Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Incredible

UV 826/10,000 The Incredible “ Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told.” Habakuk 1 v 5 Last afternoon in a time of prayer, the Lord spoke through this amazing verse. The uniqueness of God’s Word is that the verse has a specific meaning and application in your individual and familial life and mine. At the same time, it has a specific meaning and application in a global context. The Lord said, “ I am a Zoologist, a Biologist and a Botanist. As a zoologist, I am the Lion of Judah who sent the evil and menacing lion satan that is intent on pouncing on you scurrying for cover. As a biologist, I could tell Peter who told me that he had no money on him to pay the tax, to step into the water and to catch a fish that carried a gold coin in it. As a botanist, I will let you flourish like an olive tree for when the whole earth and all its trees were covered with the waters in Noah’s time, I saw that the olive tree survived from which a bird brought back a leaf to Noah.” As the warp and weft of time’s loom weaves on, the Lord is silently working behind the scenes. It might appear to our eyes that the law is paralysed and that justice never prevails, that honesty no longer pays even though the righteous pray, that justice is perverted and so much destruction and violence is afoot among the nations of the world, that guilty men are ruling the roost whose own strength is their god. While all this appears to be happening and true in our time as in Habakuk the prophet’s time, the Lord’s will and His truth will prevail. He promises to do something in our lifetime that we would not believe if we were told. If we were told, we would roll and laugh like Abraham or bend and conceal our laugh like Sarah when they were promised an heir in their old age. Our role is to watch and pray for the nations and to report back to the Lord all that we see like the dove that brought back the ‘olive leaf report’ to Noah. As He feeds us, we need to give Him feedback. He delights in it even as Noah delighted in seeing the faithful dove return unlike the raven that never returned to its master’s hand. Today, multitudes are like the raven and multitudes still are like the dove. This uni-verse instils in us the child-like wonder at what mystery is in store for us in the rest of our days and what mystery is in store for the world at large. That sense of wonder and anticipation will grow in us as we await the appointed time when the revelation will be fulfilled. It will not prove false. Though it linger, we must wait for it. It will certainly come and will not delay beyond God’s own determined time. He who is the indescribable is going to do the incredible. Meanwhile we worship Him as an incredible and amazing Zoologist, Biologist and Botanist. Such an awesome revelation! Prateep v Philip

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Hedge of Protection

UV 825/10,000 The Hedge of Protection “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds spread throughout the land.” Job 1 v 10 Only when the Lord God removed the hedge of protection around Job and his family and his possessions, could satan attack him. Job’s fear of God made him shun evil. He was blameless and upright in his generation. Yet he was not self righteous and he offered a sacrifice of a burnt offering for each of his partying children early in the morning. This resulted in his winning God’s favour and His grace was a hedge around him and his. We too cannot take God’s holiness for granted even as we believe and confess our faith in God’s sacrifice for all time for each of His children early in history. We are called to be blameless and upright or walking in integrity. Integrity implies alignment between what we believe, confess and profess. When we believe in Christ grace, it is like a cloud of blessings just above us. When we live in such a way as to please the Lord as Job did, the cloud will descend and bless the work of our hands and multiply the fruit of our labour. It will also become a hedge of favour and protection around us and our own. A hedge needs to be maintained, trimmed and cared for. Similarly, we cannot take God’s protection and favour for granted. We need to be thankful and show it in our daily walk. Our blessings and word of it will then spread throughout the land. These past years as I offered my sacrifice early every morning whether I was at home or while travelling, the Lord has placed a hedge around me, my family, our vehicles, our pet dog Rocky since we don’t own a flock and our staff. Satan, wily fox that he is, has at times tried to find a breach in the hedge but the Lord has confronted him with a wall of fire beyond the hedge. Satan has to often flee with his pants on fire. I know of one group of readers of the uni-verse who have formed a group called “ the Hedge” and they regularly pray and encourage each other. Job in his time and age was in the habit of praying for only his own welfare and that of his family but we are called to pray for a hedge around our leaders, around the poor and need and around the workers in His vineyard in all nations. Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hope to Revive Dry Bones

UV 824/10,000 Hope to Revive Dry Bones Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Ezekiel 37 v 4 People are like dry bones when we live without hearing the word of the Lord. “Dry bones” is our natural condition when we live without personal knowledge of God, our Creator and Redeemer. The “dryness” refers to being spiritually listless, unproductive, weak and hopeless. It is the Word that gives us hope of eternal life and abundant life in the here and now. When we hear the Word and believe it, we get connected with the Author and finisher of our faith as well as our life- Jesus. The breath of God- the Holy Spirit will enter our lives and bone will get connected to bone. Sinews and muscles will be added and we will be covered with skin. We will be complete in Christ. We will be fully alive even as we are dead to sin. It is faith, hope and love that connect the disparate bones or parts of our lives together in a wholesome and meaningful way. The Word of God is like spiritual oxygen in our nostrils. It will energize us in facing life’s challenges. Without the Word, we cannot explain the origin of life, the purpose of life or the direction we are moving in. Even our knowledge would be fragmented and without hope or meaning. In this vision, Israel or the world itself is like a valley of bones, like the ruins of a dead civilization. The Word of God brings health, vitality, meaning and coherence in an otherwise meaningless existence. When we see people who have no sense of hope or meaning or purpose in this life, we must pray, “ Dry bones hear the voice and Word of God and come alive.” The Word will end their famine of hope and lack of meaning and purpose in life. “Dry bones” is also a metaphor for unfulfilled hope or dreams. These will begin to take on flesh as we dwell, understand and apply the Word in our lives. Prophecy accompanied by the Word of God will revive our spirits, giving us hope and meaning. When people first receive the gospel of Christ, their lives shattered by hopelessness and misery come together for the first time. No wonder when Germany and Europe lay shattered after the Second World War, the Chancellor of Germany who succeeded Hitler told Billy Graham, the best known evangelist of our times, “ Outside the gospel of Christ, there is no hope for the world.” The bones also refer to the skeletal framework that supports our daily lives-our work, our professions, our activities, our network of relationships. When we hear the Word, even the skeleton of our mundane lives will be more blessed and stronger. The Word will lubricate the connecting joints as marrow in the bones produce the red blood cells that are needed to bring oxygen and nourishment to all parts of the body. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bearing the Yoke

UV 823/10,000 Bearing the Yoke It is good for a man to bear the yoke when he is young. Lamentations 3 v 27 Each uni-verse draws out an underlying principle that is true universally and through all generations. This uni-verse echoes the verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that exhorts us to remember the Lord in the days of our youth before the evil years come when we say there is no pleasure in it. It is best that we accept the light yoke or responsibility the Lord gives us when we first believe in Him while we are still young. Jesus said, “ The yoke I give you is light for I am humble and gentle and you can learn from me.” To bear the yoke means to learn all we can about the Lord and His teachings on how we should live life. When we remember the Lord in the days of our youth, the fear of God will enable us to give a better sacrifice like Abel. Our hearts would not be hardened with cynicism or disbelief. While this will keep us out of what is evil, it will equip us to follow after what is commended by the Lord and His Word as “good.” I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and Lord when I was seventeen years old. Had I waited till I had grown older, I might not have had the grace to recognize the Word as truth. Most of the people I have come across who have been very productive in the Lord’s service were people who committed their lives early to the care and guidance of God. The word “ yoke” does not mean something to enslave us or hold us in bondage but that which disciplines us and subjects our desires, emotions, thoughts and inner being to the lordship of God. The Word will be a compass to tell us in which direction we need to move. In the absence of such a frame of reference, the young would be drifting aimlessly and without correction. To bear the yoke implies that we are anchored in Christ. Neither the pleasures and attractions of life nor the crises or storms would shipwreck us. To bear the yoke means to remain in a covenant or personal relationship with God. When we are yoked with the Lord, He bears the major part of the weight that rests on our shoulders. He will make our loads lighter. As time passes and the events of life overtake us, our bonding with the Lord will only deepen and be so strengthened that nothing in life can break it or mar it. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Grace upon Daniel

UV 823/10,000 The Grace upon Daniel At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Daniel 9 v 23 From the first time Daniel humbled himself to seek the Lord, He won the favour of God. The Lord commanded his chief angel Gabriel to go to him to answer him and to encourage him with a vision from the Lord. Gabriel did so by conveying the message that he was greatly loved by God and that he would be given wisdom and understanding to interpret the vision. The Lord watches how consistent, faithful, diligent and disciplined we are. In Daniel’s prayer life, we find all the elements of balanced prayer contained in the acronym ACTS, namely, adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. Daniel’s prayer life is a model for us. Daniel pleased the Lord by humbling himself and glorifying the Lord. He fasted, prayed and pleaded. Daniel also pleased the Lord by his boldness, his willingness to risk all in order to obey His will. The third aspect of Daniel’s character that won the favour of God was his integrity or uprightness. The aspect of Daniel’s qualities that won him the esteem of kings was his diligence in attending to his professional duties as an administrator of the empire, his loyalty and his fierce devotion to God as well as the gift he exercised in interpreting the dreams of the king. Grace is the upliftment and enablement God gives us when we chose to consistently humble ourselves before Him. We are to reflect deeply on the matters the Lord has confided in us and we are to consider the vision He has shown us. Many of the visions Daniel was shown and the prophetic word he wrote are yet to come to pass. Some have already happened like the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. But Daniel considered the vision against the backdrop of his own times. He understood that some of the visions were to be fulfilled at the end of time. The Lord is looking for Daniels in our times. He holds in high esteem those who fear His name and obey Him. He will send us angelic messengers. He will give us spiritual gifts that we can exercise. He will pour the spirit of excellence that He anointed Daniel with upon us too. We will be given visions that we can consider, understand and interpret. Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rational and Sacred Imagination

UV 821-10,000 Rational Imagination He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; Romans 4 v 20 Abraham was given the promise by God that he would be the father of nations when he was nearly a hundred years old. His body was virtually dead sexually. It was virtually impossible for him and the aged Sarah to have a child at their age. Yet he believed that God has the power to call into being that which is not as if it already exists. He thanked and gave glory to God for fulfilling the promise of an heir even before it happened. Sarah in contrast laughed at the very thought of her becoming pregnant. Abraham however did not disbelieve the promise of God. He knew that God being God could do whatever He said or promised. Knowing who God is and what He is capable of is essential to the exercise of faith. Faith is all about knowing how limited we are and how unlimited the Lord God is. Abraham gave glory or thanked and praised the Lord for His word of promise. We too need to thank and praise the Lord even before our challenge is met, our need is fulfilled or our problem is solved. Without faith, all our other faculties will be severely limited but with faith, our other faculties will find their full potential. There are many areas of our lives where there is low or no possibility of our hope being fulfilled. Yet,human hope along with faith in the love and power of God calls into existence the impossible. The Lord can make doors in our walls. We may be weak physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially but we can make up by being strong in faith. Faith as they say is a muscle. Just as we have a series of exercises to tone up and build up our muscles, we can build our faith and strengthen it further by doing a series of exercises every day. We exercise faith by recalling different uni-verses in the areas of our need or challenge and claiming it as well as proclaiming it as if it is already done. Faith is not fantasizing or irrational. Abraham did not visualize suddenly something out of the blue. He was just believing the Word of God. He was not trusting God for something illusory and fantastic but he was trusting God for something he sorely needed- an heir. Faith is rational and sacred imagination. Abraham did not stagger. It implied that he was not discouraged. He did not give up hope but had a strong belief that not only God can but that He would certainly do that which he desired and needed. When the Lord answers, He answers not just with that but with abundance and generousity beyond our expectation or need. Faith is applying the Word of God to the everyday reality of life. Its presence pleases God and makes it possible for Him to act. Its absence displeases God and creates blocks or barriers for God to act in our lives. Faith is an universal principle operating across all nations, all of humanity and applies to all domains. But Abraham exemplified it first. Abraham did not expect that a baby would fall out of the sky like the baby in the Superman movie. He expected the baby to be conceived in the dead womb of his wife. He only believed that the Lord God could revive her uterus. Faith is need based. It does not circumvent the natural process. It goes beyond the realm of our five senses and hence it calls for imagination. It is beyond human reason and normal human experience. We need to exercise the spiritual equivalent of our five physical senses. We need to see God doing it on our behalf that which we expect or need or have claimed and believed. We need to hear God doing it. We need to smell what God has done. We need to taste what God has done. We need to touch what God has done. Abraham’s imagined that God could do the impossible. His imagination led to not just one heir which was all he needed and was expecting but led to the nation of Israel as well as the Arab nations being formed. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Lessons of Deliverance

UV 820/10,000 The Lessons of Deliverance “ O Lord, you brought me up from the grave, you spared me from going down into the pit.” Psalm 30 v 3 Just as God delivered David from the brink of death, the Lord has delivered me from death several times. Satan had conspired to end my life from the days of my youth but the Lord changed my destiny. The good thing about human experience is that one can transfer the lessons of that experience to others without them having to go through the same. To be delivered from physical death is the ultimate test as well as boost of faith. Once one is delivered and once we know it is the hand of the Lord that has done it, we will be always in a mood to praise the Lord and rejoice in Him. We can dance and worship, singing, “ My beloved is mine and I am His and His banner over me is love.” It implies that all that we are is His and all that is His is ours. One of the foremost lessons I have learnt and reinforced by multiple testimonies of deliverance, mine own and that of others, is the need to always and in all our ways to remember the Lord, to be aware of His presence in us, near us and around us. He is always mindful of us and should we also not reciprocate by continually praying, continually praising, continually worshipping and communing with the Lord. The depths of the miry pit is also a metaphor for the various types of deliverances the Lord has wrought in our lives. It could be financial loss or debt. It could be ill health or mishaps of different kinds. The Lord recently said, “ You have been weeping over an axe-head that you have borrowed but it has fallen under water. I will restore it.” Accordingly, He delivered us as a family from a particular situation that was not getting resolved over a long period of time. But the greatest deliverance the Lord does for each of us is the deliverance of our souls from the fiery pit of hell. The other deliverances are only meant as a foretaste and to prepare the ground for this ultimate deliverance of our souls. I read once of a young man who survived a train that plunged into a lake but later when he was on a picnic with friends in a hill station, a sudden flashflood washed him away. What is the use of being delivered from lesser threats when one perishes in the ultimate test? Not only does the Lord pull us up from the depths, He sets us on a rock. Once we are delivered from death or death-like situations, we will realize that our security does not come from the things of the world, our position, our connections or our influence but it rests in the Lord. Jesus is the Rock. The next time we face similar dire situations, we know that we only have to cry out to the Rock. The promises of God are like the rope that He throws down to us so that we can pull ourselves to safety. When Daniel’s three companions were thrown into the pit of a fiery furnace, the Lord Jesus did not send anyone to their aid but He Himself went for scripture records that “the fourth one looked like a Son of God.” Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Divine Protection and Blessing

UV 819/10,000 Divine Protection and Blessing “ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two groups.” Genesis 32 v 10 The Lord protects us not because we are worthy or deserving of His care and love but because we are His children. Jacob described himself as a servant of the Living God. He humbled himself in so doing and sought the Lord’s protection. But we who live in this year of grace have crossed the Jordan and made the transition to the promised land as we are children of God by the grace of Jesus. The Lord revealed recently, “ I have protected you and your family from accidents,disasters, post mortem, biopsy, courts .. as you are my children.” He has preserved us as the apple of His eye. His eye or His focus is always on us. He is always ready to shower us abundantly with the blessings of His kindness and faithfulness. These days new age philosophers like Deepak Chopra talk much about mindfulness- mindfulness about what? It cannot be an empty, meandering mindfulness. Instead, we should be mindful about our Father’s kindness and faithfulness. When we are so mindful, we too will become like the Father-kind and faithful. A fear had begun to prey upon the mind of Jacob as he saw the approaching armed band led by his brother Esau. His guilt at having deceived his brother began to feed his fear. All that he had achieved and all that he owned, his family and his herds were at stake. At this juncture, he remembers His master Jehovah and seeks His protection. When fear preys upon our minds about our mortality or the safety of our loved ones, we must turn to the Lord in prayer. But, now we do not turn in fear to our master Jehovah but we turn in prayer to our loving Father in Heaven thanks to the transformation Jesus brought about in our relationship with God. True, He is our awesome Master, King, Lord but He is also our loving Father. The Lord will bless and multiply the groups or organisations that we belong to even as He had multiplied Jacob’s family, followers and herds. His human resources, economic resources as well as his monetary resources were blessed and multiplied. Biblical Economics or the Excenomics that every believer should believe in implies that we seek first the blessing of the Lord upon us and our own. It is not just unseen market forces of demand and supply that determine profits but it is the unseen hand of the Lord upon our lives that multiplies our resources and our impact. When we are blessed, the multiplication of our human resources, our economic resources and our financial resources, the multiplication of our abilities, talents and skills will also follow. It is the blessing of the Triune God that makes us successful, healthy, purposeful and joyful. I always remember my father started with just a blue steel trunk on which his name is painted just as Jacob said that he had started his innings with just a staff. We will face Jordans or challenges as Jacob did. Every time we face a Jordan, we need to rely or lean on the staff of prayer intermingled with the Word of God. The Lord will set up a “Mahanaim” around us- a double camp like that of Jacob’s and that of the angels. Jacob did not throw his own prudence to the winds. He acted with tact and wisdom. He divided his camp into two to ensure survivors in the event of a deadly attack. He sent gifts to Esau ahead of him to pacify the latter and win his favour. We too need to act prudently and wisely even as we seek the Lord's blessing and protection. Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 22, 2013

Food for the Hungry Soul

Food for the Hungry Soul For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107 v 9 Some people throughout history and all over the globe had all their earthly desires more than satisfied and yet they seemed to be dissatisfied with their lives. The reason is that while they fed and clothed and satisfied their bodily desires in all kinds of ways, they ignored the need or longing of their souls. Our minds are the mouths of our souls. Our souls are forever hungry and longing for food for the soul. This is the food that will bring us into intimacy with our Creator God who satisfies our every need and fulfils the longing of our soul. An occasional top up of spiritual food just would not do just as an occasional meal does not satisfy the need of our bodies. It is written in scripture that “ if you open your mouth, I will fill it with good things.” If we open our minds to God, He will fill it with good news. Our minds abhor bad news like sickness, failure, shame and death. Our minds desire to incessantly believe and receive, to hear and do good things. We need to nurture this kind of spiritual hunger and not try to quench or satisfy it with substitutes for truth and goodness. Jesus said, “ Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be satisfied.” Hunger and thirst for righteousness is then a pre-condition to being blessed and being wholly satisfied. As I lay injured and bleeding from multiple wounds on a bomb blast scene, I understood the real meaning of thirst for every cell in my body was thirsty due to loss of blood and I was crying out for water. Indeed, deep longing is the kind of thirst that Christ experienced on the cross when He cried out, “ I am thirsty.” The Psalmist wrote, “ Young lions can go hungry but they that seek the Lord shall be satisfied.” The young lions are people with power, wealth and influence. They can often go spiritually hungry in their ignorance of God like the rich young man who asked Jesus, “ What must I do to have eternal life?” We can never have eternal life or the goodness of God by “doing things” or the concept of “karma”. For He shall send the rich empty away but the hungry, He shall satisfy with His good promises or the Word. He shall satisfy us as with marrow and fatness. We cannot be satisfied by things that money can buy or labour can win. We cannot be satisfied with occasional spiritual inspiration or worship as the poor make do with just a chicken soup from the charity kitchen. We will be satisfied with an eternal personal covenant relationship with God. He shall satisfy us with the sure mercies that He has promised us as we are descendants by faith of King David and of His Son Jesus. As we descend from Him, we shall ascend to stand before His throne of mercy. The book of Revelation says, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes”. Meanwhile, we should be like the fish that keep coming to the surface and open our mouths or our minds to take in gulps of food and water from His living waters. Prateep V Philip

Doing it the Ezra Way

UV 817/10,000 Doing it the Ezra Way For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments Ezra 7 v 10 Every day we must prepare our hearts as Ezra did to seek the law of the Lord. When we seek the law of the Lord, He will reveal His will. The blessings of the Lord are contingent on obedience of the law or the will of the Lord. The Word of God in its application to our everyday lives is the will of God. We prepare our hearts by asking the Holy Spirit to cleanse us of any sin, hidden, wilful or unknown sin. Then we ask Him to anoint us with the wisdom of God to understand scripture. We prepare our hearts by declaring that we will obey whatever the Lord wills as revealed in His Word. Ezra was a ready scribe for the Lord and for Israel. He prepared the people to hear God’s Word. He did not approach the Word casually but he prayed, confessed, wept and threw himself down before God. So much so, the people too gathered around him and wept bitterly. Reverence of God which is the beginning of wisdom is the reverence of the Word. Ezra did not just read the Word and left it to the people of Israel to obey or apply it in their lives. He did it or applied it in his own life. He was not just a hearer but a doer of the Word. Only after he obeyed the Word, did he endeavour to teach it to the nation of Israel. While Nehemiah provided leadership for the physical re-building of the ruined walls and city of Jerusalem, Ezra’s focus was on spiritually re-building Israel by encouraging them to listen to the statutes and judgements in scripture. Just as we work to feed, clothe and shelter our bodies, we need to feed, clothe and shelter our spirits and souls. Many people including several Christian leaders and management gurus teach seven habits or disciplines or 25 principles of leadership and so on but Ezra had only one habit to transform his life and the life of his nation- sincere preparation of the heart, diligent study of the Scripture and dedicated obedience or application of the truths, principles, precepts, models, examples, promises and privileges hidden in the Word of God. Ezra’s heart was fixed or focussed on the Word. The Spirit anointed him and the Word empowered him. Jesus said that “ whoever heard the Word and does it is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock” Jesus also said that “ Whoever does what the Word says and teaches others to do so will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” It implies that we will be wise and secure in this world and esteemed in the life to come. The Book of Revelation promises that those who do His commandments will get the right to the tree of life and enter the gates of the city of Heaven. We must learn to look at the world through the templates of the Word. We must cut out of our lives the parts that are not part of the templates of the Word: pride, lust, greed, envy, laziness, negativity. Those of us who have a gift or calling for the written and spoken word must become scribes for the Lord in our nations as Ezra was in Israel. We need to teach, exhort and rebuke with sound doctrine, patience, humility and authority. Ezra received the favour and support of the King who gave him both permission, patronage and support to continue his ministry. Scripture affirms that “ the king gave him all that he requested according to the hand of the Lord that was upon him”. The Lord once gave me a confirmation of my calling through this uni-verse and called me an Ezra in this day and time. The other day I met a young man in a shop at John F Kennedy airport. He was from China and had sought asylum in the USA on the ground of persecution. He was saddened by the fact that Communist China took away people’s freedom to believe in God even as secular USA forbade him from sharing the good news of salvation with anyone while at work. He felt that both Communism in the country from which he had fled and this anti-faith secularism in the country where he sought refuge were equally evil and godless. I realized that people from all cultures and nations are hungry to have an intimate relationship with the Lord God through His Son Jesus who makes it possible and practical to relate to an absolutely holy, wise and infinite God. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Divine Vindication

UV 816/10,000 Divine Vindication But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not: Psalm 35 v 15 Sometimes without us knowing there are people who plot and conspire against us. They devise plans to hurt us even though we have given them no cause for grievance, even though we have repaid evil with good. They gloat when they think we have been defeated, disturbed or overtaken by some bad news or calamity. The Lord says that just as they gather together and conspire against His children they will fall together. We must not turn bitter against such people who plot our hurt or fall. We must pray for their blessing and leave it to the judgement of the Lord. We need to behave as if they are our brother or friend. As Joseph told his brothers, " Am I in the place of God to judge you.You did it to harm me but God turned it to good." As they hate us without a cause and we stick to the righteous way of not playing God and judge to avenge ourselves, the Lord will turn their shortlived rejoicing into long term mourning and sorrow. The Lord will deliver them into our hands as He delivered Saul into the hands of David even as the former pursued him with deadly intent. As we rest in His agape love and not act in accordance with our natural instinct to take revenge, the Lord will rejoice over us and turn our defeat into victory, our sorrow into joy, our mourning into celebration. As Jesus said, this attitude towards those who deliberately assail us is the mark that we are truly the children of God and not of satan. The Lord always has the last word and that word is the Word of God,eternal,sovereign, absolute, infallible and unfailing. He often allows such powerful and evil persons and forces against us in order to reveal His glory, to redeem us, increase our faith and love for Him and to give us a testimony or evidence of God at work in our practical every day lives. Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 19, 2013

UV 815/10,000 Expanding our Understanding “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147 v 5 God is so infinite that it is past us finite men to find out His ways or to understand His ways. His wisdom and knowledge are unsearchable. No matter how much we search, research, experiment or analyse, we cannot understand His greatness or fathom or measure the limits of His power. Our own understanding, both individually and collectively is limited. Unless the Lord reveals His infinite nature and different aspects of His being to us, how can we ever understand Him? Yet by studying the Word of God, we can understand Him. We can appreciate His greatness and awesome power. We will be moved from ignorance to reverence. Our own understanding will expand. Our wisdom will grow in leaps and bounds as we are drawn into a personal relationship with God. We need understanding in the realm of relationships while we need knowledge and wisdom in the realm of our decisions and daily functions. God understands us better than we understand ourselves. When we understand the Word of God, we will get to gain an insight into ourselves and others. Those whose understanding is expanded by being in contact with the limitless understanding of God will experience the greatness, goodness, might and grace of the Lord in their lives. Those who develop such understanding will be better managers, leaders and rulers. In a maternity suit before King Solomon, His God-given and expanded understanding enabled him to use his insight into the psyche of a mother as opposed to any other woman to determine whose child a disputed baby was? We need to pray and ask the Lord to expand our understanding of ourselves as well as others. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Healing of Wounds

UV 814/10,000 The Healing of Wounds He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds Psalm 147 v 3 Every human being in some aspect or at some level is wounded. The wounds may be psychological, emotional or spiritual. Pain in life is inevitable. But the wounds need to heal and not allowed to fester and get infected. Just as we have a variety of wounds, the Lord has a variety of ways in which He binds the wounds and heals our inner hurt. Jesus healed in a variety of ways. He healed some by merely commanding, “ Be healed” or by saying, “ You are made whole.” In the case of one deaf man, He spat and applied the spit mixed with mud on the deaf man’s ears. He then asked him to wash it off. To the paralysed man, He said, “ pick up your mat and walk.” Some were healed instantly but in many cases, the healing could have been progressive and happened over a period of time. In some cases, He directed the one who needed healing to do a certain act or actions just as Elijah asked Naaman to dip himself in the Jordan seven times to obtain healing. In every case, the one who is broken hearted and needs healing persisted in faith. We need to believe and know that He can and will heal us. No sickness is too small for Him to heal. No disease or wound is too critical or severe for Him to be unable to heal. What He binds is bound, what He heals is healed forever. Some wounds that are caused by our own wilful sin are healed by maintaining a broken and contrite spirit towards the Lord. We throw ourselves at His mercy. Some wounds are healed by our releasing forgiveness upon those who hurt us. The Lord empathises or feels our pain as if it were His own. Many are healed by applying the Word to their inner wounds. Indeed, it is true that “ by His stripes, we are healed.” When Jesus heals, He does not heal partially or temporarily give relief. He heals us in spirit, mind and body as no physician or doctor can. He is a specialist of specialists. Like the Good Samaritan, He will pour in the oil and the wine, the oil symbolizing the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the wine, the spirit of hope and encouragement. Jesus once said in a time of prayer at our home, “ Remember the fountain of blood from my feet, the stream of blood from my knees and hands, the blood from the wounds ploughed on my back and the wounds on my head and face.” He revealed that He is the “Bridegroom of Blood” to His own. He not only redeems us by His blood sacrifice of His own life but heals us spiritually, psychologically and emotionally by His five wounds. He is the metaphoric Balm of Gilead. He is the Balm who keeps us calm even in stormy or choppy waters. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Acts of God

UV 813/10,000 The Acts of God “They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” Psalm 145 v 5 Every generation of believers declares the glory and greatness of God to their own and the next generation. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and each declares to the succeeding generation the faithfulness of the Lord to them. When we declare the praises of the Lord, it raises the bar or the standards by which we live. It is not the visible that motivates us but the invisible God who inspires us by the wonders of His promises to us. We need to constantly meditate on the awesomeness of God. There are three types of wonders that we can meditate on: the wonders of the acts of God as reported in the Word, the wonders of nature and the wonders He has done in the lives of people we know and in our own lives. He moves mountains in our lives. He heals the broken hearted. He sets free sinners from the bondage of sin. He removes rulers and raises up new ones. Mankind has from ancient times listed and admired seven great wonders of the world but the wonders of God cannot be enumerated or listed. A man of God once prophesied to me: “ Your small eyes shall see great wonders.” I experienced wonderful deliverance from physical death twice. I was presented to Her Majesty the Queen as an honour. I experienced astounding success in academics and breakthroughs in my professional life. All these real time experiences have always filled me with a sense of awe and wonder at His mercy, love, power and grace. When we meditate on these wonderful acts of God, we are opening the gateways of heaven so that we experience even greater wonders in the remaining days of our lives. He is waiting eagerly to reveal His glory, splendour and majesty on earth. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Move of the Spirit

UV 812/10,000 Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Our lives are empty, shapeless, directionless, meaningless and purposeless unless the Spirit of God moves upon the face of our depths. The earth was formless and empty like all the other heavenly bodies like planets and asteroids in space but when He moved upon the face of the deep and upon the face of the waters, life on earth took on shape and purpose. There is a profusion of life and shapes and forms that flourish on Earth. In sharp contrast,no form of life has been traced on any other planet and is most unlikely to exist as these planets are like control planets to prove and give evidence of the work of God. No blade of grass, no whiff of wind exists on these planets. Just as His dispensation for the Earth, the Lord has an unique dispensation for each of our lives. We need to invite the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to move afresh every day in the depths of our souls, causing us to fulfil His purpose and plan for our lives. He will drive the darkness out of our lives and fill us with the light of His knowledge and wisdom. He will fill our empty lives with meaning. He does so by interpreting and reminding us often of the living waters of the Word of God. It is impossible to understand the origin and purpose of the universe or our own lives without the help of the Word. Scientists work on hypothesis or guesses or theories that are so far from the truth. Can they look through a telescope or a microscope and hope to see and encounter the Spirit of God? When we invite the Holy Spirit, He separates light from darkness or the good from evil, the chaff from the grain in our lives. Our disintegrated and vain lives will take on shape and we will develop focus. Our character will be formed on rock-hard principles. There will be unction or anointing of the Holy Spirit even in our mundane functions. We will discover both rhyme and reason, purpose and power, strength and grace in our lives. Our deeper understanding will nourish us from within and cause us to flourish as water and sap rise up and nourish the plants. Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 15, 2013

Glorying in Weaknesses

UV 811/10,000 Glorying in Weaknesses And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 While man is most concerned with abilities or competence, the Lord is more concerned about faithfulness. When we are faithful and dependent on Him for leadership, strength and wisdom, He is more than able to fill the deficiencies in our skill set. Once we align our mind set with Him and His Word, He is prepared to fill us with His grace. Our attitude unlike the rest of the world should be not to take pride in our abilities but in knowing our weaknesses and taking these infirmities to the Lord. This is the reason the Lord glories in qualifying the called rather than calling the qualified. When we glory in our infirmities or weaknesses, we please the Lord with His humility and find grace or favour with Him. He is not pleased with those who are brash and boastful. Those who are ever aware of their limitations and the unlimited grace, power and mercy of God are the ones He calls. He called Moses who knew he was a stamerrer and a poor communicator. He called Gideon who knew he was the least in the smallest of families in his clan. The more weaknesses we discover in ourselves the greater is our potential before the Lord. He will know that He can do much with such as us without us ever claiming or believing that we did any of it on our own. The Lord joins His unlimited strength and wisdom with the areas of our weakness. His grace and power begins to operate in these areas for the glory of God. If we do not have enough talents, He says, “ No problem, I can work with your lack of talent and bestow my power on you.” If we do not have enough strength or health, He says, “ No problem, I can cause healing and strength to rise in you.” If we say we do not have enough resources, He says, “ No problem, I can supply whatever you need.” When Mary said they had run out of wine at the marriage feast in Cana, it became an opportunity for Jesus to make the wine overflow. When the disciples said that they had five loaves and seven fish, Jesus multiplied it to overflow. The Lord’s full extent of power, wisdom and grace is given full expression in the areas of our physical, intellectual and spiritual deficiency. In our deficiencies, His abundance is revealed. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Basis of Our Confidence

UV 810/10,000 The Basis of Our Confidence “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4 v 16 Jesus is seated on the throne as our King and Priest. As the King, He rules over the universe with His Word. His Word is law that penetrates the spirit. It divides the light from darkness, the truth from untruth, the good from bad. As our High Priest, eternal and holy, He presents us before the Father as holy and blameless by virtue of our faith or confidence that His blood sacrifice was sufficient to move us forever from untruth to truth, darkness to light and from evil to good. It is not our confidence in ourselves that enables us to approach the throne of grace but our faith in the risen Son of God. But for our faith we being sinful cannot approach the throne of the Almighty with confidence but with fear and awe. In such a condition of being a stranger to God, we would receive penalty and find judgement. The reason for our confidence is that we have personal knowledge of our Saviour and King. We are hopeful that He will not let our spirit perish but as He knows and understands our weaknesses and as He when He walked in flesh on earth was tempted in every way and remained sinless and victorious, He can offer us mercy and transfer His grace, the power to remain victorious in every situation. We have the blessed assurance that He will supply our every need according to not what we deserve but in accordance with His exceeding, abundant grace. We approach the throne room of heaven not as strangers or pilgrims but as sons and daughters of the Most High and as Friends of God. The word “ help” means that we need to make every effort on our part to do that which the Spirit and our spirit commends us to do. Grace will fill the gap in our efforts or give us help. When we attempt something, we do not know if we will succeed or fail. It is grace that will take care of the result. Grace will give us power to overcome our inner weaknesses. But we must first receive mercy. Jesus is the High Priest for every human being but it is up to each individual to believe and recognize that truth and receive the mercy He is offering with His nail-pierced hands. We approach the throne of grace only once to receive mercy but we approach His throne daily and frequently to “find grace”. We approach the throne every time we bow our heads or bend our knees or incline our ears to pray. We find grace by seeking His help for our every need, big or small. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our Labour in and for the Lord

UV 809/10,000 Our Labour in and for the Lord “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15 v 58 Yesterday,at a luncheon meeting at Atlanta with the 90 year old legendary founder of HI Leadership Institute, John Edmund Haggai gave me his latest book on the 13 success principles from the Bible. On the first page, he wrote this uni-verse as a Biblical exhortation. I realized as I reflect on his life and work that he has lived and continues to live out this verse. He had stood firm as a rock on his convictions, not moved by many crises in his life and his career. Nothing had moved him to give up his zeal for the Lord and His work of reaching the world. He continues to labour hard knowing that his labour is not in vain, hoping to live past the hundred mark. His life’s work had impacted thousands like me from the days of our youth. A couple of days before at a conference on spiritual wisdom at Yale University, an old management professor asked me, “ How can you be so sure of what you believe in?” Briefly I shared with him how the Lord had saved me from two near death experiences and he agreed that I had strong reasons on which my beliefs or convictions were founded. Most people have only opinions based on what they had heard or read but when our beliefs are based on the strong reasons that experience provides us, we tend to stand firm and unmoved by the changing opinions and whims of the world around us. Without the Lord involved in our labour, our life’s work will be in vain. As Scripture says, “ except the Lord build the house, the labourers build in vain.” We need to drive pile foundations into the bedrock of our faith. When we give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, He will reward our diligence with exceeding and abounding success or fulfilment that goes beyond our expectations. It will be clear to others that we could not have done it on our own or with our own skills and strength. Circumstances and experiences as well as opinions of others should not move us from our hope in Christ. Neither should suffering or persecution deter us nor should success or our influence or appreciation go to our head. We should give ourselves unstintingly or without reservation to the work that the Lord has assigned to us. Above all, we need to be steadfast in our covenant relationship with the Lord and this is more vital than “doing things” for the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pleasing and Not Grieving the Spirit

UV 808/10,000 Pleasing not Grieving the Spirit Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It is significant that God has no grief other than what is caused by mankind. Jesus is known as the man of sorrow as He embraced every sorrow of mankind in order to redeem us. But He is no longer a man of sorrow, having won the victory over sin and death and having ascended to the throne of Heaven. We should not continue to heap sorrows on Him. When we act and react towards each other with bitterness, rage and anger and engage in conflict, slander and malice of any kind, we are acting against the finished work of Christ on the cross. We are denying we are new creatures imbued with the hope of glory. This grieves or hurts the gentle Holy Spirit, the third person of the Divine Trinity. When individual men harden their hearts in disbelief of God, this too grieves the Spirit. When people in groups and nations wantonly follow ways of error and sin, it grieves the Lord. When we act against the grain of the new faith-induced DNA, we grieve the Lord. We are called to please and not displease or hurt the Holy Spirit by being kind and compassionate to one another and forgiving one another as Christ forgave us. We need to keep improving in every aspect of our character and the profession of our faith till the day of the Lord’s appearing or the day of our redemption. Just as we set goals and establish milestones for our work and projects, we need to set goals and establish milestones for the building of our character. Our spirit that communes with the Holy Spirit will communicate to us when the Lord is pleased with us and when He is grieved. We are all guilty at one time or other of so grieving the Spirit but at such times, we must repent, confess and resolve not to repeat such conduct or action or speech in the rest of our lives. Our diligence in following up on our repentance is what renders eventual victory in different areas of personal challenge in our lives. We need to evaluate whether by maintaining a particular attitude or by saying a particular word or by doing a particular act, we are pleasing or displeasing the Lord. Our goal as servants of God should be to please Him with every thought, word and deed. Just as a jeweller examines with great care every part of a jewel to see if it is well done, we should develop the habit of daily examining in this light what we think, speak and do. We need to be sensitive to the feelings of the Holy Spirit just as the Holy Spirit is sensitive and responsive to our feelings. The Holy Spirit is not a passive spectator of what is happening in our lives but an active participant in our edification. We can ask for His help in the areas of our failing or weakness. He is pleased to impart the wisdom and grace to overcome. Prateep V Philip

Pleasing and Not Grieving the Holy Spirit

UV 808/10,000 Pleasing not Grieving the Spirit Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It is significant that God has no grief other than what is caused by mankind. Jesus is known as the man of sorrow as He embraced every sorrow of mankind in order to redeem us. When we act and react towards each other with bitterness, rage and anger and engage in conflict, slander and malice of any kind, we are acting against the finished work of Christ on the cross. We are denying we are new creatures imbued with the hope of glory. This grieves or hurts the gentle Holy Spirit, the third person of the Divine Trinity. When individual men harden their hearts in disbelief of God, this too grieves the Spirit. When people in groups and nations wantonly follow ways of error and sin,it grieves the Lord. We are called to please and not displease or hurt the Holy Spirit by being kind and compassionate to one another and forgiving one another as Christ forgave us. We need to keep improving in every aspect of our character and the profession of our faith till the day of the Lord’s appearing or the day of our redemption. Just as we set goals and establish milestones for our work and projects, we need to set goals and establish milestones for the building of our character. Our spirit that communes with the Holy Spirit will communicate to us when the Lord is pleased with us and when He is grieved. We are all guilty at one time or other of so grieving the Spirit but at such times, we must repent, confess and resolve not to repeat such conduct or action or speech in the rest of our lives. Our diligence in following up on our repentance is what renders eventual victory in different areas of personal challenge in our lives. We need to evaluate whether by maintaining a particular attitude or by saying a particular word or by doing a particular act, we are pleasing or displeasing the Lord. Our goal as servants of God should be to please Him with every thought, word and deed. Just as a jeweller examines with great care every part of a jewel to see if it is well done, we should develop the habit of daily examining in this light what we think, speak and do. We need to be sensitive to the feelings of the Holy Spirit just as the Holy Spirit is sensitive and responsive to our feelings. The Holy Spirit is not a passive spectator of what is happening in our lives but an active participant in our edification. We can ask for His help in the areas of our failing or weakness. He is pleased to impart the wisdom and grace to overcome. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Worthy Life

UV 807/10,000 The Worthy Life That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God Colossians 1 v 10 This uni-verse defines the quality of our walk with the Lord. The faith life is not described as lonely but as a walk with the Lord. Every day is a step in that walk. Every step should be pleasing to the Lord. We must walk close to the Lord like Enoch so that the shadow of His presence always covers us. We need to increase in our knowledge of the character of God and learn to walk in His footprints. We should aim to imitate Jesus in our walk on Earth. We must demonstrate His love, His peace, His gentleness, His humility and wisdom in both our words and actions. “ Being fruitful” is not so much about “doing” many activities for the Lord but our attitudes should reflect the love of God to people around us. While good works do not save or justify us, they are an evidence of our desire to please the Lord and a natural outflow of our faith and knowledge of the character of God. The types of good work that we can do is not prescribed for it is left to do spontaneously what falls in our way every day as we walk with the Lord. A man of God in an interesting revelation of heaven found that while only faith in the risen Saviour gets us a place in heaven, it is our good deeds here on earth that provides angels materials to build our homes in heaven. It is our choice whether we want to build with hay and stubble or with gold and precious stones. Walking worthy of the Lord implies that we need to make ourselves accountable to the Lord for the way we are living our lives. Our testimonies should bring a feeling of joy in the heart of the Lord. It is written in scripture that when we please the Lord even our enemies will turn out to be in our favour. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Templates of Grace and Truth

Templates of Grace and Truth And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1 v 14 Christ Jesus became flesh and lived among humankind. He still lives not among us but within us. Since He is full of grace and truth, we too will be filled with grace and truth as we grow in spiritual maturity. We behold His glory or His greatness towards us in the course of each day. It is impossible to live in Christ and not have a revelation or a manifestation of His goodness and grace in practical and real ways in our lives. Our natural and vain human nature is to seek our own glory or pride. But, when we understand the Word and believe in it, we begin to seek the glory of God in all of our thoughts, words and actions. When we understand with our minds and believe with our hearts the Word of God, the glory of God is revealed to us. The word “ heart” has in it the hidden truth-hear+t(ransformation). We hear the Word and are transformed gradually and degree by degree into the very glory or greatness of God. The process of transformation is that when we hear or read the Word,the light of Christ or truth enters our darkened minds and hardened hearts. Our minds become enlightened and our hearts softened. The seed of the Word is now planted. Just as a caterpillar feeds ravenously on the greens,leaf by leaf, we need to feed ravenously on the Word, little by little, verse by verse. Then one fine day it lies still and pulls the membrane of the chrysalis over its body, drops its countless tiny limbs and develops glorious wings and then emerges to fly. Christ is the chrysalis in which we remain still and drop our countless tiny desires in exchange for the hope of eternal life. It is Christ in us that gives us hope of glory during our earthly sojourn and in eternity. Prayer and the Word constitute the two wings that enable us to fly. The good we do, the great things we attempt and achieve provide the amazing colours of the wings. The mind continues to intake the Word and feed the heart to grow more and more. Just as Christ dwells in us, we must dwell in the Word of God. The word “dwell” implies that we need to inhabit the Word and the Word needs to inhabit or reside, or cover or fill our lives. His Word must instruct us at every turn. The truths in His Word must convict us of what we should pursue passionately and what we need to avoid like the plague. The Word provides templates for our thoughts, speech, conduct.. The templates provide us a means to avoid temptation or the tendency to fall out of grace or sync with the will of God. The templates also provides us patterns or models to follow or emulate or obey. We need to frequently check and compare our thoughts, words and deeds against these templates. The more we intake the Word and live within its templates, the more we will experience the grace, truth and glory of God. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Speaking for the Lord

Speaking for God Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say Exodus 4 v 12 Moses sought to avoid the responsibility of leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt by saying that he had a stammering tongue. At the time the Lord gave this promise that He would be with his mouth and teach him what to say. Moses eventually spoke words and did things that drove terror into the hearts of the then superpower, Egypt under Pharaoh. So much so, Pharaoh let the people of Israel go. He obeyed the words of the stammering Moses who echoed what the Lord taught him to say, “Let my people go.” Even today many people try to evade leadership responsibility to lead people out of the bondage of sin saying that they are not eloquent or gifted communicators. This uni-verse is applicable in such situations and for such potential messengers of the Lord. The Lord is the one who has given us the power to speak, to listen , to understand and to lead. When the occasion and the opportunity arises, He will give us the grace to do so. As teachers anointed by the Lord, we need not be confused or perplexed when we need to share what He has taught us or laid upon our hearts to speak. We only need to pray and ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to be with our mouths as also with the hearing of the listeners for it is the Spirit who convicts all people that what we speak is the truth and not just our personal opinions. We are only messengers. It is the Lord who will give the message. Neither our ability or our inability to communicate is a factor. The Lord is never limited by our inability even as He is not dependent on our abilities to communicate. He does not rely on our own ability to communicate eloquently or persuasively or effectively. Jesus taught his disciples that when they are called to defend their faith and their actions before the councils of men, the Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak. Paul was given the boldness and the words to speak before kings and rulers as well as the priests and common people. At such times, we might be tempted to speak with words of human wisdom and counsel but we must desist and wait on the Lord to give us the specific word to share. The Lord will surely give the word to speak as it is part of the wages of a faithful worker. Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 8, 2013

Setting up the Watchtower of the Lord

UV 804/10,000 Watchtower of the Lord “It was also called Mizpah because he said, “ May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.” Genesis 31 v 49 The word “ Mizpah” means watchtower. We need to set up watchtowers for the Lord in different areas of our lives. Jacob and Laban had set up a Mizpah to have the Lord as a witness of the covenant of peace they had agreed upon between them. Similarly, we need to have a Mizpah over our important relationships, our families, our partners. We need to invite the Lord to watch over us and ours. We need to have spiritual prayer towers or watch towers where we beseech the Lord to lead, guide and protect us. When I was posted as Commissioner of Police of a city I was given this promise, “ Except the Lord watch over the city, the watchmen watch in vain.” When we pray and invite the Lord’s blessing upon whatever we do, we are entering into a covenant with the Lord, acknowledging that it is beyond our competence to watch over our lives. His eye will be upon us to guide us and keep us from evil and its consequences. The Lord also calls each of us to be a Mizpah or watchtower of prayer for our nations, cities, generation, families and people. When Jacob was terrified that Esau was advancing towards him with 400 men, the Lord reassured him that he was dwelling in a camp of angels of Mahanaim. The Lord will likewise deliver us of all our fears. Jacob celebrated his deliverance by setting up an altar at Bethel to El-Israel or the God of Israel. Similarly, when we apprehend a problem or threat, we need to set up a watchtower of prayer and when the threat has passed, we need to worship and thank the Lord at Bethel. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Shalom Journey

UV 803/10,000 The Shalom Journey The priest answered them, “ Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” Judges 18 v 6 This uni-verse came as I was undertaking a journey of more than 12,000 kilometers. As we traverse such distances, we will see that when it is sunrise in one country, it is sunset in another. Scripture says that His name is to be praised from sunrise to sunset. Whenever we undertake a journey, we must seek the will of the Lord. As I sought the Lord’s will, this assurance came that my journey has the Lord’s approval. When our journey has the Lord’s approval, He leads us, guides us and sends His angelic herald before us. His miraculous and wonderful presence is with us. The Lord said, “ Whenever you go to someone’s house say to them, “The peace of Jesus is with you.” Not only do we have peace about our journey but we have peace on the journey and wherever we go we spread the peace of Jesus. The ultimate purpose of our every journey is to spread the Shalom of the Lord in the lands and cities and the homes that we visit. The Psalmist wrote, “ Kiss the Son lest you perish on the way.” It implies that when we embark on a journey whether short or long, we need to acknowledge and remember the Lord Jesus. He is the one who protects us on the way and prospers our journey. He will not let us or our cause to perish. Whether it is in connection with our profession or with our mission, the Lord will give us words to share at the appropriate time. The journey is itself a metaphor for life. It takes faith to undertake a journey as we are not certain whether we will reach and when we will reach. There are uncertainties about the people and experiences we will encounter. We are sojourners and pilgrims like Abraham. We leave behind us the things that do not belong to God and move towards what belongs and is approved by the Lord. When we have the Lord’s approval or favour, we will be successful in our mission and in our lives. He will enable us to meet the right people, speak the right words and take the right decisions. He will give us the right breaks and opportunities. The Lord accompanies us. He goes ahead of us and sends Eliezers ahead of us to smoothen our way. He comes behind us too. There are different types of journey’s mercies that the Lord desires us to bless us with. He will allay our fears and anxieties of the near and dear we have left in His custody. He will comfort and protect them in our absence. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Winners not Sinners

UV 802/10,000 Winners not Sinners Winners not Sinners “Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3 v 4 When we develop and maintain a faithful and loving heart, we will find favour with both God and man. This is the main thing in life that we have to maintain. This is the heart of Jesus: faithful to the Father and loving to people. It won Him the favour of both God and man. Scripture says that the Lord was with Joseph and he was a prosperous man. The Lord made all that he did with his hand to prosper. When the Lord is with is, we are prosperous. Our health, family, wisdom, finances, fortunes prosper. As the Lord’s favour was upon Joseph, he found favour even with men like his master Potiphar who made him overseer over his household. A good name in the sight of God is our testimony. A good name in the sight of man is our reputation. Our testimony leads to our reputation and builds on it. Daniel and his companions also found favour with the emperor’s steward as the Lord looked upon with favour from the first day he humbled himself to fast and pray. The Lord prospered Daniel through the reign of several emperors and gave him victory in adversity. Victory in adversity is another word for testimony. When we are in a time of adversity, we should not think like the world that we have lost the Lord’s favour. How can we have a testimony without adversity? Adversity is needed to prove our faith and love as well as to build our inner strength. God has intended that everyone is born a winner. To this end, He has packed us with desires, skills, qualities and talents. We may lose some games or some battles but that does not alter our permanent status- born to be winners. Satan however accuses us and tells everyone that we are born sinners or loser. It is our faith in God and in His Word as well as our love for God and our fellow beings that transforms our life of disgrace and defeat into a life of challenge and victory. Our sinful heart is replaced by the heart of Jesus and we become born again winners. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Jesus is the Locus

UV 801/10,000 Jesus is the Locus ““Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Luke 17 v 21 We should not look for God or happiness here and there for our pursuit will be vain. We are literally barking up the wrong tree. In fact, the history of the world is the story of most men striving to climb the wrong tree-the tree of power, knowledge and wealth. Instead, the King says, “ Grow the tree of life eternal inside you.” For the kingdom of God is within us and amongst us. This uni-verse should be read along with Mathew 6 v 33 that exhorts us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness and promises that all things will be added unto us. We need to first seek the reign and active rule of God in our hearts and minds and spirits. He must direct our thoughts and emotions. He should inspire our spirits and ignite our passion and imagination. When we give priority to the things of God, He will give priority to the things we need and lead us into green pastures and beside still waters. He will satisfy our inner hunger and our spiritual thirst. He will both reward us and give us rest. All of our physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological, financial, familial and social need will be met in sufficient measure. The locus of control lies within us and not without. We need to focus on the locus, Jesus. He is the very locus of the universe. All else is locust that eats away our peace, fruitfulness and joy. The Kingdom of God is not about enjoyment, pleasure, power, riches, fame, consumption or lifestyle but about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. We need to focus on obtaining more and more of such as these. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with more righteousness, peace and joy. Righteousness, peace and joy is fuelled by the hope we have in Christ of eternal and abundant life. This is the life of spiritual abundance that the Lord has called us into. It needs to be reflected in all our circles of influence, at home, office or workplace and wherever we go. Abundance means we have so much of it that we can keep giving away to others more and more. When we receive Christ into our hearts by faith or as we see Him with our inner eye, we are laying the foundation of the Kingdom of God in us. He is hereafter the locus, the cornerstone and the rock foundation. When we treasure the Word of God in us and obey its commands and precepts, we are establishing and growing the Kingdom of God in us. When we reflect the love, grace and power of God in our relationships, we are being brand ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is being established not only inside us but in our relationships. The two planks of the cross act as the axes of the kingdom of God: the vertical log is the Kingdom of God inside us and the horizontal log is the axis of the Kingdom amidst us. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Waiting for God

UV 800/10,000 Waiting for God And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. Isaiah 30 v 18 The Lord longs to be gracious, generous or kind to us. He longs to shower us with His parental love, care and favour. It is almost as if He is always looking for ways to bless us, opportunities to make our joy full. When we meditate, remember and claim a uni-verse, we are creating an opening for the Lord to bless us both supernaturally and naturally. He delights in blessing those who acknowledge Him as Father, Saviour, Lord, King.. He also hates it when He is ignored, neglected, disrespected or misunderstood even as we earthly parents are sore when our children disrespect us. Since He is a God of judgement, He cannot bless us when we are out of sync with Him. It is at these times that he sends us a deluge of troubles that we just cannot handle on our own. He does it to draw our attention. When we turn back to Him in repentance, He will restore, comfort and encourage us. He will readily forgive us. God is a just judge. This is the reason He binds Himself by the law that He himself has given through many messengers. When we claim a specific verse in scripture for a specific reason, He opens a gate or window of Heaven to bless us. We are blessed even as we wait for the fulfilment of the specific promise. No promise has an expiry date. Hence, once we place our trust in the promise of the Lord, we need to wait patiently and with hope. All our actions and reactions should be based on the sure knowledge that the Lord will fulfil His Word. We need to long for the Lord and His response to our faith. The word, “ wait” does not mean we just wait casually or with an attitude of doubt, “ let’s see if it happens.” Neither can we force issues by issuing an ultimatum to the Lord, “ Do this or I..” We cannot also test the Lord by saying, “ prove You are Lord in this situation.” We cannot set a deadline or time limit. It is a two way process in which the Lord will in due time reveal His mercy, His power and His grace and we will manifest to Him our faith, our trust and our hope. Why does the Lord make us wait for His time: the period of waiting is itself a greater blessing than receiving the blessing or answer of our hope. This is the reason the uni-verse says, “ blessed are those who wait for Him.” Our wait is not for a reply to our prayers but for the Lord Himself. We are waiting for the Lord as the wise virgins waited. We need to be vigilant, hopeful and at our best. We need to polish the lamps in our hands, fill it with oil. Polishing the lamp is a metaphor for having a good grip on the Word of God. Being filled with oil implies being filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to keep looking out of the window and perk up our ears and eyes to pick up any early sign of His footfall or a knock on the door of our hearts. He says to us, “ Behold, I stand at the door of your heart, mind and life itself and knock. If you hear my voice or my Word and open the door of your understanding, I will come in and enjoy your life with you.” We are often worried that the Lord will take up too much space in our lives and we ourselves will get nudged out. But the Lord is gracious and He will only enlarge our lives and crowd it with a multitude of blessings. Prateep V Philip

Monday, July 1, 2013

Instruments of Righteousness

Instruments of Righteousness Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. Romans 6 v 13 Before we were saved by faith and by grace, the various members of our bodies served as instruments of unrighteousness. The chief of the instruments of sin were our brains or minds, our tongues, our senses and sexual organs. These instruments were prone to yield to temptation and to the enemy of our souls-satan. They were instruments of death,sowing death and reaping death. But, now our ownership has changed. We have been purchased or ransomed by God through His Son Jesus. Now each member of our body has become an instrument of life forever, sowing life and reaping life. Now we are to yield or surrender the various members of our bodies and our spirits to God. He is no longer just God to us but He is Lord. Our minds should be constantly surrendered to the Lord to be filled with His thoughts. In this manner, our hearts or our attitudes and desires are transformed as vehicles of righteousness. Our five senses will be employed in the right manner,not feeding our sinful lusts but only godly desires. Our sexual desires and organs will be sanctified. Our tongues which used to boast of many things will now glorify, praise and thank the Lord. Our tongues will cease lying and abusing others. Very often we find people may be born again but their tongues are not “ born again”, their thoughts and imagination are not born again. We need to examine ourselves honestly and ask if we can write B.A. next to our tongues, brains, hands and legs, sexual organs. It is like a student is promoted to the next class but he or she is still following and studying the syllabus of the previous standard. We are living in the Kingdom of God with the standards of the world. Every member of our bodies need to graduate into the Kingdom of God. When all of the members of our bodies are yielded to the Lord, then the prayer of St Francis Xavier would be fulfilled, “ Lord, make me an instrument of your peace..” The members of our bodies will be used to sow peace, where there is strife and love where there is hatred, where there is distress, hope of salvation. We become true witnesses and evangelists only when we can truly write BA next to every organ of our bodies. Each organ has to be a new creation. It has to have a new purpose and function. It has to work with new methods and principles. It has to be discipled and disciplined. It is to be consecrated and sanctified. If not they will work at cross purposes or at war with the spirit that God has breathed into us when we received Christ as Saviour of our dead lives. Prateep V Philip