Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our Mount Horeb

UV 798/10,000 Our Mount Horeb When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him, and said, “ What are you doing here, Elijah?” I Kings 19 v 13 The prophet Elijah had received a death threat from the wicked Queen Jezebel. He travelled forty days and nights to Mount Horeb and took refuge in a cave on the mountain. He heard a word from the Lord to stand on the mountain. We too when we face our greatest challenge should stand on that challenge for our greatest challenge is our Mount Horeb where the Lord will manifest Himself. We should not take cover in the caves of our apprehension, disappointment and despondency. We must not wallow in the shallows of despondency. The Lord will ask us, “ What are you doing here?” We must replace our despondency with our dependency on the Lord. He will show up as He did to Elijah and meet us at the point of our need. It is interesting to see how the Lord did not even address Elijah’s fear and death threat but spoke directly about his next destination, tasks and mission. The word “ manifest” itself means reveal oneself to man. The Bible is God’s manifesto to man. Though God is awesome and powerful, He does not believe in shock and awe tactics. He did not reveal Himself in the mighty wind, the earthquake or the fire on Mount Horeb but He revealed Himself to Elijah in the gentle breeze of a still, small voice. He is present in the whisper of the Holy Spirit. When we seek the Lord in our times of distress, we must not look for Him in signs and wonders but tune our ears to hear His still, small voice. The Lord spoke to Elijah as a person speaks to another. He knew what Elijah was doing on Mount Horeb but He wanted to let him unburden himself by speaking about the imminent death threat. The Lord then gave him specific directions of where he must go and what he must do. He gives him the prophetic means of his deliverance and vindication. He also gives him the succession plan for his prophetic ministry. We too must turn our ‘horrible’ experiences into a Mount Horeb experience where we seek and meet with the Lord manifesting Himself. We may not experience an earthquake, winds or fire but we will certainly hear His still, small voice like the gentle blowing of the breeze that will put to rest our fears and anxieties and give us a clear direction of where to go and what to do. His voice will assuage our fears. His words will encourage us. His presence will empower us. Elijah approached the presence of the Lord with reverence by covering his face with his mantle. We too must recognize that we are unworthy to look upon the face of the Lord. Even the angels cover their faces with their wings as they are in the presence of the Lord. In his brush with Jehovah, Elijah’s mantle picks up the anointing of His presence and when it falls on his successor Elisha, the latter received a double anointing of the power manifested through the life and ministry of Elijah. We cannot enter and leave the presence of the Lord without receiving His anointing. Elijah the one who feared death does not even die but is taken up eventually in a chariot of fire. Jesus is that chariot of fire that rescues us today from death and its consequences. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Good Race, the Good Fight

The Good Race, the Good Fight But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 1 Timothy 6 v 11 It is a great privilege to be called a man of God. But there are no great men of God, there are only men, women and children of a great God. Every believer is a man or woman or child of God. As such, we are called to flee from youthful lusts- lusts that pursue us doggedly not only when we are young or youthful but even when we are much older- sexual lust, lust to possess, pride, egoism, conceit, jealousy, lack of contentment, hatred… On the one hand, the devil sends some of the personal demons we have befriended in the past to pursue us all our lives. We need to flee from these even as Joseph fled from the adulterous wife of Potiphar who was attempting to seduce him. If we fail to do so and entertain such thoughts or desires even for a short while, we will be ensnared. Between bait and bail, we should seek bail. If we cry out to the Lord with a pure heart or a sincere desire to avoid such snares in our lives, He will bail us out of such temptations. These are not figments of imagination but hard reality that the personal demons pursue one lifelong and with such persistence. We need to flee or run faster in the opposite direction, the moment we see or sense these temptations coming our way. The Lord once told me, “ there were temptations coming towards you but you fled in the opposite direction like Joseph.” Even as we increase the pace at which we run away from lusts of the eye, flesh and the pride of life, we should accelerate towards righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness. We must increase in our zeal to possess these for they constitute the veritable Kingdom of God. We need to be passionate in reflecting these qualities in our lives. God wants man to be God-like in terms of these attributes of character but man wants to be like God in terms of position and power. We begin to be righteous and godly when we fear God but we need to grow into the maturity of Christ to be Christ-like in righteous thoughts, speech and deeds, faithful at all times in good times and bad times and till we reach the finishing line. Our focus should not be on our existential struggles and challenges but on the Lord as we run and as we fight. Scriptures says, “ look to the rock from which you were cut, the pit from which you were dug.” We are cut by faith from the eternal Rock-Christ Himself. We were saved from the pit into which He went on our behalf. We should focus on Him to author or write into our DNA these attributes and depend on His grace to develop or finish it into their highest and fullest potential. Jesus uses the agency of the Holy Spirit to birth in us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. It is a tall order to develop all these spiritual attributes of character at one and the same time. This is the reason the practical fisher of men,St Peter says, “ first focus on your faith with all diligence to strenghthen it, then to your faith add the evidence of goodness, to goodness add knowledge of the Word and the world, to knowledge add God control or temperance or regulation of our lifestyle and habits, to God control add patience or the ability to wait for results to show up in our lives and the lives of people around us, to patience we need to add godliness or as close a resemblance to Christ as possible, to godliness we need to add kindness and finally to cap it all- love as described by St Paul to the Corinthian church- in what we need to follow or pursue and what we need to flee from”. Shakespeare spoke about the seven stages of life in chronological order but St Peter wrote about these nine stages in our spiritual lives. We need to identify which stage of the race we are in. Very often in this race we return to the first stage where we have only faith to show, having failed in the other areas. But the Lord encourages us to pick ourselves up and the baton for the next stage, whether it is goodness or knowledge or self control or patience or kindness or godliness or love. The good race and the good fight that Paul ran all his life was this internal race and internal fight that all of us need to run and fight all of our earthly lives. We cannot do shadow boxing throwing our punches at some phantom or flesh and blood foe out there but practice our moves out there in the real world of our homes, our workplaces and the streets. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 28, 2013

Integrity of Heart

Integrity of Heart So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands Psalm 78 v 72 David as a shepherd led his sheep faithfully and diligently to the extent that he staked his life to save them from a lion’s jaws. This was a preparation and grooming for his leading the nation of Israel. He fed the sheep from the pastures on the hills surrounding his home but he fed Israel from the Word he received from the Lord. He was true to the Word except in the matter of his adultery with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah the Hittite. He truly repented from his heart for that fall from grace when he acted in the flesh and fell to temptation. He humbled himself before God and did not deny his sin. The Lord therefore certified that David is a man after his own heart who did His will. Integrity of heart or oneness with the heart of the Lord comes from hearing the voice of the one true Shepherd, Jesus and obeying His Word in our lives. It is reflected in all that we think,feel, speak and do. It is reflected in our relationships. It is reflected in our professional work. David desired with all his heart to please the Lord and therefore though it was his desire to build the temple of the Lord, he passed on that responsibility to his son Solomon as directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Integrity of heart requires us to discern the feelings of the Lord and to act accordingly. Once our hearts are aligned with the Lord, His Word and His will, we will have wisdom, knowledge, understanding and insight or the skills of leadership that enable us to guide others to the Lord. The Lord will use us to counsel and mentor others in His ways. Leadership that depends too much on skills or charisma or communication tends to fail. Integrity is the first attribute that should be in place. As someone said, with integrity in place, nothing else matters. Without it in place, nothing else matters. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Silver Tongues Backed by Golden Hearts

UV 795/10,000 Silver Tongues Backed by Golden Hearts The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. Proverbs 10 v 20 The believer is silver-tongued. What he or she speaks is precious and life-giving. It is compared to choice silver. Scripture says, “ The lips of the righteous feed many.” It feeds the seekers of truth. It feeds the hopeless with hope. It feeds the distressed. It feeds the sick with healing. It feeds the weak with strength from the Word. It feeds the foolish with wisdom from above. It feeds the dying with life. It feeds the directionless and purposeless with a sense of definite direction, purpose and perspective. It makes meaningless life meaningful and the fruitless life fruitful. It feeds the young and the old. It feeds every person according to the need. In order to feed people in this manner, the silver tongue should be backed by a golden heart. In order for our tongue to be of choice silver, we need to run our words through many filters. We must even sift and sort out the motives behind what we speak or teach. Besides, the silver-tongued must be backed by a heart of gold. The natural condition of the human heart is described by scripture as desperately wicked and deceitful. “Desperately wicked” means eager to say and do something wicked. Scripture says interestingly that the imagination of the human heart is evil from our youth. It does not say from our birth or childhood that our imagination and thoughts are evil but as we get conditioned by the world from the days of our youth, we turn out to be deceived and deceiving. We loose our innocence. We loose control of what we think, feel and speak. Our tongues beat like a tuning fork to match the frenetic rhythm of our hearts. It then takes many chastisements and much suffering in the furnace of afflictions to cure us of our inherent wickedness. Out of the afflictions, our hearts will come out as pure gold. By storing the Word and obeying the Word over time, our hearts of stone are transformed into hearts of flesh, our wicked hearts into hearts of gold or hearts that have the stamp of approval of the Lord. It is not as if we regain our innocence but we become as shrewd as serpents and gentle as doves. We need to be shrewd as serpents so that we do not get deceived again and gentle as doves so that we do not deceive or harm others. A heart that is so tuned to the Lord is precious to Him and He is ready to move heaven and earth for such a person. The words that roll off such a tongue is like pure melted silver, the compassion and truths treasured in such a heart is like molten gold. It has great purchase with the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weapons of Defence and Offense

Weapons of Defence and Offense And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6 v 17 The helmet plays a pivotal role in the whole body armour. As we know an injury to the head can prove fatal or debilitating. The helmet, a metaphor for spiritual armour, protects the head or the leader. Therefore, it is essential we pray for the physical, intellectual and spiritual protection of leaders of the world and of the church. Our prayers act as a virtual helmet on their behalf. When it comes to the individual, it is the hope of salvation that keeps our minds free from fear, worry, anxiety and guilt. The human mind is a pendulum that swings from guilt about the past to fear about the future. When we are saved in Christ, the same mind gets anchored or focussed on Him. Like a ship that is anchored safely in the harbour even when a huge storm is brewing all around, our minds, meaning our thoughts, emotions and decisions remain stable or in equilibrium. It is the assurance of salvation that makes us secure and full of joy. The joy of the Lord is the salvation of His people. We enter into and share in that joy when we receive Jesus as our ultimate and immediate leader. Death, disease and suffering could have stricken us with fear and depression before we wore this helmet. Now these otherwise powerful blows of life leave no impact on us except the noise they make as they strike the helmet on our heads. Whenever we feel sad or depressed,we must ask ourselves if we are wearing our spiritual helmets or have we forgotten to wear our helmets. In the spiritual as on the physical plane, the best form of defence is attack. In order to attack we need a weapon of attack like a sword. The Word is the double-edged spiritual sword that we swing around us to deal with our invisible foe. It is double-edged as it creates change in both the speaker and the hearer. Keeping the Word always at hand is like keeping the sword unsheathed to be used instantly. Keeping the Word in our memory is like holding it in our hands ready to use at any time. Meditating on the Word is like sharpening the edges of the sword. Knowing the specific verse to deal with the specific situation or temptation is akin to an expert swordsman who knows what kind of thrust of the sword is needed in different stages of a battle. It is by using the Word that we are able to bruise the head of the enemy of our souls. The Word is a mighty spiritual weapon to pull down strongholds of disbelief in us and in others. But unlike a sword, it does not take life but it gives life and enhances life. It cuts to the deepest core our being- our beliefs, our souls, our spirit- but instead of leaving us wounded or maimed, it heals, delivers and saves us. The most powerful weapon is not one that kills and destroys but one that gives life and enhances it, one that heals and saves. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Attitude Determines Salvation

UV 793/10,000 Attitude Determines Salvation Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Romans 12 v 12 Attitude not only determines altitude: it determines our health, our relationships, our success, the whole course of our days, our life, our rewards and the salvation of our souls. Paul wrote to the early believers to rejoice in hope, to be patient and persevering in trials and troubles of this life and to pray without ceasing. He commended to them the attitude of joy and hope, patience and perseverance. That attitude led them to the action of praying without ceasing. We need to rejoice not in our current circumstances but rejoice in hope. When Joseph saw the dream as a youth, he rejoiced in hope, since he believed the Lord was communicating something precious to him through his dream. When his brothers conspired and cast him in a pit, though the opposite of what he had dreamed was the reality, he held on to the hope of the dream. Though he found the pit painful, he held onto his hope and rejoiced even in the pit. When he was taken out and sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites, he again rejoiced in his hope. When he served Potiphar as a slave, he rejoiced in the hope of his elevation. When he was unjustly condemned to prison on a blatantly false accusation, he was patient and endured that humiliation too. He rejoiced in the hope. When Pharaoh asked him to interpret the “fat cows followed and swallowed by thin cows dream”, he continued to rejoice in hope. It is through a series of tests of hope and patience that the Lord reached him to his divine destiny. The Chinese celebrate the years by giving them names like “ year of the pig” or “year of the dragon” or “year of the monkey”. Believers have only two kinds of years- the year of the fat cow or year of plenty of spiritual milk or year of the thin cow or year of scarcity. Whether it is a year of the fat cow or the year of the thin cow, we should hold on to the hope we have in Christ, a far greater hope than Joseph ever had. For Christ in us is the hope of glory, hope of a share in His inheritance, hope of the abundant life and the life forever or eternal life, hope of salvation, hope of rewards in heaven, hope of deliverance, hope of healing, hope of the promises He has spoken being fulfilled. Whenever we face a current difficult situation, we should not get depressed with the reality of the hardship we are facing but we should rejoice in the hope we have. We should be patient, that the Lord will deliver us from this too. Hope is the fuel of prayer and it is patience that gives it even more mileage. We should pray with faith and without ceasing whether we are in a time of the “ fat cow” or the “thin cow.” Every moment we should be in touch and communion with the Lord. Continuing prayer is the constant vapour of our souls. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stick Like a Leech

UV 792/10,000 Stick Like a Leech The leech has two suckers that cry out, "More, more!" There are three things that are never satisfied--no, four that never say, "Enough!": Proverbs 30 v 15 People resemble leeches in our drive for more and more of money, material goods, fame and pleasure. Nobody knows how much of each of these is enough and turns out to be big time suckers. Yet we do not have enough love, enough peace, enough joy and enough grace. These will come when we show leech-like properties in sticking to the Lord, sticking to His Word, sticking to His presence and sticking to His Spirit. We can never say we have had enough of these. We must cling to what is good and positive and noble and true like a leech. We must let go of what is evil. The leech knows by instinct what is good for it and what produces warm blood for it to suck. Similarly, the Lord has given us discernment to know what is good and what is evil. Just as salt makes a leech let go of a person, animal or object, the Word of God acts as the salt to wean us away literally from what is not pleasing to the Lord. An excess of monetary or material blessings or an excess of popularity or fame, more than we need or more than we can use will cause us to bloat up like a continually sucking leech and burst. When we come across super rich or super glamourous persons, we can tell ourselves, “ Here is a big-time sucker. He or she has no idea when he or she will burst like an over-inflated balloon." The Lord will show us how much we need. At that point, we should know how to say, “ Thank you, Lord. It is enough.” We just need to stick to Him like a leech and suck in His Word on a constant basis. We can ask for more and more of His spiritual wisdom and more and more of His power, grace and mercy to be manifest in our lives. The more we have of these, we will not swell up but we will diminish and He will increase. In the kingdom of God, less is more and more is less. We should focus on getting more spiritual suckers and suction pads working all the time in our lives. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strength Will Rise Up

UV 791/10,000 Strength Will Rise Up “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” I John 2 v 14 John was writing to encourage both the older generation as well as the younger generation of believers. The older had a personal relationship with the Father in heaven through Christ while the younger were spiritually strong as the Word of God abided in them and that had enabled them to overcome the evil one. The purpose of the uni-verse is to deepen our intimacy and knowledge of JeHoVah, the Triune God. It is a call to both maturity and intimacy. When we learn and understand the Word of God we get to know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit intimately for the Word is from the beginning and is the same as God. When we learn, understand and apply the Word of God in all the challenges and situations in life, we become spiritually strong to overcome the evil one. The Word produces the seed of our growth and fruitfulness and it also provides the seed of our need in this life and the life to come. The Word needs not just to be read and forgotten but to be integrated with all of our lives. It needs to mix with our thoughts, emotions and decisions just as cement when it mixes with gravel and steel and stone becomes concrete that can withstand a lot of pressure. The Word is alive and active. It needs to abide in us the same way a person abides in a room or a home. It needs to stay in our consciousness all the time. When the Word abides in us and we abide by the Word, the evil one cannot overpower us by temptations or by infiltrating our thoughts, emotions and decisions. It is the Word that abides in us that renews our youth and strength, renews our minds or strengthens our thoughts, emotions and will to resist the temptations and to draw the inner power and grace to overcome all challenges to our faith. The evil one brings feelings of guilt about our past, depressing thoughts about our present and anxiety about our future. The Word neutralises these feelings and thoughts and uproots it by their very roots. The Word fills us and affirms us with assurance of the love and all sufficient grace of the Father towards us. It inspires hope, instils in us the power to endure and energises us to boldly face the events of our days. When the Word is in us and we are living in accordance with the Word, we have a constant communication channel opened with the Lord. When we are young, it is primarily by the instruction of the Word that we know God. When we are older and have experienced the victory that comes by believing the Word, the evidence of the Word at work in our lives, we have an even more direct and intimate relationship with the Father. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Captivity of Thought

UV 790/10,000 The Captivity of Thought “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthins 10 v 5 The equivalent of fortresses are built up like mental strongholds in our minds over a period of time due to the lofty thoughts, our feelings of pride and lust, our wild imagination and vain desires. Over a lifetime the equivalent of the Great Wall of China is built in our minds acting as a barrier to our personal relationship with the Lord. It is almost as if we fear God coming into our lives as the ancient Chinese emperors feared the invading Mongols. These are speculative thoughts about ourselves and the world with which we get obsessed. We imagine ourselves to be strong and great, not needing to depend on anyone outside ourselves like our Creator God. We replace the place that we should give to the Lord in our hearts and minds to such speculation. The Word commands us to “cast aside all such speculations.” We are to destroy the strongholds of vain thoughts, baseless imagination, assumptions about God that militate against our faith in the Lord. By our faith and our obedience we shall scale these walls. After we become believers, the ramparts of the ancient strongholds or old beliefs will continue for some time to exert an influence on our lives unless we take effective action to identify and pull them down. The book “ Secret” for instance is being widely recommended by well known authors like Jack Canfield. It is an example of a lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. It is based on new age philosophy that deifies man and states that whatever success one dreams of, he or she will attract that by what is known as the law of attraction. My daughter tells me of a bright classmate who became deluded and mentally ill as he put his faith in such a book. Many other cults that have developed and flourish in different parts of the world are based on such philosophic speculations. It replaces God control with human control, freedom with fear, joy and peace of a good conscience with guilt, righteousness with vice, integrity with duplicity. We should keep the links of our fencing close together so that no subtle fox of speculation and delusion of false doctrine or teaching could enter and deceive us. We do so by taking every thought captive to Christ. We pattern our thinking on the Word of God. To take every thought and emotion captive to Christ means that we focus on Jesus and think often of what He taught and what He did. When we do so, we are released from the captivity of falsehoods, illusions, delusions and deception. The Lord knows well that the enemy ensnares us through such booby traps. Our thought pattern needs to imitate the stormy winds and waves of the Sea of Galilee that obeyed Jesus as He said, “ Peace, be still.” When we surrender every thought to the lordship and scrutiny of Christ, it becomes liberated from all chains and shackles. Our minds and our lives become free and unshackled. We shall know Christ and He shall set us free. Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Hearts, His Footstool

UV 789/10,000 Our Hearts, His Footstool Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? Isaiah 66 v 1 Each believer builds a house for the Lord out of all that he or she does, speaks, feels and thinks. We build with thought bricks, feeling bricks, word bricks and action bricks. These are the bricks that are fully baked and not half baked in the kiln of our devotion and faith. Our bodies are His living temples in which He resides since He himself has carefully crafted our bodies and minds and breathed His spirit into us. Scripture says that He does not dwell in temples that human hands have built. When we and our families fear, believe and serve the Lord, our hearts become His home and our homes become His footstool on which He rests His feet. No wonder the letters of the word “earth” also form the word, “ heart”. All that the Lord treasures in the earth is found in the human heart. The Lord is asking each individual who wants to connect with Him on a constant basis, “ where is the house you have built for me? Where is my resting place in your lives?” Having said that He builds the house for us, He finds the resting place. The decisions of the Lord are sovereign and all are bound by it. The decisions are taken on His throne in heaven but it is executed on the Earth in the course of our lives. He loves to move and mingle among us. Our prayers become His decisions as it rises to the throne of God from the footstool of the earth, our hearts, minds and homes, surrounded by the incense of our praises, worship and thanksgiving. We need to convert our burdens, worries, anxieties and needs into prayers and the Lord will turn our prayers into answers, solutions, realizations, satisfaction and fulfilment. Prayers are footstool level conversations with God that turn into throne room level decisions. His presence fills our lives even as the robe of the Lord filled the throne room of heaven. He builds patterns and mosaics out of the various thoughts, emotions, actions and events of our lives. When the Lord enabled us to build a house, we told ourselves that this house is dedicated to the Lord and we symbolically called it “ The Tabernacle.” He has often told us that it is His church, His resting place. He said that every wall is anointed by me and my eyes are on your walls. “You have many people guarding your house from outside but I have many more guarding it from within.” The Lord of the universe, of heaven and earth cannot be contained within the four walls of a house. What He delights in is our constant fellowship with Him. Fellowship with God is the very purpose of creation. The spirit of man communed with God. But when he sinned or fell short of God’s standards, when he first believed God to be a liar, when He distrusted His words, the spirit that God breathed into man was taken away. Man began to live primarily on the physical, intellectual and social dimension. Religion is no substitute for the spiritual dimension. That dimension was restored by the work of Jesus. Jesus rebuilt us as a house for the Trinity. Interestingly, the name JeHoVah contains “Je” for Jesus, Ho or “I Am Who I Am” for our Father in heaven and “Vah” for the breath of God or the Holy Spirit. Jesus remains the cornerstone, the keystone, the capstone to connect humanity with God. He is also the cornerstone, the keystone, the capstone of our lives and our homes. He connects the ligaments, muscles and bones of our inner being. Jacob in his early sojourn on earth used stones as his pillows or resting place but for us who believe it is the name of Jesus that is our resting place. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Evidence of a Good Conscience

UV 788/10,000 The Evidence of a Good Conscience For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. 2 Corinthians 1 v 12 The conscience is the echo of the higher law of God. When we live our lives with simplicity and sincerity towards God and man, our consciences will testify to the grace of God working in our lives. Paul was glad in his heart that he had lived and behaved with complete integrity and truth towards the believers in all the places he ministered. He did not exploit their faith for his gain but he lived a simple and godly life giving credit always to the grace of God. He was completely dependent on the grace of God even as he lived independent of people by earning his livelihood through tent-making. The result was that he lived an impactful life. The Word of God amplifies the voice of our conscience, goading us to do what we need to do and guiding us on the paths we should take and warning us of the ones we should avoid. When we live our lives in integrity in accordance with our conscience and the Word, there will be a rejoicing in our hearts. We do not act with the wisdom of the world but with the grace that the Lord provides. The wisdom of the world would prompt a person to think on how he or she can gain from every person he or she ministers to. This is one of the pitfalls of those who are in ministry and it makes their lives complicated and sullies their consciences. Instead, our conscience like that of St. Paul’s should commend itself to the Holy Spirit and to those we minister to. The Lord delights in simplicity and sincerity of faith. He pours His grace and favour on such as these. He has often told me, “ You are simple in the profession of your faith and do not act as many do with outward signs of piety and airs of spiritual superiority.” When we remember the extent of our indebtedness to our God and Redeemer, we will stay meek and simple. We cannot afford the luxury of a single boastful thought except that we had done our best to live according to the dictates of our conscience and the Word. Simplicity and sincerity will be the hallmark of our faith and its expression. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Peace of Jesus

UV 787/10,000 The Peace of Jesus “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14 v 27 Peace was the parting gift the Lord Jesus left with His disciples. He also greeted them with peace. Jesus, being the Prince of Peace, rules as a giver of peace to the troubled and fearful. The peace He gives is different from the peace that prevails between nations through history or the peace between people. The peace between nations is an uneasy peace. It is based on what is called the Nash Equilibrium: they dare each other for some time and then make peace and collaborate. As far as people are concerned, we might speak peace to one another but harbour ill will, distrust, jealousy and hatred in our hearts towards our neighbour. It is a dubious peace. The peace that we enjoy in our lives is also circumstantial peace or peace that is based on our circumstances. Such peace is brittle and does not last. In contrast, the peace of Jesus is an enduring peace that begins now and continues through all of our lifetime and all of eternity. It is not based on what happens to us or our immediate circumstances but on who we believe, trust and obey. Peace is not the mere absence of conflict but the presence of harmony with both God and man. When we do not have peace with God, how can we have peace with fellow men? Jesus purchased peace for us by being the blood payment – the ultimate price- for our failings and shortcomings. He became the very embodiment of peace with God for all mankind. It is interesting what scripture says- if He could do this much for us with His death on the cross, He will do much more with His resurrected life for us. When Jesus says, “ Peace be unto you”, He is blessing us with all the many blessings enumerated in Deuteronomy chapter 28. It is a cornucopia or a horn overflowing with treasures and blessings. Peace is not to be affected by external stimuli, by events that overtake us or circumstances that surround us. Peace is not to be upset at the words spoken to us. Peace is not to be assailed by doubts and fears and worries. Peace is a quiet assurance that God is in control and He knows what is best for us. Peace is the confidence that the Lord will give us ultimate victory in every situation and in all of life. Peace is the shield of faith, the anointing that guides and counsels us. Peace is the way we walk with the Lord. Peace is living in the favour of the Lord. Jesus said, “ I do not give you peace as the world gives.” What the world gives with one hand, it takes away with the other. The peace that the Lord gives us is ours for keeps. No one can take it away. He invites us not just to a one time giving but a daily filling of the peace of Jesus. We can take a top up whenever we desire and whenever we need. This peace rules over our hearts as the Lord lifts up His countenance to look upon us with favour to say, “ This is my beloved son or daughter.” When such peace rules over our hearts, we can neither be worried or troubled or anxious or apprehensive or fearful. We should rebuke every fear or worry or guilt or regret with the power that the peace of Jesus invests in us. We need to constantly empty our minds and hearts, lives and relationships of such negative thoughts, feelings and reactions and fill it with the peace of Jesus. Instead, the peace of Jesus will inspire, empower and enable us to live a life of righteousness, hope, love and joy. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Source of Our Help

UV 786/10,000 The Source of Our Help I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121 v 1 We are naturally inclined to lift our eyes looking for help from those who are better placed than us, those who are rich in substance, those who are more talented, capable, powerful or influential. These are the “hills” of humanity. But ultimately our salvation or help in any situation comes from the Lord, the One who lifted these very people and the One who can overthrow them in an instant. The Lord might even use some of these people to come to our assistance. As the Maker of heaven and earth, it is His sovereign prerogative to decide whether our help should come from a supernatural or natural source. Even the “ hills” or more powerful people and factors that come against us, He will reduce to chaff and dust. The people of Jerusalem since they were always surrounded by hills looked upon the hills as their last refuge whenever a powerful army or enemy attacked the city. King David is reminding us through this Psalm that the Lord should not be treated as a last resort or refuge as most people do but as our first and foremost resort. Like chicken scurry to hide under the mother hen’ s wings on seeing an eagle or predator or like a child holds onto the hem or hides under the mother’s gown, we must rush to the Lord at the very first provocation or fear or feeling of insecurity. He will cover us and reassure us that all is well. He will speak such reassurance to us as one to one. Therefore we should lift up our eyes or focus on the face of the Lord. We do so by focussing on His revealed will in the Word of God. When we lift our eyes in supplication and hope to the Lord, He will be our most proximate and immediate support and guard. He will put a fencing around us. He keeps vigil over us day and night. He makes the place where we stay a Mahamaim or camp of angels. He accompanies us when we travel for He will watch over our coming and going forever. He will not willingly allow even our foot to dash against a stone. This is the reason that even when a minor mishap happens these days, I ask myself- “ Am I going wrong somewhere, Lord?” The sun will not harm us by day nor will the moon by night. The sun is trillions of times bigger than all of us and the moon millions of times bigger than us. But even a force as large and unbearable as this cannot cause us harm. This implies that as the Lord watches us day and night, neither the threats of the daytime or the night can prevail against us. The consciousness that the Lord is watching over us and our own should move us to be always aware of His awesome presence, His gracious touch and His deft moves. It should induce a spirit of thanksgiving, a sense of absolute security and confidence. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 17, 2013

Comprehensive Victory

UV 785/10,000 Comprehensive Victory With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 32 v 8 In a recent post on Facebook, two photographs of the former Mr Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger are seen side by side, one of a younger Arnold, bristling with muscles and another more recent one of the aging Arnold with a visibly sagging torso and chest. It had the message below: “nothing is permanent”. When we rely on the strength of our arm or power or position, it is cursed to diminish and fail. But the strength and power of the Lord released on our behalf is eternal and sufficient. He will help us in our every situation against all odds. He will fight our battles and win the war for us. Victory is certain though it may not be in sight today. The Lord is concerned not only that we win against our external foes and enemies but also against our inner weaknesses and temptations. For us, our priority is the former while for the Lord, His priority is the latter. Like a burning candle’s wick soaks up in the melting wax and by capillary action drives it to feed the flame, we need to soak ourselves in the strength of the Lord. The joy of the Lord is our strength- this means that what gives pleasure or delight to the Lord should give us joy and prompt us to do that habitually and consistently. What gives pleasure to the Lord is our delighting in His Word and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and in our doing the bidding of the Lord. The people who were fearful of their powerful foes rested themselves on the words of their king. Similarly, we too must rest in the assurance that our King Jesus has given us that He would never leave us nor forsake us. He would help us. He would fight our battles for us. Recognizing the limitations of human strength and power as well as the unlimited strength and power of God, believing and trusting in His willingness to help and deliver us and knowing that He will fight our battles for us and wrest victory for us is what makes us more than conquerors. For as we rest in His Word, we have conquered the inner enemy-our inner weaknesses, the external enemy- the enemy of our soul- satan as well as the human foes and adversaries that satan sets up against us. As we rest in His Word like a candle feeds on the melting wax, we will overcome our fear of death and punishment, fear of failure and defeat, fear of loss and shame, fear of both the known and the unknown, the visible and the invisible. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Understand and Stand

UV 784/10,000 Understand and Stand For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55 v 8 There is an infinite difference between the thoughts of man and the thoughts of God, between the ways of God and the ways of man. Jesus alone bridged the gulf between God and man. The thoughts and ways of God are revealed in fair detail in the Word of God. Contrary to the common saying, it is not the devil but God who is in the details of our lives. When we understand these thoughts and ways, as described in the Word, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are elevating our thoughts to be in sync with the Lord. When we apply our understanding and knowledge of the thoughts and ways of God to our own ways, our ways become compatible or acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. Over time we would have developed a godly habit, a godly way of life. This is the reason why I say, we don’t need seven habits but just the one habit of reading, studying and applying the Word to transform our lives. This is the mother habit that breeds dozens of life-giving and life-enhancing little habits just like rabbits breed rabbits. The thoughts of the Lord are described in scripture to be as numerous as the sands of grain on the seashore. It is mind boggling to even attempt to count and enumerate these. If each day, we just focus on one thought and one way of God, we are flying in the orbit or path the Lord intends us to take in our lives. A single uni-verse or rhema verse that we remember often during the course of the day and apply it often in different areas of our lives will transport us to the heights and glory of heaven. The greatness of God is revealed in the testimonies of men. To illustrate with a practical example, the verse “ don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” It gives us an understanding of the character of God. He is slow to anger. He is quick to forgive. Once we understand that this is the character of the Lord, we should also understand that our own human nature is quick to get angry and slow to forgive or forget. We should aim to give anger a short life and not allow it to develop deep roots in our lives. Next, we should recall all the times when on different occasions, we got angry without reason or with reason and we held onto the anger. We should seek the Lord’s forgiveness, cleansing and healing. We should resolve with all our hearts and minds not to allow anger to rule over our lives again. For the rest of the day, we should then run the verse through our minds over and over again and stick to the principle that we will not carry our anger beyond the sunset or beyond the day. At the end of the day, we should review in our minds if we had stuck to this principle. For the rest of our lives, we should remain faithful or stick to this discipline or habit with the stubbornness or persistence of Balam’s donkey and ask the Lord for grace in this regard to change to the degree He desires. When we fall or fail, we should be quick to recognize it , confess it and move on. The process of allowing the Word to transform our lives is : understand His thought, stand in His way. It means learn, apply. “Stand in His way” also means stick to His way. We are standing in His grace, by His power, under His banner of victory over flesh and spirit, under His cover or protection. When we do not stand or walk in His way,He will send His angel to stand or resist us as it happened with Balam. Once the process: understand, stand; understand, stand; understand, stand… repeatedly reinforced, it becomes a godly habit. We are now ready for learning a new habit based on yet another thought and way of God. By adopting this method, we avoid the risk of the overload of unapplied theological or theoretical knowledge. It is application that hallows our otherwise hollow lives. It makes the ground on which we stand holy for we remove, like Moses removed his leather thongs, anything that offends the presence of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Acts of Worship

UV 783/10,000 Acts of Worship “Then Ezra blessed the Lord the great God. And all the people answered, “ Amen, Amen” while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8 v 6 The reading of the Word of God produced reverence among the people of Israel. We are reminded of the awesomeness of God when we read scripture and our response should be to agree in the spirit and to praise the Lord. The Lord enjoys the sight of His people raising their hands to worship Him. It is both an act of surrender and of exaltation. We should daily bless the Lord the Great I Am with our thoughts, words and actions. He is the Lord Amen, the One who is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The starting point of a circle is the locus or the central point where we place the compass to draw the circle however small or large. The locus is the Lord God. The circumference is also the Lord God. All of our lives is contained within this circle. When we pray we are drawing a spiritual circle of the Lord’s blessing around that which we prayed for. We need to draw a circle around our health, our families, our foes, our ministry, our present, past and future, our finances, our profession, our problems, our hopes. Drawing a circle implies acknowledging that the Lord encompasses us in His love and care. It means we are blessing Him for His greatness. We are declaring to the world that He is such an awesome God who surrounds us with His love, power and grace. Another act of worship that pleases the Lord is to lie prostrate with our faces to the ground in the presence of the Lord. This is also an act of complete submission and of humbling ourselves in the presence of the Lord. Moses, Joshua and even Jesus lay down with their faces to the ground. As we humble ourselves in His presence, He will lift us up. Jesus will come to us and say, “ Enough, rise up. I have blessed you and heard your heart’s cry.” Prateep V Philip

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Father's Expectation and Exhortation

The Father’s Exhortation and Expectation And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. I Chronicles 28 v 20 David exhorted his son and heir Solomon to be strong and courageous, to be neither fearful nor disappointed as the Lord was with him. David did not want his son to be diffident or fearful. He expected him to succeed. The odds seemed to be against that hope. Solomon was born out of a wedlock that was not approved by the Lord. He was young and immature when he ascended the throne. His own brothers sought the throne for themselves. His kingdom was surrounded by his father David’s powerful foes and enemies with whom he had fought all his life. But David asks Solomon to base his confidence on the faith that the Lord would not fail or forsake him. He had the hope that he would finish all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. Similarly, the Lord exhorts us who are his children and heirs to be strong and of good courage. We like Solomon are called to do work for the service of the house of the Lord. Since all that we do, we do as for Him, He is the guarantor of the success of our mission. Whenever there is a gap in our strength or abilities, the Lord will fill that by His grace. The words “ good courage” implies that it is not a courage based on self confidence or self belief but faith in the Lord and His Word. It is genuine courage and not a counterfeit courage or bravado. Solomon was called to build a physical temple for the Lord but we are called to build our own lives and the lives of others as the house of God. When we are constantly aware of our deep connection with the Lord and how He dwells in us, we fulfil His will for our lives. Every thought, word and deed of ours is a living brick with which we build the house of the Lord. Jesus allowed His own body to be torn down so that our lives would be built up as a new house of the Lord. That is why He told the Jews of the day, “ In three days, I can destroy the temple built by Solomon and re-build it again.” His last words on the cross, “ It is finished” implied that He had finished all the work for the service of the Lord. We too must believe that we will finish well. He now dwells with us in a very personal and intimate sense and He will enable us to finish all our work in the service of the house of the Lord. Meanwhile, we should always be conscious that the Lord is with us. If He is with us, only those against us should fear. He will not leave us or forsake us. In one word, He is faithful. This implies that we will succeed in all the work that we do according to His will. While we live and work, He desires us to reflect our faith in two positive attitudes of strength and courage. We are filled, clothed or covered with the might, power, strength and grace of the Lord. We should neither be fearful nor disappointed. Fear precedes while disappointment or regret succeeds an outcome that we are hoping for. A variety of fears afflict us in the course of our lives- fear of failure, fear of other people’s opinions, fear of success, fear of making mistakes, fear of the forces of evil and darkness, fear of death, fear of enemies and foes, fear of the unknown, fear of shame and punishment, fear of ridicule, fear of loneliness, fear of ill health,fear of accidents…. The Lord asks us to overcome every fear with faith instead of denying it exists. He desires us to be courageous or to take risks for His sake. He desires us not to be depressed or rejected. As someone said, whenever we are rejected in something, it only means we are re-directed. His Father’s heart desires that we be hopeful and joyful. The recent remarkable picture in social media of an Iranian man of God who went smiling to be hanged as he did not forsake his faith in Christ. Even at the point of a cruel undeserved death, he was not fearful or dismayed as he knew that the Lord was with him and would not leave him nor forsake him. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Good Success and Prosperity

UV 781/10,000 Good Success and Prosperity This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1 v 8 When we obey the laws of man, we do not suffer loss-loss of name and liberty. When we obey the law of God, we are blessed. It is success that comes from holding the Word of God dear to us and holding it continually in our hearts, remembering it often, declaring it as precious truth whenever appropriate and abiding within the limits it sets. This uni-verse talks about “good success”. Good success is success that is God-ordained and blessed. All other success that is achieved by the vain efforts of man can make a man proud and arrogant. Success itself can destroy a man’s soul. It will delude and deceive us. Knowledge of man makes him puffed up about how much he knows while the wisdom that comes from dwelling on the Word of God makes one wise- he will realize how little he knows in comparison with the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord and how much he needs to depend on Him. Knowledge gives us the illusion of power while wisdom gives us liberty. Different scripture verses when stored in our memory and meditated upon continually gives us the wisdom to make the right choices or decisions and to respond in the right manner to different stimuli. Further, when we declare or confess with our mouths the testimonies or our oral evidence of how the Word is working from within us, the Lord is pleased to guide us and crown our efforts with good success and to prosper us in our work. Each uni-verse is an unbroken thread of good success and prosperity in our lives. When we carefully observe and obey one, we obey the Lord and obey all of the law of God. The success and prosperity is not merely external but organic- it takes root from deep within us. When we break an egg from without, it dies but when the growth happens from within and the shell cracks open slowly, new life is born. This is the process of new life by faith- the work of regeneration by faith in the Word. The Word is the good treasure that Jesus said, the good or godly man or woman brings out of the storehouse of his or her mind. It also blesses the hearers. It teaches our hearts to beat in sync with the very heart of God. Anything else that we store as a substitute falls short of the definition of “ good success and prosperity” or the Shalom blessings of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To Enjoy and to Endure

UV 780/10,000 To Enjoy and to Endure “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8 v 28 The believer always find both rhyme and reason in the things that happen to him or her. God is the prime mover of all that happens in our lives. He causes things to happen not to harm us but to prove us, to establish us, to make us mature, to strengthen us from within, to build our character, hope and faith. Events do not happen accidentally. There is a divine purpose and plan behind it all. What seems to be a terrible thing today will bring eternal glory to God. It will reveal the greatness of God in our lives. God sees the biggest picture of the entire universe and He designs it for our greater good. Like an expert weaver, He uses the shuttle of time and space to weave intricate alternate patterns of good, the blessings of knowing, loving and trusting Him and the overcoming of evil or the difficult, the troublesome in our lives. The Father has decided ahead of time to build the character of His Son Jesus in each of us. We need to conform to the character of Jesus in order to share in His inheritance. It is inevitable that we suffer pain and sorrow and hardship in this life. He justifies or re-aligns us with the image of God again through this difficult process. He makes us worthy to receive the crown of life. There is no short cut to glory. But while we tread the path of suffering and difficulties, He walks along with us and warns us where we can trip. He picks us up when we fall. As a race we human beings tend to learn more from pain than from pleasure. I learnt more about the Lord and His purpose for my life from the trauma of surviving an assassination than from reading thousands of books or from hearing the learned. God wants man to be God-like or more specifically Christ-like but man wants to be like God in terms of position and power. This accounts for the empire-building tendencies universally. It is such a privilege that we are called according to His purpose. His purpose is clearly explained in the Word. Therefore, we need to be grateful in good times and hopeful in bad times. Every kind of suffering we have undergone and will undergo is specifically calibrated to remove some dross in our faith or character or life or to reveal the greatness of God’s mercy and grace and to fulfil His will and plan for our lives. Whom He calls, He qualifies. He will give us the strength to endure difficulties and the grace to enjoy good times and blessings. We need wisdom to discern the times- whether it is a season to enjoy the favour of God or a season to endure the chastisement of suffering. If we are faithful, we will be consistent and as close to the Lord in both the good time and in the bad times. The content of our conversation with the Lord will change but not the fervour. Prateep V Philip

The Kingdom Within

UV 779/10,000 The Kingdom of God within us Praise the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Psalm 103 v 1 It is not natural for man to praise the Lord. It takes an effort to recognize the need to acknowledge, thank and praise God. The Psalmist commanded or directed his soul to praise the Lord. From this uni-verse, I derived the idea of commanding oneself and not just making suggestions to oneself. We have authority over our souls and we need to take charge of ourselves. The onus is on us. It is a deep longing, in fact the deepest, of the human soul to worship the Creator and Redeemer. So we praise the Lord not as if it is needed by Him or out of a sense of obligation but as it is our need to worship Him. Our flesh nature denies the need. Our minds deny the need but our soul cries out for it. The Greek root of the word “bless” means to be lifted up. So we lift up the name of the Lord in our lives when we bless Him. Another nuance of the root word means “ to be envied”. So when we bless the Lord, we in turn will be blessed much more or in other words, we will be envied by others who are not so blessed. Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “ what lies ahead of us and what lies behind us is insignificant in comparison with what lies within us.” What lies within us are our thoughts, emotions, hopes, desires, imagination, visions, dreams, abilities, plans, potential, memories, expectations, attitudes, our expression, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. We need to bless the name of the Lord with all of these prime factors of our lives. We need to get rid of the things that do not glorify God in our lives for undirected our thoughts can become worries that rob us of our peace, our emotions can be driven by anger, hatred and fear, our desires can become lust and lead us to covet, our imagination can become delusions, our visions can become illusions, our dreams can become nightmares, our abilities and talents can remain latent, our plans unfulfilled and frustrating, our potential unutilised, our memories can produce guilt, our expressions can be trite and negative, our wisdom and knowledge can remain purely worldly. When we commit all that is within us to the Lord, He blesses all the prime factors of life and make them work together to fulfil His purpose for our lives. Invoking His holy name is sufficient to bless all of our lives, all of our spirits, minds and bodies for as Jehovah Shalom, He blesses us with peace, prosperity and wholeness, as Jehovah Nisi He gives us victory, as Jehovah El Shaddai He protects us, as Jehovah Jireh He provides graciously for us, as Jehovah Rohi, He guides and shepherds us,as Jehovah Rapha He heals us. When we remember these holy names of the Lord, we bless Him and He in turn reciprocates by blessing our souls, our spirits, minds and bodies, our relationships, our hopes, our dreams, our expressions, our abilities. The power and grace to bless as well as to curse is shared by the Lord with only mankind of all His creatures. The power to curse is to be used sparingly as Jesus did. The power to bless is to be used liberally. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Blessedness of Belief

UV 778/10,000 The Blessedness of Belief “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1 v 45 Scripture underlines the importance of belief while the dominating principle of the world is reason. The word ‘ belief’ consists of two words “ be” and “ lief”. The word “ lief” can also be re-arranged to form the word “life”. Lief means “ kingdom” in poetic language. So when we believe, we live as part of the Kingdom of God. It is written that Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and this led to the immaculate conception of Jesus, the promised Messiah in her womb. We too are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit when we believe. The conception of the immaculate or perfection begins in us and we too begin to aspire and do what is hitherto considered impossible for us. When man first broke faith with God and disbelieved His words, he became cursed. When we believe the Word of God again, we are blessed. We have access to all the blessings of the Lord when we believe in Jesus and His Word. We move from the zone of disgrace into the zone of grace, from the penalty of our sins to the rewards for our faith, from the “hamartia” of shortcoming to the “ hyperbole” of exceeding all expectations. It is not as if our belief is unreasonable or blind. It is based on our prior experiences of the ability and faithfulness of God to fulfilling His promises to us. ‘Seeing is no longer believing’ as the world taught us. It is ‘experiencing that is believing’. As we believe in Christ, our beliefs will not belie us. He has already proved by His life, His deeds and his death and resurrection that He would go to any extent to redeem us and more than justify our belief in Him. Our response should be like that of Mary to glorify the Lord in our souls and to rejoice in God our Saviour. We should be grateful forever that He has been mindful to us and fulfilled His promise to us. We should remember and praise Him for the great and mighty deeds He has performed for us. He has vindicated our faith and justified or made straight the paths of our lives. He has declared us “blessed” for ever and for all generations. Who are we or others to disagree? For indeed, blessed is he who hears His Word and keeps it. ‘Keeping it’ implies that we esteem it as valuable, we store it in our minds, recount it, believe it, declare it and obey it. As we believe the Word, it releases us from the limitations of our situations, the limitations of our resources, the limiting conditioning and fears of our existence and releases in us the grace and power of God. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Deep Revelations

UV 777/10,000 Deep Revelations “He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2 v 22 Science and scientists, if they are truly scientific, should admit that they do not and cannot know everything. Though a lot has been given by God to the province of human knowledge, understanding and discovery, there is much that cannot be known through the methods of science. God and the secrets of the Lord are beyond the realm of science. This is the area that I call meta-cognition or what cannot be ordinarily known. But, nothing remains hidden or unknown to the Lord God. When we pray and remain in constant and intimate communion with Him, He reveals these mysteries, secrets and hidden truths. It is the spirit of man that searches out the deep and hidden things of man. It is the Holy Spirit that knows the deep secrets and truths of God that He choses to reveal. He will give us extraordinary knowledge, understanding and wisdom that is beyond the scope of discovery and study. When the wise men of the age were asked by Nebuchadnezzar to first recount his dream and then interpret it, they said that to be able to tell what the dream was lay only with God who did not dwell with people of flesh and blood. But, God soon showed how He dwelled not only in light but that He dwelled with Daniel. The result was that Nebuchadnezzar himself recognized that the God who dwelled with Daniel is the one true and living God. Daniel and his three friends were given knowledge of the then known literature and language and sciences. They were also given the gift of interpreting visions and dreams. The presence of God with us distinguishes us from the rest of humanity. Since we dwell in Him and He in us, His light reveals many aspects of the unknown future to us. Jesus Himself said, “ There is nothing hidden that will not be uncovered, nothing secret that will not be revealed.” But He sets the time for both revelation and fulfilment of the revelation. He tells us about former things that have happened in our past as well as things that are going to happen in prophetic revelation. Even certain truths about the present that are hidden from our knowledge will be made known to us if the Lord deems it necessary. When a dacoity took place in the district when I was the chief, I was directed to detect it in twenty four hours. I prayed, “ Lord, you know who’s done it. Please reveal it to us.” One of my Inspectors working on a clue, cracked the whole case in exactly twenty four hours for the glory of God. Several months before the 26/11 or the Mumbai terrorist attack, there was a prophetic word from the book of Chronicles that said, “ There will be a cry at the Harbour Gate. There will be wailing in the new quarter. Merchants of gold and silver will be eliminated.” It was so accurate. The attack actually started from the Gateway of India and the Chairman of a bank among other merchants were killed in the deadly attack. We as children of God can be privy to the secrets, the deep and hidden things as we seek and desire the gift of spiritual discernment from the Lord. The Psalmist David wrote, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. He will show them His covenant.” Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Supernatural Emotion

UV 776/10,000 The Supernatural Emotion Nehemiah said, “ Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to the Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8 v 10 The slogan that was rolled out for the recent World Environment Day was “ Think, Eat, Save.” It makes us feel guilty even when you eat a burger as they say that to make a burger, it would cost the environment 8000 litres of scarce water and six in seven people go hungry in the world. But this uni-verse in contrast says, “ Go and celebrate with choice food and sweet drinks.” We are to share of the good things we partake in with those who are less fortunate. This pleases the heart of the Lord that we are concerned for the poor and hungry. Every day is sacred to the Lord and especially, the Sabbath when we take time off to join together to worship the Lord. On the Sunday, we acknowledge the Sun of Righteousness who gives us light and provision and strength all through the week. We thank Him for the past week and ask Him to bless the coming week. When we are consistent in setting apart this day for the Lord and honour Him with both our time and our substance, He is pleased with our sacrifice and blesses us abundantly. The Lord is not a joy killer as many seem to think. He rejoices when His children enjoy their lives. When we rejoice in what delights the Lord, it becomes the source of our strength. The joy of the Lord is partaking in the Word, consuming it as choice food and drink. The Lord rejoices when we pay attention to the Word, store in in our hearts, value it, remember it often, claim the promises of God offering praises for His faithfulness and obey or apply every word of His command in different areas of our lives. We are also to share this joy with others who are hungry and have not tasted the delightful range of spiritual food and drink that the Word of God offers. The joy of the Lord is holistic- it affects or positively influences our spirit, mind and body. It is not the Lord ‘s will that we grieve over our past sins or our failures or our weaknesses. For when we grieve, the Holy Spirit grieves with us and scripture says, “ Do not grieve the Spirit.” It is only when are positive, joyful and grateful that we can thank and praise the Lord. It is also true that when we sincerely thank and praise the Lord, the joy of the Lord will start bubbling up in us. It is not the transient pleasure that the world offers but a continually flowing, supernatural,sacred emotion based on faith in the character and goodness of the Lord, not based on changing circumstances. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Inheritance of the Wise

UV 775/10,000 The Inheritance of the Wise The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools. Proverbs 3 v 35 Those who fear God, obey His Word and avoid evil in what they think, speak and do are described as wise. Their destiny is that they will eventually share in the glory of God. They will be co-inheritors with Christ of the glory of God-ultimate, absolute and eternal satisfaction. They know that it is better to fall to rise than to rise to fall. They humble themselves constantly before the presence of the Almighty. Therefore they believe and receive grace. They will also lead many to righteousness symbolised as the crowns that they will receive as their prize in eternity. They will shine with the brightness of the stars forever. In contrast, the icons of this age of every domain from sports to the building of financial and industrial empires, they rise to fall. The very word ‘icon’ has a hidden meaning in it- “ I con”. I con myself and con others into believing in my greatness or glory. They believe to deceive. Their clay feet or their vulnerabilities get exposed over time and they fall to their shame, never to rise again. Those who depend on their own wisdom, charisma, status, power, talent, wealth and connections all indulge in shameless self promotion. They will only shine like the shooting star or a meteor in the sky. They will shine for a short time and disappear into everlasting shame and darkness. This evanescent glory is described as the exaltation of fools. As someone remarked, “ why rise at all, if it is only to fall.” For some time, it was said that cricket was the new religion of the country and the stars of cricket were the new gods but after the recent scam in the IPL, people have begun to realize that it is not a mere game that cements an individual or a country. For some time I had been praying that the stone that no human hand had cut from the eternal rock strike the clay feet of all the human icons world-wide that they fall like the glorious statue in the book of Daniel. Scripture sets these two contrasting models for us: the first is the better or preferred model that we must learn to emulate and the second is the one we should desist from following. Whom we worship, we imitate. We worship Jesus the bright and Morning Star, the only star that continues to shine consistently in our lives during the days of our lives. He will show us which is the true North and guide us with His wise counsel every day and receive us into His glory at the end of our days. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Extra Mile

UV 774/10,000 The Extra Mile Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5 v 41 Obligation is doing what is required of us but commitment and engagement implied going far beyond what is required of us. We need to go the extra mile with an extra smile, meaning we need to do it cheerfully and willingly and not as if we are under compulsion. The values that Scripture describes as fruit of the Spirit namely, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control should inform all that we do. Instead of looking at the whole distance that we need to travel in life and feeling discouraged, we can just focus on the next milestone and complete the journey mile by mile. As we move, He will show us signposts and send encouragement our way. Like a runner who sees the approaching finishing line, gets pumped up with a final burst of energy as we approach the end, we must show a similar momentum, a final burst of energy. This is what I intend to do as I enter the last phase of my career in the coming years. Most people in the natural are driven by their own need and desires. For every single thing they do, they ask, “ what’s in it for me?” They are contented to do just what is necessary. But our reward is from the Lord. This thought drives us to demonstrate extraordinary commitment and excellence in all that we do. The passion of Christ that made Him set His face like flint even knowing that He was going to be painfully and shamefully crucified inspires us to reflect a similar passion in our far less painful daily work. He thought nothing of the pain and shame and willingly walked the extra miles to Jerusalem for the last time before His death and resurrection. It is the power and strength that the Lord provides that enables us to do what is extraordinary and to excel. He gives us the grace and zeal to go the whole distance He wants us to go in life. On our part, we need to discipline the remnants of the three roots of our former bondage, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. When our eye is focussed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith or the initiator, the sustainer and rewarder, we will be able to climb the mountain despite every discouragement or circumstance just as a mountaineer is inspired by the very sight of the summit to overcome all the hurdles of fear, the risks of falling to his death, his physical tiredness, the mental fatigue, the loneliness, the biting cold and piercing icy winds. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bridegroom of Blood

UV 773/10,000 The Bridegroom of Blood He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. John 3 v 29 In this uni-verse, John first describes his cousin Jesus as the Bridegroom. He states that he himself was like the best man or the friend of the bridegroom. The church consisting of the body of believers is the bride of Christ. Hence, we too are anointed on account of our being connected by faith with the Anointed One of God-Jesus. Jacob obtained his wife Rachel by seven years of labour. Recently, the Lord revealed Himself as “ the Bridegroom of Blood” implying that He obtained us by His blood or His sacrificial death and even today covers us with His blood so that we are acceptable in holiness to the Father in heaven. The role of the bridegroom is to protect, to provide, to bless and to cherish. Jesus does this vis- a- vis the believers. What He has accomplished on the cross and what He accomplishes daily in our lives is the source of our security and prosperity for eternity. John’ s joy was derived in hearing the voice of His friend, Jesus. Similarly, our joy should not be stimuli-driven or based on our circumstances but it is anchored in hearing the Word or the voice of Jesus speaking to us daily. We must take time to hear Him. We find our fulfilment of joy in hearing His voice and understanding or applying His Word to our lives. The Bridegroom of Blood, Jesus communicates His love for His bride, the church through His Word. Scripture says that as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, God shall rejoice over you. However, God is not subject to the “honeymoon effect” of romantic love wherein it falls back to ground zero, for His love remains steadfast and unchanging. There is a chapter in the Bible describing the perfect wife but there is no chapter about the perfect husband. The reason is that the whole Bible is a love letter from the perfect Husband. As scripture says, “ Thy Maker is thy Husband.” The implication of this uni-verse is that our relationship with the Lord is more intimate, deeper and lasting than the greatest of human relationships, namely our relationship with our spouses. We need to rejoice in the Lord for this reason all the time and not only in favourable circumstances or when things are going our way. The word “ rejoice” is a verb that means that we should all the time actively find reasons to be glad in the presence of the Lord. Nehemiah only once wore a sad look on his face when he went into the king’ s presence in order to communicate his sorrow to him and to obtain permission to re-build the walls of Jerusalem. We can be sad for a reason but always joyful in all seasons for we find our joy in the Lord. Joy in the Lord is a sacred emotion that flows from deep down in our heart but it also reflects its bright shadow on our face. It saturates our attitude. It overflows from our words and have a contagious effect on those around us. It is evident in our tone of voice, body language and in our step and gait. Prateep V Philip

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Seven Tributes

UV 772/10,000 The Seven Tributes Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Revelation 5 v 12 Our net worth should determine our network. What we believe determines who we are. Further, who we are determines who we know. When we know Jesus, the Lamb that was slain for our sake we are in the network of the Trinity. We have been purchased or ransomed from captivity of the Evil one by His blemishless sacrifice. Now, we are in the presence of the Holy of Holies and we bring seven tributes of worship to the Lamb who is now Lord. The words “ worth, worship, word, work” –all have the common root “ wor” indicating how they are related to each other. Our true worth is determined by who we worship. When we join the chorus of the angels to offer power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing to the Lord, we too become worthy to share in these by grace. Even as we keep giving of these, we keep receiving from the river of God. Jesus is the reservoir of power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour , glory and blessing. Each of the beatitudes that He spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount is fulfilled in each of us when we believe the Word and receive Jesus. We now become tributaries to flow with the power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing. The seven colours of the rainbow symbolise these seven tributes to the Lord. They should not remain mere words but manifestations in our lives of the grace and glory of God. Every day in our lives the Word is at work. In every area of our lives, the Word is at work. The Word is at once both spiritual and practical. In practical ways, are we exercising the spiritual power of Jesus, the spiritual riches of Jesus, the spiritual wisdom of Jesus, the spiritual strength of Jesus? We need power to face the giants as the Israelites in the land of Canaan. We need riches to meet our spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, physical and financial need. We need wisdom to make right choices. We need strength to face our challenges and to endure. We need blessing to succeed. When we do all this faithfully, we bring glory and honour to the Lord. Are we bringing honour and glory to Him? Are we both a recipient and a source of blessing? We need to believe to receive and we need to receive in order to give. If the answer is “yes”, then we are a rainbow of God to mankind in the flood of troubles- a symbol of His covenant of faithfulness for all times. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Different Concept of Servant Leadership

UV 771/10,000 A Different Concept of Servant Leadership She said to her mistress, “ If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” II Kings 5 v 3 In this uni-verse, we see a different concept of servant leadership where a young Jewish slave girl leads the leader or commander of the army of the King of Aram, Naaman to his immediate healing and ultimate salvation. She was sure that the prophet of Israel, whose name she could not remember or did not know, could cure her master Naaman of his leprosy. Similarly, we as believers are like the servant-leader that the unnamed slave girl was. She enjoyed no position or influence except that she had limited access to the brave general’s wife. She had both hope and conviction that he could be healed. She had faith that the God of Israel who had anointed Elisha as a prophet could heal him through his ministration. Leprosy is a metaphor for the spiritual malaise that all people suffer from that makes us calloused and insensitive to the move or touch of the Lord. We act as servant-leaders when we lead others to their salvation with the hope and conviction that they too like us would be healed of spiritual leprosy. Whatever be our position or station in life, we can play a strategic role in leading people to their healing and salvation. Salvation is leading people to wholeness or fullness of spirit, mind and body. Naaman was not only healed of physical leprosy but of spiritual blindness for he declared after his miraculous healing, “ Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.” Sometimes it is a chronic, incurable or unsolvable problem that leads people to look for hope in God when all else had failed in the natural, scientific, social and medical plane. It is during these times that we like the Hebrew girl should be empathetic enough, faithful enough and communicative enough to point hurting people to Jesus who alone can heal us in spirit, mind and body. When the media had predicted death within a few days for a former Prime Minister diagnosed with an incurable blood disease, a man of God told him that he could not heal but he knew someone who could heal him and that One is Jesus. The leader wept as the man of God prayed and he lived on for another good ten years. The Lord had extended his life like Hezekiah the King as he had shown a little faith in allowing the man of God to pray for him when all hope was lost. Like the servant girl, we should be humble, gracious and persuasive that a person be healed and a soul might be saved and not to prove our point right. We are servant leaders, taken captive to Christ like her, but unlike her not taken captive by force but by love. As servant leaders, we become instrumental to lead others to hope, healing, blessing and the joy of salvation. But in this age of grace, our role play changes since we are not only the servant or slave of God but we are also to play the role of the king who gave Naaman permission to leave for Samaria to avail of the spiritual cleansing and healing. We exercise the authority of kings. We are also to play the role of the prophet who triggered the healing by his divine dispensation. We cannot be proud or self righteous for we were also once the spiritual leper that Naaman was. But today in this day of salvation, we exercise the priestly and prophetic anointing. Naaman’s solitary case of healing from leprosy preceded the many cleansings and healings that Jesus did to many lepers. The waters of Jordan were foreshadowing the Word of Christ- a Word spoken in faith in the Father, anointed by the Holy Spirit, spoken in compassion and authority, “ be cleansed, be whole.” Just as Naaman dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, we too should dip ourselves in the meditation of the Word seven times a day, if not in actual reading at least in frequent rememberance and each time come out of the “water” praising, thanking and worshipping the Lord like King David did. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Esteem of God

UV 770/10,000 The Esteem of God And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour Judges 6 v 12 God was calling into being that which is not as if it is already. Even the Lord needs to exercise faith. He does not see us as we are. He calls into being the qualities that He wants to see in us. Gideon till this point in time had done nothing to show that he was a courageous person or “ mighty man of valour”. Yet the Lord chose to call him so. He was hiding in a hole in the ground and threshing the wheat to hide it from the powerful Midianites whom he like the rest of Israel feared. If the Lord had not called him, he would have been a fearful farmer all his life. But the Lord intervened in his life with this angelic visitation. The Lord calls ordinary people and gives them an extraordinary work. He does an extraordinary work in them by revealing “His esteem of them” and does an extraordinary work with them. Gideon did not esteem himself too. He thought of himself as the least or the youngest in the smallest family in the smallest of the clans of Israel, namely Manasseh. But the esteem of the Lord transformed his vision of himself. God is the Lord of affirmation- He affirms us. The angel of the Lord affirmed that the Lord was with him. The truth that the Lord is with us as an Immanuel is enough to give us courage to face all the challenges of life, even a deadly enemy like the Midianites. In the natural, each of us would like to hide in a hole in the ground but the Lord first calls us and then He sends us clothed in His power. He will give us smart spiritual strategies and spiritually selected or anointed teams to execute it. But Gideon was not satisfied with the word of affirmation of the Lord. He wanted confirmation. When he prepared a meal of meat and placed it on the rock, the Lord sent down fire to consume it as a sign of acceptance and favour towards Gideon. A man with a prophetic gift once affirmed me by saying, “You are esteemed of God.” He said, “ You have good concepts. Form a team to translate the vision that you have received into action.” That gave me the courage and strength to move ahead in implementing some ideas for police reform even though I knew that I would meet with resistance from powerful quarters. With the Lord’s favour upon us, our ideas and actions will prosper. Prateep V Philip