Sunday, December 29, 2013

Morning Manna

UV 966/10,000 Morning Manna Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143 v 8 The Lord expects us to come to Him early every morning even before we have our breakfast. We must be spiritually nourished by His love even before we nourish our bodies or interact with people. When we approach Him every morning, he will send us the word of His unfailing love. His Word will never fail to come to us and His Word will never fail in it fulfilment. It will give us strength, encouragement and guidance for the day. As someone said, when we go to the Lord we should not be like someone who is giving instructions to the Lord but as a worker reporting for duty. Since we have pledged our trust in the Lord, the Lord will give us grace out of His covenant promises. He will feed us with daily spiritual manna. He shows us the way we should go. He will keep our feet from stumbling, implying from wilful or wanton blunders or unintended mistakes or errors of judgement, pronouncement or action. He will keep our eyes from tears, implying He would preserve us from tragedies or mishaps over which we have no control or no way to prevent or pre-empt it. When we pray and seek God ‘s will for our lives in His Word, we are lifting up our souls or spirits to the Lord. We are acknowledging that only He knows what is best and good for us. We are placing ourselves willingly in His capable and loving hands. We are yielding ourselves to Him to shape us from within and from outside. We have to close the three doors of our bodies to the world and its attractions, distractions and disturbance- our eyes, our ears and our mouth. Then He will give us grace or the power to overcome the challenges and issues of the day. Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

UV 965/10,000 The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5 v 18 We need to offer the fruit of our lips –thanksgiving for every small and big blessing in our lives, for every situation, seemingly bad or good, for every person we know or relate to, for every opportunity as well as crisis, for good health and healing, for strength and wisdom, for knowledge and understanding, for the Word and for every promise of God. Our eyes will be opened to see and to be able to count the innumerable blessings of life that we take for granted every day. We need to thank God for His wonderful plan for the salvation of man and of each one of us through His Son Jesus. The more things we are grateful to the Lord for, the more we will have to be grateful for. It will produce an increasing feeling of blessedness in our lives. It will produce joy and contentment. When we are continually thanking the Lord, the enemy of our souls will not have an opportunity to infiltrate our minds. We will be drawn closer and closer to the Lord in faith and in love. Thanksgiving implies that our hearts are humble before the Lord. We are not proud or independent minded that we are ashamed to acknowledge the extent of our indebtedness to the Lord. Thanksgiving is the sacrifice of a believing heart and mind. It pleases the heart of God who will say, “ here is a faithful servant. Let me bless him or her even more.” We need to thank God for even the suffering we have gone through. Though this may be difficult at the time we are going through it, after we have endured it, we can thank the Lord for the faith, humility, character, patience and strength it built in us. When the early apostles faced violent death at the hands of their Roman and other persecutors, they thanked the Lord that they were found worthy to die as martyrs for Him. The latter were astonished that many of them died with songs of praise and thanksgiving on their lips. Thanksgiving ahead of even receiving answers to prayers is a mark of great faith and ushers in the answers we are seeking. When we see a peron who is limping or paralysed, we can thank the Lord for giving us healthy limbs and do our bit to ease the lot of the one that prompted us to thank the Lord. When we see someone who is poor and underprivileged, we can thank the Lord for all that He has given us in His grace and mercy and seek to help that person. When we see a person who is sick and ailing, we can thank the Lord for our health and pray for that person’s healing. This is what is meant by thanking the Lord in all that we do and say. Thanksgiving increases the degree of our anointing and filling with the Holy Spirit. It will increase the fruit of the Spirit as well as the gifts of the Spirit in us. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Spirit of Freedom

UV 964/10,000 The Spirit of Freedom For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8 v 15 When we receive Christ by faith into our hearts, we receive the spirit of children of God. We become children not by natural means but by adoption. The Israelites trembled at entering the presence of God out of fear that they would die due to His holiness and judgement. They dare not even pronounce His name also fully but spoke it under their breath out of reverence. But the Lord God declares this kind of fear to be like their bondage to Egypt. The Holy Spirit who dwells in us sets us free of the shackles of fear. Instead of bondage, we now have the spirit of bonding with the Father. We do not have to hesitate in calling Him, “ Abba” or Father since He has adopted us as His children. Jesus Christ is the first born and we through our faith in Him are brought into relationship with God and with each other as brothers and sisters and as co-heirs to the great spiritual inheritance that the Lord promises His children. Adam and Eve cowered in fear after they disobeyed God. Their guilt made them hide. By believing in the words of the evil one and disbelieving the words of the Holy One, they had chosen to be in bondage to satan and to be inheritors of the wrath of God. By believing the words of Jesus and His work on the cross, we are set free from every form of spiritual oppression or yoke of bondage that mankind became naturally prey to. We are inheritors of the love, grace and mercy of the Lord. Instead of being subject to punishment for our deeds and misdeeds, we become eligible for great rewards. As children ask their father boldly for their need, we can cry out to the Lord for our need. The spirit of being children of God enables us to fellowship with Him freely, without restraint or hindrance. We have many privileges of this newly forged relationship- the curse is broken, we are greatly blessed, we can address Him any time and all the time as children approach their father, we are subject to the discipline, teaching and leading by the Father, we reflect the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives and character, we experience a new sense of freedom and joy, we inherit all that is promised in the Word of God, we are spared from judgement, we become kings and priests in God’s eyes, our prayers are precious to Him. We are precious and honoured in His sight. We are the apple of His eye. We have received instead of the spirit of fear, the spirit of love, power and self control. His perfect love working in us over time drives out our every fear- the fear of disease, the fear of death, the fear of failure, the fear of judgement, the fear of poverty, the fear of curses, the fear of violence, the fear of evil. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

HIs Glory Shines Forth as Shallom

UV 963/10,000 God’s Glory Shines Forth as Shallom Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests. Luke 2 v 14 This single uni-verse defines the purpose of the universe as well as the purpose of human life. The purpose of the universe is to reveal the glory of God. His infiniteness is reflected in the infinite number of heavenly bodies in space. His creativity is reflected in the vast variety of species of flora and fauna on Earth. These creatures and heavenly bodies reflect the glory or greatness and majesty and power of God passively as a mirror reflects light. But the highest praise for God comes from the wholly autonomous creature that is man. Just as when the sun shines in its glory in different regions and nations, the people there receive warmth, light and energy to enable them to live, when the glory of God shines on us, implying when His favour rests on us, we receive Shallom- the peace that passeth understanding, the peace that the world and its forces, foes and factors cannot take away, the peace that is wholesome, the peace that includes a combination of joy, grace, wisdom, love, prosperity, long life, health, success and strength. We should therefore daily and continually bask in the glory of God, the original source of our life and growth, just as sun bathers love to bask in the sunlight. When we believe in His Son we have made peace with God. When we do His work on earth, His favour rests on us. When we find the favour of God, we will learn to enjoy the flavour of life. When the glory of God shines on us the unpredictable, the amazing and the miraculous will happen in our lives. We should attempt to do our highest for His glory, implying that we should develop ourselves to our fullest potential and use our time, talent and treasure for His greater glory in every domain of human endeavour and activity. When our lives produce the fruits of repentance and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in abundance, His Kingdom is established on earth as in heaven. Truth looks up from the earth and righteousness looks down from heaven. Mercy and truth meet half way, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. This is Jacob’s dream of the two way staircase to heaven- of our praises and petitions being carried to the Lord by ascending angels and His answers and blessings of Shallom being brought down to us by the descending angels from heaven. Our hearts, bodies, homes and relationships become the new Bethel- the glorious home of God. Prateep V Philip

The Centrality of Belief

UV 962/10,000 The Centrality of Belief Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? Isaiah 53 v 1 The arm of the Lord holds certain truths and He chooses to reveal it to certain people whom He knows would respond with belief. There happens a revelation of truth that cannot be discovered by study or experimentation or experience. When we respond in faith or believe, we take an action based on that faith. For instance, Mary had a revelation of her being pregnant by immaculate conception by the will of God. She responded by glad acceptance and submission to this revelation. Joseph had a revelation by a dream not to hesitate in taking her as wife and not to break off their engagement. The shepherds had a revelation that the Saviour of mankind is born in a manger and they went to see the baby. They praised God and told all the people they met about the amazing things they saw that night. The Magi had a revelation from the heavenly bodies in the new star that shone over Bethlehem in Judea and they took the long and arduous journey to Bethlehem. Zechariah and Elizabeth heard the message. Zechariah could not believe the message that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. He could not speak till after the child was born. But the child in Elizabeth’s womb leapt in joy when it heard the voice of Mary. There was a revelation to the future John the Baptist even while in his mother’s womb and he responded with joy. The ruler of Judea, Herod the Tetrarch did not have a revelation from God but he heard about the birth of a new king and felt threatened by the new born. He ordered the massacre of the innocents thereafter not being able to locate the new born king. History records that Caesar hearing about the tyranny and misrule of Herod removed him from the Tetrarchy and replaced him with a Roman governor. The lack of revelation and the lack of belief also leads to an action to oppose the will of God The innkeeper did not have a revelation and he refused to give the family a room to stay. In geography there is the concept of the rain shadow area where one side of a region or hill receives the rain and the other side does not. Similarly, belief or lack of belief determines whether we are on the spiritual rainfall area or the rain shadow area. When we believe and respond like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi we come into the favour of the Lord. The centrality of belief also shows up in the certainty of blessing. Faith involves hearing a message from God directly or indirectly or from the Word and believing in the message and acting on it. It comprises of a revelation, a response of belief and an act of obedience. When we hear the Word, believe the message and act on it, we find favour with God like the shepherds, like Mary and Joseph, like Zechariah and Elizabeth and the Magi. The word “ belief” is broken into two words “ be “ and “ lief” for kingdom. By belief in Jesus we are born in the spirit into the Kingdom of God. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Password

UV 961/10,000 The Word or the World The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1 v 14 John describes Jesus in metaphoric terms as the Word. Why did he choose to describe Jesus by what people normally consider the least important- a mere word and not even plural? He could have described Jesus as the miracle worker, the healer, the deliverer, the redeemer, the saviour, the Messiah, the King. Jesus Himself had summed up His identity as “ the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Yet His closest disciple chose to equate Jesus with the Word. He had done the impossible in compressing the infinite into one word- the Word. In lighter vein, if John was living in this current age, he would have said, “Jesus is the Password.” He is the password nobody will have difficulty remembering and nobody could forget. Jesus is more than a password to access heaven. Jesus is the Password to make us pass from sin to righteousness, damnation to salvation, penalty to reward, guilt to blamelessness, religious bondage to spiritual freedom, from curses to blessings, from death to eternal life, from a limited life to an abundant life, from ignorance to knowledge and wisdom, from failure to success, from spiritual and other poverty to prosperity. By His words, the Creator God had brought into being the entire universe and all living creatures. Through Jesus the Word , God made all things by design not by accident. Without Jesus nothing was made. It was made by Him and for Him. When something in our life is not working the way it was designed or intended to, we should therefore return it to the Maker. Jesus can set it right. For Jesus is the Architect, Builder, Inhabitor and Renovator of the universe. We humans constantly reach out to be that which we are not. If we are poor, we try and reach out to be rich. If we are ignorant, we try and reach out to be wise and knowledgeable. If we are weak, we try and reach out to be strong. If we are sad or depressed, we try and reach out to be happy or joyful. We are aspirational creatures, always aspiring to be that which we are not but desire to be. But Jesus did the opposite for He reached down to be born lowly and limited in mortal flesh and blood when He could have gone on just being an Eternal spirit Being. He reached down to pull us all up. The words, “ He made His dwelling among us” means that He endured our living conditions, confronted our kind of temptations and pressures, experienced suffering and pain. Yet He retained the glory of God, the Eternal Self Existent Being. He did not fall short in any way. He fulfilled His mandate and mission on Earth. Jesus is described as the “ One and Only who came from the Father”. The singular Word is used by John to describe Him as He is the One and Only Mediator who originated from God and sent by God to reconcile God and His fallen creation. Jesus communicates like a Word the love of God to mankind. He is full of grace and truth or hundred per cent gracious and truthful. All other human beings are only partially gracious and truthful. We aspire to be full of grace and truth. We are born with a certain love of the world. We can uses our senses to understand or comprehend and get a hold on this world around us but to understand and comprehend the Lord God, it is necessary to use our dormant faith faculty. In proportion to the extent we empty ourselves of this love of the world and increase or fill ourselves with love of the Word or Jesus, we too become fuller with grace and truth. We no longer have to make a choice between the devil and the deep sea but between the world and the Word. As we become more and more full of grace and truth, we reflect the ineffable glory or greatness of God. The more we comprehend the length, breadth, height and width of the Word of God, the more we will understand, appreciate and realize the length, breadth, height and width of the love of God. Prateep V Philip

Turning to the Wall

UV 960/10,000 Turning to the Wall Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. Isaiah 38 v 2 King Hezekiah humbled himself when he heard the prophet Isaiah’s words that he was going to die and that he was not going to recover from the illness he was suffering from at the time. He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. As a result, the Lord cancelled the prophecy that he would not recover and extended his life by fifteen years. Jews to this day pray after this fashion at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. But the Lord does not want us to wail but to repose our confidence that He alone can restore us in the thing that we are seeking whether in matters of healing or in some other matter. We do not have to fight with our back to the wall or feel like we have been driven to the corner. Truly, as the song says, “ God will find a way where there seems to be no way.” Turning to the Wall is not a daily practice. In desperate situations or in the life threatening situations, we are called to turn to the wall and pray. It involves completely surrendering ourselves to the Lord, knowing that help or resolution or solution cannot come from any other quarter other than the Lord Himself. It is one of those few moments in life when we know that we could not have pulled ourselves through except by the intervention of the Lord. Turning our face to the wall implies seeking the Lord’s face, entering His presence to lay before Him the problem or issue we are facing. Gideon laid before the Lord his fleece asking the Lord to confirm his call to leadership of Israel against the Midianites. When we cry out to the Lord in our pain and anguish or in our doubt and confusion, He will hear us and give us deliverance or guidance on which way we ought to proceed. We do not have to wait till we hit a wall or a dead end before we turn to the Lord. God answers our prayer but not necessarily in the way we would expect. The wall is a metaphor for Jesus. He is like a wall of protection, comfort and salvation around us. The bricks or stones that make up this wall are the promises and commandments of the Lord. We can hide behind this wall or lean on this wall. Nothing is too small or insignificant. Nothing is too big, difficult or impossible for Jesus. In every situation that Jesus faced during His earthly sojourn He remained highly practical and grounded. He could teach the master fisherman how to fish. Today, He can teach the leader, the management expert, the scientist, the physician, the police officer, the teacher, the student, the writer. Hence, we can expect practical help and support from the Lord in every situation we face. When a certain member of my family faced a health challenge compounded with a business crisis, the Lord gave him this promise, “ Turn to the wall and pray. I will heal you and extend your life. I will deliver you from your debts.” The Lord is, has been and will always be faithful to His promises. His life was extended even though doctors had given him only six months to live as he was in the terminal stage of cancer. Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 20, 2013

Living Hope

The Living Hope Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, I Peter 1 v 3 God the Father is the source and fountainhead of all blessings. The word blessing means to be lifted up, to be enlarged, to increase. He blesses because He is greatly blessed. His is the greatness, glory, goodness, honour, power, majesty, victory. Everything in heaven and earth is His. His is the kingdom and He is exalted as the head above all. Both riches and honour come from Him. In His hand is power and might. He can make great and give strength to all. He reigns over all. All of His glory, power, grace, blessings and other attributes are contained in the very name of God. When we hold onto His Name, we hold on to Him. As He is absolutely holy and cannot violate His own standards described in the Word of God, we depend on His grace and mercy in order to be so blessed. It is His Son and heir Lord Jesus Christ who makes us co-heirs to all the blessings in the heavenly places by virtue not of our deeds but our faith. Satan cannot bless as he is cursed. Jesus who is the absolute manifestation in flesh and blood of the glory, goodness, power, love and grace of God needed to submit to death in order to give mankind the lively hope of eternal life and to give us the inheritance of blessings of God. Satan is the absolute manifestation of evil. If satan the evil one was overcome by power and might of God, it would have made God a greater evil. He could not bring Himself to be part of a power struggle with satan. Instead, He purposed that His sinless Son Jesus submitted to die in the place of all. Jesus is the living and eternal bridge between God and man. The incorruptible eternal seed of the Word begets hope in us that we too are blessed and live forever. The corruptible seed of man works towards our death. At the same time our faith in the promises of God in Christ gives us the living hope that we too will be resurrected like Jesus Christ. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead works in us to quicken or make alive our spirits. Till the death and resurrection of Jesus, death was the absolute dead end of the human soul. Now it became just a punctuation mark or a comma in the sojourn of a man. Hence faith in the Son is sufficient to give us abundant grace and power in all of life’s situations and challenges as well as for life eternal. The word abundant indicates that on account of our living hope, we will have even more than what we need of blessings, of power, might, strength and grace. A lively or living hope implies that hope that is at work in all of our life situations or all aspects of life- physical, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual, financial or professional. It is a hope that is real, practical, holistic, consistent and enduring. Hope is based on the Word and it is what fuels our prayer. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Singleness of Heart and Action

UV 957/10,000 Singleness of Heart and Action I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children. Jeremiah 32 v 39 Integrity or oneness of heart and action is a divine gift or grace we receive from the Lord. It enables not only our heart, mind and mouth to work in sync but it also enables us to act in sync with the heart of the Lord. Cain desired to also worship God with a sacrifice but there was a lack of alignment between his heart and his actions. He did not give of his best to the Lord. It was Abel’s sense of reverence or respect for God that enabled him to give of his best- a blemishless sacrifice. His heart was blameless before the Lord. When Cain slew him out of sheer jealousy, Abel became the blemishless sacrifice, the foreshadow of the Messiah Himself. It might seem to us from a human perspective that Abel suffered injustice and an unjust death but his martyrdom and every drop of his blood cries out for mercy and grace for every one of us who live in covenant or agreement with God. There may be a million perspectives or views on a million things in life but when we say we are believers, we are saying we agree with what the Word of God’s covenant. Just as day and night come unfailingly due to the covenant with God, the Lord’s goodness to us is unfailing, irrevocable and everlasting. Just as nobody can stop day and night from coming at the appointed hour, nobody can stop the goodness of God from coming to us at the appointed hour. It is when the Lord knows that we respect Him so much that we would abide by every word of His covenant with us then He releases His blessings on us and our generations. When we enter the new covenant relationship with God by believing in the sacrifice of Jesus the blemishless Lamb of God, He gives us a new heart of obedience in place of the old stony heart of rebellions. A new spirit of reverence, wisdom and excellence is poured upon each of us. The enemy of our souls had sown the seed of dissension, doubt and stubbornness by making Adam believe that God did not wish us to be equal with Him and had therefore withheld knowledge from man. But the mind of Christ will now instruct us that God is completely trustworthy and instead of grasping for equality with God, we can submit our whole lives to Him and that would work out for our own good and for the good of our children. We are now awash with the agape love of God. Since we are at peace with God we can live in peace and unity with fellow believers, our brothers and sisters in faith. The blessings or goodness of God are of two kinds: the blessings of increase- the multiplication of our days, the multiplication of our joys, the multiplication of our numbers of people and resources as well as the blessings of intensity. We experience life in both its pain and pleasure, its joys and sorrows with greater intensity. In the fluctuating vicissitudes of life, its ups and downs, we remain consistent in maintaining our integrity or the singleness or alignment of heart, mind, mouth, action and reaction with the Word of God even as a mason would use a plumbline as he builds a wall. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Testing of Priorities

UV 956/10,000 The Testing of Priorities But the Lord said, “ You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.” Jonah 4 v 10 A certain businessman wanted to die as his business had failed and he had accumulated a huge loss and debts. He cried out to God, “ Let me die. “ At this point the Lord replied with this verse. It implied that the prosperity that he enjoyed for many years was a God given blessing and it was not because he had tended it and made it grow. Like the gourd vine that the Lord had caused to grow to give a shade to Jonah to ease his discomfort, our resources, our professions and our jobs are caused to grow by the blessing of the Lord to give our families and us a shade and comfort. Like Jonah we take it for granted that we are entitled to these blessings by virtue of our abilities, qualifications or hard work and do not acknowledge or thank the Lord for these. But when the Lord sends a worm to chew the vine through business losses, bad decisions, ill health or some misfortune, we get angry and bitter with ourselves and God and even express a death wish like Jonah, “ It is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah was moved out of his little comfort zone to expand his vision and to deepen his understanding of the purpose of life. He had a duty and a mission to warn people of their unrighteousness and to move them to repentance by sharing the truth of God. The Lord was opening his eyes to his own hardheartedness and to make him realize that the large number of people of Nineveh whose souls stood the risk of perishing were far more valuable that the vine gourd that He had caused to grow over Jonah. We need to think that every little or big thing in our lives is caused or ordained by the Lord for our benefit and that nothing is natural or an accident or chance or our sheer good luck. We must thank the Lord for all the shades and comforts He has provided us in His mercy and grace but be always be willing to risk these for a greater cause- the love of God for His people expressed in His desire that people repent of their ways and turn back to Him. In Jonah’s heart, his own safety, security and comfort had priority over the burden of the Lord. The Lord has nothing against these for He is the source of these blessings and He desires that His children enjoy it in abundance. But when they are taken away for a time to test our faith, we should say like Job, “ What the Lord has given, He has taken away.” We should yield or submit to God’s will and not resist or fight it. We need to make the burden on the Lord’s heart- eternal life for all people-our first priority and the Lord will make our security, happiness and comfort His first priority. There was no comparison in value of the lives of 120,000 people of Nineveh and all the cattle with the single gourd plant that grew over Jonah. Similarly, nothing in life can compare with the value of eternal life whether of one person or of many or of all people. Our selfish focus on our own creature comforts and pleasure needs to shift to understanding the love and compassion of the Lord. Our life is the message we convey to other people of who or what is our priority in life. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Potter's Clay

UV 955/10,000 Isaiah 29 v 16 The Potter’s Clay Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Isaiah 29 v 16 When the apostles Paul and Silas were preaching the gospel in Thessalonica, they were accused of having turned the world upside down. In fact, God turned the world right side up with the good news that through the greatest injustice in history meted out to the absolutely perfect human who ever walked on the face of the earth, the lives of all people could be turned right side up. As the potter does to the clay that has hardened and misshapen, the Lord broke our usual concept of life and its meaning and gave a new shape to our beliefs and our practices. our thoughts and our habits. Just as the clay cannot comprehend the ultimate shape the potter is going to give it, we cannot fully understand what shape our lives are finally going to take. Suffice it to know that He regards us as His special or precious clay. Instead of jumping off the potter’s wheel in pursuit of own own dreams and ambitions, we should yield ourselves to His loving and caring hands to shape and form our lives. It is vain and presumptuous for us to question the Potter. The Lord as the Potter uses one hand to shape us from within and the other hand to shape us from the outside. Sometimes He turns our lives upside down so that He is able to deal with our flaws or weaknesses. At such times, we should not only say that we have feet of clay but that our entire being is clay that is best formed and re-formed by Him. We cannot deny that He has made us. We cannot question His design or His wisdom. He will shape us according to the purpose He has in mind for us. He will invest in us the inner strength and gifts that we need for fulfilling that purpose. The trials and tribulations He allows us to go through in life are intended as the furnace heat to evaporate the moisture in the mix of clay and to harden and strengthen us. Whatever our position or shape or external attributes, we are earthen pots to carry His Word of truth. We need to daily fill ourselves with a fresh outpouring of His truth into us. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Redefining Life

UV 954/10,000 Redefining Life The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid. Zephaniah 3 v 13 The remnant of Israel refers to those who are born again by hearing and believing the Word of God. Our new being is conceived not by the will or desire of man but by the will of God and our conscious choice. We are no longer Jacob the deceiver for blessings but Israel the receiver of blessings. The Lord first defines us and then He refines us. He will refine us in the crucible of experiences of life. We will walk according to the teachings and commandments of God given through Moses, the prophets and Jesus. We will be considered righteous in the eyes of God. We will not speak lies. We will be like Nathaniel of whom Jesus testified that “there is no guile in this man.” The Word will set us free from our former captivities to sin, untruth and deceit. We are transparent before the Lord and He can read us and see through us. He knows our every thought, emotion and aspiration. Jacob the deceiver had to run away from his home and run away from his brother in fear that he would take revenge for his deceit. Even years later he was haunted by his fear that Esau would kill his wives and children. But once he encountered the Lord and received his blessing, Jacob the restless soul became Israel the restful person. His brother Esau reconciled with him and embraced him. Jesus as the good Shepherd will lead us to still waters where we can rest and lie down in peace. He will comfort, encourage and deliver us from spiritual predators. He will feed us daily and nourish our souls with His living words even as our bodies draw strength and pleasure from marrow and fatness of meat. We anchor our lives in Him. We find our stability and our security in Him. We have a frank and honest relationship with the Lord. We can confide in Him our deepest fears and anguish. Once we have unburdened ourselves in His presence, we are assured that He knows what is best for us and that He is capable of resolving it forever. Neither guilt nor fear nor worry will seize our hearts and minds. Guilt becomes grace, fear becomes faith and worry becomes hope. It is a great promise that we receive from this uni-verse- no one, absolutely “no one can make us afraid.” Since the Lord has declared us righteous, no trace of guilt for any of the sins we have done in the past or the lies we have spoken affects us any longer. Since God is for us and with us and in us, we need not fear anyone or anything. We are not worried as His grace and power is sufficient for us to deal with any negativity in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Living Temples

UV 953/10,000 Living Temples Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. I Corinthians 6 v 19 Sexual purity is one of the aspects of our life that the Lord considers most vital. Of the three types of lusts, the lust of the flesh is the most powerful. Like Joseph fled from the adulterous wife of Potiphar, we are exhorted to flee from sexual immorality. Today, we are living in an age where sexual immorality is rife and people do not seem to know right from wrong, what is permissible in the sight of God and what is not. Joseph incurred vengeful wrath and risked his very life in order to stay right with God. Sexual immorality is an area of challenge for many believers as well as pastors. Many have been trapped into extramarital relationships and addiction to pornography. Our eyes are the windows of our bodies and we should be careful of the light that is let in. We cannot do as we please with our bodies for once we are saved by our faith in Christ, our bodies are no longer mere flesh and blood but anointed by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity and we are declared to be temples of God. The Holy Spirit is the seal of ownership that the Lord places on us. Jesus is the Capstone, the keystone and the cornerstone of this temple. It is not easy to remain sexually pure. It requires the grace from the Capstone. We are no longer to treat God as a part time consultant but as a full time owner. He does not merely reside in us but He presides over our lives. We should always act with the knowledge that our actions and reactions can either please or displease the Lord and make it a habit not to grieve the gentle and sensitive Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows us intimately and inside out. He knows the inclinations of our hearts and minds and we can ask Him to continually sanctify and daily cleanse us from our innermost places. The Holy Spirit is the separator, the differentiator. In the beginning, when the Spirit moved over the waters, the land separated from the sea, the light separated from the darkness. Now when He moves within us, we are being separated from our former sinful selves. We are being separated from the sinful world and its ways. He transforms us from within so that we are living sacrifices before the Lord. Where formerly, we only had attitudes formed and shaped by the world, now we have beautiful attitudes formed and shaped in accordance with the Word. It is the Holy Spirit who makes our lives holy and acceptable to God. Over time, He removes the hidden and inner blemishes and flaws as we surrender our wills to Him. God has ordained that man is married to woman. Just as a man is faithful to God, He is to remain faithful to the woman he is married to and likewise the woman. I was listening to the debate and discussion on the re-criminalizing of homosexuality by the judgement of the Supreme Court last week. Homosexuality is described and justified by many as a disposition that many are born with, giving them no choice. But many who had such a disposition once they were saved and anointed by the Holy Spirit turned from such a lifestyle. The world’s standards keep changing but the Word remains the same. According to the world’s standards, it says that homosexuality is not an offence as it is a genetic disposition. Tomorrow, it will further state that sex with children or paedophilia or sex with animals is also a natural disposition. Even if a person has a natural disposition to be immoral or homosexual, the Spirit will give him or her the grace to overcome an inner weakness or tendency. When we are in Christ, we become members of His divine body. We are united with Him in our flesh and blood and therefore, cannot be one in flesh with any one except as it is ordained in the Word. Being living temples, we should always be conscious that we are consecrated to the Lord, that our thoughts, words and deeds are to conform to His image and His Word and not to the world. Being living temples, we should always have praise, worship and thanksgiving proceeding with the flow of a river or stream, unceasingly from within the deepest recess of our hearts and souls. Prateep V Philip

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Morning Star

UV 952/10,000 The Morning Star For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly Psam 84 v 11 In life there is an interplay of light and shadow. We work and are active during the day and sleep during the night. Similarly, there are times in our lives when it is bright and shining like daylight and there are times when we are covered or shielded. Jesus is called the Bright and Morning Star. Long before humanity discovered that the sun was yet another star, the scripture talks about the Morning Star. When all other leading lights have departed, it is only the Morning Star that remains. The light from the Morning Star exceeds the cumulative light received from all other stars in the cosmos put together. The sun is the only bright and morning star- the only star that can be seen and experienced during the day. He is the Morning Star of our lives who lights up with truth and hope every dark or grey area of our lives. He gives us grace to experience the fulsome glory of God. He is gracious and accepts us with all our faults and failures. He has given us a vision of the glory of God and enables us to share in His everlasting light. Like solar energy panels we need to absorb His radiance, grace, light, truth and goodness and pass it on to those who shiver in the darkness, who are listless and purposeless, who are too spiritually blind to see any light coming their way. It is said that if the sun is a little distance away, it would have been too cold to sustain life on earth and if it was a little distance closer, it would have been too hot to sustain life. The Creator has perfectly calibrated and located it. But when it comes to Jesus the closer we come to Him, the more blessed we are. Of course, the more distance we keep between us and Him, we are likely to experience more of the darkness, sin and misery of the spiritual world. A walk that is upright is a walk that is closer to Him. It is a life that is lived in obedience to His Word. It is a life that is lived in learning from and following His example. But the Lord is not only the Sun of our spiritual universe who holds us in orbit but He is also a shield. The more we yield, the more He shields. He shields us internally from the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. He shields us from conforming to the world’s patterns. He shields us from our enemies, however powerful or numerous they may be. He shields us from mishaps and disasters. He shields us from the consequences of our own folly and mistakes of the past. He is our hiding place from our own fears and apprehensions. He is the refuge from the assaults and threats of the enemy. This uni-verse is an amazing promise of the Lord leading, guiding, shepherding and shielding or guarding and protecting us as well as rewarding us for our faithfulness for He will not withhold any good thing from us. He will not withhold His excellence from us or the abundance of His spiritual, intellectual, emotional , social, material or monetary provision. He will not withhold any blessing or anything that is needed to satisfy our need Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just in Time

UV 951/10,000 Just in Time For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakuk 2 v 3 When the Lord gives a revelation or a vision, it will be fulfilled in due course. It will never prove false. We need to wait with patient expectation. The word “ wait” means “ Worship and I trust”. We need to give God praise, glory and thanksgiving ahead of time as if the vision or prophecy is fulfilled. Faith is nothing but patient positive expectation. The Lord has appointed or set a particular time for the fulfilment of the various promises we have received, the prophecies spoken concerning us as well as the world and the church, the visions seen by various saints both contemporary and in the past. Daniel knew that many of the visions and prophecies he received would be fulfilled after many days, some long after his lifetime, some of them are yet to be fulfilled even today. There were certain visions which were fulfilled almost instantly like the hand writing on the wall. Some of the visions and prophecies were fulfilled after a few years like the one about Nebuchadnezzar getting demented and losing the throne. Abraham waited for many years before the promise of a son and heir was fulfilled. Joseph waited for many years before the dream of his family bowing before him was fulfilled. Simeon waited all his life to catch a glimpse of the new born Saviour of the world. In this age when we are used to instant gratification and have a short attention span, it is no doubt difficult to wait patiently. But the Lord asks us to reaffirm our faith in the vision, dream or prophecy by holding on to our hope in the Lord and His Word. Jesus waited for three days before He went to Bethany to resurrect the dead and decaying Lazarus. He reached the marriage feast when the wine had ran out. He allows the natural to have its run before He intervenes in the supernatural. God never acts in haste. He has his own kind of just in time technology in place. If emotional intelligence is the ability to postpone the gratification of our desires for a greater good, spiritual intelligence is the ability to wait for the fulfilment of God ‘s will expressed as visions, dreams, prophecies and promises. Why does God make us wait when we know that given His power and might, He could instantly change things and cause events as He pleases? It is to both build and test our faith. Our maturity increases as we learn to wait on the Lord. We should not wring our hands in frustration or knit our brows in worry or curl our lips in murmur or complaint about the delay in seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We begin to realize that it is not the thing or relief or solution that we are waiting for that is important but our dependence and our relationship with our beloved Saviour. We recognize the sovereignty of God to determine the timing as well as the manner of fulfilment of His forthtelling. He sees that while we wait- are we possessed by a sense of doubt or an assurance and sense of certainty that which the Lord has spoken will happen. A certain prophet whenever he prayed for me said, “ your little eyes will see great wonders.” Indeed, my little eyes did see great wonders but greater wonders are waiting to happen. It will not delay but happen in good time or at the God-appointed hour. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seeking Official Favour

Seeking Official Favour 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 1 v 11 We must first seek the mercy and grace of the Lord. When we humble ourselves with the heart of a servant, the Lord will listen to our prayers. He will lift us up in due time. He will prosper us in all our ways. It is the Lord who enables us to gain official favour or goodwill in the sight of those who are placed above us in this life. Nehemiah first repented of his own sin, the sin of his father’s household and the sin of his people. Then he sought the attention of the Lord to his plea and asked the Lord to prosper him in his mission to ask the king’s permission to re-build the walls of Jerusalem. Many people take pride and have confidence in their proximity to the persons in power and authority. They derive their influence and aggrandise themselves based on that proximity. In course of time they would find that their proximity only proved to be a deadly liability to themselves even as Haman did. But Nehemiah did not place his faith or trust in his proximity to the center of power. Nehemiah could have taken confidence in the fact that he was quite close to the king being his cupbearer. He could have boasted in his heart that the king’s very life depended on his loyalty. But instead he first took recourse to the Lord and sought His mercy and favour before he sought the king’s favour. Before we enter the presence of some earthly power or authority, it is best we prepare ourselves as Nehemiah did. The Lord will give us wisdom to choose the right moment to speak, the apt words to speak and the apt request to make such that it is not turned down but not only is our request granted but our esteem in the eyes of that authority increases even more. When we humble ourselves and pray, the Lord will turn the minds of the authorities above us like He turns the course of a river- in the direction He wants their thoughts to flow, in favour of His servants, His children. Esther asked Mordecai and the Jewish people to fast and pray before she made bold to enter the king’s presence and make known her request to cancel the edict to execute all Jews in the entire empire. The Lord gave her wisdom not to straightaway broach the subject but to first invite the king and Haman to a feast prepared by her. The Lord will create an opportunity or favourable circumstance to cause to happen that which we pray for or seek. This is the manner in which the prayers of the faithful servants of the Lord can affect the destiny of nations. Jesus moves as a local, national and global Mordecai and rushes to the rescue of His people to this day. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Secret of Eternal Joy

The Secret of Eternal Joy Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5 v 19 God is a Spirit and true worshippers worship Him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness. Many people think that Sabbath or Sunday alone is set aside for worship. Sabbath is actually meant for rest from one’s travail. But the uni-verse above states that we should often be speaking among ourselves and to ourselves with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. True worship is not from the mouth or at the lip level but it is from the heart. We should always be singing and making melody in our heart to the Lord. Happiness is something mankind is seeking outside him but joy is a wellspring from within us on account of us being connected with the very source of life- the Lord God Himself. Happiness depends on what happens to us while joy depends on whose we are. Even a river dries up at times but a spring never dries. The Lord listens to our conversations and He likes to be included in it. Streams of thanksgiving and praise should continually flow upward from our hearts. When we see a person who is sick, we need to not only pray for his healing but thank and praise God for our health. When we see a person in need, we should not only try to help him but also thank the Lord for meeting our need generously. When we first invited the Lord into our hearts and lives, He had promised, “ I will sup with you and you shall sup with me.” This means that our heart is a continual feast of emotions, of joy, of feelings of spiritual pleasure, of gratitude for the grace and peace, privileges and blessings we have received and are receiving. The Kingdom of God is not one of drinking, partying and feasting but of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The apostles had peace and joy in the most adverse of circumstances, in prison, in the face of dire threats, torture and death. Yet Paul and Silas sang and worshipped while in prison. Their worship triggered an earthquake that broke their fetters and chains. It is when such unearthly and inexplicable joy and peace fills our hearts that satan is defeated, spiritual strongholds are stormed, spiritual fetters are torn asunder and people are set free. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Level Walking Path

UV 948-10,000 A Level Walking Path The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. Isaiah 26 v 7 When we spend time in the praying field, He makes our playing field level. Our playing field is the area of our life’s work, our major challenges and priorities in life. The implication is that the path of the unrighteous is far from level, the way of the unrighteous is far from smooth. Our faith makes us righteous in the sight of God and that quality alone is sufficient to win the favour of the Lord. He does not take away the fight from us, He does not take away the need for us to walk the path but He will remove the obstacles, visible and invisible, that the enemy of our souls places in our way. God did not take away the need for David to fend his sheep from the lion and the bear. He gave him the courage and strength to overcome these challenges. He did not take away the threats of Goliath but He knew that left to himself David would be easily defeated and killed by the giant. He poured His spirit upon David so that He grew in spiritual terms to the physical level and strength of Goliath. He gave Him wisdom and knowledge and skills not to use the conventional means of fighting of trained soldiers. Faith breaks through our mental conditioning and gives us supernatural ideas and means beyond our training and natural abilities. The Lord always uses what we already have in our hands. He asked Moses, “ What do you have in your hands?” He replied , “ A staff.” He enabled the timid, diffident, reluctant, stammering and stuttering Moses to use that staff against Pharaoh and his mighty empire and army. He asked the disciples, “ what do you have on hand to feed the multitude?” They replied, “ A boy here has five loaves and two fish.” He caused the supernatural multiplication of the natural. David had a sling and five smooth stones in his pouch. He gave him the courage and wisdom to use his natural skills as a shepherd to deliver a knock out blow to the giant. The Lord is the upright One. He hates the ways of the devious. He makes our ways upright. The Word does not say, “ He cuts short our paths or gives us short cuts.” It does not say, “He makes our paths easy. He makes our paths smooth. He does not make it easy but He makes it possible. He does not take away the need for us to travel or walk step by step and day by day, challenge by challenge. But He adds His supernatural wisdom, grace and resources to make for us a level playing field. If He could split the mighty Red Sea with a wind that He blew,He could have blown off Pharaoh and his army with His breath, He could have slain Goliath Himself, He could have taken away the need for His beloved Son Jesus to die on the cross when He cried out but He desires not only to give us a level playing field but He also wants to give us a story to tell, a testimony of faith and the victory it engenders. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Numbering Our Days

UV 947/10,000 Numbering Our Days Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90 v 12 When an ant looks up at man, it sees that he lives for a very long while outlasting several hundred generations of ants. It sees the wisdom and knowledge of man that enables him to build vast cities, towns and habitations while the ant should be content with an ant mound of sand. Man also feels this way when he looks at his collective prowess and his achievements but when he looks up at God, he sees how infinite He is, how absolute His power and how deep His wisdom. Man is but an ant or even much less in comparison with God both at the individual and collective levels. But when we apply our hearts and minds to the Word of God, we gain divine wisdom. We learn how fleeting are our days, how limited our intelligence and how gross our ways. This uni-verse is one of the truths that convinced me to start numbering my days and to meditate early every morning on just one unique word that the Lord teaches me every day for the rest of my life. Indeed, gaining a heart of wisdom is of far greater value than gaining the whole world for the former we will keep forever while the latter we will loose sooner or later. A heart of wisdom cannot be gained in just one day but day by day as we reflect on the hidden, beautiful and delicious truth in every word of God, the wisdom of revelation begins to grow from deep within us. For man shall live forever on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The Lord teaches us the right relationship and proportion of all things, visible and invisible , primarily through His Word. It is foolish to wait till one gets old to think about God and to get to know Him on a personal basis. The earlier, the better. It will keep us out of the errors that are forced by our ignorance and arrogance. The Lord will save us from the arrogance of ignorance. He will flash His light on the areas where we need to change and He will also give us the grace or the power to change. He gives us the very power to change our destinies from the grave to eternity. He gives us wisdom to overcome our wilful sins as well as our hidden or unconscious sins. He transforms our perspective from short term or long term to eternal. We begin to weigh our motives, our thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions in the light of the eternal perspective. We are enabled to see everything in its exact proportion and relationship to each other instead of our hitherto distorted and purblind vision. We learn to give priority to the Lord and His Word even as we are diligent in our daily tasks and responsibilities. We will be weighed and found that we are not short of God’s standards. We will be numbered among the faithful of God ‘s sheep. We will be found to be living in integrity or in accordance with our faith and belief and not at variance with what we believe. Our faces, our words and our actions will reflect the innate glory of God. We will learn to value the peace of God, to understand hidden truths and not to take for granted His grace and mercy. We will understand that it is not by living in accordance with any rules or religion that we live forever but by living in right relationship with God through our faith in Christ. We will understand that this life though fleeting and transient is a forerunner to the real life of value in the presence of the Lord. The Word will add length to our days, clarity to our vision, success to our mission and work, fulfilment to our purpose, strength and health to our flesh, bones and intellect and meaning and power to our lives. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Importance of Sharing

UV 946/10,000 The Importance of Sharing I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1 v 6 St Paul exhorted believers in Christ to share their faith actively. We are called to be witnesses of who God is and what He has done in our lives. If we are truly excited and overjoyed at being saved, we will have a desire to share or communicate our faith and the reasons why we believe to our circle of influence. As we share our faith, our circle of influence will expand to include the whole world. We will increase in maturity of faith and in our understanding of the grace of Christ. Paul makes an interesting correlation between our sharing of our faith and our understanding or perception of every blessing we have in Christ. It is said that people who teach their subject understand it better than those who merely attempt to learn it. As we share our faith, our understanding of our inheritance as children of God increases. We become heirs to new spiritual gifts and begin to enjoy new spiritual fruit in our lives. The water in a reservoir that remains there and does not flow out begins to stagnate and become dirty or murky. The Dead Sea is a living example of what happens when a person does not share the blessings he receives with others around him. No water flows out of the Dead Sea. As a result, its salt density is so high that it stings the eyes on contact and no form of life exists or survives in its waters. Instead, we are to be like the Jordan that waters places all along its two banks. As we share our faith, our compassion for human souls, our sensitivity and empathy for them will increase. We begin to understand or comprehend the length, breadth, height and depth of the love of Christ for us. As we grow in faith, there should be a flow of our knowledge and understanding of the Lord and our consequent blessings into the lives of others around us. Our faith should inspire others to believe. It should strengthen and encourage others to place their trust in the Word of God and the blessings it promises those who believe. We can share our faith through our conversation, through our example and lifestyle of prayer, worship and imbibing the Word, through our preaching and teaching, through writing about it, through our acts of charity done to reflect the goodness of the Lord. Sharing the Word and sharing our faith are the methods God uses to expand His Kingdom. When we share our faith we become partners with the Lord in extending His Kingdom. On account of our faith, our names are written in the Book of the Living or the Book of the Lamb. On account of our actively sharing our faith, our names are written in the Book of the Shepherd. Actively sharing our faith earns us the wages of the faithful workers of the Lord- the rewards and blessings of the workers of the Vineyard. Prateep v Philip

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holding the Javelin

UV 945/10,000 Holding the Javelin Then the Lord said to Joshua, “ Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand, I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out his javelin towards Ai.” Joshua 8 v 18 We are to hold the javelin in our hand but not throw it. It implies that we should hold the Word of God and the promises of God in our hands like a javelin. We should not throw the javelin but only hold it firmly in our hands. We only need to point it towards our target or goal and the Lord will cause it to happen just as the Lord delivered Ai city into the hands of the Israelites. Day after day when we proclaim the Word of God and His promises to His people, we are holding the javelin in our hands. The Lord will perform His purpose and accomplish His salvation. The promises of God assures us of victory, success, blessings, deliverance, healing, forgiveness. We need to have a firm hold on these promises. We should not just read the promises and forget them. Holding the javelin implies finding the apt promise, praying to claim it in one’s situation, recalling it from time to time and affirming our faith that it will prove both true and sufficient for our need. When we forget the promises of God it shows we do not believe His words, that we are not taking seriously His promises. It requires a firm grip to hold a javelin in one’s hands. It takes an accurate sense of aiming to hold it firmly in the direction of our goals. Likewise, we should remember every word of every promise we wish to claim for ourselves. A javelin helps to scale great heights. It enables us to fling ourselves over great obstacles in our paths. Just as we grip the javelin firmly, we need to aim it in one direction and accurately. We need to be precise and specific in claiming the promises of the Lord in the areas of our challenges. There are said to be 10,000 promises of God in the Bible. If we live an average of 30,000 days(82 years), we have roughly three days ( equal to the death-Resurrection cycle of Jesus) to test and taste the reality of each promise in the course of our lives. The promises of God cater to the entire gamut of emotions we experience in life- fear, guilt, sadness, joy, astonishment, compassion, hatred, ambition, regret, hope, dismay, love, pride, shame, self pity and so on. These emotions also have different nuances. For instance, physical danger evokes a different kind of fear as against a risk of being dishonoured or put to shame. Fear of death and fear of judgement after death are two different kinds of fear that requires two different promises of God to deal with it. We can claim the promises of God in the variety of situations and challenges we confront in our lives. When we claim specifically the promise of God and point it precisely like Joshua’s javelin in the direction of the challenge we are currently facing, we will find miraculous resolution over time. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, December 5, 2013

HIs Worship, Our Weapon

UV 944/10,000 His Worship, Our Weapon Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us! Nehemiah 4 v 20 In Nehemiah’s context, this uni-verse meant the trumpet that was sounded as an alert to rally the people to defend the wall they were building at the point of attack by their human enemies. But in our context today, it implies that we should join the angels who are blowing their trumpets and continually singing, “Hosanna, Hosanna to the Highest!” When we worship the Lord in this manner in the beauty of His holiness, clothed with His garments of salvation and saturated with the Word of God, “ Our God will fight for us!” His worship is our weapon, His Word is our goad and shield. Unseen by our physical eyes and unheard by our physical ears, the angels are constantly worshipping the Lord in our homes. Our spiritual eyes and ears should be pricked up and sensitised to pick up the strains of their songs and the sounds of their trumpets. We are never alone or helpless in our battles or the challenges we face in life. We only need to stand still, meaning to take a stand of faith, to be absorbed in praise and prayer. To take a stand of faith means to believe and to say, “ My God will fight for me. Why should I fear? What can man or satan and his agents do to me?” He is with us as an Immanuel, as an Ebenezer. We need not fear the obstacles or weapons or power of the foes or enemies we face in life. Just as Nehemiah’s volunteers rallied behind him as he undertook to build the walls of Jerusalem, we need to rally behind Jesus as He builds the church. Each of us should contribute our mite, our share of the labour. Just as the people of Israel under Nehemiah’s leadership were unfazed and unscathed, we too will be preserved and protected regardless of how formidable our enemies are. Just as the Israelites built the wall brick by brick, segment by segment, we too will build the Kingdom of God, brick by brick, segment by segment in the course of our lives. When God fights us for us, victory is certain for He is Jehovah Nissi, the God of Victory. His love is a banner over us. His Word is a standard that we carry always within us. The Egyptians said to themselves, “ let us flee from the face of Israel for their God fights for them.” They were so terrified that they gave their treasures of gold to the departing Jews. We will gain the spoils of victory without shedding blood. In every worthwhile task or project, opposition will rise against us but the Lord allows it so that He will wrest victory for us and so boost our faith further and His Name is glorified forever. Our enemies are declared to be the enemies of the Lord. When they attempt to hurt us, they are touching the apple of the eye of the Lord. Their burning arrows will be put out and fall short of their targets. They will be put out even before they are fired. Just as Nehemiah left a faithful record or memoirs of the challenges and battles he faced from within and without, we need to recall the struggles and victories the Lord gave us in our lives as a testament of God’s faithfulness to us. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Inner Health and Well Being

UV 943-10,000 Inner Health and Well Being Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 43 v 5 The secret of inner health or well being is revealed in this uni-verse. We always have an inner dialogue within us, a conversation with ourselves. At times when we are depressed , we need to ask ourselves, “ why are you discouraged or disappointed when the Lord has finished all things so well for you? Why are you worried when He is your salvation and He is able to do all things for you? “ Then our inner spirit moved by the Holy Spirit will answer, “ Hope in the Lord.” Indeed, Christ in us is the hope of salvation. Since we have this sure hope of salvation why should we be upset by temporary setbacks in this world. This is the reason St Paul wrote, “ what I once considered as gain, I now consider as loss or mere rubbish.” He had earlier considered his great knowledge of the Torah, his education at the feet of Gamaliel and his learning and knowledge as great gain. Now he considered all these as loss in comparison with the personal knowledge he had gained of Jesus. Job was the very epitome of hope in God for he said after all his great tribulations, “ Though He slay me, yet shall I praise Him.” He held onto his hope as he believed that “ My Redeemer lives.” Our hope in God buoys us up and enables us to always praise Him in good times and bad. The face they say is the index of the mind. Hence, when we are always hoping in the Lord and as we are always thanking and praising Him for His grace and mercy, our face will always reflect the peace of God. Our brow should not be knit in worry. Our eyes should not reflect sadness or regret or disappointment. Our lips should not be curled in anger or bitterness. Our “ face language” reflects the glory and joy of the Lord. When we recall all the reasons we need to be joyful in the Lord, when we raise a praise and thanksgiving to Him, our spirits will begin to soar. Cheerfulness will be restored to our visage and gladness to our soul. The Trinity rules over our lives through a trinity of values: faith, hope and love. The enemy of our souls rules through fear, sadness and hate. The latter constantly wages a battle inside us to create fear, sadness and hate in order to make our souls downcast and create a disquiet within us by making us hear contrary voices to the Word of truth. At such times, we need to dispel fear, sadness and hate by securing ourselves with the peace of Jesus, by affirming our hope that He has made us more than conquerors for we have conquered fear, sadness and hate. We need to affirm our hope at two levels – in our inner beings or our souls as well as with our mouths. The outer expression of hope should be preceded or accompanied by an inner conviction of faith. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A New Set of Teeth

UV 942/10,000 A New Set of Teeth Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving Colossians 2 v 7 As far as our faith and our rootedness in the Lord is concerned, we are to be like the teeth whose roots are covered by soft gums but are welded to the mandible. The health of the teeth are dependent on the condition of the root. If the root is healthy, the tooth is healthy and strong. Just as the root supplies the blood and nourishment required by the teeth, the root of our faith is nourished by the blood of the Lamb and watered by the Word of God. All our actions and reactions are to be grounded in our faith and the teaching we have received. When we are rooted in the foundation of salvation provided by Jesus, built up on this rock foundation with good works and good words, we become established and flourish with all manner of spiritual fruit. This will lead to thanksgiving being given both by us and others for the grace and mercy of the Lord shown in practical and demonstrable ways in our lives. We are called to abound in all manner of good works and good words. Like the 32 teeth that provide a natural protection and guard our ever malleable tongue, there are 32 verses in scripture that can guard our tongue and make it a wellspring of life and hope: Over the rest of December, if we can only meditate on these verses and get rooted and grounded in these verses, it will be a girdle of protection for our speech for the rest of our lives for the Lord declares that if a man can control his speech, he is perfect indeed. Let us use the Thirty Two Teeth below to guard and to tame the tongue. Some are canine teeth to tear and pull, some are molar and pre-molar to chew and some are incisive teeth to add to our judgement and analytical skills: 1.Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. 2.Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 3.Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 4.Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 5.James 3:2-10 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. ... 6.Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 7.James 1:26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 8.Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. 9.Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! 10.1 Peter 3:10 For Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11.Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. 12.Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. 13.Matthew 12:33-37 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 14.Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. 15.Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. 16.Matthew 15:11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. 17.James 3:1-18 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! ... 18.Psalm 52:2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 19.Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 20.Proverbs 26:20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. 21.Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 22.Titus 3:2 To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 23.Psalm 39:1 A Psalm of David. I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.” 24. James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 25.James 3:10,11 s From the same mouth proceed both blessing and curse. Brothers, this should not be. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 1 Peter 2:1-25 26.So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ... 27.Proverbs 10:18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool. 28.Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 29. 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. ... 30.James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 31.Psalm 12:4 Those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” 32.James 3:1-12 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! ...” There is no better New Year Resolution than to have our speech patterns rooted and grounded in the love of Christ and in scripture. These 32 verses will act as a filter through which our speech is purified and perfected. It might be too much to try to remember , meditate and apply all 32 at one shot but just as the teeth grow in pairs, we can choose a pair to meditate on each day. In 16 days we would give ourselves and our loved ones the best Christmas present we can ever give- a new set of genuine spiritual teeth and a speech pattern that is refined and perfected, rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. Prateep V Philip

Monday, December 2, 2013

Seven Fold Praise

UV 941/10,000 Seven Fold Praise Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 7 v 12 One of the names of Jesus that is mentioned only in the book of Revelation is Lord Amen. He is the One who is the first cause of the universe. He caused us into being and He also caused us to be new creatures of faith. Sight was the first ruling principle of the first creation while faith or inner sight or insight is the first principle of the new creation in Christ. He is the One on whose name we can claim all the promises in scripture. He is the guarantor and underwriter. When we say “ Amen and Amen” we are saying, “ let Your will be done in my life and circumstances as in heaven.” It is a sign of complete trust and submission to God’s will. We are acknowledging that His sovereign will supercedes and rules in the totality of our circumstances. The word “ Amen” is the shorthand to the seven fold praise of the Lord. It will bring blessing, glory, wisdom, honour, power, might and thanksgiving to the Lord in ever greater measure. Our problems become the doorway to praise the Lord and are therefore the doorway to heaven itself. They are opportunities to access the promised power, grace and mercy of the Lord. Sometimes when men say “ Amen” God says, “ Oh men!” We traditionally use the word “ Amen” at the end of our prayer but the Lord says that Amen is the word the angels commence their praise and worship. When we start our prayer with Amen, we are agreeing with the angels of heaven that all blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power and might belong to the Lord God forever. When we continually worship the Lord in our homes and our hearts, one of the resemblances of heaven on earth is accomplished here and now. A heavenly ambience is ushered into our hearts and hearths. When we praise the Lord saying, “ Amen and Amen, blessed be the name of the Lord forever”, the name of the Lord becomes our strong tower to which we can run and take refuge. When we say Amen we are agreeing with the will of God and with the Word of God. We begin to appropriate blessing, glory, wisdom, honour, power and might that belongs to the Lord for He is only to willing to share these with such as those who know Him and worship Him. The angels blow trumpets that are a jubilant sign of victory and triumph for us as we say, Lord Amen, Amen and Amen. The trumpets are not only a symbol but like the trumpets of Gideon’s tiny army are a mighty force that can overpower any force against us. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Vice-Like Grip

UV 940/10,000 Gripping the Lord For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. Jeremiah 13 v 11 As a girdle or belt clings to the waist of a man, so we should cleave or cling to the Lord. Jacob could have been tossed aside by the mighty angel of the Lord as he clung tightly to the latter as he wrestled with him but seeing his zeal, the Lord blessed him and gave him a new name as a mark of distinction and destiny, Israel. Similarly, the Lord loves to wrestle playfully with the children. He wants to test if we will hold on or we would give up easily. He rewards our persistence in prayer and our spiritual life. Shivaji, the Maratha king used a monitor lizard to scale the walls of a fort. The monitor lizard has a fantastic grip on any surface and holds on relentlessly regardless of how much it is tugged or pulled in any direction once it fastens its grip. Similarly, believers need to have a monitor-like grip on the Lord. He desires that we first be a people of wrestling prayer like Israel and to also be a people of praise like the house of Judah. His perfect will is that we be a people unto Him for His praise, renown and honour. Prayer and praise helps us to fasten our grip on the Lord. These become siege weapons to overcome the wiles of the enemy. The uni-verse ends on a note of regret of the Lord that though this was His desire and this was the potential of His people, they never heard His Word or heeded His advice. As a consequence, they left their girdle unused and hidden in a hole in a rock. Their faith was dormant and buried under their day- to- day concerns and preoccupation. As a result, their belt of faith and truth became ruined and useless. It could no longer hold up the armour of faith, the clothes of salvation. Instead, He exhorts us to return to the spirit of prayer, praise and thanksgiving for blessings already received and long enjoyed. We must cling to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah and the Lord will reveal His amazing power, grace and mercy that will work out for His glory, honour and renown. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Focus and Faith

Focus and Faith I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16 v 8 Every verse in scripture contains the nucleus of a principle that governs our physical, moral and spiritual universe. If we look closely at the above uni-verse, there is a cause and effect sequence in the verse: if we do this-setting the Lord always before, the effect(s) will follow- “He is always at…” and “ I shall not be moved.” This uni-verse talks about the need for an obsession with God. This is the grandest, greatest and most rewarding obsession of any man or woman or child. The Lord is not to be an afterthought, a weekend pastime. He is not a philosophy, an ideology, a chimera but a Person who is deeply involved in the details and challenges of our lives. He is the cause of our passion, the locus of our attention. When we set our focus always on the Lord for our sustenance, growth and for our joy, He guides us, leads us and defends us. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Our faith in the Almighty God has commenced on account of our hearing and believing the gospel. He is also the finisher in the sense, He is the One who completes our faith. Our faith in the beginning might be small and weak as a tiny flame that burns in us. But Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to fan our faith into full flame. Our part lies in fixing our focus on Him always and in all our ways. One of the signs that we have always set the Lord before us He is always at our right hand. It implies that the Lord God is always at arm’s length away from us. He is so intimate and accessible. The expression “ right hand” implies the mighty power of El Shaddai. When we raise our right hand in prayer, praise and worship, we are able to touch the very heart of God. He trains our fingers to battle. He gives us the power to work miracles in His name, to speak healing into people’s lives and bodies, to exercise authority in the spirit realm over every power of darkness. It is with our right hand that we grip the Word of God and claim His promises. It is with our right hand that we execute His commands and carry out His will in our lives. On account of our focus and our faith, we will not be moved. We will not be put to shame in any matter before us. We will not be unstable like flotsam on the river of life. We will be built on rock. We will build on rock. He will honour us and deliver us. He will establish us and lift us up. The Lord once affirmed me saying, “ I am pleased with your faith and your focus.” “Setting the Lord always before me” does not mean that we sit in a meditative pose all day or night but regardless of whatever we are doing day or night, we are always aware of the comforting and encouraging presence of the Lord with us. Under our breath, we are always praying. We are always expressing our faith in the Lord and our willingness to do His will. When things go wrong or awry, we know that He can turn it round for us. We never give up hope and sustain ourselves with the joy of the Lord by delighting in reading and remembering His Word. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Furnace Experience

UV 937/10,000 The Furnace Experience 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. Zechariah 13 v 9 The people chosen by God and who choose to follow Him are not the majority or even a half of humanity but are referred to as the third part or one third or remnant. In metallurgy, when an impure metal is purified or refined, it is what remains in the crucible that is the pure metal. This is the remnant that the metallurgist has separated through a rigourous process. Similarly, the Lord refines His people as silver is refined in a crucible by heating and melting over and over again. He tests us as gold is tested in fire till His image is reflected in our lives. We are put through the furnace of afflictions. When we go through the furnace, we should not think we are suffering loss but just that the Lord is removing the dross. We are put through not one affliction but many afflictions in the course of our lives. Unlike the metallurgist who impersonally places the metals to be purified in the furnace, the Lord walks us through the furnace. Our testimonies are true life stories of the glory of God being manifest in impossible and terrible situations. He remains closest to us in all our furnace experiences just as He walked as “ the fourth one who looked like the Son of God” with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace prepared by Nebuchadnezzar. The scars of our furnace experiences will remain as a constant and lifelong reminder of the glory and grace of God. Each furnace experience that we go through takes us to the next level. Our faith that is so much more purified and strengthened becomes enough for us to access the Lord and obtain the resources to face the challenges further down the road. When we go through the furnace experiences of our lives, we call on the name of the Lord. The Lord will hear us at that time and give us deliverance. This works out for the glory of God even as it works out to our relief, belief and redemption as it is after we called on the name of the Lord that we experienced the deliverance. It is as if someone switched off the furnace button and removed us to safety. The three men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego only called on the name of their Lord and God. To Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement, they remained unhurt inside the furnace that had been heated several times more than normal. Not a hair on their heads was singed. Nebuchadnezzar then gave glory to God saying, “ Your God is the true and living God.” For a relationship to be complete, it requires mutual affirmation and acceptance. He reaches out to us with selfless love or agape love. We also need to respond with the fervour of “first love”. Though God has chosen us and affirms us by saying, “ These are my people” or “ This is my child”, we too need to affirm Him by saying, “ He is our God” or “He is my God and Lord.” We need to understand that His act of owning us or acknowledging us as His own is not symbolic, metaphoric or token or nominal. He holds us dear to His heart so much so He gave His only begotten Son. We pay a price to purchase something only when we deem it more valuable than the money we are parting with. God regarded us as more precious than even His Son that He gave Him as the price to pay to redeem us forever. The One who from the beginning was with Him was sent down from heaven to walk through a furnace of extreme afflictions so that the remnant, the one third or His people would live forever. The Lord released what was precious to Him to secure us as His eternal and priceless possessions. But we are not exempted from going through the furnace of afflictions so that we are purified in our faith and strengthened in our character and our resemblance to the first Son of God, Jesus increases over time. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Four Stages of Life

UV 937/10,000 Four Stages of Life 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 art mine. Isaiah 43 v 1 These are the four stages of life: The Lord has created us. He has formed us. He has redeemed us. He has called us. All mankind is created by God. He also forms us in our mothers’ wombs fearfully and wonderfully. The formation or preparation continues when He allows different events and situations to arise in our lives. He allows different people to come in contact with us. Through these circumstances, He grooms and shapes us. Our character, personalities and minds are formed. The first two stages of our lives are the predominantly natural phases while the next two are the phases in which the natural interfaces and mingles with the supernatural or spiritual. After our creation and a period of formation, He redeems us in Christ. This marks the beginning of a new relationship with God. It marks the beginning of a new process of re-creation and formation in our lives. Our thought pattern is influenced by His Word. Our minds are redeemed. The tares that the enemy has planted and that has got entangled in our very genes are removed so that we can be fruitful. We are freed from being enamoured with sin and the trappings of the world. We are now zealous for good works for the Lord. We are called by the Lord. We are called out of all creation. He never calls us in vain. He never calls a person unless He has a purpose for that person. We are anointed or declared sacred and precious to the Lord. He calls us by our name even as Samuel heard the Lord calling him by his own name. He called Samuel to be a prophet to Israel and to lead the nation of Israel in His paths. Samuel was directed to anoint David the shepherd boy as future king of Israel. David was called out of all his family and out of all his brothers. The Lord had watched him in his formative stage when he tended the shape. He saw his devotion to his sheep. He saw his bravery in overpowering the lion and the bear. He saw His devotion to God- how he continually composed psalms and played on his harp. We have a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord as Jacob or Israel had with God. We, too, are given a divine calling to be either an apostle, a prophet, a teacher or an evangelist. Each of us is called to be a priest and a king. Our personal knowledge of God is the common ground on which we can stand and communicate with Him at any time and all the time. When we are created, formed, redeemed and called, we become His own inheritance, the precious jewels of the Lord. He declares, “ You are mine.” Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Join the Winning Side

UV 936-10,000 Join the Winning Side Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee Joshua 2 v 18 Rahab proves the principle of “ rehab.” Though only a prostitute, she became a forebear of the Messiah Himself. She had heard of how the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea and how they had completely destroyed Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan. She was smart enough to understand that “ the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” She knew that the seemingly invincible Jews were on the doorstep of Jericho. She realized that in the circumstances for her own survival or salvation, she better join the winning side. She therefore received the two Jewish spies sent by Joshua their commander- in- chief. She hid them on the roof under stalks of flax and told the messenger of the king of Jericho that they had left already. The next day she let them down from a window on her house that was part of the city wall with the help of a scarlet rope. That scarlet rope is the symbol of the rope the Lord dropped down from heaven in the form of the Messiah for each man’s salvation. When we were in a time of prayer, the Lord revealed that since “Like Rahab you have done your level best to bring up or lift up the people of your family as well as those who are not from your family, I will bless you and your generations.” The scarlet thread that I now have is the influence and power of my office that the Lord has bestowed in His grace. There is no way we can struggle against the Lord and win. Instead, when we join the winning side, He blesses us like He blessed the accursed Rahab and her generations. Within one generation, Rahab’s son Boaz became a respected and prosperous farmer in whose farm Ruth, the other forebear of the Messiah came to glean for corn. Indeed, we should likewise trace our “faithline” and not our bloodline in our respective genealogies or family history. Prayer and the Word are the windows through which we let the light of heaven to shine in our lives. Though we are in ourselves weak and vulnerable, the Lord makes us formidable and invincible like Israel under Joshua. Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, we have joined the winning side. The scarlet rope of our salvation that the Lord has let down for us to climb to safety will never give way or fall short of the glory of fulfilling God’s perfect purpose in our lives. It will remain as a source of salvation and blessing for succeeding generations too. It is the only sure sign of inheritance of the promises of God that we can leave for our spiritual and physical descendants. Prateep V Philip