Tuesday, April 30, 2013


UV 739/10,000 Rootedness “Rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2 v 7 People today are more interested in their dental health rather than their mental and spiritual health. A believer in Christ is rooted in Him as our teeth are rooted or fixed in the gums. We need to stick to Him as the gums stick to the teeth. As the teeth grow and become mature and strong, supplied by the blood and nutrition from the root, we should be strengthened in faith by reading, studying, memorizing, meditating and applying the Word of God in our lives. Just as our teeth bite into a variety of food substances from soft to very hard, we go through different experiences in our lives. The teeth play no role when we are drinking milk or liquids. Similarly, if we are always reading diluted stuff or only try to digest whatever we can easily understand, our teeth are not involved and with disuse and lack of exercise, they become weak and ineffective. We need to get our teeth into solid food, solid teachings that will strengthen our inner core. We must chew upon the wisdom the Word gives us in this world. We need to reflect on the text of God’s Word in the context of the world. Just as we have a variety of teeth, the Lord has given us a variety of intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional skills to give us victory in our varied life challenges. As we emerge victorious in each situation, we must use our tongues as a trumpet to proclaim God’s glory, power, grace and mercy. Our thought and speech patterns must reflect our gratitude or thankfulness. We should not gnash our teeth and complain about our lot. When we do so, we will tend to bite ourselves and cause a lot of unnecessary pain. Thankfulness is not just a flow but an overflow from the various events and experiences of God’s love, mercy and grace in our lives. Psychologists and human resource trainers describe life as flight and flow sequences but the Word describes life as an overflow. Thankfulness is an overflow from the cascade of faith. Just as the teeth guard our soft and vulnerable tongues and mouths like a solid wall, the Lord will surround us with an amazing but unseen wall of protection. Last evening, the Lord revealed “ I have kept each of you under my glorious rainbow. Yes, you go through a flood of troubles but the rainbow is a sure sign of my love-covenant, my banner of love and victory in your lives.” Just as we floss and brush our teeth regularly and with great care, we need to regularly remind ourselves of all that the Lord has taught us over the years. We need to have a daily and regular brush with Him. We need to keep our lives clean, pure and white even as we take care of our dental hygiene. Our negative attitudes, emotions, arguments, conflicts, gossip and back-biting are all like a lot of bad breath that affects our rootedness and our fruitfulness. To avoid bad breath and bad blood,remember and practice the key words and precepts in this uni-verse: rooted, built up, strengthened, taught, thankfulness.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Final Lesson

UV 738/10,000 Our Final Lesson “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 Jonah was disappointed that the people of the city of Nineveh repented and staved off destruction. He was also sorely disappointed to the point of wanting to die when the Lord sent a worm that chewed the gourd plant whose large leaves provided Jonah a shade from the heat. It is written that “Jonah was very happy about the vine”. But when the vine was destroyed overnight, Jonah was angry enough to die. It was time for Jonah’s final lesson. This uni-verse was revealed when a certain person known to me suffered severe financial loss. He wanted to die. At that time, the Lord revealed through this incident of the gourd plant that he was unjustifiably concerned about the wealth and property that he had lost to the point of wishing to die. It is not our diligence or intelligence or care that makes our resources grow. They are gifted to us by the Lord just as He made the plant grow over Jonah’s head. It is the shadow of the Almighty upon us. When our health or strength or influence or resources diminish, instead of being angry with God or disappointed, we should willingly submit to the will of God. Sometimes, God removes some of the things that give us shade or comfort as we take shelter under these instead of taking comfort in the presence of God and taking shelter under His shadow. Jonah gave priority to his reputation as a prophet and was concerned that it would suffer if what he prophesied about Nineveh would not happen once the people repented as the Lord in His compassion would relent and turn away the coming disaster. He also gave priority to his creature comfort and when the gourd plant that gave him some comfort withered, he desired to die. He empathised with the plant but did not empathise with the people of Nineveh. Often, we set our love upon things of the world and when these are taken away, our will to live itself is weakened. It is God’s sovereign will that we need to always acknowledge and respect. It implies that what He has given He has the right to take away. What He has caused to grow, He has the power to destroy or remove. He has the right and power to show compassion on whom He desires to show compassion. He has the right to show mercy to whom He desires to show mercy. It is not for us to question either His wisdom or His will in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Eternal Rock Star

UV737/10,000 The Rock Star “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.” Isaiah 51 v 1 We need to spend time listening to the Lord every day. These are times we do not pray or read the Word but we remain still and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. When we spend all our time chattering, we will miss sensing the presence of God and we will miss hearing what He speaks to us. Silence is certainly a spiritual discipline that shows we are comfortable just listening to the Lord. We need to listen to hear a word from God- a word telling us what He thinks of us, what direction He wants us to take and what He wants us to do. When we spend time at the feet of Jesus listening to Him as the disciples and the crowds in Jerusalem did, we would be greatly blessed. We will receive grace or strength to pursue righteousness. Pursuit of righteousness implies fleeing from wickedness and evil that is so rampant in the world. The Lord desires that our mouths, eyes and ears are pure. The pursuit of righteousness does not only mean we keep these amazing receptor and transmitter organs pure but we also need to make it available to God to use for His work and glory. Jesus is the Rock cut from Zion not by human hands but by the Lord God Himself. We in turn are cut from this Rock of faith. We are hewn from His quarry. We need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and look to Jesus for help. Our help does not come from the mountains or high points or strongholds of human influence, wealth or power but our help comes from Jesus. He is the rock foundation on which we build the superstructure of our lives. When the storms and tempests of life strike the rock, we are not shaken or moved. We are moved only when we look and listen to the Lord. The cut of a diamond displays its intrinsic character or worth. Similarly, our life experiences will display our intrinsic character and worth to the people around. Just as a cut causes pain, our experiences will often cause immediate pain but ultimate gain. Our faith combined with our experiences and fruits of our character ensure that our lives are not lived in vain, that we do not remain misshapen rocks that lie idle in a quarry, of no use to those who look upon it, inspiring neither hope nor compassion. Our lives are not “all sound and fury, signifying nothing” as we are looking to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. Like a master sculptor, He begins the design of faith in our lives. He carves out niche by niche the intricate edges and finishes us as a sculptor would finish a masterpiece. But, since we are living stones and not passive objects, by our acts of active listening, empathic listening, appreciative listening, worshipful listening, grateful listening and by our focus and persistent looking to Jesus for guidance, for protection, for promotion, for provision and for leadership, we speed up the process of evolving our final shape and design. Some of the young people who have heard me or read of my work, send in feedback in their usual style, “ You rock!” but seldom do they realize what makes me rock is the Rock of ages- Jesus the Eternal Rock Star. Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 26, 2013

Do the Just

UV 736/10,000 Do the Just “He has showed you, O man , what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6 v 8 This uni-verse addresses the perennial question that faces every human being-“what does God require of man? “ or to put it in a more personal frame: “ What does God require of me?” The Lord has revealed to us the truth through the intimations of our conscience and minds as well as through the instructions written in His Word handed over through the ages by faithful men. He has revealed the truth of His nature to us in His dealings with the men of faith and with Israel. So much so, for every situation in our lives today there is a similar predicament or precedent in the Word. He has revealed finally and more fully what is good through the person, mission and teachings of Jesus Christ. We need to imitate Christ in acting justly all through our days. The Nike advertisement tagline reads: “ Just do it.” But, the Word says, “ Don’t just do it, but do the just.” In every aspect of life, we should aim and desire strongly to do the just or to do the right thing in the eye of the Lord. To act justly means to align our thoughts, emotions, motives, words, actions and reactions in accordance with the Word of God. Our thoughts need to be positive, our emotions, joyful, our motives, noble and godly, our words, wholesome and helpful, our actions, God-dependent and our reactions, not vengeful but forgiving. We being sinful by nature will fail in many of these areas often but that is when we need to love and avail the mercy of God. God will fill the gap. Loving the mercy of God implies that we do not take His compassion and forgiveness for granted but act with true repentance once we fail and confess our failings. We need to avail His grace to overcome the weaknesses of our flesh nature. To walk humbly with our God implies to have a deep, intimate and personal relationship with God through Christ Jesus. It implies that we gather our strength and wisdom for every step we take, every day from the Lord. It implies that we do not depend on our own understanding but that we lean on Him for direction and guidance all the way. We need to walk in obedience to His Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Humility means that we never become self righteous but are always conscious that we can fall any time and should we fall, the Lord will lift us up and set us on our feet again. Humility means that we always carry a spirit of gratitude to the Lord and to be imbued with a spirit of awe and reverence at His complete knowledge and absolute power. Prateep V Philip

Publishers of Peace

735/10,000 Publishers of Peace “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” Nahum 1 v 15 Journalists are trained to identify what is news and what does not make news in these words, “ When a dog bites a man, it is not news. But when a man bites a dog, it is news.” The focus naturally of modern media and news is the sensational, the violent, the unnatural or generally, what ever is negative. As believers, we are called to be publishers of good news. Every story in our lives will have a happy ending. The shepherds who tended their sheep on the hilly pastures of Jerusalem were the first to be publishers of good news: The angelic herald announced the purpose of the Christ child as “ Glory to God and peace on Earth and goodwill among all mankind.” Our lives should be marked by the vertical dimension of bringing praise and glory to God and the horizontal dimension of bringing peace and goodwill among men. If both these dimensions are fulfilled, then we are leading testimonial lives or lives that have a message that goes beyond mundane concerns of life. Our feet are the humblest and lowest parts of our bodies but the Lord declares even the feet of those who are His messengers to be beautiful. He will keep an eye on every step we take and keep even our toes from dashing against a stone. The bigger the problem we confront, the greater the revelation of God’s power in that situation. The greater will be the impact of our testimonies. The Lord declares in His Word that even the mighty mountains, metaphors for the challenges we find insurmountable in everyday life, will be crushed under our feet once we are empowered with His message. We are expected to be problem solvers and not those who exacerbate tension and conflict. We are peace makers who try to reconcile all who come in contact with us with the Lord God. The Lord once affirmed that “ you are my newspaper.” People who read the news that we publish will be filled with hope and joy in contrast with the modern newspapers of which even a glance would induce pessimism and depression. The unrepentant and those who persist in their wickedness will be cut off sooner or later. As for us, we should honour the Lord with praise and worship, with participation in the Lord’s table and in keeping the promises we have made to Him. The choice between the divine and the mundane is the dilemma facing every human being. The divine has its full and final manifestation in the gospel. When we deliberately, consciously, willingly and cheerfully chose the divine over the mundane, we lead fulfilled lives from the perspective of God as well as from our own. Even the places where our feet trod on becomes blessed. The presence of God accompanies us everywhere as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Unlike the short-lived news we read in the newspapers, the message of peace and goodwill we carry from God to all mankind will never outlive its utility or its universal relevance. It will speak to people in the context of the mountains they confront in their lives. We will speak to them as people who have already surmounted the mountains of life and death. It will influence both the messenger and the audience. It is spoken as well as non verbal. It is communicated with gentleness and love. I once wrote these lines, “ Gospel, go spell it out, In the way you live, Don’t talk of hell, No need to yell.” Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Awake, Dream and Do

UV 634-10,000 Awake, Dream and Do. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee Isaiah 60 v 1 Like we wake up every day with the sunrise that brings the daylight back into our lives, we need to awaken to the Lord. Joy should rise in us and peace should dwell in us as we absorb the Word afresh. The Word is the lamp that will light up the paths we should take. The word “ arise” implies that we should use all that is within us for the extension of the Kingdom of God and for the glory of God as long as there is breath in our nostrils. When the sun rises, the birds sing and chirp. The birds are in fact rejoicing that the night has ended and it is day once more. They are telling each other, “ Let us fly and with every flap of our wings, let us acknowledge, thank and praise the One who made it possible to fly. There are no obstacles in the sky to stop us. We can fly unfettered and untethered.” We too need to have flights of imagination combined with knowledge and faith, where we see ourselves unfettered by the world and untethered by ties to the Earth. We should let our spirits soar high to enter the very courts of God to acknowledge, thank and praise Him. We should thank Him for ending many types of ‘nights’ in our lives. We praise Him for the dawn of hope and love in our lives. After the sun has risen and the light has come, it is our turn to shine like the sun bringing truth, hope and compassion into the lives of people around us. We now have full access to the power, grace, mercy and enablement of the Lord. We can rise to the limits of our potential with the wings of prayer and the Word. The higher and better we fly, the more the Lord is glorified. Everything we do passes through five stages of envisioning and doing: pre-cognition –the stage when we visualise, dream and set specific goals; metacognition-where we pray and ask the Lord to bless our desires, goals and plans; cognition where we think and work to achieve the goals; re-cognition where we evaluate and revise our goals in the light of experience of success or failure. The final phase is recognition or realization. The five stages are : dream and do, pray and do, think and do, revise or review and do and finally it is done. The exhortation “ arise and shine” implies that we go through each of these stages with complete and increasing faith and passion. Many people fail at one or the other stage as they do not whole-heartedly and consistently or persistently dream, pray, think, do and re-do. Often these stages of preparation run concurrently. It will lead to “ recognition” of the glory of God in us, on us and around us. Some people fail at the fifth and final stage when they attribute their success to their own efforts and do not give God the glory. Prateep V Philip

Trial by Fire

UV 733/10,000 The Trial of Faith “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1 v 7 Just as gold and silver are refined and tested in the fire, trials have two functions with regard to our faith: the first, to refine it and purify it of the dross or impurities and the second, to test the purity of our faith. We have to be purified in terms of the flaws of our character, the innate tendencies in each one of us to yield to different types of temptations. The motives behind each thought and action that we undertake in faith need to be clarified. Gold and silver have only temporal value. But, our faith is of eternal value. It is written that there can be no triumph without a trial and no testimony without a test. We are tried by the ordeal of fire or by our suffering in this lifetime. We are tested to see how much we can endure without losing on our faith. Do we give praise, honour and glory to Jesus Christ only when things are hunky-dory or when the scenario looks depressing and dismal? Daniel and his friends trusted God to deliver them out of the fiery furnace and from the lions’ mouths. When they were delivered, it brought praise, honour and glory to God for the very king who had sentenced them to such trials recognized that the hand of the one true and mighty God had delivered them from a fiery and gruesome death. King Nebuchadnezar himself worshipped God and issued an edict directing all his subjects to honour the God of Daniel and his friends. When our character and lives are so purified, people can see the image of God in our faces, in our words and in our actions. Our faith when it is tested in this manner becames reinforced and enables us to encourage many others who face similar or worse trials in their lives. When my testimony was read and judged by Jack Canfield of “ Chicken Soup for the Soul” fame, he gave it 100 per cent and top prize in a national contest saying that it was so complete that he could not take or add a single word. We cannot experiment with the truth since Truth is much larger than any of us. We can only experience the truth. When we experience suffering, it builds our inner strength and moral stamina, our character and patience, a sense of empathy and compassion, a certain confidence and hope that God will enable us to withstand and overcome any trial that the Lord takes us through. Once the Lord affirmed, “ Your faith is not like gold and silver but it is like platinum that is dull to look at but is, in fact, even more precious than gold and silver.” Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Race of Grace

UV 732/10,000 The Race of Grace “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” I Corinthians 9 v 24 We have opted out of the ‘rat race’ that produces ruthless competition to get ahead of others. We have been chosen by grace. We should run with the knowledge that we are now involved in a ‘race of grace.’ Though in a race, only one gets the top prize, in the race of faith or the race of grace, each one according to the way he runs will get the crown of eternal life that awaits him or her at life’s finishing line. Life is not a hundred meters sprint- a test of speed. It is rather a marathon- a test of patience and endurance. We need to run with the baton of faith in our hand, ready to hand it over to the next generation. In the race of grace, God desires to declare each one of His faithful - a winner. But, we need to run in a particular mode. We need to run, not heaving, panting and complaining of how long and gruelling the race is proving to be but thanking God at every step. We need to renew our strength regularly by dipping into the glucose or energy the Lord provides in His Word. We need to run with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who is waiting with the eternal crown to be given to us. His radiant, smiling, glorious face should always be in our minds as we run. To meet with our needs on the route, we should use our reserves of faith. Faith is the only currency we carry on us, the Euro that we can use to purchase all that we need on our journey on Earth all the way to Heaven. We should run with focus on finishing well lest we get distracted on the way and fall by the way-side. Indeed, there are many people and many things waiting on the sides, urging us to give up, saying, “ It is not worth the effort.” But, Jesus the best life coach and mentor one can ever get has already taught us all the lessons we need that we are not discouraged. We run with an aim to please Him. An Olympic runner trains for a decade or more to win a gold medal that will lose its lustre in a short while, for a moment’s glory but we run for a crown of life that will last forever. This thought should motivate us to always strive to do our very best. Besides, just as a support team with all necessary food and medicine accompany a champion runner all along the route of the run, the Lord sends His support team of fellow believers, teachers and trainers as well as a host of angels to go ahead of us to clear the obstacles, to accompany and encourage us, to follow and escort us. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding Rest in our Battles

UV 731/10,000 Finding Rest in Our Battles With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32 v 8 The powerful king of Assyria had besieged the kingdom of Judah. Hezekiah bolstered the faith of the people by saying that the king of Assyria relied only upon his own power but that they relied upon the Lord God. Scripture says that the one who depends upon man’s strength and his own power is cursed or doomed to failure. No wonder Napoleon wrote at the end of his life: “ Alexander, Charlemagne and I, myself have founded great empires upon our genius. Upon what were our empires founded? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love and to this day, thousands are prepared to die for Him.” These words agree with the Word of God that declares us who believe and trust God as “ more than conquerors.” Hezekiah and his people rested on the love of God, the knowledge of His Word and were fearless as they faced the enemy forces. Hezekiah and the people of Judah affirmed their faith that the Lord God would help them and fight their battles. As a result, the people put their fears to rest upon the faith confession of Hezekiah. The Lord God promises to help us and to fight our battles. Often, even without our knowledge, He is fighting our battles for us. We have battle lines drawn up at different fronts: personal, professional, familial, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The Lord helps us fight all these battles and enables us to wrest victory. We depend not on mortal flesh but on the Spirit of God. We depend not on the steel of a sword or a weapon but upon the sharp edge of the Word that cuts to the innermost point of a man’s heart. We base our strength not on horses and chariots as the kings of yore did, but upon the chariots of fire that the Lord has promised to send to our aid. Often, these might be invisible to our own eyes but our enemies will be able to perceive it. Every battle we face is an opportunity to turn to the Lord to pray and to seek help. It eventually turns into an occasion to praise and worship Him with all sincerity and complete dependence on Him. It makes our testimony more interesting as we have a story to leave behind. The arm of God is never too short to do that which He has promised. The army of God is never short of forces. Our inner faith and our faith confession along with prayer, praise and worship sets in motion the legions of Heaven on our behalf as Pharaoh discovered to his chagrin when his army that pursued the seemingly hapless Israelites was drowned, both horses and men. The opposition against us will be dispersed as they plan to attack us or drowned while in hot pursuit. We need to rest upon the Word of God. To rest implies that we should relax, depend, enjoy and to be assured of victory. Prateep V Philip

Victory in Existential Struggles

UV730/10,000 Victory in Existential Struggles “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6 v 12 Life admittedly is a struggle. It is not just a physical struggle for existence. Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord and did not let go till the latter blessed him. But, we as a species struggle against the entire hierarchy of spiritual forces of evil that are bent on keeping us from fulfilling the Will of God or fulfilling our purpose or potential. As one believer explained to me many years ago, “ The physical world is not the real world. What we see around us are the props. The real world is the spiritual world. The physical world is just a shadow or reflection of the spiritual world. Things first happen in the spiritual world and then it is manifested or reflected in the physical world.” When we engage in prayer, we wrestle with the spiritual forces. Our prayer backed by the power of faith releases the power of God against the spiritual forces of darkness that operate in the heavenly realms. By faith in the Word, and in the shed blood of Jesus, we can claim immediate victory, continuing victory and ultimate victory over the forces of darkness. Before we take a stand against the devil’s wily schemes of deceit and violence, we need to strengthen ourselves with the might and power of the Lord. We need to wear a spiritual helmet of being fully convinced in our minds that we are saved by the power of the gospel. This will protect our thoughts from being assailed by both doubts and fears. We need to tighten our hold on the truths taught to us from the Word and the Word’s hold on us just as a belt is adjusted and buckled around our waists. This will keep us from having our testimonies or our characters tarnished. The breastplate of righteousness refers to a life of integrity and uprightness as far as it depends on us. In addition, we need to use faith as a shield to put out the burning arrows the enemy fires at us. These are all defensive measures but to pray in the spirit using the Word is the offensive sword of the Spirit. A willingness and readiness to share the gospel with others takes us places like our shoes. Just as we have a variety of footwear or shoes like running shoes, walking shoes and boots, we must use a variety of styles and methods to share the gospel according to the context and the audience. There should be no chinks or gaping holes in our spiritual armour. Knowledge is the leader’s edge. Knowledge of the Word is the spiritual leader’s edge. That edge should always be sharpened and honed. By faith we call into being that which is not as if it already existed. Even if the situation looks adverse, we can call into being victory. The different elements or parts of our spiritual armour protects different aspects of our life as we walk in faith. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Grace and Glory, Faith and Faithfulness

UV 729/10,000 Grace and Glory, Faith and Faithfulness 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 Psalm 84 v 11 On the one hand, the Lord penetrates all aspects of our lives and on the other, He makes it impenetrable for our adversaries. The Lord gives us warmth and light even as the sun provides heat and light in our lives. Unlike the sun whose light cannot penetrate beyond our skin, the light of the truth of God penetrates the darkest cavity of our hearts. Just as a ray of sunlight illuminates the dust particles in the air, the truth of God’s Word illuminates the dust and contamination that has affected our lives. Just as the sunlight strengthens our bones by stimulating the production of Vitamin D, the light of the Lord will strengthen the frame of our lives within which we live and move and act. Just as the quantum of light from the sun striking us and our surroundings, we cannot contain or limit or measure the quantum of grace and glory that He pours into our lives. Just as the sun lights up every single thing in its path with its radiance, the Lord lights us such that our character and conduct is gracious and our lives are glorious. Many people wear sunglasses that do not enable them to perceive or experience the grace and glory of God. The Lord is also our shelter, our hiding place, our refuge, our cover, our shield. He shields us from spiritual as well as physical attacks on our well being. He shields us from the assault of powerful enemies. Those who attack us in one direction will have to flee in seven. Many of the attacks on us might come from an unknown quarter like the two Chechneyan brothers who held Boston to ransom. But, the Lord will place His strong impenetrable fencing around us. He is like the center or locus of the circle of our lives. He is also the circumference. His favour encircles us. His grace enables us from within. His glory surrounds us. This uni-verse ends in a beautiful promise that the Lord will withhold no good thing that we need provided we walk uprightly. Walking uprightly implies walking in the fear of God and living according to our faith in the Word. We need not feel guilty when we enjoy a particular good thing. We should welcome it as a blessing that the Lord has bestowed on us in His grace and glory. Just as a father will give his child what is within his means, the Lord whose resources are unlimited will give us in abundance every good thing that we need. The only condition is that He should be convinced of our focus and our faith. Each promise of God is the seed of a good thing that He has reserved for us from the beginning of eternity and forever. There is no expiry date on the promises of God. Each precept of God is a guideline to live an upright life. The Lord has set up things or circumstances for our success and fulfilment but the choices we make affect the end result. He reserves for us all that we deserve on account of our faith and our faithfulness. The difference between faith and faithfulness is that faith describes our belief. Faithfulness describes whether we are living in accordance or alignment with our faith. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Science versus Signs, Blunders versus Wonders

Science Versus Signs, Blunders versus Wonders “ And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” Acts 2 v 43 The recent events in the USA (the blasts in Boston and in Texas) have brought fear upon every soul. Neither the people in government, or in the police are able to tell at this point in time what or who are behind these tragic happenings. There is a complete lull since the blast in the fertilizer plant in West, Texas- people are yet to make sense of what has happened. In North Korea, a young dictator is holding out a threat of launching a nuclear war and going through the motions. In Bangalore, my hometown there was a blast in a busy area. More than the violence, it is the irrationality that makes people everywhere insecure. Whole nations are beginning to feel the full weight of the justice of God as we abandon Him and put our full trust in science, technology, human wisdom and systems. Today, mankind has a choice of science and blunders or signs and wonders. People in all nations have been trying to interpret the world in terms of what science has taught us. People have lost and are losing the fear of God. The fear of God keeps a person secure. It makes him or her realize that regardless of what is happening around God is in control. Science is but the product of man’s ability to think and our thinking has its limitations. But, there are no such limitations to the power of God. Science and technology places powerful means of destruction like guns and bombs in the hands of wicked and evil forces. In this sense, it leads up to blunders as we have seen so often in history and in the recent past. It does not mean that we abandon reason and rationality but we believe our natural abilities only up to a point. Beyond that and even in the exercise of our natural abilities, we must invite the Lord at all times to reveal both His will and His power and grace. Signs and wonders are evidence of God showing up in troubled times to comfort and encourage His people when the world around that believes in science, reason and experience are bewildered. But hope is not lost. In the early church when believers were hunted down, tortured and torn limb from limb by beasts, signs and wonders were done by the apostles. When people are discouraged, we can ask for a sign from the Lord. Gideon asked for a physical sign and the Lord revealed it more than once. When I asked for a sign at a time of discouragement, the Lord revealed His presence and His power through a miraculous inverted rainbow that I had photographed with a cell phone camera. When events happen that are beyond human ability to predict, understand or prevent, it is itself a sign to return to the stronghold of Zion as prisoners of hope. We are prisoners freed from captive systems of “science and blunders” in order to trust in signs and wonders done by the hand of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Problems Versus Promises

UV 727/10,000 Victors versus Victims, Problems versus Promises “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfil the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 9 v 5 The Israelites were not any more righteous than the Canaanites. They did not deserve the land or the blessings of God. But, the Canaanites were displaced and replaced on account of the solemn promise God made to the first three generations of Israel , to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He promised to give them this land as an everlasting possession. Their faith distinguished them from the other inhabitants of the land. There are two kinds of people in all nations – people of faith and people of fate. A consistent and growing faith in God is the one habit that will transform the lives of human beings, given the fact that in the eyes of the Lord none of us is better than anyone else. The promised land is a tangible symbol of the promises of the spiritual realm or Kingdom of God that He has sworn to give us in Christ. The rule of the prince of darkness over our lives and hearts and spirits is replaced by the rule of the prince of light. We are not saved because of our righteousness or because of the integrity of our hearts but by the washing of the regeneration of the blood of Christ, the one anointed to save and to confirm the promises given to our fathers by faith, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are saved by the renewing by the Holy Spirit who was given as a seal of the covenant that God made with those three. We have entered not a promised land but a land of promises. We and our descendants have become possessors and inheritors of the promises of God. The promises of God pre-existed our problems. But, in our lives, the problems come first and then we look for the promises to resolve the problems. Resolution does not mean the problem will be solved in toto. It could mean that we will gain an understanding of why God allowed it in our lives. Problems in our lives are opportunities or gateways into the land of promises. Without a problem, how can we test if the promise of God is true. For every problem in our lives, there is a promise of God that is a solution. A problem is a question that arises in our lives. The promise is the answer of peace given by the Lord. It is said that an apt answer to a question is like a kiss given on the lips. In other words, it is a perfect match. Therefore, praise God for His matching promises but thank God for the difficult problems. Without these problems, mankind would not even think of God on account of our inherent wickedness. Face to face with these challenges, the people of fate will say, “ This is fated to happen. Let me face it. What else can I do?” They answer the problem with yet another doubtful question. Their faith is further weakened. They become victims like the Canaanites. Face to face with these difficulties, the people of faith will say, “ God has allowed this to happen. Let me get face to face with God and ask Him for an answer- a promise from His Word.” They become victors like the Israelites. Their faith and relationship with the Lord is further strengthened. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Water of Life

UV 726/10,000 The Water of Life And the Spirit and the bride say, “ Come! And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let those who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22 v 17 The Holy Spirit and the bride of Christ, or the Church encourage people to come and drink from the Word. The Word is equated with the water of life. Like water it is freely available. Like water, it cleanses the person who bathes or washes with it. Like water, it quenches the thirst of people or satisfies the existential longings of people for meaning, fulfilment of purpose, for control,for guidance, for resolution and for significance. Thirst is a more fundamental or pressing need than even hunger. Physical thirst produces a stomach-wrenching pain while spiritual thirst produces a soul-wrenching pain. The Word satisfies in full the most fundamental need of our lives. Like water, the Word is transparent- we can look at different aspects of life as if we are looking through a lens and we can gain a different and eternal perspective. Unlike water that will quench our thirst only for a little while, when we drink of the Word, it will be like a spring in us that will never dry up. Unlike water that will put out or extinguish a fire, the Word will light a fire in us and distinguish us from the rest of humanity who are tormented as they walk in the light of the torches that they themselves have lit for a time. This uni-verse is reminiscent of the incident in which Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well, “ Come to me and I will give you the water of life that will never make you thirst again.” In speaking these words, Jesus was turning her spiritual eyes to see that though she had an immoral past, she could have eternal life by believing the words of Jesus and following Him. Society had condemned her as incorrigible and irredeemable but Jesus revived her soul’s longing for truth and righteousness. Her thirst for acceptance was fulfilled. Jesus did not gloss over her past but bringing it to the foreground, led her into repentance and conviction. She heard the Word and was satisfied that the Word is truth. She became one of the first evangelists of the good news, to tell still others, “ Come and drink of this fountain!” The Word once we drink of it, becomes a well of well being within us to bring healing, hope, love and salvation to others. It become the source of rivers of peace-giving or life-giving water inside us and of waves of mercy and grace that never cease. Four actions are necessary for our thirst to be satisfied: one, we should go to the Lord willingly in response to his invitation to all mankind, “ Come!” Two, we must recognize our thirst for the eternal truth and eternal life. Three, we must desire to satisfy our thirst, and not deny that we are thirsty. Four, we must take the Word and drink of it freely or liberally or frequently. We must plant the text in our context. Water, gentle as it is, has the power over time to bore holes through rock. If there is a mountain of a problem in our path, the Word will become a hammer to make a level path for our feet. The water of life is a living water in us-hence, it will not remain still or inert for the Spirit of God will stir our emotions, our imagination, our intellect, our spirits and our wills with it. Just as water finds its own level, similarly, the Word will find its own level in our lives. Just as the ground virtually everywhere has an underground stream or river or reservoir, similarly we should always store below the surface of our hearts and minds, sufficient Water of life to refresh and nourish us in times of drought and dryness. Prateep V Philip

Monday, April 15, 2013

Processing Time

UV 725/10,000 Processing Time “Then the Lord appointed a set time, saying, “ Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in this land.” Exodus 9 v 5.. What the Lord has promised He will do. It may not happen at the time we expect. For the Lord has appointed a set time for the fulfillment of His Word. When we receive an appointment order for a job, it states the date we can report for the new job. Similarly, God has issued orders for specific blessings to appear or manifest in our lives. These are the “kairos” moments of life, the times when God’s perfect will, His timing and our faithful response coincide or synchronize in time and space. It is opposed to the “chronos” or time of man that is empty and vain where God’s will and Word does not prevail, where we do not respond with faith and obedience. We must be prepared to wait for the fullness of time or the fulfillment of His Word. Abraham waited for the fulfillment of the promise of God to him that he and Sarah would have a son at the time set by God. Sarah became impatient or lost sight of the promise of God and persuaded Abraham to sire a child through her slave Hagar. Later on after Ishmael was born, her jealousy was aroused and she regretted her action. If we try to overtake God, we too would later regret our haste. The word , “ tomorrow” in this uni-verse implies in the future at the set time. In the parable of the ten virgins, five waited with expectancy and complete preparedness to receive the bridegroom, while five were unprepared and caught by surprise when the Bridegroom came just past midnight. Midnight signifies the completion of one cycle of time in our lives. Our perspective every day must be that the Lord will do that which He promised and that which we expect tomorrow or just past midnight. Why did God wait till Abraham was a hundred years before He blessed them with a child? Why did Jesus wait for three days before raising Lazarus? Why did God wait for three days before making the whale eject Jonah from its stomach? Why did God wait for three days before resurrecting Jesus? Why did the resurrected Jesus minister for 40 days on earth before ascending to Heaven? God does not follow our time table or calendar. In the case of Sarah and Abraham, He waited till such a time that it would be impossible for them to naturally conceive a child. Jesus came in a leisurely way to Bethany even after hearing about the death of Lazarus as it was necessary to establish that the man was completely dead and rotting by the time He decided to raise him back to life. Mary, the sister of the dead Lazarus was visibly unhappy that the Lord Jesus was late. Jesus proved once again that it is never too late. Similarly, Jesus remained in the grave for three days to show that He was truly and completely dead. In our lives too, the Lord has set a precise time for certain milestones and landmark events. Waiting periods are ordained by the Lord not to test our patience but to prove and strengthen our faith and to manifest His power and saving grace in impossible and improbable circumstances. The promises of God is like a seed that takes time to grow. Some will grow overnight like the gourd plant that gave a shade to Jonah. Some like the cedar tree would take a long while to grow. It is part of the sovereignty of God that He decides the time for different happenings. Even Jesus waited for the hour that was appointed for His death and resurrection. On earlier occasions when people tried to take hold of Him, He eluded being apprehended. Jesus waited in a leisurely manner for three days before he reached Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead. God waited for three days before He raised Jesus from the dead. The book of Ecclesiastes talks about the times God has set to be born and to die, to sow and to reap, to build and to destroy, to rejoice and to mourn, to gather and to scatter, to gain and to loose, to speak and to remain silent, to love and to hate, to wage war and to make peace. Each of these contrasting processes has a certain long or short cycle of time as the Lord decides the processing time. Our attitude must be one of hope, acceptance, gratitude and peace as we wait for we know for sure that God is never late or early, the time He chooses is the best time. In the end, He will make our lives beautiful or rewarded like the five faithful virgins. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hearts and Minds' Strategy

UV 724/10,000 Hearts and Minds’ Strategy “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Hebrews 8 v 10 As the new covenant people, we are to weave our thoughts, knit our emotions, pin our hopes, build our dreams and base our decisions on the Word of God. As John Maxwell writes, “ what we delight in determines our desires.” When we delight in the Word, it will determine our desires. We take every thought captive to Christ by focussing on His Word. It is this captivity that sets us free from the bondage of sin in this world. The gospel is God’s heart and mind strategy to transform the character and the destiny of His people. Weaving and knitting involves an intricate pattern of putting things together. In weaving there is a movement of the loom that produce the warp and another movement that produces the weft. Similarly, our pattern of thought follows the warp and weft. If warp produces our positives or strengths, the weft produces our weaknesses or negatives. The integration of the Word in our thought, emotion, decision and action patterns leads to transformation of the patterns- the strengths get augmented and the weaknesses addressed, reduced or turned into strengths. Our minds and our hearts become magnets that attract the positive and repel the negatives. God’ s heart and mind strategy uses the Word to connect the minds and hearts of His people. My mentor used to say, “ There is a need to transfer the Word nine inches from the mind to the heart.” Many people take a whole lifetime to travel these nine inches. Mankind has spliced intelligence into multiple intelligences- intelligence quotient, emotional quotient and spiritual quotient. What man divides in his wisdom, God unites and integrates. He unites our hearts and minds. He dwells in our hearts by faith and operates in our lives by grace. He declares, “ I will be their God and they shall be my people.” St Paul was writing this uni-verse as a promise to the Jewish people to be fulfilled in the future. But, as far as we are concerned, the Lord has already fulfilled the promise for He is our God and we are His people. We have a sense of belonging to Him and He has a sense of belonging to us. As we meditate on His Word, it gets written or hard-wired into the neural circuitry of our brains. It affects our thoughts, imagination, emotions, actions and reactions. As we delight and enjoy living a life of obedience to His Word, it gets written into our hearts. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Being the Salt and Light

UV 723/10,000 Being the Salt and Light “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5 v 13 Jesus used the metaphor of salt and light to compare His followers to. We hold the light of His positivity in us. We hold out hope for people to overcome death and the fear of death that rules all mankind since Adam. We are not to restrain that light within us but give it out all the time in all possible ways. We are a city built on a hill. The rock mountain is Jesus and we are the city being built on that foundation. Like light we bring hidden truths of God and life so that they become visible and known to all. What we see is our vision. Being the light implies we hold on to our vision. The vision is to be the light. At the time Jesus used the metaphor of salt, people did not know the chemical structure of salt. Today, we know that two negatives or two poisons combine at the molecular level to form edible salt. Similarly, we must negate the negatives that are in us and in our environment, whether it is a product of pride or lust. We need to position ourselves as problem-solvers in this darkened world. By the force of our faith, prayer and the Spirit of God, we focus and destroy evil within and without. The solutions we find for the world’s problems are like the salt- they will add taste to life. Whatever salt is added to, becomes tasteful. Similarly, whatever we add our abilities and our efforts will become tasteful. They will preserve the character of generations of mankind. Like salt is added in appropriate quantities, we too need to add faith to our contexts in appropriate times and contexts lest it becomes too salty to be even tasted. Once the Lord revealed that “the structure of salt is crystalline and will not mix with the dust and dirt of the earth. “ Similarly, we too should not get our lives soiled by the dust and dirt of the earth and maintain our clean, crystalline character. What we do is our mission. The mission is to be the salt. Like light and salt, we will have a pervasive but invisible influence that permeates all spheres and domains of life. When the people of the city of Jericho told Elisha that the water of the spring that gave water to the city was bad and that made the land unproductive, the prophet asked for a bowl of salt. He went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, and confirmed that the Lord had healed the water and that it would not again cause death or make the land unproductive. The water has remained wholesome to this day. Similarly, today education, politics, society, economy, media and all sectors of life have become afflicted by bad water that makes it unproductive. The salt of faith in the Word of God needs to be added to cause healing forever and to make it productive and wholesome. This is our “ negative-negative” mission we are called to. Our daily walk should reflect these twin missions: to be the light and to be the salt to this world. Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Riddle of Life and Death, the Secret of Strength and Victory

UV 722/10,000 The riddle of Life and Death, the Secret of Strength and Victory So he said to them, “ Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” But they could not tell the riddle in three days. Judges 14 v 14 Samson’s riddle, though he intended it only to play a game with his in-laws, is the very riddle of life. Samson had framed the riddle on his seeing a beehive dripping with wild honey inside the carcass of a dead lion. Satan is described as the “roaring lion” even as Jesus is symbolised as the majestic lion. In order to overcome the wiles and accusations of the former, the wise lion had to embrace death. Out of the death of this lion-King, mankind was blessed with spiritual nourishment and hope. His death and resurrection is the single biggest riddle or enigma of history- how can God die for the sins of mankind who were after all His creatures? Even His disciples who had lived with Him for more than three years, puzzled over the manner and purpose of His death. For three days, people puzzled over the meaning of this riddle and then it was solved for all time. His death and resurrection brought sweetness or the honey of God’s promises into our lives. Through death, He destroyed him that had the power of death and delivered us from the fear of death. Another meaning of this uni-verse is that it explains the purpose of our troubles and travails in life. All of us right through life puzzle over why a certain event happened or why we went through a particular rough time. Satan is a killer, robber and thief. He intends to kill our souls, rob our peace and steal our blessings. He is the evil or wicked lion. Jesus by His death and resurrection is one step closer to defeating and destroying the power of satan to kill and hurt us. Meanwhile, whatever satan does to hurt us, the Lord turns it into a source of strength,victory, hope and fulfilment. The dead lion is a symbol of our common defeated foe. The honey dripping from the beehive is a symbol of the flow of the Lord’s blessings in our lives. The bees remind us that though the sting or threat of eternal death that satan dangles over us is gone with the redeeming sacrifice of Christ but we can still be stung by the bees of misfortune, ill health, tensions and so on. Recently, the Lord revealed, “ I am amazed at this interpretation. Yes, I am truly the honeycomb. If you hug me, and shake me, you will receive the honey.” Every uni-verse is a cell in that hive which is full of the rarest, sweetest honey. Of course, we need to take the normal precautions that one should take to collect honey from a hive. We need to cover ourselves with a spiritual body armour so that the bees do not sting. The stinging bees or troubles of our present lives are to humble us, prove us and to do us good at our latter end. The more terrible or severe the sting, the sweeter is the honey, the greater is the patience it builds, the strength to endure, the faith to bear. My encounters with death in the sea and in an assassination of a national leader were intended to strengthen me and to bring the honeyed promises of God into the lives of many in many nations. As I was recovering, the senior officers were wondering whether given my injuries and trauma, I would be strong enough mentally, emotionally and physically to take charge of a district. I told them my faith had been only reinforced a million times. Referring to the hundred steel pellets embedded in my body, I joked that I was actually “steel-reinforced” though the metal detectors could not detect it. I used to pray that the Lord through that experience gives me the spiritual equivalent of the strength and power of Samson without, of course adding his weaknesses. At the end of breakfast every day, I take a spoon of honey symbolically to reflect that I am eating or drinking the sweet nourishing, health-producing promises of God. It will give me strength for the day. Indeed, “out of the eater comes forth something to eat. Out of the killer comes forth something sweet. “ Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Jumping Pots

UV 721/10,000 The Jumping Pots “ O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter? “ said the Lord. “ Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” Jeremiah 18 v 6 Often we live as if God is the clay and that we are the potter. We want to shape God after our desires, imagination and intentions. But, the Lord says very clearly that He is the potter not just of individuals like us but of whole nations. He shapes the purpose and destiny of whole nations. He shapes our character. Sometimes, we submit to the fact that He is the potter and that we are the clay but while we are on the wheel being shaped, we will suddenly decide that it is enough and we try to get off the wheel. Imagine a giant wheel and billions of us on the wheel and the Lord patiently shaping us with the palm of His hands, all of us struggling to jump off the wheel every now and then. The problem is that these pots talk back, jump, squeal and complain all the time. When we believe and trust that the Potter has a better idea of what we should look like and do, we will sit on the wheel, quiet, yielded and contented in feeling the loving master strokes of the Creator. The whole universe is a gigantic potter's wheel spinning all the time and each of us and all of us are like pots that are being shaped by the Creator-Redeemer to His taste and to fulfill His purpose for our lives. Further, there are wheels within the wheel- with each turn of the potter's wheel some aspect of our lives gets moulded and shaped by the touch of the palm of the Potter. We should gently yield to the Potter instead of trying to jump off the wheel as we so often do. This uni-verse teaches us that we need to stick on the wheel or be faithful. We need to be flexible like molten clay. We need to be teachable and keep learning to walk in the ways of God according to the Word of God. We should not harden our hearts and minds like ancient Israel. Israel wanted a Messiah after their own imagination not the One whom God sent who would not break a reed but took the blows, insults, torture and death upon Himself. We should belong not to a rebellious house that follows the rules and traditions of sinful man but ignores the spiritual laws and sovereign will of the holy, just and loving God. We should not expect God to fall in line with our plans but instead align our plans and purpose with the revealed will of the Lord. At what stage, can we get off the potter’s wheel? As long as we are alive on Earth, we need to remain on the wheel and allow the Lord to mould, break, re-make and shape according to His plan and purpose. Every day He indicates through different ways the areas we need to change. We need to be sensitive to the move of His guiding hand that fashions us in His image or according to His imagination. Once we reach the desired shape and size, He blows on us the breath of His spirit, the Holy Spirit who keeps us in shape thereafter. As the pot is getting dried or as we mature, the Lord tests us for leakages by pouring His message into us. For the ultimate purpose of every pot, regardless of size, shape or beauty is to carry the Word. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who runs your Universe?

UV 720/10,000 Who runs the Middle? “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22 v 13 Most believers do acknowledge God as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End but they remain masters of what happens in the middle-with their own lives, time, talents and resources they do what they please. We acknowledge Him at the beginning and end of the week, the beginning and end of the day and at the beginning and end of our projects. The rest of the time we mind our own business. We sometimes resort to Him again when we are at our wit’s end and need Him as a crisis manager. God revealed Himself to Moses with the first two words of this uni-verse: “ I AM”. Anyone’s identity originates from Him. Anyone who uses the pronoun “I” is acknowledging that he or she begins and ends in Him. The word “ am” means that “I” exist on account of God, exist for Him, exist with Him. He is all who we need in this life for success, victory, joy, power, meaning, purpose and fulfilment. He is involved in our existential struggles. He advices us in our existential dilemmas. He is faithful to us from before we were knit together in our mothers’ wombs. But, soon after we are born, we somehow become wiser and we even question and doubt His very existence. He got His hands dirty putting man together for the first time. He would not mind doing it again and again. The very word “ WORD” has a story to tell. His Word of love created the WORLD. He is not a hands off Creator but a very “hands on” One. As the “ First”, He takes the front and gives us leadership. As the “Last”, He ensures no one is left behind, even the weakest or slowest. He provides the back up and the cover from behind. He is the center and focus of our own little uni-verse- the totality of our lives, our goals, our relationships, our work, our challenges, our successes and failures, our joys and sorrows.. God’s business of saving people is our business and our business is His business. This implies that we confess to Him our weaknesses. We cannot afford to hide anything from Him. We confide in Him our secrets. We consult Him from time to time. We borrow spiritual capital from Him that He invests in our lives. That spiritual capital may be a word of knowledge or wisdom, a word of encouragement or affirmation, a word of warning or rebuke. We rejoice with Him in every little triumph. We worship Him not just at the end of the week with praise and songs but with sighs, little gestures, little thoughts, emotions and actions right through our days and nights. Our only constraint is that we cannot see Him as we communicate. We cannot hear His reply most of the time we are talking with Him. But, we can see and read His visible Word and hear His voice through it. We do experience Him right through the day, right through the week and right through our lives. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Godly Correction

UV 719/10,000 Godly Correction “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.” Job 5 v 17 When God smiles at us, it is day. When He frowns, it is night. God led the ancient Israelites through the terrible desert as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. For us it means that the radiance of God’s face shining upon us is so blinding that He needs to protect us with a covering or a cloud. Each of us has a cloud of blessings over us all the time to shield us from the radiance of His face. It protects us from the intensity of the heat of His glorious presence. This explains why St Paul was blinded in the physical by the spiritual vision he saw. We can reach out into the cloud of God’s presence and draw our day’ s need of His blessings- a different kind of cloud computing. He is a pillar of fire by night- this implies that when He withdraws His favour for a time, when we are in a time of adversity He does not desert us. He gives us warmth and divine guidance on the path we should follow. He illuminates our lives with a living testimony during these dark times. In our desert times, when the Lord chastises us or corrects us, we should not regard ourselves as cursed or as forsaken by God. If we do so, we are despising the chastening of the Almighty. It is His sovereign will and decision to surgically correct certain aspects of our character by allowing some events that are not so pleasant from a purely human perspective. Just as we respect the right of our parents to correct us, we need to respect and accept His will and rejoice that it is a sure sign that He loves us as a Father and therefore, He corrects us as our earthly fathers did when we erred wantonly. The children that are often corrected by their parents turn out to be better off when they are older. Even the parents who correct their children are better loved at the end of the day. Our faithful response in such times is to rejoice that we have been chosen to be loved and corrected by God and not hated and ignored. As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 119, “ It is good that I was chastised that I might learn His holy will.” Sometimes, the Lord chastises us so that we experience a course correction. Sometimes, He corrects us so that we can get rid of a hidden sin and sometimes to cauterize a wilful sin from our souls. It is to remove the dross or impurities that have crept in and make us like gold that is drawn out of the furnace of afflictions. No correction through affliction or suffering is pleasant at the time it happens but in due course, we will eat the peaceful fruit of righteousness or blessedness on account of it. It disciplines us and the discipline produces victory at the end of the day. When He frowns, it is an indication that He does not want us to loose the crown of life. From my childhood, I have often felt the chastisement of the Lord and these periods of chastisement were the defining moments of my life, that defined my destiny and refined my character and soul. God knows and I know that He still got a lot of work to do in me but we have come a long way. Prateep V Philip *The colour code- every day from the past week, I have given a different colour shade to the UV quote, matching the seven colours of the rainbow to indicate different types of teachings and blessings that the Lord reserves for each day of our lives.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Empathy is Rewarded

UV 718/10,000 Empathy is Rewarded. “And the King will answer and say to them, “ Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25 v 40 Empathy or feeling the pain of another as if it is your own is today recognized as an important facet of emotional intelligence. It is a character trait that we inherit from our heavenly Father. Jesus encourages His followers to look with empathy on the suffering around us. We might not be able to feed all the hungry, clothe all the naked or visit all the prisoners or help all the poor but what is within our capacity, we need to do. When we do it even for one of these, it is in the eyes of God as if we have fed all the hungry, clothed all the naked, visited all the prisoners and helped all the poor. Sympathy means that you look at them and say, “ Poor guy(s).” Empathy means we stop in our tracks, interrupt whatever we are doing and try to help. Jesus identifies with the poorest of the poor, the ones with the least social standing. Similarly, Scripture says, “do not be high-minded. Do not hesitate to associate with those of lesser social standing.” He told me once, “ I have visited you many times, once in the form of the woman who asked for some money to do a surgery, in the form of many people who asked for help. I was pleased you did not turn me down.” It is written that when we give to the poor, we are lending to the Lord. Empathy is rewarded and selfishness is punished. We are to demonstrate the love of God to others not just with words but with deeds inspired by the love of Christ who gave up all for us. We are to imitate Christ in His concern for the poor, the afflicted and the suffering. It is the sure sign that the compassion of God has filled our hearts and transformed our lives. Once as a young Assistant Superintendent of Police, a constable came to me as is the practice in the orderly room after a parade to voice his request. He said, “ I need a lakh of Rupees for my wife’s heart surgery.” I thought to myself that it is a big amount at the time and I would do what I can to mobilise it. Finally, after some efforts the hospital bill was paid. A few months later when I was lying injured at the scene of the bomb blast in Sriperumbudur, I thought that constable would rush to my help. Instead, the Lord sent an unknown poor boy to accompany me, bleeding profusely, burnt and wounded all over, in the back of the jeep up to the nearby hospital. The pain and shock was benumbing. The thirst was extreme. He gave me drops of water squeezed from a cotton wad. I had no idea where he got it from. When I asked him with genuine cathartic love, “ brother, what is your name?” He replied, “ Purush-uthomon.” That Sanskrit name means “ Best man”. It later struck me that I was first drawn to the gospel when a friend described Jesus as the “ best man”. Indeed, when we give to the poor, it is like lending to the Lord and He will pay us back. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Impermanence versus Eternity

UV 717/10,000 Impermanence versus Eternity “ Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54 v 10 Even nature that seems permanent in our eyes is of a transient nature. Only God’s love is unchanging and unfailing. Everything else including the mountains and hills can be shaken and even removed, but the love of God cannot be shaken. It does not change and turn with circumstances. The mountains and hills are symbols and metaphors for seemingly powerful persons and authorities on the Earth. They are also the challenges and difficulties we face in our daily life. The Lord is the one unchanging Person in the whole universe. Everything else is subject to the throes of change. He is consistent and faithful to His promises to us and all succeeding generations of those who believe and trust in Him. As we cling on to the hope that His promises inspire in us, He will remove the mountains and hills. If He does not do that, He will climb it with us, step by step. He will give us the strength and stamina we need. To anchor means to go deep down into one's self and hold on to that which we value most. Everything else that men anchor themselves in whether it be wealth or power or glamour or pleasure, even though they seem to be rock-like at the moment, will be removed. The unchanging faithfulness of God is the attribute that enables us to anchor ourselves in Him, depend on Him and His covenant promises. His covenant or personal relationship with us cannot be amended or rescinded or influenced. When we are reconciled with God, we have everlasting peace in our hearts. That peace will permeate our minds and all that we do and all with whom we interact or relate. He made us out of mud but breathed His spirit of compassion and love into us that distinguishes us from all other creatures. Our earthiness is pitted against His eternal nature. Our selfishness against His love. Our pettiness against His compassion. Our strife against His peace. The covenant contained in His Word keeps telling us, “ Stop struggling on your own strength. Stop striving with Your Creator God as Israel wrestled with Him. Instead, surrender to His love and compassion.” New age philosophers and teachers talk about mindfulness. It is a purposeless mindfulness where they are always conscious of their own inner life. Instead, we must be always mindful of the love, peace and compassion of God. These are the dominant themes of the Word and of our relationship with the Creator-Saviour. Love and peace of God are like the equipment that a mountaineer uses to hold in his two hands that enable him to grip the treacherous mountain trail as he climbs upwards. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Teaching to Observe

UV 716/10,000 Teaching to Practice Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. Mathew 28 v 20 These are the very last words of Jesus to his apostles before He ascended on high. It signifies the importance He attached to teaching the disciples. It is His teaching and their experience of being with Him that gradually but surely transformed their lives, leaving a permanent imprint on the rest of humanity. The word used is not “obey” but observe, implying that when we give complete attention and studying the Word, the impress and imprint will be deep and indelible. It will lead to practice. It is not just about teaching for a theoretical understanding or for “head knowledge” but teaching to observe or practice all things that Jesus has commanded us. Recently, some photographs were published showing how ‘stone age’ man made deep grooves in the bedrock to sharpen his stone implements and axes. Jesus expects every believer to be like the wise man who dug deep into the bedrock of the Word to lay the foundations of our lives. Then, we must imitate the wise man who built the walls of his home, segment by segment with the bricks of obedience. Every desire and goal, every thought and plan, every emotion and reaction, every word and action in alignment with the Word of God constitutes a brick of obedience. The roof is to be covered by the Holy Spirit and the strong presence of God. The windows are the opportunities to learn as much as we can about the world systems and people out there. The doors are the opportunities to grow and expand our influence and to reach out to others with the wise teachings of Jesus. The direction to “observe all things” seems to be an impossible or tall order. But, the emphasis on the word “ all” shows that no part of the teachings of Jesus is less important than the rest and that we should not omit to emphasize anything that He had given priority to. Jesus taught us the essence of all wisdom. Wisdom is the distillation of knowledge coupled with experience. So much so, when we practice even a small part of what Jesus taught, we end up fulfilling or obeying all that Moses and He taught. Even if a person just holds the name of Jesus closest to his heart, he or she ends up obeying all things that He has commanded. Jesus said that He came not to replace or overthrow the law but to fulfil it. What Jesus taught more than fulfilled the requirements of the commandments given through Moses. Jesus said that the entire law is covered in the two commandments to love God with all our heart, strength and minds, implying emotionally, physically and intellectually and to love our neighbour as ourselves. When we love God with this kind of passion, then we will not violate any of the commandments that forbid us from doing certain things. When we love our fellow human beings, we will not hurt them or cheat them or violate any of their rights. On the positive side, we will do all we can to discern God’s will and obey it. We will do all the good we can to our fellow beings while we can. . Just as He has taught us by example and precept, He expects us to teach others the same. Today, we are called to do the do’s that Jesus taught us and not to do the don’ts that Moses taught. This uni-verse was revealed to me recently to affirm that through the uni-verse series of meditations on the Word, people in many nations are being taught to observe all the things that Jesus has commanded us to do. Jesus promises to be with us to the end of our lives and to the very end of the age. He is one Teacher who never leaves the classroom or the student even when the bell rings, when we fail, when disaster strikes, when disease afflicts, when people desert, when death overtakes.. He is with us always in all our ways. Even when we are sleeping, He teaches us with dreams and visions. The sleeping Jesus taught the disciples to trust Him in life’s storms. The walking Jesus taught the disciples that they too can attempt and do the impossible. The weeping Jesus taught us to grieve with hope. The fasting Jesus taught us to endure great temptations and trials. The hungry Jesus taught us to trust God for our need. The judging Jesus taught us to forgive. The healing Jesus taught us to heal diseases. The praying Jesus taught us to pray. The accused Jesus taught us to be patient. The crucified Jesus taught us love. The resurrected Jesus taught us that we have victory over death and suffering in this life. Once, the Lord revealed that “ you have taught a lot of people to be at it. Teach them to be at my feet.” Indeed, many of us make a master plan but unless it is the Master’s plan, how can it be a master plan. We need to be at the feet of Jesus to learn the Master’s plan. When we are with Him and He is with us, He will cause it to be. So be it in your life. Prateep V Philip

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Praise Report on feedback recd from a reader of the first volume of 101 Uni-verses

Dear Dr.Prateep I would like to introduce myself , my name is TF Jayasurya, working as Country Manager -India for WindSim AS, it is Norway based company into wind farm designing using CFD modelling. Though I was born as RC my believe and faith was let loose and was lost, however it was in last year mid June I turned back towards my root, and hence started reading the Bible after 25 years, there was been tremendous change in me. I have been to Jesus Call book centre and picked your book Word Of Empowered life on Good Friday It was pleasant surprise to know your interest in Napolean, since I used him as my Mental Mentor and most of your chapters was connected to my life, I was emotion and same time praised the Lord for his words and greatness through an evangelist in spreading his message, In 2 days I was religiously reading your book at 4am and it has been great effect on me, I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and empowering people like us. Francis Jayasurya

Prisoners of Hope

UV 715/10,000 Prisoners of Hope “ Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” Zechariah 9 v 12 Rousseau wrote the line that inspired the French Revolution," Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains." The truth is that man is born in chains but it is our hope in Christ that sets us free. The ultimate freedom is not political, economic or social freedom but spiritual freedom. In fact, spiritual freedom will lead to other types of freedom being secured. The Lord in this uni-verse asks us who trust and hope in Him to return to Him daily like a child runs into her mother’s arms after a time of absence. We are prisoners or held in captivity as long as we are in our bodies, subject to the usual travails and troubles of human beings. But, our hope in Christ sets us free from fear and anxiety, from want and conflict, from violence and affliction. Our hope sets us free from these chains of sin and bondage. Satan will no longer meddle with us as we are no longer his prisoners. We are prisoners of the Lord, set free forever. He has replaced our bondage with bonding in Him. This wonderful promise of God is not meant for our future in eternity but it operates “ even today”. As surely as the sun has risen and declared with the glory of the sun-rise, the silhouette in the skies around the world, that this day is born, the Lord declares that He will restore double to us who trust His Word, who cling onto Him for dear life. Just as the day means light, warmth, sunshine, activities, fellowship, laughter, work- the Lord will bring forth the blessings of heaven and earth that belong to us from the time of creation. The word, “ restore” means that He will restore what belongs to us- peace, honour, possessions, health, grace, mercy, justice, victory, strength and joy. When we give priority to our bonding or personal relationship with Him, He will break all other chains. The times when we departed from His presence, we might have lost some of these birthrights, our inheritance. But, if we are zealous like Jacob for the rights of the first born, demonstrate it by our faith and our actions, the Lord will give us a double portion of every type of blessing. We need not either deceive or wrestle like Jacob did with the angel of the Lord but by believing and submitting our day and our lives to His will and the outworking of His power and grace, He will be our stronghold, our fortress, our shelter, our shield, our fencing, our hope. Apart from our quiet time with the Lord, He encourages us to keep returning to His presence off and on, frequently during the day, as often as we can to renew our inner strength. The Lord has often reminded us, “ How many times do you have meals in a day? Thrice at least- so why don’t you spend some time with Me at least thrice a day even if it be for a few minutes?” Prateep V Philip

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Great Wall

UV 714/10,000 The Great Wall “Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord” 2 Kings 20 v 12 Hezekiah, the king of Israel had become ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah had gone up to him and asked him to put his house in order as he was going to die. But, Hezekiah did not give up. In a combination of desperation and faith, he turned to the wall and prayed to the Lord, reminding Him of how he had walked faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and had done what was pleasing in God’s eyes. He also wept bitterly. The prophet Isaiah had not yet left the middle court when the Lord changed His mind and asked him to go tell Hezekiah that He had heard his prayers and seen his tears. He asked Isaiah to tell him that He had added fifteen years to his life. “ Turning our faces to the wall” means turning to the Lord in prayer and repentance, seeking His mercy and favour. Scripture says, “ Turn to me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and glorify My Name.” The Jews to this day go to the last remaining wall of the temple in Jerusalem and mourning their loss, they pray. Hence, it is called the “Wailing Wall.” But, the Lord says, “ I am the wall to which you should turn- not to a physical wall. I am not a wailing wall of desperation but a Wall of hope and deliverance, a wall of support and strength.” He is indeed a wall of victory, power and joy. The Great Wall of China, one of the seven wonders of the world, is a symbol of fear since the Chinese emperors built it as a defence against the fierce marauding tribes of Mongolia. Today, the Lord says, “ Just recount seven wonders that I have done in your life, so far , of healing, of deliverance, of provision, of protection, of guidance, of promotion and of salvation. Stop wailing and complaining. Instead, rejoice in me that I have done all this and be strong.” Hezekiah reminded the Lord of the things he had done faithfully for the Lord. But, the Lord now reminds us of the seven wonders of our life. He alone is the Great Wall of our lives. When my father –in-law was terminally ill with cancer a few years ago, the word came to him, “ turn to the wall and pray.” He was asking for some time to set his house in order before he passed on. The Lord promised to give him that time and has fulfilled His promise and added four years so far to his life. The doctors had only given him a few months to live. Turning to the wall also means that when we are up against a huge problem that cannot be humanly resolved, we turn to the only One who is able to- the Lord Jesus. He is able to add that which we sorely lack to our lives. He is able to add years to our lives and life to our years. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Cascade Effect

UV 713/10,000 The Cascade Effect “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell” Colossians 1 v 19 Jesus Christ was born into an obscure family. He did not have the advantages of modern mass media or the services of a PR firm to become a global icon. Yet, He is the pre-eminent person in all of history. But, this uni-verse states that He represents the fullness of God. All the beauty, power, majesty, authority, holiness, love and mercy of God dwells and is manifested in and through Jesus. He is the firstborn of all creation. By Him or according to His master plan, all things visible and invisible in heaven and earth were created. They were created through Him and for Him. He pre-existed all things. He is the head of the church, the firstborn among the dead. He reconciled through the blood of His cross all things with God. This implies that He broke the power of original sin and restored the original nature of God in us. He broke the power of self-limitation or curse of the womb, of the earth, of our relationships and of the work of our hands. He is the repository of all wisdom and knowledge. All the icons, the living and the dead, of this world only flatter to deceive. The very word ‘ icon’ has a hidden inner meaning, “ I con”. In other words, I con self and others into believing I am great and worthy of admiration. But, look at the long list of fallen icons even from recent times- Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, the Beatles and so many others - they had been placed on pedestals only to fall in their own and others’ esteem. I believe that self-actualisation is a myth. The new age philosophy, that many modern writers like the author of the book, “ The Secret” advocates, is based on this myth that you can be a god unto yourself. My primary school teacher taught me that the biggest room in the world is the room for self improvement. Yes,we can improve in some aspects but there are limits to self improvement. But Jesus pleased the Father in all aspects of His life, wisdom, character, words, actions and lifestyle. In doing so, He did not just win the favour of God for Himself but He is presenting us holy, blameless and above reproach in the sight of God. Logically, the fullness of God dwells in Jesus and since Jesus dwells in us by virtue of His ‘choosing grace’ and our ‘trusting faith’, the fullness of God- meaning, the beauty, power, majesty, authority, holiness, wisdom, love and grace of God dwells in us. It dwells. This implies these attributes and power of God is hidden in us. Now, it for the day’s events and the rest of our lives to make it manifest even as it was manifested in Jesus. There is a saying that you cannot keep a good man down forever. It is much more true that you cannot keep the power of God hidden in us forever. Sooner or later, as we are filled there will be an overflow. We have a cascade in our home- it takes a couple of minutes for the hidden trough to fill up before the water falls like a cascade. It fills up little by little and then overflows. We too just need to imitate the cascade- fill up with the love, power and grace of Jesus and then, let it overflow. Prateep V Philip Listen to this Blessong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f02YXBP-KFE

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Chosen Vessel

UV 712/10,000 The Chosen Vessel “Then he said, “ The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.” Acts 22 v 14 Saul the Jewish zealot was chosen by God and transformed into St Paul, the one apostle who is most influential after Peter. About Paul, contemporary people wrote that he was ineffectual in his speech but powerful in his writing. He became a pen in God’s hands to write the various epistles to the early church that continue to instruct us in this day and time. He had not chosen God. He was only following the tradition that he had been taught by his elders. He perceived the growth of the “ new way” of faith in the risen Christ a threat to the Jewish faith. Hence, he sincerely and zealously led the violent crusade against it. If any one should have been chosen as an apostle, he should have been the least favoured by God. Yet, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob chose him to be a vessel to fulfil His will to carry hope to all nations, then and now. In doing so he was only helping to fulfil the very promise of hope made to our “ fathers of faith” - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham had the promise of progeny, Isaac-the promise of production and productivity, Jacob- the promise of salvation. Abraham knew, saw and heard God as a friend, Isaac as a provider and Jacob as a redeemer. We human beings tend to get distracted by goals such as the pursuit of our individual, familial and collective happiness. When we recognize that we are nothing but a vessel to be filled with the joy, wisdom and hope of God, then we will fulfil His will. Even if there are cracks in the vessel in terms of our personal flaws, faults and failings, the Lord will either seal or heal it from within or allow the joy, wisdom and hope to leak through to others. St Paul must have grieved deeply the pain and persecution he caused to the followers of the risen Saviour. But, God used even that deep crack in his vessel to add to the power of his conviction and ministry. He now worked with redoubled vigour and zeal to make up for his past. Ananias led by the Holy Spirit told Paul that he had only three objectives before him for the rest of his life: to know the will of God, to experience the justice and goodness of God first hand through his own eyes and not those of his forefathers and to hear and adhere to the voice of the Shepherd. Paul was called to be a witness to the world even as each of us is called to be a witness of saving grace by faith. What is necessary to qualify as a witness? There are some similarities and differences between a legal witness in a crime case and a spiritual witness of Truth with a capital T. A spiritual witness speaks about the good things God has done in his or her life while a legal witness speaks of the crime he or she happened to witness. A spiritual witness speaks not just about what one has seen or heard but what he or she has experienced of God. A legal witness just happened to be there when an event happened. But, a spiritual witness is chosen - God chooses the person, the time and the circumstances. One should know or speak the truth or the facts that he or she has experienced, seen and heard. We get to know the will of God by studying the scripture. We get to see God by walking close to Him rather than walking away from Him. We get to hear His voice by spending time in prayer and being sensitive and responsive to the indwelling Holy Spirit. We are now qualified to do all the things that God has appointed us to do, to be a witness for Him to all nations and people, both kings and commoners for all have a need and a dream to live forever. Prateep V Philip Listen to this Blessong: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJConD4UJRA

Monday, April 1, 2013

The God of Impossible Odds

UV 711/10,000 The God of Impossible Odds “ Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “ Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 9 v 16 When King Aram sent his army to capture Elisha, the prophet, as he was the one who was forewarning the King of Israel of all the former’s military moves. When the king’s legions surrounded the prophet, his servant cried out in despair, “ What shall we do?” The odds were against them – a thousand to one. But, Elisha asked him not to fear as those who were with them were more than those who were with the enemy. He could see the hills around full of horses and chariots of fire. He then prayed that the Lord will open the eyes of his servant that he might also see the vision. Often, we are like Elisha’s servant. We are overwhelmed by our circumstances. But, the Lord says, “ Do not be afraid. Those who are with you are more that those who are with them.” He sends His troops to our assistance. Our faith eye needs to be opened. The enemy troops however could not see the chariots of fire and the horses sent by the Lord and they advanced towards Elisha. Elisha again prayed that they be struck with blindness. He then led them into Samaria. He asked the King of Israel to treat them kindly and gave them a great feast before sending them away. This stopped the raids on Israel of bands from the King of Aram. Later, the ungrateful and arrogant King of Israel turned against Elisha when a siege led to a massive famine within Samaria. But, the Lord gave a prophetic word of deliverance to Elisha. Elisha relied on prayer every time to overcome the formidable enemies against him. Similarly, we too need to rely on prayer to overcome our fears. The enemy may be formidable. Their power and strength may be great but greater is the power of God at work in us and in our midst. Different formations may conspire or organize to attack us in a variety of ways. But, our faith eyes must be focussed on the Lord and know that He that is with us is greater than he that is with them. They that the Lord sends on our behalf are greater than they that the enemy marshals against us. Our eyes must be always open to see this amazing reality. Even if a million people are organized against us, the One who is in us and with us will give us ultimate and absolute victory. Prateep V Philip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYJfuFQe4cc Listen to this Blessong: