Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fingerprints of the Lord

UV 653/10,000 Fingerprints of the Lord “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Isaiah 49 v 16 The Lord has carved our names on His palms. This is a metaphor to show how dear we are to Him, how intimate He is to us. He never forgets our names for a moment. Like students write important reminders to themselves on their palms. The difference is that our names are written indelibly. It is carved implying causing considerable pain and suffering to the Lord. The lines on our palms do not determine our fortunes but the very fact that the Lord has our names carved on His palms indicates that only His sovereign will guides and causes all that happens in our lives. We are safe in His strong and caring hands. His palm of protection is upon all of our lives. In a recent revelation, the Lord said that “My palm is on all the walls of every room in your home. My footprints are there on the floor of every room.” Even when we leave our homes, His presence continues to watch over our homes and our loved ones. Since He is so mindful of us, we too must have our minds full of Him. Our thoughts, emotions and wills should reflect this as a reality in our daily lives. A thief leaves his fingerprints on objects he touches at the crime scene. But, Jesus will leave His imprint on all that we are, all that we own and on every thing we do and say. No man or woman or child can ever come in touch with Jesus and remain the same. Yesterday, at a dinner I was surprised to hear that a big gangster turned politician who had killed many people and created mayhem and much disorder over the past many years had become a changed man while in jail. He has become an evangelist. We need to do a high-five with Jesus every now and then so that our palms too get the anointing and power to heal, bless and overcome. The palms of Christ were not just engraved but they bled for our sakes. In a vision, Jesus said, “There is a fountain of blood from my feet, knees, hands. My back was ploughed- remember the fountain of blood from my back and from my face and head.” I empathized with Christ when I suffered injuries on my face, hands and legs in the bomb blast that killed Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur. The pellets embedded in my feet produced nail-piercing pain. The loss of fluid produced intense thirst that made me cry out for water as Christ cried out , “ I am thirsty.” In response to such a sacrifice, we must always be thirsty for His presence, hungry for the Word and eager for the touch of His palm. I cannot comprehend how Mel Gibson the producer-director of the film, “ The Passion of Christ” went back to alcoholism after depicting so powerfully and movingly the suffering of Christ for our sake. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Verbal Account

UV 652/10,000 Verbal Accounts But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. Matthew 12 v 36 Just as men regard the Word of God, God regards the words of men. It is written in scripture that where words multiply, sin abounds. One does not know how God keeps a record of zillions of words spoken by billions of people through history and in all languages and nations and circumstances but this uni-verse clearly states that we will have to give account for every careless word spoken. It does not mean that we have to get so serious that we cannot even crack jokes or indulge in light hearted banter. A careless word is something that has no effect or has harmful effect on the hearers. Hence, words spoken to generate mirth or humour is useful for recreation. God also enjoys a good joke. By our words we will be acquitted and by our words we will be condemned. The words that we use to slander others,to curse others, to condemn others, to put down others, to castigate or blame others, to demean others will condemn us. We will be measured by the same yardstick on the day of judgment. The words that we use to bless others, to lift up their downcast spirits, to give them hope in hopeless situations, to explain the truth as we know it, to share the gospel, to encourage others, to admonish others in brotherly love, to inspire others, to empower others will give us an honourable acquittal. Words are not mere words, they are the stuff of which life is made up of. Words are actions as our minds move, our vocal cords, facial muscles and lips move. They produce a deep and visceral reaction in the listener. When the Word of God influences our speech patterns, it moves closer to perfection. Our words will gain maximum power and will impact people in every generation. It will produce life and hope in the listeners. The Word says, “ Be slow to speak, be quick to listen, be slow to anger.” Being slow to speak does not mean we slow down the pace of our speech. It implies that we need to invest time in careful thought before we open our mouths and speak. We must chose our words and tone carefully. We must chose the moment when we should speak. We should speak to edify and encourage. We must run the words we are about to speak through some filters and allow only distilled wisdom to flow. If we do not have such distilled wisdom to share, we should choose to be silent. Our silence too should not seem hostile or unfriendly or proud but it should arise out of the meekness and discipline of our spirits and minds. We have all erred most in the words we have spoken that have hurt others, insulted others and made them feel small and humiliated. I am indeed the worst of sinners in this regard having had a razor sharp tongue from my early days. But, we can go to the River of God, the Holy Spirit and seek forgiveness and grace to speak. Prateep V Philip

Adorning for Adoration

Adorning for Adoration “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61 v 10 We can rejoice in all our little successes in this life and world but we rejoice much more in the Lord. Our soul does not derive satisfaction from those things that fade away but it rejoices in union with the Lord God. In this world, we are joyful only by comparison, that we have done better than our neighbour. But, our joy in the Lord is without comparison or measure. Our joy in this world is fleeting, futile and effete. But our joy in the Lord is everlasting and fruitful. Every man appears naked before the eyes of God. When we do good deeds or noble acts, we begin to wear rags or clothes that are tattered. But, the Lord alone can cover our spiritual nakedness in its entirety. He gives clothing for our spirit, mind and body. When we receive Christ into our hearts, we wear the garments of salvation and are fully clothed in the white linen of righteousness that His saints wear. We are no longer ashamed of ourselves. We no longer feel guilty. Sorrow and sighing will run away from us. In its place has come seven types of joy and gladness: 1. We rejoice because we are helped by the Lord. 2.We rejoice like a farmer at harvest and like a soldier who has won spoils of victory. 3. We rejoice at being forgiven like the prodigal son on being welcomed back to his father’s house despite his past failure. 4.We rejoice because our enemies cannot triumph over us 5. the joy of the Lord is our strength. 6.We rejoice as the curse or hamartia or perpetual shortcoming of sin is broken and we are declared blessed vide all the beatitudes that Christ spoke of in His sermon on the mount. 7. We rejoice as a bride at her wedding feast with the Eternal Bridegroom. It will be a good practice to count these blessings every day and practice at least one type of joy each day of the week. Joy and peace are like the spiritual biceps of our strength. When these are weakened, we will feel weak and be ineffective. We must not be satisfied with the white robe of linen that our faith provides us. We must now deck ourselves with ornaments from head to foot. The Bridegroom is Christ Jesus. He decks Himself with the crowns and jewels we bring Him by our thoughts, words and actions in this lifetime. We adorn ourselves as the Bride with ornaments of character and deeds of charity and nobility. We stitch ourselves an upper garment of fine gold, a crown of righteousness. We will constantly wear a “ garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness” or moodiness. We will daily apply the anointing oil of joy provided by the Holy Spirit instead of an attitude of bitterness and depression. We will wear the shoes provided by the Lord, meaning the willingness to go anywhere the Lord takes us or tells us to go. We will wear the stud or signet ring of authority. If we do not wear these ornaments and special pieces of clothing, we will be like a bride who forgot to prepare herself for the Bridegroom, who did not treasure her clothes and jewels. When we adorn ourselves with such as these, we adore the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 28, 2013

Special Purpose Vehicles

UV 650/10,000 Special Purpose Vehicles The Lord said, “ Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster and times of distress.” Jeremiah 15 v 11 When the Lord delivers a person, it implies that He has preserved him or her for a special purpose. Every believer is a special purpose vehicle. We carry a message of hope back from the world to the Master just as the dove brought back an olive leaf to Noah as a sign of normalcy returning to a world that has been facing disaster and distress. When we go to work or back home, we must realize that the work or the support of our families are not our primary purpose. Our primary purpose is the message the Lord has given us to deliver. The postman does not know the message he is carrying to the receiver but we know the message and we live the message. The message is the life. Out of the mess of life, the Lord will make vivid His message. Even in or specially in times of disaster and distress, He will show that we are a people marked out for salvation just as the ancient Israelites were spared the deaths that visited every Egyptian home at the time of Moses. Their homes were marked for salvation by the blood mark of sheep. The angel of death passed over their homes. The Egyptians who held them in bondage entreated or virtually pleaded with them to leave. They sought their favour or blessing by giving them parting gifts of gold. Joseph was hated by his brothers. They first plotted to eliminate him and then chose the lesser evil of selling him into slavery. But, the Lord delivered him for a special purpose in order to save the house of Jacob. His brothers entreated him for grain when the family faced starvation. This rhema verse was spoken into my life recently as a prophetic utterance- a promise of things to come. In times past too, the Lord had delivered me from the evil spoken or done against me by a variety of people including colleagues, relatives and others and then used me to help those very people. Different circumstances in our lives are ordained or arranged to reveal a specific facet of Jehovah God- disasters and distress is allowed to reveal the “Nissi anointing” or the outpouring of the blessing of victory by grace. In times of harvest, we worship Jehovah Jireh, the provider. In times of disasterand distress, we worship Jehovah Nissi. God has one Name but many surnames. When our enemies seek our help in such times, we must not pull long faces but be gracious and magnanimous to them. As Joseph said, “ What you had planned as evil against me, God has turned to good.” Indeed but for the evil they had planned, there was no way Joseph would have been an influential leader in Egypt. The agency, agents and agenda of satan is often turned into means of deliverance by the will and Word of the Sovereign God. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Building Our Muscular Systems

UV 649/10,000 Building Muscular Systems “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;” 2 Peter 1 v 5 The other day I was reading in a book that the brain is like a muscle. The more we use it, the more it grows and develops. The more it remains dormant and idle, the more it deteriorates just as the muscles atrophy with want of sufficient exercise. Similarly, faith is a muscle. We can use faith to change our lives and the lives of people around us. With faith,we can change our goals, change our success-failure rate, change our health, change our destiny, change our relationships, change our impact, change our resource base. For God is limited only to the extent of our faith. The more we exercise our faith, the more it expands, the greater our strength, our blessings and our contribution. If we don’t use it,we will loose it. Similarly, goodness or excellence is also like a muscle. Just as our body consists of 700 muscles of which 639 are skeletal or voluntary muscles that we can control and the rest are involuntary muscles. The spiritual corollary is that excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, patience and love are voluntary muscular systems that enable us to move mountains. Once we have developed the faith muscle, we need to consciously work on the excellence or goodness muscle. Once the excellence muscle is developed, we need to exercise the knowledge muscle-knowledge of the Word and the world, the self control muscle, the perseverance muscle, the patience muscle and finally, the love muscle. Our spiritual growth and development is a progression. Nearly 40 per cent of our body weight consists of muscles. A well toned body is a physical evidence of health and fitness. Similarly, our testimony depends on the development of these spiritual muscles. Last week as I was teaching from this scripture in a management seminar, one of the participants pointed out that since the growth and development of our spiritual muscular systems are a progression, when we have a problem or deficiency or weakness in a particular area, say excellence- it is on account of insufficient development or growth in the previous or base muscular system. When believers do not believe in the need for personal or professional excellence, it is due to a deficiency in the faith muscle. They do not believe that God is a God of excellence who wants His children to excel. For a long time, I did various exercises meant to strengthen the torso muscles. But, when I went for a treadmill test, the technician asked if I do any exercise at all as my heart was beating too fast even at the start of the treadmill test. I then realized I need to add some cardiac related exercises like running up and down steps every day. Now, I walk for half an hour, cycle another half hour, do some abs exercises, use a fitness pump to strengthen the arms etcetera. If such a variety of exercises are needed to maintain and enhance our physical fitness levels, we need to do similar exercises to develop and grow spiritually, to be effective and productive. Prateep V Philip

Driving the Vultures Away

UV 648/10,000 DRIVING VULTURES AWAY “Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.” Genesis 15 v 11 The Lord God directed Abram to bring Him dead animals – a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old along with a dove and a young pigeon. The heifer, the goat and the ram symbolized the strength, fertility, prosperity and blessings that the Lord was going to pour into Abram’s life. The dove and the pigeon symbolized gentleness, purity and innocence. Through these sacrifices, the covenant was about to be sealed between Abram as well as his descendants and the Lord Himself. The relationship between Abram and Jehovah, the covenant or sacred agreement between them were sealed or authenticated with the blood of animals. Abram, the childless or heirless became transformed into Abraham, the father of many nations. But, in the new covenant and relationship between the Lord and us, it is the blood of the Lamb Jesus that seals us. Our lives too would be transformed and we would be a blessing to many nations. To illustrate, this uni-verse is read by people I do not know. People in many nations are blessed in reading and meditating on it. As Abram prepared the animals and birds to be laid out as a sacrifice to the Lord, birds of prey or vultures descended on the carcasses. Similarly, as we prepare for sacrifices to the Lord, certain birds of prey or vultures will be sent by the enemy to disturb our act of worship and thanksgiving. These vultures will attempt to feast on the dead parts of our lives. They do not attack the living but only feast on the dead carcasses. Hence, as we feed on the living Word, all parts of our lives should be spiritually alive and covered with the sanctifying blood of the Lamb. Abram was vigilant and hence he could drive away the vultures. Similarly, we must be sensitive and vigilant to notice the birds of prey descending on our lives and drive these away. At the end of the sacrifice, Abram received a dream or vision of the future. He received the promise that would be true not only for his lifetime but for future generations. A smoking firepot with a blazing torch passed between the two halves that he had cut of the animals. This was a symbol that the Lord had accepted the sacrifice and sealed it for all time to come. Today, it symbolizes the move of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Similarly, when we drive away the vultures that prey upon our faith, our worship and sacrifices, our fruitfulness or our peace and joy, we will receive a promise and a vision. The promise is the seed of the vision. The promise will be fulfilled in our lifetime and the vision will unfold over many lifetimes. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Sacrifice of Praise

UV 647/10,000 The Sacrifice of Praise “ The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever –and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,” says the Lord We don’t have to wait for a raise in order to praise God. But, when good things happen- the things that we expect and the things that we do not expect, we feel the joy and gladness that makes us want to thank the Lord. Yesterday, as I heard the news that the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service was awarded to me after twenty five years in the police service on the occasion of Republic Day, this uni-verse came to me. I had heard the voice of joy and the voice of gladness. I had heard the voice of the eternal Bridegroom-Jesus through His Word. I had heard the voice of the eternal Bride, the church through the voices of gladness of scores of friends, family and well wishers who called to express their happiness that I had been recognized in this manner. I told them that I had won it not on account of my merit or because I deserved it but because the Lord is gracious and good. He had made it possible for me to survive two near-death experiences. He had been with me through thick and thin in my career so far. But, for His grace and mercy, I would have been reduced to ashes and dust a long time ago. Many people in today’s post modern world think that it is old fashioned to think, talk and write about God. But the Lord does not change with changes in fashion. His mercy endures forever. He is consistent in dealing with us who believe and those who disbelieve. All He wants from us is the sacrifice of praise from our hearts for His mercy towards us. When we thank and praise God for His goodness to us, we bring heaven to earth. The Lord is pleased and the angels rejoice and join us in our acts of worship. Our tongue is also an instrument- in fact, the most awesome instrument of worship. As we worship the Lord, He promises to make manifest His mercy in ever greater measure and in newer ways. He promises to restore us. He promises to release us from the captivity of sin, bondage, fears, worry and oppression. He will restore us to the original state in which we were created. We will be restored to the likeness of His image. He will restore what we have lost in the past. Just as Elisha’s servants cried out that they had lost the borrowed axe. But, Elisha threw a stick into the water and made the axe head float. Using the Word in worship will enable us to retrieve and restore what is lost. He will manifest His grace and power in our lives to give us lasting peace, increasing gladness and victory. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Calling Success into Our Lives

UV 646/10,000 Calling Success into our Lives “Call unto me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33 v 3 Every bird has its own cry. Every man also calls unto someone or something all the time. By what we think, speak and do, we call certain events and circumstances into our lives. Before I met and came to know Jesus as my Saviour, I used to say frequently, “ What is the maximum that can happen to us- we can die.” Without knowing it, I was actually calling death to myself. We create bondages or affinities by what we say and do. Some leaders call death, defeat or destruction to themselves by what they say and do. It is like calling out to a mad dog and not expecting it to bite. When we are constantly using negative words or thinking negative thoughts, we are calling failure and frustration into our lives. When we are constantly acknowledging the Lord in our lives, confessing our faith, we are calling success or life in all its abundance into our lives. But, the Lord says in the above uni-verse: “If and when you call unto me, I will answer you.” He enjoys it and is not disturbed when we call out to Him. He is endearingly inviting us to call Him. We can call Him in our thoughts, our words and our deeds. The Lord promises to listen to us. He promises to answer our call or our cry or our prayer. We need to persist in calling unto the Lord. We need to call in faith and love. The Lord is near to all who call Him. He is up close and personal. He calls us by our names. He is rich unto those who call Him, implying that He reveals His power and might. When we call to Him in our trouble, He hears us and delivers us. He does not just deliver us but He honours us. In response to our calling, the Lord reveals His greatness and power. His response is beyond our capacity to know and understand. It is beyond our cognitive capacity. It is not predictable. It will evoke a sense of awe and wonder in us and in others. We will realize from the magnitude or the way the answer came that it was not out of the natural or coincidental or accidental but out of His supernatural grace and power. Many people including believers call to the Lord only when they are in trouble or when they cannot solve a particular massive challenge on their own. But, the Lord expects us to make it a habit to call unto Him in good times and bad. When we call on the basis of the Word, we are taking a stand of faith on the promises of God. He answers in amazing ways. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MY Chief Joy

UV 645/10,000 MY CHIEF JOY If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Psalm 137 v 6 Once Jesus appeared in our house, The Tabernacle and asked us to remember to pray for the salvation of the Jews: that their eyes blinded by human tradition be opened to perceive and experience truth. Many people ask- what’s special about the Jews? A certain believer from the UK met me and gave me the answer. He said, “ Every one of us who are saved today, the gospel was brought to our fathers by a Jew.” For instance, Thomas, the apostle brought the gospel to the shores of India. He doubted the most but he also traveled the most. On another occasion, the Lord reminded us to remember the martyrdom of four people held sacred in the Jewish memory: Abel, the very first martyr, Zachariah who was killed in the temple, John the Baptist and Stephen. If we do not remember the Lord and His servants, our tongues would not be fulfilling their purpose. We need to use our tongues to thank and praise the Lord remembering His many kindnesses to us, meaning the specific acts of deliverance. There are many things that bring delight to a man’s heart but our chief joy should be to remember the Lord and enjoy His presence. Prayer is the spiritual equivalent of breathing and the Word is the spiritual corollary of food and drink. That is why Jesus said, “ My food is to do the will of my Father in heaven.” Many people wait till they get to heaven to do the Father’s will while they are busy doing their own wills on earth in this lifetime. But, the Father will tell them that it is too late. Doing the will of the Father implies knowing, understanding and obeying the Word. Part of that will is remembering to pray and bless the Jews, Jerusalem, the only city designated as the city of God and the nation of Israel. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Staple Food

UV 644/10,000 Our Staple Food "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty." Jeremiah 15 v 16 The Word is our staple food. It sustains us. It strengthens us to face life’s many challenges. We need to eat the words of God’s Word. Like eating involves biting, breaking, chewing, tasting and finally , swallowing, our meditation on the Word involves analyzing each word, understanding the context and the text, relishing the hope and joy it brings to our lives, memorizing, recalling and applying it in our lives. Unlike food that we have at set times or at least thrice a day, we meditate on the Word all day and night. Meditation is also equivalent to the process of digestion. We need to truly enjoy spending time reading, studying and applying the Word in our lives. Others might delight in revelry, drinking and eating and making merry. But, we who are called by His Name are to delight in the Word. Truly it is a mark of a child of God that he or she delights in what the Father says to us. As Job said, “ I esteem His words more than my necessary food.” As David wrote in the Psalms, “ I desire it more than finest gold and sweetest honey.” To compare God’s Word with finest gold is to acknowledge that it is the most precious possession of a believer. It has long-term value. It can be capitalized or utilized for our need any time. To compare the Word with finest honey is to affirm that it is the promises of God that give us greatest delight in this world In short, we obtain short term or immediate benefits for our spirit, mind and bodies as well as long term and eternal benefits. The Psalmist also described the laws from God’s mouth as being more valuable than thousands of pieces of gold and silver. Each uni-verse is a law or underlying principle of phenomena in the world. Observing or obeying the laws of man does not bring any reward- it only prevents penalty or punishment. But, in observing the laws of God, there is much reward. Conversely, in ignoring the laws of God, there is much loss. When we remember, meditate, analyse and apply the Word to our lives, we are greatly blessed. The lordship of God in our lives is established and His might is manifested. We believe, honour and obey the Word of God as we derive our identity from God Almighty.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winners not Sinners

UV 643/10,000 Winners not Sinners “He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7 v 19 The Word of God uses two metaphors to illustrate our separation from being governed by the law of sin and death. The first is that He has removed our sin as far as the East is from the West. The second is that He has cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. But as my spiritual mentor used to say, “ sin is like an iceberg: 1/10th would be seen on the surface and the rest would lie below.” We need to seek the grace of God to subdue our iniquities or our sinful nature. We need to chip at it, bit by bit till it is fully dissolved. Satan and sin have no jurisdiction over us. We are declared winners by the Lord –not sinners. Whatever remains of the residue of sin like dead habit will be defeated. While we make sincere efforts and resolve ourselves to do so, the Lord will show compassion upon us. When satan accuses us for that is his vocation, we should reply, “ I am not a sinner. I am a winner by the blood of the Lamb. I may not be perfect but the Lord has declared me to be perfect by faith and grace. The payment has been made. The collective weight of sin is now at the bottom of the sea. Go looking for it there.” Life on earth Is now a “tea party”: TEA- a combination of winning thoughts, winning emotions and winning attitudes that together form a winning habit. This tea party is the curtain raiser for the Lamb’s Banquet in Heaven. That is why, the Psalmist in the Old Testament and St Paul in the New Testament kept saying, “ Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice.” We rejoice not on account of winning but as the Lord has subdued or defeated our sins and has declared us winners. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Choosing to be Blessed

UV 642/10,000 Choosing to be Blessed For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. Jeremiah 32 v 42 The first five words “ for thus saith the Lord” reveals that this uni-verse is from the mouth of God. It is backed by His authority and power and He will validate it in each of our lives. It tells us how He deals with those who are indifferent or hostile to Him and how He leads those who delight in obeying His Word. The Lord watches all people. But, just as He plucks up, throws down, breaks down, afflicts and destroys those who ignore Him or willfully disobey Him, He plants, builds and lifts up those who love and obey Him. To the former, the will of God will be performed in their lives. To the latter, not even one promise of God will not fail to be fulfilled. Like a horse whose eyes are covered with eyelets to keep it from getting distracted and going left or right, those who follow Him and His Word will not turn to the left or to the right. All the good that the Lord has promised His people is contained in the first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy chapter 28. The remaining verses of that chapter (verses 15 to 68) contains the many afflictions that befall those who do not believe the Lord and His promises. If we diligently obey the voice of the Lord to observe or apply all His commandments, we will be the head and not the tail. In fact, whether the toss of the coin or earthly circumstances will throw up “ heads” we will win and even if it throws up “tails” we will win. Even temporary reverses will turn out for our good. God’s coin has two sides: on one side are blessings of obedience and faithfulness and on the other side are curses of disobedience, disbelief and unfaithfulness. We must be zealous like Jacob in obtaining the blessings and careful in avoiding the plucking, breaking, throwing down and afflictions that come with disobedience. Blessings or curses do not come upon us due to ancestral sins or pre-determination but owing to our own acts of omission and commission. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 18, 2013

Not 911

UV 641/10,000 Ebenezer God O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. Hosea 13 v 9 Too much of self reliance can lead to self destruction. Besides each of us have some embedded weaknesses in our human nature- it could be lust, love of money, pride, anger, jealousy and so on. Israel’s reliance on the traditions of Judaism itself keeps her from the salvation that is revealed from the midst of that nation. No nation has been so persecuted in history as the Jews. They were scattered from time to time by the Persians, the Roman Empire and a large number of them exterminated by Hitler in the most cruel of ways. People both individually and collectively have pressed their own self destruction button by their lack of knowledge of God and His ways. Just as man hesitates to look to God for help, He delights in rushing to our help in our hour of need. He will however not force His help on us. He will even let us mess around till we look to Him for help. But, the uni-verse above reveals one of the underlying principles of the God-created order: “ in Me is your help” or I am your helper. Many people are not willing even to acknowledge that they need the help of the Creator to live life. To be a self-made success is a fiction. We all need help. We need help to deal with our own inner selves. We need help to deal with others. We need help to deal with various life situations. We need help to make correct choices. We need help not just once in a way but every day. Even if perchance we are able to do all this on our own, each of us need help to be saved, to live forever and not to have our souls perish. Faith does not provide a crutch for weak people. It provides an armour for vulnerable people and which strong warrior was not vulnerable at the height of the battle. God reveals Himself in this uni-verse as “ Ebenezer”. Our help comes from Him. His grace and power is sufficient for every conceivable situation and every impossible or difficult situation. He will help us sustain in difficult times: in times of plenty and times of famine, in times of victory and defeat, in times of success and failure, in times of joy and sorrow. Seeking the help of God is predicated or contingent on a personal relationship with Him but to seek His help only in times of need is demeaning to His stature and Being. He does not like to be used as an impersonal Emergency Number or 911. But, He loves to be of help all the time and every day, every hour, every moment. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Renewing Our Rivers

UV 640/10,000 Ecc 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. This morning again as I cycled to the sea to watch the sun rise in its glory over the water, the Lord reminded me of His power and grace. I said to myself, “ From the rising of the sun to its setting, His Name shall be praised.” From the time we wake up till the time we sleep, we must continually recollect His praise. From our childhood till our death, we need to worship Him. Geographically, from the coasts of Japan to the shores of California, His deeds need to be praised. The Lord is like the sea and each of us is like the river. We need to empty ourselves into the sea. It is written that in the last days, the earth will be so full of the knowledge of the Word as the sea is full of water. Our lives are but an elaborate exercise to explore the dynamics of the Word playing out in our lives. Each uni-verse is a wave that rises and falls in our lives, now displaying its energy and power and now, subsiding back below the surface. At the times, when there is a lull in the sea and the wind ceases, we must not think that the Lord has withdrawn His grace and mercy. But, it only subsides to rise again. Our prayers rise to the Lord like the water evaporates from the sea’s surface and comes down as a rain of blessings to renew the rivers, our lives. As Jesus said, “rivers of life-giving water will flow from our hearts”- of faith, hope and confidence, of love , joy and peace, of praise, worship and thanksgiving. The different aspects of our lives are like tributaries of a great river system. We bring tribute to the Lord for His attributes. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Characteristics of the Remnant

UV 639/10,000 Characteristics of the Remnant Zep 3:13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. The people of God are called the “ remnant” or those that remain after being chosen of God in a filtering process much like there is a residue in a chemical process. This residue or remnant has certain characteristics that distinguish them from the remaining population of the world. We are chosen to be the wick that lights up in the darkness and not the wicked who put it out. Lying and cheating are the twin brothers sired by the father of lies-satan. Neither lying nor deceit should be found on our tongues as we are the remnant of Israel. Our communication must be truthful and wholesome, helpful to those who hear us. We must not yield to the temptation to use our tongues like an industrial saw to hurt or harm others. Beyond the exercise of mere common courtesy that comes from good grooming and manners, we need to always exercise a certain self restraint and exhibit gentleness in all our ways. Like the disciple Nathaniel whom the Lord characterized as one in whose mouth no guile or deceit was found, we must neither use charm or flattery to win favour or show contempt for those who are weak and helpless. Our gentleness should not be born out of fear or cowardice but out of courage and conviction. This will happen when we constantly feed or intake the Word. Even when we lie on our beds, we must meditate on the Word so take n in. It must saturate our thoughts and emotions. Then, we will not be afraid or fearful of any consequences or situations in life. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Making Our Days Count

UV 638/10,000 Making Every Day Count “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90 v 12 Many people wonder why I have chosen 10,000 as the number of uni-verses to be written in the rest of my life-time. Assuming that I live to be eighty, I calculated that I would have 365 x 30 or approximately a little over 10,000 days. When we take a true measure of our days, we will develop a reverence or fear of God and we will develop a sense of priorities. Besides, there are 10,000 promise verses in the Bible. There are 10,000 reasons to praise God. The root of the commonly used praise word, “Hallelujah” or “halal yah” implies 10,000 praises. Our life however long or short is long enough to experience these 10,000 reasons. I also thought to myself that in obedience to the above uni- verse, it would help me to keep a count as the days progressed. Besides, my days are greatly blessed as I meditate on His Word day after day and early in the day. It constitutes the best hours of my life. The Lord had taught me to number my days. Truly, a day spent in the presence of the Lord is worth ten thousand spent elsewhere. It is a way to multiply the impact or influence of our mortal lives 10,000 times. When we make the Word of God the apple of our eye or our favourite focus, the Lord makes us the apple of His eye. The Word is the locus to which we return again and again to get a reference as to where we are and where we are heading much like a traveler who consults a map or looks at a compass or GPS. We need to focus on this locus every day of our lives and not just once a week to satisfy our conscience or to keep a tradition. When we apply our hearts to wisdom, He fills the empty spaces of our lives. Knowing the will of God and doing it is wisdom. Departing from evil is understanding. Every day we need to get just one step closer to knowing God’s will more fully and doing it. Every day we must resolve to depart from evil or to put a distance between us and what tempts us- our inner weaknesses that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us or He will teach us. When we increase in wisdom and understanding, we will also increase in favour with both God and man and we will grow in our spiritual stature, inch by inch. Every day, we have certain needs that we pay for with what we earn in our work. This is the knowledge aspect of life. What we cannot pay for, we pray for : love, health, forgiveness, peace, joy, longevity, eternal life. Wisdom will enable us to realize that God has made it possible for man to exist without Him but made it impossible for man to live without Him. Truly, when we count our days, He will make our days count. He also promises to add years to our life and life to our years. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hide and Seek

UV 637/10,000 Hide and Seek “And I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him.” Isaiah 8 v 17 As children, for most of us our favourite game was hide and seek. One would seek and all would hide. The simple game is popular as it is based on the joy and excitement of discovery. But, in real life One would hide and all would seek. The living God would hide and all mankind would seek in a huge variety of ways according to their traditions and according to their imagination. He even hides His face from His own people, the house of Jacob or the nation of Israel. So much so, the Jews even to this day go to the Wailing Wall, shake their heads to and fro, wave their bodies and chant their prayers with much wailing as if that were God. But, the Lord says, “ I am the wall- Come to this wall, pray and wait.” God has made all things apparent in the universe. It is evident to the simple and faithful but hidden from the wise and learned. The universe with its sextillion stars and heavenly bodies and formations is a reflection of His infinite nature. He is so immense- one cannot find Him. He is so immense that one cannot “ not find” Him in everything in the universe. The Hubble telescope in space has uncovered a constellation in the shape of a cross right at the center of the universe. Medical scientists with the help of the electron microscope have found a cross-shaped protein called laminin between the cells in the human body. He is there hidden in the macrocosm as well as in the microcosm. Out of fifty billion planets in just the Milky Way, the Earth is the only one that is populated and teeming with life in all its abundance. The Earth’s axis if it were tilted a little more or a little less, life could not have sustained on the planet. The sun’s distance from the Earth is so carefully calibrated that if it was a little closer, it would have been unbearably hot and if it was a little further, it would have been unbearably cold. So much so, it would be apparent to someone with even an iota of common sense that the theory of evolution is the best example of science fiction. But, what the Lord has hidden from human knowledge and understanding in the universe, He has made apparent and explicit in the uni-verse- His Word revealed through different chosen vessels in different periods of time through the ages. All we need to do in our lives is to trust that Word and wait on the Lord to show up in our lives and our life situations. I have often wondered at that self-fulfilling phrase employed in marital ceremonies: “ for better or worse.” No wonder, marriages are better at the beginning and keep getting worse. Instead, we should believe and say, “ for better through verse.” Yesterday, I watched and listened to the fantastic message of an Australian billionaire. He was till the age of 26 intellectually challenged, slow of learning, knowledge and understanding- a bricklayer by profession. One evening he heard the gospel from the mouth of a man called Billy Graham. The gospel is God’s power to change human lives. He experienced the joy of God discovery and self discovery, victories not available to a Columbus or a Captain Cook. His self perception changed. His enthusiasm for learning was quickened. The very word “ enthusiasm” means the energy of God. He waited on the Lord, meaning He took God at His Word literally and expanded his vocabulary and learning immensely. He quit his job and failed in business thrice before going on to head a world-wide corporation. He said that he was paid a million dollars for a fifteen minute consultation. He had put his hope in the Lord and His Word. The Word of God is the visible and explicit expression of the invisible and invincible God. Through our faith in it, He will manifest or make visible His mercy, grace and power. The Word of God is the manifesto of God unto man. The word “ manifesto” carries in it “ festo” or celebration. It will enable us to celebrate the faithfulness and power of God in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweet Surrender

UV 636/10,000 Sweet Surrender “Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8 v 18 Mount Zion is the unshakeable mountain of God. All other mountains can be shaken but not the Mount of the Lord. When God’s presence is there in our lives, we too like Mount Zion cannot be shaken or moved. We and our families must always and every day offer ourselves before the Lord saying, “ Here am I and the children You have given us.” Our purpose in life is not to merely fulfill our own desires and goals. But, our life is meant as a testament, evidence or witness of the signs and wonders the Lord performs in our lives. Our natural and default mode is to resist God and yield to our own whims and desires. But, when we perceive the glory of the Lord seated on His throne in the midst of His immense armies, we are overwhelmed. When a brave general sees the awesomeness of the stature, power, prowess and forces of the opposing army, he surrenders with his hands up to the king and trusts himself to the magnanimity of the conquering king. Similarly, we offer ourselves to the Lord, we are submitting ourselves in all humility and obedience. It is a paradigm shift in our thinking that causes this offering: till then we thought God exists for our sake, to help us fulfill our goals. But, when we see the awesomeness of God, His amazing grace and our relative unworthiness to even offer ourselves, there can be only one response- to throw oneself and one’s own at His feet and to depend on His mercy and grace to lift us up. Such surrender fulfills our being and pleases the Lord. We are in effect saying, “ We trust you. We are in Your loving hands as pliant clay in the hands of a potter. Take it and make it as You like it.” Signs and wonders or miracles are from the Lord of hosts. It implies that He is the Lord of the armies of heaven- large companies of angels who are ready to do His will. These signs and wonders are sent to establish and expand our faith, to confirm the presence and favour of the Lord, to confirm the Word and to glorify the Lord. The Lord sends angels like Michael to the aid and assistance of His people. We, human beings vulnerable as we are , tend to be overly concerned about our family and children, about their security and their future. But, the Lord through this uni-verse says, “ Submit your children as Abraham offered Isaac. I will not take their lives but make it both blessed and a blessing to others.” The words “ Here I am” that Isaiah uses when he sees in a vision God Almighty on His throne in Heaven is a verbal expression of complete surrender to the Lord. It is an act of total worship in the manner of falling speechless and prostrate in the presence of the Lord. When the Lord sees this kind of submission and surrender, He is pleased to ordain signs and wonders to lift us up in the eyes of all Israel or in the eyes of those who enjoy a relationship with the Lord. Our very lives becomes a sign and wonder among the faithful. Indeed, when we yield ourselves to the Lord, He will increase our yield and that of our own flesh and blood. For instance, many who see me and know my past experiences and encounters with death call me a “ walking miracle.” Prateep V Philip

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Test, the Best and the Rest

The Test, the Best and the Rest And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen Matthew 6 v 13 A certain believer I know puzzled over this verse for a long time. He wondered how can the absolutely holy God “lead us into temptation.” As he kept searching for an answer, the Lord revealed to him that He never tempts any one. He only blesses His children as He has promised in His Word. He denies no good thing from them that love Him. He however allows Satan to tempt us as a test of our faith and obedience. When we are blessed abundantly and prosper in a material sense, the abundant blessing itself becomes the temptation to take our eyes off the Lord and make the material blessings the focus of our attention. Such a folly has befallen many a leading evangelist and teacher in virtually every nation. When we pray, “ Lord, lead us not into temptation,” we are in effect praying that He puts a hedge of protection around ourselves and our loved ones. The evil one will try to make our blessings a source of temptation. This prayer meant sincerely will insure and insulate us from such temptation. Even when we are materially and otherwise abundantly blessed, we will not focus on this but retain our first love for God. We will learn to wear the full armour of God to protect us from fiery arrows that are fired from deep within our selves and not just from an external source. The Lord will test the allegiance of our heart as He tested the faith and obedience of Abraham. He tested the faith and submission of Job. He tested the faith of the apostles. Judas failed and he was overcome. Peter failed but he overcame. Deliverance is at hand even when we fail as long as we throw ourselves at the mercy of the Lord and avail further grace to overcome our fear, our doubt, our lust and our pride. The former President Abdul Kalam has written in the vein of many new age philosophers, that every day we must say to ourselves that “ I am the best.” How can a lie by just being repeated day after day become the truth? Instead, we need to say, “ I may not be the best but I will do my best to get there.” Once we get deliverance from external threats and internal temptations, we can join in praising the Lord for sharing His kingdom,His dominion, His authority, His influence, His power, His name, His inheritance, His grace and His accomplishments with us. We are partners in His mission to save us and the world. But, the Lord is very practical: only when we are assured we are saved and safe forever in the bosom of the Lord, in the lap of His affection, having secured the stamp of approval on our passport to heaven, then can we reach out to others with a finger to point the direction, a helping hand to pull them up from the pit in which they are fallen or stuck. I can say along with Job that I have been tested often in fire but my faith has come forth out of the furnace more burnished and pure like gold. It is only after the test,we can be included among the best and then,we can enter His rest. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Power of Purity

UV 634/10,000 The Power of Purity Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matthew 5 v 8 The word “ katharos” in Greek means pure, without blemish, clean, undefiled. This uni-verse spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself implies that those whose hearts are pure shall see God. No man has seen God as no man is absolutely pure. Purity implies not just physical cleanliness or ceremonial purity as the Jews practiced but ethical purity. Jesus alone is pure and that is the reason, sin and death-the consequence of sin could not hold Him captive and He came back to life. Purity of heart is more powerful than death. When we accept Jesus as the blemishless Lamb provided by God as in the sacrifice of Abraham, we too become blemishless and pure. When we receive Him into our heart as our Lord and Saviour, our hearts are declared pure in the sight of God. This much is due to grace. But, by our efforts we must do our best to maintain a beautiful attitude of heart and mind. The word, “ katharsis” derived from the Greek root word “ katharos” meaning pure, implies that to enable us to be pure, the Lord sends us through a process of refinement or purification. The Word of God and suffering in this world are the two principal tools the Lord uses to purify our hearts and minds. It is not by religious or ceremonial or ritual purification or by self-flagellation that we become sanctified. As gold and silver is purified in a furnace, we are purified through suffering. The spiritual dross is removed by the pain of emotional suffering. Our thoughts, motives, emotions, speech, actions and reactions are purified and perfected. When we go through this process, we shall come forth as pure gold. When we are pure, we are ready to see and experience God. Once we see God, we will never be the same again. Seeing God does not mean seeing Him literally but it means to perceive the hand of God in all that we do and experience. When we see God in this manner, we are truly blessed. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 10, 2013

His Promise, Our Daily Bread

UV 633/10,000 The Promise “ And, behold, I am with you and will keep you in all places where you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have promised you.” Genesis 28 v 15 Many people go in search of God to different places. But, in this uni-verse, the Lord God assures us that instead of us searching or going to Him, He will come to us. His presence is always with us. He will watch over us in all places we go to. The word “ keep” implies that He will provide, protect and promote us. These are the three “ pros” hidden in the word “ promise”. This is our daily need or daily bread that we rely upon the Lord to meet: to protect, provide and promote us. Wherever we go, He promises to bring us back safely to our home or land. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He commits to fulfill His promise to us. Holding onto the promise of God is key to our lives becoming secure, prosperous, successful, joyful and blessed. Even the murderous Cain received a mark of protection from God so that no one killed him. The Lord God has sealed every believer in the promise so that he or she is provided for , protected and promoted. Jacob had run away from his parents’ home fearing his brother Esau. He was a fugitive who feared that his brother Esau would take revenge for usurping the latter’s blessing as the first born. But, even as He tried to run away, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and assured him with these words. It was not because Jacob was worthy of such a blessing but it was on account of God’s faithfulness to His promise to Abraham that the Lord met him in the wilderness. Jacob responded to the Lord’s promise saying that as long as the Lord provided food and clothing to him, He would be His God. We too like Jacob are running away from some thing we fear. Our human resourcefulness or cunning might often ensnare us. But, the Lord meets us at the point of our fear and allays it with His presence and His Word. Jacob realized the presence of God through a specific dream. We too will receive and recognize signs of God’s presence with us. Today, the Lord has provided us much more than mere food and clothing, but are we grateful to the Lord or do we take for granted the many blessings He has bestowed on us? Jacob called the place where He received this promise, “ Bethel” or the house of God. Where we dwell is Bethel, the house of God. The promise of God will rise like the walls of a house that is being built around us. That is why it is written in Scripture that "His eyes are ever on our walls and our names are printed in the palm of His hands." We can be assured that the Lord will not leave us till His promise is fulfilled. In short, He will not leave us for the rest of eternity. He is steadfastly committed to His promise and to the people who accept and declare Him as their Lord even as Jacob did. We must not forget the word from the Lord spoken to us. It will be fulfilled in His time. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hope for Dry Bones

UV 632/10,000 Hope for Dry Bones Again He said to me, “ Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, “ O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.” Ezekiel 37 v 4 The people of the house of Israel were like dry bones as they had given up hope of reviving the kingdom of Israel after being conditioned to being in exile in Babylon. They were like many disjointed bones lying in the valley. The valley signifies a low time in our lives. The “ dry bones” are the people without hope and purpose in life. They are insensitive and are like moving skeletons. The vast majority of people from God’s perspective are ‘ spiritually dry bones.’ The Lord says, “ Prophesy and encourage these people to hear the word of God.” When they hear the Word of God, the breath of God or the Holy Spirit will enter their lives and revive them. Every human being needs spiritual resuscitation in this sense. We will be revived and reinvogarated. When other dry bones come in contact with us, they too will be revived just as when the prophet Elisha hid in a deserted cave, the skeleton, that came in contact accidentally with the prophet, came alive. When we hear the Word of God and pay attention, the Lord promises to put sinews of muscles, flesh and skin on us that we shall live. The sinews or muscles are the symbol of spiritual power that we gain when we read and meditate on the Word. The flesh is a symbol of our life work. The skin is a metaphor for the covering of faith that the Lord gives us. He will be as close to us as our own skin or even closer. We will be made spiritually whole and healthy. The different parts and aspects of our lives will be connected organically to make sense and fulfill the purpose of God for our lives. Without hope of a better future, we become dry and cracked up like dry soil. The moisture or water of the Word needs to penetrate our lives like rain penetrates dry soil and makes it fit for cultivation. The Word of God reinforces our hope of salvation. Our spiritually dry soul cries out for salvation and help as the parched soil cries for water. The hope that the Word gives will percolate to the deepest part of our being and nourish our roots to promote growth and fruition. Our dreams will be clothed with flesh. It will begin to take shape like a child forms from a single cell in the womb of a woman, multiplies, then forms a skeleton and all other organs. There is a gestation period for every hope and so we should not get into a period of frustration. Prophecy accompanied by the Word of God is a great and true source of encouragement. For the past 14 years, my family and I have been greatly encouraged from time to time by the prophetic ministry. Prophecy is like a rain or shower of blessings to encourage and revive our faith. It is indeed amazing that the Word has an apt verse for every thought and every situation of each of us. When we hear this Word,we will realize that it is truly God who is speaking and that it is not a mere figment of our imagination. Once I was thinking about the concept of VIBGYOR spoken by a police chief in a state level meeting. I thought it was a good metaphor. The Lord spoke the same acroustic to me in a prophecy as He can and does read my thoughts. He used it to encourage my dry bones in a low time in my career and life to say that “ I will revive you and reveal my glory in and through your life like the colours of the spectrum of the rainbow.” Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Three Levels of Security

UV 631/10,000 Three levels of Security And he said: “ The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;” 2 Samuel 22 v 2 Once David experienced victory over all his foes and from the hand of Saul, he confessed in this manner his faith in the Lord God. Who do you and I say God is to us? What we believe in our heart and say with our mouth is our faith. This is the essence of our lives that God takes into account. God told Moses, “ I Am who I Am.” It meant that He is the self-sustainer and uncreated one. But man in philosophy defines himself in different ways: As they say in French, “ Je pense, donc je suis”or I think, therefore I am. “ Je sens, donc je suis” or I feel, therefore I am. Some say, “ Je fais, donc je suis” or I do, therefore I am. But, the most essential way to define us individually and collectively is belief: “ Je crois, donc je suis” or I believe therefore I am. David experienced great victories from the time of his youth. Was God partial to him? No, it was because David spent time in the presence of God even as he tended his father’s sheep. He worshipped God with Psalms he composed and sang, accompanied by music from his harp. Therefore, the anointing and the hand of God was upon him. He had a personal relationship with God. The book of Psalms is a testament to the whole gamut of situations and emotions David went through in the course of his life, ranging from triumphant worship as in this uni-verse to sheer despair and depression at times. Everything else in life can change but the stable and constant factor in his life giving him an anchor, a source of stability was God as his rock. God is compared to a mighty rock that cannot be shaken. He is the Rock as His work is perfect, all His ways are just and He is without iniquity or shortcoming. So when we embed ourselves in this unique Rock, we too cannot be shaken, despite change and challenge in our lives. He is the continual source of our strength. We will be strategically located or positioned. Our foundations and our framework for decision making will be ever strong. Our lifework will also begin to be perfect. Our ways too will be just and we will be without “hamartia” or shortcoming. The Lord’s flag will be flying as a banner over all we are and all we do. On the Rock, the fortress or mountain fastness rises, impregnable in security and majestic in splendour. We build the walls of this fortress over a whole lifetime with our thoughts, words and deeds. The fortress does not belong to us. The master of the fortress is the deliverer,the defender, the Saviour Jesus. Three levels of security the Lord has built around us: the inanimate rock and fortress and the living person of the Saviour to defend us. It is our faith that secures us and causes us to be triumphant in life. I believe Jesus, therefore, I am. Everything I think, feel, speak and do is defined and circumscribed by this faith like the solid walls and ramparts of an ancient mountain fortress. Prateep V Philip

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hunger Games

UV 630/10,000 Hunger Games Jesus answered, “ It is written: “ Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Mathew 4 v 4 Without the Bible as the software and operating system and without God as the operator, mankind are a lot of hardware floating around for some time till someone presses the self-destruction button. Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights in the wilderness of the desert. He was hungry and satan knowing the extent of His hunger tempted Him, saying, “ If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Satan was challenging Jesus to prove His identity as the Son of God, knowing full well that Jesus was the Son indeed and that He was capable of doing the impossible of transmuting stones into bread. The very word, “ person”, that each of us is, points to the Son. Jesus knew who He is and did not wish to prove any point to the tempter. He instead relied on scripture to answer satan. We too need to rely on scripture to answer the fundamental questions of life as well as to face the challenges of daily living. Jesus said, “ Man does not live on bread alone”. In these words, He was acknowledging that though He is Son of God or fully eternal, divine and spiritual being, He was also fully human. He submitted to the laws of nature that the Father in Heaven had put in place and though He could have transcended the laws to meet His immediate need of satisfying His great hunger, He chose not to. These words also point out a truth that physical resources like bread enable us to merely exist but in order to live and live fully and well, we need the spiritual bread of the Word. This is the bread from Heaven. Jesus Himself is metaphorically described as the Bread from Heaven that will fully satisfy the spiritual hunger that is there in all mankind, regardless of religious background. By using the words, “ Man does not live on bread alone”, Jesus is also acknowledging the reality of our physical need for food, shelter and clothing and material things. But these material things though necessary should not be given top priority in our lives. We should not be obsessed with money and what it can buy, the modern slang for money being “ bread.” In other words, we can possess money but not obsess over it. We can also play a game saying, our hunger is satisfied by the physical or psychological and deny that our spiritual hunger even exists. The priority in our lives, the ruling obsession or passion in our lives should be the Word of God. God is not visible nor do we hear His voice nor can we touch Him. But, He has made Himself visible in the printed or written Word. This Word has come from the very mouth of God in the sense, chosen people through the ages have penned down what they heard from the Spirit of God. What comes from the mouth of man is fallible and prone to error. But what comes from the mouth of God is infallible, eternal, true and practical. Whatever is written in scripture, according to St Paul, is “written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Every word contains the hidden manna. We need to search out this hidden manna, manna that will not spoil if saved and stored in our hearts and minds, not for a lifetime, nay not even for eternity. For Scripture says, “ Heaven and Earth shall pass away but my Word shall not pass away.” Near the Police Academy where I was working, there are some thirty odd lions in a “rescue camp” of the nearby zoo. It is quite a sight to see them at lunch hour. When the van bringing in meat comes around mid-morning, all the hungry lions as if on cue, rush to the entrance of their respective enclosures, literally baying in sync for food. We need to have that kind of hunger for the Word. The Word will guide, lead and instruct us in how to satisfy even our physical, emotional, psychological, social as well as spiritual hunger. In every uni-verse, I am led of the Spirit to analyse every word of every verse and study every related verse in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I then relate it to my past experiences and real-time life to superimpose the Word upon our world. Every uni-verse throws up a management principle for life, a template to employ in our daily life. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Lap of Victory

UV 629/10,000 The Lap of Victory So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “ Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.” Judges 7 v 5 The Lord choses His army from those who lap His Word like a dog. The whole Word is like a river of living water and the portion that applies to us every day is like the water that is cupped in the hands and from which we lap up that portion. The cup of our hands will become in time the cup of joy of our lives. The word “ lap” in this context means to learn enthusiastically and apply wholeheartedly the commands of God as well as to learn joyfully and and appropriate expectantly the promises of God. We learn and apply the commands of God in order to prove we are obedient servants and soldiers of God. We learn and appropriate the promises of God in order to garner strength to serve and to fight in God’s army. Obeying the commands of God gives us blessings of being chosen or anointed. Claiming the promises of God births victory. The Lord has given me this uni-verse saying, “ You are like a dog that laps the milk.” The Word of God is not just living water but pure spiritual milk that strengthens us ahead of the fight and challenges that lie before us every day. Like a dog relishes and laps up every drop of milk, we need to relish every word of the Word. Just as Gideon took the men down to the water, we should lead people to the Word. How we respond to the Word of God will determine whether we are chosen of God, by God and for God. Many are called and few are chosen. Gideon weeded out twenty two thousand men by giving those who listened to their fears the option to leave. God does not operate like us in the flesh and rely on more numbers. He wants to accomplish more with less. He does not want us to blow our own trumpet that we have accomplished something on account of our own strength and wisdom. He does not want us to kneel before anything or anyone else to fulfill our need. This uni-verse reveals the secret of how God chooses His fighters. He asked Gideon to separate the 300 men who lapped the water from the cup of their hands from the rest of the ten thousand left after the first round of selection. The rest drank the water routinely and without much zeal or enthusiasm. Godly leaders need to separate their teams on the basis of the discernment of their zeal for receiving and obeying the Word of God. God promised Gideon that He would deliver the Midianites into his hands and save Israel. He encouraged Gideon with a prophetic dream and its interpretation. Emboldened by the dream and its interpretation, Gideon first worshipped God and then made a strategy for “ attack”. Gideon divided the three hundred men into three companies. They were armed only with an earthen jar, a torch and a trumpet. The three companies surrounded the Midianites camp. When the jars were broken, the flares burning all round in the dead of night and the 300 Israelites gave a shout of victory, the Midianites were taken by surprise. They panicked and started attacking and killing each other. Similarly, we are each like a burning torch inside the earthen jars of our bodies. When we declare the Word of God, we are blowing His trumpet. Spiritual warfare is unarmed combat. Victory is assured. He that is with us is greater than they that are with them. The round loaf of bread that strikes the enemy’s camp throwing it into disarray is the Word of God. Prateep V Philip

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rich Reward

UV 628/10,000 Rich Reward “ May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2 v 12 The Lord God is no man’s debtor. He is quick to reward whomever, whenever and wherever He sees faithfulness. Ruth clung to her husband’s people even though death had separated her from her husband. She continued to serve Naomi, her hapless mother-in-law who had lost both her husband and her sons. Ruth could have thought like most people do to this day that some curse afflicts Naomi and left her lest it affect her further. But, she swore her allegiance and said, “ Your people will be my people and your God my God.” She continued to serve Naomi by gleaning grain from the fields of Boaz to feed her mother- in -law and herself. Boaz had heard about Ruth’s faithfulness and was impressed. He blessed her with this uni-verse. The rest is history. Boaz being her redeemer-kinsman married Ruth and out of their wedlock was born the forebears of the Messiah. Ruth was the good root in the family tree. She enjoyed a status of a refugee, an alien, less than the servants of Boaz. Yet the Lord saw her faith and rewarded her by enabling her to find grace in the eyes of Boaz to become his wife. When we take refuge under the two wings of faith: prayer and the Word of God, we will be greatly blessed. When we obey the Word and act in faith, we will be richly rewarded. Even if we give a glass of cold water to refresh a disciple of Christ or even in the name of Christ, we will be rewarded. The Lord will send us times of refreshing. The greater the proportion of our faith, the richer will be the reward. There are two types of reward: reward on earth and reward in heaven. Whenever we do an act or say something in faith, it is an investment in the Kingdom of God. There are no secret kick-backs but huge and visible payback. This has been the experience of my life: I gave the Queen of the UK a Bible as a gift and the Lord paid me back with the Queen’s Award worth GBP 15,000! God used Boaz, the very man who blessed Ruth in this manner to be her greatest reward- the source of her sustenance and fulfillment of purpose in life. He first gave her his patronage, protection and the right to glean from his fields. He then accepted her hand in marriage. Similarly, the Lord gives us His patronage, protection and the right to glean from His spiritual fields, the 66 books of the Bible. Gleaning is an activity that needs to be done daily and not once in a way. As I glean from the Scriptures day after day, He uses it to feed a lot of believers as well as seekers world-wide even as my own spiritual hunger and thirst is satisfied. As He draws us closer and closer, we will enjoy a relationship closer than any marriage can lead up to. The very presence of the Lord in our lives is our richest reward. From that reward will flow a cornucopia of rewards, temporal and eternal. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Absolute Security, Perfect Immunity

UV 627/10,000 Absolute Security, Perfect Immunity “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord Isaiah 54 v 17 Our righteousness is because of our faith in God and His Son Jesus. Hence, when someone accuses us, he or she is accusing God. Satan is accuser of the brethren. He inspires many to rise up against the people of God. The Lord knows of every weapon in the enemy’s arsenal. Such knowledge enables Him to neutralize every type of weapon, spiritual, intellectual, physical or verbal in the appropriate way at the apt time. He acts as our bulwark and strong defence. The Lord will enable us to defend ourselves against false accusations. He will give us the words to speak. He will vindicate us. He will ensure that we obtain justice. This uni-verse speaks of such an awesome heritage. It is called heritage as it is inherited from the Lord Himself. A heritage is something valuable like an heirloom. Similarly, the rise and deliverance from weapon attacks of different kinds is the material of human testimonies. These testimonies are precious and are part of our spiritual faith inheritance. They are to be cherished and recounted from time to time to bolster our faith and glorify God. We are the apple of God’s eye. Hence, any one who tries to harm us is trying to touch the very eye of God. He knows when a weapon is secretly being forged or made even in the minds of the enemy. He declares that it will not prosper or develop in such a way as to harm us in any way. When people meet and conspire against us, the Lord will bring about their fall and the foiling of their wicked plans. When Moses was born, the Lord protected his life by sending the infant into the very lap of the adversary when Pharaoh’s daughter saw the floating baby and adopted him. Daniel and his companions were saved from both the furnace and from the lions’ den. When Jesus was born, the Lord protected the baby from Herod’s evil plan to kill Him as He perceived a threat to his position. The Lord sent a dream to Joseph to warn him to take Mary and the baby Jesus into Egypt. When the Christ child Himself was not spared such threats and assaults, we too will not be spared the threats but what is assured is deliverance and a victorious outcome. Such a sense of absolute security or protection from hidden conspiracies, secret weapons and open accusations as well as less obvious insinuations is part of the right of inheritance of the children of God. We have spiritual immunity from assaults on our reputation, our physical well being and the well being of our families. When a coterie of officers conspired to stop an initiative that I started to create positive change in the police, the Lord miraculously prevented them from doing so. At a top level conference, He gave me the opening and the words to speak to defend it successfully. When some officers, senior in rank and age, tried to make me a scapegoat for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, He again without my knowing it protected me and preserved my career. For seven years I faced various high profile enquiries but the Lord vindicated my honour even though I did the unusual thing of dispensing with all defence witnesses. Very often the Lord will give us the wisdom or shrewdness to speak the right word or to do the right thing to deal with both accusations and assaults. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Capsule of the Infinite

UV 626/10,000 A Capsule of the Infinite “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55 v 9 The universe is God’s canvas. It reflects His ways and His grace. It is made so vast that scientists are not able to ascertain where it begins and where it ends. It is infinite like God Himself. Similarly, God’s ways are infinitely higher than our ways. His thoughts are infinitely greater than our thoughts. Yet, He has written His ways and thoughts in our DNA as well as in the Word. He has captured and summed it up in a capsule. Even one rhema verse or uni-verse contains the essence of God. When we swallow and digest this capsule every day, we get access to the infinite love, infinite wisdom, infinite power, infinite riches, infinite grace and mercy of God. It is a spiritual multi-vitamin. I cycled early this morning to the beach near our house to reflect on the ways and thoughts of God. At the beach, I raised my voice and my hands like a mindless man and worshipped Infinite God. It is written in the Psalms, “ Thy way is in the sea, thy path in the great waters and thy footsteps are not known.” The sea is pulled one moment towards its center and the next it is pushed outward. This produces waves. Each wave of the sea is different. Some are gentle waves, some are waves of warning followed by waves of wrath. Every force in the universe has an inward pull and an outward push. It is the balance between the inward pull and the outward push that creates equilibrium or balance in the universe. Similarly, we are inwardly pulled towards God’s love, grace, wisdom and power and then we are given a gentle shove, an outward push to go and reflect or radiate the love, grace, wisdom and power that we have absorbed. God’s faithfulness is described as being as high as the clouds. This implies that while the extent of His mercy cannot be measured, His faithfulness can be perceived and experienced. The gentle waves of the sea are the waves of mercy. Scripture says that “ His mercy is as high as the heavens are above the earth towards them that fear Him.” The high waves of warning are meant for those who do not fear Him. When people do not heed the many waves of warning, it is followed by the fearsome waves of wrath. The depth of the sea reflects the depth of the riches of wisdom and knowledge of God. Yet mighty as the sea is, it is only symbolic for the depth of the seas can be plumbed and measured by sonar devices. But, God’s judgements can neither be plumbed nor discovered. His ways cannot be found out. Our response is to believe and to trust and to allow spontaneous and constant streams of praise, awe and thanksgiving to flow from our hearts and minds. Just as the waves never cease, our praise and awestruck worship should never cease in the inward and outward pull and push of life. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Circumcision of the Unnecessary

UV 625/10,000 The Circumcision of the Unnecessary “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh.” Jeremiah 9 v 25 Circumcision was a Hebrew practice to cut away unnecessary skin. It is a metaphor to show that we need to cut off or incise and remove what is unnecessary in our lives. The Lord desires not a physical circumcision as people of some faiths practice to this day but circumcision of the heart: the ‘surgical’ removal of unnecessary emotions associated with fear, hatred, lust, jealousy, unforgiveness, pride, covetousness, self righteousness and so on. It is a parting with clinical precision from those things that hinder our faith and obstruct our spiritual growth to maturity. This is what is implied in Jesus teaching us that it is better to loose an eye or a limb or any organ that causes us to sin rather than loose our whole souls. The negative emotions that rage in the human heart keep us from experiencing closeness or oneness with God. We need a daily circumcision of our hearts and minds. We need to daily place on the sacred altar of fire that burns deep inside our souls the negative factors that hold us back in our relationship with our beloved Creator- Saviour. Circumcision of the heart implies disciplining our bodies and discipling our souls to obey the Lord and His Word. It means exercising kindness, justice and righteousness in which the Lord delights. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of Romans that the true Jew is the one who experiences circumcision in heart and spirit. Circumcision of the heart is allowing the sword of the Word to cut out all the things that displease the Lord from our lives. Circumcision of the spirit is listening to the move of the Holy Spirit to die to those things that displease the Lord and live to those that please Him. It is not done under anaesthesia and hence, the process of discipling in this manner means that we need to go through a time of pain. Such pain is often a great educator of our souls and spirits. We do not undergo it under compulsion that we go through it crying and squealing but we submit to the disciplining willingly. Prateep V Philip