Monday, December 31, 2012

Blessing of the Great I Am

UV 624/10,000 Blessing of the Great I Am “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” Genesis 12 v 2 As I was searching on what verse to meditate on this 2013 New Year’s day, a man of God called me and said that this verse is the promise verse for me in this coming year. It is an amazing and incredible promise made to the nomadic Abraham who was asked to move out of his comfort zone in Haran to the land of Canaan. A man who had no hope of a future was hailed by God as the father of the “as yet” unnamed and nascent nation of Israel. Abraham was the prototype to show how God deals with people who walk not by physical sight but by spiritual faith. Many people may know about our past, our background and our present status but only the Lord knows our future. The words repeated twice , “ I will make..” shows God’s active involvement in transforming our lives. The word “ will” repeated four times in one verse shows both the certainty of this happening as well as the fact that it is God’s will for every faithful person. Every promise of God has a temporal dimension and a spiritual dimension. He blesses us in both the temporal or earthly dimension as well as in the spiritual and eternal dimension. In the temporal dimension, the nation of Israel is indeed a great nation though the Jewish people have seen much strife. In the spiritual dimension, we too as believers in the covenant of God revealed through Abraham and Moses and the covenant of Jesus the Christ, are part of the great commonwealth of Israel. We are inheritors or co-parcenors of the Abrahamic blessing. The word “ bless” comes from the Hebrew word “ barack” and it means to kneel and adore God Almighty. In the very act of adoration, we are blessed. When we kneel and adore the Lord God and submit our future into His hands, He will declare us “ Barack”. Barack is the middle name of the current President of the USA. But, it is the first name of those who believe and are party to the covenants of God. We will be blessed in the temporal and spiritual dimensions. We will also be a blessing to the nations in both the temporal and spiritual dimensions. We will not only receive blessings but we will be a channel of blessings for the nation(s). Just as those who cursed Abraham were cursed and those who blessed Abraham were blessed, similarly those who bless us will be blessed and those who curse us will be cursed. In the interpretation of the dream of Joseph’s fellow prisoners, the baker and the cupbearer, the heads of both were lifted up. One head that of the baker was literally lifted up while the head of the cupbearer to Pharaoh was lifted up in the sense he was restored to his position. Another synonym of blessing in Greek is “haggios” which means to “ be lifted up.” When we are blessed, we will be lifted up. We will be envied by many as they compare their lives with ours and find that the primary difference is our faith in God and His Word. Yet another nuance of the word “ bless” is hidden in the Greek root “makarios” which means to enlarge and to prolong. It means we are supremely blessed, a condition in which congratulations are in order. People will say to us, “ it is an honour to know you. An honour to meet and hear you.” It also means that the Lord will propel us to achievements in the temporal and spiritual. We are part of the great nation of Israel, the Commonwealth of Israel ruled by the Lord Himself. We are not naturalized citizens of Israel but “ supernaturalized citizens of Israel.” He will cause us to excel. He will promote us. He will protect us. He will provide for us. He will cause our testimony to be widely known. He will magnify our impact. He will prosper us. Happiness depends on happenings. Hence, we are not just happy people but blessed. Since we are blessed, we have cause for constant joy in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Single-minded Devotion

UV 623/10,000 Single-minded Devotion “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” Psalm 27 v 4 David the shepherd-king asked only one thing of the Lord. He did not ask for wealth or wisdom or power or long life or blessings. He asked only that He may have continual fellowship with the Lord. He wanted to spend time, all of His time in the presence of the Lord. He wanted to gaze or admire the beauty and graciousness of the Lord as a lover gazes upon his beloved. In our personal relationship with God, we are called to enjoy this single-minded and whole-hearted devotion to the Lord. Neither the beauty or the temple mentioned in this uni-verse is a physical manifestation but a spiritual presence of God in our bodies, His temple. We must continually seek Him with prayers, supplications, fasting and worship. The beauty of the Lord is His glory and grace revealed in the character and person of Christ. As we gaze or look with fixed and focused attention on Him, we will be transformed into His image, degree by degree. The beauty of God should be revealed in and through our lives. The secret to manifesting that beauty is to spend time in His presence, time in prayer and time in studying His Word with a view to know more about His nature. We need to enquire of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us to reveal more of the Lord. Many people seek the Lord only on one day in a week or on special occasions or when they face difficulties that they cannot solve, but the Psalmist urges us to seek the Lord at all times, to dwell in His presence all the time. Our hearts and minds are the virtual tabernacle or temple of God. These are not earthly residences made by the hand of man but a temple made by the hand of God. We should now shift our gaze from the hands of God as to what blessings we might receive to the face of God so that we reflect His light, His radiance and inner, eternal and ineffable beauty. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Necessity of Joy

UV 622/10,000 The Necessity of Joy “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice.” Philippians 4 v 4 With a little re-arrangement of our attitudes, we can make our lives either awful or awesome. As Einstein said, “ There are two ways of living: as if nothing is a miracle and as if everything is a miracle.” If we treat nothing as a miracle, it will be awful, lonely, hopeless, boring, gloomy, short and nasty. If we treat everything as a miracle, life will be awesome, joyful, hopeful, eternal, exciting, wonderful and fulfilling. We need to make our choices. The Word says “ rejoice in the Lord.” It again reiterates and re-affirms: “ Rejoice.” Elsewhere in scripture it says, “ Rejoice in all circumstances.” God is apparently not a joy killer. satan is. The Lord said that when we ask in Jesus name, we will receive so that " our joy shall be full." Hence, the purpose of God as far as mankind is concerned is that " our joy shall be full." We do not make our joy dependent on our circumstances. If we do, we will be subject to huge mood swings from exultation when things are going swell and well and deep depression when things are going the other way. Our joy is dependent on the Lord. Our joy is dependent on our belief that God is good and absolutely good. Our joy is dependent on what delights Him. “ The joy of the Lord is our strength.” The Word alone describes and details the things the Lord delights in. It is a false expression that has come into the English language that “ the devil is in the details.” The truth is that God is in the details of our lives. When we know that He is intimately involved in the intimate details of our circumstances, we have a sense of assurance and confidence that gives rise to an inner joy. Looking at creation around us itself will cause us to rejoice: the sunrise, the dew on the grass, the cool breeze, the chirping birds, the chatter of children, the blooming flowers… If we take these things that surround us for granted, that they merely came into existence on their own, there is no cause of rejoicing. When we recall that not a blade of grass grows on the other eight planets of the Solar System as these planets were control planets to prove again and again that nothing comes into being on its own, it will cause us to acknowledge the Creator of not just the solar system but the entire universe. Infinite God desired to reveal Himself to finite man in the course of history through His Word in the Old Testament days and through His only Son Jesus in the New Covenant days. This should be a cause of continual rejoicing in our hearts. That the Son of God chose to bear our sins and endure the consequences of death, shame and punishment on our behalf is a cause of personal rejoicing. The very word, “ person” that each of us humans take for granted is due to the fact that we are “sons” of God(of course “son” includes daughters) as the root word “ son “ would indicate. The victories that the Lord has given us this far in our struggles in life are another cause of rejoicing. The hope of eternal life is another fount of joy.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The King's New Clothes

UV 621/10,000 The King’s New Clothes “ No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.” Matthew 9 v 16 Jesus desires complete change from the inside of a man and not just some cosmetic or nominal change. Jim Rohn said, “ Change is inevitable but growth is intentional”. The change that we are normally used to is superficial and a kind of “patch-work”. Our old garment has lost its sheen, its ability to expand or shrink. This is the tension between new goals and old habits. We cannot live the new life in Christ with our old values. In medical terms, it is like using a band-aid to heal an inner malaise. Every New Year, we make resolutions to change for the better but end up same as before if not worse. We are putting a new patch on an old garment. The tear will only become worse. Spiritual growth is part of God’s plan for our lives. It is intentional not in the sense that anything we think or do can make it happen. It is God-intended. We need to intake the Word of God and chew on it again and again. It is the “ new wine” and our lives are the “new wineskins.” The new wine or the Word will ferment in our hearts and minds and produce the growth from within. We will wear the glorious garments of our salvation: love, joy, peace, truth and grace. The tyranny of the past over our lives and the fear of the future will both be ended. The old garments of guilt and unforgiveness, bitterness and vengeance should be thrown into the fire. The old baggage of memories will be replaced with new hope and new life. No part of our lives will be left naked and unclothed. When the new wine ferments in our hearts and minds, it will produce something that everyone will say is far better than the old. The Word of God will penetrate our deepest being and percolate to our deepest levels. It will generate new attitudes, new priorities, new habits and results. Our growth will be wholesome and healthy. Our souls will prosper even as our bodies and minds remain in good health. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Watching the Walls of Jerusalem

UV 620/10,000 Watching the Walls of Jerusalem “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day and night. You who call on the Lord give yourselves no rest,” Isaiah 62 v 6 The Lord has appointed and anointed watchmen to watch over the sheep, His flock, to watch on the walls of Jerusalem or to watch the twelve gates of Jerusalem. The word “ posted” means that the Lord has given the watchmen the assignment. He has given them whatever calling they have on earth. He has briefed them with instructions from His Word on what to watch out for. The twelve gates of Jerusalem in today’s context are a metaphor for the different domains of the human-God interface: physical, intellectual, spiritual and so on. We watch over the souls of His people even as they are involved in all these domains. It is our responsibility to pray and act in faith to bring into being the dominance of the Lord in these domains. David before He was called to be the king of Israel watched over sheep. When a lion and a bear attacked his sheep, He was able to overpower the lion and the bear and rescue his sheep. He displayed courage and presence of mind. He took risks. He showed commitment and untiring zeal for his task. A mere hireling would have fled. Similarly, as watchmen, we need to display such qualities of head, heart and spirit. David was not unequipped for his task. He always carried a staff, a sling and stones and a harp to keep himself occupied and alert in worship of God. The staff symbolized authority. The sling stands for prayer as our prayer can deliver the hard rock of the Word to the ear of the Lord. The harp in our context stands for an attitude of continual worship. The watchman’s role is to hear the Word from the mouth of God and convey it to His people. The watchman’s duty is to warn the righteous as well as the wicked. The watchman like the multi-eyed creatures described in Heaven are to be ever vigilant and awake. Just as those creatures continually worshipped the Lord, the watchman prays day and night. A normal watchman’s job is to watch silently without disturbing the owner of the house but this uni-verse says that the spiritual watchmen are never silent. They are always in conversation with the Lord. The watchmen are called to intercede without resting. We need to pray without ceasing. By our prayers, we do not allow the Lord also to rest. He watches over the elect, His chosen day and night. His eyes are on that segment of the wall that we are placed in charge of. He is sensitive and responsive to the call of His watchmen. Just as an ornithologist knows the cry of different birds, the Lord recognizes the voice of different watchmen who are ushering in His kingdom on earth. Pratep V philip

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Leadership by Promise

UV 619/10,000 Leadership by Promise “ The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28 v 13 This uni-verse is a fantastic promise of the Lord. It pays to pay attention to the Word. He promises to make us the head or the commander, the leader, the chief, the Numero Uno, the pioneer, the premier, the trend-setter, the pace setter. Some become leaders owing to situations, some others owing to birth, some other due to their talents and skills. These are market leaders while we are “marked leaders.” For we are leaders by fulfillment of this promise. The conditions, of course, apply: We need to pay attention to the commands of the Lord our God. In other words, we need to pay attention to the Word of God. Paying attention means to be absorbed in, to incline our ears to hearing the Word, to applying our minds to understanding it, to use our hearts to store it, to employ our spirits to pray or breathe it in and to focus our wills to decide on the basis of the Word. The Lord gives us commands this day and every day. There are commands specific to this particular day that we need to carefully follow. We need to diligently study these commands and walk carefully in the path indicated. To follow carefully implies we need to obey in letter and spirit the Word of God, taking care not to violate the Will of God in the matter indicated to us this day. We must do it not out of a sense of duty or obligation but with a sense of delight. We must not obey His commands grudgingly or unwillingly but wholeheartedly and with pleasure. We will be leaders in due time and in the manner decided by the Lord. We need to not only pay attention but also pray for the ability and grace to be attentive and obedient to the Word. Only those who are led by the Spirit of God can and should lead. Or else we will be like the blind leading the blind. We will not know where we are and where we are heading. The first sign or symptom of a head or leader is that he or she has a sense of direction, a vision for himself or herself and the ones who follow him or her. The second mark of leadership is that he or she cares enough for God to pay attention to His Word or commands. The values that are contained in the Word will get impregnated in the leader’s character. He takes us through a process to make this happen. Now,we are ready for leadership. We will always be at the top and never at the bottom. The world or even our family or colleagues may not recognize that we are at the top but the Lord recognizes our leadership brand. Joseph was not recognized as a leader by his father and brothers, by his fellow slaves or fellow prisoners. Yet all through he was the one marked to be leader. He was the one with the multi-coloured coat. He was the one whom God chose to visit with dreams or a vision for his life. He was the one Potiphar relied upon. He was the one whom the prison head trusted. He was the one in whom his fellow prisoners confided their dreams. He was the one who interpreted Pharaoh’s dream. He was the one who led Egypt through years of plenty and years of famine. Like Joseph, we are given a dream or vision for our lives. We are given a multi-coloured coat or multi-talented or multi-gifted personalities. Even when we are at the bottom of a pit on a particular day or phase in our lives, we are in God’s eyes always at the top. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Rock that is Higher

UV 618/10,000 A Rock that is Higher “ From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalms 61 v 2 Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with sorrow or anger or anxiety, we cry out to the Lord as if we have sunk to the very end of the earth, the bottom of the miry pit. Our emotions can sometimes be like a quicksand, a horrible pit- the more we think about a particular thing, the more we try to get out , the more we get sucked into it. At that time,we need to ask the Lord to lead us to the rock of ages, Jesus who sees all things from a higher and eternal perspective. He will not let us languish in our deep depression but cause us to rejoice. He is the only rock that is higher than all of our challenges and difficulties. For those who think money or fame or success or power is the solution, death and disease can quickly destabilize the security that these provide. No human experienced such intensity of sorrow as Jesus Himself. He told His disciples the night before He was arrested, “ My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” There are three types of sorrows: the sorrow of the heart, the sorrow of the mind and the sorrow of the soul. Jesus suffered the sorrow of the soul as He was going to be separated from the Father for the first time as He became payment for all the sins of mankind. His soul would sink to the bottom of the miry pit. His sorrow physically manifested in His sweating great drops of blood. Symbolically, He prayed kneeling for strength on the rock of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Similarly, in times when we are overwhelmed with sorrow and pain, we must lean on the Rock that is Jesus. Jesus is the Rock that is “ higher than I”. He is higher, much higher than our hurt egos, our deep regrets, our painful disappointments, our errors of judgement and flawed decisions, our greatest failures and sorrows. He will cheer us up in these moments when all seems lost. He will place our feet once more on solid rock and lead us by our right hand, implying that He will enable us to take the right decisions and execute these with firmness and resolve. We shall not be greatly moved in the sense that our feelings and emotions will not sway so much as to move us to despair and hopelessness. As the psalmist says, He will “ establish our goings” or He will restore us to intellectual, emotional and spiritual stability. He will restore “health to our countenance” or smiles to our faces and hope and joy to our hearts and minds. He also promises to inlay our mansions in His Kingdom with “stones of fair colours and with a foundation of sapphires.” Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Template of God

UV 617/10,000 The Template of God “They overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12 v 11 We receive new birth by faith in the redeeming blood of the Lamb Jesus. We grow strong by imbibing the Word of God like a child imbibes milk. When the Word abides or resides in our hearts and minds, it is as if God Himself dwells in us. We are the tabernacle of the Word of God. Instead of writing His commandments on stone that is brittle and breaks, He writes His commands on our hearts. When we carry the Word of God in our hearts, we are carrying the cross. Just as an artist uses a stencil to draw a shape he desires to draw, similarly, the Word of God will provide the templates for our lives to cut out the portions that are not pleasing to God and to include the portions that He desires to include. Jesus was born in a small manger but He longs to be born again and again in an even smaller place, the hearts and minds of believing people through all generations. Since our human hearts are small, it can hold only the things that we consider the most precious in our lives- the Word. When we live according to the Word, it becomes the Word of testimony. When people ask, “ where is the evidence of God?”, we can reply that we are the evidence of God’s faithfulness and righteousness and love. We overcome the enemy of our souls, satan by our faith and by our testimonial lives- by holding on firmly to the Word of God and by holding out the word of testimony. A testimonial life is symbolized in the Book of Revelation as clothes that are washed white in the Blood of the Lamb. When we consider our faith in Jesus and the Word of God the most valuable aspects of our lives, we will be prepared to even face death rather than give these up. The early martyrs did love their lives but loved Jesus and the Word of God even more that they were willing to be put to death rather than deny their faith. When we overcome the enemy of our souls, our names are written in the Book of the Living. We receive a new name. We receive a crown of life. We sit on the throne with Jesus. We become not just co-heirs but co-rulers with Jesus. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Complete Trust: Absolute Security

UV 616/10,000 Complete Trust leading to Absolute Security. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8 v 28 We do not know in the sense of “ know” as the world understands, but we believe that in all our situations, God is in control. Belief is spiritual knowledge. The world sees and believes. We believe and then, we see or understand. This principle that all things happen for our benefit or for our ultimate good applies not to all the people in the world but to those who are walking in faith and having a personal relationship with God through His only Son Jesus. Once we trust God completely and surrender all of our lives to Him, we can enjoy an absolute sense of security. We are confident that however rough and crooked the path we are travelling on now is, it will be straightened and smoothened out by the Lord. God’s purpose for mankind is that all be saved. But, based on the response of our hearts, He calls some of us. Many are called, but few are chosen. All those who are called are saved or justified. The word “ justified” means corrected or set right with God. The spit of Jesus could heal the blind man of His blindness. Imagine the power of the blood of the sinless Lamb of God. It has power to heal us of our spiritual blindness that prevented us from knowing God and aspiring to become like Him. Now our purpose in life is to align with God’s purpose – to be blameless like Jesus. We are sanctified or purified to be “ little Christs”. We are blessed of God. Curse of sin or “ hamartia” or shortcoming is eliminated from our lives. God has complete knowledge of our lives, our strengths and weaknesses, our opportunities and obstacles. He knows our past, our present and our future. As we love Him, He will rescue us. He will protect us for we acknowledge His name. He will be with us in trouble. He will deliver us and honour us. He will satisfy us with long life and show us His salvation. His hand is upon us and in all things or in all situations, He will cause it to work for our ultimate good. Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Redeemer and Helper

UV 615/10,000 Redeemer and Helper “Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” It is written 365 times “ do not fear” in different parts of the Bible. Indicating that though there are a variety of risks, threats and dangers that a man encounters in the course of his days, it is God who comes to His rescue if we cling to Him as a worm would cling to a branch or on a stone for support. Jacob is addressed in this uni-verse as “ O worm Jacob” as each of us is as vulnerable as a worm in comparison to the satanic forces against us. Satan had taken mankind captive through sin but only the Lord can redeem us from his evil clutches. Mankind pledged our allegiance to the forces of darkness when we first loved sin instead of the Word of God. What is pledged belongs to the one to whom it is pledged. If some valuable article is pledged with a money lender, the price of that article has to be paid for its redemption. Similarly, God is our redeemer as He paid the price of our redemption through the blood of His Son Jesus. Jesus is the one referred to as “ the Holy One of Israel.” He was born in the nation of Israel for the sake of people of all nations. When we put our trust in Him and accept that He paid the price for our redemption, we too are “declared” to be part of “Holy Israel”- a spiritual Kingdom of God. No longer should we behave like worms, squirming and twirling in the dust of sin but regard ourselves as citizens of the Kingdom of God, sons and daughters of God by our faith in Jesus. No longer need we be afraid of what challenges life throws at us or even death and the judgment that follows. The Lord promises that “ I myself will help you.” He will now be not just our Redeemer but our Ebenezer, our help in times of trouble. We cannot wish or pray for a trouble-free life but we can live without fear and with constant expectation of receiving the active help of God. We can stop struggling with God or running away from Him. Instead, we can triumph in the struggles of life with His help. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Power to Rule

UV 614/10,000 The Power to Rule “Jesus said to them, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Matthew 19 v 28 This dynamic uni-verse was spoken into our lives as the Lord alone can breathe into us such hope of the unknown and mystical world beyond the curtain of life and death on the planet. Jesus promises that in the regeneration or at the time the new earth and new heaven is called into being, those who followed Him will set on thrones. The Word promises that those who suffer with Him will also reign with Him. They will be appointed as rulers and judges with power over nations. Jesus always underlined the principle that a worker is entitled to his meat. It meant that we will get just rewards in accordance with our faithfulness in the course of our lifetime. We will share in His power to rule the universe. Salvation is by grace and grace alone but among the saved, the Lord will reward people differently according to their deeds. Jesus was hailed by the prophet Isaiah as “ Wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God and Everlasting Father”. In order to be effective rulers of the nations, we need to ask the Lord to give us the ability to give wise counsel, to judge not with our eyes and ears but with discernment of the Spirit, to be full of peace and assurance, to exercise His miraculous power with wisdom and to exhibit the everlasting love of the Father to those who we rule. Our rehearsal or practice starts in this very life. We must display these qualities of heart and mind in the small kingdom that we now rule- our own selves, our own families, our own work situations, our relationships. Then He will be pleased with our faithfulness and calling us, “ You good and faithful servant”, He will place us in charge of larger responsibilities. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Plan fulfills the Purpose

UV 613/10,000 The Plan Fulfills the Purpose “ You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4 v 11 This uni-verse states that we are created by the will of God. The phrase used in the order of appointment of officers of the government is “ will hold office during the pleasure of the President.” It implies that we hold office as long as the President desires. Similarly, we are created for the pleasure of God. We are created to ascribe glory, honour and power to the One to whom alone it belongs. The overall plan and purpose of God as stated in this verse defines our individual sense of purpose. We can find meaning in life only in relationship to the Creator. Only when we have a personal relationship with God, will we perceive and share in the glory, honour and power of God. God alone is worthy of worship. No saint or human, living or dead is worthy of such adulation. To attribute it to any one else is spiritual robbery. The word, “ glory” means splendour. God delights in revealing His splendour in our lives. Just as a parent who earns his salary takes pleasure in using it to meet the need and desire of his family members, God choses to share His glory with us. Instead of working for our own glory or egos, we attribute whatever we achieve to the grace and glory of God. The word, “ honour” implies that we hold God in highest esteem. We esteem God to be the most valuable person in our lives. This gives Him pleasure. When we do the first: that is when we give all glory and honour to the Lord, His power or His miraculous ability is employed in our lives. We will experience a child-like sense of wonder at all He is and does for us. We will experience His abundance, generousity, strength and might in our lives. Our being should be rooted in God and then our lives will grow like healthy and fruitful plants. The word “ plant” has in it two components “ plan” and “t” where t stands for our thoughts, our temperament, tongue, talent and time. Finding and doing the will of God is the very purpose and plan of our lives. The Word of God reveals the plan of God on how our thoughts should be ordered, how our temperaments should develop, how our tongues should be employed, how our talents should be utilized and how our time should be spent. We use these resources creatively and not destructively or wastefully. When we conform our thoughts, temperament, tongue, talents and time with the plan of God as revealed in His Word, we bring glory, honour and power to our Creator, Sustainer and Saviour. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Faithfulness

UV 612/10,000 Lamentations 3 v 23 Great faithfulness “They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3 v 23 The Lord’s mercies are sure as the sunrise and fresh as the morning. In short, even as we can be certain about the availability of His mercy, we cannot be sure about the manner, the timing and the extent of its manifestation in our lives. The sun rises with unfailing regularity- even so the Lord’s mercy shines on us every day of our lives. Since He watches over our lives continually, it never sets on us even while we sleep. This is the aspect that assures us, comforts us and gives us a sense of security. The newness aspect of God’s mercy is the exciting aspect. It never becomes stale even though we enjoy it day after day and all our lives. We will never be able to take it for granted. The mercy of the Lord is as fresh as the morning. Just as each morning brings into our lives new openings, new relationships, new experiences, new challenges and new difficulties, the Lord’s mercy is unpredictable. We cannot tell in what way God will show up in the midst of the hustle, bustle and hassle of every day life. He like us enjoys giving His friends here on earth a surprise or two. In this one uni-verse, there is the reconciliation of opposites or contradictions: the certainty and surety of God’s mercy, the definiteness and precision of the regularity with which He will manifest it in our lives as against the uncertainty of how it will manifest in our days or in the course of our lifetime. This is the reason why every person’s testimony is unique. It is the net result of the interface between God and us: the interaction of our unique personalities,needs,challenges, situations and the grace of God always waiting to amaze. Our problems and difficulties may be great. Our expectations may be great. But His faithfulness is greater. He is faithful in keeping His personal covenant with us to the extent of every jot and letter. He is faithful to His numerous promises He has made to us in His Word. Even a person’s own parents at times might forsake him or her but the Lord never forsakes us. He never gives up on us nor does He give us up. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus proves for all time and to all people the absolute degree of faithfulness of God in His relationship with each of us. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Cornerstone

UV 611/10,000 The Cornerstone Jesus said to them, “ Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes”? Matthew 21 v 42 The image of a stone rejected by the builders was referred to by Jesus in order to explain how He would be rejected by the leaders of Israel but eventually He would be the cornerstone of history. Jesus is the keystone, the cornerstone or the capstone of Israel which the architects or builders of Israel rejected. Without the keystone, the jigsaw puzzle of life cannot be resolved. Without the cornerstone, the foundation of a building will not stand. Without a capstone, the edifice of life would be incomplete. God as the Master Builder and designer of the universe and life had foreseen that His Son would be rejected in His lifespan on earth but that after His resurrection, He would be the cornerstone. Similarly, many of us at some points in our lives have encountered rejection by the decision makers. If the Son of God was rejected, how much more likely we are to be rejected by our contemporaries, by the influential and by people in power and position. This should not discourage us. We must look forward with hope and faith to the time when the Lord will turn things around and make us the keystone, the cornerstone and capstone of our organizations. When it happens, it will be apparent to all that it is the Lord’s doing. It is His marvelous grace and power that turns the tide of events and makes the very person who was looked down upon, who was considered unworthy of leadership as the person to whom all look to for guidance, support and inspiration. This uni-verse came in a time of prayer where the Lord revealed that as a child “ some big people had rejected my family and me.” But, He has done the miracle over time of making me a cornerstone. Rejection it appears is part of the plan and pattern of training for godly leadership: Moses was rejected by his own people and by his adopted Egyptian family but God turned him into the chief cornerstone of the Old Testament Israel. Joseph was rejected by his brothers but God turned him into the cornerstone of Egypt. When the builders or leaders or even our own family members or fellow believers look into our potential and assesses our personalities, abilities and attitudes, they do not find anything worthwhile. But, when God who made us and cares for us, looks into our heart, He finds faith. He sees that He can use us for a particular purpose, to fulfill a specific mission. He will then supply what we need by His grace. He will give us the wisdom and anointing. He will lead us and guide us. He will cause an outpouring of supernatural favour and gifting to catapult us to positions of leadership. The initial years or time and experience(s) of rejection is needed to develop the sense of humility, empathy and grace in us and to clearly show evidence of God’s hand at work in transforming the situation. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Information for all readers

The first book in the Uni-verse series has been published : The Word Empowered Life It is a compilation of 101 Uni-verses Those desirous of getting a book for your self or friends may write to or thanks and blessings

Living Sacrifice

UV 610/10,000 Living Sacrifice Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12 v 1 Since we have availed of God’s great mercy and grace, we must reciprocate by offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Under the Old Covenant relationship, the Jews offered dead animal sacrifices to atone for their sins and as an act of worship. The animal sacrifice was set on fire and burnt from the outside. But, as living sacrifices, we burn from the inside. Our thoughts must constantly be focused on the Lord and on pleasing Him. Sacrifice implies giving up something valuable for someone who is greater or more dear and beloved. Our most valuable possession is our lives. We give up the world and our former priorities of our bodily desires and lusts for the sake of the Lord remembering how He gave Himself up for us on the cross. As a living sacrifice, we must offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, constantly emanating from our hearts even as our breath emanates from our nostrils. The dead sacrifice of yesteryears would burn on the altar for a time but we burn for the Lord continually. Our meditation and our conversation, our desires and our actions should be holy and pleasing to the Lord. Whatever we think or speak or do will be a spiritual act of worship. The fuel for the dead sacrifices of the past were wood and coal. But, our fuel is the Word of God. It will stimulate us to worship God remembering different aspects of His provision for our salvation. The aroma that comes from our lives and deeds will reach the very nostrils of the Lord. The Lord does not revel in religious acts of worship. But, He enjoys it when His children willingly and continually commune with Him. When we live as if every breath of ours belongs to the Lord, we become a living sacrifice. As we offer this spiritual sacrifice, even the dead parts of our lives will come alive with the resurrection power of Christ. When the Lord is pleased with our sacrifice, there is no limit to the ways or the extent to which He will bless us. Prateep V Philip

The Basis of Our Confidence

UV 609/10,000 The Basis of Our Confidence “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus:” Philippians 1 v 6 Our confidence is not in flesh and blood. Our confidence is not in money or wealth. Our confidence is not in power and influence. Our confidence is in Christ Jesus that He is true to His Word and faithful to His flock. Our hope and faith gives us confidence. Our confidence is that He is able to strengthen us from within to do all things that we need to do to fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives. Our confidence is that He will meet every need. We affirm that “ the Lord is our shepherd. I shall not want.” Our confidence is that He will enable us to succeed in our plans. We need to go the extra mile with an extra smile. We need not get frustrated and dejected when we encounter roadblocks or obstacles or failures on our way to our goals. The word used is “ being” and not “ becoming” confident. Our confidence is an offshoot of our faith. It is a supernatural grace, a gift of the Holy Spirit. The word “ confidence” comes from the root “ to confide” which means to trust. It is because Christ is trustworthy, we are confident He will complete the good work of faith that He has begun in us. He will take us now to the logical conclusion of our faith. He will present us blameless or blemishless before the Father in heaven on the day of reckoning. Our confidence is in the Word and promises of God to that effect. Many of the greatest artists and sculptors have left behind a number of unfinished works. But, the Lord God completes every work He starts. He obviously gives as much if not more importance to finishing well as to starting a good work. He is the Alpha and Omega, implying that from beginning to end, the Lord takes responsibility to shape our lives, our character and our destiny. In Christ we are complete despite all our weaknesses and failings. Every true story recounted in the Bible speaks of completion. Nothing is left hanging mid-air. God’s purpose in each person’s life is fulfilled in His time whether it was Abraham, Moses, David or Peter. I have set myself a target to write 10,000 pages on 10,000 uni-verses in the course of the rest of my lifetime at the rate of one verse per day. Some might doubt whether I will be able to do so, whether I will show the kind of discipline needed for the rest of my days and whether I will live long enough to do so. But, the basis of my confidence is that the Lord, who began this good work in and through me and the one who has enabled me to keep at it for 609 days so far, will enable me to do so. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Freed from Condemnation, Released to be blessed

UV 608/10,000 Freed from Fear and Guilt “ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8 v 1 The law is a standard measure to judge whether a person is guilty or innocent of any particular offence. The standards of God being absolute and holy, all of us stand condemned on the merit of our lives. Once we come into the new covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, we are freed from being judged under the law of sin of the world and death. Under the provision of grace under the new covenant, there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. We are now judged under the law of the Spirit of life and love. Under the new dispensation we are judged by the Father about how faithful we have been and how fruitful we have been in our sojourn on earth. We are now judged not for condemnation and punishment but for approbation and reward. Being in Christ Jesus means trusting His name, believing in His immaculate birth, sinless life, death on the cross and resurrection. Being in Christ means being anointed by the Holy Spirit. Being in Christ means being baptized to identify with His death and resurrection. Being in Christ means walking in faith and living according to His Word. We are now acceptable and pleasing in the eyes of the Father. Now we are expected to not walk after the flesh but after the spirit, implying that we should pursue and give priority to our spiritual life and goals. We are to be spiritually minded. To be carnally minded means to focus on fulfilling the desires of the flesh. To be spiritually minded means to have the mind of Christ or to focus on fulfilling the desires of the Spirit. When we are spiritually minded, we have life and peace with both God and man. We are freed from the spirit of bondage to fear of death, guilt and punishment. We are now given the spirit of adoption that enables us to enjoy a personal relationship with God. We begin to enjoy our share of our spiritual inheritance as co-heirs of Jesus: life, love, peace, joy and righteousness. Nobody and nothing can rob us of these blessings of the Spirit of God. Prateep V Philip

Freed from Condemnation, Released to be blessed

UV 608/10,000 Freed from Fear and Guilt “ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8 v 1 The law is a standard measure to judge whether a person is guilty or innocent of any particular offence. The standards of God being absolute and holy, all of us stand condemned on the merit of our lives. Once we come into the new covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, we are freed from being judged under the law of sin of the world and death. Under the provision of grace under the new covenant, there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. We are now judged under the law of the Spirit of life and love. Under the new dispensation we are judged by the Father about how faithful we have been and how fruitful we have been in our sojourn on earth. We are now judged not for condemnation and punishment but for approbation and reward. Being in Christ Jesus means trusting His name, believing in His immaculate birth, sinless life, death on the cross and resurrection. Being in Christ means being anointed by the Holy Spirit. Being in Christ means being baptized to identify with His death and resurrection. Being in Christ means walking in faith and living according to His Word. We are now acceptable and pleasing in the eyes of the Father. Now we are expected to not walk after the flesh but after the spirit, implying that we should pursue and give priority to our spiritual life and goals. We are to be spiritually minded. To be carnally minded means to focus on fulfilling the desires of the flesh. To be spiritually minded means to have the mind of Christ or to focus on fulfilling the desires of the Spirit. When we are spiritually minded, we have life and peace with both God and man. We are freed from the spirit of bondage to fear of death, guilt and punishment. We are now given the spirit of adoption that enables us to enjoy a personal relationship with God. We begin to enjoy our share of our spiritual inheritance as co-heirs of Jesus: life, love, peace, joy and righteousness. Nobody and nothing can rob us of these blessings of the Spirit of God. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Revealer of Mysteries

UV 607/10,000 Revealer of Mysteries “ The king said to Daniel, “ Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Daniel 2 v 47 King Nebuchadnezzar glorified the Lord God in these words once God revealed the dream as well as its interpretation to His servant Daniel. The Lord communicates through dreams to leaders and people in position and power. But the mystery will be hidden from them and their trusted advisors but revealed to His servants who fear and serve Him. The impartation of the dream was God’s way of having his servants honoured as well as to communicate the significant events that were slated to happen in history. He revels in revealing mysteries as He alone can. God chose to reveal the mystery of the dream that He gave Nebuchadnezzar to Daniel as the latter humbled himself before God and sought wisdom and understanding. Daniel and his three friends Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego fasted and prayed. They pleaded for mercy as they too faced the threat of being put to death if no one was able to tell the dream and interpret it. The Lord revealed the dream to Daniel in a vision: the glorious statue made of different metals but whose feet alone were made partly of iron and partly of clay. A rock not cut by human hands struck the statue on its feet of clay and iron and the whole statue fell to pieces. That rock which struck the statue became in time a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. It was not revealed even to Daniel that the rock not cut by human hands is the Messiah Jesus. His glory shall fill the whole earth. All attempts for glory by individual kings, dynasties and empire will end in naught. They might look powerful for a time but are bound to perish. They are unstable and rest on brittle feet of clay. But the Kingdom of God will endure forever with a solid rock foundation. People will realize that wisdom and power belong to the Lord. He sets up rulers and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise or God-fearing and knowledge or insight to the discerning. He knows what lies in darkness and reveals deep and hidden things that are yet to happen. Daniel acknowledge Him as the God of His fathers. He asked Him to reveal the mystery as he had faith that God is all knowing and able to do that which He asked. Similarly, in these perplexing times, we too should humble ourselves and ask the Lord to reveal the mysteries and secrets of our times. He will do so to honour our faith and to lift us up in the eyes of our contemporaries. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Biblical Economics

UV 606/10,000 Increase in Numbers : Biblical Economics “He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land- your grain, new wine and oil- the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.” Deuteronomy 7 v 13 Universally and through history, all people in all nations have sought an increase in numbers or the growth indices in terms of resources, income and produce. They have focused on increase in wealth. People, by and large are number-driven. But, the Lord promises that instead if we focus on the Word of God, obey His commandments and pay attention to what He says then He will love us. We need to be Word-driven. As a mark or token of His love He will bless us. He will increase our numbers. He will bless our offspring, our crops or our investments, our income and even our animals. This part of the uni-verse if properly understood, believed and appropriated for our lives will lead to an increase in our provision and resources for our life and work. When we study diligently the Word of God, He will reveal His judgements or principles on which we should base our decisions, our efforts and our relationships. This is the spiritual seed that He sows in us. The spiritual seed over time will grow and multiply and produce a harvest of blessings in our lives. He will bless us in the very land He promised to our forefathers. When we first bought the land on which our home, The Tabernacle stands, there was a prophetic revelation that it was intended for us right from the time my maternal grandmother, a godly woman was praying with tears for the family. Again later the Lord affirmed: “ I have increased you in small measure and large measure.” The reference to new wine and oil has two Biblical allusions: one, in the story told by Jesus about the Good Samaritan where the Samaritan poured in the wine and the oil for the healing of the person left wounded by highway robbers. The implication is that the Lord will provide for our healing and anointing. He will send people and angels for our help in times of need. The new wine also refers to the new life we have through our faith in Jesus. It is the miraculous wine that Jesus creates by His mere word at the marriage at Cana by transforming water in six stone jars into wine that is far superior to the normal wine served in the first round. The six stone jars symbolize different aspects of our lives: spiritual,intellectual, physical, social, filial and financial. The Word of Christ will impact and transform all these areas or aspects of our lives. The calves of the herds and the lambs of the flocks refer to the people we lead to God, the ones whom we help to disciple and nurture in faith. This part of the uni-verse if believed and appropriated in faith will lead to an increase in our influence and leadership impact. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Witness, Advocate and Intercessor

UV 605/10,000 Our Witness, Advocate and Intercessor “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high” Job 16 v 19 When we witness for Christ on earth, He witnesses for us in heaven. He watches all that we think, speak and do. Invariably, there is a gap between His standards of righteousness and justice and ours. But, by His grace He fills the gap. He is our advocate. Satan plays the role of public prosecutor and brings all accusations, small and big before the throne of God. Unless we are covered by faith with the redeeming blood of Jesus, we will look naked in our guilt. At the time, Jesus is our defence advocate. He is our bail. He bails us out of every tight or difficult situation in the span of our earthly lives as well as from the eternal judgement of the Father. Jesus is our intercessor. He intercedes with the Father to show us mercy regardless of the accusations satan brings against us. He pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend. As we pour out our tears from our eyes, He collects every drop and turns it into prayer unto the Lord. Just as an advocate needs to know all the details of a person’s case, the Lord knows all aspects of our lives. Others might judge us out of the little that they know about us but the Lord is gracious and understanding. He knows the totality of our situations. Though He cried out, “ it is finished” meaning His work for humanity as a whole is over in His paying the price for our shortcomings, He continues to speak on our behalf for each one of us before the Father in Heaven. The verse speaks of two roles for Jesus: He is the witness who speaks about our faith and good deeds. He is the advocate to defend us on the issue of our sins of omission and commission. The uni-verse above echoes well ahead of time the intercessory work of Jesus long before it was revealed under the new covenant promises wherein St Paul refers to Jesus as our advocate. It was a prophetic revelation to Job even in the midst of his intense suffering. In addition to Jesus, the Holy Spirit also intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. The closest parallel we can see in nature is the constant moaning sound that pigeons make. Oftentimes, I imitate the Holy Spirit in praying while I am alone through sounds and moans. I find that when I cease to use words and use sounds, I get more mileage for my prayers. People pray in tongues, heavenly and as well as earthly tongues or languages not known to them to communicate the deeper emotions and intent of the spirit that words cannot convey adequately. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 9, 2012

An Instrument in His Hands

UV 604/10,000 An Instrument in His Hands “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.” Isaiah 41 v 15 Every believer is a powerful instrument in the hand of Almighty God, El Shaddai. We will cut like a newly sharpened blade. Just as a Swiss knife contains different types of tools for different functions and our dental set contains a variety of teeth for different functions, we will be given many effective tools to handle a variety of spiritual and other challenges in life. Satan in comparison, though described as a roaring lion, is a toothless , clawless and clueless tiger today when confronted by the power the Lord clothes us with. He might throw mountains and hills our way to obstruct us. But, by our prayers, our grasp over the Word and our strong faith, we will overcome. By disuse or poor maintenance, our teeth will loose their edge. We need to guard against this. Just as lions and other members of the cat family sharpen their teeth on the hard bark of trees, we need to sharpen our teeth on the tree of life, Jesus. We need to bite into the Word, chew it, tear it like choice meat and digest it to develop our inner strength to face outer challenges. Then, we will be enabled to “crush the mountains” or solve at one go certain huge problems we will suddenly face as well as chip away at “ the hills” or the chronic issues that need to be turned over time into chaff. The Lord does not promise that we will have our problems solved instantaneously as a knife cuts through butter. We will reduce the hills to chaff over time, implying that as a carpenter patiently uses a saw to cut and shape a log of wood, He will use the challenges we face to shape something useful, beautiful and valuable from those very issues. When we look back over our faith life we will be able to discern the pattern in our lives: the big problems He helped us resolve with ease and the small thorns in our flesh that He taught us to endure and overcome in time. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Getting Our Ids Right

UV 603/10,000 Getting our Id right Finally, brothers, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Philippians 4 v 8 Unless the mail id we type in is 100 per cent accurate, it bounces. It does not reach the target or goal. Similarly, our attitudes need to be 100 per cent positive. The sum of our attitudes is our id or identity. Inaccuracy creeps into our attitudes through negativity. Hence, we need to not only think about what is noble but also identify what is ignoble or the opposite in our nature and in our past. We need to uproot that negativity from our thoughts. Our attitudes define our identity or id. Our attitudes invariably have a positive component and a negative component. Thinking helps us correct our inherent attitudes. We need to think not only about what is right but identify what is wrong and deal with it. We need to think not only about what is pure in our lives but also identify our inner lusts and overcome these. We need to flag our negative emotions like anger, fear, hatred, resentment, bitterness and eliminate the sources of these emotions from our hearts and minds. We need to think positive and beat negative not just when the situation arises or once in a way but consistently and continuously all through the rest of our lives. One powerful way of doing it is to think the thoughts of God by saturating our minds with the Word of God. The Lord uses the Word like a chisel to chip away at our negatives or angularities and to transform our character from deep within. In contrast, today’s personality development courses and books as well as finishing schools only work on the superficial and leave the inner person unchanged. Many people cite this verse and say that we only need to think positive. It needs to be read along with other related instructions written by St Paul:” cleave to that which is good and abhor that which is evil.” If we are only thinking positive, we can get deceived or deluded. No wonder Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking” was a leading member of the cult group, Freemasons and at the same time a senior pastor. For many years, in my quest for conquest of self, I was in search of a soul pulse- something simple by which I can constantly connect with my best or better self and disconnect or overcome the worse side of me. The study of scripture led me to create the concept of equilibrium thinking wherein one constantly alternates being positive or thinking about reinforcing what is good, noble, beautiful, excellent and praiseworthy or the new nature that Christ re-creates in us and about depleting or overcoming or negating the opposites in my residual old nature that has not completely died. “ Be at it” is the pulse and “ beat it” is the impulse like the heads and tails of a coin. We move towards a dynamic equilibrium or perfection or excellence. It is interesting to note that while `Christ alone spoke of perfection, the apostles including St Paul remained content to talk of excellence as the latter were aware of the struggle and conflict between the old and the new. Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hide and Seek

UV 602/10,000 Hide and Seek “ Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden.” Genesis 3 v 8 When man first sinned, both man and woman hid themselves from God. They realized that they had not done a cool thing at all and they were beginning to feel the heat. God began to seek them. Man had broken faith with God. He showed he did not trust in the words of God. Instead, he trusted in the words of satan who tried to prove that God is a liar. Satan is the father of lies and by beguiling man into believing his words, he made the first man and woman his subjects. The sound of God sent them into hiding. Until then when they heard of God approaching, they would run to His arms as children run to their parents returning from an outing. Now they had attempted to run away. Their personal relationship with their Creator had become impersonal and distant. Now it was God’s turn to hide. When man could communicate with God, see Him, hear even His footfall and talk with Him, they had shown distrust. Now God made it impossible for man to see Him or communicate with Him. He hid Himself from the sight and hearing of man. Only through one process or path, could man ever again find His way back to God and that was through exercising faith in the Word of God. God revealed Himself in history from time to time through men of faith like Abraham, Moses and the prophets. He revealed His nature to them through the words He gave them. Finally, He revealed Himself in His fullness in His Son Jesus. Yet since man had broken faith with Him, only faith in the words of the prophets and the Son Jesus could restore all mankind to a personal relationship with God. Even today most of mankind play the game of “hide and seek” with God. In fact, all of us have done it at some point or phase in life. We hide and get lost in the maze of life. Then most of us seek God in a variety of ways that seem right in our eyes. Indeed, much of the history of the world is the story of man climbing the wrong tree: the tree of knowledge, the tree of power, the tree of fame, the tree of wealth and pleasure..Those of us who do not have the drive or energy to climb, remain content to watch others climb. Though we hide, there is nothing that is hidden from God. For God says, “Do not play hide and seek with Me. You will never find Me. But I can see you in your nakedness. There is only one way. My Word is my visible manifestation. Seek me in My Word. I am hidden from the world and revealed in the Word: hidden if you do not approach Me with faith, revealed if you approach Me with faith.” His promise is: “ If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find me.” Instead of finding ourselves lost in a maze, we will clothe ourselves in His amazing grace. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Points to Ponder

UV 601/10,000 Points to Ponder “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2 v 19 Mary treasured the things she saw, experienced and heard and stored it in her mind. She often rejoiced in recalling it. We too need to treasure the things the Lord has spoken to us or caused to happen in our lives. The word, “ treasured” implies that these are the most precious or valuable aspects of our lives. Just as a collector of rare treasures takes out these from his storehouse from time to time, we need to recall and thank the Lord for these amazing blessings. These are the treasures that neither moth nor rust can destroy nor thief can rob. In fact, we rob ourselves of this pleasure when we fail to remember and ponder the Word and the acts of benevolence of our Lord. It is a kind of spiritual and non-threatening “pregnancy” of our minds. I have a gut feeling that a person who constantly does this, will never fall a victim to Alzheimer’s for his or her memory, brain and body would be blessed with the warmth, glow and grace of these divine memories. Mary remembered the words Jesus spoke, the things He did and glorified the Lord. We too must remember the words Jesus spoke to us and the miracles He has done in our lives. When we do so, our faith is strengthened and Satan cannot find room in our thoughts to either weaken it or to drive a wedge between God and us. Mary recalled the details of what various people like the shepherds experienced. She recalled the amazing visitation of angels. She recalled what the angels said to the shepherds: “ Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill to all men upon whom His favour rests.” She not just recalled it but pondered over each word spoken, the details of each event and experience. She connected the dots between what was spoken by the prophets, what the angel of the Lord spoke to her and to Joseph, what her cousin Elizabeth said and what Simeon and Anna said. She later recalled the miracle at the marriage at Canna. She rejoiced later on as each Word spoken got fulfilled. These memories comforted her as she perceived His torture, agony and trauma on the cross at Calvary. It is no wonder that the gospel of Luke, not a contemporary witness or disciple of Jesus, contains more details and personal conversations as it was based on Luke interviewing Mary and others to discover the whole truth about Jesus. Similarly, in this day and time, our “mindscape” should be covered with memorials to the living God. Today, we have the Holy Spirit aiding us as a Rememberancer who prompts us to remember things the Lord has done from long ago in our lives. We will realize that He is with us for the long haul and not just for a fleeting or transitory relationship. Recently He said, “ When you were very young, your family was rejected by some big people. But, today I have made you a cornerstone in their eyes and they have come several times to you for a favour or help.” He also said, “ This year 2012, I have done countless miracles in your lives such that I have never done ever before.” So much for 2012 being the end of the world in the Aztec calendar. This year for instance, He revealed Himself in a beautiful silver cross that appeared on my laptop screen while I was on google chat with a friend recounting another beautiful and unique reverse rainbow that He had pulled down from the sky to the ground. When we remember such things from our early as well as up- to -date experiences and encounters with the Lord, it helps us glorify Him, to rejoice in the fact of His faithfulness and to thank Him for the victory and fulfillment of promises or uni-verses He gave us. As an exercise before the year end, let us try to recall 365/366 things the Lord either spoke or did in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Rock Revelation

UV 600/10,000 The Rock Revelation “ And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16 v 17 The world does not change through revolution but through revelation. My world or my tiny universe changed for the better when it was revealed to me by the Father in heaven that Jesus indeed is the Christ, the anointed Son of the living God. That revelation transformed my darkened mind and increased my understanding. By a process of logic or discussion or rationality we can never arrive on such a conclusion or develop such a conviction. The Holy Spirit prints that truth on our spirits, hearts and minds even as His holy finger wrote the Ten Commandments with fire on tablets of stone. When we receive the revelation, our amorphous faith that will shift from one idea to another idea, from following one leader to another, from pursuing various goals and interests in life, will be hardened as rock. Simon the son of Jonah, who like Jonah acted on his impulses and emotions, ran often in the opposite direction that God indicated was brought on track like an arrow. Everything we think, speak and do will point back to the living God. We will receive the anointing of Christ that Peter received so that we will help to plunder souls from hell and populate heaven. Simon Barjonah was transformed into Simon Peter or Simon the son of the Rock. Jesus is the Rock out of which all of us are carved. We too like Peter are “sons of the Rock”. We should hereafter reflect characteristics of the Rock: of firmness, of singlemindedness, of faith, of fearlessness, courage and strength. This is the rock that Daniel saw in a revelation: a rock not cut out by human hands, but by the Lord God Himself: a rock that will roll down from heaven and transform the destiny of individuals, families and nations. Many people misunderstand the words of Jesus when He said, “ This is the rock on which I will build my church.” They misunderstand Peter to be that rock and attempt to deify him. He was Simon the son of Jonah who now is transformed by godly revelation into Simon the son of Peter or the Rock. What Jesus means is that it is on this revelation from the Father that He is the Son of the living God that He would build the Kingdom of God. When we believe this revelation, our lives would be blessed. The word “ blessed” in the Greek is “ makarios” and in Latin “ haggios”, both of which means “ lifted up and to be envied.” When we are so blessed we will practice the beatitudes spoken of in the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus: to recognize our spiritual poverty and God’s riches, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be meek, to mourn our sinfulness and negative qualities, to withstand persecution, to be merciful and pure, to work for peace and reconciliation between God and people. The blessings enumerated in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy will also be our portion: we will be blessed in the city and in the country, our children will be blessed, even our pets and animals, our food and drink will be blessed, our journeys and our destinations will be blessed, our enemies will be defeated in their plans against us and they will be scattered, our storehouses and bank accounts will be blessed, our land will be blessed. In short, we will be blessed in everything we do. These are the keys to the kingdom of Heaven given to us in Scripture. No wonder our Lord rocks and our lives rock! Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Multi-fruit Tree

UV 599/10,000 The Multi-fruit Tree “ In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22 v 2 The gospel is not just plain good news for all mankind. It is “ great news”. It is a multi-fruit seed. It is a seed for every need of man. That seed sown in the seed-bed of faith will grow into a tree of life that will bear simultaneously twelve types of fruits. These are the spiritual fruit or the nine fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control. Three more types of fruit that we find strewn through Scripture are wisdom, mercy and grace. Unlike the seasonal fruit trees of the earth, the tree of life yields its fruit, consistently right through the year and every month. The fruit is also a symbol of twelve types of blessings we receive from the throne of God and of the Lamb of God, Jesus. The tree of life is a metaphor for both our god-like character and our blessings. We need to grow from month to month and day to day into maturity, fullness, effectiveness and fruitfulness. The twelve types of fruit manifest the wisdom of God that we should lay hold of in order to enjoy eternal life. The vision of St John of the multi-fruit tree of life is both a revelation of heaven even as it has implications for our earthly lives. The words “ in the midst of the street” to indicate the location of the tree of life implies that we need to take root, grow and bear fruit wherever the Lord has planted us. We evolve and develop spiritually even in the midst of the hustle and bustle of our lives. The location of the tree “on either side of the river” implies our close fellowship with the river of life, the Holy Spirit and the Word. We need to be constantly fed and nourished by their waters. The water of the river flowing from the throne of God is described as being as clear as crystal, implying that the Holy Spirit will make clear the Will of God and that the understanding of the Word of God in terms of both the text and the context will be full of clarity. The street of pure gold means that we need to exercise pure faith in our way of life. The leaves of the tree of wisdom and eternal life are medicine that is meant to heal the sin and afflictions of the nations. The leaves are the verses of Scripture that are evergreen and will endure forever. Meditation on Scripture is medicine. When we munch on the different types of leaves or in other words-meditate, whether these be commands, warnings, promises, precepts or examples, we will be healed and re-vitalized. We in turn will become channels of healing and blessing for people of different nations across the globe. Though the word, “ healing” refers primarily to the salvation from sin, it also implies the solution of the many problems, afflictions, curses and challenges on account of sin in this world. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Open Door

UV 598/10,000 The Open Door “ I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3 v 8 The Lord knows our works. He has complete knowledge of us. Nothing is hidden from His eye. He knows if we keep His Word. Keeping His Word implies storing it in our memory banks, treasuring it as something precious, abiding or living by it, recalling it from time to time and obeying it. We are the good soil that will receive the seed of His Word and nurture it and bear much fruit. In a recent time of prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed this rhema promise for me as He said, “ You are elaborating on my Word, you are elaborating in prayer.” We keep our faith when we do not deny the Lord but we acknowledge Him in all our ways or all aspects of our lives and at all times. When we confess our faith in the Lord Jesus before people, He will acknowledge us as His own before the Father in Heaven. When we deny Him before people, He too will deny that we belong to Him. But we have a little strength only – the Lord gently chides us and encourages us to grow in faith, love, grace and strength. He promises to increase our strength in spirit, mind and body so that we can increase in our influence and impact on behalf of His Kingdom. He desires that we grow to His full stature in terms of His wisdom, His grace, love and power. Jesus holds in His hand the key that can open any door. It is called the key of David as it is the symbol of kingly authority and government. Seeing our faith and our obedience, He uses His sovereign power and authority to open the door or to give us opportunities. The opportunities He opens for us are in all areas of our lives: ministry, profession, business, investments, discipleship, family, relationships. He opens the door to expand the Kingdom of God. No one regardless of how powerful he or she is can oppose us or close the door. The reference to David implies that we will face bears that maul, lions that prowl and steal the sheep, mighty Goliaths that mock us, armies that attack us, the conflicts that assail us, the sin and lust that tempts us. The door that no man can shut is a metaphor that means that we will overcome the formidable foes and challenges that come in our way in the course of our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Distinction

UV 597/10,000 The Distinction “ But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any man or animal. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.” Exodus 11 v 7 Egypt is a symbol of people who distance themselves from God. Israel is a metaphor for people who are intimate with God. They live in the umbra of His shadow and not just in the outer fringe or “ penumbra”. Therefore, God in return promises to put protective fencing around the latter. So much so, when disaster strikes the former, no dog will stare or even bark at the people who are intimate with the Lord. In a time of prayer recently, the Lord revealed that “ neither any dog nor any fly will stand before you.” The Lord acts as a Lion of Judah for each of us. He wrestles with the principalities and powers of darkness and wrests victory for us. During His earthly ministry for thirty three years, the Lord Jesus remained a Lamb. But, after His resurrection, He manifests as a mighty lion. Satan though he is described as a roaring lion, has now become a defeated lion who is terrified at the very mention of the name of Jesus. The word “ disaster” comes from the French root, “ des astre” meaning evil star. But, the Lord Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star who dispels all evil and blesses us with the overflow of His goodness. The distinction that the Lord makes between Egypt and Israel is not out of any partiality. Any human being regardless of nationality, religious background or occupation or class or gender or culture or lifestyle can be part of Israel. Even in the midst of any disaster, man-made or natural, the Lord is in our midst and is in control. He does it to show that He makes a distinction between the righteous by faith and the wicked by lack of faith, between him who serves God and him who does not. Even in the third type of disaster, God-caused to reveal His power, the Lord will be a sufficient shelter and refuge to His chosen people. The mark of distinction that He makes is the cross signed in His blood upon our foreheads, doorposts and windows. During the three days of darkness during a God-caused disaster in Egypt, there was light inside the Hebrew homes. The Jewish Passover which commemorates the saving of the blood marked Hebrew homes from death is a metaphor for the amazing redemption that the Lord will cause for each of us several times in the course of our lives. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Unflagging Leadership and Unfailing Help

UV 596/10,000 Unfailing Help and Leadership “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,” Isaiah 58 v 9 The Lord promises that if we free others from the yoke of spiritual, mental and social oppression, if we do not accuse and judge others and if we avoid malicious talk, He will rush to us when we cry for help. He will come beside us and say, “ here I am.” The Lord is attentive to our prayers and responsive to our need. Isn’t it amazing that each of us in comparison with the universe is smaller than a subatomic particle, yet the Lord relates to us as one person with another, a friend with his soulmate. He is under no obligation to come when we call. Yet, when we call, He not only listens to our heart’s cry but comes to our aid. He hears us even before we speak or pray. He says, “ No need to yelp, I am your ever present help.” In times of distress, our cry of prayer is like a literal S.O.S. to the Lord. In a recent cyclonic storm near the coast of Chennai, a ship broke away from its anchorage at the outer mooring of the port and got swept away towards a beach and eventually got stuck on the sand. In the rising waves, wind and rain, the captain sent out a distress signal to the Coast Guard. But, the Coast Guard did not respond saying that it was too risky for them to venture out into the stormy sea. The captain then ordered the sailors to abandon the ship. At that point, many of the ship’s crew got into a lifeboat. But, the lifeboat turned topsy turvy in the choppy sea and five sailors drowned to death. Their bodies, bloated and decomposed, were found by the Coast Guard after several days. It was found later that the captain’s decision to leave the ship was not the right one in the circumstances. The leadership had failed. The lifeboat failed. The Coast Guard had failed for the stormy conditions were beyond their capacity to be of assistance. Our human support systems often fail but the Lord is an unfailing lifeguard. The only pre-conditions is that we need to have an intimate relationship with the Lord, reach out to the needy and oppressed, avoid blaming others and avoid godless gossip or idle words. No storm or situation is either too big or too small for Him to intervene decisively in our favour. His leadership is an unsinkable ship. The pre-conditions to avail His guidance and protection are the discipline we need to subject ourselves to as His disciples and sailors. The Lord responds with just three words: “ here am I”. He does not say any extra or superfluous word as His presence is enough to uphold us, to give us victory. His presence will afford for us the specific help we need in our separate and distinct situations. Our attitudes, our thoughts, words and actions must be in sync with Him. What He needs to see is not a charade of religion but His character reflected in our lives. This uni-verse came in a time of prayer as a confirmation of the Lord’s presence with Nimisha, our daughter who has been away in London for studies since the past couple of months. The Lord spoke through this verse, confirming His presence with her as she mingles with different unknown people and situations so far away from the possibility of either parental knowledge or help. Prateep V Philip