Thursday, October 31, 2013

Publishers of Great News

UV 911/10,000 Publishers of Great News The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it Psalm 68 v 11 Though God is invisible, He made Himself visible through the Word He gave through the prophets and the men and women of God. This is the reason He so completely identified Himself with the written Word. So much so, He stated that the Word is God and God is the same as the Word. When we carry the Word, we carry God in us and He carries us. When we believe the Word, we believe God. When we believe God, we believe the Word. Napoleon Hill wrote the well known book titled, “Think and Grow Rich.” It would be more meaningful to “ Believe and Grow Rich” not just in material or monetary terms but in every aspect of life. Both wealth and health, wisdom and favour are hidden in the Word. It is the hidden manna for man that will never spoil even when it is kept far beyond a lifetime or for eternity. Newspapers have space mostly to publish bad news or negative news that attract eyeballs and shock or depress the human spirit. But we are called to be publishers of the Word, publishers of the good news. We are the newspaper of the Lord to declare His Word and His work. Just as a newspaper has editors, reporters and writers, the Lord has appointed all believers to be either apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Unlike the newspaper that becomes irrelevant at the end of a day, the news that is published in the Word has eternal value. While news writers and reporters have no control over events and happenings, the publishers of the good news influence the course of history. While news reporters only report on past events, the reporters of the Lord proclaim what is going to happen in the future. While reporters cover events like accidents and disasters, they cannot prevent these. The workers of the Lord can use verses in the Word that can prevent, control or reduce the impact of accidents and disasters. While news reporters send in stories of the outbreak of diseases, the publishers of the Word can claim and cause healing to happen. While the former are passive and reactive observors of history, the latter are history makers. The 12 apostles who followed the Messiah changed the course of history, influenced education and thereby every domain of human endeavour and knowledge. The word know-l-edge has a hidden meaning. When we know the Leader, we become the cutting edge to shape the course of many human lives, those who are both chosen and choose to follow the Leader. The uni-verse records that “ great is the company that published it,” implying that those who publish the news of the Lord are great in number as well as the fact that they are considered great in the eyes of the Lord. Scripture records that since we have such a large cloud or crowd of witnesses, let us lay down every burden that hampers our functioning and keep working for the Lord. We begin to realize that we are not just dealing with good news but great news. Great news is difficult to believe. When the lepers carried news of abundant food being freely available in the enemy camp to the besieged, starving citizens of Samaria, the latter received it as great news. The distinction between good news and great news is:when we have reasonable hope in normal times that is good news. When we have no basis for hope and we are hoping against hope in hopeless situations and the hope is fulfilled, this is great news. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Holistic Exercises

UV 910/10,000 Holistic Exercises and Experiences For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. I Timothy 4 v 8 St Paul acknowledged the limited value of physical exercise to the extent it makes us fit and healthy. But, he upholds the holistic value of godliness. Godliness implies that we should be like God in His holiness, love, mercy and grace. The Lord wants man to be like God in terms of His character but man wants to be like God in terms of His power and position. We become godly by obeying the Word and by imitating the actions and attitude of Christ Jesus. He is the ultimate model of perfection for all mankind and for all leaders. All the blessings of the Lord are holistic and not split into different neat categories. Spiritual exercises are good for our bodies, minds and spirits. The spiritual exercises I have practiced are meditation, prayer walks, spiritual breathing wherein we breathe in the qualities of God and breathe out our negative values and qualities. Even our simple physical exercises can have spiritual connotations. When we raise our hands, we are praising the Lord. When we touch our feet, we are acknowledging our sinfulness. When we turn to the right we are thanking the Lord for the blessings of grace and when we turn to the left, we are thanking the Lord for the blessings of peace. Lying still and knowing that “ I am not God but He is God”, communicating heart to heart, mind to mind with the Lord is another holistic exercise we can practice on a regular basis to increase our connectedness with the Lord. To lie still and to know that “ I am not God” implies that we recognize our limitations. To acknowledge He is God is to recognize His infinite goodness, knowledge, understanding and wisdom, His awesome power, His grace and His mercy, His deep peace.. Eqthinking a method of meditation that I evolved from a study of scripture improves our physical fitness, mental agility, immunity, spiritual wisdom or intelligence, emotional intelligence, persistence and creativity. When we breathe in oxygen, we can command ourselves, be wise like Christ. When we breathe out, we can command ourselves, beat folly. Similarly, we can breathe in each of the fruit of the Spirit and breathe out their opposites. We can practice these exercises repeatedly at different times of the day. The Lord desires that we profit or gain in all things. We need to experience all round improvement in our lives. Jesus said, “ Be perfect because my Father in heaven is perfect.” Godliness is aiming for the perfection of God. When we aim for perfection, we catch up with excellence. Spiritual, moral, intellectual, creative, professional and social excellence will enable us to fulfil God ‘s will and our potential both in this lifetime and in the hereafter. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Root and Fruit of Praise

UV 909/10,000 The Root and Fruit of Praise By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name Hebrews 13 v 15 After the final and ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, the blemishless sacrifice that has the potential of absolving all mankind of all our sins, there is only one sacrifice that is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord God: the sacrifice of praise to God continually. We need to remember all the Lord’ s goodness to us all our lives and give thanks to Jesus. The words , “ By Him” implies that it is by the grace of Jesus that our praise, worship and thanksgiving is acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to cultivate and maintain an attitude of gratitude to the Lord for our personal salvation as well as a multitude of blessings that it entails. We need to also develop a sense of awe at His ineffable greatness and glory, evidenced in nature, in the gospel, in history and in our lives. This is what will make each of us a living sacrifice on the altar of God. It will fill our lives with the awesome presence of the Lord for He delights to be present where He is worshipped. Our bodies become His tabernacle, His church. It will also fill our lives with immeasurable and inexplicable joy and infinite strength and spiritual fervour. Whatever blessings we have will be further multiplied. For Jesus took the five bread and seven fishes from the boy. Once He gave thanks to the Lord, it multiplied to fill many baskets and feed the multitude of ten thousand. It will be a good exercise to each day focus on one particular facet of God’s goodness and one blessing that the Lord has endowed us with. Six days of the week we can focus on six different facets of God’s character, His plan of salvation and His blessings and on the seventh day, we can praise the Lord all day for all of these facets and blessings. Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to thank and appreciate Him. Each of us should be like the returning leper who receives the approbation of the Lord. When we do so we will be like the glorious lily that has six petals. We will be like the dew to Israel, like a cedar of Lebanon that sends down its roots deep, whose young shoots grow. Our splendour will be like an olive tree, our fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon. We will blossom like a vine and our renown will be like the wine from Lebanon. The reference to “roots” means that this continual act of worship in our inner being is deep and hidden from the eye. The “fruit of our lips” implies that not only should we do the “ root activity” or inwardly and continually thank and worship the Lord for His goodness towards us, we should also express in words our love, appreciation, awe, adoration, admiration, gratitude towards the Lord. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control should be in evidence in the words we speak. There should be a constant intermingling of the fruit of the Spirit and the words of our lips. Our normal conversation should be interspersed with such fruit offering to the Lord. Like organ music or instruments enhance the beauty of our songs, when our conversation is salted with wisdom and grace, it enhances the beauty of our worship. Indeed, we need to worship the Lord not in the ugliness of our own context but in the beauty of His holiness, power and grace. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting Spiritually Even

UV 908/10,000 Spiritually Even “Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. These seven are the eyes of the Lord which range throughout the earth. Zechariah 4 v 10 Today is the day of small things. We should not despise the day and think that we cannot do much in a day. For the Lord declares today to be the day of salvation. He asks us to forget the past, however joyful or bitter and to live in the present and to rejoice in the Lord as the birds rejoice in greeting the new morning with much chirping and singing. The birds and other creatures live as if only today matters, as if their life consists of just this one day. We too need to be faithful to the day. For when we keep doing what we can, we will end up doing what we cannot. Everything cannot be built in a day but everything can be lost in a second. The metaphoric seven eyes of the Lord are the seven spirits or seven angels of the Lord who move to and fro across the earth looking for people who are willing to repent and set right their hearts and their lives in accordance with the plumb line of the Lord. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere and sees all that men do, both the good and the evil. No detail escapes His attention. Just as in nature, there are seven days in a week, seven seas, seven continents, seven notes in music, seven colours of the rainbow, in the supernatural the Word speaks of seven eyes of the Lord, seven horns of the slain and now risen Lamb Jesus, seven seals of history, seven lamps and seven golden pipes conducting oil to the lamps, seven churches, seven trumpets and seven angels of the churches. Jesus also spoke of the need to forgive our fellow human beings, seventy times seven. The number “ seven” means “ spiritually even” or perfect or consummate or complete. The Lord consummates or completes us. We might look small and insignificant today but we are all part of His great design, part of a much larger and meaningful work. Zerubbabel mentioned in the uni-verse is a personification of the person who is faithful in this day and time to God and His mission of building the church just as Zerubbabel, a direct descendant of King David, was faithful in his day and time to re-building the temple at Jerusalem. We are to be a king and priest in the eyes of God in this day and time. The plumb line of the Lord which is held tightly in our hands is the Word of God. A plumb line is of little use unless it is used. Similarly, the Word is of little use unless we put it to daily use in our lives. We are to constantly align our thoughts, our words, our intentions, our emotions, our actions and reactions, indeed our entire being with the plumb line of the Word. The Lord is waiting to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him or whose hearts are in sync with the Word. This implies that He is eager to bless externally and strengthen internally those who repent, straighten their lives and are faithful to Him and His Word. When a part of us juts out or is looking jarring or out of sync or alignment, the Mason takes the edge of His shovel and strikes it to break it and makes us spiritually even or perfect in symmetry and one piece with the rest of His work. He will patiently chip away at our angularities and strive to give us a perfect, smooth, even finish. The Lord is a builder. He builds His temple from within us. Though our beginnings are small, He has a great plan for our lives. He revealed to us in a time of prayer, “ When we prepare to build, we first dig a huge pit. That pit might look ugly. But it is necessary for strong foundations to be laid deep in the bedrock. But once the structure is up, it will look beautiful.” Much of our lives and our experiences might look dismal and miserable but the Lord uses it to strengthen us, to correct us , to re-align us with His purpose and His Word. We need to submit ourselves as clay to the potter, as wet mortar in the mason’s hands. We might be placed neatly on the shovel of the mason and expect that we are going to rest there. But suddenly, we will be thrown with a force onto the wall to cement some part of the wall, to make it even and perfect. Stephen Covey and many others speak of the need for seven habits. Most people even after reading his book, “ Seven Habits” are not able to recall all seven habits and hence, how would they practice it. Instead, this uni-verse focusses our need to cultivate one habit of constantly checking ourselves against the plumb line of His Word. Once the plumb line is in place and we are constantly evaluating ourselves against it, everything else will fall in place. We need to ask ourselves continually, “ Are we spiritually even in all areas of our lives? How do I get ‘plumb line perfect’ and aligned in the area of my thoughts, my emotions, my finances, my family, my speech,my talents, my purpose, my actions, my contribution and lifestyle?” Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 26, 2013


UV 907-10,000 Dominion Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: Psalm 8 v 6 The word “ dominion” implies to rule with authority, to subdue, to discipline and to dominate. It does not mean political rule but spiritual reign of God. God made all things with His hands and placed them under the feet of man. We can see the operation of this Word in the entire planet: the land, the seas and the air is today under the dominion of mankind. But the Word also says that all men have feet of clay or weaknesses. These weaknesses will cause him to fall and remain under the dominion of satan. The latter began to dominate man with the temptation to sin during his lifetime and afterward with death and damnation. Only Jesus is seen in the book of Revelation as a person who has shining feet that appeared like bronze. All things including angels, authorities, powers and death itself were brought under His feet. In preparation for the death and burial of Jesus, His feet were washed with tears and perfume by Mary of Magdalene. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, an action that symbolised that they were cleansed of their inner weaknesses or feet of clay. But today our entire being, bodies, minds, thoughts, emotions, goals have been sanctified not just with water but with the precious blood of the Lamb. In our own being, the Lord should rule over our spirits, minds and bodies. We are restored to dominion over all domains. Our instruments to rule these domains are: prayer, declaring the Word believing it will fulfil itself and commanding the powers of darkness. We need to exercise dominion over the world, to subdue the powers of darkness under our feet, to bring order out of chaos, to extend the rule of the Lord, to pre-empt and prevent the domination of evil of all kinds in all nations. Now we who believe in Jesus have been declared priests and kings or a royal priesthood. All things of darkness that are under the feet of Jesus are now by interpretation also under our feet. As priests we can pray and intercede for people to be released from darkness into light, from falsehood into truth, from suffering and penalty into joy. As kings we can command the kingdoms, powers and principalities of darkness. We can command healing and deliverance. We need to have dominion over our homes, streets, cities and nations. Each of these are to be made a footstool unto the Lord. The Lord has told us in prayer, “ Your home is My footstool.” A footstool is a piece of furniture meant to rest one’s feet on. The earth itself is described as the footstool of the earth. We are to rule the world as viceroys of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 25, 2013

Armour, Weapons and Strongholds

UV 906-10,000 Armour and Weapons For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 2 Corinthians 10 v 4 God is not in favour of war and violence. He abhors the shedding of blood. This is the reason He did not commission David, a man of war who had shed much blood, to build the temple at Jerusalem. The word “Jerusalem” itself means “My peace.” It fell to Solomon who was a man at rest who did not engage in much war to build the temple of the Lord. At the same time we are all called to join the good fight or to wage spiritual warfare for the Lord. We are to take a stand for God in our lives and to remain still. The battle is the Lord’s. The Lord fights the battle on His own terms at the spiritual plane. He will act on our behalf. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual and not carnal or “of the flesh”. These are not meant to inflict physical wounds. Inner wounds are more deep and more harmful and do not easily congeal or heal unlike the external wounds. The Word of God is the first spiritual weapon. It is described as a sharp two-edged sword. It cuts both the one that uses it and the one on whom it is used. It is so sharp it cuts to the point where bone and marrow meet or the innermost parts of our being, where eye cannot see. Like sword-fighting is a learnt and practiced skill, we need to be skilled in the use of the Word, its interpretation and its application. The Holy Spirit will enable and train us to use the apt Word for the apt occasion or need. When we pray in accordance with the Word and claim promises of God contained therein, it is a most powerful spiritual weapon. Prayer is the exercise of faith in an unseen but known God. It is written that through faith, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Samuel, David and the prophets “wrought righteousness, subdued kingdoms, obtained promises and stopped the mouth of lions.” While we engage in spiritual warfare, the Lord surrounds us with a phalanx of His angels. We are also not to neglect to wear the helmet of assurance that the Lord is with us as a mighty Saviour. We are to wear the breastplate of a righteous heart, spirit and lifestyle. We are to wear the belt of truth tight around our waist to hold our lower garments or accoutrements in place. We should be ready to share our testimony of our experience of salvation and God’s grace to all who are needy or willing to listen. Our kneecaps should be covered by the spirit of fervent, continual prayer. We are to be mighty in words and deeds. We should be willing to “root out, pull out, throw down, destroy” the strongholds of the enemy of our souls” and to “ build and plant” the strongholds of the Lord. We should be like the creature called the armadillo that never takes down its armour for a moment or in short, we should always be watchful and pray in the spirit, not exposing any chink in our armour. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beautiful but Terrible

UV 905-10,000 Beautiful but Terrible And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God Revelation 19 v 15 The stereotype of Jesus’s image is that of a meek and gentle person. But in reality He is so mighty that by His mere word that acts like a sword of judgement, He can and does strike nations. He can slay with His breath. He rules the world with a sceptre of iron. Similarly, we who follow Him are expected to be like a iron hand in a velvet glove. We are expected to be beautiful and terrible at the same time. The Lord will give us wisdom and grace to reconcile the bipolarities of our own minds, environments and relationships. We must always wear the glove of grace and compassion but when the time for compassion has passed and it is time to act and to execute, we need to bring out the iron hand or sceptre of righteousness. The last part of this uni-verse speaks of the fierce judgement of Almighty God. Jesus acts as an intercessor, a defence advocate and stands between us and the fierce wrath of the Lord, pleading for us , explaining our circumstances and the hope that He has that we are on the mend. But once the die is cast, the mind of God is made up, Jesus Himself accelerates the execution of the judgement like one who treads on the winepress to make it roll forward. Recently, in an interview I said that “ I like to combine firmness with compassion.” The Lord has endorsed this style by saying, “ You know well how to combine authority with humility.” We should not confuse servant leadership with “ doormat leadership.” We need to assert ourselves and exercise our authority whenever it is called for. Nothing is excusable but everything is forgivable. This implies that we cannot turn a blind eye to injustice and perversion. We need to correct those who are placed under our responsibility and when required gently point out the error of those who lead us. I heard once of an incident in which when a team member pointed out the error of the person he trusted, a believer, the latter lashed out at him and threatened to call the security guards to throw him out for merely pointing out to him that he was not living up to his own standards. Yesterday, an officer working under me sent his church priest to request a transfer. I politely told the latter that I do not entertain requests from third parties and I would consider on merits the request of the officer himself if he directly represented it. Even those who are perceived to be close to me know that if they exceed the brief would face a rebuke or correction and chastisement. The sword is wielded by even us as believers when the Word is laid upon our tongues and we act or speak in accordance with it. Nobody will be able to refute us. The spiritual precept that we learn from this uni-verse is that we cannot take the mercy of God for granted. The management and leadership precept that we learn is that we need to be compassionate but firm, meek but decisive, humble but assertive. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


UV 904-10,000 Marks of a Man of God He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; Isaiah 33 v 15 This uni-verse describes the marks of a man who pleases God: he walks in righteousness or in accordance with the laws or Word of God. Each teaching from scripture is a path or a road or a highway of God. We need to walk in these ways alone and not stray or take a detour. We need to speak in uprightness- there needs to be an alignment between the Word, our minds, our mouths and our actions. Ken Blanchard, the author of the One Minute Manager series, teaches about the integrity of the 4 H: heart, head, hands and habits. The one thing he failed to include is the use of our mouths or our tongues or our speech. For indeed as the Lord says, “ Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me and to him who ordered his conversation aright, will I show My salvation.” The other qualities of a person of God is that he or she refuses bribes and hates to gain anything by oppression or exploitation but would aim to do so only by just means. Such a person shows revulsion at violence or the shedding of blood. He is not only non-violent but anti-violence. He or she is a peace lover and a peace maker. He or she takes a vow or covenants with his or her eyes not to look at the opposite gender or for that matter the same gender too with lust. As Jesus said, “ the eyes are the windows of the body, the light of our existence.” We need to keep our eyes from seeing what is evil or vulgar or unworthy. I recently heard about the shocking statistics that a good number of pastors in certain countries are addicted to pornography. Children whose eyes are exposed to pornography have their minds scarred for life. If one of the partners in a marriage is addicted to pornography, it adversely affects his or her relationship with the spouse. The presence of God or our personal relationship with the Lord creates such marks of distinction in people who both love God and fear to break His laws. Such persons will live on high. This implies that when we follow the ways of the Lord, we will have exciting lives. “Our bread will be provided and our waters will be sure.” In other words, we shall have no want or our need will be met in every area of life. We will be secure in the Lord since “ our place of defence shall be the munition of rocks.” In other words, our sense of security will be as if we are living in a mountain fortress. Nothing can shake us. Our eyes will behold the beauty of the Lord and see the glory of Heaven in our lives. Our abode or residence will be peaceful. The stakes of our tents will not be pulled up nor any of its ropes broken. We will be both healed and forgiven. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stay Faithful, Stay Wise!

Stay Faithful, Stay Wise And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. Acts 7 v 10 God was with Joseph and delivered him out of all his afflictions. He gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of the Pharaoh of Egypt. He made him, a foreignor and a slave, ruler over Egypt and his palace. This is what the grace of God does for people. We need only the grace of God and He will deliver us out of all our afflictions. He will give us favour and wisdom in the sight of the powers that be of the day. He makes us rulers in His kingdom, if not of nations. We need to pray and ask the Lord to grant us favour and wisdom in the sight of mortal kings and earthly authorities. The secret of the power of this uni-verse is that since the Lord has fulfilled this word for Joseph in his context and time, when we hold this verse dear to our heart and believe that the Lord will act on our behalf too in accordance, He will do so. For He is not partial to any man or woman or nationality. He does not change or vary in His commitment to His Word. We hold the uni-verse dear when we remember it often in the course of our life’s course and both proclaim and claim it. As believers, we are certain to face afflictions but we are also to be certain that the Lord whom we believe in will deliver us from each affliction. There is an appointed time for each word to be fulfilled. Till that appointed time, the word tries us. Steve Jobs said, “ Stay hungry, stay foolish!” But the Lord says to us , “Stay faithful! Stay wise!” We are to remain faithful and righteous during the time of trials. Joseph held on to the hope of the dream he saw as a teenager. That hope grew into stronger and stronger faith as one by one the Lord delivered him first from his brother’s conspiracy, then from false accusation of Potiphar’s adulterous wife and from prison. Joseph’ s elevation was instantaneous as soon as Pharaoh saw wisdom in Joseph’s interpretation of his double dream. Joseph told him that he saw two dreams one of the seven cows and one of the seven ears of corn as the Lord was going to do it soon or establish his word with that double confirmation. Pharaoh believed his words and immediately saw him as the person most fit to prepare Egypt for the coming famine. He adorned his signet ring on Joseph’s finger as a sign of delegated power and authority to execute his fiat. Joseph could bind the princes of the land at his pleasure and teach the senators wisdom. The deliverance was not instantaneous but it happened in the course of time. Faith requires persistent belief in a promise of God and patient waiting for it to be fulfilled. The Word of hope has to be planted deep in our souls and it needs to grow like a sapling, become a strong plant, a tree and then bear fruits of salvation. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 21, 2013


UV 902-10,000 Intimacy “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.” Psalm 27 v 4 If we ask ourselves the question, “ what is the one thing that I desire in all of life? If out of all the things in life, I have to choose one thing, what is that one thing?” That one thing is the locus of our life, the focus of our being. It is what dominates our thoughts and emotions. It rules over us like a veritable god. This is the reason that the Lord expects singlemindedness in us. He exhorts us to seek Him with all our hearts. The Psalmist David after all his varied experiences of the high and low, the up and down of life answered that question by saying, “ The one thing that I seek is the Lord Himself.” Everything else is worthless without Him, everything else takes its value on account of Him. As Jesus told the ever busy Martha, “ Only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen the better part which will not be taken away from her.” When we seek the Lord with such a consuming passion, He undertakes to add all other things that we need to our lives. St Paul also exhibited such singlemindedness in his life both before he met the risen Christ and afterwards, with differing results in both halves of his life. King David could have chosen many things- the power and majesty of his kingdom, the fame of his own name, the pleasures of royal life, the beauty of his wives, the grandeur of his palace, the loyalty and adulation of his subjects, the love for his offspring, the excitement of military conquest and victory.. But, he realized that all this is in vain except he spent eternity with God. He was entranced by the beauty of the character of the Lord. He was awed by the glory and holiness of God. When the Lord smiled at him, his own countenance lit up even as Moses’s face was radiant whenever he returned from the tent of meeting. He delighted in His love and fellowship. He sought a deeper and deeper intimacy with the Lord of his life. He loved to spend time in praise and prayer. As we spend time focussing on the beauty, power and glory of the Lord as revealed in His Word, we will be transformed degree by degree into His very image. The close and personal relationship that David enjoyed with the Lord is expressed in the many songs or psalms he composed that covers the entire gamut of human emotions vis –a- vis God: faith, disbelief, self doubt, repentance, assurance, fear, frustration, joy, security, hope, despair, strength, weakness, love, devotion, gratitude, awe, compassion, worship, steadfastness, determination, zeal and so on. In every stage and predicament of his life, David enquired of the Lord and received answers to his questions. The Lord clarified his doubts and assuaged his fears. He quenched or satisfied all his other desires by satisfying his one desire for the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Aroma

UV 901/10,000 The Aroma “But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.” 2 Corinthians 2 v 14 We need to thank the Lord for every triumph He has led us into. Christ Jesus leads the triumphal procession of history. He declares everyone of us a winner. He has defeated the foe and his plans to kill, destroy and steal our peace, our health, our unity and our abundance. The plans that God has for us which are to give us hope and a future in eternity will succeed instead. It is this hope of Christ in us who bestows and shares His ineffable greatness or glory with us that makes us fresh and fragrant. The smell of death and all threat of rottenness in our lives is gone and we begin to smell like the Rose of Sharon. The fragrance of Christ is the unspoken but strongly experienced witness of His grace in our lives. Not only do we experience the aroma of Christ, we begin to spread the aroma wherever we go so that others will come into a personal knowledge or relationship with Christ, the all conquering King and in turn experience the fragrance and join the triumphal procession. The redeemed of the Lord are portrayed as soldiers returning after a hard fought and won victory to the Kingdom of God. The soldiers are full of rejoicing and gratitude to God that they have escaped death on the battlefields of earth. Instead, they carry the spoils and enjoy privileges of victory. It is the duty of the soldiers to recruit more souls to swell the ranks of the army of God. We are a sweet smelling and living offering unto the Lord. The aroma or fragrance is a metaphor for our winning ways by which we touch the lives of others. It is said that even the wall on which the jasmine plant leans smells of the fragrance of the flower. As we lean on the Lord, His aroma will pervade our inner being. Just as one cannot stop the aroma of a sweet smelling flower or perfume from spreading everywhere, the aroma of Christ spreads throughout the world and the universe, drawing many to cling, to lean and to be attached to Him. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Fiery Presence

UV 900/10,000 The Fiery Presence As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Psalm 68 v 2 One can be the wick that lights up but not the wicked who try to put it out. Though all have sinned and are therefore sinners, it is the unrepentant who are described as wicked. The faithful are described as sheep of the Lord while the wicked are described as the fat of the sheep that is used to make wax. Though they attempt to put out the burning wick of the faithful, they will themselves unwittingly provide the wax to supply fuel to the wick to continue to burn. Though they project themselves to be hardened and strong as steel, they will melt like wax when they face the presence of God and His righteous judgement. When the wicked act against the faithful, the justice of God is provoked. He will blow them away like chaff before the wind, like the wind blows away the smoke that emits from the chimney. Scripture says that though the wicked attack the righteous in one direction, they will flee in seven directions. The image is that of the wind that blows the dust off in all directions. The image is like that of the sun. No spacecraft can venture to go close to the sun as its intense heat will melt even the hardest of substances. Yet the sun sustains all life on the planet Earth with warmth, light and energy. Moses warned the people not to allow any man or animal to touch the Lord’s mountain as he himself went up to hear of the Lord. The Pharaoh and the people of Egypt who set themselves against God’s will and the freedom of the people of Israel faced the brunt of His wrath. The Lord is a consuming fire. There is only one way to survive His justice and that is to approach His throne with reverence and to receive mercy. I have experienced His awesome power and deliverance several times in the course of my career as a senior police officer. When many foes and rivals conspired behind my back and even without my knowledge, the Lord just melted their weapons and blew them away. His breath is sufficient to melt the mountains of hostility, opposition and resistance that are in our paths. He just blew on the Red Sea and it stood like walls on both sides to let the Israelites cross over safely. The same waters came crashing like a flood that drowned the chariots and soldiers of Pharaoh as they attempted to pursue them and take them back into bondage. The recent cyclone called Phailin that failed to wreak much havoc and destruction against all predictions and expectations was blown away by the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Power of Commitment

The Power of Commitment And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24 v 25 Each one of us as individuals and families need to choose whom we will serve. Worship and allegiance is our righteous service to God who created us and further redeemed us. God had made Himself manifest in His power and mercy to the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. He had revealed Himself in mighty signs and unparalleled wonders to release them from their bondage to the then world’s superpower- Egypt. Yet they were in two minds to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or to turn to the local deities of the lands through which they passed. Joshua as their anointed leader placed before them the choice. Joshua affirmed before the people of Israel that regardless of whom they chose to serve, he himself and his family would serve the Lord in these now famous words, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” His unflinching commitment for all time transformed the situation and the fickle-minded Israelites also committed to serving the God who had proved Himself real in all their struggles for freedom and deliverance. Joshua ‘s public confession of his faith inspired and guided many others to commit their own lives to God. He warned them that God does not want to be a small part of their lives that He too is also worshipped. He reminded them that He is a jealous God who desires their wholehearted devotion and unswerfing commitment. The greatest blessing that we can pass on to our children and theirs is to live the life of faith. Even today the choice to serve the Lord is an individual choice. But our choices will affect the lives of our families to begin with and a whole generation of people we are living with. Today like Joshua, I too can affirm that as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. The commitment I made to Christ as a seventeen year old transformed my life. He set me free from many bondages, broke many curses, blessed me abundantly, took me through water and fire. He taught me to walk in the desert, through the water and on normal ground. I have shared the words of eternal life that the Lord gave me with thousands upon thousands with my messages and writings over the past thirty five years. At all times of day and night, there is a song of praise and appreciation for the Lord in my heart and a prayer on my lips. My family too shares my commitment and are blessed. The Lord is no man’s debtor and He has faithfully paid my wages as a worker in His kingdom. As for my family, He promised in a time of prayer, “ Your descendants will sit to the twelfth generation on my thrones.” Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Process of Waiting

UV 898/10,000 The Process of Waiting “But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.” Hosea 12 v 6 All mankind is born with the chains of sin wrapped around us just as the umbilical cord turns around the new born baby. We can see it even in our nature as children or in the loveliest child that was born. At the same time there is a yearning to return to our God who made us in His image. Only our bodies are made in our parents’ image or likeness but our spirit is made in the image of God. So our spirits long for the company and intimacy of fellowship of the Creator. God’s absolute holiness and justice prevents that from happening until we are prepared to accept the absolution of mercy and love that He Himself planned and provided for us in His Son Jesus. Hence there is always a waiting period before we return to the Lord. In order to return to the Father’s bosom or intimate fellowship, we need to rend not our garments or beat our chests but we need to rend our hearts. The prodigal son’s heart was broken at the memory of his wilfulness in attempting to leave his father’s house. Once he repented and returned to his house, shorn of his stubbornness, pride and evil, the waiting and expectant father rushed forward to receive him back in his arms. Similarly, the Lord is waiting for every one of His flock to return to Him. Even after we return to the Lord, we are to wait continually for the resolution of many issues and unanswered questions in our lives. As we wait patiently and with praise and thanksgiving mixed with expectancy or faith, our spiritual strength will be renewed. We will rise on the wings of prayer and the Word. Like the eagle we will ascend above the storms in our lives. While we wait we are to keep God’s judgment and mercy always in our view. We are to be just and merciful in our own lives to reflect our intimacy with God. Waiting is the process that God uses to mature and renew us spiritually in His image. We are being prepared for His Kingdom. The nascent new born attitudes of love and justice will over the time of waiting become attributes of our character and inner being. Waiting is God’s gestation period. The more complex species in nature have longer gestation periods. Hence , the longer the waiting period, the greater is the patience that is required, the greater the faith and the greater is the work that the Lord is going to do in a person’s life. Wait means “ Worship (for who He is and what He has done) And I Trust ( Him for what He is going to do in the present and future). Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Banner of Victory

UV 897/10,000 The Banner of Victory “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” Psalm 60 v 4 In times of war, the banner that was raised above all the troops was intended as a sign of triumph. As long as it was held up, the troops knew that they were winning and their spirits would begin to sag only when they fail to see it. The Lord keeps a spiritual banner of love and victory over those who fear Him. We do not have to wait for victory before we praise and glorify Him for it. We need to remember all the past victories the Lord had given us in our struggles in different areas of our lives and worship Him. This is the reason Moses erected an altar and called it Jehovahnissi or Jehovah’s victory. This was no longer the reluctant and diffident leader when God had called him to lead the Hebrew people out of captivity in Egypt. He had already tasted the great deliverance and seen the amazing victory God had given them. He was proclaiming in faith the victory of Jehovah for all time and all eternity. This is the reason the Jewish diaspora who were scattered in the first millenium like the dust is scattered to the four corners of the earth were gathered back as the nation of Israel after World War II. We need to erect an altar of worship in our hearts and our hearths. We need to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving for these triumphs in our lives. The second banner the Lord keeps over His beloved people is the banner of love. The rainbow was revealed to Noah after the great flood as a sign of God’s love and faithfulness. Each colour of the rainbow is a symbol of victory in a different area of our lives: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, professional and material. God’s promise to man is that when the enemy of our souls rises against us like a flood, He will raise a standard to make him flee. That standard is the cross. The cross is the ensign for all mankind that Christ has won a victory for each of us and all of us over sin and death. The Lord places His banners only over those who are faithful to Him and have a personal relationship with Him. The banners God has given us are not meant to be folded and kept away but to be displayed so that others who are in search of victory and love can also come and take refuge under the banner. The Lord has often affirmed while we were in prayer that He has raised a huge flag or banner over our home. The enemy sees it and realizes that this is not his territory and that it is out of bounds for him. Prateep V Philip

Banking on the Word

UV 896/10,000 Banking on the Word “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” Ezekiel 47 v 12 Believers exude the fragrance of the cedar tree and the glory of the lotus in full bloom. As a lotus, our roots stretch into the miry clay of the world with all its evil but we remain detached from the world like the lotus that floats on the water. We are the trees of righteousness in the garden of God, watered by t he river of God’s grace and mercy. Our actions will help to sustain people spiritually and our words will bring healing of hope and hope of healing to people. It is not the money in our banks that will bring blessing and fruitfulness in our lives but the touch of “ the river upon the bank.” We bank on the Word, signifying that we have complete faith or assurance that God is able and willing to fulfil every promise spoken to us, that He will meet our every need, present, future and eternal. We will never be tired of bearing fruit for the glory of God. The significance of our message of hope and healing to the nations will never fade or loose significance or importance or meaning. We will bear fruit of different kinds in our character, our spirit, our gifts, our ministry, our professions, our thought life, our families. We will bear witness of God and His provision for our salvation in season and out of season like an evergreen tree. Like the tree of eternal life in paradise written about in the book of Revelation, we will bear a different fruit or bring a different positive result in every month of the year or in every season of our lives. We need to grow and glow. The words, “ new fruit” means that there should be no staleness or lack of excitement or interest in our relationship with the Father. We are new creatures, renewed in His image. We are to die to our old selves like the bark of a tree peels off and live for God. The “waters that issued out of the sanctuary” implies the Word of God whose source is the sanctuary or Heaven itself irrigates and sanctifies our minds and imagination. A sanctified imagination works for the glorification of God. New ideas and solutions for the world’s problems will spring from our minds for the benefit of people. Belief brings relief. When we by our lives and our words induce belief in others we bring relief or healing to them. When I was young we used to read a serial in a magazine called, “ Laughter is the best medicine.” But truth be told, meditation on the Word of God is the best medicine. The expression “ the fruit thereof shall be for meat” implies that our lives will be marked with substantive achievements and breakthroughs in different areas of our lives for the greater glory of God. “ The fruit shall not be consumed” implies that the Word is an inexhaustible treasure house of blessings and wisdom for our lives. Prateep v Philip

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The River of Life

UV 895/10,000 The River of Life “And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh” Ezekiel 47 v 9 Jesus is the great river of life, the spiritual Amazon. The story is told of a ship that got marooned and floated on without water and provisions for many days. Finally, it floated onto the vast expanse of the Amazon river that looks like the oceon itself. The sailors who were dying of thirst did not recognize that they were now floating on a river full of fresh water and life. They could have had enough water and fish to revive their lives. But sadly, all the sailors were found lying dead aboard the ship after some time. Likewise, we might have been marooned and floating aimlessly without nourishment and water for part of our lives but now we are in the midst of the amazing spiritual Amazon. We are healed, delivered, strengthened and nourished. But we need to show the intiative by letting down a pail to collect the water and to angle to catch the fish. All who come in contact with Jesus and believe in Him will live for He is the quickening spirit, the One and only One who has the words of eternal life. The water of the river is a metaphor that stands for the Word of God. The great multitude of fish that will be healed of sin and mortality are none but those who believe in Him. I write this in our upper room in the midst of some torrential rain. I can hear the intermittent roar of the water on all sides. The voice of Jesus too is described as the voice of many waters. Indeed, Jesus has a Word for healing and saving us in all types of situations. The Lord has also spoken this uni-verse that we too would be like this great river and all the people who hear and believe our words of testimony and truth will be healed and saved. When we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will dwell in us and rivers of life-giving water will always flow from our hearts. The Lord transforms the pattern of our lives from fight or flight like the fish in the water to “flow and glow”. People who come in contact with the rivers of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control in us will themselves asked to be healed and saved forever. We who were once destined to be dying fish have become “fishers of men. ” We will be instrumental for spiritually famished people being served the bread and wine of the Lord’s table. Once the Lord told us in a time of prayer, “ I am like the line that runs through the fish’s body. I am the lifeline of your lives.” Prateep V Philip

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Three Levels of Protection

UV 895/10,000 Three levels of Protection For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. Psalm 27 v 5 Since we human beings are fickle and faithless, it is only in times of trouble- the kind of trouble that we cannot handle ourselves with our wit, wisdom and resources- do we nestle close to the Lord like the sighting of the eagle drives the chicken to scurry to the mother hen’s wings. If we are believers, we will at least recognize who is the ‘ mother hen’ and what are her wings. Her wings are prayer and the Word. By resorting to fervent prayer and by reading, remembering and meditating on His Word, we hide in His pavilion. When we so hide in His pavilion, we are protected from the strife of tongues, as the Psalmist puts it. It is in such times of trouble that we recognize and realize the reality of God and His faithfulness to His Word. This is perhaps the reason that those who have faith have more trouble per head than the average worldly non-believer for the Lord does not have to bother with those who turn their back to Him and ignore Him in their lives. In police parlance, protection is organized in three rings- the outer cordon, the inner cordon and the isolation cordon. Similarly, the Lord protects us in His pavilion- the outer ring, the tabernacle- the inner ring and the rock- the isolation cordon. The second aspect of this uni-verse that assures protection is that He hides us in the secret of His tabernacle. His presence is our shelter, our stronghold and our house. Our bodies are His living tabernacle. His power will be manifest from within us and amongst us. He will release a secret weapon to preserve us from the intended evil. We will uncover a new resource or solution to the problem or challenge we are facing at the moment. Just as Jesus said, “ In my Father’s house, there are many mansions”, there are many types of rooms in His tabernacle. In one we will find rest and freedom from our unwarranted fears and worries. In another, we will find the grace to trust and praise God. In another part of the tabernacle, we will strength and hope. The third aspect is when the storm or the trouble has blown over. He will set us up on a rock foundation of faith in Him. He will enable us to re-build our lives. He is the rock that is much higher than I. We will be like the city that is built on a rock, emitting light from a million homes. When we are on the Rock, nobody and nothing can touch us. Our testimony or our story of faith and victory in God will reach a million people and inspire in them similar faith, courage and fortitude. Our lives will rock. We will enjoy what we do. We will sing songs of joy and deliverance like Merriam and Moses, once the danger or threat is clearly passed. We have crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan. Prateep V Philip

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Importance of Encouragement

The Importance of Encouragement And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30 v 6 The Amalekites had invaded Judah and routed the town of Ziklag, burning it down and taking the women and children captive. David, the old hero of Israel who had defeated Goliath, was distressed. His feat of yore was forgotten. The people thought of stoning him, blaming him for their sad plight. There was no one and nothing in the circumstances to encourage him or give him hope of recovery of his esteem, of his lost wives, of the people who were taken captive and of the gold and treasures they had taken away as spoils. The uni-verse concludes by saying that despite the reverses suffered by his kingdom, David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. Our attitude and reaction when we suffer reverses in fortunes should be similar. We should encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. The Lord will give courage, strength, guidance and resources to overcome the situation. We can encourage ourselves in the Lord by remembering how in the past He had delivered, restored and protected us in a variety of life threatening circumstances, losses, threats of dishonour and in adversity where people turned against us. When my boss, the then Superintendent of Police told me a couple of days before the Human bomb blast at Sriperumbudur, “ Your God cannot save you when disaster strikes”, I encouraged myself by remembering how He had saved me from a watery grave in the sea two years before that event. Today, I constantly remember with gratitude and praise how He had delivered me from so terrible a death in Sriperumbudur. Though David was distressed as he was discredited in front of Israel and two of his wives were also taken captive, the fact that he encouraged himself enabled him to seek what he should do. He sought the leading of the Lord who asked him to pursue the marauding Amalekites. The Lord gave him His word of confirmation that surely “he would overtake them and recover all.” David implicity believed in God’ s Word and direction. So he proceeded with just 400 soldiers after the Amalekites. En route, they chanced upon an Egyptian slave of an Amalekite who had been left behind by his master as he had fallen sick. The slave agreed to lead David and his men to the camp of the Amalekites. The rest is biblical history for David and his 400 men routed the Amalekites and recovered the women, the sons, the cattle, the treasures that had been taken away by the invading Amalekites. It happened as David though distressed at what had happened in Ziklag, encouraged himself in the Lord. When we encourage ourselves in the Lord, He will give us hope against hope and lead us to such total victory. Prateep V Philip

Diplomatic Immunity

UV 892/10,000 The Distinction But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. Exodus 11 v 7 God is not partial to anyone but He puts a fencing around those who trust in Him and His Word. He discerns between those who are righteous by faith and the wicked, between those who serve Him and those who do not. In His eyes there are only two nations and all people belong to one or the other. If we trust in Him and know Him personally like Jacob and Abraham who talked with God, we belong to Israel. Those who do not know Him personally and talk to Him often and trust in His Word belong to Egypt. Egypt trusted in Pharaoh and his chariots. The chariots today are a metaphor for military power or physical strength, financial muscle, influence, status, traditions, family background and so on. I once met a person who owns a security agency. He told me that he put very strong locking systems to secure his house. Yet his own wife was murdered by servants from within the house. I told him that we have ourselves put only very weak locks on our doors but the Lord is our strength and protection. The Lord makes it His responsibility to protect Israel like a good shepherd looks after his sheep. He will never disappoint us. Though we have problems, these problems will be manageable. He allows such problems so that we remain close and do not stray far from Him. When we face such problems, we should not be afraid but repose our trust and confidence and come even closer to the Lord and He will see us through unscathed. The Lord makes a distinction between those who trust in Him and know Him personally and those who do not. The Israelites were distinguished by the presence of God with them. Now we believers are distinguished by the presence of God within us and among us. As long as we are intimately connected with Him in this manner, He undertakes to preserve us. He uses the expression that not even “a dog will move his tongue against man or beast.” Once in a time of prayer, He used the metaphor of the mushroom. He said, “ I am like a mushroom over you so that no insects can come near and hurt you.” We are His ambassadors in this world and we are given diplomatic immunity . As His ambassadors, we are to think and talk about His Kingdom and its extension all the time. He covers us with His Shekinah glory. He will give us counsel and wisdom for every situation. The word “ difference” implies that we are a peculiar or special people for the Lord. Our homes will be blessed. Our goals are different. Our focus is on the invisibles like the glory of God, love, joy, peace, mercy, hope, inner strength, patience, kindness and such other eternal values. Our focus in not on the incidentals like the rest of the world – power, position, wealth, fame,pleasure, glamour, beauty and so on. The sources of strength that we bank on are different. Our methods are different- prayer, meditation, worship, fellowship, charity, service, sharing of testimonies, encouragement. The idea that someone is a “ self-made “ man is a myth. We are all God-made, whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not. All of us once belonged to Egypt and lived under its curse but the Lord has enabled us by grace or faith in Christ to move over to Israel. We are not ‘naturalised’ but ‘ supernaturalised citizens of Israel’. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Self Examination

UV 891/10,000 Self Examination Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith, test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13 v 5 Socrates, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said, “ An unexamined life is not worth living.” The contrary is also true that a life that is constantly examined is worth living. This uni-verse underlines the importance of examining ourselves to find out whether we are in the faith. We also need to examine how strong or weak is our faith and find ways to strengthen it further. Just as we do exercises to increase the strength of our muscles, the Lord allows troubles and trials in our lives as exercises for our faith so that it is strengthened further. We need a master check up of our bodies once a year. But our souls are so important that we need a Master check up of our faith virtually every day. Self examination is not about self flagellation or self glorification. It is about submitting to the Holy Spirit’s diagnosis. The Holy Spirit will flash His light on the areas we need to change and change faster. Faith is not sticking to the status quo. It is all about change management. Change challenges us but challenge changes us. Our faith grows in direct proportion to the challenges we face. David’s faith grew manifold as he faced up to the challenge of Goliath. My faith grew when I faced up to the challenge of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and its aftermath. When we judge ourselves, we will not be judged by the Lord. Acid is used to test the purity and nature of different metals and substances. The acid test for our faith is how strong is it in different life situations and challenges. Is it overcome or is it strong enough to help us overcome? I was just watching the interview of the 16 year old Malala who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban and has become a champion for the human rights and womens’ rights movement. Her terrible experience has not led to her faith in the power and need of education to change herself and the world. It has only increased manifold and inspiring many across the globe. If experience is the acid test, the litmus test of our faith is that are we expressing it in love for God and our fellow beings? We need to examine whether we are in Christ and whether Christ is in us. We need to examine every day our faith in Christ every day of our lives. We need to examine whether we are living our lives in accordance with our faith and His Word. We can prepare our own check list to examine if our faith and lives are in order every day: are we spending time reading the Word every single day? Are we spending time at the feet of Jesus in prayer and silence every day? Are we praising and worshipping the Lord on a regular basis? Are we claiming the promises of God every day to face every kind of challenge of that day? Are we proclaiming His Word and His glory every day to the people we meet? Are we having fellowship with other believers? Are we giving enough of our time, talent and resources to help others in their need? Are we applying the truths we are learning every day in a practical way to improve our lives and that of others? Is our faith a little stronger than the day before? Recently, when I attended a seminar led by the famous author Brian Tracy he said that even a 0.6 per cent improvement in any aspect of our lives per day would lead to a 26 per cent improvement per year. Indeed, we need to keep doing what we can in faith and we will end up doing what we cannot. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Messenger

UV 890/10,000 The Messenger Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3 v 1 We must neither shoot nor shoo the messenger. He or she could have the one message that can save our lives, improve our lot. The world has a tendency from ancient times to shoot the messenger: for example, Socrates, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, John the Baptist and many others who had a message of peace for humanity. But, the Lord has given us this promise that wherever we go in His Name, He sends a messenger to prepare the way before us. While it is true that this Word was first spoken as a prophecy about John the Baptist who cried out, “ Prepare the way for the Lord,” it is also today part of our spiritual inheritance in this life- a promise to believe and claim. I recall that when we first visited mainland China, I made a call to a pastor I know. To my surprise, he was taking the same route to the same city. He quickly introduced us to his Chinese friend without whose help in translation and guidance, we would have had a tough time even to find our way in a taxi to the hotel in Guangshou for the driver did not know a single word of English. This has happened not once but on virtually every journey we undertook overseas. The messengers God sends to our aid are like that Chinese friend, people who can interpret the love of God to us, having known and experienced it themselves. The Lord loves to navigate on our behalf. When I was young , I was discipled and mentored by a group called Navigators whose founder was Dawson Trotman. It was not without reason that he named his ministry “ Navigators” for they showed the way of eternal life to youngsters like us who would otherwise meandered, wandered and floundered in the hard ways of life. They are messengers of the covenant to tell people who do not know, “ hey guys, do you know there is a God who has signed an agreement in blood to forgive you, lead you, guide you, bless you and use you in turn as His messengers.” The Lord helps us find our way around as long as His ways are hidden in our hearts. We need to take the high way of the Lord or we need to seek His higher wisdom and guidance in every aspect of our lives. This is the meaning of the word, “ seek.” When we seek Him with all our heart, He will show up. He will send angelic messengers as well as people ahead of us. When my daughter Nimisha was leaving for London for her studies last year, He said,” I am sending Melchizedek and Michael ahead of her for her assistance and protection.” These are heavenly messengers of the covenant that we should delight in. Once a believer and a batchmate in the police service sent me a message from the Lord that said simply one word, “ suddenly”. This seemed an enigmatic word from the Lord. It means that the Lord will come to His temple or our bodies suddenly, without notice and ado. Even this morning as I was doing my customary half hour prayer walk in the garden, praying and worshipping the Lord I suddenly sensed a fragrance in the air. This was a sign of His fragrant presence as He visited His temple, my body. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


UV 889/10,000 Revival “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” Habakuk 3 v 2 When we hear the speech of the Lord, it is an awesome experience, like nothing our senses can ever perceive. It will make our hair stand on end. His eyes are full of fire and can see us in our complete nakedness. Nothing can be hidden from His perception. He sees us as we are in the present, the past and in the future. His tongue is like a sharpened sword. His breath can slay anything unholy that enters or remains in His presence. Naturally, the prophet Habakuk was afraid as he entered the presence of the Lord. He feared the judgement of the Lord. Moses trembled and feared when He experienced the presence of the Lord. Today, we should not take the presence of the Lord lightly or callously. No one who sees or experiences the Lord can ever remain the same. It is such reverence that leads to revelations that give us wisdom, specific direction and guidance. Just lying still in His presence will revive us even as a deer is revived by drinking from the cool waters of a forest spring. The prophet Habakuk then prayed, asking the Lord to revive His work of salvation of Israel in the midst of the years. We need in this day and age to pray that the Lord revive the church in all nations in the midst of our years. Recently, the Lord has spoken through a certain sister that He wants the churches to be revived: certain denominations need to give up their perverse doctrines and practices of praying to the saints and icons, certain denominations need to give up the dead weight of proud tradition and believe and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their midst with signs, prophetic word, gifts, fruits and wonders, certain denominations need to get the focus off the pastors and onto the Lord and allow the gifts of believers and their individual calling as kings and priests of the Kingdom of God to be manifest. The words “ in the middle of the years” implies that in the midst of calamities, persecution, trials and troubles, He will make His presence real and felt. We need to pray that people be saved in the middle of their years, well before the judgement at the end of their lives or at the end of the world. The Lord knows the defects or faults or blemishes of His bride, the church but in wrath, He remembers mercy. Such an unique and beautiful biblical expression that emerges from the character of God and becomes a precept or principle for our lives even as it is a promise for us. When David errs before God in disobeying Him in taking a census, he prefers to fall into the hands of God rather than into the hands of men as he knew that God is more merciful even when He is angry. We need to examine our faith status every day and pray, “ Lord, renew me with your resurrection power and grace. Revive me.” We should also use this as a “life app” in the times when we are angry with someone or something- in our wrath or anger, remember God’s mercy to us and show some part of that same mercy in that situation or to that person. Prateep V Philip

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Power of Joshua

The Power of Joshua And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel. Joshua 10 v 14 Each day with Jesus is better than the day before. There was no day like that before and no day like that after. It can be unique if we exercise our faith like Joshua. Joshua spoke to the sun and the moon to be still over the valley of Gibeon where the Israelites were entrenched in battle against their enemies, the Amorites. Scripture records that the sun stood still over Gibeon and the moon over Ajalon. The Lord had heard the voice of a man and stopped the heavenly bodies in its tracks for a full day. It gave the Israelites enough time to defeat the Amorites. Men may puzzle over how the sun and moon stopped in its tracks: It is the earth that moves around the sun. So whether the sun staying still implied that the earth had stopped in its diurnal rotation around on its axis? Suffice it to know that nothing is impossible for God. He hears the voice of the faithful and responds in miraculous ways. Our days should be full of such miraculous, the marvellous, the wonderful, incomprehensible, exciting signs and wonders. Once in June 1994, I started praying, “ Lord if by faith we can move mountains, then by faith we can throw a star out of orbit.” So I started praying in this manner and the Lord surprised me for a few days later, the front page of newspapers announced that a new comet was seen that plunged into the largest planet Jupiter. God even hears our “crazy” prayers. Later on the Lord confirmed in a prophetic word that I have given you and your family “the power of Joshua.” It does not mean all of us start praying in this manner and throw the astronomical calendar into disarray but what it means is that the Lord clothes us with His power to fulfil His will for our lives. The Lord had created time literally for the Israelites to come into their inheritance and to fulfil His purpose. Similarly, the Lord will add days to our timeline to fulfil His purpose for our lives. He will fight for us as He fought for Israel. What is impossible for us is child’s play for the Lord. It is amazing that the Lord delights in hearing our voices and listening to our prayers. Last evening in a time of prayer, the Lord said that we should pray after we read His Word. If we do not read His Word and understand His purpose, our prayers will be an abomination in His ears. He advised us, “Talk less and read more. Talk less and pray more.” When we pray in this manner, He invests us with the power of Joshua. Joshua had been invested with such power that he does not pray to the Lord but he directly speaks to the sun and moon. The source of such confidence and power was that he studied the Word of God diligently and did not swerve to the left or to the right. He did not neglect to do that which the Lord had instructed through His Word. He was an even more faithful and obedient instrument than even Moses, the greatest of the Old Testament patriarcs. When we are faithful, we become the extended arm of God. It is a mind-boggling thought and an awesome truth. Prateep v Philip

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Secret of Enduring Legacy

UV 887-10,000 The Secret of Enduring Legacy Zec 2:5 For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. In the words of this uni-verse, the Lord has made a covenant, an inviolable, sacred agreement between Him and us who have placed our faith and our lives in His dependable hands. He promises to be a wall of fire around us. A wall is always built out of smaller bits or bricks. The wall of fire that surrounds us is built up out of the promises of protection that the Lord has spoken into our lives and to us. The bricks need to be cemented together in order for the wall to stand. It is our love for God and our strong faith in His Word that cements the bricks of God’s promises together. Chemicals like sodium burn on mere exposure to the air. Similarly, the pure truth of the Word burns in our hearts, in our minds and on our lips to produce light or illumination and heat or life-giving energy. It becomes a wall of fire as the words of His Word burn as pure truth in us. In computer terminology, we know that a firewall means a strong defence. The Holy Spirit Himself is a strong firewall around us, warning us of enemy intentions and attacks and delivering us. We are His pearl and so He delivers us in peril. The Lord not only encamps and encompasses us from around as a wall of salvation, He also is the glory or source of greatness from within us and from the midst of us. He is the locus of the circle of our universe. As long as we focus on this locus, He will reveal His greatness in our lives that will bring praise and glory to His Name. The word “ glory” means high renown or honour won by notable achievements. He Jesus obviously has the highest glory in human history by virtue of the high renown He won by His notable achievements: He overcame sin and death. He transformed millions of lives and gives them hope to this day. He inspired the greatest leaders in history like Gandhiji and Martin Luther King Jr. The Lord promises to be our glory or cause of high renown or honour won by notable achievements. Yesterday, I spent a whole day attending a seminar on Psychology of Success by the famour author Brian Tracy. He said that by applying the principles he taught people could increase their income a full 1000 per cent over ten years. He came to the hall in a wheel chair. The contrast stood sharp for last week I attended the seminar of another management guru and author Ken Blanchard. This man though older had a lot more vigour, strength and zest as he had been restored to a relationship with God at the age of 49 and was now teaching the faithful how to “lead like Jesus”. As Scripture says, “He is fruitful even unto old age.” Most of the authors and teachers know only how to measure success in monetary terms but the Lord multiplies us in multiple ways- health, progeny, strength, wisdom, grace, peace, blessings and legacy. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Spiritual Respiration

UV 886/10,000 Spiritual Respiration Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Proverbs 7 v 2 Life depends on the liver: on how we choose to live. The liver is a vital organ that helps to digest food. If it fails, the whole body dies. I recently met a man who knew me some thirty five years ago as a youngster. He had spent a large part of his life addicted to alcohol. His liver failed. As a consequence, a few weeks after he renewed our acquaintance, I was shocked to read his obituary in the papers. We can choose to live according to the desires of our eyes, the desires of our hearts and the desires of our flesh. We can also choose to make the law of God the apple of our eye or the very pupil or lens through which we look at anything and everything. The Word will help us zoom in on the distant and see it with the clarity of something very proximate to us. It will help us see all things in perspective. It will magnify that which our natural eye cannot see- even our hidden faults and secret sins. The Old Testament contains the ten commandments in terms of largely prohibitions, the New Testament sums up in the words of Jesus the two commandments that sum up the essence of the ten commandments in two positive injunctions: love the Lord our God and love our neighbour. Passion for the Word will inspire in us a passion for God and compassion for our fellow beings. The first challenge in obeying the Word is keeping it stored in our thoughts and memories such that it influences all our feelings, actions and reactions. In order to “keep” it in our thoughts, we need to have a set of expressions that are simple and easy to remember. If we link our thoughts to our breathing, it will influence all of our lives, all the time. The Lord inspired me to discover the simple thought process –eqthinking or equilibrium thinking. It is based on our breathe in : breathe out patterns. Instead of breathe in oxygen, breathe out carbon dioxide, we can breathe in life-giving and life –enhancing values like humility, contentment, peace, joy, health, compassion, strength, positivity, creativity, mercy, gentleness, love, hope, patience.. Last evening I tried to sum up the essence of the prohibitions of the ten commandments given by God to Moses and the positive injunctions of the two commandments of Jesus in terms of equilibrium thinking thought commands or eqthinking commands: Be humble, beat pride will enable a person not to think too highly of oneself and not to be arrogant. Be contented, beat discontentment –will produce a sense of satisfaction with the material comforts and monetary resources one has. Be creative, beat reactivity – will augment our creative juices and control our reactions to stimuli. Be determined, beat giving up- will increase our sense of persistence and perseverance. Be compassionate, beat selfishness- will transform our priorities. Be bold or courageous, beat fear- will enable us to take greater risks and have bigger breakthroughs in life. Be forgiving, beat resentment- will transform our relationships and remove all bitterness. Be healthy, beat sickness – will transform our lifestyle. Be positive, beat negativity – will transform our thought process. Be successful, beat failure- will increase our success rate. Be joyful, beat sadness – will enable us to be cheerful. Be gentle, beat harshness –will enable us to be sensitive to the feelings of others and help us avoid hurting others. Be strong, beat weakness- will engage with our strengths to reinforce it and deal with our weaknesses to overcome or reduce or turn it into strengths. Be wise, beat folly -will teach us to be wiser and avoid foolishness in words, thoughts, actions and reactions. These commands are easy to remember all the time and to practice along with whatever else we are doing. It will help to renew our minds or to recharge our thoughts, emotions and will. Together, these commands to self are nothing but the essence of the commandments of the Lord. When we practice these commands in this manner, we are practicing spiritual respiration, meditation and prayer. It will help us deal and defeat the personal demons or weaknesses that affect and afflict all of us who belong to the human race. Prateep V Philip

Friday, October 4, 2013

No Weapon Can Prosper

UV 885/10,000 No Weapon Can Prosper Num 23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! My cousin’s son who is an architect says that most of the clients today in India want their house designed according to “vaasthu” –the ancient Indian tradition and belief system that for a family or business to prosper, a house or a building should be facing a certain direction, that certain rooms or parts of the building should be in a particular corner and so on. But this uni-verse states that surely or certainly or without an iota of doubt “there is no enchantment against Jacob” or that no spell or witchcraft or black magic or charms or omens or any other enchantment can work against those who are in a relationship with the Lord. Balaam the prophet declared that there can be no “ divination” or prophecy against Israel. There is no auspicious or inauspicious time for a believer for “this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Neither will the sun harm us by day nor the moon by night. Whom the Lord God blesses is blessed and whom the Lord God curses is cursed. We only need to fear the displeasure of God and He is not whimsical. He acts in accordance with His written Word. Since Jacob or Israel was blessed by God, no force of darkness could act against Israel. What happens to Israel is only that which the Lord God permits or causes to happen. We who are believers belong to the Commonwealth of Israel. Be sure not to give credence to beliefs and practices that displease the Holy God of Israel. In a time of prayer some months ago, the Lord indicated that it is time we pray for the salvation of Israel, that the eyes of the Jews be opened as the Jewish zealot Saul’s eyes were opened to perceive Jesus the Messiah. In Jesus, all the Hebrew names of Jehovah is subsumed: Jireh, Nissi, El Shaddai, Shalom, Rapha, Shammah. The first syllable “Je” is similar to the word for “I” in French. He is the Great I Am who saves all people. No weapon of the enemy of our souls can prosper against us. When we pray and bless Israel, our own lives will be blessed and we will prosper. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Holistic Growth and All Round Prosperity

UV 884/10,000 Holistic Growth and Prosperity “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 1 v 2 We should not follow a leader who does not pray or does not know how to pray. For such a leader is spiritually blind. He is not able to cater to all the needs of his followers: spiritual, emotional, material or monetary, intellectual, social and physical. A spiritually blind leader will lead his followers sooner or later into the ditch. Those who are not spiritually blind know that prayer along with the Word of God are the two eyes of a leader. These two eyes enable the leader to see or to know and to meet the needs of his followers. One of the blind spots of management gurus and teachers on leadership like Stephen Covey in our age is that while he spoke or wrote about the circle of control and the circle of influence, he did not speak or write about the large segment of our needs that fall beyond our circle of control or influence. Prayer makes the entire universe the circle of our influence if not control. Through prayer we can influence positively the health, material and spiritual prosperity of all people. Prayer is the most intimate way to demonstrate our love for those we lead. John prayed for the beloved flock he led and mentored for Christ. This uni-verse does away with the half truth of the so called prosperity gospel. We need not over-emphasize or negate the value of any of the dimensions of life. We need not have a guilt trip as we prosper financially or materially even as the Lord blesses us. The early apostles were concerned as the Lord is with the holistic health, prosperity and development of the people they mentored. We need to be in good health, prosper in all things, implying our physical, intellectual, emotional, social, financial as well as in our spiritual dimensions. There is no divorce or dichotomy between any of these elements of our lives. If one or more of these elements are lagging behind, our growth will be lopsided and incomplete, affecting our efficacy, our advocacy and our experience of life. As and when the Lord blesses us in all these ways, we become a signboard for our generation pointing people away from the rat race to a more blessed race- the race of grace. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dental Lessons

Lessons from our Teeth Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. Song of Solomon 4 v 2 The Lord extols the faithful of His flock as being like the teeth. The faithful are rooted in the Lord as our teeth are rooted in the gums. The converse image is also true that the faithless are like toothless tigers for as they gnash their teeth in anger, hopeless and frustration, they damage their teeth and eventually lose it. Sin stains our lives just as chewing tobacco or other types of stimulants stain our teeth. Just as vinegar damages the calcium of the teeth, sin damages and leaves its ill effects on our lives. When someone or something lacks the thrust of effectiveness, we say that it has lost the teeth. We are called to be the head and not the tail, the teeth and not toothless gums. Just as plaque affects the teeth and we need to do periodic scaling, similarly we need to periodically deal with the distortions that have crept into our lives. The Word of God is the nourishing blood supply or lifeline that emerges from the root and reaches the crown of the teeth. Just as different types of teeth are meant for different functions, believers are endowed with different gifts, talents and calling. Just as the teeth work together in unison, believers need to work in a spirit of unity and agreement. The teeth are a full set of tools that are packed into the small space of our mouths. Similarly, in the space of 66 books of the Bible, the full set of tools of self -management, other management, leadership, problem-solving and for shaping our eternal perspectives is provided. . In criminal jurisprudence, when a man suffers a broken tooth in an assault, it is considered a grievous injury as repair cannot replace the original tooth. When I was quite young, in a fight with my older sibling I fell on my face and broke my front incisor tooth. Recently, the dentist told me that the tooth root is dead and that is why the colour of the tooth had also faded. He then chipped the affected tooth to a third of its size and then welded an artificial porcelain tooth over it. Many of us in life go through life covering our spiritually dead or dormant lives with something artificial that will appear like the original. But the Lord like a good dentist can make out an artificial life from a real one. When we get real and intimate with the Lord, He will delight in us as a lover delights in even his beloved ‘s teeth as seen in the uni-verse above. We need to keep our lives spotless, clean and white like our teeth by daily maintenance. When we do our daily meditation and prayer, it is like brushing the teeth. The teeth are meant to embellish our smiles and not used for gnashing and grinding like wild animals do when they sense danger. Just as all our teeth operates in pairs, believers need to work in pairs for greater effectiveness. The Word says that “ the sour grapes eaten by the father sets the children’ s teeth on edge.” The “sour grapes” refer to the perspectives, attitudes and actions of the people of a particular generaton. We should take care to see that our spiritual legacy does not have a negative effect on our generations Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Faithful Donkey to the Lord

Being a Faithful Donkey to the Lord Num 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? Balaam’s dumb ass proved to be more sensitive to the biddings of the Lord. The donkey could see danger ahead in the path Balaam was taking to go to do the bidding of Balak, the king of Moab. The latter saw the increasing might of the Israelites and how they vanquished their foes and neutralised every advance of Moab. He understood that the Israelites were blessed by God and that was what made them mighty and formidable. He wanted the prophet Balaam to neutralise their blessing by cursing them. As a reward, Balak offered Balaam great honour in his kingdom. Balaam did right and enquired of the Lord whether he should proceed to curse the Israelites. But under persuasion of delegations of nobles sent by Balak a second time, he persisted in seeking to go. Balaam without realizing it had moved to second gear in his journey with God- that of moving according to the permissive will of God. Often we are like Balaam in our lives. We allow ourselves to be persuaded to do that which the Lord has specifically forbidden. It might be due to peer pressure or the hope of better prospects of promotion or prosperity. We might even tell ourselves that the Lord has not given us a specific direction in the matter. But truth be told whatever we can do and ought not to do is already spoken in the Word. But like Balaam, our eyes are blinded and our ears are deaf to see or hear and our spirits are stubborn to oppose the express will of God. Balaam was moved to such anger that he struck his faithful donkey thrice, harder each time. He said that he was so angry with the donkey for mocking in disobedience his master that if he had a sword in his hand, he would have not hesitated in striking it dead. In our relationship with the Lord, we are more puny, weak and worthless than the donkey in Balaam’s eyes. Yet the Lord persists not in anger but in compassion, tolerance and forbearance with us. First, he sends His Word to us. Then, He sends his angel to warn us. When even that fails, He makes even the dumb to speak to us. Our car might break down. Some other unexplained event might happen. Several signs and blunders will be strewn across our path of folly. As we are stubborn and adamant in doing that which the Lord has forbidden, the Lord makes his angel stand in our pathway with a flaming sword and opens the eyes of our donkey to see it. But we ourselves will not see it till we are angry and frustrated like Balaam. Sometimes, when I was stubborn, the Lord has spoken through circumstances and through our children. Children are given a prophetic utterance when parents are too insensitive or stubborn. When leaders are too absorbed and set in their ways, the Lord makes an ordinary member of the flock to speak up His words of warning or admonition or guidance. As scripture says, “ God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak things to confound the mighty.” Indeed, it is better to be a “faithful donkey” to the Lord like the one that carried Jesus down the Mount of Olives on Palm Sunday than to be a disobedient prophet. We must be always aware of our prominent streak of foolishness, weakness and stubbornness that is ingrained in us. Whatever we seek to do, we must seek the Lord’s will and signs of confirmation that it is His pleasing will. We must also be sensitive to see on time any warning signs of disapproval. Prateep V Philip