligently study the promises of the Covenants, old and new, the clauses and sub clauses as a businessman would pore over every letter to discern the fine print. St Paul studied the scriptures for three years before he launched on his global mission to reach the gospel across the then known world. We need to diligently study, faithfully ask, eagerly seek, persistently knock and patiently wait. We should not be slothful but active, energetic and alert, not abdicating our responsibility and doing what lies with us. The promised land of the Israelites is itself nothing but a metaphor for eternal life that is promised to believers. When I turned forty ten years ago, I told myself that I have spent forty years in the wilderness and now I am entering the land of promises. The promises of the Word are the milk and honey of His Kingdom. We need to savour it, delight in it and treasure it. Normally, a promise is made between two consenting or contracting parties. But, the promise and its conditions are also binding on the heirs to both parties. We have entered into a covenant relationship with the Holy, Almighty, Just , Sovereign and Loving God. He is able to fulfill all His promises. In fact, His part of the compact is already blood-signed and “ finished”. This uni-verse throws the responsibility on us, the second party to the covenant, of being faithful and not slothful in remembering, retaining, believing, trusting, claiming and waiting for the promise. Interestingly, the word used is “ inherit” and not inherited to indicate that our inheritance of faith is a continuing experience through the generations. The trouble is many of us give up before we reach the finishing line. The other day, a believing batchmate and a senior police officer in the North East India sent me a single word, “ suddenly.” We might be waiting for many years for the fulfillment of a promise of God. I have had the experience of waiting for fifteen to thirty years for answers to several prayers. But, “ suddenly” it will come to pass, it will be fulfilled. It is our forbearance or patience that helps us find favour or grace in the eyes of God. Our diligence pleases Him even as our impatience and murmuring displeases Him no end. The waiting period is a time of training and churning of our character to build into us the qualities of endurance and perseverance. Our waiting period is like the gestation period- it must be characterized by constant nourishment of our faith and evidenced in thanksgiving and praise of Lord Amen- the establisher and fulfiller of hope, the vindicator of faith. Indeed, perseverance pays and the perseverant pray. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nothing, no thing is Withheld

UV 534/10,000 Nothing is Withheld From Us Romans 8 v 32 Romans 8 v 32 He that spared not his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? When Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac, he prepared to do so. He was willing to do it out of fear of God. It was the ultimate test of his faith in God. He wished to please God with his act of obedience. It showed he would not withhold anything if the Lord asked for it. He valued his relationship with God more than anything else in his life. He attempted to do so for the sake of a righteous Person, God Himself. God stayed the hand of Abraham as he was about to plunge the knife into the lad’s body to slay him. He did so as He could not bear the idea of Abraham sacrificing his only son born out of a promise from God. When the Father sent His Son Jesus to sacrifice His life on the cross as the sacrificial Lamb for all the sin of all mankind, He did so out of love for man. He was willing to do for sinfful man what one man Abraham was willing to do for Him on His asking. He was willing to do so without man either asking or expecting such an act of mercy. God Himself had paid the ultimate price to secure eternity for man. He sacrificed His Son for our salvation, raised Him up for our justification and sent the Holy Spirit for our sanctification. Imagine the sorrow it caused Him to see the Son sent to earth to live a life of privation, deprived of all the goodness of Heaven. A certain believer, who had lost his only son in an accident one year after he became a believer,met me the other day and said, “ there was no laughter or celebration in Heaven, during the time of the absence of Jesus from Heaven.” Imagine the grief it caused the Father’s heart to see the son smitten and insulted, nailed and crucified on the cross? One can also understand the reason for His consternation when people treat lightly or with disbelief this ultimate act of love on His part and on the part of Jesus. The pact between Father and Son should so impact our lives that it is transformed and we are willing to reciprocate the love of God. Along with the promise of salvation, this uni-verse also promises “ all things”. When we believe and receive the Lord Jesus into our hearts and lives, we will along with Him receive freely all things or all the God-ordained blessings and provision we need in this life and the life to come. The word, “ freely” implies generously and without cost to the recipient. When the Lord God had not withheld what was most precious for our sake, He will not withhold anything good from us. He did it unlike Abraham for the sinful, the unrighteous and undeserving. Therein, He demonstrated His love, His compassion, His mercy and grace. Having done this, it is both improbable and impossible for Him to withhold from us any thing in Heaven or Earth that we might need. Salvation , therefore, and Shalom blessings are a holistic experience and not restricted to either this life or the next. It is like in the story of a millionaire art collector who writes in his will that all the treasures of his collection would be bestowed on the one who values a pencil drawing of his late lamented son. Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Standards of the Lord

UV 533/10,000 I Samuel 16 v 7 The Standards of the Lord I Samuel 16 v 7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Human standards are distinct and different from the standards of our Lord and God. This is the precise reason why mankind can never work out our salvation ourselves by good deeds or repentance or karma. It is written that what is highly esteemed by men is an abomination in the sight of God. Our eyes of flesh are covetous and idolatrous. We desire what we see and we desire what is good to look at, what is glamourous and beautiful on the exterior. We are keen on the packaging and not the content. Huge crowds of people in India and other countries adore their cricketing stars not just for their batting prowess but because they seem “macho” and good to look at. You will find even in the choir of a church, the good looking ones will be put on the frontline! Our eyes of flesh are superficial- we judge and decide many things on the basis of the cosmetic appearance. Instead, we need to decide and choose people on the basis of their thoughts, inclinations and intentions. Scripture interestingly uses the word, “ reins” – we need to choose people on the basis of their inner controls that restrain them from the negatives and motivators that egg them on towards positives. The first time round Samuel was directed by the Lord to choose and anoint a king for Israel, he went by the stature of the nominee. He found Saul to be head and shoulders above the rest of Israel. It qualified him to be king in the eyes of Samuel the prophet. But, the next time, the Lord directed him not to go by the comely appearance or the stature. These first seven sons of Jesse were fighting men, soldiers in Saul’s army. Even their profession or prowess did not qualify them. Samuel could not look into the hearts of the sons of Jesse. The Lord looks into the hearts of people. He is interested primarily in emotional engagement with people. He sees the inmost mind or the innermost desires and longings of the human heart. He discerns our priorities in life. By this criterion, He chooses, anoints and reveals His mind and will to these chosen vessels to perform His special tasks. A comely appearance while it does not qualify a person for the mantle of leadership in God’ s eyes, it also does not disqualify him or her. For David who was summoned as an afterthought from the fields where he tended the sheep was good looking and handsome. Yet, the Lord told Samuel, “ Arise, anoint him for this is he.” The Lord had looked into his heart even as he tended the sheep and saw a heart that was always emotionally engaged with Him: a constant love dialogue running in his heart and mind, praising God for the stars and all that was fearfully and wonderfully made by His hands. Today’s corporates and human resource managers can pick a page from Samuel’s experience: when we recruit people or assign leadership roles, ask the Lord to help us discern the person’s heart as He alone can. In the New Testament times that we now live in, we can ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of discernment that will help us discern not just the hearts but also the spirit of the person. The unique thing about the human heart is that it does not remain the same but can change with changed circumstance. We see what success and victory did to David’s heart- in a weak moment, he yielded to the temptation of adultery followed by vicarious murder. The heart needs to be guarded diligently through a life time. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Answer of Fire

UV 533/10,000 I Kings 18 v 24 The Answer by Fire “And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.” The Lord revealed in a time of prayer that there is a lot of jealousy, ill will, distrust and anger against God’s people. But, He is the God who answers with fire. Elijah, the prophet was outnumbered by the prophets of Baal, 450 to 1. But, he was not overwhelmed. He believed God to vindicate him. He knew that the Lord will give the answer of fire. Elijah dug a trench around the sacrifice and filled it with water. He poured four barrels of water so that the wet conditions would make it difficult, if not impossible for fire to occur. But, the Lord sent fire from above that consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust and the water in the trench. The enemy often wants to entrap us but we are entrenched by the Lord. He sends His holy fire as a wall of protection around us. He will confirm our actions as He did Elijah’s as long as we act according to His Word and will. The odds were against Elijah succeeding against the large number of people ranged against him. But, the Lord is the God of impossible odds. He will ensure that while we may be outnumbered,we will not be overwhelmed. He does it time and again so that people will know that He is the Lord God and they would turn their heart back to Him again. The wood, the stones, the dust and the water are symbols of different degrees of resistance to hostility that we face in our daily walk. Each of these substances represent a varying degree of combustibility or the ability to burn or the propensity to trust and serve God. But, the glory of the Lord will break down all barriers as we live testimonial lives for Him so that the stony heart and the wooden heart, the dusty soul and the watery lives will each catch the fire of God. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Healing of the Nations

UV 532/10,000 Malachi 4 v 2 The Healing of the Nations. “ But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” When we fear the name of God, believe His Word and accept His Son Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we will receive enlightenment as well as empowerment. We will be healed in our hearts, minds and bodies. Healing of our hearts implies being forgiven and being relieved of the burden of guilt and sin. The joy of salvation will make us gambol and run like calves that have been just released from the imprisonment of dark and dingy stalls of their pen into the joyous sun-lit pastures of freedom and abundance. While tied in the stalls they could only feed on what was given to them, but in the pastures of the Lord, they can choose what to feed on. Indeed, no good thing will be denied to those who fear His name. The initial word , “but” indicates that the destiny of those who do not fear His name will be in sharp contrast. The sun rises and sets every day leaving a portion of mankind in darkness. But, once we move from darkness into the light of the Sun of righteousness, Jesus Christ the Sun will never set in our lives again. Our paths will get brighter and brighter as we mature in our faith, as we feed on His Word, as we claim His promises and as we experience the abundance of His love, mercy, truth and grace. Our self-inflicted wounds as well as those inflicted on us by others will be healed. We will rise from strength to strength and victory to victory on the two healing wings of prayer and the Word. We are grounded in reality like four-legged calves but at the same time, our faith will enable us to fly over the mountains or the challenges of our diverse real-life situations like eagles. We will “go forth” or in other words, we will go places for God. We will not remain where we were when we first trusted Him. Supernatural growth or increase in wisdom, knowledge, understanding and in fruits of the Spirit become our “born again birth right”. We can no longer be bound and held in the stalls of man. We will break all preconceived moulds, prejudices and restrictions. We ourselves will grow up to be like the Sun of righteousness reflecting His image in our lives, our testimony,our communication, our deeds, our impact and our legacy in taking His healing to the nations. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Being Tabernacled

UV 532/10,000 Isaiah 4 v 6 Being Tabernacled And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. Virtually every time when we meet for a time of prophetic prayer in the main hall of our house, the Lord confirms that “ this house is my Tabernacle, my church.” Soon after He enabled us to build the house, I was enquiring of the Lord as to what name to give it and the answer came from the Word, “ The Tabernacle.” We called our street, “ The Waves of Mercy Avenue” as a testimony to passersby about the abiding mercy of God. The words, “ And there shall be a tabernacle..” is a specific promise as well as direction to a believer of a habitation where he or she can dwell faithfully in and with the Lord. We build the tabernacle on rock foundations when we hear and do the Word on a regular basis. When we do so, neither the heat, nor the storms nor the rain can affect us. Indeed, the Lord ‘s will is that He is tabernacled in the hearts and minds of faithful people. Since He cannot be contained within the space of a man’s heart, His mighty, awesome and amazing presence then acts as a tabernacle or shadow or shade or refuge for us in all situations and at all times of night and day as well as in all seasons, in our spiritual summer and winter, in drought and plenty, during sowing and harvest time. To take refuge in the Lord implies to find our hope in Him and His Word. The glory of the Lord will be our canopy and cover and His praise, our spiritual anthem. The Lord as our Tabernacle will protect us from the storms of life: storms within-struggles to come to terms with one’s own self and conscience as well as storms caused by external factors- spiritual and mortal, invisible and visible, known and unknown adversaries. He will shield us from their frontal as well as subtle attacks, from physical assaults, death threats, plots and conspiracies, rumours and accusations. He will protect us also, from the lesser threats like rain: the arguments we have with near and dear, the tensions and frictions in our daily life, the worries and anxieties that afflict us. He will be a covert or secret hiding place. When any of these things happen, we can go to His presence, confide in Him, seek His comfort and wise counsel. Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Transformation

UV 531/10,000 Psalm 36 v 7 The Transformation ” How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” God’s love is precious and excellent. It excels or exceeds the bounds of our knowledge, wisdom, expectation and imagination. It cannot be understood in human logical terms. How can a person give up his only son for others? Being the only son, he is precious, yet what made the Father to give up Jesus as the sacrificial price to ensure eternity for others? Though the Son is precious in His eyes, He decided to give Him up for a time for what He deemed to be even more precious, the lives of all mankind for each of us is the apple of His eye or the most precious part of His eye. As the eyelids move over the eyeball, He folds and unfolds His grace and mercy to protect His children. His thoughts towards us are abundant and are contained in the numerous promises in the Word of God. Isn’t it amazing that by just believing in the Son and accepting that His life was sacrificed for us, we who are children of men have our status transformed into being “ children of God”? What does it mean to “ take refuge in the shadow of His wings” In order to taste of His lovingkindness or goodness, we need to hide in His presence. We need to place our lives and our future in His hands. We need to believe that He is both able and willing to cover us with His protective care as a hen covers its chicks to protect it from the predatory eagle. We need to trust and obey Him and believe that He is both able and willing to provide all our need as a mother bird feeds its young. He will both fend for us and defend us from assaults on our name, reputation, well being( spirit, mind and body) and prospects. Not only will we get the wages of our faith – eternal life , but when we hide under the wings of the Lord God, we get the bonus, too- a full reward for our work on earth . We will taste of His abundant mercies, grace and truth. We will be spiritually fed with the precious promises and the precious Word of God. Scripture says that “ we will be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of His house” and drink of the river of His pleasures. In the Old Testament times, the priests ate of the remnants of the ritually sacrificed meat. Now,we partake in the Communion of the body of Christ and in the abundant promises of God that applies to every real life situation any man or woman or child will ever face. The Word of God is a fountain of life, a fountain by which now a particular portion or verse rises in our consciousness and falls like water, and another column of water or another promise rises to fill its place. The primeval instinct of man and beast to “fight or take to flight” is replaced by fleeing to the presence of God and flowing in His abundant goodness. Both our status or our standing before God and the motive force driving our lives are transformed in the process. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Anointing of Joy

UV 529/10,000 Psalm 45 v 7 The Anointing of Joy Pure and unadulterated joy should constantly fuel our hearts and minds. Such joy unadulterated by the impurities of the lusts of this world is the result of life that exemplifies a passion for righteousness or moral excellence and an intense hatred of wickedness. It is the kind of spirit of joy that the Holy God anoints us with when we demonstrate such a passion. Our gladness will make us burst into song and worship from time to time in the course of a day. If one applies oil on one’s head or body, it is manifest in a glistening appearance. Similarly, when the Lord anoints us, there will be an outward sign of an inner change. It will be almost physically evident to others that our attitudes, emotions, thoughts and actions are distinctive from others. When we lead righteous lives and are imbued with such a passion, the Lord anoints us above our fellows: colleagues, friends of the same generation or age, classmates, batchmates and others. We will exude a spiritual aroma that can be compared with the fragrance obtained by mixing myrrh, aloes and cassia. Even our clothes will bear such a fragrance. Every day after a bath, I apply a drop of nard oil all over my body as a symbol of this spiritual anointing. As scripture says, " we are the aroma of Christ." Our faces will be radiant with joy. Our eyes will beaming and full of life. There will be a certain Shalom blessing in the places where we work and live that is missing in the homes of the unrighteous. People are often drawn to the fleshy charisma of glamourous people. But, the anointing of the Lord is a spiritual charisma, an overflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit who keeps our lamps burning till the coming of the Bridegroom or our going to Him, whichever is earlier. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Blessing of the Generations

UV 528/10,000 Genesis 48 v 15 The Blessing of Offspring He blessed Joseph, and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day..” The day our older daughter left our home to pursue her legal studies in the UK, the Lord revealed that we as parents should bless both children in this manner. In the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, we blessed them. Joseph was the blessed one among the 12 sons of Jacob. He was the one whom the Lord raised up through a series of reverses and upturns to vindicate the promise of God Almighty to Abraham to make his descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore or the stars in the universe. Abraham is the father of faith and by faith,we who believe in the promise of God are his descendants. We too should bless our offspring when they come of age in this manner. It becomes their spiritual inheritance even as the blessing of Jacob was the legacy he left to his children and to their descendants. The blessing had three parts to it: that they would be protected from all evil, that they would carry on the family line or name and that they would grow and multiply: angelic or divine protection, spiritual legacy and growth. Abraham was the first person in world history to enjoy a personal relationship with God. His ability to believe the unseen, to live a righteous life and to obey the difficult and even impossible instructions of Almighty God made him stand out from the rest of humanity. The gift of faith and the blessings of such faith continued to Isaac, his son and thereafter, to Jacob the son of Isaac. The word “ walked before” in this uni-verse implied that every step they took every day, every hour, every moment they were in communion with the Lord. They walked in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart. The word “ walked” also implies the following nuances of a living and practicing faith: seek,love, serve, worship. There was a progression in their faith and the consequent real-life experiences they encountered. Jacob herein testified that the Lord was faithful to them as shepherd to his sheep in providing, in protecting and guiding them to their dying day. We must desire that our children and theirs will continue the personal relationship with Almighty God that we enjoy. He will feed them according to their spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical need. As long as they, too walked with Him as sheep walk with their shepherd, He will provide for them, protect them, guide and bless them. The corollary is also true that if they stray away like goats do according to their wont, He will not be able to provide, guide and lead them. The difference between the blessing of Jacob and the contemporary blessing in the name of Jesus Christ is that we and our offspring are more blessed than Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph who as their names and lives symbolized blessing of faith,blessing of fulfilled promises or laughter, blessing of victory in struggles in life and addition ( Joseph means “let him add.”) Jesus Christ is the capstone, the ultimate touchstone of blessing. Whoever is blessed by His touch has all these blessings in this life and in addition, salvation or eternal life as well as access to all the riches of the blessings of heaven and earth. Prateep V Philip

The God of High Excitement

Uv 527/10,000 Luke 2 v 20 Glorify God for the Heard and Seen “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” Life is not a monotonous routine. Faith is not a boring ritual. It is an exciting relationship. God does wonderful things such that the children of men will praise and glorify Him. My children sometimes say, “ Dad, you are boring” if I don’t go along with something new or adventurous or exciting they want to do. But, the Living God is not a boring dad. He likes to create excitement in our otherwise mundane lives in order to create faith, not awe, in order to encourage and build up faith, not to astonish or astound that men draw near to Him and glorify His Name. These positive signs and wonders are the acts of God. But, mankind in our sinful state wrongly describe all disastrous events of nature as acts of God. Yesterday, I was casually chatting and joking with a friend in Hong Kong on google video chat. He asked me something about the miraculous unique inverted rainbow photograph I had taken on my cell camera in a hill station called Dalhousie two years ago. The Lord in response to my prayer did a miracle of turning rainy weather across almost the whole of North-western India into dry and fine weather overnight. At the hill station, while our two daughters posed on a rock, I had taken the photograph. The friend said it must have been refraction caused by water vapour in the air. I replied on video chat that it was not refraction for we can see rays of light delivering the inverted rainbow in splendid colours. Just as I was talking I noticed a brilliant silver light perfect cross across my entire face on the small video screen. When asked the friend in Hong Kong said he could see my face clearly and that there was no cross. I realized it was yet another miraculous sign from the Lord to re-confirm the earlier rainbow sign as a communication or signal from His throne. I quickly took a photograph again with my cell camera.( attached herewith) It is not only the David Camerons or Hollywood producers of this world who have a monopoly of excitement. The Lord is the God of excitement. We hear and see and experience wonderful things that will freak others out. But, we should glorify and praise the Lord as the shepherds did for all the things that happened to them or before them as it was told to them. He does not want us to live mere matter-of-fact boring lives. He desires that we live matter-of-faith wonderful and exciting lives. The shepherds heard and believed. Therefore, they saw and experienced. Many people hear but do not believe. Some do not hear. But, the shepherds who hear and believe will see the wonderful things of God as it was told to them and give glory and praise to Him. We who know Him and lead other sheep to His fold are His modern day shepherds. I am His shepherd as I use my pen to guide people into His pen. The miracle picture attached is His way of confirming my calling. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Attitude of Pilgrims and Sojourners

UV 526/10,000 Hebrews 11 v 13 Attitude of Pilgrims and Sojourners “These all died, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.” People take so much trouble to secure for themselves and their children a bright future for 40 to 80 years but do so little to secure the rest of eternity. The best of us have a hidden and not so hidden pride and confidence in our possessions, our titles and positions, our talents and abilities , our connections and our accomplishments. But, the men and women of faith listed in Hebrews chapter 11 considered this phase on earth a temporary existence. Their perspective was eternal. They confessed that this world is not their permanent home. It is a strange place they are passing by en route to their permanent or eternal home. Though they died before they saw the fulfillment of the promises they received, they believed that God is faithful and will certainly reward their faith. We, too as people of faith should not pitch our tents with the stakes running so deep that we cannot pull it out at a short notice. Instead, we must daily confess our status as pilgrims and travelers and look forward to the hope of the promises the Lord has spoken into our lives in diverse ways. It is that hope that should keep our attitudes buoyant in every circumstance. Our confidence is not in the things of the world that the Lord has blessed us with or we desire to have but our trust is in His Word. Like a pilgrim, we should look forward eagerly to our ultimate heavenly destiny and destination. We should keep our lives and habits clean and pure. Like a traveler or sojourner, we should be always ready to go or move to our next transit point. Our attitude should not just be the philosophical, ‘ this too shall pass away..” but “ this promise that the Lord has given me will be fulfilled” sometimes in time, sometimes after some time and sometimes beyond time in the realm of eternity. We must be convinced without an iota of doubt that the Lord is able to fulfill every promise beyond our imagination or our asking or our expectations. We need to believe that He is mindful and faithful to every word of His promises. As pilgrims, we need to travel light with minimum of fears, disappointments, grudges, bitterness, illusions and other hindering emotional baggage. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Continual Guidance

Uv 525/10,000 Isaiah 58 v 11 Continual guidance And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones:and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters never fail This uni-verse is a wonderful promise of continual guidance. The Lord is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. But, no word has been found in the English language to describe His “ all-loving” nature. His “ agape love” causes Him to guide us continually. He tells us in which paths we should travel, which turning to take, to the left or to the right in the journey of life. He even straightens the paths in which we walk. A shepherd uses his crook to pull the straying sheep back from moving away from the flock. Similarly, He often gently pulls us back to Him as we attempt to stray away from the paths and ways He is leading us on. He is the Managing Director of our lives. He will guide us into all truths. He satisfies our soul or our inner being in times of scarcity. He nourishes our “ spiritual bones” or the framework of our lives with His Word. We will be “ fat” or faithful, available and teachable. We will be like a watered garden, an oasis in the desert. A watered garden will have a variety of plants growing in it, bearing a variety of foliage, flowers, fruits and vegetables. The flowers will be used for decoration,some of the leaves will be useful for nourishment, some for healing. The fruits will be delightful even to look at. The fruits are meant for satisfying our hunger and for our enjoyment. A watered garden will also be fenced and protected against wild animals and other creatures that can destroy the plants so carefully nurtured. The spirits of darkness can neither inhabit nor inhibit us. The angels surround us like “Mahamayim” or a camp of angels. The links of the fencing are tight together so that the foxes of cunning and deceit cannot enter the garden. We will be like an eternal spring of life. A river or a lake or a stream can dry up but the water of a spring never dries up. Rivers of living water will flow from our hearts and minds that will never dry up. The contrast or opposite image often drives home the sense of reality into us. The contrast is that of a person who is neither faithful , available or teachable. As he is not faithful, there is no wisdom or guidance available from the Lord and Giver of life. He makes huge blunders from which he or she cannot recover. Such a person cannot avail of the multitude of mercies available with the Lord. He becomes so set in his ways that he is not teachable. He perishes in his follies, his misery and his utter helplessness. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rejoicing Leads to Peace and Strength

UV 524/10,000 Philipians 4 v 4 Rejoice in the Lord “ Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice.” To rejoice means to be exceedingly glad, so much so it is expressed overtly. Some people rejoice by singing and dancing. But, the believer rejoices in the Lord, meaning that we rejoice in praising and blessing the Lord at all times. When we praise the Lord at all times, our attitudes will remain positive. We will have the peace that transcends understanding or human reasoning. The transcendental peace is not obtained by meditation but by continual praise, prayer with thanksgiving. When we do so, our inner being gets transformed and strengthened to do all things. The first transcendental reason to rejoice is the very Person and Being of God. It is a great privilege that we ordinary mortals can bless the Name and Being of the Lord. We can continually cultivate an attitude of praise and worship in our souls or our deepest being by saying within us, “ Bless His holy Name.” To bless implies to be thankful for, to appreciate, to do good to. When we following the example of the Psalmist command all that is within us to praise His holy name, we are acknowledging with all our intellect, emotions, inner strength and wills that the Lord alone is praiseworthy. We are obeying the commandment that we should love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength. We are thanking and appreciating the Creator for creating us in His image, for creating all our organs fearfully and wonderfully. The second reason to rejoice are the practical blessings and benefits that the Lord in His generousity and grace has granted us. The third reason arises out of an anticipation in faith of the miraculous powers, provision and supernatural deliverance that the Lord is going to release in our lives in answer to our prayers or our need. The fourth reason to rejoice is the victory the Lord is giving us over the powers of darkness, over threats from our spiritual and mortal adversaries and foes. Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sealed with the Holy Spirit

UV 523/10,000 Ephesians 1 v 13 Sealed with the Holy Spirit “ In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” When we hear the Word and believe that it is not just mere words written by men but the precious Word of God, we receive the promise of salvation and eternal life. But, as an earnest or a deposit of that future inheritance, the Lord God seals us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our present help, our comforter, our rememberancer or the one who entrusts God’s promises to us and works in us towards the fulfillment of the promises. He lays the promises of God upon our hearts and minds as a bricklayer lays bricks and cements the bricks to build a structure. The Holy Spirit grows in us like a plant. As we trust and praise and worship God continually, that plant will grow and bear the fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. A seal is a sign of ownership, a symbol of completion, a mark of quality. The seal of Holy Spirit similarly is a sign of God’s ownership of our lives, an evidence of God’ promise to complete our incomplete faith, knowledge and understanding, a mark of the qualities of the true disciples of Christ and true believers in God. The Holy Spirit is a revealer of the secrets of God, the promises and prophecies that are yet to be established. He is an imparter of visions and an interpreter of dreams. He is a sanctifier or the one who sanctifies and purifies the chosen of God. A seal is also a protection against being tampered with. When we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, the spirits of darkness cannot attack us or rob us of our peace and patience. The Holy Spirit will be a wall of fire around us to protect us from such marauding spirits. He is also described as Paraclete or advocate or intercessor. Just as doves keep making a noise in their throats, the Holy Spirit is constantly praying or interceding for believers around the world in sounds that words cannot express. Like an advocate, He testifies to who belongs to God. He lays bare the special circumstances of different individuals. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Transforming Mourning into Joy

Transforming Mourning into Joy UV 522/10,000 Jeremiah 31 v 13 “ Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them,and make them rejoice from their sorrow” The human mind is such a cocktail of emotions, the human body such a mix of hormones that unless the Lord anchors our lives, we are driven like driftwood in different directions. God is not a joy killer. Rather, He desires that young and old both rejoice. He promises to turn or transform our mourning into joy. Mourning is a type of extreme sorrow. Joy is a type of extreme delight. He promises to comfort us and give us reason for rejoicing. The enemy of our souls, Satan attempts to distract us with anxiety, worry and sorrows. He attempts to thwart the will of God by causing us to focus on the negatives in our lives. David used dance as an act of worship. He rejoiced in the presence of God. People including his own wife Michel thought he was intoxicated but he was only intoxicated and saturated with the joy of the Lord. He apparently thought this was the only appropriate way to express his delight at the extraordinary victory the Lord had given him. Virtually, every day in the privacy of my dressing room, I indulge in something I call Freestyle Aerobic Dancing, gyrating to music in gay abandon to express my joy at the extraordinary victory the Lord has given me in many death-like situations. We have two types of rejoicing: one, where we have many positive blessings in our lives. Second, we need to rejoice that the Lord gave us relief in pain, healing in disease, comfort in sorrow, solutions to problems, assistance to face challenges, protection from persecutors, adversaries and rivals, timely help in trouble. He is with us in all types of circumstances. He transforms our circumstances. He tests our heart-attitude in different sets or combinations of circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength in good times and bad times, in prosperity and adversity, in good health and sickness, in success and failure, in friendship and enmity. The joy of the Lord means that when we live in such a way that the Lord rejoices in us, we too would be joyful and strong. In the absence of God in our lives, our joy will be turned into mourning. All of mankind and all through history have been seeking happiness in a variety of temporal ways. But, the more man seeks happiness, the more it recedes into the distance like a mirage in the desert. But, scripture says that happy is the person whose God is the Lord. We need not ignore the causes or sources of our sorrow. But, we need to thank God in advance and expect Him to turn that specific source of sorrow into a source of joy. The ground that is watered with many tears mixed with prayer and faith yields lots of laughter in the days to come. Prateep V Philip

The Secrets of the Lord

UV 521/10,000 Deuteronomy 29 v 29 The Secrets of the Lord “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which were revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of the law.” The Lord reveals many secrets that belong to His realm to His chosen, His children. Yesterday, in a time of prayer, the Lord revealed that the blood of His children through several generations of Abel, Zachariah, Stephen, James is to be remembered by us with thanksgiving to bless the generations of our descendants. It was a spiritual mystery revealed to us for the first time that it is not only the blood of the Lord Jesus Himself but that even of His servants is to be acknowledged and remembered for the blessing of our generations or descendants. He revealed some other secrets and spiritual mysteries. Truths about the unknown and unseen spiritual realms can be presented as sanctified secrets and unsanctified secrets. Cult groups like the Freemasons, The Church of Scientology, the Mormons and so on dabble in the latter. But, believers in Christ enjoy wholesome , sanctified and edifying secrets revealed in prophecies given by the Holy Spirit. We had gathered to pray for our older daughter who is leaving for London to study law in a couple of days. Years ago while both the kids were very young, the Lord had revealed that they would fly to the left and to the right. The Lord said, “ It is by falling that one learns to walk.” He further said, “ A child when born first cries and then learns to smile and laugh later” We might be sad at being parted for a time and some seasons with our first born. In this world, the things that we start with much joy and happiness end in sorrow, defeat and self destruction. But, the Lord revealed His secret concerning her that she must learn, make mistakes and grow strong by gaining experience. He revealed that which starts with tears will end in joy and laughter for the glory of God. Like Mary treasured many things that He heard about Jesus as a child, we must remember these confidences that the Lord had told us as often as possible. But, the secrets of the world are no laughing matter. It can be dangerous and eerie, fraught with consequences. The other day, I was surprised to learn from my older daughter that one of her classmates by putting his faith in what he read in the well known best seller, “ The Secret” began to delve deeper, albeit unwittingly into the world of spirits of darkness. He began to see or visualize demonic forces. Needless the delusionary thinking drove him into a kind of bipolar mental disorder. So much so it caused him to drop out of a prestigious law school. The secrets of the Lord in contrast are life-giving as these encourage us to pursue the truth, to be righteous and faithful. They are our spiritual heritage. They enable us to fulfill the requirements of the spiritual laws that God has put in place. Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dealing with Financial Insecurity

UV 520/10,000 Hebrews 13 v 5 Dealing with Financial Insecurity Heb 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee When Henry Ford was asked, “ how much more money he would like to have?” He said, “ a little more.” It is this spirit of covetousness that drives economies and individuals. People are never contented with even the abundance of possessions that they already have. We are always restless, insecure and striving for even more. Covetousness is connected with the deep sense of insecurity in every human being. Our insecurity is not connected with mere financial inadequacy but a deeper psychological insecurity that we need to fend for ourselves and we cannot depend on any one else for help. The Israelites led by Moses had all their need met on their forty year long journey through the wilderness. When manna was provided to satisfy their hunger, they tried to collect more in order to store it for the next day. But, it spoilt quickly to prove to them that they need only to trust the Lord and He would provide for their daily need. Their clothes nor their footwear wore off. The Lord’s presence provided a shade of cloud by day from the fierce desert heat and a fire by night to provide warmth. The Lord says, ‘ Be content with such things that you have. “ We need to be thankful for whatever the Lord has provided us this far and with regard to future need, He promises that His presence and grace is sufficient to meet every need. Since the Lord has promised never to leave us nor forsake us, 0ur lives must be free from greed for material things or for money. He is our guarantor. He underwrites our existence. He will provide whatever is needed for our lives. He will be our help in normal times as well as in any crisis. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Spirit of Revival

UV 519/10,000 Isaiah 58 v 15 The Spirit of Revival For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. God’s home is in Heaven but He chooses to make His home also in the hearts of the humble and contrite. Isn’t that a great privilege of a believer? Every day when we wake up, we need to be revived: we need to live again- there are new goals to pursue, new challenges to meet, new problems to solve, new troubles to confront. In order to be revived or to have the inner strength to live victoriously, we need the Holy One to live in us. He has set the instructions in our DNA- the original script. That DNA itself requires us to live in close fellowship with the Author of our lives. The World Health Organisation has predicted that as much as 40 per cent of the world’s population would suffer from mental depression by the year 2020. The frequency of mindless mass murder and mayhem being enacted in different parts of the contemporary world is just a symptom of this malaise. When we fail to dwell with God , we end up depressed and despondent. But, the Creator in His great love for us is always seeking for repentant and humble spirits, to dwell with such as these and to revive their hearts and spirit. A contrite spirit implies a brokenness that enables us to admit that we have failed miserably in our lives, in the past and up to the present moment. A humble spirit implies an acknowledgement of God’s amazing and awesome power, His absolute holiness and righteousness and a belief that despite His absolute standards, He is willing to forgive us and accept us as we are once we accept His provision for our absolution. Every day a normal human being goes through several mood swings. In those who are mentally depressed, the mood swings are even more extreme. But, when the Lord dwells in and with us, we are healed and made whole. He revives our hearts and spirits. Our bodies and minds remain healthy and wholesome. Our thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions are directed by the Lord. We share the awesome, amazing and wonder-working power of God. The resources of Heaven and earth are made available to us to overcome all challenges of guilt, fear, depression and so on. It is made available to us to realize the purpose or will of God in our lives. We need to pray every day and constantly, :" Lord, dwell in me and revive me, revive my hopes, my dreams, my relationships,my body,my mind, my spirit, my very life." Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Personal Knowledge of God

UV 518/10,000 James 4 v 8 A Personal Relationship with God Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. The knowledge of God is the ultimate knowledge a man can gain for it is knowledge of the Apha and the Omega, the beginning and the end as well as all that happens in between the two. But, the knowledge of God can be formal knowledge that is gained by being a part of a particular religious system and its beliefs and practices. It can be theological knowledge where one knows about God by a study of the Bible and other related writings. It can be intellectual and impersonal knowledge where one has an intellectual understanding of who God is or a “God concept”. But, this uni-verse asks us to draw near to God as He desires to draw near to us, person to person: it is personal knowledge or relationship with God. Scripture says that if we distance ourselves from God, He would do likewise. If we forsake Him, He will forsake us. In order to draw near to an invisible, omnipotent, holy and just God, we need to be cleansed of our sins of omission and commission of the past. All the waters of all the oceans and rivers cannot cleanse us as the stain is not a physical stain but a spiritual one. It has to be removed from within. Our faith in the cleansing sacrifice of the Blood of the sinless Lamb, Jesus is what can remove the stain. Our hearts and minds that are divided between loyalty to the evil or unrighteous one and loyalty to the righteous Creator, ever wavering between belief and disbelief will be healed and made whole. We will be healed of the spirit of duplicity of deceiving and being deceived. Once our hands are clean and our hearts are made pure, we are ready to embrace the Lord and to be embraced by Him. Our faith has made us whole. We can now draw near to God who is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Salvation, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Father in Heaven, our strength, our Hope, our fortress and shield, our cause for rejoicing, our Friend, our King and Master, our Help. Different testing times and situations in life will draw us even closer and closer to God and He will reveal Himself to be nearer and dearer to us. In the year 1979 a friend asked me the question, “ Do you have a personal relationship with God?” I had no answer. I was double-minded and wavered between faith and skepticism. Some weeks later, the same friend led me into a personal and saving knowledge of God. My hands were cleansed, my heart was made whole. I was saved from the curse of “ hamartia” or always falling short of expectations and of not fulfilling the very purpose of my existence. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Shining Stars in God's Kingdom

UV 517/10,000 Daniel 12 v 3 Shining Stars of God’s Kingdom Dan 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. This morning at the crack of dawn as I walked, prayed and meditated in our garden, the stars, the moon and some planets shone brightly in the sky. The Lord reminded me of this uni-verse where the wise, those who fear God, repent of their sin and accept the remission of sins through Christ , will shine as the brightness of the heavens. They have no light of their own- the planets and satellites that do not shine as bright as the stars that have light of their own. They merely reflect the light of other heavenly bodies. Having repented and received salvation, they will further turn many to fear God and do likewise. When we lead others to God through Christ, we shine even more brightly as stars. We will have light of our own, our own spheres of influence and leadership. The stars in the ancient world were the only signposts that helped sailors and travellors navigate and find their way around. Similarly, believers are the lodestars that guide people into truth and a relationship with God. The powerful emperors under whom Daniel, a former slave who rose in rank by dint of God’ s grace and his integrity , worked were soon forgotten. Their mighty and extensive empires too vanished into thin air as if they never existed. Daniel was wise while they were otherwise. Daniel’s name continues to inspire faith and righteous living to this day. His fear of God and his willingness to risk all for the sake of his faith in God made him shine brightly as the heavens. His encouraging his companions to remain steadfast in their faith, his testimony of how he interpreted the dreams of kings and his writing down the awesome prophecies he received in visions further made him shine as a star. He remains a shining star of God’s Kingdom that lasts forever. He could have chosen the path of least resistance as many do in government service. But, he chose the more risky and more difficult option. Just as a star has gravitational pull, we will attract many people to the light that is in us. We need to be a shepherd to many lost souls, to impart to them that which we have learnt from God’s Word and that which we have experienced in accordance with God’s Word to convince, persuade,warn, teach, explain,train and mentor others in the dynamics of the Kingdom of God. According to this uni-verse, there are only two kinds of people, the wise and the otherwise. We need to make the choice. Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Prayer of Cornelius

UV 516/10,000 Acts 10 v 31 The Prayer of Cornelius Act 10:31 “And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God” Cornelius was a high ranking Roman soldier, a centurion who had command over a hundred soldiers. He was a man of prayer. He gave generously to the poor and his acts of charity were held in rememberance in the sight of God. He was neither a Jew nor an early Christian. Yet, the Lord heard his prayer and remembered his good deeds. He sent an angel that directed him to invite the chief apostle Peter to his house to hear all that the Lord wanted him to do. He sent an armed escort of three soldiers to bring Peter to his house. Yesterday, a man of God called to wish me on my birthday and said that the Lord has called me to do a ministry like Cornelius, to spend time in prayer and to help the needy. For many years I had modeled my life on Cornelius and spent lots of time in prayer and doing what I could to help those I encounter in the course of my work. But, this was yet another confirmation sent by the Lord. Our constant prayers and our acts of service, obedience and charity are the building blocks of a memorial before God’s eyes. When He sees it, He remembers us and He sends His angels to visit us with a direct message from Him. We can be assured that all our prayers are heard by Him and all our petitions answered. Though Cornelius was a just and God-fearing man, a generous person, a person who always prayed, his understanding of God was limited- so much so, on seeing Peter, he fell to the ground and worshipped him. But, Peter asked him to stand explaining that he too was a mere man. Peter then led him into a full understanding of the gospel. For Peter and the Jews from Joppa who accompanied him too, this incident led to an expansion of their faith. Peter realized for the first time that in every nation, any person who feared God and worked for righteousness is acceptable in the sight of God. But, it is God’s will that they be led into a full understanding of who He truly is. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Thoughts and Ways of God

UV 515/10,000 The Thoughts and Ways of God Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. God’s perspective is eternal while ours is temporal, confined to the limits of what we know and have experienced. His ways, meaning His mercy, His faithfulness, His grace and His justice are higher than the stars in outer space. His thoughts of wisdom are deeper than the deepest ocean. His love is multi-dimensional and scripture describes its length, breadth, height as being vast beyond measure. No scientist or intellectual or wise man will ever be able to fathom the depth of His wisdom or understand the extent of His love. We cannot therefore fully understand Him. His thoughts and ways are not only beyond the comprehension of the best minds that ever existed but it is also beyond our individual and collective imagination and consciousness. Yet, despite the unfathomableness of His mercy, love, power, grace, justice and wisdom, He has invested an iota of all of that in each of us. It is present in each of us in mustard-seed or tiny proportions that we can expand to understand, comprehend and experience the infinite goodness of God. What is present in relative and varying degree in each of us is present in absolute and infinite degree in Him. Though we cannot fully understand Him, we can relate personally and intimately with Him more than we can with each other. Apart from the spirit of God that He has breathed into our very nostrils, He has revealed His ways and thoughts in scripture. We learn that though He is vastly different from us, He is like us in some ways. He feels pain and pleasure, sadness and joy though not in the same way we do or for the same stimuli or causes. He enjoys the company of people and relates to people as we do. He trusts us just as we trust friends and colleagues. He uses words to communicate just as we do though that is not the only way He communicates. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Hundredfold Return on Investment

UV 514-10,000 Genesis 26 v 12 A Hundredfold Return on Investment Gen 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him Many people make the mistake of keeping God out of their business thinking that it is none of His business. But, The Lord is adept in business. The principle of return on investment underlies much of scripture. Some of the parables of Jesus are based on this principle. If there is no investment or sowing, there is seldom any return. But, when we faithfully sow or invest our lives, our thoughts, our prayers, our efforts, our resources the Lord promises a sufficient return. One of the titles of God is Lord of the harvest. He determines the rate of increase. Isaac sowed in that land- he did not remain idle. He did not consume all the grain he had. He dug up old wells that had been closed. As his very name meant “laughter”, he maintained a cheerful and positive disposition or attitude throughout the process. He reserved enough for sowing and the net result was that he reaped a hundredfold. The quality of our sowing is a vital factor in determining the extent of our harvest. We need to sow with faith that the Lord will send a blessing upon the land. We need to sow at the right time. We need to sow generously. We need to know the right method of sowing in the land. Sowing has inputs of intentions, time, efforts and resources. Some aspects of the process of sowing need faith, some aspects require wisdom and some require knowledge. We need a blend of faith, knowledge and wisdom to sow effectively. Scripture says the quality of the seed will affect the productivity of the crop. If we sow in the flesh, we will reap in the flesh:bitterness, conflict, hatred, anger and so on. If we sow in the spirit, we will reap in the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. We need to pray and claim that we will reap a hundred fold like Isaac in such qualities of heart and mind that the Lord of the harvest wants to see in us. It is not our possessions or our finances that need to be blessed in this manner but we ourselves. It was not Isaac’s land or his crops that were blessed. There was a hundredfold increase in his yield. It was incidental. For the Lord, the material is immaterial. The Lord blessed Isaac and not just his land. He blesses us in spirit, mind and body that the fruits of our spirit, mind and body be a blessing to many. The ultimate act of sowing is the investment we make into the lives of others around us. Prateep V Philip

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Lord of the Hills and Valleys

1Kings 20:28 And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD. The Lord is God not just of the hills or the high points in our lives when everything is hunky-dory and all is going well for us but He is God of the valleys, the low points in our lives when all is not going well for us. I have come across believers who say they are closer to the Lord in times of prosperity and success rather than failure, trouble or suffering. But, the majority of people tend to forget God in times of happiness. It is in the “valley times” that we feel like clinging onto God just as a terrified child clings onto her mother’s clothes when frightened. The Syrian king Benhadad was deluded into believing that the God of Israel who had given Israel victory in the hilly terrain cannot deliver in the valley or the plains. But, the Lord put the more numerous Syrian army to rout in the hills and in the valleys. The Lord is God of the hills and the valleys in our lives. He will deliver us from the multitude of sins, the multitude of troubles, the multitude of forces of darkness, the multitude of adversaries that surround us. On the hills or high points of our lives, we must be ever thankful and praise God for His blessings. In the valley times, we must depend on the Lord for strength and wisdom. We must expect a great deliverance so that we will know that it is the Lord who has acted and intervened on our behalf. Every man’s life is a series of ups and downs, hills and valleys. In the landscape or geography of life, we must consistently build our relationship with the Lord. It is unrealistic to expect that the graph of our happiness or good fortune will always be rising. When we reach a high point,we need to realize that there is going to be a downturn soon even as a climber once he reaches the peak prepares for the descent from the summit. But, the memory and euphoria of the climb never leaves him but sustains his joyful emotions right through the rest of life. The landscape of our lives might change as it always does but the Lord remains the same. Our relationship needs to get stronger as the going gets tougher. We need to recognize that He is the Lord of the hills and the valleys. We need to recount the hills or high points in our lives and thank God. We also need to equally recount the valleys or low points in our lives and thank God for His deliverance. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Word of Wisdom and Knowledge

UV 512/10,000 Colossians 3 v 16 The Word of Wisdom and Knowledge Col 3:16 “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” In Christ is hid all wisdom and knowledge. Hence, when we hide the Word of God or Word of Christ in our hearts and minds, we have access to all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Treasures are not found in the open and are usually hidden away from sight. It needs to be diligently searched for. Similarly, we need to search for the hidden meanings in scripture and apply it secretly and confidentially in the specific area of our life. It needs to dwell in us richly and not poorly or ineffectually or in other words, we need to dwell or continually meditate again and again on the teachings, commandments, promises and example of Christ in our daily lives. The words, “ in all wisdom” implies that it must not remain mere head knowledge or lip service but it must be diligently applied to different areas of our lives in order to translate into wisdom. This is our daily manna or daily portion of nourishment for our souls, spirits or minds to be taken to and into the inmost parts of our being. But, we must not stop with our personal edification or building up in faith but teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. When we sing spiritual songs, it is not only an act of worship but it encourages us on in our faith lives. We should teach them diligently to our children. We should talk about these when we lie down, when we rise , when we walk. We must write it on our gates, wall posts including Facebook wall posts, the doors and walls of our houses. In our home, virtually every wall is adorned with a portion of scripture. Therefore, the Lord says, “ All your walls are anointed including the bathrooms.” In other words, the Word of Christ must have a pervasive influence on all that we do and everywhere we go and with every one we interact or relate to. When we continually store the promises and Word of God in our hearts, it is a wellspring of joy. A river can dry up, a lake can dry up but a spring never dries up. That joy will manifest in songs that emanate from our hearts and minds. Our tongues will become the pens of a ready writer to pen down a new song of praise to our Lord. “Singing with grace” means that we will be divinely enabled to sing even if we are not naturally gifted and normally given to sing only in a certain room in our homes. I am a musically challenged person but the Lord enabled me to pen down what I call a “ long song of praise and glory” that teaches people who the Great I Am truly and really is. I request readers to pray for the first live concert in which this long song is going to be sung on 21st September, 2012 on the occasion of the World Peace Day. Praise be to the Word, this longest song of praise and worship along with my brief testimony has already been listened to by thousands of people in virtually all nations and parts of the world. You can listen to it by clicking on this link: Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Taming the Tongue

UV 511/10,000 Taming the Tongue Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison I once saw three crows sitting on a ledge on the roof of our house. Two crows were continually cawing. The one in the middle was profoundly silent. I realized that the silent crow was the real leader. Indeed, real and true leaders need not crow about their achievements or even speak for even their silence will be understood and the followers will know what he needs them to do. God is like the silent crow. His true followers understand His Word and His silences and are able to do what He needs them to do. We too must imitate the silent crow, speaking only what needs to be spoken, words that will profit the hearer and not harm him or her or harm relationships or feelings. The boneless human tongue is an immensely powerful organ. It can be used to enhance life or to produce death. Yet, why does James call it “ an unruly evil, full of deadly poison”? It is called so as when it is used indiscriminately and without discernment or discretion, it can harm our own lives, it can harm the reputation of others, it can harm relationships, it can destroy the peace of homes, the equilibrium of organizations. It is by nature venomous and being malleable can be made to turn in all directions. Just as a poisonous snake’s venom is extracted by forcing its fangs to bite into a canvas stretched tight over a vial to collect the venom, we need to have the poison extracted by having our teeth bite into the Word of God. Just as venom needs to be extracted every day as it is generated daily, we need to resort to this process of biting into the Word daily. No man and of course, no woman, too can tame or discipline his or her own tongue. But, nothing being impossible for God, He can tame and discipline our tongue over time. He gives us the power of the Holy Spirit to take control of our tongue. It has been an area of great challenge for me from the days of my youth and my life is littered with countless failures in this regard. But, the Lord promised, “ I will split your tongue and tame it.” Many believers, too have forked tongues that can pour out blessings and curses at the same time, benedictions and expletives, truths and lies. Some use it like an industrial saw to cut up people and leave behind them a long trail of broken hearts and broken relationships. But, the Lord asks us to always keep these four questions in mind before we speak, “ Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it beneficial? Is it timely?” In the silence that precedes our speech, we must find time to do this four-way test before we speak or react to the speech of others. A tongue that is ruled by the Holy Spirit, the Word and the attitude of love ceases to be unruly, evil and full of deadly poison. The venom once extracted can instead be life -saving and soul- saving. The tongue can be used like Barnabas to encourage, to exhort, to admonish, to teach, to build, to repair, to bless, to praise God, to thank, to inspire, to heal, to deliver, to declare. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Power of Hope

UV 510/10,000 Romans 15 v 13 The power of Hope Rom 15:13 "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." The power of the Holy Spirit is the power of hope. It is like the coach who eggs us on and encourages us to run faster towards the finishing line. On account of our faith in Christ, the God of hope, the One who wants to give us hope and a future, fills us with joy and peace. When we are filled with joy and peace, we are filled with the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit who brings all things to fruition or fulfillment. Since God is on our side, we are confident we are on the winning side though we need to fight many battles. It is belief that Jesus Christ has redeemed us and transformed us from sinners into winners that continually and produces joy and peace abundantly in our lives. It is hope that keeps us living from day to day: we hope that our work will produce results, that our relationships will improve, that our health improves, that our finances improve, that the national and global economy will improve. It is when people give up all hope that they think of committing suicide. Even if all or any of these hopes fail us, our hope in God will never fail us. It is not enough we have joy and peace but “ all joy and peace” or joy and peace in all things and situations. It is not enough that we have hope but that we should abound in hope. This is what is meant by full assurance – to have abiding joy and peace in our hearts and abounding hope in our minds about the fulfillment of the wonderful promises that God has spoken into our lives as well the goals and desires that we have set for ourselves. God is described as the God of hope and not as the God who brings disappointment, disaster and destruction. He finds no pleasure in taking away our hope but delights in fostering our hope and faith. He is the one who fulfills the purpose of our lives. Without Him, there would be too many empty spaces in our lives that nothing else and no one else can possibly fill. The birth of the Christ child- Jesus was heralded with the message, “ Tidings of great joy!” as it gave hope for the first time of mankind living forever, our sins or shortcomings being completely forgiven. Christ living in us by virtue of our faith is our hope of glory or sharing the abundant, eternal or everlasting blessings and power of God. Everlasting means from beginning to the end and beyond. The evidence that Christ dwells in us is the hope we have, the joy we manifest, the peace we enjoy. As we grow in Christ, the measure of the hope, joy and peace should be growing till we overflow with the spirit of hope, joy and peace. Prateep V Philip

Monday, September 3, 2012

Follow Christ and Ultimate Happiness will Follow Us

UV 509/10,000 Psalms 23 v 6 Follow Christ and Happiness will follow us Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. In normal life in today’s world, we chase happiness and leave God behind us. Happiness will elude us and recede further and further into the distance. Off and on, we might even find happiness in some of the things we do or find or accomplish. But, when we follow God by dwelling in and on His Son Jesus and His Word, goodness and mercy shall follow us. Even the things or material good that we seek in this world will be added to us. Goodness of God and His mercy will escort us to our divine destination- the house that the Lord has prepared for us in eternity. It will follow us not inconsistently but all the days of our lives. When we seek and pursue God and the things of God or the kingdom of God, the Lord will deliver us from every evil and preserve us for His heavenly kingdom. When we chase happiness, success and prosperity, it is not goodness and mercy but sin, evil and misfortune that follow us. He will guide us with His good counsel and afterwards receive us to glory. The word with which this uni-verse begins “ surely” underlines the certainty of this promise. The house of the Lord is visited not by trials and tribulations as in this life and world but a river of pleasures and in it is situated a fountain of joy. These pleasures and joy are not fleeting or transient as in this world but are eternal pleasures. When we spend our time chasing money or the pleasures it can buy, we pierce ourselves with many sorrows. Evil and our own sin and its consequences catches up with us and overtakes our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Aim to be A Fruitful Vine

UV 508/10,000 Genesis 49 v 22 A Fruitful Vine Gen 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The Lord expects every believer in Him and His Word to be a fruitful vine bearing His seed. Indeed, we are each a fruitful bough or vine that is watered from the well of God’s Word. We will not be restricted by any boundaries or barriers, national, cultural, psychological, social, racial or economic. We will have no limiting factors that will cramp our style, our functioning or our impact. Our branches or our faith in action in different dimensions of life will break all moulds of conditioning and disbelief to exceed all expectations. Even our branches should dip into the water of God’s word. They must point upward to the glory of God. In due course, they will bend downward, heavy with different kinds of fruit. There is a common saying that people throw stones only at a fruit-filled tree in order to knock down the fruit. Similarly, when we are fruitful like Joseph we will invite the jealous attention of even our brothers and sisters, of colleagues and peers. Accusations, insinuations and insults might be hurled at us. Conspiracies and plots will be hatched for our downfall. But, in every situation we will be shielded as the Lord is with us even as He was with Joseph when his brothers threw him into a pit, sold him into slavery, tempted and seduced and thrown into prison. Every arrow shot at him by the archers catapulted him into a new higher orbit till he reached God’s intended position of Prime Minister of Egypt. His destiny was fulfilled :all the other stars bowed to his star, all the other sheaves of wheat bowed to his. It was the divine favour or grace of God that won Joseph favour all round, with his father Jacob, with Potiphar the Egyptian master who bought him as a slave, with the prison overseer, with fellow prisoners and finally with Pharoah himself. He feared God and God alone and determined to steer clear of unrighteousness, temptations and bitterness. He however entertained godly or God-given ambition. We too, need not fear those above us or below us or equal to us in worldly position or status. What any of them think for bad against us, God will turn to good. He will make our foes, rivals or adversaries footstools for our rise. But, like Joseph we must not harbour any ill will or resentment or bitterness or unforgiveness against any of them but thank God for them and bless them in our souls. In the past 25 years as a senior police officer, this has been my experience: many powerful archers have fired their arrows at me but the Lord has delivered me, blessed, honoured and multiplied me. Today, the Lord calls me “ Joseph, my fruitful vine.” Prateep V Philip

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Well Watered and Well Nourished

UV 506/10,000 Job 29 v 19 Well nourished and well -watered Job 29:19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. Our root, meaning our spiritual consciousness or our close fellowship with the Spirit of God should be well nourished and well watered. Many people want the presence of God only at times of their own choosing. But, the believer needs to have a root that is always spread out by the waters so that it is well nourished and well-watered. The water is a metaphor for the Word of God. It should seep into the core of our being as well as every cell or part of our being. It should be spread out so that every dimension of life is influenced by the Word. The result of a life that is well nourished and well-watered is that our leaves or our thoughts, intentions and words would be evergreen and flourishing. We will not be anxious in a time of crisis or weak in a time of temptation. We will not be worried in a time of scarcity or adversity. We will not stop yielding all types of fruit in our lives, of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. The dew of the Lord’s “ Shalom” blessings will keep our lives moist, cool, wholesome and healthy during the night or a time of darkness. We will find encouragement and spiritual succour in such times. The water of God’s Word should well up from within us for the dew of His presence to be upon us. The Lord says, “ Don’t seek my blessings. Instead, seek My Word for when you seek my Word, My presence will be with you, in you, upon you and around you and yours as water surrounds the root that is spread out by the waters of a river or stream or lake. In due course and due time, you will bear fruit and the dew of my blessings will be on you and all that you do.” Our branches shall spread outward and upward in the visible world as the roots spread in the invisible and the deep. Our beauty shall be as the olive tree and our scent as the wine of Lebanon. The comparison in the Word of a productive life with the olive tree is to show that our beauty will not be fleeting like that of the lily but enduring. Prateep V Philip