Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life Giving Flood Waters

UV 565/10,000 Isaiah 44 v 3 The Life Giving and Life Enhancing Flood Waters “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” A thirst or a deep desire for God and the things of God is essential for a seeker to find God. If we take God for granted, He will take us for granted. If we ignore Him, He will ignore us. The thing about thirst is that the more time we take to quench it with water, it deepens and intensifies. Substitutes for water do not work that well. Once He sees that we are truly thirsty, He will satisfy us with the water of life. Jesus promised the Samaritan woman at the well, “ I will give you water that will never make you thirst again.” Her conscience and her past as well as present lifestyle was searing her mind and being with guilt, fear, sorrow and helplessness. The words of Jesus were like water that quenched or put out that fire burning in her and created a new zeal in her for life. The Holy Spirit is at the same time a fire and a quenching spirit: a fire to purify our spirits, minds and bodies as well as the water of life to quench our thirst for righteousness and eternal life. The properties of water is that it cleanses and washes that on which it is applied and that it quenches thirst. Once we are washed in the blood of regeneration of Jesus, it is the function of the Holy Spirit to wash and cleanse us on a daily basis, to anoint us and to apply the Word in our lives. We need to bathe in the Spirit just as a sun-bather soaks in the sun’s light to get warmth or like a bather soaks in water. We need to examine the dry or needy or deficient areas of our lives and expose it to the manifestation of the spirit. Our enthusiasm for God should not be half-hearted or listless in order to have a soaking experience. Virtually every human being has an innate desire to live forever and not to taste death. That desire cannot be fulfilled by worldly or earthly pursuits, however noble or worthy. Substitutes do not satisfy. It can be satisfied or met fully only in Christ. Just as the ground in drought conditions becomes parched,hardened, dry and cracks up, our lives crack up without the moisture, softening and consolidation that water provides. Water is used as a metaphor to describe the role played by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit as it is given freely and abundantly in many types of sources in nature. Similarly, the Word and the Spirit are poured upon us freely and abundantly from the supernatural and spiritual realms. The reference to the “ ground” shows that we need to be grounded in reality and our faith and the manifestations of the Spirit are practical and real. Hurricane Sandy over the past few days devastated the eastern coast of the USA. It was a destructive super storm and flood that can bring any superpower to its knees. But, when the Spirit is poured upon us, He does not leave us powerless, paralysed and maimed. It is a life-giving and life-enhancing flood. Storms are accompanied by floods but the spiritual flood will calm the storms in our lives. We are flooded with the blessings of the Lord, with peace and joy. Not only us but our children and their children, too. If we want to see our children blessed, we must raise them up to be also thirsty for God. The Lord promises to fill them also with the Holy Spirit and enable them to grow to their full potential. The reference to “ floods” shows that our blessing and the blessing of our generations will not be in dribs and drabs but it will be in varied ways and would be amazing, astounding and abundant. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mind, Mouth and Meditation- 3 M

UV 564/10,000 3 M –Mind, Mouth and Meditation Psalms 19 v 14 “ Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” If our mind is led constantly to meditate on the Word and our mouth frequently speak the Word, our lives will be deemed to be pleasing and living sacrifices acceptable in the sight of God. The Word will become the source of our strength and our redemption. Salvation requires a mouth-mind alignment to take place: we need to believe the Word of eternal life in our hearts and minds and confess with our mouths. Meditation all the time on the Word is key to bringing about that alignment. A lover reads the letter she receives over and over again and even delights in the slant and font of each word. A cow chews the cud over and over again. Similarly, we need to run a verse over and over again in our minds, analyse the meaning of each phrase and word and find out how to apply it practically in our daily lives. We will do so when we attach a value greater than that of pure gold to the Word. We will delight in doing so when we remember its taste to be far better than rarest honey. There is an intimate interconnection between mind, mouth and meditation. When we meditate on God's Word, we connect with the mouth and mind of God. Meditation on the Word of God is medicine as well as nourishment. It is the source of joy or emotional upliftment. What the mind sees, our eyes will see. The mind sees the hidden invisible things of God and His realms. It will be only a matter of time that the invisible becomes visible to our eyes. Meditation on the Word enlightens our spiritual eyes with spiritual light. It will heal us of our blind spots or our secret faults as well as our pride and arrogance. It will give us an understanding of where we are going wrong and warns us when we are going the wrong way. It quickens or gives life to our minds that are inured and hardened by sin. Meditation on the Word leads to obedience of the Word and that in turn leads to great rewards or fantastic results or blessings that we will experience in our lives. Mind and mouth management are the most difficult and challenging aspects or areas of self management. The lives of so many have been swallowed by their own minds or their own mouths. Meditation on the Word will give us success in these two difficult areas and open our lives out for success and effectiveness in relationships, marriage, family, parenting, career and life as a whole. On one of my visits, I was surprised to find my father-in-law more sprightly and healthier than before. When I enquired, he said that a friend had brought him a lot of vitamins and encouraged him to take it regularly. Similarly, meditation on the Word will give us enough dosage of the five spiritual Vitamins A, B,C, D and E- Awareness, Boldness, Calmness, Determination and Energy. It will kickstart our spiritual metabolism. It will bolster and strengthen our faith. It will transform our soul and in place of our innate and inherent folly, the distilled wisdom of the Rock of ages will be instilled and installed in us. Meditation on the Word needs to be preceded and accompanied by prayer so that the Holy Spirit will interpret and reveal the hidden meanings of the Word in our specific context. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keeping Faith

UV 563-10,000 Genesis 3 v 3 Keeping Faith Genesis 3 v 3 “ But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” From the beginning of time till this day, Satan is trying hard to prove God is a liar. The only one thing that is impossible for God is lying. Eve first believed the words of Satan over the Word of God. Adam then took the words of Eve over the Word of God. They were given multiple right choices and one wrong choice. But, they made that one wrong choice. They distrusted the Word of God and trusted the words of Satan and of each other. That is why just as it is by lack of faith man broke away from the Kingdom of God or rule and reign of God in our lives, we can be restored also only by faith in His Word. Today, mankind has multiple wrong choices and one right choice- to believe the Word of God over the words of Satan and over the words of other men and women or their ideologies, philosophies, religions and speculations. The Word of God is called in the singular, “ Word” and not ‘words’ as it is one whole truth, any part of it is wholesome, true, consistent and unchanging. The words of Satan and man will keep changing according to circumstances. Satan paraded untruth and deception as truth. As a result, man fell from grace or the favour of God. Jesus is called by the apostle John as the Word. The Word of God is full of grace and truth. Grace and truth are the two sides of the heavenly coin. The truth will convict us of our fallen nature. Grace will restore us to God-intended and God-willed nature. With faith we can buy the true spiritual riches of the Word. With more faith we can buy more spiritual clothes to cover our spiritual nakedness. We can buy more salve or ointment for an anointed vision. We must never allow any one else’s words to override the Word of God and to cloud our vision. When we do so,we are keeping faith with God. The fall came on account of breaking faith with God’s Word and the restoration will also come by keeping faith with God’s Word. This is the reason, Scripture underlines faith as the basis of our personal relationship with God. Belief in the words of Satan led to the loss of innocence of man. His ability to reason, to be aware and to question and to disobey increased from generation to generation. The Word of God restores us to life and eternal life. It will touch our hearts and minds and revive our souls and spirits. It will feed us and nourish our innermost being. Though we listen to the words of our nearest and dearest, we will give overriding importance to the Word of God. We will live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. When and wherever there is a conflict between the words of our fellow beings with the Word of God, the latter will be relied upon and acted upon. The Word is given primacy and priority. When we do so, we fulfill the very purpose of creation and the will of God and we inherit the right to eat of the fruit of eternal life. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dual Focus in The Duel of Life

UV 562/10,000 Dual focus in this Duel Psalms 45 v 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore, God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. In order to maintain our spiritual equilibrium, we need to not only have a model of righteousness before us that we should seek to emulate but we also need a model of wickedness or unrighteousness before our eyes that we must avoid. The model of righteousness is Jesus the “Christ” or the Anointed One of God. The model of unrighteousness is Satan or Lucifer. We need to constantly imitate the One and repulse and repudiate and abhor the other. When we love Jesus, the very embodiment of righteousness, we love righteousness. When we hate Satan, the very source and embodiment of wickedness, we hate wickedness. An archer or a marksman has to aim at only one target. But, we as humans need to aim at being like one and aim at avoiding the ways of the other. The anointing of victory and joy that was upon Jesus will be given to us, too. God will set us above our companions even as Daniel and his friends were set above the other trainees. His face will shine upon us. His favour and grace will surround our lives. The joy comes from the sense of victory over temptation. It is this sense of joy that filled and sustained Joseph in his difficult years in prison as he resisted temptation. He knew in his inner heart that the Lord will once again lift him above his companions. The anointing of the Holy Spirit will release a joy that cannot be explained by the circumstances one finds oneself in. It will in fact be the cause of breaking free from the situation- a breakthrough. To be passionate about righteousness and to hate evil is the very heart of God. So a man or a woman who loves righteousness and hates evil is moulded and shaped after the very heart of God. To hate evil implies that one should not just ignore the negatives that are happening around the world. It does not also mean we take up cudgels personally against every evil in this world. It means that we bring it to the attention of God in prayer. The anointing on us will imply that the Lord will release His power to defeat the specific force of darkness that is at work, however mighty or formidable that force is. In the current US Presidential election for instance, there is a call to every faithful believer to pray for the defeat of forces that support anti-God and anti-life issues like gay marriage and abortion. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Burden of the Watchman

UV 561/10,000 The Burden of the Watchman Isaiah 21 v 12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come The Lord is appointing different watchmen in different nations who will watch from His tower for the changes in times and to interpret the changes to His people. Jesus told His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, “ Watch and pray.” As His disciples,we are to be watchful or observant of all that happens in the nation. As spiritual people, we should not make the mistake of burying our head in the sand like an ostrich so that we do not perceive what happens in the world. All the information and knowledge we can gain from all our sources in the places we are living and working will be grist to our mill- in the sense, they will give us our focal points for prayer. Newspaper headlines will become our prayer points. We are to watch from the top of the tower implying that we have to tune our hearing, our vision and our thoughts all the time to listening to the Lord. We are called to be Samuels to the nation- meaning that we hear God and are heard of God as we carry the burden of the nation to the Lord. A watchman’s job is to be alert, to be always ready to face a threat, to sound an alarm. It is our job to protect the sheep in the fold from false doctrines and cultic teachings, from man-made rules and religion. It is our responsibility to take in prayer the things that we observe in the world and the church to the Lord and to take the things the Lord speaks to us back to the world and to the church. We need to be patient and wait on the Lord in times of night or adversity. We need to be sensitive to the move of the Holy Spirit to be able to interpret the times and the pointers to events in the calendar of God. There are many things that we see and notice but do not speak about. But, these will become strategic action points. We need to enquire actively of the Lord when the morning will come or that which we hope for, the second coming of the Lord, the resolution of our difficulties. We need to enquire of the Lord when the night will come- times of adversity or spiritual famine when people will cease to be faithful to God or to each other. Knowing the times will help us make wise, timely and correct decisions and use appropriate methods better suited for either the morning or the night. It will lend a sense of urgency to our vision and its fulfillment for we will know the appointed hour. Then, we can urge those who have back-slidden in their faith to return to the Lord and persuade those who are sick, helpless,weary and hopeless to come to Him for solace, healing, help and leading. A watchman is called to be faithful in little things. Then, he will be given greater and greater responsibility. A watchman does not own the house. He realizes that the house belongs to the Lord. A watchman is also courageous, patient, diligent and eager to see the break of dawn. Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Abundant Life

UV 560/10,000 John 10 v 10 The Abundant Life “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The purpose of creating trillions of stars is to show the abundance of God. But, the world’s economy is built on the principle of scarcity. We are all born with a scarcity or poverty mentality. It is because the chief thief, Satan stole our faith and trust in the God of abundance. He stole our peace, our inner joy, our spiritual inheritance. He killed our soul in one stroke leaving only the shells, our bodies and minds. He destroyed our sense of hope and our unity as one race created by God. He imprisoned us in emotional prisons of guilt, fear, anxiety, sorrow and pain. Scarcity implies that we need to struggle, we need to enter into conflict if necessary. It imposes on us a spirit of fear, anxiety and insecurity. It makes us ever grasping and rapacious. Whatever we do, we need to know , ‘ What’s in it for me?” Our past, present and future are tense. If we happen to be positive minded, we will have the outlook of the perennial half-filled cup. If we are negative-minded, we will have the perception of life as a perennial half-empty cup. But, Jesus came into the world to restore us to the abundance mentality, to restore us to our spiritual inheritance of abundant blessings or Shalom. He came to bless us in this life as well as for the rest of eternity. He came not to take away or steal but to give and to bless and to multiply. He came not to kill our joy but to give us abundant joy. He came to revive our souls and resuscitate our spirits. He came not to deny us but to affirm us as co-heirs with Him. We become heirs of every promise of God and thereby, we inherit hope. Our hope when fulfilled becomes crystallized into increasing faith and trust. Our faith as it grows becomes agape love or the abundant love of God. Hope, faith and love will fill our lives with abundant grace. Grace will reign in us through righteousness. We are full of assurance and a sense of security. The abundance mentality places on us the responsibility to be generous with our time, attitudes and resources. We must examine ourselves constantly and give up the thieving ways we learnt from the chief thief. Our mouths should not confess words like “ I do not have it” or “ I cannot do it”. We need simultaneously to cling to the abundant mentality and let go of the scarcity mentality that we were formerly conditioned to accept as reality. We must learn to enjoy and share the abundance of spiritual riches, emotional riches, intellectual riches as well as physical riches that our eyes are now opened to. Our outlook is transformed to the perception of the overflowing cup. Prateep V Philip

The Work Spectrum

UV 559/10,000 The Work Spectrum Ecclesiastes 9 v 10 “ Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” The colours of the rainbow can be used to explain different types of work: the violet indicates our spiritual work,the indigo indicates our efforts to use our talents and our natural gifting, the blue indicates our work to comfort others in their sadness and in alleviating their suffering, the green indicates our work to grow, intellectually, emotionally, financially, professionally ; the yellow indicates our efforts to become wiser and more understanding; the orange indicates our sacrificial work and finally, red indicates our work to spread the message of the hope of the gospel. We need to do all these types of work with all our might or with the sense of utmost commitment. Together, the colours of the spectrum represent the glory of God as well as a covenant promise of the Lord to be with us as we work, to partner with us, to lead and guide us and to bless the fruit of all our labour. The motivation for work is to do our utmost for the highest or as the Jesuit motto puts it, “ All for the greater glory of God.” In order to do our utmost, our work should be preceded by a great deal of planning and accompanied by a great deal of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is needed to take the right decisions in the different areas of work. Wisdom is valuable as it tells us what choices we are to make: the choice of words or tone or gesture in our communications with our co-workers, the choice of methods, the choice of team members and a myriad other choices that we make on a day- to- day basis. While wisdom is about judgement and insight to make correct decisions and to correct our course of action when we go wrong, knowledge is about the details, the nuts and bolts of different types of work. It is the hands on and hard-nosed application of what we know to what we do. Our work will be known by the results it brings even as a tree is known by its fruits. Our work has implications and effects beyond the grave. It will be tested in fire, remembered for its quality and rewarded for its results. The interplay of four four- letter words: “PRAY, PLAN, WORK, PLAY” constitutes life itself but it goes far beyond to have eternal consequences. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Contrasting Patterns of Need Satisfaction

UV 558/10,000 Contrasting Patterns of Need Satisfaction Psalm 34 v 10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing People who operate only in the natural are like the beasts of nature referred to in this uni-verse as “ young lions”. They operate on the basis of their natural abilities, drives and impulses. Hence, they are blinded to what they themselves truly need. Though they appear healthy, happy, powerful and prosperous, they lack a wholesomeness in their lives. They starve themselves spiritually. They are on a path that gets gloomier and gloomier as they grow old. Their ultimate destiny will be similar to that of the beasts who do not know their Maker and lack understanding and wisdom. But when we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will be greatly blessed. The fear of the Lord will preserve us from being too confident of our natural inclinations and abilities. We will gain understanding and wisdom. We will not merely satisfy our physical hunger but our hunger for the emotional and spiritual will be constantly satisfied. We will not be like the predators, feasting on the weak. The Lord will supply all our need according to His generousity and the abundance of His provision. What we do and what we own will be blessed, preserved and multiplied. Scripture says that “ the righteous will lack no good thing.” The sense of security that the worldly have is in the abundance of things they possess. But our sense of security is in the personal relationship we have with our Lord and Saviour. Randomness, chance and greed predominate the patterns of the world. But, definiteness, precision and generousity mark the provision of the Lord. We will not place our confidence in money or what it can buy. Yet, we will have what we need at the time of our need. The sense of diligence with which people of the world pursue the things of the world is directed by us to seeking, studying and pursuing the Word and the Will of God. Our sowing, growing and reaping are blessed. Sometimes, even without sowing and reaping, the Lord provides as He does for the birds of the air. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Practice of Humility

UV 557/10,000 I Peter 5 v 6 The Practice of Humility “ Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” God opposes the proud in heart but He looks with favour upon those who consciously humble themselves before Him. Humility implies lowering oneself to regard or do certain acts that are normally considered below one’s current status or position or occupation. Jesus lowered Himself from being the King of Kings to be a mere human being. The first three letters of “humility” and human are the same. It implies that we should always know and understand that we are framed from the “ humus” or dust of the earth. We should never exalt ourselves in our thoughts or imagination. Scripture exhorts us to consider others better than ourselves. Humility is a lifelong process of putting our egos to death and to be clothed instead with the grace of God. There are beliefs of humility, expressions of humility and acts of humility. To acknowledge that we are creatures and not self-created or evolved from lower forms is a belief of humility where we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the Creator. Every morning I lie prostrate on a mat on the ground as I pray to the Lord. That is an expression of humility. Meekness of manners and attitudes makes us inheritors of the earth’s richest blessings. When we serve others particularly when it is not our bounden duty as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, it is an act of humility. Humility is not the same as servility but it is more to do with servanthood. Humility also implies that we stand up for God in this world. When we honour Him, He honours us- this is a spiritual axiom. It is not contradictory to the concept of self –esteem. While earlier our self-esteem was based on our concept of our family, job or social status, our abilities and achievements, now our self esteem is based on the fact that the Lord esteems us as His children. As we humble ourselves more and more in our beliefs, our expressions and our actions, the Lord will exalt us more and more. When we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He promises to raise us up in due time. The word “ exalt” means to lift up, to promote, to honour. In the world, people are exalted due to their ability to compete as well as their ability to scheme and put others down. It results in bitter rivalry and fights. But, when we humble ourselves before God, He will choose the time and place to honour us. Daniel humbled himself to seek God and to do His will in his life and God raised him up. From the first day, Daniel sought God’ s will, His favour or grace was upon him. But, in due time Daniel was promoted or exalted by successive kings. God raised him up by releasing a special gifting of the ability to interpret dreams in him. Daniel also humbled himself by placing his life at risk in incurring the king’s displeasure in not bowing to his statue. The Lord exalted him by protecting him in deadly situations. Obedience or submission to God’s will is an act of obedience. The Lord also exalts us by not allowing our enemies, spiritual or human, to triumph against us. Mordecai and Esther the Queen obeyed the Lord’s will and as a consequence, Haman fell a prey to his own machinations. Esther and Mordecai were exalted on account of the Lord’s grace. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Life of Inspiration

UV 556/10,000 A Life of Inspiration Gen 2 v 7 “And the Lord God formed man of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Life is itself caused by inspiration. We were inspired by the very breath and spirit of God. Hence, if we are not living a life of inspiration, inspired by God and inspiring others we are the dead walking. Since we are formed of the ground, of its dust, we have an earthy and down to earth nature of being practical, pragmatic and obsessed with the tangible. We accept only the physical realities around us and the limitations it imposes on us. We believe only in the possible. We can be oriented towards the practical and the tangible or material but we must never be obsessed with the physicality of life. We are spiritual beings having a part time human existence and not human beings having a part time spiritual life. The reality of course today is that many people have living bodies but dead souls. We need to have a living soul inside our living bodies- a soul that acknowledges and adores the God who inspires us. If we recognize the fact that none of us made ourselves and nothing happens in this scientific world without a cause, then we need to believe in the unseen God who is our Maker, Creator, Potter, Father and Sustainer. We need to not only clothe and feed our physical bodies but also feed and clothe our living soul deep inside us. We need to feed our souls not just once in a way or once in a week but every day and all the time. We need to believe in the God of the Impossible. We need to constantly inspire or breathe in scripture that is God-breathed. Scripture is the spiritual equivalent of oxygen. When we so inspire, our souls will never expire. There is a downward gravitational pull on our bodies and an upward pull on our souls. The earth says, “ You are made from me- you belong to me. You stay here.” But God says, “ You are made by Me, of Me and for Me.” That incidentally is the definition of a believer- a believer is made by God, of God and for God. We re-connect with God through Christ and remain inspired by His Word and the Holy Spirit. To inspire means to be more and to do more. When we inspire others, they end up being more and doing more. Prateep V Philip Listen to the spoken Word UV 556 by cutting and pasting the url below in your browser:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gateway to Heaven

UV 555/10,000 Genesis 28 v 17 Gateway or Getaway ? Genesis 28 v 17 : “ He was afraid and said, “ How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” If we remove the letter ‘ f’ from the word “ life” we get the word ‘lie.’ A life without faith in the living God is a lie or a series of lies. When we are restored to faith and a right relationship with God, we are restored to life. Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a gateway to heaven. Anything else is a getaway from reality and the truth. Jacob, the young man, who robbed his elder brother’s birthrights, was trying to get away from the truth and run away from reality. But, His encounter with truth in a dream at Bethel, restored him to a right relationship with God. Jacob, the deceiver becomes transformed into Jacob, the believer. When we are in right relationship with God by faith in His Son Jesus, we encounter the Truth with a capital “T”. The Truth tested in life becomes testimony or evidence of God. Our bodies and lives become the “ house of God” or Bethel. Our lives become awesome. Our hearts become the gate to heaven. The gates of heaven are the praise and worship of God. He will communicate with us as He did with Jacob through dreams and visions. It is written that Heaven’s gates are made of a single pearl. A pearl is formed out of the secretions of the oyster in reaction to pain and irritation caused by a particle of dust. Similarly, our past and present troubles become the gateway of heaven or reasons to praise God for their miraculous resolution or for divine intervention. Our faith interacting with our challenges, problems and persecution will lead to “ secretions” that will cause our spiritual growth to maturity. When we are in right relationship with God, our lives become the points in eternity where angels descend and ascend. When we are at rest, they encamp around us as at Mahamaiyam, the camp of angels. When we engage in prayer, praise and worship, they climb the stairway of Heaven. They ascend to carry our prayers, petitions, praise, honour and thanksgiving to the Lord of the heavens, the earth and Heaven. They descend to bring back answers, solutions and blessings from the Lord. Right relationship with God through faith enables two way communication between God and us. Jacob was afraid as the dream shook him to his roots. But, we need to rejoice as we gently, slowly and surely send down our roots into the seed-bed of faith in the presence and promises of God. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Strength in the Lord

UV 554/10,000 Ephesians 6 v 10 Strength in the Lord “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord , and in the power of His might.” The Word repeatedly asks us to be spiritually strong. Scripture warns us that the strength of youth will fail, the strength of horses and chariots will fail but when we avail the strength of the Lord, it will never fail us. We are to be empowered by wearing and carrying the full spiritual armour: the assurance that we have eternal life in Christ, the sword of the Word of God, a righteous lifestyle, willingness and eagerness to share the gospel and steadfastness in holding on to the truth. In addition, we need to pray in the spirit always with supplication for our needs and intercession for others. When we do all this, we are clothed with the power of His might. There is a need to wear the full spiritual armour as we are constantly up against the deception of the enemy of our souls. He rages against us both openly and subtly. He can operate from within us, using our own thoughts and attitudes or from without, by using the ruling powers of darkness of this world. Our faith is our dart and arrow-proof shield. We need to actively use the Word in our conversation, our prayers and our thoughts for it to be a powerful weapon and not just a showpiece on the wall. When we do all this,we will be able to withstand any spiritual assault on us. We need to be first equipped, then we need to be enabled or trained and finally, we are empowered. In our attempt to "spiritualise" everything, we forget that the Lord also promises to strengthen us physically, too. For years on account of my severe injuries, I used to drag myself out of bed feeling weak and tired. But, after I consistently prayed asking the Lord to strengthen me like a “ bull of Bashan”, He even strengthened my hands and legs like the rear feet of a stag. Scripture also exhorts us to be strong in the grace of the Lord. In our weakness is the strength and glory of God revealed. The world is prepared to celebrate and use our strengths but disowns our weaknesses. But, the Lord in His grace turns our weaknesses into strengths. We are strengthened in the inner man by His grace. We should not be afraid or discouraged or disappointed. Instead, we should be courageous, patient and persevering. Our inner conviction is “ I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” We are to be hopeful that our work for the Lord will be rewarded as He has promised to do so. To be strong in the Lord also implies that “ the joy of the Lord is our strength.” In other words, we delight in the things the Lord delights in and that becomes the source of exceeding power, exceeding the challenges we face in our daily lives. Prateep V Philip

Resurrection Power

UV 552/10,000 Resurrection Power Galatians 2 v 20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” When we take baptism, we identify ourselves symbolically with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus our Saviour. It is a massive transition from believing in Jesus as the Saviour of the world to accepting Him as our personal Saviour. As far as the law is concerned, our payment for sin is made. Imagine the Cross with charge sheets of sins of billions of people nailed on it. We have paid the price though vicariously through the death of Christ for following the lusts of the world, the lusts of our flesh. Now, we have a different calling to live for, to live for our Saviour for the rest of our earthly lives and for eternity, to live to fulfill not our wills but God’s will. We need to daily practice dying to our wills, our fleshly desires, our egos. We need to daily practice burying our pride as well as shame, our fears and inhibitions. To die in Christ means to die to our past ambitions, desires, priorities and habits. We command our ego “ Ye go” and “ He comes.” It is no longer “ I” alone who is living in this body but “ I –in –Him”. To live in Christ means to live a life filled with the power and hope of resurrection. The new life is a resurrected life. The power of Christ is manifest in various ways in our resurrected lives. One of the first physical events after the resurrection was the moving away of the huge stone boulder that blocked the tomb of Jesus. We too need to move the formidable obstacles that hamper and hinder us out of the way. We need to live not just with faith in Jesus, the dead Saviour but with the faith of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. Maturity implies that we move from a mere faith in Jesus to grow into the very faith of Jesus. The only way to respond to such love as of the Father and of the Son is to give our lives as a sweet-smelling living sacrifice to God. “ Sweet-smelling” implies our lives should be pleasing to God. In simple managerial terms, it means re-ordering our priorities, replacing our agenda with God’s agenda. Where formerly, we lived for our own gratification and glory, now we begin to live for the gratification and glory of the Lord. We do live in the flesh and we do have material or monetary needs. But, we make even the mundane and routine a way to seek the gratification and glory of God. Even in the midst of our work or leisure,we take time to remember the Lord. He will make our days and our lives productive and useful. The disciples returned to their fishing nets after the climactic events of the Resurrection week but Jesus appeared and asked them to cast their empty nets on the right side of the boat. Their nets were filled with fish so much so they found it difficult to draw the nets. Resurrection power fills our formerly empty and vain lives with fulfillment, meaning, power and purpose. The “ hamartia” ( Greek for shortcoming) of mortal and carnal sin is replaced by the abundance of amazing glory and grace. Prateep V Philip

The Vision and Method of God

UV 553/10,000 The Vision and the Method of God Zechariah 4 v 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. I have heard even a well placed believer taking pride in the fact that he is working directly under one of the ten richest men on the planet and that what an impact it would have if his boss would be touched by God. But, the Lord says, “ it is not my might.” It is not by might of wealth or worldly influence that the Lord accomplishes His purpose. It is not by human wisdom or valour or force or the power of standing armies that He will execute His will in the lives of people. While God can and does use people in position and power to accomplish His will, it is not His principal modus operandi or way of doing things. Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David and he was a governor in the Babylonian empire. His name means “ born in Babylon”. We too are descendants of David by faith. Zerubbabel thought that the Lord would intervene with His right hand of power to deliver the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. The right hand of God is a symbol of direct physical manifestation and deliverance even as the Israelites experienced in being freed from Egyptian bondage. But, the Lord through an angelic revelation tells him that this time round it will be by the move of the Holy Spirit that His will would be executed all over the earth. We too might be living in a kind of Babylonian captivity and longing for freedom and release. Zerubbabel sees the vision of a golden candle stand with a bowl of oil on top providing oil to seven lamps and two olive trees on the right and left of it with their branches dipping into the oil. The golden candle stand with seven lamps is the global church, the bowl on top is full of the blood of the Lamb that fuels the faith of the global church. The two olive trees stand for individual believers like us who are constantly walking in the anointing of the Spirit. The vision implied that the Lord will establish His will and His Kingdom through the Spirit moving in the world-wide church and through faithful blood-washed and Spirit- anointed believers. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Awesome Presence of God

UV 551/10,000 Jude 1 v 24 The Awesome Presence of God “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” God’s grace is not for later but for us to avail right now. It is like the oxygen that flows through our nostrils to our lungs to keep us alive physically. Similarly, God’s grace, love, mercy and truth are sustaining us spiritually in this evil world. We have two legs to walk on to stand firm and to keep us from loosing balance and falling- grace and truth. Our walk with God implies that we walk on our two spiritual limbs- we first hear truth, get convicted of our fallen or sinful nature. We then rely on grace to make up for our shortcomings. Just as one leg follows or alternates with the other, throughout our spiritual journey we walk first on truth, then on grace till we stand before Him to receive our crown of righteousness for living a life of overcoming. The truth of God’s Word will tell us where we are falling short and then grace will move ahead to make up for that shortcoming. We should be confident that He is able to finish the good work of faith He started in our lives by perfecting us. We have fault-lines running through our personal history and character. But, the Lord will cement these fault-lines with His love and grace. He will then present us faultless or blemishless before the throne of God. When a person is introduced to royalty, the word used is “ presented.” I was presented to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth by the Director General of the British Council in India as an honour on winning the inaugural British Gurukul Scholarship for Excellence and Leadership in 1997 ( India’s golden jubilee). Those of us who were so presented thought it a great honour. We were briefed not to profer our hands to shake unless she did and to address her as “ Your Majesty or Madam.” But, it is a much greater honour to be presented to the King of Kings. I acknowledged it by presenting a Bible to the Queen in which I wrote, “ May the King of Kings bless your Majesty.” When we were presented to the Queen and as we conversed with her, it struck me that she was just an ordinary elderly person in dainty clothes and a matching hat. Our sense of excitement evaporated. But, when we stand in the awesome presence of the Lord we will be filled with an inexplicable and overflowing joy. The glory of His presence has a transforming effect on ordinary human beings even as just the fact that the Lord Jesus was with His disciples, they were transformed into extraordinary apostles. Their tiny footprints that would ordinarily be confined to the shores of that glorified lake, the Sea of Galilee left a lasting and indelible impression on many lives, nations and generations to this day and for all time to come. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Meaning of Redemption

UV 550/10,000 The Meaning of Redemption Isaiah 43 v 1 “ But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine.” Scripture reveals that the God Lord created us, meaning mankind for His glory and for fellowship with human beings. The very purpose of creating us in His image or being vested with aspects of His divine personality and character is that we can enter into and remain in a personal relationship with Him. But, like Jacob we are reluctant followers of God- by our very nature, we tend to run away from God and instead of yielding to His better judgement, generous grace and perfect will we like “ Israel” struggle with God. The word “ redeemed” or ransomed implies that for a time we were sold or purchased by the enemy of our souls. Jacob means “ heel catcher” as he caught onto the heal of his elder twin Esau at the time of birth. In the book of Genesis, it is written that the Saviour would crush the serpent or Satan under His heel. So when we are redeemed by our trust in the name, plan and work of redemption of Jesus of all mankind, we too can crush evil under our heel. We have power to crush serpents and scorpions under our feet. We shall show our heel to our foes and adversaries. Jacob was given a new name, “ Israel” by God Himself. Similarly, the Lord gives each of us a new name that defines the essential aspect of our personal relationship with Him. Our status is altered by faith: we are no longer Jacob or Israel but we are the redeemed children of God. He calls us by our name and calls us His own. Therefore, we need not fear sin or its consequences- death and its relatives. He did not just create us but He formed us in our mothers’ wombs. He did not just form us, but He transforms us. Since He owns us, whatever belongs to Him is ours to share. He will lead and guide us. He will purify us and create a zeal in us to do good works since we are His handiwork. He does not promise to keep us out of difficulties but he promises to help us in difficult or even impossible situations. The word “ now” in the uni-verse implies that this is a continuing commitment or covenant of God with each and every human being who choses to believe in the promise. The uni-verse starts off with the word “ but” which implies “ despite all our doubt, past experiences and faithlessness. The Lord gives us a fresh beginning. The consciousness or knowledge that we are His and He is ours should keep us from fearing. The simple words, “ Fear not” implies that we should neither feel guilty about the past nor anxious about the future. Many believers crucify themselves between the two thieves- guilt about the past and anxiety about the future. Since He has formed us personally and called us by our names, He will hear us when we call Him as He will recognize our names and fulfill our need. He knows what we are made of -spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and physically. He knows our bodies and its infirmities and strengths more intimately than a physician. He knows our minds and our thinking in greater detail than any psychologist or psychiatrist. He knows our desires and our longings more personally than our parents or our spouse or our dearest friends. He will not let us be ashamed or confused. He will give us victory, triumph, success and fulfillment as no one else can. Prateep V Philip

Focus on the Giver

UV 549/10,000 Focus on the Giver James 1 v 17 James 1 v 17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Life is a good gift while eternal life is a perfect gift. The natural and the supernatural are both gifts of God, gifts from God. Our intelligence and natural talents are good gifts, our wisdom and knowledge of the Word are perfect gifts. These gifts are like the light that brings the glory of God into our lives day after day. The naturally as well as the supernaturally gifted sometimes are tempted to fall into the error to think that they own the gifts, that they deserve the gifts and the appreciation that the gifts bring. But, we must always remember that we are only stewards of the gifts whom God has trusted that we might use to reflect His light in a world of darkness, to bring hope and the taste of salvation and blessing into people’s lives. They are not meant to be used selfishly for self aggrandizement or self glorification but for edification or building up the faith of others. The other day the Spirit told me to say a “body prayer” or a prayer to praise God for every organ in our bodies. We need to thank God for giving us eyes to see, ears to hear and tongues to speak. We need to thank the Lord for giving us grace to use these in the way we need to use it for the glory of God. Our organs are symbols of a deeper spiritual reality or truth and work in unison for the holistic and total health and well being of the whole person. Scripture says that even though we as a species are evil, we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our perfect Father in heaven give gifts to those who ask Him? “ Evil” implies that we are capable of changing our intentions, our words and our actions but the Lord does not change, once He decides. He does not waver. When we ask in faith, He will give us the inner spiritual gifts like wisdom, discernment, understanding and the gifts of the Spirit like prophecy, interpretation, healing, authority to cast out demons, word of knowledge and word of wisdom. In this world, the focus is on the gifted. If one is unusually and naturally gifted with extraordinary beauty or intelligence or talents, he or she becomes the focus or “icon” of adulation. It is like the magnifying lens claiming that the sunlight that passes through it for a time is its own light. As a result many of the gifted only flatter to deceive like Tiger Woods in recent times. Focus either on the gift or the gifted tends to destroy the gifted from within. Instead our focus should be on the Giver of good and perfect gifts. Scripture again says that there is diversity in the distribution of gifts even as there is diversity in the operation of gifts. We need to pray not only for spiritual gifts but also the grace to use them in a way that pleases the Lord. The same Lord and the same Holy Spirit is the giver to fulfill the needs of the Body. According to the need of the church and the world, the Lord distributes the gifts in His sovereign will. According to the ministry to which one is called, the Lord gives gifts: for some are called to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists and some to be pastors and teachers. The use of gifts is the responsibility of believers. We need to be diligent and humble in the operation of the gifts. Faith is needed to receive the spiritual gifts even as faithfulness is needed to use it wisely. Prateep V Philip

The Sacrificial Bridge

The Sacrificial Bridge UV 548/10,000 Jonah 2 v 9 “ But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving, I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” Sometimes, our real-life harsh or tough experiences wake us up to the verity of eternal truths. Jonah literally inside the jaws of death, the belly of a whale, still remembered the Lord God who He believed was able to lift him up from the pit of death, decay and corruption. He vowed to himself that he would offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord of His salvation. Facing imminence of death and holding on to faith is a very intense experience for the best of human beings. Jonah vowed to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord of his salvation. Jonah sacrificed his self will to re-create the bridge between the Lord God and him though a little earlier he had tried to run away from doing God’s will. The intensity of of near-death experience and the joy of such a great deliverance moves people to offer a song of praise and thanksgiving. In the year 1996, I first vowed to myself that I would write a long poem in praise of God for the tremendous experience of deliverance in two near-death situations. I desired to compete with King David who wrote the longest Psalm 119 in making it longer. In the year 2007, under inspiration I was able to complete it. It was an elaboration of how the Lord defined Himself to Moses, “ I AM WHO I AM.” I desired to make it the longest elaboration of who God is and what He does in our lives. Sometime in 2009, I felt the desire to convert this long poem of sixty stanzas into a long song- the longest praise and worship song in the world. It was released as an audio CD and the entire song was uploaded on Youtube where thousands of people in many nations have accessed it, listened to it and read my short testimony. After Jonah made this prayer and offered his song of thanksgiving, the Lord commanded the whale to vomit Jonah on dry land. Through out scripture, one finds songs of thanksgiving and praise being sung by many people like Moses in the Old Testament and Mary in the New Testament. An offering of praise and thanksgiving sung from a grateful heart precedes, accompanies or succeeds great deliverance and victory over overwhelming odds and deadly circumstances. It is an occasion and an opportunity to bear witness and declare to others that “ salvation is of the Lord.” For Jonah, it meant a change of direction in his life. The Book of Revelation mentions that “ they sang the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. “ The song of Moses is documented in the book of Exodus but there is no record of the Song of the Lamb. It is a song sung only in Heaven praising the Lord Jesus for the salvation He made possible by laying down His body and life as a sacrificial bridge between the Earth and Heaven. Prateep v Philip

Saturday, October 13, 2012

ASKing -the One Habit for Transformation

UV 547/10,000 Mathew 7 v 7 ASKing- the one habit of transformation “Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find;knock, and it shall be opened unto you” Attitudes correspond to the asking component of our faith. Seeking corresponds to the skills or use of skills component of our faith and knocking to the knowledge component. With what attitudes are we asking the Lord? Is it an attitude of reverence, thanksgiving, adoration, faithfulness, love, joy and patience? Or is it an attitude of complacency, selfishness, doubt, fear, impatience and resentment? It is the distinction between the sacrifice of Abel and the sacrifice of Cain. Our attitudes are our mental IP address, our house, our place of stay. If our attitude is joyful, we are living in the house of joy, if it is thankful, the house of gratitude, if it is faithful, the house of faith, if it is forgiving, it is the house of forgiveness and so on. The house wraps our entire being around in 360 degrees though it is only a thought in our minds, an emotion in our hearts. We are surrounded, covered and filled with the attitude. That is why the Proverbs advice us to guard our heart or our attitudes for out of it are the issues of life: issues of health and sickness, success and failure, joy and sadness, courage and fear, honour and shame, prosperity and poverty. Are we using our God-given skills with diligence and perseverance to pursue what desire He has placed in our hearts? This is synonymous with seeking faithfully. Are we knocking on the right doors at the right time? We need to use our knowledge, discernment and depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It should not be a blind call for we will end up knocking on the wrong door, leading up to circumstances the Lord had not intended we land up in. The connectivity between our attitudes, skills and knowledge is essential to bestow Shalom or the wholesome and holistic happiness, peace,success and prosperity the Lord blesses us with. It connects the being with the doing and the having. The word “ shall” used with each verb or action of asking, seeking and knocking implies certainty and no element of doubt or uncertainty in fulfilling this promise. Many believers ask but do not seek or knock. Some seek but do not knock. The quality of our asking, seeking and knocking is vital. We need to ask believing not that we will receive that which we ask for but believing that we have already received. We need to ask according to His pleasing will not His permissive will. We need to ask with thanksgiving for past and current blessings. We need to ask specifically and persistently. We should seek diligently and with all our heart. We should knock on the doors of Heavens and some doors on earth but not in such a way that we knock it down. We need to knock with discernment, reverence and sensitivity. The Lord will answer us in amazing ways. We will receive more than we ask for or more than we expect. We will discover the awesome and the miraculous dimension of life. Unexpected and expected doors or opportunities to share in the glory of God will open up in the course of our lives. We don’t need Stephen Covey’s seven habits but just this one habit of ASKing will transform our lives. Prateep V Philip

Our Divine Help

UV 546/10,000 I Samuel 7 v 12 Our Divine Help “ Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” The name “ Samuel” means “ heard of God.” When we are heard by God in our hour of distress, we need to set up a memorial as Samuel did. A memorial need not be a stone monument –it can be a place and time we remember, mark and record the glorious ways in which the Lord had helped us and our spiritual and physical forebears including Samuel in the past. Samuel praised the Lord God of Israel for helping them. Thanks to the Lord’s help, the Philistines, the mortal foes of the Israelites under Samuel’ s leadership, were subdued, defeated, controlled and contained. Ebenezer is one of the titles by which we praise God. As the Psalmist writes, “ our help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” He helps us even as He does not undertake to do all of it on our behalf. He helps us with encouragement from Scripture. He helps us out of tight situations and crises in life. He helps us become successful and effective. Since He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth, He is the ultimate owner of all heavenly and earthly resources. There is no limitation on the extent of help or the kind of help He can render us. The Lord does not maintain an aloof, stand-offish stance by just setting up a helpline for us to access Heaven. He could have merely commanded His army of angels to help us but He Himself delights in being our Helper. Indeed, given our need and vulnerabilities and the odds against us, we are in constant need of His help. Every believer, indeed every human being needs His help but many are too proud and independent to acknowledge it. But, it is interesting that even the doubtful agnostic or the hardened atheist in distressing situations do not call out to their parents or friends, but they cry out, “ Oh, God!” The word “ hitherto” implies that since our past experience is that the Lord has helped us, we base our faith not on a blind trust but on the evidence of experience. The Israelites had a history of being helped by the “Ebenezer God” from the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the time of Moses and beyond. In the time of Moses, the Israelites were helped in amazing ways in being freed from the bondage of Egypt- the first freedom movement in history. Similarly, the Lord proved Himself sufficient and dependable in diverse situations in our lives. It is interesting that the Lord Himself as mentioned in the book of Revelation writes a new and divinely selected name for us on a white stone. That name on the white stone will indicate how we lived our lives for Him on earth and how we helped to bring His kingdom or rule on earth. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Furnace of Afflictions

UV 545/10,000 Zechariah 13 v 8 The Furnace of Afflictions “ And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God” A third or a significant number of the citizens of the Kingdom of God or believers will pass through the most severe tests of pain and suffering. The purpose is to refine us, to purify us of the dross of selfishness, disbelief and lust. When I underwent fiery trials, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me. He said, “ This proves that you are my dearly beloved child for what Father who loves His child will not discipline him. You will be the better for this experience.” Silver is refined seven times over in a refining pot to attain a level of 100 per cent purity. Similarly, the gold ore is melted in the furnace. It is a series of afflictions that often makes our dried up faith and emotions flow like molten gold in the furnace. There is a difference however with the goldsmith’s methods. The words “ I will bring the third part through the fire..” implies that the Lord will accompany us through the fire and ensure we are safely through. When Daniel’s three companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in the furnace, the Emperor Nebuchadnezar was amazed to see a fourth one in the furnace who looked like a “Son of God.” In 1997, on India’s golden jubilee the Indian Express group announced a contest called the “ Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul” contest open to all citizens of all ages. The entries were to be true life- changing experiences. My story won the first prize with Jack Canfield awarding it 10 on 10 saying, “ I cannot take a single word out of it.” I wrote about my fiery trial at Sriperumbudur in the world’s first Human Bomb assassination of a leader. I wrote about how a group of women went to the goldsmith and asked him till what point he would smelt the gold in the fire and the goldsmith replied, “ Till I see my image in the gold.” That story recounted by a visiting believer at my bedside in hospital had healed my deeper spiritual and psychological wounds. The Creator – Redeemer wants to see His reflection in our lives. It is towards this end that we go through fiery trials. A time of intense pain and suffering is not a time to weaken our faith or resolve. Rather, it is a time to cry out to the Lord. He promises to certainly hear us and heal our wounds and afflictions. It is a time to draw closer to the Lord. It is a time for mutual affirmation where the Lord will say, “ These are my people,” and we will affirm, “ The Lord is my God.” As believers we have to often drink the very cup of suffering that the Lord drank. But, He will not test us beyond the capacity of our faith or our ability to endure. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

God's Positioning System

UV 544/10,000 Isaiah 30 v 21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” The Spirit of the Lord keeps prompting us at strategic points in our lives as to the practical decisions we are to take, the paths we have to traverse. The Lord is always behind us solidly like a rock egging us on. He likes to pariticipate, be involved and partner with us in literally leading our lives. He indicates the turning points in our lives, the decisive or defining moments in our lives when we should change direction or shift gears. He indicates when we need to slow down and when we need to accelerate. It is like a spiritual GPS or “God’s Positioning System.” Everything is mapped in advance but it is for us to hear the voice of the GPS to turn left or right or to keep moving straight ahead. He knows the roadblocks we are going to encounter ahead. He knows whether there is a cliff with a “ death fall” ahead. He desires that we prosper and profit but not on our terms but on His. We need to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as it will come like a whisper in our inner ears. We should not allow the din of our own desires and the seductions of the world to drown it. If we do, then we miss the leading of the Lord. A few weeks ago, I spent some considerable time to carefully arrange some very important documents in a file and remember to have carefully kept it on the top of a drawer. The next morning when I looked for the file, I found no sign of it. All kinds of thoughts raced into my mind as to the consequences of the file not being traced. Then as I spread-eagled myself on the floor, asking for “ the answer of peace” it was almost as if I was bodily lifted. I heard an inner voice telling me, “ look behind the drawer.” I got to my feet, rushed and tried to put my fingers throw the narrow gap behind the drawer and found some paper. Later, a carpenter opened the drawer and I was able to retrieve the file. The Lord told me, “ when you have panicked at several moments in your life, I rushed to your side and guided you on what you need to do.” The words, “ This is the way” indicates the specificity, accuracy and timeliness of the Lord’s guidance at our points of need. In the parable of the old poor woman who lost her only gold coin, she prayed and the Lord guided her to find her treasured possession. Similarly, when we pray the Lord leads us to discovery and revelation of a treasured truth. Apparently, even He enjoys the thrill of a treasure hunt. There is no easy giveaway in the faith-life. The words “ walk ye in it” implies that we must respond to the voice of the Lord with implicit and explicit obedience, with an attitude of submission, trust and confidence. We must be committed to “ die “ to our own wills, whims and fancies. “ Die” implies we need to respond with Diligence, Integrity of heart and Excellence. We must be prepared to walk on the straight and narrow path, the more difficult choice, the more challenging and adventurous path, the righteous path, the path that requires patience and hope. We must not swerve to the left or to the right, meaning we must not be influenced by the thoughts and words of other people. At all times,we must incline our inner ears to hear His quiet meek voice. Prateep V Philip Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Go(d) with the Flow

UV 543/10,000 Jeremiah 30 v 19 Go(d) with the Flow “And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.” When we continually pour out from our hearts and minds thanksgiving to the Lord for all He is and declare all His works in our lives, a true sense of inexplicable joy will pour out of our soul and fill our entire being. Praise and thanksgiving is a natural outflow of a supernatural experience of God’s mercy, peace and grace. The natural instinct of survival of all species including mankind is “ fight or flight” but when we trust the Lord our natural instinct is replaced by a supernatural instinct of “ flow”. Air flows in throw our nostrils, blood flows through our arteries and veins. Similarly, thoughts and emotions of love, joy and thanksgiving towards our Saviour-God flows in our hearts and minds. Fear is replaced by faith. Anger by peace. Hatred with forgiveness. Joy will rise in us like a fountain. Like a fountain, it too has its ups and downs but we will continue to “flow together to the goodness of the Lord”. When we “ flow” , the Lord promises to multiply us. He is the God of multiplication and addition while Satan is the spirit of division and subtraction. The latter divides our minds with doubts and fears and subtracts our peace and joy so that we cannot flow. The very word “ subtraction” reveals the strategy –“ sub” meaning to pull down below current level of “ traction” or momentum or flow. We can defeat the latter in his own game by thanking and praising the Lord for a particular difficulty or affliction or challenge that we are facing as it will be yet another occasion, another opportunity for the manifestation of God’s glory and grace to take us to the next level or rung of faith,strength, power, satisfaction and fulfillment. For instance, I glorified the Lord for my traumatic near -death experiences when I agreed with the Psalmist when he said, “ It was good that I was afflicted that I might learn His holy will.” It is the enemy’s conscious plan and willful design to make us “ small” and “ few”. But, it is the Lord God’s will to “also glorify” us. God never gives His glory to others but He delights in sharing His glory with His children. When we glorify the Lord with praise, thanksgiving and declaration of His works in our lives, He seeks to glorify us. Isn’t that an amazing promise that we too despite our sinful states will share in His glory? To glorify means to magnify or to cause us to excel in our being, our becoming and our doing. It implies that we will experience an unexpected supernaturally caused increase. He takes the seed of our need, our desires and our dreams to multiply and so glorify His Name. For instance, for several years, I secretly nursed a dream that if I had Rupees Ten lakhs, I could set up a Training and Administrative office for the movement I had started with a national and global vision. In the year, 2002, the British government instituted a new award for innovation in policing of 15,000 GBP or Rupees Eleven lakhs at the time. When the result of the Commonwealth-wide competition was announced, I was once again surprised to find that I had won the very first award meant for overseas entries. Glory to the Lord! Thanks to that seed money, as on date a hundred and fifty thousand police and volunteers throughout the state have been trained, sensitized and empowered. He truly multiplies us. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Obtaining Official Favour

UV 542/10,000 On Obtaining Official Favour :Nehemiah 1 v 11 “O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.” Nehemiah occupied a position of trust with the king of Persia. Yet, he went into his presence preceded by prayer and reverence. He first prayed to the King of kings and sought His favour. He acknowledged that though he served the king as his trusted cupbearer, he was in truth the servant of the Almighty God whom He desired to fear. He did not reluctantly fear God but He wholeheartedly delighted in fearing the Lord. He trusted in the king but he trusted more in the power and goodness of God. When we need to meet decision makers or people in position and authority, we need to go into the presence of God and ask the Lord to likewise prosper us. Believers should not develop an other-worldly attitude. Instead, they must aspire for positions of trust and authority where they can be a positive influence for the kingdom of God. The other day a pastor was telling me that a youngster told him that more than the testimony of a pastor or evangelist, when a person in position like me testifies to the goodness of God and the truth of the gospel, he would be more inclined to believe. He said, “ a cricket ball costs say Rs 100/- but in the hands of Sachin Tendulkar it is quite different and valuable as compared with being handled by an ordinary player of cricket.” Yesterday, a believer referred by someone else met me. He was burdened for the plight of another longtime partner of a home for destitutes. The latter was suddenly arrested and remanded to jail over a land deal that he had executed in good faith some twenty years ago. Though the matter did not directly fall in my area of authority or jurisdiction, I was moved and convinced to do something to help the man get bail. I therefore called the District Superintendent and requested him to use his good offices as I felt that there was a miscarriage of justice. I realized that the Lord had kept me in this position to be of help in such situations. My mere call was enough often to help such people out of desperate situations. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Treasures in Earthen Pots

UV 541/10,000 2 Corinthians 4 v 7 Treasures in Earthen pots 2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We have a choice to be a golden pot that is either empty or full of poor content or to be an earthen pot full of golden treasure. Most of the icons of sports, entertainment,politics, science and technology and culture fall in the former category. The very word, ‘icon” means “ I con” or I deceive and am deceived. Take the case of one of the best known icons of our times, Tiger Woods. He admitted he was deceiving his family, his friends, his admirers, his fans and above all his own true self as he carried on with several extra-marital liaisons. A better alternative is “ I believe”for we who believe are earthen vessels that are full of the treasure of heaven, the personal knowledge of our Creator-Redeemer, the knowledge of His Word, the excellency of the power of God. Unlike the icons of glamour and earthly power or position, we revel not in our external prestige or qualifications or qualities but we empty ourselves of our own egos so that God fills us. As a student I used to define myself as “ a mediocrity striving for excellence.” But, the Lord told me that I don’t have to strive for excellence. Since I am carrying His name and His Word in my heart and mind, I am excellent by virtue of the fact that the God of excellence dwells inside me. Since we are all made of the same clay, we need not strive with each other as rivals or adversaries. We need not be envious of the golden pots who seem so fortunate as we know we contain a far more enduring and precious treasure. Like the widow’s pot in the Elisha story, our pots are initially empty. But, as we believe and obey the Word of God, our pots get filled to overflowing. Faith creates the space in our minds and hearts to be filled with the excellency or abounding measure of the mercy, grace and truth of God. The source of our personal or professional excellence is not anything that we ourselves have attempted or done but it is the power of God working in us. Since we are filled with the excellency of the power and grace of God, we cannot be ordinary or average or mediocre in our lives and its impact. When people look at us, we have no visible external beauty or charisma. But, the secret of our strength and power lies within us. The “ treasure” that we contain is the faith that the Holy Spirit gifts us with. The promises of God contained in the Word are the treasure that we should cherish and relish. The vision, the prophetic word, the dreams that the Lord places in our lives are part of the inner treasure. Our heart is where our treasure lies. We must from time to time taking out this hidden spiritual treasure and take stock, remembering the Lord with thanksgiving. Since none of it is due to our own doing or accomplishment, it will not be the source of pride, lust or covetousness in our lives. Prateep V Philip

The Royal Priesthood

UV 540/10,000 Revelation 1 v 6 Royal Priesthood Rev 1:6 AndG2532 hath madeG4160 usG2248 kingsG935 andG2532 priestsG2409 unto GodG2316 andG2532 hisG848 Father;G3962 to himG846 be gloryG1391 andG2532 dominionG2904 for ever and ever.G1519 G165 G165 Amen.G281 Christ by his sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary purchased for us with His blood salvation or eternal life, implying that we will not be subject to a second spiritual death after our spirits depart from our physical bodies. But, not just that He has made us kings and priests or part of a royal priesthood in the order of Melchizedek. We are not born kings and priests but He has made us so. Hence, we derive our authority from the Lord. We must always remain accountable and thankful to Him for the exercise of godly authority and priestly office. As kings we have authority over all rulers and princes of darkness. We can wage spiritual warfare to claim back souls and to extend the dominions of God. Mechizedek was paid a tribute by Abraham. Similarly, we will eat of the fruits of the Gentiles or unbelievers. People in position and power will tremble and fear when they encounter us as they see God’s inner power at work in us. He has called us from the spiritual darkness or blindness of this world into the light or full vision of His glory. As kings we must make plans for the extension of God’s authority and power in the areas of our influence. As priests we must lead sanctified or pure lives. As priests we must offer prayers and worship on behalf of all the people we know who do not yet know, understand or believe Him. As kings we execute the will of God on earth. As priests we are His ministers to serve Him in all our ways. We can stand in the gap pleading and interceding for nations or the rest of humanity. The Lord will not remain deaf or mute as we plead with Him. He will send His angels, His spirit servants and even His servants in flesh and blood, believers to help us, to facilitate our work or to fructify our plans. As kings we need to be firm in the exercise of power and authority but as priests we need to be meek, compassionate, understanding and patient. The Holy Spirit once affirmed me through the words of a prophet, “ You know how to handle authority with humility and firmness.” Once I read in the paper that an astrologer predicted big disasters through out the world in a particular year. I prayed not just cancelling the power of that prediction, I prayed for the particular astrologer. The latter and his wife saw and testified to seeing a vision of Jesus. As kings we need to pass decrees by mingling our prayers with the Word of God declaring and proclaiming victory over every power of darkness. Then, the Lord will ordain and order even the forces of nature to work to help us or assist us in our task. Many leaders try to echo the thoughts of new age philosophers who say that when we are pursuing a particular purpose, even the universe will conspire to create circumstances favourable to us. This is a myth. The universe is as inert as a piece of wood or iron. It is the Creator of the Universe who ordains and orders our circumstances. All glory and dominion are meant not for the creation but for the Creator, the Father of lights. Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Awesome Acts of God

UV 539/10,000 Exodus 34 v 10 The Awesome Acts of God And He said, “ Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” Our relationship with God is based on a covenant just as the relationship between a man and his wife is based on a covenant. The words used are in the present continuous tense, “ I make a covenant.” The Lord continues to make a covenant with each of us individually. Just as a couple are expected to be faithful to each other through thick and thin, we are expected to be faithful to the Lord. All glory and honour and power and dominion belong to the Lord and when we stray away from our covenant relationship, it provokes the anger or “jealousy” of God. The Lord promises that in the midst of all the people among whom we dwell, He will do marvels that have never been done before on the earth or in any nation. All the people in whose midst we live will see the awesome work of the Lord. He promises to do an awesome thing not unto us but with us. This is the reason the testimony of each believer is quite different and unique. The other day I met a believer who lost his son in an accident. While they were mourning, the Holy Spirit appeared in a vision accompanied by a gust of wind and comforted his wife by allowing her to talk to not just that son but to see him holding the hands of three other lads whom they had lost at birth. The Lord was keeping His covenant promise to do an awesome work in his life. What the Lord does with us is nationally unique and globally unparalleled. He is not just the one and only God but He is an Unique Person. He delights in manifesting His uniqueness in our lives. He is merciful, gracious, patient and abounding in grace and truth. The manifestations of the power of God are not meant to impress or to awe but to reveal a combination of these qualities of His personality. The worship we offer must not be a reaction of fear but in the nature of a love song from our hearts in the manner of the Song of Solomon. There might be sub-themes and sub-texts but the overarching banner is love:” My beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” The thanksgiving we offer therefore must not be out of a sense of obligation but an outpouring of gratitude for just His being there for us. Our prayers must not be a litany of petitions and requests but an acknowledgement of our faith that He is able to do all things in, for and through us. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Call to Be Peace Warriors

UV 538/10,000 I Timothy 6 v 12 The Call to be Peace Warriors Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hath professed a good profession before many witnesses. Fighting for one’s faith is as high intensity as warfare itself. The expression “ war footing” implies that one needs to mobilize all of one’s strength and resources in order to fight victoriously. There are no consolation prizes for losers. It is a mighty war calling for the manifestation of the power of the Almighty for we battle not against flesh and blood but against the powers of darkness. We are called to be peace warriors. A peace warrior is one who fights the battle within against fears, guilt, greed, lust, pride, anxiety and doubts. The Lord says, “ be a warrior not a worrier.” When we have won the battle within, no force on earth can withstand us. As scripture says, “ The riders on horses will be confounded.” The “riders on horses” implies those who are occupying positions of power and influence much higher than us will be confused and defeated as we face them unarmed but in the strength of our courage and faith. We face the challenges that life throws at us with the word of truth, the power of God and the armour of righteousness. Wearing the full armour will protect us from the deception of the enemy. The chief weapon of the enemy is to delude and deceive us. The respiration process of the peace warrior is prayer, continual prayer. We do not fight in the manner of flesh but fight in the spirit, tearing down spiritual strongholds of disbelief and deception. This is the “ good fight” where we shed love and peace and not blood or violence or hatred. We do not do shadow boxing or in other words we do not loose our focus and priorities but remain focused on the goal of winning the incorruptible prize of eternal life. We will not only start and continue the good fight but also finish well. Our faith and our resolve will not get weakened with time or circumstance. The essence of the victory of the peace warrior is the confession or profession of faith that he or she makes. The confession releases the power of God. When I told my then boss, the Superintendent of Police of the district where I was working in May 1991, “ My God will save me..”, without my knowing, it released the power of God to save me in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. If we confess before any human witnesses with our mouth, we are bringing our mouths in alignment with the mouth of God. We confess and profess as God speaks and the witness or the audience or the person listening to our words will see the mighty power of God at work in our lives. Though we are unarmed and vulnerable, our words will become armed with the very power of God. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Building the More Glorious House

UV 537/10,000 Haggai 1 v 14 Building the More Glorious House “ And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God” It is the work of the Holy Spirit to “stir up” the people chosen of God. The Lord the Holy Spirit awakened or opened the eyes of the ruling elite, the priestly class and the rest of what was left of the nation of Israel or the “ remnant” to re-build the temple or house of God. It is not as if the God who created the vast universe needs a place to stay but it was a test of the faith and allegiance of the Jewish diaspora scattered in the Babylonian empire. The Lord stirs up the people so that they do not lead mere self-focussed lives symbolized by their “ paneled houses” (mentioned in Haggai chapter 2) but give priority to the work and worship of the Lord of hosts. Our earthly obsession with creature comforts should be replaced by a Godly obsession with the “Creator-Comforter.” There is a progression from the purely physical to the purely spiritual from Genesis to Revelation in the Bible. What is physical in the Old Testament prefigures the spiritual in the New Covenant times. The stone tablets with the Ten Commandments of Moses is replaced by the hearts and minds of people in the New Covenant on which the Holy Spirit writes the Word of God. The temple of Solomon is replaced by the more glorious temple of our living bodies, minds and spirits. In every age and every nation, the believers of the God of the Bible are but a “ remnant”. But, the Holy Spirit stirs up the hearts and minds of the Zerubbabels or the people in high office, positions of influence, responsibility and leadership, the Joshuas or the prophets, pastors, evangelists, the priestly office. The Lord also stirs the minds and spirits of the remaining members of the remnant who belong to all walks of life. He builds them up individually to be a temple of worship of the living God while each will also be a living brick in the overall edifice of the church, the Body of Christ. It is not for just the leaders or the priests to do the work of God but for all to use their good offices, both individually and collectively. Before their spirits were stirred up or their spiritual eyes were opened, the people focused on their own priorities in life. But, the Lord transformed their purpose in life. From pursuing temporal happiness symbolized by “ paneled houses”, the Lord of hosts gave them a higher vision. Formerly, the dew of heaven was withheld from them. God sent a drought upon their lands, their forests, their cattle and upon all their labour. Whatever they gathered as wages or harvest seemed to be going into empty bags with holes. There was a sense of emptiness or lack of fulfillment in their lives. As Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes, it was all like “chasing the wind.” But, now as we worship the Lord of all heaven and earth in our spirits, minds and hearts, He is glorified and dwells in and with us. We will each do the work of the Lord in His house. He blesses all of our being, our possessions and all of our labour. It will no longer be a chasing of the wind but fulfillment of His sovereign purpose for our lives. This is the more glorious temple He seeks to build. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rise and Build

UV 536/10,000 Nehemiah 2 v 18 Rise and Build Nehemiah 2 v 18 Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. It is the role of the leader in the church or God’s Kingdom to inspire and enthuse the people to build the church and God’s Kingdom. Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the king risked incurring the displeasure of the king but he looked for an opportunity to win his favour and petition the king to help him rebuild the fallen walls of Jerusalem. He moved out of his comfort zone and made personal sacrifices in order to do so. For the ancient Jews to rejoice when the temple was in ruins, when Jerusalem was overrun by enemies was apostasy. As the Psalmist wrote, “ How can I sing in a strange land?” When the city and the temple of God is in ruins, it is an open reproach to everyone. Nehemiah was moved in his heart and spirit to remove that reproach. As a royal official, Nehemiah enjoyed certain creature comforts in the palace of Susa but he was ready to forego all that and sought the king’s permission to undertake the long journey back to his homeland. But, he did not seek to undertake the task of rebuilding alone or merely with the king’s help. He enthused the people by sharing his experience of God’s mercy and grace He used it as an opportunity to glorify God and to build faith.. Building the church and God’s Kingdom on earth requires leaders with vision and people with commitment who share the vision to do something good or great for God who is the source of all goodness in our lives. It requires a strong sense of individual commitment as well as corporate effort of the whole house of God, the body of Christ, the people who know Him and love Him as Lord and Saviour. Nehemiah was intensely spiritual even as he was completely pragmatic. He knew he needed the king’s patronage not only in terms of raising the resources he needed for the project. . He needed the backing of the king’s authority to put off the formidable enemies of the Jews like Sanballat. He carefully took stock of the need. He secretly and confidentially surveyed the work to be done. Many of the Jews had been taken captive and taken away to distant lands, to the far reaches of the Persian empire. What remained in Jerusalem was a remnant of the race, of the house of Jacob, a demoralized people. Yet, God used Nehemiah to motivate them and take up the challenge of rebuilding from the ruins. It was the Lord who had stirred up their spirit. The people of the Jewish remnant responded by strengthening their resolve and contributing their mite. “ To rise up” means to draw strength and reserves of energy from deep within. Both the poor and the rich elite, the skilled and the unskilled, the talented and the not so gifted among them did not deem it below their dignity or above their means to contribute to physically re-building the wall apart from making contributions in cash and kind. They wanted to re-build a house for God that was even more glorious than before. The work to be done on different sections of the extensive walls of Jerusalem including the gates were divided among the different groups of Jews. From each according to their ability to each according to their need. When they faced opposition and even the threat of physical attacks and mortal danger, Nehemiah asked them to work with a sword in one hand and to build with the other. This is a metaphor in today’s world that believers need to strengthen themselves with the Word that is the sword of God on the one hand and with the other to do one’s calling or profession. The Lord once endorsed me saying, “ All year you have been doing My work as a police officer with one hand and with the other you have been carrying my sword.” When we do so, the Lord will open His hand of blessing upon us, our families and our land and we can testify as Nehemiah did, “ The hand of the Lord is good upon me.” When we move our feet in the direction of God’s will, His hand or His power, grace and provision will become manifest in our lives, families,work and ministry in ways we can neither expect nor predict nor imagine. When it comes to the Lord, expect the unexpected, do and give of your best and He will bestow His best on you. Prateep V Philip