Friday, May 31, 2013

The Blank Cheque

UV 769/10,000 The Blank Cheque But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus Philippians 4 v 19 God’s riches or resources are unlimited. We share the inheritance of Jesus and that inheritance is accessed through faith in His Name. St Paul was confident that even as the early believers supported his ministry, God would meet with all their need-spiritual, physical, financial, emotional and psychological. The Lord deals with us holistically- He does not meet only one need and leave needs in other areas unattended or unsatisfied. The word “ all “ means all of our need in all areas of our lives. This uni-verse is like a blank cheque or carte blanche that is pre-signed by Christ drawn on the unfailing bank of Heaven. We need to enter what we need into this cheque and deposit it in our account. Every time we encash it, we have a new blank cheque in our hand. When the Lord is our shepherd or Jehovah Rohi, He will lead us daily to still waters to refresh us. The still waters are a metaphor for the Word that refreshes us and prepares us to face the day. These are the deeper and eternal needs of the spiritual part of our being. He will also lead us to green pastures- a metaphor for all that is needed by us to satisfy our physical, financial and social need. These are the mundane and temporal needs of our existence. Our need will be met according to His riches in glory or in accordance with the rich treasury of His promises. It is important for us to know the promises of God and to claim specific promises in different situations of need. When a need is met, it should be accompanied or preceded or followed by thanksgiving, praise and giving glory to God. We should not take it casually or for granted. We should also show our faithfulness by giving to the needy out of what the Lord gives us. We should be like Joseph a “ fruitful bough” whose branches extend beyond our walls so that the hungry and needy passing by can also pluck and eat. St Paul uses the possessive “ my God” to indicate that we need to be intimate with the Lord as a child is with his or her parents and depend on the latter for every need. We should never outgrow this dependency. We need to trust the Lord and His promises. We need to persistently pray and ask the Lord specifically that which we need. The word “ supply” implies that the Lord will meet our need not in dribs and drabs but with a generous flow. There is a sense of continuity even as the oil in the story of Elijah’s widow never ceased to fill the vessels and to flow. An element of the awesome and miraculous always accompanies God’s provision in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Cornerstone Experience

UV 768/10,000 The Cornerstone Experience Jesus said to them, “ Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvellous in our eyes.” Matthew 21 v 42 It is almost an axiom of life that the people should reject the one who is accepted by the Lord God. Rejection precedes acceptance and exaltation. It is this that makes the whole process of acceptance or being lifted up exciting, thrilling and marvellous. God always identifies with the underdog, the weak, the oppressed. Joseph’s brothers, all eleven of them combined against him and treated him as an outcast in the family. They conspired to kill him and then out of some compunction sold him into slavery. But, the Lord raised him up in stages from slave to favourite servant, from prisoner to favoured prisoner, from favoured prisoner to favoured minister of the then superpower of the world, Pharaoh. His brothers had rejected him but the Lord made him the capstone or cornerstone of the administrative edifice of Egypt. His father Jacob, his brothers and he himself marvelled at what the Lord had done. They had disbelieved the dream of Joseph that he had shared with the family as a young lad. The Lord reminds me often how some rich relatives rejected me when I was young, just sixteen but the Lord turned me into the capstone and the same relatives had to approach me for redressing their grievances. The people who do not read the scripture and believe are the ones who reject the capstone. The people who read the scripture and believe the Word of God are the ones who become cornerstones. When we hold the Word as precious in our hearts and minds, the Lord will uphold us in our lives. There is no miracle of transformation without a filling and saturation with the Word even as the jars of water had to be filled with water to the brim before Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast in Canna. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of all of history. We too are declared to be cornerstones. We are described by scripture as “precious cornerstone, living stones, sure foundation and a tried stone.” We are so valuable in the eyes of God that the metaphoric seven eyes of the Lord are upon us all the time. Our faith has the stone-like strength of rock. We are stable and secure in life’s changing scenarios. We have Jesus as a sure foundation. We cannot be shaken. We are tested and tried in all of life’s situations and declared to be faultless or flawless by grace. Like Jesus, we too will be a precious stone for building lives and hope of the people who see us and believe. We will be the stumbling stone or rock of offense for those who do not believe. The Lord revels in making us sit at a feast of His blessings in the presence of our enemies. During the stages of rejection, it is important we hold on to the words of God, to trust that He will do a marvellous thing in due course to bring His Word to pass. It is important that we do not become bitter or indulge in whipping up hatred towards those who so rejected or oppressed or falsely accused us. Once we enter upon the cornerstone phase, we should not recall our experiences with an attitude of bitterness or vindictiveness but with an attitude of awe, thanksgiving and worship towards the Lord. Such an attitude will come only due to the grace of the Lord being poured as a precious anointing oil upon the living stone. Without the grace of God, the Humpty Dumpty law that operates in this world is " the higher you go, the greater the fall." As it is ironically mentioned in the old nursery rhyme, " All the king's horses and all the king's men could not put Humpty together again." It implies that so called modern icons of different domains, be it the arts, entertainment, science, technology,wealth, glamour and so on, will rise to the heights and decline rapidly and disappear as if they never existed in sharp contrast to the cornerstone experience. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kingdom Quality

UV 767/10,000 Kingdom Quality “On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” I Thessalonians 2 v 4 We are called not to be men-pleasers but God-pleasers. He has entrusted us with the secrets of the Kingdom of God- the gospel. He expects us to be good stewards of the work and the mysteries of the gospel that He has revealed to us. A good steward or servant aims to please his master and is faithful to him even when he is not present. Joseph was faithful to his master Potiphar and was able to resist and flee from the advances of the latter’s adulterous wife. He did so because he feared God who he knew was testing his heart. There is no need to sugar-coat the gospel. You got to tell people what is the bad news before you can tell them what is the good news. It might not be pleasing to people when we talk of their sin and the need for salvation but we are to share the truth with our conversation always salted with grace. We do not do or speak things to win the approval or to gain popularity with people. Once the Lord told me, “ You are not a man-pleaser but a God-pleaser.” It is easier to please men as we can flatter them or wear a mask of deceit. We can be mere eye-pleasers. We try to look good in the eyes of men. We try to please our seniors or bosses only when they are around and watching. It does not mean that we go all out and displease all the people we come across but that we do not go out of our way to please them by telling them only what they want to hear. Neither should we do only lip service with regard to the Word. We should be willing to make sacrifices and to pay the price when necessary. We must minister with the Word skilfully and in a wholesome way. I once wrote these lines, “ Gospel-go spell it out, In the way you live, Don’t talk of hell, No need to yell.” With God, He knows our innermost thoughts, our motives, our desires, our fears, our hopes, our strengths, our limitations, our need, our experiences and our potential. When we delight in His Word and in doing His will, we cause delight in Him. The Lord sometimes tests us when He allows satan to tempt us. He will see which way our heart is inclined. Is it inclined to please our own flesh-nature or is it inclined to please Him? He also tests the strength of our faith to see if we will endure a time of trial and suffering. He observes what do we give priority to in our daily lives. He reads our thoughts and knows our emotions and leads us in His righteous paths. He checks the integrity of our hearts –whether we are wholly committed to Him. Indeed, everything we speak and do should bear a stamp on it, “ Kingdom Quality.” Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Hidden Wisdom

UV 766/10,000 The Hidden Wisdom In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2 v 3 In Paul’s time, the Greeks emphasized knowledge as a means of salvation. Even to this day, there are many who think and live as if knowledge is the path to salvation. But Paul in this uni-verse is underlining the fact that Jesus is the source and repository of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge do not lead to salvation but salvation in Christ leads to wisdom and knowledge taking grip of our lives. When we receive Jesus by faith into our hearts, we are also receiving the key to all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The word ‘ all’ implies that nothing, no aspect is left out or excluded from the domain expertise of Jesus. The word ‘ treasure’ indicates that we must value wisdom and knowledge as matters of prime importance in our daily lives. Leadership is about directional change and management is about operational change. Wisdom gives us guidance on directional change while knowledge directs operational change. Wisdom is about making the right choices and decisions while knowledge is about implementing or executing the choices and decisions. When we believe Him and hide His Word in our memory bank, we are storing the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in us. In Him, it is hid and in us and through us it is revealed. No wonder even the wise men sought to see and adore Him even when He was just born, long before He had uttered a single word or done a single miracle. Scripture says that let the wise man not boast of his wisdom or the rich man about his riches or the mighty man in his power but let him who boasts, boasts that he understands and knows the Lord who exercises love, kindness, righteousness and justice on the Earth. He will release love, kindness, righteousness and justice in our individual lives as we get to know Him personally and intimately. Jesus knows all the secrets of all domains of knowledge and wisdom. As a student, He revealed to me a new method of study that enabled me to climb the heights of academic success and excellence. A scientist is now doing research on that method of study. As a police officer, I have often confided in Him the challenges I was facing and He has come to my present help. Once a dacoity took place in my district. As I moved in my car towards the scene of crime, I prayed Lord, “ You know who has done this, please reveal it to us.” The dacoity was fully detected and the booty recovered in exactly twenty four hours. Nothing is hidden from the eye of Jesus. Nothing is unknown to the mind of Jesus. Hence, when we believe and pray, He does not hesitate to reveal that which is hidden or that which is unknown to us or to all mankind. He revealed to me the key to the human mind that I was seeking for more than a decade: “ be at it: beat it.” It is based on the scripture that exhorts us “ to cling to what is good and to abhor and let go of what is evil”. This thought process that combines both the strands of the positive and the negative-negative, based on these two simple tools is more holistic,effective and useful than Positive Thinking, Transaction Analysis, Neuro-linguistic programming and other methods devised by man to develop oneself. The practical application of this uni-verse is whenever we face a complicated problem or a dilemma, when we pray and seek His wisdom and knowledge, He will give us wisdom to make the right choices or decisions and knowledge to know what to do. But we need not even wait for a situation or a need. We should daily ask the Lord for more of His wisdom and knowledge to be manifest in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Pregnancy of Promises

UV 765/10,000 The Pregnancy of Promises “ I Am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done that what I have promised you.” Genesis 28 v 15 This is a wonderful promise of the Lord that He would fulfil whatever He has promised us. The fact that He is both the impersonal “ I AM WHO I AM” and the personal “ I AM WHO IS WITH YOU” is enough assurance that the promises we have received from the Lord will be fulfilled to the last word. Immanuel or “ God is with us” – that is more than enough reason for us to rejoice. We are like the kid who is carried around by the mother kangaroo in its pouch. The amazing leaping power, the nourishing milk, the comfortable pouch and deadly “karate kicking” skills of the adult kangaroo gives the kid kangaroo its sense of security and well being. But, for us the presence of the Lord is the pouch in which we are ensconced, surrounded and protected. God does not need to prove to us that He exists or that He is alive and kicking. We need to prove that we are alive and kicking like a kid kangaroo. His Word is our weapon, our nourishment, our shield, our dynamo, our transport, our guarantee, our engine, our wings, our guarantee and insurance, our lamp and light. When we hold on to His words, “ I AM” is with us. The assurance that the Lord is in us and with us is the greatest promise we can receive. As He is with us, we are blessed and will be a blessing to others around us. As He is with us and He is the Lord of hosts or the armies of Heaven, we will never be outnumbered or overwhelmed. No man can stand against us all the days of our lives. Every good thing that He has promised us will be fulfilled. He will do that which He has promised. Those who take counsel or conspire against us will not prevail but fall together. When He is with us, His Kingdom is within us. His infinite power and unlimited grace is available to us. His deep wisdom and dependable guidance is available to us. His amazing love surrounds us and fills us. But, He does not stop with all this. He watches over us day and night without slumber or rest. He watches over us wherever we go. We can have an absolute sense of security. He promised Jacob that He would bring him back to this land. This is the reason that Israel was re-formed as a nation again against all odds in 1948 after the Jewish diaspora had been dispersed across all continents for centuries. Every day when we leave our homes, there is no guarantee that any of us would return to our homes, or our land. But the Lord promises that He would bring us back to our land. Eventually, He will bring us back to the Father’s house in peace as Jacob asked of the Lord. The third wonderful assurance the Lord guarantees in this uni-verse is that He would never leave us till He has fulfilled the Word that He has spoken into our lives. The time lag between the day we hear a promise of God or believe and claim a promise verse is the gestation period He uses to form that which He has spoken to us. We need to carry the promise as it grows in us much as a pregnant woman rejoices over the growing child inside her uterus. We should not abort it by our lack of faith and our failure to feed that faith with love and hope of its fulfilment. When we believe and claim a promise or receive a rhema promise, it is like the moment of conception. Similarly, when a person receives the promise of eternal life, it is the moment of spiritual conception. Thereafter, it has to be nourished with the Word that is the equivalent of pure spiritual milk. It has to be sustained by prayer which is the equivalent of spiritual respiration. It has to be strengthened with praise and thanksgiving. Some of the promises of God are fulfilled even before or while we are praying and some over longer periods of waiting in faith. Either way it is better to trust in the promises of God rather than the mere premises of man. When the promise of God is fulfilled, our faith further grows in leaps and bounds and we have a testimony of His faithfulness to share with others. No force on earth or in heaven can stop the promise of God when the time for its fulfilment or realization has come. In contrast, the mere assumption or premise of man make an ass of you and me as indicated in the word, “ assume”. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, May 26, 2013

From Renewal unto Transformation

UV 764/10,000 From Renewal unto Transformation Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5 v 17 This is one of the first “rhema verses” or uni-verses that I heard soon after I became a believer on 31st July, 1979. The person who led me to Christ, congratulated me on my committing my life to Christ after he explained the gospel to me. When I asked him why he was congratulating me, he turned to this verse, saying, “ You are now a brand new creature.” To begin with our perspective changes from the old temporal to the new eternal, the old rule-based and action-based idea of salvation to the new grace-based faith. It is not as if we become automatically transformed but the process of transformation through renewal begins in us. The image of God is restored and renewed in us. God has made us in the likeness of His son Jesus but due to sin the distortions have crept in. Now, He renews us in that self-same image. People partake in recreation while we partake in re-creation. He gives us a new sense of purpose and the power to fulfil that purpose. He gives us new wisdom and grace. The righteousness and wisdom of Christ becomes our own. It is with the faith eye that we can say that the old has passed away. The reality and truth is that the old is passing away and simultaneously, the new is being renewed in the image of Christ. The process of being built up is preceded by the process of the old being pulled down. In biology, they say that all living beings have two processes running in them- the katabolic process or breaking down of old tissues and the anabolic process of building up new tissues. The spiritual corollary is true that both processes run simultaneously in us. Our pre-Christ minds, namely, our thoughts, priorities, emotions, desires, goals, actions, attitudes, reactions need to break down and be replaced with the renewed mind of Christ. Formerly, the first person in my life is “ I” but now it is “ He in me” and “I in Him”. Formerly, I had to attempt all things alone and depended on my own innate and natural abilities. Now, I do all things with Him. His unlimited resurrection power and grace is at work in me. Obviously, the results will be different. Our talents and our resources will be multiplied many times over. He tremendously increases the mileage of our efforts and resources. Even the sphere and network in which we work is transformed. Where formerly, we had a few friends and family members, we now have many friends and countless brothers and sisters in the Lord. We no longer just think globally and act locally but we now think universally and act locally. The seemingly least thing that we do which is prayer will have the greatest impact. Our mere thoughts and words will affect people and circumstances. I remember telling the Chief of the Special Task Force that was hunting the forest brigand Veerappan: “ Sir, If anyone kills or captures Veerappan, it will be you. I will be praying for you.” He responded by saying, “ I value the prayers of people like you.” He went on within a few months to end the mission successfully with the killing of the brigand and his associates, ending the activities of a deadly gang of desperados who had menaced three states for over three decades. The extent to which we willingly submit ourselves to the two processes of being broken down and being built up determines the speed of our transformation. Before we are “ in Christ” our life pattern is based on Substance ( or the material first), Performance ( or what we do and achieve next) and Image ( or the spiritual is last). When we are transformed, the life pattern is altered to Image( the Spiritual is first), Performance is next and Substance ( or the material, physical or monetary is last). The speed of our transformation depends on the regularity and consistency of our daily walk with God-our intake of the Word, the time we spend in prayer, fellowship with other believers and our readiness to witness to others about the new sense of purpose and power to fulfil that purpose. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Breakthrough Faith

UV 763/10,000 Breakthrough Faith One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. The king will pass through before them, the Lord at their head. Micah 2 v 13 It is the Lord who gives us one breakthrough after another in different areas of our lives. Even if the obstacles in our way are like bronzen gates, He will create an opening for us. He is the path breaker. We only need to follow Him, to lean on Him for wisdom and understanding. The young David might have seemed impudent and imprudent to offer to fight Goliath. But, he knew that he was not fighting alone. He had joined the winning side. He went out against Goliath with faith in the God of Israel. His experience of killing a lion and a bear as he attended his duties as a shepherd, produced the confidence and courage that he can face a foe that is stronger and more powerful. His natural courage produced faith and His faith produced wisdom. He listened to the Lord’s counsel not to fight Goliath with sword and armour. The Lord goes ahead of us to clear the way. The enemy of our souls should not get a foothold in our minds. The first strongholds He breaks down are the ones inside us –our own entrenched attitudes. Even as He dealt powerfully to break the yoke of slavery of the Egyptians over Israel, He also spent considerable time and effort to deal with the faithless attitudes of the Israelites, to wean them away from their weaknesses, to deal with their fears and lust. Other leaders on account of their fear of death always sent people ahead of them to clear the way for them. Jesus is the only One who went up before us to prepare the way for us to enter the Kingdom of God. He took the narrow way and broke through the narrow gate of death and provided the way of salvation for all mankind. He released us from the captivity of death, the grave and the clutches of sin. We are no longer slaves of death and sinful desire but we share His kingly power and authority in this life as in the life to come. This is the ultimate breakthrough that we need. The other breakthroughs, achievements, successes, hopes that we long for are minor and incidental issues in comparison with eternal life. We can combat a legion of uncertainties with the one certainty that Christ died for us and rose again in order to ransom us from the wages of sin-death. As we acknowledge the headship of Jesus, He will give us success and breakthroughs in the issues we face in this lifetime. We need not panic when things seem to be going wrong. We need not be in awe of the dimensions of the problems and challenges we are currently facing. The Lord is not only going ahead of us to pilot us on the paths of life and salvation, He is also holding up the rear. He has boxed us in like in a Roman phalanx with His care and protection. No strategy of the enemy can make headway against us. When he attacks us in one direction, the Lord will make him flee in seven directions. No arrow can penetrate the shield of our faith. No weapon can blunt the edges of our sword, the Word in our hand. Truly, the odds cannot be against us when God is with us. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beyond Reproach

UV 762/10,000 Beyond Reproach And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. Joshua 5 v 9 The name “ Gilgal” in Hebrew means to roll. The Israelites under Joshua came out of the shadow of the bondage of Egypt at Gilgal. The Lord had rolled away the reproach of Egypt or had broken for all time the yoke of slavery that Egypt had placed on their shoulders. Similarly, He rolls away whatever is the cause of our bondage and shame in this world. The use of the words “ to roll away” indicates the ease as well as the decisiveness of the action of putting away our shame and contempt. It ‘s at Gilgal that the Israelites were circumcised as a sign of their dedication. It’s at Gilgal that they came into the promised land. There is a set and specific time that God has appointed. There is a set and specific place that God has chosen to transform us from sinners into winners. It ‘s at Gilgal that the Israelites stopped having manna as their staple food. They switched over to unleavened bread. This is a sign that we too need to move to more substantial intake of the Word to sustain and nourish us. No yeast of hypocrisy or deceit or untruth or pride or self righteousness should be allowed to hamper or affect the authenticity of our faith. The Pharisees wanted to ensure that the reproach of Jesus was permanent. Hence, even after He was crucified, they sealed the tomb with a large stone and placed a heavy guard. But, the angels of the Lord came and rolled away the stone. An earthquake caused the guards to flee. By Jesus’s rising from from the grave, He rolled away the reproach of sin and death. We are freed forever from the reproach of our own sin and its consequences. Neither artifice nor the artificial will seduce our hearts. We are declared to be more than conquerors. No threat or weapon can prosper against us. It is time to celebrate our freedom in the Lord. We are freed from the trappings of religion and human traditions. We have moved out of the shadow of Egypt where we are not free to do what we want to do. The powerful presence of the Lord has broken our spiritual shackles and liberated us from fear of the enemy. We are no longer awed or enamoured of the world and its attractions. We have entered the land of our own, the promised land. We relish and cherish, claim and proclaim the precious ‘goldmine promises’ of the Lord. No condemnation, insult, accusation or judgement can stand against us. In practical terms, it implies that we should not be easily hurt by the words, accusations, insinuations and gestures of others. Whenever such situations arise, we can say to the offender, " Roll over!" Satan cannot make us feel guilty about our past. The Lord has declared us to be beyond reproach or beyond blame. It is by His blood that we are declared sinless, sanctified and blemishless. We are on the road of victory and ultimate freedom. We are literally on a roll. In the language of this generation,we can ROFL- roll over and fall laughing or is it Reproach Over Forever Laugh?! Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Value of Examination

UV 761/10,000 The Value of Examination “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing: I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” Psalm 17 v 3 As Socrates said, “ An unexamined life is not worth living”. But, mere introspection or self-examination is not adequate. Self-examination is not objective and can often be biased for who does not love to look good in the eyes of others. Too much introspection unaided by the Spirit of God has a depressing and guilt-producing effect on the human psyche. Many counsellors and psychologists sink under the weight of this contagion effect. Instead, the Holy Spirit needs to be invited to examine us daily, frequently and regularly. At the end of every day, we can submit ourselves in a deliberate exercise and invite the Holy Spirit to examine our spirits, minds and bodies, too. He is able to scan our innermost being and tell us if anything is amiss. He will examine our consciences, our deeds and words of the day and tell us where we have gone wrong or where we can do better the next day. He will examine our faith, see the gaps and supply what is lacking in our faith. As an examiner of gold, checks it primarily for its purity, He will check our faith whether it is pure and free from blame. He will then decide whether the best cure for that level or type of impurity would be mother’s soap or refiner’s fire. The yardstick the Holy Spirit uses to measure or examine us is the Word. He will examine our heart and check if the love He finds in it is patient, kind, forgiving, not proud or vain, hopeful, humble and wise. Adam and Eve hid from the Lord. They failed the examination and feared the probing eyes of God. We fear God and therefore, invite Him to examine us. The Lord will examine whether we make an effort during the course of the day to remember and acknowledge His presence, recall His Word and take active steps to obey or align our steps with His Word. He does not examine us with a view to prove us wrong, to find fault with us or to confirm that we have failed. He examines us to give us grace to succeed. We can pray asking the Lord to examine our minds. Very few people avail the psychiatric examination and healing that the Lord can give us free of cost as often as we ask Him. A senior civil servant was telling me the other day that his mental health may not be sound at times and he could well do with a check up. We need to ask the Lord to examine our marriage and our relationships too. We can even ask the Lord to examine our cardio-vascular system and remove the blocks, if any. In recent times, three people known to me went through cardiac procedures. In my morning prayer walk, I told the Lord, “ You know if there are any blocks in my system.” The Lord revealed later that I too had some developing block but as I prayed and moved my hand in faith over my heart, asking for the removal of the blocks, it was removed. Indeed, prevention is better than cure and prayer is better than prevention and cure. This is what I call the power of prophylactic prayer. It saves us a lot of anxiety, pain, suffering and the bills. On our part, we must resolve to muzzle our mouths and not let it sin. Often, we tend to dam up the rivers of life-giving water inside us and allow the torrents of anger, bitterness and negativity to well up and flow out of us. We need to offer our tongues for examination to the Holy Spirit every day and often as He will cleanse it with tongues of fire. If we are able to bring this tiny rudder called the tongue under our control, we can exercise self control over all other parts of our being. This tiny rudder will determine whether we are on course or off the track that the Lord had intended that we take in our journey. This is part of our commitment to be perfect because Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Father are perfect and a person who controls His tongue is deemed by the Trinity to be perfect. The way we use it will indicate whether the kingdom or rule of God is prevailing in all of our lives. We measure and deliberate over every word that we speak to ensure that it is wholesome, healthy, timely and useful to the hearer. Our words fall in line with the Word of God as an evidence that we live and walk according to the revealed will of God. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Contrasting Models and Simple Choices

UV 760/10,000 Contrasting Models and Simple Choices “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10 v 42 Only one thing is needed for us to be rejoicing, for us to feel the power of God, to appropriate the grace of God and that is to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His life-giving words. We have two models before us: one to avoid that of Martha who is encumbered by the travails of this life and she is caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Her mind is distracted by many things: she wants to please her guests that include the Lord Jesus Himself. She is upset that her sister Mary is not sharing her burden and responsibility. We too are caught up in a variety of activities to please the Lord and to satisfy our own desires. Our mind is distracted by many real and imaginary worries. We also want to achieve our own ambitions. We are pulled in many directions. So how can we progress in the direction of the one thing that matters- to do the will of God. The second model is that of Mary: she delights in the fellowship with Jesus. She spends hours sitting at His feet listening to His teaching on the Kingdom of God. Her focus is on His Word. She can feel eternal life surging up in her heart like a forest spring as it gurgles to the surface of the earth. She can sense a burning in her heart as she listened to the Lord. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit who interprets the Word to those whose passion is to listen and obey the Word. Her life is Word-driven. Her mind is focussed. She has found the purpose of her life as she listened to Jesus. The Word is delicious food and delectable drink to her spirit. She finds her strength being renewed. She is like a child without a care in this world. Nothing even the Lord Himself can take away her resolve and commitment. The phone line to her soul is continually engaged with the lover of her soul. The Words of Jesus were the topmost priority in her life. She found her philosophy, her management concepts, her explanations, her world-view in it. His glance upon her left her blessed. His smile energised her. His gestures conveyed His immense wisdom, gentleness and love. His words entered her ears and penetrated deep into her soul, leaving no part of her being untouched. Long after His physical presence left her, His words echoed inside her making her sense His continuing presence as if He had never left her. She was not mesmerised. Rather, every part of her was awakened to its full potential. She dwelled often thereafter on His words and treasured it all in her heart. She was satisfied and yet thirsty for more. Whenever and wherever she reflected on it, her whole being, spirit, mind and body were swamped with a sense of well being and joy that nothing else brought. Scripture always presents contrasting models: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers,Saul and David, Peter and Judas, Martha and Mary. It is apparent which model is better and which is the model we need to avoid and which one to emulate. But, the choice has to be made individually. When we sit at the feet of Jesus, our hearts and minds and spirits are transported into the heavenly realms. We come to terms with God about our past. We find the inner strength to face the challenges of the moment. We have hope for the future. It induces wisdom and produces health and healing in us and around us. So much so, when we speak, people can sense the fragrance of the presence of Jesus. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pitching Our Tents

UV 759/10,000 Pitching Our Tents “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54 v 2 Jim Rohn said, “ Change is inevitable but growth is intentional.” For a believer, growth is inevitable. It is intended by the Lord that we grow in all directions, intellectually, socially, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, financially and in every sense. In all these areas, He encourages us to “enlarge” our vision and stretch our faculties and resources. “The place of our tent” are the strategic locations where we choose to act, live and work and relate. He asks us not to withhold our efforts but to spare no effort to grow. We need to see the big picture in which the Lord stands with us in all our efforts and He is not limited by any of the limitations of time and space that constrain us. Our faith in Him accompanied by faithful and diligent efforts will cause all our boundaries to expand in such a way to bring joy to our hearts and glory to God. He will stretch us but not break our cords. Scripture says that it is not easy to break a cord made up of three strings. Our lives are made up of a three stringed cord- spirit, mind and body. This uni-verse exhorts us to lengthen the cord of life. The spirit is the realm of infinite power as we connect that string with the Lord of the infinite and eternal, the abundant and unlimited. The mind has more limitations but it is able to traverse in imagination the length and breadth of the universe as it were. We can work over time to strengthen our thoughts, emotions and will power. Our mind in itself is a three-stringed cord: thoughts, emotions and will. Our thoughts are of three types: thoughts about the past, thoughts about the present and thoughts about the future. Our emotions are also three-stringed: calmness, compassion and joy. Our will consists of three strings: our desires, decisions and actions of the past, the present and the future. Our bodies have the most limitations. We can leverage on the strengths of the spirit and mind to overcome the limitations of the body. Our bodies have three strings that are intertwined: health, fitness and flexibility. Our bodies are like tents or temporary housing for our spirits and souls. However, we need to make our tents safe and secure as long as our lives on earth last. The longer and stronger we make the strings of our spirit, minds and bodies the greater is the shadow we cast or the influence or impact we have in this world. This is the investment we make now with our spirit, minds and bodies for which we are rewarded later for we are stakeholders in the Kingdom of God. We are only inhabiting tents now but it will be exchanged for an eternal home in glory land. We can be at it to beat it. We can beat failure, sorrow, pain, stress, strained relationships, bitterness, depression and so on. We can lengthen the cords not just to combat our infirmities or weaknesses but of a large number of people who come inside our circle of influence. The whole uni-verse throws up the image of a nomad who has to pitch his tent in a place of his choice. We can securely pitch our tents near the oasis of the grace of God. We need to strengthen our stakes that hold our lives together. Stakes are strong metal pieces that are driven into the ground to give stability and to hold the tent in place. It is a metaphor for our faith in the Word of God. We need to strengthen our faith in the Word of God and drive the stakes of our lives deep into it. All the cords of our lives-of spirit, mind and body- should be connected or tied securely at one end with it. Every day we should inspect the tents of our lives and check if all the cords are tied securely to the pegs or stakes that hold us close to the Lord. But we must make sure we do not tie ourselves with the cords or stake ourselves to the ground. We must be always ready to move to our home above. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Glory and Triumph of Suffering

The Glory and Triumph of Suffering For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory 2 Corinthians 4 v 17 We cannot experiment with God but we can experience Him. Often our experience of God is through a period of affliction or suffering. The suffering will produce in us the patience of Jesus or the character of Jesus in us. As Aristotle told his royal pupil Alexander, “ There is no short cut to knowledge.” There is no shorter cut than suffering to a deep and personal knowledge of the Lord. We will experience in practical terms the love, the power, the mercy and the grace of God. The suffering cuts deep furrows in our soul where the seed of the truth can be planted. It might be intensely painful at the time but the pain and anguish will make us call out to the Lord. He will turn the area of our greatest pain into the reason for our greatest gain. This uni-verse offers us comfort and consolation that whatever we have suffered in the past or whatever we are going to suffer in the future or whatever we are suffering at present is meant for a greater good. As long as we approach it with this kind of faith, it will be a source of immense strength and eternal glory. My mentor used to say that even if his own brother or any member of his family were to meet with an accident that would only leave him breathing but seeking the Lord, it would be worthwhile in comparison with what his soul would gain. Suffering is often employed by the Lord as a means to draw us to Him. If we are already His, then He would use suffering or affliction to remove the dross or impurities that remain in our faith. Our affliction however terrible it might seem to us at the moment is light in comparison with the eternal glory we will get on account of it. It knocks down all other dependencies. The logical and the natural will not give an adequate explanation of why it had happened to us. Once a Canadian police officer explained how training had helped him get out of a dangerous situation with an armed suspect. I then told him that I was in a situation where no amount of training in the world would have helped. Like King David we can say with confidence that the Lord will cause our suffering to be ironically a source of everlasting joy and power: “ it was good that I was afflicted that I might learn His holy will.” When we believe this, we are affirming our faith that God is good and that He will not cause or allow us to suffer without reason. But the suffering should not be self-inflicted through our actions and habits or through our evil desires. It should not be satan-inflicted through our playing into his snares. Such types of suffering are frustrating and debilitating. The suffering that is wholesome and good is what is Saviour-allowed or God-ordained. How do we know that it is Saviour-allowed? The suffering will be only to such a degree that we can bear it and in the end it will produce praise, honour and glory for the Lord. It will produce a rich harvest of hope and salvation in our lives and the lives of others. I was happy to hear from one young man the other day that my account of my suffering in the assassination of a world leader while I was on duty had produced faith and hope in a large number of youth I had shared with in a meeting more than twenty years ago. He said he had attended several such meetings but that meeting was different in terms of the impact and the number of lives touched by my testimony. It is the Word of God along with the word of testimony that produces faith and eternal life and eternal glory. If placed in a balance, the weight of the latter will far outweigh the pain of the suffering underwent. When people hear a true story of suffering and triumph over trauma such as mine, they vicariously undergo the suffering and are drawn in their souls to the Vicar or substitute for their own suffering –Jesus, the One who triumphed over both suffering and death. If my momentary suffering produced or enhanced the eternal hope and spiritual experience of a large number of people, if the vicarious suffering helped to draw them closer to the Vicar of our souls-Jesus, if it brought meaning and purpose into their lives, then it was indeed worth the while.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The God of Small Beginnings

UV 757/10,000 The God of Small Beginnings Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumbline in the hand of Zerubbabel. “(These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range throughout the earth) Zechariah 4 v 10 The Lord does not wait for us to finish a great work before He applauds us. He notices and delights in even our small beginnings, the efforts we make in the course of our daily grind to build a temple for Him in our lives. Zerubbabel , a descendant of the royal line of King David, is a symbol of a person in authority who acted with faith. He is also a symbol of those who stand for the Lord in their workplaces. When He sees that we apply His Word in our daily work life like Zerubbabel did to see if we are building our lives in plumb with His instructions, He honours all our efforts with success. He does not wait till we reach the finishing line to bless us for our faithfulness in little things. Just as doting parents are delighted at the first toddling steps and first babbling words of their child, our Father is delighted in our little successes as well as our little failures. The Lord encourages us by saying, “ keep doing what you can, you will end up doing what you cannot.” He affirms that all great things have small beginnings. He cherishes every attempt we make to fulfil His will for our lives. Just as a bricklayer checks the wall with a plumbline after building a small segment of the larger wall, every day we need to check the segment of the wall we are engaged in building for the Kingdom of God. People may act as if they are mocking us at the beginning of our endeavour and we can expect little support or encouragement from them for unlike God they do not see the big picture of the culmination of our life’s work. But once, we make some progress in alignment with God’s Will and His Word, they too will rejoice and join the celebration. God delights in the thoughts of our minds and in the accompanying emotions, desires and decisions of our heart. He knows that thoughts eventually become things. He is more delighted not in the outcome of our efforts but the process through which we go in order to use the talents, abilities and opportunities He has brought our way. Faithfulness implies that we do not complain of what we do not have but instead we learn to use fully what we have. When Jesus asked the disciples, how much food they had at hand, the disciples initially despised the fact that they had in all only the five loaves and two fish that a little boy had in his little basket. But at the end of the day, they had twelve basketfuls of leftovers of bread and fish. It is not the devil who is in the details. It is the Lord who is in the details. “The seven eyes” are a metaphor for His complete provision and total protection to those who do small acts with great love. One eye can capture the entire expanse of a continent or an oceon and penetrate the heart of a man. It is also a symbol that faith in the Lord and His Word is a force multiplier. When we begin anything in a small way with great faith, the Lord will complete it. He lends His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence to us. He promises to fulfil the good work that He began in our lives. His ever watchful eyes are always searching to and fro across the globe for anyone whose heart is fully committed to Him so that He will show Himself strong on their behalf. He will provide His Word as the plumbline and straighten their lives. Ruth declared her total commitment to the God of Israel and proved it by the small act of sticking to her mother in law, Naomi like a leech. The Lord provided the one who was despised as a hapless and helpless woman a faithful husband in Boaz and made her the ancestor of both King David and the King of Kings Jesus. The small lesson learnt is that we need to stick to the Lord like a leech. We need to suck in the Word too like a leech all day. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dealing with Healing and Gaining from Pain

Dealing with Healing and Pain “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” Jeremiah 8 v 22 Gilead was a mount on the west side of the Jordan river where a particular type of bush grew that secreted a resin that was then processed to form the balm of Gilead. The balm of Gilead had healing properties and was greatly valued. In this uni-verse, Jeremiah asks three rhetorical questions. He was upset and angry that the people of Israel who had access to the miraculous Balm should complain of brokenness, pain and disease. The Lord answered these questions in a vision in a time of prayer: He illustrated using the five fingers of His right hand that He is the Shepherd, the Redeemer, the Saviour, the Physician and the Balm of Gilead. He is the One who binds our wounds- both the physical as well as the deeper psychological, the intellectual, the social and the spiritual wounds. He is both the Physician and the medicine. The ordinary physician diagnoses based on his knowledge and experience. Jesus decrees our healing based on our faith and His authority to heal as the “Balm of Gilead. “ He is the super specialist and can remove our deepest pain and cure all our diseases. Though we consult doctors periodically and take medicines when required, our ultimate and complete dependence for our total health and healing must be on the Lord Himself. As a Shepherd, Jesus guards and guides us in practical ways from day to day and hour to hour. As Redeemer, He pays our bill –the payment for our souls to live forever. As Saviour, He heals us of our sin or our separation from God forever. He brings us peace with God or reconciliation. This leads to peace with ourselves and peace with others or social reconciliation as we then seek peace on similar terms with all people as an expression of our gratitude and faithfulness to the redemption and salvation we have experienced. No physician can heal or diagnose unless we go to him and describe our symptoms. We need to go to Jesus in prayer and describe our symptoms- the areas where we are experiencing pain or discomfort. He will communicate the diagnosis through the Holy Spirit and pronounce the healing. Doctors say that there is a Substance P (pain) that causes pain but we have a Process P( Prayer) that gives us release and healing of pain. We need not wait till we have exhausted all other means of pain alleviation and healing before we approach the Lord. We need to show the persistence of the woman who suffered for 12 years in pushing through the crowd but we need not show her patience in waiting so long. In a sense our situation is similar to hers as we too are surrounded or crowded with activities and issues that block our view and access to the Lord. But, we need to push through to reach Jesus, the Physician. Even if we are not suffering any ailment, we can go to Him for a Master check up. As a Physician, He can see areas in which things are beginning to go wrong in our lives and set it right before further damage is done. Like Jabez, we can pray the prophylactic prayer, “ Lord, keep me from pain.” As someone said-“pain is God’s megaphone to get our attention”. If we are giving attention to our prayer life and getting the attention of God, why should we suffer pain? We must also deal with old festering wounds of unforgiveness that we show to others, bitterness and guilt of old sins. Jeremiah is referring not just to the wounds of an individual but the wounds of a people. We need to pray persistently for the nations’ wounds. He in His role as Shepherd, Redeemer and Saviour is able to heal nations of both their ancient wounds or hurting traditions as well as present issues and challenges. The words “ my people” implies that Jesus the Physician is” on call “ and available round the clock and round the globe. He is just a prayer away. The Balm of Gilead is like a spiritual panacea, a cure-all for all and a holistic medicine for spirit,mind and body. When we store the Word of God in our hearts and minds, Jesus like the Balm of Gilead will begin to operate from within us. Our pains, be it physical, psychological, emotional, social or spiritual, will be steadily and surely removed by the secretions of the anointing balm inside us. It will reach the deep recesses of our hearts and minds where no surgeon’s scalpel or probe or remedy can reach. Bitterness, despair and depression will be replaced by health, healing and the joy of the Lord. Our strength will be renewed and our health will be restored as we intertwine our five hurting fingers with the five healing fingers of the right hand of Jesus. There is no fly in the ointment but we should fly with the anointing that we receive. In the past month, my wife was suffering intense back pain that made it difficult to move but the Lord true to His being the Balm of Gilead has completely healed her of the pain and renewed her strength. When I lay injured in Sriperumbudur, I literally kept crying out “Jesus, Jesus. Heal me. Save me.” He heard my cry and healed me. While in hospital, the intense bone-crushing pain of steel pellets embedded in my feet made me cry out in pain for pain killers several nights in a row. The pain killers gave me temporary relief but when I kept saying and praying, “ Jesus, remove the pain”, the pain disappeared in a few days, never to return. My wounds and recovery was rapid and miraculous for I was discharged in just 17 days when doctors said, “ Your injuries should keep you in hospital for a minimum of six weeks.” The divine Balm of Gilead healed me of the post- traumatic stress disorder too in quick time. Indeed, Jesus provides us Any Time Medicine, All the Time Healing and Health. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 17, 2013

Follow the Best, the Rest will Follow

UV 755/10,000 Follow the Best, the Rest will Follow. This is what the Lord says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “ I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48 v 17 This uni-verse is spoken not by mere man but by the Lord God Himself. He is our redeemer. A redeemer is one who purchases us by paying a price. He paid the price of our sin with the death of His Son Jesus, thereby He redeemed us. Jesus was introduced to me as the “ best man”. My mentor said, “ Why follow the second best, when He is the best.” He is the best because no one can better who He is in terms of His character, what He did in terms of His deeds and what He said in terms of His teachings. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not an instance of symbolism or tokenism by God to redeem man symbolically but an example of absolute and total redemption won at an incalculable cost to the Redeemer. He redeems us from eternal death. He redeems our character. He redeems our families. He redeems our work life. He redeems our talents and abilities. He redeems our finances. He redeems our relationships. He redeems our time. He redeems our past, present and future. He redeems our hope. He redeems us in all of our circumstances and situations. Once He has saved us, our lives become His responsibility. It is said that when we chase perfection, we catch up with excellence. When we follow Jesus, excellence overtakes us or takes over our lives. As Job said, “ My Redeemer lives.” My Redeemer not only lives, He helps me live a successful life. Many management gurus teach many principles and habits for success and effectiveness but they cannot accompany or walk the path with their students. As a result their principles die a natural death or they become a martyr to the principle. They cannot provide the inner strength to follow what they teach. Jesus walks the path with us. He imparts the strength and wisdom from within to follow Him. He teaches us what is best for us. He re-orders our sense of priorities. He impresses on us that the kingdom of God or His rule in our lives by means of His laws is the highest goal we can set for ourselves. We need to follow His laws in order to avoid loss. To put it positively, we need to follow His laws in order to profit or benefit from His Shalom blessings. He has our best interests in mind and will do anything required in heaven or earth in order to advance it. We often think that He does not have professional expertise in the domains of our interest and tend to ignore or keep Him out of these areas. But, the Lord says, “ I will direct you step by step in your career, in your business, in your family life.” We might be the Managing Director of a firm but Jesus is the Managing Director of our lives. He has invested heavily in us with His life and He is not going to take a ‘hands-off’ approach. This is the reason that instead of us affirming that He is our God, He is affirming, “ I am the Lord your God, your Redeemer.” Effectiveness is knowing the right direction in which one is to move. He shows us the right direction to take in every area of our lives. It is not as if we will not have struggles. The very words “ the Holy One of Israel” implies that God will be with us in our struggles for Israel means “ struggle with God.” When we accept Jesus as our personal Saviour or Redeemer, the payment for our shortcomings, our sins, our failures, our judgement that we live fully now and live forever in the hereafter, we stop struggling with God. God is no longer only a concept, a chimera, an impersonal force but the most important and the best person in our lives. Since He is our Redeemer, we no longer belong to ourselves but to Him. Our souls are pledged to Him forever. Our personal struggles will not cease though we long that if only they would not increase. But the Lord will be with us and in us and before us in the midst of our struggles even as we submit to Him, acknowledging that we cannot face it alone and knowing that we will triumph with Him by our side. He who saved me at the cost of His precious life, who won eternity for me- will He not be able to redeem me from these temporary troubles? Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Friends of God

UV 754/10,000 Friends of God But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Isaiah 41 v 8 The word “ belief” consists of two root words- “be” and “lief.” The verb “ be” though simple comprises all the complex of thoughts, words, deeds, activities, emotions, goals, desires, relationships, work and leisure that comprises life. The word “ lief” that is comprised of all the letters of the word “life” is the old English word meaning “ Kingdom”. All of our being, doing, having and behaving should reflect our belief or trust in the King of all life – God Himself. Adam and Eve disbelieved God and believed satan and lost his dominion or kingdom. They dethroned God from the throne of their hearts and enthroned satan. Sin began to dominate human life. Abraham believed God and became part of the kingdom of God. He enthroned God again on the throne of his heart. The kingdom of God or the rule and reign of God began again in his life. His belief made him righteous in the eyes of God. Abraham had many powerful enemies surrounding him as he led a nomadic existence. He feared that even his beautiful wife would be taken by them. But God acted as a friend and redeemer and delivered him from the real threats as well as his fears. Scripture calls Abraham a Friend of God. Abraham had a personal relationship with the one who had created, formed and redeemed him. God called him by his name and gave him a new name, Abraham or father of many nations. Abraham responded in faith and believed in the promise of God. It is the righteousness of our faith that makes us Friends of God. God kept His promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations even though he did not even have a single son when he first called him into a relationship with Him. He gave him Ishmael, the son from the bondwoman and Isaac, the son from his wedded wife. But, it was through the latter that God purposed to create a new nation Israel, chosen by Him to reveal His purpose for all mankind that all people everywhere could by belief in His son Jesus be a part of His eternal Kingdom. Faith or belief is the seed of friendship with God. Religion is man-made mainly out of fear of the unknown, unknowable and unpredictable. But God is not interested in religion. It has the outer form without the inner power of the righteousness of faith. He is interested in a relationship, a deeply personal relationship with all people as individuals like Abraham. As the seed of the righteousness of belief or faith grows in us, our relationship with God our Creator, Sustainer, Father, King, Friend and Redeemer deepens and widens and lengthens. Jesus said that “ I do not treat you as servants as servants are not told everything but that which they should know. I treat you as friends for I have told you everything the Father has told me to tell you.” He trusts us and believes in us. Belief or trust is the foundation of true friendship. He has called us “ Friends of God.” As friends chat with each other online or in real time for hours on end as my daughters do, the Lord enjoys it when we chat with Him. As we chat with Him, He multiplies our joy and divides our sorrows. He even understands us in our deep silences. He comforts us as a devoted friend on our dark days and times. As a wise friend, He guides, helps and counsels us. As a friend, He delights in our well being. Just as Jesus came not to start a new religion but to make all people Friends of God by virtue of their belief in Him. When I joined the Indian Police Service I thought I had an opportunity to make all people not fear the police but to be Friends of Police. Therefore, I started the Friends of Police movement and it is my vision to see it spread across the nation(s) to empower and enable individuals to partner with the police. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Working with Grace

UV 753/10,000 Working with Grace But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them –yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. I Corinthians 15 v 10 God explained His identity to Moses in these words, “ I am who I am.” He is self-existent and self-sufficient. But we His creatures are dependent on Him for our sense of identity, empowerment and enablement. We need to define ourselves as Paul defined himself: “ I am what I am by the grace of God.” Everything I am is received as a free gift from the Lord. Paul perceived himself as the least of the apostles and the worst of sinners. Yet, he worked harder than all of them. He travelled to more places. He pioneered more churches. He shared in more places. He suffered more trials and afflictions. He took more risks. He taught more believers. He impacted more lives. He worked hard to make tents to support himself. He recognized that it was not he who was doing all this but the grace and power of God that was at work in him. The grace of God is given to us freely but it is given not so that we can rest on our oars but so that we can go places for the Lord. It is given so that we become a channel of light, deliverance, healing and blessing to many in our generation. It is given so that we move out of our comfort zones and enter uncharted waters and territory. A ship is safest when berthed in the harbour but its destiny is to move out to distant ports, taking its wares and cargo where it is needed or where it is commissioned to go. Similarly, we are commissioned so that we move out of our safe zones into areas of challenge and turbulence. The grace of God is not given to us in vain. We receive an impartation of grace to fulfil the will and specific purpose of the Lord. When we have so received the grace of God, we cannot boast that we have done it all. Neither can we be crestfallen that we have failed. When we attribute all that we do to the outworking of the grace of God, we always remain humble in the presence of God and we are confident that we will exceed or excel whatever goals we have before us. For people of the world, the accomplishment of goals is due to hard work, their abilities and their favourable circumstances. For the children of God, accomplishment of goals comes from God’s grace or favour and His active help and hard work. Hard work is our commitment to use God-given talents, abilities, resources and opportunities while grace is God’ s commitment to help us as we work hard. Grace is the Ebenezer manifestation of God’s glory. In the absence of hard work, we are taking the grace of God for granted. For a long time, I wanted to write many books but I failed as long as I depended only on my own ability. But, the Lord knowing my desire told me, “ I will teach you how to elaborate on ideas.” He inspired me with the concept of uni-verse. Each uni-verse contains the whole truth on that teaching or idea covering the entire Word from Genesis to Revelation. It contains a model to emulate or avoid, a metaphor or symbol to enable us to understand the spiritual in more tangible terms, a precept or truth to obey or practice. I worked hard and consistently on this over the past two years or more, spending the first three hours of every morning on writing uni-verse regularly. Now I have the content of seven books ready for publication. Every hundred days produces the equivalent of a book. Writing the uni-verse has become the top priority activity of my days. Even on days when things did not go my way or when I was travelling, I endeavoured to write what the Lord has laid on my heart and mind. Yet it was not I but the grace of God that is with me. If God is with us, then the grace of God is with us. If the grace of God is with us, then we will not work in vain. Working only for gain in this lifetime is working in vain. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Set in His Ways

UV 752/10,000 Unshakable Faith “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16 v 8 To set the Lord always before us means that we set our minds on the Lord always. Our thoughts, emotions, decisions, words and actions are focussed on the Lord. We have no trouble focussing on the Lord off and on when we meet with fellow believers, when we are worshipping but the emphasis is on the word, “ always”. This is the challenging part in which most of us often fail. Nothing should attract us so much and nothing should disturb us so much that we are driven off track in our personal and intimate interface with the Lord. Joseph as the slave of Potiphar was focussed on pleasing the Lord and as a result even when his earthly master was out of sight, he remembered the command of the Lord to maintain his integrity when his master’s wife attempted to seduce him. False accusation by Potiphar’s adulterous wife did not shake him. He continued to be hopeful and held on to the faith he had in the dreams the Lord had given him as a young boy. The Lord had given him a word and his faith in the Word of God gave him rock-like security. Nothing could shake or move his faith. It was like iron footings inside bedrock. Even in prison he set his mind upon the Lord at all times. This enabled him to win the favour of fellow prisoners and eventually the attention and favour of Pharaoh himself. When we have this kind of focus and faith, the Lord is always intimate with us. He is always at our right hand. He is there when we need Him and we need Him all the time. The proximity of the Lord is the source of our absolute security. Nothing that he has not permitted can touch or come near us. We are neither bewildered nor anxious nor depressed when things happen that seem to be beyond our control for we know that there is someone with us who is in control, whose commitment to us is total, whose knowledge is complete and whose power is absolute. As a direct result of our faith, our hearts will be glad and full of positive emotions. Our tongues will rejoice over positive faith confessions, good tidings and create goodwill among men. Our bodies will rest in the security of the knowledge of the Lord as a child that lies asleep in her mother’s lap. The Psalmist writes that “ as he has set his love upon my name, I will rescue him. I will protect him for he acknowledge my name.” Setting our love upon the Lord implies that it is a conscious, deliberate, habitual, intimate and willing relationship I had set my love upon Him on 31st July, 1979 when the name and person of Jesus took primacy over all other names and persons in my mind and my life. On May 21st ,1991 when an earth-shaking event took place in the assassination of a national leader, the Lord kept His word that he would protect me as I acknowledged His name before my boss, the Superintendent of Police when I denied his suggestion that things happen as it is fated in our destiny. I said, “ God will protect me whatever happens”. The Lord is much closer than we think. He listens to our every word particularly when we make positive faith confessions in Him in the course of our daily grind. The pressure or pleasures of the day should not edge Him out of our consciousness. We pray and listen to Him all through the day and all through our lives even as passionate young lovers exchange notes and messages frequently. However, unlike the latter our faith will not be subject to frequent mood swings or the vagaries of events and relational issues but be consistent, persistent and ever growing as we mature in our relationship with the Lord and increase in our intimacy. We often hear the complaint about older people that they are set in their ways but the Lord expects us to be set in His ways always. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vision 20-20

UV 751/10,000 Vision 20-20 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalm 119 v 18 Each of us is gifted with different types of sight- eyesight to begin with, foresight, hindsight, mind-sight, heart-sight, spiritual sight and insight. Foresight and hindsight are related to wisdom about knowing what to do with regard to the future and the ability to learn from the past. These two sight faculties enable us to know where we came from and where we are heading. These types of sight are derived from our practical experience. But, the psalmist in this uni-verse is referring to things that are beyond ordinary human perception, understanding and experience. Our vision will never be 20-20 until our eyes are opened in respect of our inner eyes. Only when these six faculties are working- foresight, hindsight, mind-sight, heart-sight, spiritual sight and insight, do we have 6x6 vision. Our inner eyes can behold what our eyes cannot- the wonders of the kingdom of God, the liberating truths and wonderful promises strewn across the Word of God. The Word itself contains wonders that the eye has not seen nor the ear heard nor the mind conceived. Saul the persecutor of the early Christians was focussed on eliminating this new threat to the Jewish faith. But, the Lord Jesus appeared in a blinding vision to him on the road to Damascus. He lost his eyesight and was temporarily blinded. This happened to symbolise that he had all along been blinded by his misguided zeal and hatred. He needed a time of blindness to break the pattern of his reliance on his senses and his past conditioning. Ananias the cobbler had to pray for him to enable him to regain his sight. Immediately, what appeared to be scales fell from his eyes and he began to see again. Along with his eyesight his mindsight, his heart-sight, his spiritual sight and his insight began to open. With the same zeal that characterised his opposition to the new creed, he began to study the scriptures, interacted and interviewed the apostles and disciples of Jesus. His mind-sight was opened. His hatred was replaced by love for people. His self righteousness was replaced by continual penitence where he regarded himself as “the worst of sinners.” His heart-sight was opened. He desired to toil to save souls in every nation, whether Jew or Gentile. His spiritual sight was opened. He began to teach the infant churches in many nations. His insight had opened. Indeed, what we see is our vision, what we do is our mission. While our physical eyes open and close at will, we need the grace and help of the Lord to have our mind-sight, heart-sight, spiritual sight and insight opened. With our physical eyes we can only see what is manifested or that which God has ordained that man can ordinarily see. With our other visual faculties, we can see, understand and experience what man cannot ordinarily see and understand. With mind-sight, I can see and understand the thoughts of God that are higher, infinitely highter than mind. I can see and understand the emotions of God that are infinitely deeper than mind. With heart-sight, I can feel His compassion, love and grace and be able to take a measure of it. I can see and understand the acts of God that surpasses the arc of time and space. With spiritual sight, I can perceive the souls of people and discern their spirit. With insight, I can find the hidden truths in the Word of God much like a prospector of gold would pray and seek hard that he strikes a vein of gold in all his digging and searching. Prateep V Philip

The Caleb Heart

The Caleb Heart Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the LORD. Deuteronomy 1 v 36 Caleb wholeheartedly followed the Lord. He had no reservation in his faith. He boldly obeyed God. Scripture says that he had a different spirit. When he was sent into Canaan along with ten other spies to bring back intelligence about the land and its inhabitants, only Joshua and he brought back positive information that the land was good and fertile and that the Lord who had promised them the land would give them possession and that they would be able to defeat the seemingly formidable foes who were now inhabiting the land. Joshua and Caleb chose to see what their heart led by the Holy Spirit told them to see. They saw the land but did not bother too much about the size and prowess of the inhabitants. The others of that generation of Israelites listened to the spirit of the adversary and that filled them with fear and trembling at the odds against them. But Caleb and Joshua thought that “when God is with us, why should we worry about the odds? It is not a gamble or an uncertainty. Victory and success is a certainty.” The other day I was talking to a former senior American bank manager and I asked him what is the success rate in business. He replied that only one of ten business ideas succeed. The reason is that only one out of ten really believe that their idea will succeed. They have failed even before they had started. Caleb saw that the land would be in their possession soon. He did not focus on the obstacles. He focussed on the Lord and knew that His power to make things happen is unlimited. Caleb listened to his heart and not to what his mind saw. His mind fell in line with his heart and then thought of the strategy to overcome the adversaries, however powerful. We need to start with the end in sight, meaning we give thanks and praise to the Lord for the end result we are hoping for long before it happens. This is the land or success we are claiming for ourselves and our descendants. This is the land we are treading upon. When we have the promise of God in our hearts, why should we compromise with men? Why should we fear and tremble before men? This was the attitude of Caleb. He trusted the promise of God. The words “ save Caleb” in the uni-verse meant that he had an exceptional faith that we should emulate. It was not a blind faith as Caleb had seen and experienced how the mighty hand of the Lord had led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt. He had seen how the Lord had led Israel through the wilderness for forty years as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. Even today He leads us, if we follow Him wholly, as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. In our adversity or night, He appears as a pillar of fire to drive away our adversaries, to put a ring of protection around us, to give us warmth and light, to show us the direction we should take. In our day or times of light and prosperity when circumstances are favourable, He provides a cloud of glory over us. He acts as a canopy of protection, a shade and shadow, a cloud seeded with the blessings He sends down on us from time to time as a shower. When we follow the Lord wholly, He gives a blessing to us and our succeeding generations. He renewed the youth of Caleb so that he retained the same vigour and strength at the age of eighty five that he had when he was in his forties. This is the secret of bearing fruit unto the Lord even in our old age. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Keep the Bread Rolling

Keep the Bread Rolling “When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said,, “ Behold, I had a dream, a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” Judges 7 v 13 Gideon was waiting on the Lord for confirmation that he would lead Israel to victory against her mortal foes- the Midianites who had set up camp below the hill of Moreh. They were as numerous as a plague of locusts in the sense that one could not precisely estimate the number of soldiers and that they far outnumbered the Israelites and especially the 300 men whom Gideon had been directed by the Lord to choose as the fighting arm. Naturally, Gideon was apprehensive. The Lord discerning his fear, asked him to go down alone near the outposts of the Midianites to hear what they say. At the time, he went down he heard a man relate a dream to his friend: a loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the camp of Midian and struck and overturned the tent. Hearing this dream being related strengthened the hands of Gideon and he had the assurance that “ God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” The friend who heard the dream interpreted that it meant that the loaf of bread was the sword of Gideon and the overturned,flattened tent meant that God had given Midian and its camp into his hand. The Lord used the metaphor of bread as Gideon was a farmer who cultivated food crops. Hearing the dream and its interpretation gave Gideon the courage. As the friend rightly interpreted, Gideon and his sword were the least aspect of what brought the Israelites’ victory and the Midianites’ defeat. When the Lord uses us as His instrumentality of deliverance, we and our abilities remain the least aspects of what brings victory and deliverance to people from death, defeat and destruction. The greatest aspects are the power, grace and glory of God. Our vision of the Lord acting on our behalf will strengthen our hand against virtually impossible odds and all kinds of situations. The ‘rolling’ breadroll is the Word of God that is active in our lives. The Word that is not active in our lives cannot impact us. Jesus is Himself described as the Bread of Life. When we participate in the communion, we are strengthened like Gideon in spirit and mind and body. The Word will strengthen us from within as we bite into it from time to time. We need to enjoy it as a special loaf baked for us in Heaven. It will roll down all through our lives like the rolling breadroll and strike the enemy tent. It will help us overcome the opposition, the forces and people who are encamped around us to attack us. God gave Gideon a strategy that is unheard of and unprecedented in military history. It enabled a mere 300 Israelite volunteers to put to rout a well trained, equipped and armed army. God had chosen Gideon, the weakest of the weak to defeat the powerful and mighty. Today too, He chooses the weak like us to confound the mighty, the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. It is scientifically impossible for a mere loaf of bread to overturn a tent that had been pegged into the ground. We only need to keep the bread rolling all the time in our hearts and minds and lives and it will overturn the factors and forces that attack or threaten us. It will flatten the opposition as the bread roll flattened the secure tent. Every uni-verse is like a bread roll. It needs to roll in our hearts and minds and circumstances all through the day and night. Each uni-verse has a concept or management principle, a precept or truth to learn and emulate, a model to follow or to avoid, a promise to remember and claim, a command or instruction to obey, carry out or practice. Indeed, keeping the Bread rolling in our lives is our winning strategy- the one habit that will transform our lives, strengthen us from within, enable us to overcome all circumstances, to triumph in life. Prateep V Philip

Friday, May 10, 2013

An Altar to Alter Our Lives

UV 748/10,000 An Altar to Alter Lives Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6 v 24 Gideon had a visitation of an angel and he built an altar at that place and called it Jehovahshalom. Abraham built an altar and called it JehovahJireh. Moses built an altar and called it Jehovahnissi. Each of them had an experience of a different dimension of the power of God and they glorified Him by consecrating a place as an altar to God. Shalom implies peace, wholeness, prosperity, health and joy. Jireh implies providence of God. Nissi implies victory. Gideon’s life began to alter after his act of consecration and worship. Here was a man who before his encounter with the angel of the Lord, hid his wheat afraid that the marauding Midianites would take it by force from him. His self-esteem was low. He thought of himself as belonging to a poor and weak family of the tribe of Manasseh. He thought of himself as the least in his father’s family. He feared his powerful enemies and did not trust the power of God to redeem Israel. Yet the encounter with the angel of the Lord began to alter Gideon’s belief in God and in himself. The resulting growing belief in God and in himself altered his destiny and the destiny of the nation of Israel. From having a fugitive mentality of trying to escape dangers, he became a leader of Israel who took on risks. The nation of Israel from being a defeated nation living in subjection became a nation that challenged the might of her neighbours. The angel of the Lord called Gideon “ a mighty man of valour.” The Lord did not see his past or his present but saw his potential as a leader. Other people and we too see ourselves on the basis of our past and present failures and weaknesses but the Lord sees us from the point of view of our potential. We need to ask the Lord, “ What do you see me as?” There were undoubtedly gaps in Gideon’s spiritual armour and in his leadership profile but Jehovahshalom, the one who completes all things filled the gap with His grace. He is the One who calls, sends, anoints, equips, leads, guides, empowers, endows and enables us to fulfil our destiny. He took the fears and inadequacies of Gideon and turned it into faith and sufficiency. We need to set up an altar to JehovahShalom, JehovahJireh and JehovahNissi in our hearts and minds and lives. We need to offer up a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving with our hearts full of awe and gratitude at what the Lord has done and what He is going to do. We need to continually worship at this mental, emotional and spiritual altar of our lives. This one act would alter our weaknesses into strengths, our despondency and depression into joy and jubilation, our fears into valour, our doubts into faith, our failures into successes and our inadequacy into sufficiency. We will be clothed with the might, valour and power of JehovahShalom. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Corrupt versus Wholesome Communication

Corrupt versus Wholesome Communication Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4 v 29 The tongue or our speech can be the source of corruption or the source of encouragement for our whole being. We need to constantly check ourselves whether our communication is making things better or making things worse in any given situation. If it is making things better, then we are indeed using it for edification or to build. Our speech needs to be gracious like that of Jesus. We can use it to build the faith of others, to build hope in others, to build self esteem in others, to motivate others, to give guidance and friendly correction. Our little mouths can be used as the source of rivers of life-giving and life-enhancing water. At the same time, if we are not watchful, our tongues can spark a raging forest fire affecting many lives. The litmus test is to keep asking the question: is this communication of mine helpful or harmful, positive or negative, wholesome or corrupt, healthy or perverse? Over time as we run our speech through several such filters, our speech will begin to pour out distilled wisdom, truth and grace. When we insult others or respond to the insults of others in like manner, we are tearing down the image of God in which they are created. Our communication needs to be wholesome and appropriate to meet the needs of the hearers. Our conversations are a form of ministry or service in the kingdom of God. With our words, we can help people to see and experience the God whom their eyes cannot see or their hands cannot touch. When they believe, they find grace in the eyes of the Lord. With our speech, we can lead many to salvation and righteousness. While speaking to some students recently, I said that there are only three things needed for success in life and that is “ communication, communication and communication.” Indeed, there are three forms of communication- intrapersonal- what we say to ourselves all the time. This is called our self talk. Our self talk should be saturated with the Word of God. The second form of communication is our inter-personal communication. Our social skills and relationships are dependent on inter personal communication. Finally, our non verbal communication- namely, our tone, our facial expression and body language also impacts people significantly. Not only should our communication not be corrupt but it should be effective. Our conversation needs to be salted or flavoured with grace. Our words need to reflect our inner being or attitudes of faith, of forgiveness, of humility, of love, of hope. Indulging in gossip about others, judging others and criticising them behind their backs are examples of corrupt communication that displeases the Lord and grieves the indwelling Holy Spirit. Giving honest feedback to a person for his or her own good is wholesome or healthy communication. Remembering that the Lord is listening to every word we speak will teach us to be careful in the way we speak. Scripture says that we will be judged for every wrong word we use. Using foul language and cracking vulgar jokes is an instance of corrupt communication. Using our mouths to complain and murmur is another type of corrupt communication. It angers the Lord as a pranting child would irritate his parents. The Lord expects our mouths to be involved in a constant confession of our faith. We should use our tongues as a trumpet not to boast but to speak about the good things the Lord has done in our lives. Just as we count our days to render ourselves wise in the eyes of the Lord we need to count our words. Economy in speech often keeps us out of trouble and makes our words count for scripture says that “ where words abound, sin abounds.” Of course, all this is literally “easier said” than done unless the Lord, the Master of Communication, who gave us our amazing ability to communicate also gives us amazing grace to master and manage our communication so that we can make it go the way we want whenever we want. Like the Psalmist,we can ask the Lord to post a sentry. David asked for a sentry at the door of his lips. We can ask for the Holy Spirit at the door of our hearts as the mouth will speak what the heart is full of. We can also ask for the mind of Christ to process the thoughts. The mind of Christ will not allow the emotional part of our minds to dominate. It will not allow even the intellectual part of the mind to dominate. The spiritual wholesomeness of communication that is apt, necessary, useful, joyful and helpful will become the norm in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Transformation

UV 746/10,000 The Transformation “Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water and the water became sweet. There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them.” Exodus 15 v 25 Moses had led Israel from the Red Sea into the Desert of Shur. For three days they had travelled without finding water to drink. Finally, when they did find water at Marah, they found the water too hard and bitter to drink. Moses was under pressure from the people to give them good water to drink. They had seen mighty wonders and miracles. They had experienced amazing deliverance from death at the hands of the Egyptian army but they despaired that they did not have water to drink. God had formed the nation from the loins of Abraham. But, He was more keen to transform the nation. Moses cried out to the Lord, His only source of help in any crisis. The Lord answered his cry and showed him a piece of wood. When Moses threw it into the water, it became sweet. When we cry out to the Lord, He will show us something in our proximate environment or surroundings as a solution. Moses' faith moved him to action- to take the piece of wood and throw it into the waters of Marah. Similarly, our faith should move us to action in respect of the solution the Lord has shown us. The waters of Marah is itself a metaphor for life. There is much sadness, bitterness, disappointment and other challenges in each of our lives. The Word offers a solution for every problem in the world or in our own little universe. Our problems will get solved in time or dissolved over time. The piece of wood that Moses threw into the waters of Marah is a metaphor for the Word of God. It was immersed in the water and the bitter water was transformed into sweet water. When we immerse ourselves into the Word, our bitter memories, the hard feelings, the negative thoughts and fears will be transformed into positive ones. Our bitter disappointment will be turned into fulfilment. Our lives will be transformed from vain and futile experience into a meaningful, powerful and joyful experience of God. M.K. Gandhi wrote the book, “ My Experiments with Truth”. One cannot experiment with the truth, one can only experience it. It is much larger and deeper than us. We cannot hold it, bend it, break or cut it. It can do all that to us. Truth has a transforming effect on our lives. It works from the inside of us, from deep within. Our wooden hearts would be softened to respond to the touch and move of the Holy Spirit. The people of Israel had a taste of the power and grace of God. Having had a taste of the power of God, they were now ready for a test of their faith. God had formed us in our mothers’ wombs but He is more keen to transform us. This is the pattern I see in my walk of faith. Whenever I had experienced a miracle of God’s power, my faith had expanded and been strengthened. It was then tested and tried in another trial of faith. Much like the central figure in a video game, we move to the next level to encounter another obstacle or threat. Depending on the dexterity of our faith, we will move to the next level or if we make one false move we fail and try again. This is similar to the path to spiritual maturity that the Lord walks His children on. The difference is that the Lord is with us and He guides and shepherds us step by step. At several points in the spiritual journey we undertake, He literally carries us like a shepherd would carry a hurt sheep on his own shoulders. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Sovereignty of the Lord

The Sovereignty of the Lord For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? Isaiah 14 v 27 The Lord of the armies of heaven decides what happens in our lives. He does things on purpose and does not allow matters to take their own course. His will is sovereign. He has made His purpose known through His Word. His purpose is perfect, specific and precise. He causes all things to happen for our good. Every person and creature is created with a purpose. Every organ in us is created with a purpose. The organs work in tandem with a purpose. He has endowed each of us with free will. In so doing, He endowed us with a part of His personality and power. Our success or failure in life would depend on how much we bring our wills in alignment with the sovereign will of the Lord. Once the Lord has decided, no one can annul or cancel or alter it. Yes, we have precedents in scripture as in our lives where prayer has caused the mind of the Lord to change. Hezekiah was told in prophetic revelation that he was going to die and to set his house in order in preparation for it. But, when Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed, the Lord relented and extended his life by a good fifteen years. When doctors and the media predicted that a certain former Prime Minister of India would die of a blood disease very soon, a pastor known to me prayed for him and the Lord extended his life by ten years. Prayer causes even the Lord to sometimes annul His purpose or suspend its operation in specific situations. Faith is the unique faculty the Lord has given human beings to alter their destiny and to move the heart and hand of God. It is in fact a more valuable faculty than reason or emotion or imagination for reason is a realm that begins with knowledge and enters into belief and experience while faith begins with belief and experience and steps into knowledge. We cannot tinker with the purpose of the Lord. Once His hand is stretched out to deliver or to heal or to bless or to save, no force in earth or heaven can cause Him to withdraw His grace. Similarly, once His hand is stretched out against those who attack us or oppress us or oppose His will, it will not cease till what is purposed is achieved. It is written about Jesus that the last time, He travelled towards Jerusalem, He set His face like flint. We too need to imitate the Lord in His flint-like determination. Flint is a stone against which even metals or blades of knives and swords are sharpened. Indeed, such determination is needed to sharpen our knowledge of the sword of the Word. We too need to execute what we purpose in our hearts and minds. Before that we need to test our motives, our purpose against the touchstone of the Lord’s larger purpose for our lives. Jesus while praying in the garden of Gethsemane cried out to the Lord, “ If it is possible, let me not drink of this cup. Yet not my will but Yours be done.” For a moment in eternity, the Father in Heaven would have considered, “ Is there any other way? Had I not spared Isaac when Abraham was about to sacrifice him and provided a lamb instead?” Then, He would have said to Himself “ Jesus is the Lamb. There is no substitute available for Him as there is no other perfect, blemishless lamb, no other who by His own free will and purpose, lay down His life and take it up again once the price is paid.” There was no other way for God’s will to be fulfilled in human history. Today, we need to pray, “ Lord, stretch out your hand to heal and deliver, to bless and save.” There is no part of our being or no place on the planet or in the universe where His hand cannot reach. Prateep V Philip

Monday, May 6, 2013

Strength and Deliverance

UV 745/10,000 Strength and Deliverance Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 2 Timothy 4 v 17 When we share the Word or the gospel, the Lord Jesus stands with us as He stood with Paul. He is the One who strengthened Moses as the latter spoke to the mighty Pharaoh words of warning that would have certainly displeased Pharaoh. Later, He promised Joshua : “ As I was with Moses, I will be with you.” He kept His word with Joshua and did wreak mighty miracles and wrested victory against all odds for Israel led by Joshua. Now, He says the same word to us who stand by faith: “As I am with Moses, Joshua, Paul and Peter, I am with you.” Even as He did reveal His power and grace in their lives, He will reveal His power in our lives. We need to look to Him for strength. He will provide the wherewithal required for us to do His work. He increases our strength from within. David’s strength was so increased as he worshipped God while tending his sheep that the Lord enabled him to tear a lion apart by its jaws and to overpower a bear. The Lord cannot stand with us unless we are continually worshipping and adoring Him in our hearts and minds. The opposition will be clueless from which side it was hit even as Goliath was clueless about what had knocked him down as he stood against the puny David. It is the concern or burden of the Lord that people hear the full truth of life and salvation. It is His goal that all those who have not heard the gospel preached hear it for faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. St Paul was anointed to reach all the Gentiles. A man who was persecuting the early believers and was determined to prevent them from extending their influence to other Jews had been chosen by the Lord to be the chief instrument of taking the gospel to distant shores and people in different nations and from different cultures and backgrounds. But, the Lord delivered Paul out of the mouth of the lion several times. He was saved in a deadly shipwreck. He was saved from the bite of a poisonous snake. He was saved from incarceration in a Roman prison. He was saved from being stoned to death by angry mobs. He was saved from the ire of the authorities. The threat could emanate from a natural or human source. Similarly, the Lord will prove faithful to us and save us from the mouth of the lion as we stand for Him and speak on His behalf. Recently, the Lord reminded me, “ I have delivered you out of the mouth of the lion.” It meant that He had delivered me from a serious threat, an imminent danger. The lion is a symbol for a force or threat that is larger and stronger than us and it could thwart and destroy us. It is set in motion by our common enemy who dwells in darkness-satan. We may not even perceive it or be aware of such deliverance even after it happens. He not only strengthens us from within but He also defends us from without. Prateep V Philip