Saturday, November 30, 2013

Focus and Faith

Focus and Faith I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16 v 8 Every verse in scripture contains the nucleus of a principle that governs our physical, moral and spiritual universe. If we look closely at the above uni-verse, there is a cause and effect sequence in the verse: if we do this-setting the Lord always before, the effect(s) will follow- “He is always at…” and “ I shall not be moved.” This uni-verse talks about the need for an obsession with God. This is the grandest, greatest and most rewarding obsession of any man or woman or child. The Lord is not to be an afterthought, a weekend pastime. He is not a philosophy, an ideology, a chimera but a Person who is deeply involved in the details and challenges of our lives. He is the cause of our passion, the locus of our attention. When we set our focus always on the Lord for our sustenance, growth and for our joy, He guides us, leads us and defends us. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Our faith in the Almighty God has commenced on account of our hearing and believing the gospel. He is also the finisher in the sense, He is the One who completes our faith. Our faith in the beginning might be small and weak as a tiny flame that burns in us. But Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to fan our faith into full flame. Our part lies in fixing our focus on Him always and in all our ways. One of the signs that we have always set the Lord before us He is always at our right hand. It implies that the Lord God is always at arm’s length away from us. He is so intimate and accessible. The expression “ right hand” implies the mighty power of El Shaddai. When we raise our right hand in prayer, praise and worship, we are able to touch the very heart of God. He trains our fingers to battle. He gives us the power to work miracles in His name, to speak healing into people’s lives and bodies, to exercise authority in the spirit realm over every power of darkness. It is with our right hand that we grip the Word of God and claim His promises. It is with our right hand that we execute His commands and carry out His will in our lives. On account of our focus and our faith, we will not be moved. We will not be put to shame in any matter before us. We will not be unstable like flotsam on the river of life. We will be built on rock. We will build on rock. He will honour us and deliver us. He will establish us and lift us up. The Lord once affirmed me saying, “ I am pleased with your faith and your focus.” “Setting the Lord always before me” does not mean that we sit in a meditative pose all day or night but regardless of whatever we are doing day or night, we are always aware of the comforting and encouraging presence of the Lord with us. Under our breath, we are always praying. We are always expressing our faith in the Lord and our willingness to do His will. When things go wrong or awry, we know that He can turn it round for us. We never give up hope and sustain ourselves with the joy of the Lord by delighting in reading and remembering His Word. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Furnace Experience

UV 937/10,000 The Furnace Experience And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God. Zechariah 13 v 9 The people chosen by God and who choose to follow Him are not the majority or even a half of humanity but are referred to as the third part or one third or remnant. In metallurgy, when an impure metal is purified or refined, it is what remains in the crucible that is the pure metal. This is the remnant that the metallurgist has separated through a rigourous process. Similarly, the Lord refines His people as silver is refined in a crucible by heating and melting over and over again. He tests us as gold is tested in fire till His image is reflected in our lives. We are put through the furnace of afflictions. When we go through the furnace, we should not think we are suffering loss but just that the Lord is removing the dross. We are put through not one affliction but many afflictions in the course of our lives. Unlike the metallurgist who impersonally places the metals to be purified in the furnace, the Lord walks us through the furnace. Our testimonies are true life stories of the glory of God being manifest in impossible and terrible situations. He remains closest to us in all our furnace experiences just as He walked as “ the fourth one who looked like the Son of God” with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace prepared by Nebuchadnezzar. The scars of our furnace experiences will remain as a constant and lifelong reminder of the glory and grace of God. Each furnace experience that we go through takes us to the next level. Our faith that is so much more purified and strengthened becomes enough for us to access the Lord and obtain the resources to face the challenges further down the road. When we go through the furnace experiences of our lives, we call on the name of the Lord. The Lord will hear us at that time and give us deliverance. This works out for the glory of God even as it works out to our relief, belief and redemption as it is after we called on the name of the Lord that we experienced the deliverance. It is as if someone switched off the furnace button and removed us to safety. The three men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego only called on the name of their Lord and God. To Nebuchadnezzar’s amazement, they remained unhurt inside the furnace that had been heated several times more than normal. Not a hair on their heads was singed. Nebuchadnezzar then gave glory to God saying, “ Your God is the true and living God.” For a relationship to be complete, it requires mutual affirmation and acceptance. He reaches out to us with selfless love or agape love. We also need to respond with the fervour of “first love”. Though God has chosen us and affirms us by saying, “ These are my people” or “ This is my child”, we too need to affirm Him by saying, “ He is our God” or “He is my God and Lord.” We need to understand that His act of owning us or acknowledging us as His own is not symbolic, metaphoric or token or nominal. He holds us dear to His heart so much so He gave His only begotten Son. We pay a price to purchase something only when we deem it more valuable than the money we are parting with. God regarded us as more precious than even His Son that He gave Him as the price to pay to redeem us forever. The One who from the beginning was with Him was sent down from heaven to walk through a furnace of extreme afflictions so that the remnant, the one third or His people would live forever. The Lord released what was precious to Him to secure us as His eternal and priceless possessions. But we are not exempted from going through the furnace of afflictions so that we are purified in our faith and strengthened in our character and our resemblance to the first Son of God, Jesus increases over time. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Four Stages of Life

UV 937/10,000 Four Stages of Life But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isaiah 43 v 1 These are the four stages of life: The Lord has created us. He has formed us. He has redeemed us. He has called us. All mankind is created by God. He also forms us in our mothers’ wombs fearfully and wonderfully. The formation or preparation continues when He allows different events and situations to arise in our lives. He allows different people to come in contact with us. Through these circumstances, He grooms and shapes us. Our character, personalities and minds are formed. The first two stages of our lives are the predominantly natural phases while the next two are the phases in which the natural interfaces and mingles with the supernatural or spiritual. After our creation and a period of formation, He redeems us in Christ. This marks the beginning of a new relationship with God. It marks the beginning of a new process of re-creation and formation in our lives. Our thought pattern is influenced by His Word. Our minds are redeemed. The tares that the enemy has planted and that has got entangled in our very genes are removed so that we can be fruitful. We are freed from being enamoured with sin and the trappings of the world. We are now zealous for good works for the Lord. We are called by the Lord. We are called out of all creation. He never calls us in vain. He never calls a person unless He has a purpose for that person. We are anointed or declared sacred and precious to the Lord. He calls us by our name even as Samuel heard the Lord calling him by his own name. He called Samuel to be a prophet to Israel and to lead the nation of Israel in His paths. Samuel was directed to anoint David the shepherd boy as future king of Israel. David was called out of all his family and out of all his brothers. The Lord had watched him in his formative stage when he tended the shape. He saw his devotion to his sheep. He saw his bravery in overpowering the lion and the bear. He saw His devotion to God- how he continually composed psalms and played on his harp. We have a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord as Jacob or Israel had with God. We, too, are given a divine calling to be either an apostle, a prophet, a teacher or an evangelist. Each of us is called to be a priest and a king. Our personal knowledge of God is the common ground on which we can stand and communicate with Him at any time and all the time. When we are created, formed, redeemed and called, we become His own inheritance, the precious jewels of the Lord. He declares, “ You are mine.” Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Join the Winning Side

UV 936-10,000 Join the Winning Side Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee Joshua 2 v 18 Rahab proves the principle of “ rehab.” Though only a prostitute, she became a forebear of the Messiah Himself. She had heard of how the Israelites had crossed the Red Sea and how they had completely destroyed Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan. She was smart enough to understand that “ the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” She knew that the seemingly invincible Jews were on the doorstep of Jericho. She realized that in the circumstances for her own survival or salvation, she better join the winning side. She therefore received the two Jewish spies sent by Joshua their commander- in- chief. She hid them on the roof under stalks of flax and told the messenger of the king of Jericho that they had left already. The next day she let them down from a window on her house that was part of the city wall with the help of a scarlet rope. That scarlet rope is the symbol of the rope the Lord dropped down from heaven in the form of the Messiah for each man’s salvation. When we were in a time of prayer, the Lord revealed that since “Like Rahab you have done your level best to bring up or lift up the people of your family as well as those who are not from your family, I will bless you and your generations.” The scarlet thread that I now have is the influence and power of my office that the Lord has bestowed in His grace. There is no way we can struggle against the Lord and win. Instead, when we join the winning side, He blesses us like He blessed the accursed Rahab and her generations. Within one generation, Rahab’s son Boaz became a respected and prosperous farmer in whose farm Ruth, the other forebear of the Messiah came to glean for corn. Indeed, we should likewise trace our “faithline” and not our bloodline in our respective genealogies or family history. Prayer and the Word are the windows through which we let the light of heaven to shine in our lives. Though we are in ourselves weak and vulnerable, the Lord makes us formidable and invincible like Israel under Joshua. Regardless of the circumstances of our lives, we have joined the winning side. The scarlet rope of our salvation that the Lord has let down for us to climb to safety will never give way or fall short of the glory of fulfilling God’s perfect purpose in our lives. It will remain as a source of salvation and blessing for succeeding generations too. It is the only sure sign of inheritance of the promises of God that we can leave for our spiritual and physical descendants. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Liberating and Empowering Presence

UV 935-10,000 The Liberating and Empowering Presence And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. Exodus 33 v 14 The Lord God ‘s presence went with the Hebrew people led by Moses as a cloud by day and a fire by night. The metaphoric meaning of the cloud is that the Lord will shield us from every threat, danger, attack and every type of enemy. We only need to always walk clouded or covered by His presence. He will give us the inner peace or Shalom that the enemy or the world cannot take away. He will give us rest from our bondage to sin as the Jews were freed from bondage in Egypt. He will give us rest from our own inner fears and guilt. He will give us a break from our personal insecurities. The metaphoric meaning of the pillar of fire is that the Lord’s protection and awesome power will surround us giving us both warmth and light or guidance. The presence of God is not stationary in one place but is dynamic and moves when we move. He is ahead of us, around us and behind us. Moses saw the goodness of God or the presence of God passing before him from a cleft in the rock. Jesus is that cleft in the rock from where we can see and taste the goodness of God in our lives. Jesus said, “ Come to me you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” When we are weighed down by our sense of responsibility and feel that the load of our worries are too heavy for us to bear, we need to go to Jesus and obtain from Him the peace of Jesus so that which troubled us will no longer trouble us, that which worried us no longer worries, that which depressed us, no longer depresses us. When the presence of God or the continuing consciousness of being with God is in us, then the mercy, grace, power and wisdom of God will manifest in our lives. Many people seek the presents of God and miss out on His presence. The gentleness and humility of Jesus enables us to approach Him boldly. He is accessible to all at all times. The prostitute could approach Him without fear of reprimand. The sinner and the nobleman, the native and the foreigner, the layman and the priest, the children and the aged, the sick and the healthy, the weak and the powerful –could all access Him and obtain rest or solutions to the vexed questions or challenges that they each faced in life. When we have a personal relationship with God, His presence accompanies us everywhere. Moses talked with God as a man talks with his friend. Similarly, when we are aware of God’ s presence being always with us, we can talk with Him as we would talk to a precious friend. Moses could not talk with God face to face as no man can look upon the face of God. He could only see the back. But we can talk face to face as Jesus is the very face of God. Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Key to Multi-Dimensional Prosperity

The Key to Multi-dimensional Prosperity So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55 v 11 The Word of God comes from the mouth of God and that is what makes it powerful and effective. It is the living Word that grows organically from deep within us. Like an egg when it is broken from inside, grows into a new life but an egg that is broken from outside dies, the Word grows from within us. It will not fail in fulfilling the purpose of God in our lives. As long as the Word occupies a central place in our hearts and minds, our lives will not be futile or vain or empty. The Word is irrevocable and authoritative. When we speak the Word of God, we become the mouthpiece of spokespersons of the Lord. The Word is the index of the will of God in our lives. We are called to conform to the Word and not to the world. Our lives are transformed when we conform to the Word. When a leech is stuck to the human body, it falls off the moment salt is applied around it. Similarly, the Word is the salt that makes our lives tasty and worthwhile. It is also the salt that when applied around the leech of the world’s desires, the leech will be repulsed and fall off. Jesus said that the Word of God is like seed. He also said that faith in the Word is like a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds. When we store the Word in our hearts and minds, these become the spiritual granary of the Lord. If and when we have a particular need, we should plant the seed of the Word in our hearts and minds. Like a seed grows and sprouts, the Word will grow, sprout and bear fruit in our lives. The Word has an embryonic nature. As it impregnates and saturates our minds, it will send forth a shoot. It will then develop branches and leaves, nodes, buds, flowers and fruits. It will certainly accomplish the pleasing will of God in our lives. Since the Word is invincible or it is impossible to annul it or cancel its power or to withdraw it, it is a most powerful weapon to defeat every weapon of darkness. When we store the Word, we become a quiver of God, an armoury of God. The Lord needs to send a specific Word to specific people in specific situations. He will cause it to prosper in the situation to which He sends it. He causes the Word to prosper in the soul in which it is implanted. The Word is a source of strength in times of adversity. It is also the key to multi-dimensional growth and prosperity. The prosperity that the Word blesses us with is a multi-dimensional holistic growth and development. The Lord desires that we grow or prosper in the fruit of the Spirit- the nine attributes that develop in each of us as we intake the Word and obey it. He desires that we also grow and prosper in the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prosperity in the external resources, manifestations and blessings of this life that follows incidentally should not distance us from the Lord or make us dependent or focussed on these. The Word not only induces hope and faith in our lives but it becomes the very means for fulfilment of that hope and faith. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eating His Word

UV 933/10,000 Eating His Word Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts Jeremiah 15 v 16 We need to desire the Word of the Lord more than people desire gold or money. We need to value even one verse or a line from Scripture more than all the knowledge and wisdom in man’s books of wisdom and knowledge, more than thousands of pieces of silver and gold, for the latter cannot save our souls or nourish our spirits. The Psalmist David wrote that he desired the word of God more than necessary food, more than the most delicious or delectable dishes of sweetmeat. When we eat our own words or the words of man, it implies we will be humbled as the expression “ eat your own words” means. But when we eat the words of God, we will be exalted, promoted, blessed, lifted up, envied, authorised and empowered. We need to seek out the Word of God that is “rhema” or specifically meant for us and literally eat it when we find it or hear it. As a cow ruminates or chews its cud, we need to chew the word and find practical ways to apply it in our daily lives. As we chew on it day and night, the taste of the hidden manna that is sweeter and more nourishing than honey will emerge. Just as our tongue or palate has four basic tastes- sweet, salty, bitter and sour, the Word of God should sweeten our conversation and our memories, make our lives salty or tasty and provide bitter medicine for our healing. The Word should produce joy and rejoicing in our hearts and minds. We need to delight in it as a man delights in choice food. When we place our hope and faith in a particular promise or uni-verse the Lord has spoken into our lives, it begins to work silently and unseen in our lives even as a child is formed unseen in the womb, cell by cell, tissue by tissue, organ by organ. But when our hope is fulfilled, it is sweet to our souls. I recently met two award winning authors who said they were obsessed with writing their own words to turn them into books. It influences even their dreams. Similarly, we need to be obsessed and saturated with the Word of God if we truly believe it is the Word of God. Without a personal relationship with God, we cannot delight in His Word. We would at best regard it as good literature or great poetry or philosophy. It becomes a reality that grips our lives and we get a grip on it only when we know that we are called personally by our names to follow Him as Jesus called His disciples, one by one and by their names. Once we are called by Him, we are given His own name. We become sons and daughters of the Lord God of the armies of heaven and the saints of the earth. We act and react in His name or on His behalf. His Word contains edicts that we are to execute. God reigns and rules in me and He also reigns and rules through me. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sticking Closer than Our Skin

UV 932/10,000 Sticking Closer than Our Skin And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. I Chronicles 28 v 9 Like Solomon we are to be wise children of the Lord God, our spiritual father and the God of our fathers of faith. Unlike Solomon whose many foreign wives led him to stray from the God of his father David, We need to serve Him with a perfect heart or a whole heart and not a divided heart, not with a reluctant mind but a willing mind. The only way to stay out of sin, stain and pain in this world is to stick closer to Him than our own skin. What He has revealed of Himself in and through His Word is sufficient for us to know that the immediate and ultimate purpose of life is to serve Him wholeheartedly and with single-minded focus. This is what is meant by personal knowledge of God. This kind of single-minded focus on the locus or the source of life and love –the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will cure us of our monkey mind that cannot focus on any one thing and turn it into what I call a “ monk mind” or a mind that is focussed on the Lord and devoted to serving Him in all the imaginations of our thoughts and plans. When we seek Him with all our hearts and all our minds, He will be found of us in every dimension of life, in our personal lives, our families, our workplace, our travel and all of our interests. Apart from our personal knowledge of God, we need to have KNOWLEDGE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. The Lord knows us even more deeply than we can know Him. He searches our hearts to know our current state of heart and mind. He checks if we are ready to serve Him with an undivided heart and a fixed focus. He knows our every heart beat and every minute thought, every motive behind every action and word. We cannot hide from Him anything. When Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord they hid but He could see them in their nakedness. Even today He sees each of us in our total nakedness. He hears our whispers and the murmurings of our hearts. He knows what are our needs and what are our priorities in life. He knows the intimate details of our lives that are not known to any other living person. This is the reason that the Lord alone has the prerogative to judge people as He alone knows the totality of our situations. Our knowledge of God draws us close to the Lord. Our knowledge of the knowledge of God makes us tremble with reverence. It keeps us from getting side-tracked and cures us of our double-mindedness. This is what cured Jacob of His deceitfulness and turned Him into a believer in the goodness of God. This is what kept his favourite son Joseph focussed on the God of his father even through his journey in the desert from pit to prison to palace. He recognized that the hand of His God was with him in every station even as He was to be with His own Son Jesus in each station of the cross. This is what made him flee from the adulterous advances of Potiphar’s wife for he feared the consequences as he had knowledge of the knowledge of God. Just as Jesus walked the stations of the cross, each of us have to cross different stations of our lives, knowing, believing and trusting the Lord. If we forsake Him in thoughts, words or deeds, He too will forsake us forever. This knowledge of the knowledge of God changes us from being fickle men like the disciples in their early days to faithful people like the disciples in their later days. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Better Covenant

The Better Covenant And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. Exodus 24 v 8 An agreement is made between people and is signed with ink. A covenant is made between God and man and is signed in blood. It is a living document that lasts forever. Both are written down but while an agreement is civil in nature, a covenant is divine and sacred in nature. Moses took blood of a sheep and sprinkled it on the people to sanctify them and to seal the covenant between Jehovah and Israel. Jehovah’s promises would hold good for Israel as long as they individually and collectively obeyed the letter and spirit of the Old Covenant of Law. It required the obedience of law- the ten commandments and other directions given in the first five books of the Bible. The New Covenant of Love was sealed with the blood of the blemishless sacrifice, the Lamb provided by God –Jesus of Nazareth. Hereafter, whoever from any nation who believed in this new covenant and obeyed the call to faith in Jesus would be saved forever. The only requirement of the new covenant is faith in God and His Word in flesh and blood –Jesus and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It begins in faith and ends in a love relationship with the Triune Creator –Saviour –Redeemer- Comforter-God. We are now part of a better covenant than the one instituted under the leadership of Moses. In fact, it is the complete and perfect covenant. As part of this covenant,none of us falls short of God's glory. Even today we can see evidence of covenants in vogue in the universal observance of the seventh day as a day of rest in all nations and cultures. Marriage is also a covenant observed and honoured universally. Marriage is a foreshadow of the marriage feast of the Lamb. Jesus revealed Himself as the Bridegroom of Blood. Symbolically and in the spirit we can sprinkle His shed blood on ourselves, on all we have and all we do in order to perfect it and make it acceptable in the sight of God. His power, grace and love operates in all that concerns us. He consummates or perfects us. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Footstool of the Lord

UV 929/10,000 The Footstool of the Lord Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? Isaiah 66 v 1 The Lord sits on His glorious throne in heaven surrounded by the seraphim and cherubim. His feet rest on the footstool- the earth. This is at the macro level. At the micro level, each of our houses are His footstool. Our houses and our bodies are also His Tabernacle as long as we worship Him continually. He visits our houses daily and His angels surround our homes. Our hearts are His hearth, the threshold through which He enters our lives and remains with us. Just as Mary remained humbly and loved to learn at the feet of Jesus, we should enjoy the experience of being at the feet of Jesus and learning directly from Him. When we were first building a house, a man of God visited our house and wrote in our visitor’s book, “ I hear the voice of rejoicing in the tabernacle of the righteous.” We therefore called our house, “ The Tabernacle”. The Lord has often confirmed, “ Your house is my tabernacle, my church, my footstool where I am worshipped. You have many men outside your house but many more of my angels are guarding your house from within.” The Lord rejoices when we rejoice. He loves to hear the voice of rejoicing or the sound of laughter. We are all Abrams not fated to be fathers who have turned into Abrahams or fathers of faith. He loves to see the Isaacs of laughter in our homes- the manner in which we rejoice in the miraculous provision He has given us. He is present at every meal and even in the mundane details and routine of our lives, making every moment special, every moment a time to celebrate and to rejoice in the Lord, to declare “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” The Lord asks each one the searching and soul searing questions, “Where is the house that you build for me? Where is the place of my rest?” It shows that it is the delight of the Lord to dwell with faithful men and women. Once the Lord revealed that there are fourteen resemblances to heaven on earth and one of it is that the Lord is exalted all the time in some homes and places of rest. Our homes should be places where the Lord enjoys to visit and remain. Like Abraham gave his best sheep to prepare a meal for the visitors from the Lord, we need to give our best constantly and continually as a sacrifice to the Lord. We enjoy heavenly peace and the presence of the Lord and we will find new joy and strength to face new challenges every day. The enemy sends little foxes to poke us and rob us of our heavenly peace and joy. But we need to pray for a close hedge of protection around, a fencing whose links are close together that prevent such foxes from entering our homes and our lives in the form of worries, anxiety, arguments, conflicts and so on. Homes are our first line of defence and the enemy knows the strategic importance in spiritual terms of the family and the home. Therefore, he attacks brutally marriages, families and the lives of the children. Like Samson set foxes’ tails on fire, we must ruthlessly set the little foxes’ tails on fire with our prayers and send them scurrying back into enemy territory, squealing not with delight as they came in but regretting in pain that they ever attempted to enter the Tabernacle of the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Secrets of the Kingdom of God

The Secrets of the Universe The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29 v 29 God has made the world so mysterious that the improbability of disbelief in Him is far greater than the improbability of belief. He has kept many things secret including His own persona and His own attributes that men might seek Him and redeem themselves not by their deeds or character but by the obedience of faith. Over time He revealed many truths about Himself through nature, through the prophets and men and women of yore who knew Him personally. But the fullest revelation came through Christ Jesus who knew God even as God knew Him. Jesus said that a master would not reveal the secrets of what he is doing to his servants. But since he regarded believers not as servants but as children of God, as brothers and sisters, He did not hold back the secrets that were kept hidden from the foundation of the world. He chose to reveal the secrets of life, of the world, of heaven and of God in many parables and teachings. These constitute our heritage and that of our children and their children till the coming again of the Lord. Each uni-verse deals with the foundational principles of the world, life and heaven. What God reveals are absolute truths that are more sacred than the relative facts that science and technology can unearth. Even to discover the secrets of nature and the earth, the Lord reveals it to people who are diligent, determined and persistent. It is written of Mary the mother that she treasured many things about Jesus in her heart. She revealed it to St Luke when the latter interviewed her on the details of the life of Jesus on earth. Likewise what is revealed to us by the Lord over the years of our faith life should be treasured in our hearts and warm us in our winter nights. When we cherish these memories of what the Lord has spoken and done in our lives, some of which we alone are privy to and can be shared with no one including the nearest and dearest, it will encourage to further claim His revealed promises and proclaim His Word and our testimony. Our testimony is basically a recounting of our experience of the truth of His Word. It is written in the book of Revelation that people are saved by the Word and the word of testimony. On one side of the coin is the expression of the secrets of God and the other side is the operation of the Word in our lives. It is also written that it is the privilege of God to conceal secrets and mysteries and it is the privilege of kings to seek them out and find them. As kings and priests of God, we have the privilege of seeking and finding the mysteries and secrets of the kingdom of God. Joseph was given the ability to interpret dreams. In the case of Daniel, not only did he have the grace to interpret dreams but God even revealed the details of the dreams of king Nebuchadnezzar to him. Even today there are certain secrets that God in His sovereignty and wisdom has chosen not to reveal. If He chooses to reveal any of these secrets, He decides the times, seasons and the audience for such revelations. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Three Fold Deliverance

Three Fold Deliverance “For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling” Psalms 116 v 8 Over the years as each of us look back, we can see clearly how the Lord has delivered our bodies as well as souls from death. He has preserved us in the land of the living. We need to walk before the Lord in the light of His Word. His promises are like wild honey whose taste always lingers on our tongues and nourishes us from within. We need not fear what man can do to us. We need to continually praise and worship the Lord from our hearts and in our hearts and minds. The Lord said to me, “ You who were dead, I revived you. I added muscles, nerves, flesh and bones to you. I gave you a new body and a new body cover. As you grow older, your strength will be renewed, more power and greater encouragement. When I drowned to death, he hovered like a helicopter over me, extended his right hand and pulled me out of the miry clay. I have given you blessings when you were sleeping”, implying unexpectedly. He covers us with His holy feathers. Indeed, He covers us with a spiritual bullet proof armour. No fiery arrow of the enemy can strike us. His bow is drawn in vain. Every arrow that he fires at us gets extinguished and we get distinguished in the process and the name of the Lord is glorified. Apart from deliverance from physical and spiritual death, the Lord has kept our eyes from tears. He has protected us from many assaults and attacks of the enemy on our loved ones. Sorrow, crying and pain will be far removed from us as the Lord wipes our tears. The enemy attacks us in the spiritual dimension like an anaconda or like a roaring lion. He gives us new joy, a joy that lasts forever. He keeps our feet from stumbling. We stumble when our feet trip unknowingly or unwittingly. The Lord keeps our feet from falling. He guides us in our relationships and decisions by giving us grace and wisdom. Apart from such unintended errors, there are also deliberate traps laid by the enemy of our souls to catch our feet. The Lord disperses and makes powerless these secret traps that our eyes cannot see, our minds do not know. Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dealing with Unjust Suffering

Dealing with Unjust Suffering For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. I Peter 2 v 19 The Lord God commends us when we endure patiently the pain of unjust suffering. There is no merit in enduring suffering for doing something negative which we deserve but when we bear with suffering for doing the right thing, the Lord is pleased with our patience. He accepts it as a sweet smelling sacrifice. When we do so, He commends us a faithful servant. The Lord does not watch passively while we suffer for a righteous act or cause. He acts on our behalf even as we are to hold our tongue and restrain ourselves. He never allows us to be tested beyond our capacity to endure. He helps us as an Ebenezer God when we are persecuted wrongly. He vindicates our stand. People will hate us without cause even as they hated Jesus but the Lord will not let us be ashamed. But when they do, we are to consider ourselves doubly blessed to suffer as Christ did for us. Often the Lord allows circumstances and situations that cause our heart to contract. The purpose is to test our faith, to enhance our spiritual strength and stamina. The purpose is also to reveal or manifest the glory, grace and power of God both to us and to those who oppose us without reason. When I sought the presence and guidance of the Lord yesterday even as I was perplexed that some of my work of nearly two decades and my initiative was being targeted unjustly out of a Jezebel spirit of jealousy, causing me anxiety, the Lord revealed this uni-verse. He made an allusion to Samson. Samson was proud of his great strength and attributed it to his locks of hair. But his strength was actually from the Lord. He therefore suffered humiliation and even his eyes were gouged out. But we are called to be spiritual Samsons who attribute our strength and power to the unlimited grace of our Lord and our God. When we submit to unmerited chastisement or undeserved troubles with an attitude of faith, patience and meekness, the Lord will rise as a mighty Lion of Judah. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Complete Vision

UV 926-10,000 Complete Vision But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His unfailing love Psalm 33 v 18 The Lord delights in watching over us as a mother delights over her child. But a mother’s love can grow cold over time but His love is unfailing. Every person or thing we trust in can fail us but not the Lord. When we place our hope in His love and trust His promises enshrined in His Word, He turns His eyes and His ears towards us. He delivers us out of all our troubles. His metaphoric seven eyes have every area of our lives covered: spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, social, familial and financial. He sees in all directions. He sees the visible and the invisible, the revealed and the hidden. He has complete and total vision unlike us who are purblind. If we have not experienced His deliverance and grace in each of these areas, we have not truly lived fully. The other day I was a spokesperson in a world record webinar in an Institute of Technology. The speaker before me said something interesting that a dog sees through its nose that is more powerful than even its sight. For humans, he said that our optical nerve connection is ten times more powerful than the auditory connection to the brain. He said this is the reason why we tend to remember better what we see in the mind’s eye. He then explained his technique of turning all audio files or things he hears into video files. But the Bible says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word.” Hearing the Word of God is many times more powerful than even our sight. We should hope in His Word or deny what we see and affirm what we hear or have heard from His Word. When we recall a “rhema verse” or uni-verse and confess our faith with our mouths we are loading an unbelievably powerful arrow on the strings of our bow. If we just leave it lying idle in a closed Bible, it is like an arrow kept dormant in the quiver that may not be put to use. Our eyes focussed or fixed on the Lord implies a faith that is not dormant but active and triggered, ready for use at any time and all the time. Fearing the Lord implies that we revere His Word and long for His presence in our lives. We hold on to our hope in the Lord even in the most hopeless situations. Recently, I again went over the hopeless situation I was in when I lay injured after the bomb blast that assassinated the former Prime Minister. I asked myself “ How is it that not a single pellet or shrapnel from the bomb penetrated my entire chest or back when I was walking in such close quarters?” The Lord reminded me that a shield protects the chest and back. He acted as a veritable shield that prevented any of the thousands of steel pellets that flew in all directions from penetrating the most vulnerable or lethal parts of my body. His eyes were upon me as I feared Him and placed my hope in His unfailing love even as I told the District Superintendent of Police a week before, “ God will protect me.” Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wings of Fire

Wings of Fire “Above Him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.” Isaiah 6 v 2 The seraphs were ever watchful for they had eyes all over their beings, their wings and on the front and the back. We humans too need to be watchful and open our spiritual eyes all over our being. The wings we have are prayer and the Word. Both need to be flapped or used in unison to cause us to fly. The wings of praise and obedience to the commands of God are the two wings we need to use to cover our faces with reverence, humility, submission and adoration of God as the seraphs do. His praise should always be on our lips:” Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, the Lord of the armies of heaven. The earth is full of His glory, Who was and is and is to come.” As we cover our faces with the Word and prayer, we need to ask ourselves –what are we doing individually and collectively to fill the earth with more of His glory? Are we using our thoughts, talents and time for His glory or own need satisfaction and pride? Are we using our eyes, our vision, our imagination for the greater glory of God? The two wings of the Word and prayer that cover our faces also cover our mouths and prevent us from lying, boasting, speaking arrogantly, deceitfully, lustfully, bitterly or untruthfully. This is the experience that the prophet Isaiah spoke of – one of the seraphs touched his tongue with a coal from heaven to sanctify it so that he is no longer a man of unclean lips but one enabled and anointed to speak the Word of God. We need to imitate the seraphs in covering our feet with prayer and the Word. We need to acknowledge like the psalmist David that His Word is a lamp unto our feet. His Word should teach us the paths we should take. We will not go to the places we ought not to go. When we fall we will rise on wings like eagles. The wings of instructions from His Word and our supplication for guidance to seek, find and do His will on a moment to moment basis are the two wings that cover our feet. We need to pray for safety and protection of our transport and travel, to watch over our coming and going. With the help of the two wings of prayer and the Word, we are able to travel in the spirit across earth and heaven. Believers do not need a time machine for we can use the two wings of prayer and the Word to fly into the past, to hover over the present in our spirits or brood over it like a hen broods over its eggs and to fly high into the future. When we fly into the past we remember the wonders and miracles the Lord has done in our past and give thanks to Him with grateful hearts. When we fly in the present, we are filled with the joy of the Lord that is our strength. When we fly into the future, we are filled with hope, expectation and wondrous anticipation. Mankind has in all our languages created only three tenses- past, present and future but the Bible talks of a fourth unknown tense- the eternal tense where all three- the past, present and future- merge into. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 15, 2013


UV 925/10,000 Believe-Know-Do Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13 v 17 The process of salvation is believe-know-do. Once we believe we study the scriptures and come to know of God and the remaining members of the Trinity: Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When we study the scriptures, we come to learn or know the truths of God, one by one, precept by precept, example by example. Once we know the truths or principles of God, we need to apply or do them. Noah did all that God commanded and therefore, he and all his family were saved in the great flood. Abraham did all that God commanded even as Moses did and they became Friends of God. When we do what we believe and know, we become the family of God, the citizens of heaven, priests and kings in the Kingdom of God. We become blessed or happy or lifted up in all areas of life. Jesus showed by example how to be a servant of God by washing His disciples’ feet. When we believe, know and do, we are building the Ark to save all of our family and people who are in our circle of influence. What we do is the fruit of our belief and knowledge. Hence, salvation has an internal aspect and an external aspect. It is manifested by our lifestyles and deeds done in faith and in obedience to the Word. When we believe, know and do, we are building our lives on Rock that lasts forever. Nothing we do is in vain. In the absence of belief and knowledge, as Solomon said, all that we do is a chasing of the wind and is in vain. Our faith is completed by our work. Our work and life is blessed by our faith. The tension between the mind and faith is that the mind works backwards and relies upon memories while faith works forwards and relies on vision, dreams and hope. Through our faith in Christ and His finished work, this conflict is resolved for we can look back and remember what He taught us by precept and example and look forward to His second coming and the visions, dreams and hope He inspires in each of us. The word “ now” in the uni-verse reflects the need for immediacy of our obedience in deeds here and now. We should not withhold a good that we can do now for later or our blessings too can be postponed. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fourfold Blessings

UV 923-10,000 Fourfold Blessings Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: Genesis 49 v 25 God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He met each one at their point of need. Abraham needed a male heir. Isaac needed a life partner. Jacob sought the blessings of the Lord. Even today, the same God meets each of us at our point of need and He helps us. We only need to acknowledge that He is the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He knows the end from the beginning. We need to acknowledge Him at the beginning of our day and thank Him at the end. We need to seek His blessings like Jacob at the beginning of our lives and at the end. The Lord will undertake for what happens between the beginning and the end. The Lord is the first and the last. He decides that we would be first in certain things and we would be last in certain other things. He apportions His anointing and His grace according to His will and pleasure. Joseph was the lost son- the last for many years though he was the favourite son of Jacob for the first part of his life. Joseph took precedence in his father’s favour and gifts. Then when he was sold by his brothers into slavery, he seemed to be the last, the one who had lost his father’s and God’s blessings and favour. But the Lord raised Him up step by step over the years he was away from his father’s family. Similarly, there are periods of preparation in all our lives before He reveals His hand of blessing and favour. Jacob on his death bed administered a manifold or fourfold blessing to Joseph: the heavenly or spiritual blessings, the blessings of the earth, the blessings of marriage and love, the blessings of his children. Spiritual blessings were the source of Joseph’s elevation as the leading light of Egypt. It enabled him to hold on to his dreams and vision and to be able to interpret the dreams of others. The Lord will give us intuitive and spiritual gifts that cannot be inherited or learnt from another human. He will bless us as we hold on to our hope with riches or treasures of dark or secret places-blessings of the deep that lie under. Even as Joseph inherited the riches of Egypt having been made signatory on behalf of Pharaoh as the latter adorned his hand with his signet ring of authority, we can lay claim according to our need to the riches of Egypt-or the financial and material resources of the world. He will bless our spouses and make them a source of blessing- a fruitful vine. He will bless our children and their children to the twelfth generation. They will endure and be fruitful like the olive plants. Faith opens the gateway to manifold blessings. If we are faithful to God we are blessed or chosen for a life of abundance. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Most Fundamental Communication

UV 923-10,000 The Most Fundamental Communication Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. Isaiah 49 v 1 The prophet is testifying to the people of the seven continents and all the islands, the people who are near and far that the Lord called him when he was in the womb. The one who had knit him in his mother’s womb knew his name even before his parents gave him a name or called him by that name. When we were hidden from our parents’ eyes, He saw us, knew us and communicated with us. He spoke into our inner ear even when our brain and other organs were being formed. The deepest communication is the communication we have with the Lord. He gave us company when we were all alone in the darkness of the womb. We need to keep the conversation going on. This is the reason that right through human history the belief in God exists in all human beings. Will He ever forsake us? Will He not give us company in the darkess of the tomb? Our personal relationship with our Maker begins right in the womb though we recognize it much later. Our talking with God is as natural as breathing. This uni-verse reveals that the most fundamental relationship, the closest and dearest is not the relationship with one’s parents but with the Lord our God, our Maker. The other animals and creatures can at best only call Him their creator. But we know Him as our Maker- He made us and formed us, every tiny part of us with His own hands and He breathed His life and spirit into us. Jesus said that “ if anyone wants to follow Him, he or she must hate his own parents.” He implied that in comparison with our love for God, our first and last parent, our love for our parents would seem almost like hatred. If we love anything or anyone more than God, it provokes His holy jealousy. If we represent our love as a spectrum, our love for our earthly parents and other members of our families would be a faint strip at the beginning of the spectrum and the rest of it would be occupied by our increasing passion for the Lord. There is a calling upon our lives right from the time we were formed in the womb. It is an expectation of the Lord about how we live our lives and what we will do with the life He has given us. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fountainhead of Wisdom

The Fountainhead of Wisdom For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2 v 6 The reason I do this exercise of writing a uni-verse every day, first thing in the morning is that I am convinced and convicted that each verse from God’s Word is a portion or slice of His eternal wisdom. The wisdom, knowledge and understanding of mankind contained in all our books and on the net is only finite and limited to the extent of our experiences, perceptions and intellect. But when we diligently study the Word of God, it amounts to receiving wisdom, knowledge and understanding at His mouth. Like a mother bird feeds its young who are too small, feeble and unable to fly to find its own food or even to feed itself, the Lord feeds us sweet morsel by morsel of His infinite wisdom, knowledge and understanding. The precepts of wholesome life, the very laws of our moral and spiritual universe are hidden in these verses. Just as scientists study diligently physical objects and phenomena to discover the physical laws of the universe, we need to study scripture to understand the spiritual laws of the universe. If we do not find, understand and observe these laws, we will suffer loss. The very word “understanding” implies that which stands under- like the foundation of a building or structure, they are the invisible foundational principles of life. Today, management experts throughout the world, having failed to find guidance and solutions using human wisdom, are looking into scripture to find answers and solutions to business and leadership issues. The Lord does not withhold wisdom but He delights to give it to him who seeks it diligently. Through God-given wisdom, we will be able to judge correctly, discern and take correct decisions in our lives. He enlightens our eyes so that we understand the hope of His calling upon our lives or the very purpose of our existence and the riches of His glorious inheritance along with the saints. We need to tune our receiver to His frequency all the time. The Holy Spirit will then help us interpret the scripture contextually and aptly to meet our present need. In order to extract wisdom from a verse, we need to first of all recall the words of the verse, then we should run the verse repeatedly in our minds several times like a cow that ruminates and chews its cud 18 times before it is assimilated. We should reflect on every word and its meaning, every phrase and every application of the verse. We need to read and understand the equivalent verses through the entire Bible and understand the meaning of these references too. This is the process I use every day to write the uni-verse. Later in the course of the day’s activities, we should try to remember the verses, its meaning and application. As we recall it, we should put it into practice in our daily lives. Just as a loaf of bread is not meant for exhibition but for consumption, the Word is meant to be used up and then renewed. Yesterday, I saw a man who did the incredible feat of remembering a hundred digit number not only forwards but also backwards within a couple of minutes of being given the number. He had trained his memory using the principles of association, imagination and exaggeration. But such human wisdom has its limitations and will perish with him. Human wisdom, knowledge and understanding has uses for the mind or body. But spiritual wisdom that is authored by the Lord is eternal, infinite and impacts spirit, minds and our bodies. It is peaceful, gentle, pure and holistic. Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 11, 2013

Waves of Mercy

UV 921/10,000 Waves of Mercy “If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48 v 18 What do we continually pay attention to is what determines our focus. When we focus on studying and obeying the Word of God, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit will flow in and from our hearts like a river. Our righteousness will be like the waves of the sea for nothing can oppose or stop the waves of our thoughts, words and deeds. The Kingdom of God or the rule and reign of God will be established in our hearts and lives. We will not be in a fight or flight mode like the rest of the world but in the mode of flow and glow. Our inner peace will help to nourish hope and meaning in the lives of people who come in contact with us like a river nourishes trees on its banks. Peace is like the river Jordan that starts as a spring and then enlarges into a mighty river. Like a river contains many kinds of fish, our lives will be full of a variety of blessings. Just as a river empties itself into the mouth of a sea, our peace and blessings should lead us to a life of grace or righteousness by faith. Sea water is different from the fresh water of the river but it too sustains an even greater variety of forms of life. Our reliance on the grace of God blesses us even more than the inner peace and blessings of faith. Both the river and the sea are dotted with many rocks where we can take refuge. These are the promises of God that we should cling to in the course of our lives. When we go to the seashore, we find that there are different kinds of waves: gentle waves that run through our feet, waves that give us a push, waves that are huge and can lift us and even bigger waves of warning and wrath that can drown us. Similarly, God’s mercy and grace come upon us, wave after wave unceasingly. Our response would be streams of praise and thanksgiving flowing from our hearts continuously. To remind us when we first moved into a house in a new area with an unnamed street, we decided to call it the “ Waves of Mercy Avenue.” Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Promise versus Compromise

UV 920/10,000 Compromise versus Promise For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. 2 Chronicles 16 v 9 The eyes of the Lord keep moving across the globe to find people whose hearts are perfect toward Him. A perfect heart is one which trusts and hopes in the Lord completely and does not rely on any human or earthly hope. An imperfect heart is one that trusts and hopes in the Lord inconsistently and partially. Asa King of Judah had initially obeyed the Lord wholeheartedly and he was given victory against his enemies. But later he entered into a treaty with Benhadad, the king of Syria against the king of Israel. He purchased peace with the king of Syria in the 36th year of his reign by sending him gold and silver treasures from the temple of the Lord and from his treasury. In doing so, the prophet Hanani told him that he had incurred the displeasure of the Lord and that henceforth he would have wars with Israel all his days to contend with as he had relied not upon the Lord but upon the arm of flesh and his own wisdom. By the 39th year of Asa’s reign, we learn that he suffered from a severe disease of his feet and in another two years he perished in his affliction. A compromise grows like a cancer. A compromise implies that we have disbelieved God and we have annulled His covenant promise to be strong on our behalf. Weakness or the tendency to compromise is part of human nature but the power or grace to overcome comes from God. Asa had compromised. When the prophet reprimanded him, he got sore with him and put him in prison. When he suffered a severe disease in his feet, he relied on his physicians and not on the Lord. He had hardened his once perfect heart against the Lord and His Word. He could have repented when his error was pointed out. He could have once more perfected his heart toward the Lord. If he had done so, the Lord would have revealed his favour or grace and strength on his behalf. Asa had done a double folly- first, in relying on an earthly alliance against the king of Israel and second, in not repenting or turning from his error once it was pointed out. Like Asa it is not the longevity of our success run that counts but how well we finish. Jesus wants us to be good finishers like Him. The Biblical pattern of history is replicated in every generation. David compromised badly in the matter of Uriah and his wife Bathsheba. He was a man after God’s own heart and though unlike Asa, he repented, the Lord promised that the sword and conflict would mark his whole life, that his foes and enemies would rise from his own family, that his wives would be taken captive, abused and humiliated. We act foolish when we disobey the commandment of God or the Word and when we disbelieve the promises of the Lord. His eyes are always seeing all that we are doing including our innermost thoughts and motives. He turns His face against us when we wantonly and repeatedly ignore His warning. He hears our prayers and gives us evidence of His favour in miraculous signs and wonders when we win His favour and walk all our days in uprightness and in alignment with His Word and will. Everything cannot be built in a day but everything can be lost in a single day or even a moment of indiscretion. That thought will produce the reverence for the Lord and His Word which will produce wisdom and keep us on track all the time. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Breakthrough God

UV 919/10,000 The Breakthrough God Who sent His glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for Himself everlasting renown. Isaiah 63 v 12 God’s power, authority and love are within arm’s reach of each one of us. If we like Moses stretch our own hands over whatever obstructs our paths, He will demonstrate His power, authority and love to “divide the waters” before us. When Moses held his rod in his right hand and then held it over the water of the Red Sea, the Lord sent a mighty East wind to cause the water to part and stand like a heap on both sides. Moses’s right hand or left hand had no more power or strength than any of us. When we are willing to lift our limbs for the Lord, He acts on our behalf and sets in motion miraculous forces and causes miraculous breakthroughs. The rod in our right hand is not literally a rod but it is the Word of God. When we declare the Word and command mighty forces to divide, they will divide and part to make way for us to go forward in our careers, professions, lives and ministry. I start every day with half an hour of prayer walk where I declare God’s Word over the waters that confront me. When I raise my hands and pray in the spirit, the Lord intertwines His fingers in mine and strengthens me with His glorious power from above. I call this “doing Hi-10” with the Lord. In a battle that the Israelites faced, they were winning as long as Moses’s arms were held up. When he was tired doing so, Aaron helped him by holding his brother’s arms up. Through this uni-verse, the Lord is saying that not only in the case of Moses and the Israelites but if His people anywhere hold up their hands in prayer, He will reveal His might, authority and love in such a way that it will redound to His everlasting renown. The glory of man is effervescent and fleeting. The brouhaha over Sachin’s contribution to India is at its peak now with people all round singing his praises. Sachin Tendulkar is called erroneously as the god of cricket. If he is the god of cricket would he retire? A few decades from now, the next generation would scarcely know who he is. In training workshops all over the state when our resource persons ask “ who does more useful work – the average police constable or Sachin Tendulkar?” Unanimously, people say, “ The police constable.” The answer to the next question is also obvious, “ Who is the real hero- Sachin or the constable?” Man’s glory passes away soon but the glory of God is forever. Soon after the Israelites left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea in this miraculous manner, their renown spread fear of them all round. Even the prostitute Rahab in the city of Jericho heard of what had happened and she decided to join the winning side- the Jews. The scarlet rope she tied around her window was a symbol of the royal lineage that would start in her once wretched body and womb for she would bear the forebear of the King of Kings, the Messiah. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 8, 2013

Boldness and Grace

UV 918/10,000 Boldness and Grace Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4 v 16 The purpose of the old covenant of law was not salvation but to show people how far they have fallen short of God’s holiness and absolute standards of justice, love and righteousness. The purpose of the new covenant as personified in the life and ministry of Jesus is to fill the yawning gap between sinful man and the holy God, the gap between our standards and God’s. The word ‘gap’ represents good, acceptable and perfect. Each of us have been declared by our faith in Jesus as good, acceptable and perfect. We cannot “become” perfect but we are perfect in the eyes of God. This is the reason Jesus says, “ Be perfect because your Father in heaven is perfect.” He does not say, “ Become perfect”. Since we are justified by the mercy of God we can now enter boldly or with confidence into the very presence of God, before His throne of grace beyond the mercy seat. Last week there were photographs of a little boy who sat boldly on the high seat of the present Pope Francis, hugged his legs and moved around the rostrum while the latter was speaking. This illustrates the boldness of a child in the presence of his father. Similarly, we can approach the Lord God knowing that He will not rebuke us for doing so and knowing that He loves to help us as an Ebenezer in our times of need. We need not be hesitant, diffident or fearful in reaching out to God. Our need contains the seed of our growth. The times of our need are the periods of accelerated spiritual growth in our lives. These are the times when we walk closest to the Lord and cling to Him for dear life. He may not at times straight away meet or fulfill the need but He will give us grace to help or the inner strength to carry on with the cross we are bearing. He sustains us with hope so that we “ beat the challenge” and “ meet the need.” He uses these times to build our faith and to fill the gaps in our character. In our crises or times of need, the Lord tests us whether we rely on our own flesh and our own abilities, on other people in our circle or on the Lord to whom we have entrusted our whole lives and being. He checks how we behave before the time of need, at the time of need, during it and afterwards. If we truly believe that the Lord is God and our Father, if we truly believe that He is absolutely good and loving, if we truly believe that He can do all things, if we truly believe that He listens to our prayers and keeps His promises, our faith, hope and love will only grow stronger and not weaker with time. In the past couple of years, our family was facing a situation where the equivalent of a borrowed axe had fallen in the water but as we sought the Lord's help He helped us by doing the equivalent of making it float as in the case of Elijah. Prateep V Philip

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Z for Zeal

UV 917-10,000 Z for Zeal Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Romans 12 v 11 This uni-verse is the very definition of zeal. We are to show due diligence as well as extraordinary diligence in our work, whatever field we might be in. We need to take care and time to be familiar with the rules of our business. Just as the different members of the body especially, the heart, the brain, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver work round the clock and do not set time limits for their functioning, we should be prepared to fulfil our responsibilities without setting time limits. Last evening I had a visit from Dr David Wong who taught us at the Haggai Leadership seminar at the turn of the century. When I explained to him the eqthinking thought process I had developed, he said, “ What you are saying resonates with what Dr John Haggai teaches-when you stay with a matter long enough, you will accomplish what you are aiming for.” Indeed, diligence implies perseverance and persistence. We need to go beyond the call of mere duty and stray into the area of being passionate about our work. When we are ready to go the extra mile any time and all the time, we will end up going a thousand miles further or in other words, our productivity would be a thousand times more. My style of working is that soon after I join a new assignment, I think hard about the core issues and capture the essence in a concept that can be easily communicated and implemented by all others who are working with me. For example, the simple principle of eqthinking –“ be at it, beat it” enables people to go the extra mile, one mile at a time. Last evening a lady with whom I briefly shared the idea sent a message, “ My vitamin for today is BEAT IT. My faith has been strengthened.” Thinking hard about the core issues is an essential part of diligence. We can be hard working with our hands and legs without applying our mind much. The Lord wants us to put our heart, mind and soul into the work at hand. The reward is mentioned in scripture, “He who is diligent will not stand before ordinary people but before kings.” Lo and behold, one day I was literally standing before Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II and talking with her. Take the case of the young Pakistani girl Malala- she has met President Obama and the Queen and everyone else is vying to meet her on account of her extreme courage and passion for education in the face of death. Zeal also implies that we need to be devoted or fervent in spirit. We must be filled with enthusiasm or the very energy of God and the joie de vivre or the joy of living. Our attitude cannot be slack for Jesus tells us, “Don’t be slack for I will be back.” I was listening to someone on Ted talks the other day and liked the way he put it, “ fire, faith and focus.” Zeal is an undying fire burning in us, an unshakeable and unflagging faith in God’s love and promises, a sharp focus on pleasing our Heavenly Master in all things, written and spoken, thought, said and done. Earlier we were slaves or in bondage to sin, death and satan. We were born in captivity, sold into slavery without our knowledge or our consent. But now that we are set free forever, we are willing and ready servants of the Lord. All our faculties should now be focussed on serving Him who set us free. True freedom is not living in the lap of luxury or sloth but focussing all our attention and energy on fulfilling our responsibilities and so serving the Lord. The word ‘zeal’ starts with the letter “Z” which in the Greek is Omega or God Almighty, ‘e’ stands for energy and enthusiasm, ‘a’ for attitude of diligence and gratitude, and ‘l’ for love. Prateep V Philip

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The High Price

UV 916/10,000 The High Price And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD. 2 Samuel 23 v 16 The shepherd- King David had a trusted bodyguard of 30 brave soldiers. David was once taking refuge in a cave while the Philistines were in control of Bethlehem, his native place. David longed to drink water from the wall near the gate of Bethlehem. No sooner had he stated his desire than three of his bravest broke through the Philistine garrison that guarded the gate of Bethlehem, drew water from the well of Bethlehem and brought it to David to quench his longing. But David seeing that they had risked their lives to procure it for him, poured out the water as a sacred drink offering to the Lord, saying that “ Is it not the blood of the men who went in jeopardy of their lives?” The three mighty men did it for the sake of one man, their king and commander. The water symbolised the salvation that the Messiah-King Jesus was going to obtain for all mankind at the cost of every drop of His own blood. Three ordinary men became inspired to be mighty and brave under David’s leadership. They vied with each other to prove their bravery, prowess and loyalty. But Jesus the mighty God and King became meek in order to prepare Himself for the ultimate and perfect sacrifice. Jesus, a lineal descendant of King David, broke through the enemy ranks, laid down the most precious life in all of the universe and all of history and poured out every drop of His blood as an offering and payment for us. It is written that the last time He set out for Jerusalem He set His face like flint towards the cross. Nothing could deter Him or steer Him off this course, not even the agony of separation from the Father as He hung in condemnation on the cross. Our response as believers should be similar to that of David –to pour out our lives as an offering to the Lord. David valued the water of the well of Bethlehem but he valued the life of his men even more. We too need to long for the water of salvation that will quench our longing for eternity. We need to value Jesus even more than our own salvation. We need to always have in mind the high price He paid to secure so great a salvation for us. The three men of David’s guard only risked their lives but Jesus tasted death for us for three days that we should not undergo eternal death ourselves. We need to value the Word, the very water of life that will quench our spiritual thirst. Prateep V Philip

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Three Functions, One Purpose

UV 915/10,000 Three Functions, One Purpose For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. Isaiah 33 v 22 We all know that government consists of the Executive-the head , the Legislature-the law-making wing and the judiciary- the judge. Long before such institutions were set up as the three separate branches of government, the Word indicated this functional division. But the Lord combines in Himself the functions and positions of judge, lawgiver and king. As Judge, His chief qualities are His justice and mercy. As lawgiver, His chief qualities are His wisdom, knowledge and understanding. As King, His chief qualities are His graciousness, majesty and power to execute His will. He is also the lone author of eternal salvation. He uses His good offices of judge, lawgiver and king to save us. As Judge, He shows us mercy on the basis of our faith in Jesus. He justifies us or sets us right with God as if we have never fallen short of His law or justice, as if we have never sinned. As lawgiver, He gives us His Word to guide and lead us, to comfort, strengthen and nourish us. As King He commands His deliverances for us. He rewards us for our faithfulness. In all three roles and functions, His chief goal or priority is to save us. The justice, law and power of God are tailored for our salvation, not for our condemnation. Whatever be our shortcomings in every area of life, He shows us mercy and gives us grace to overcome. He removes earthly kings and installs new ones in their place. He weighs every leader and authority, measures them and numbers their days. There is no conflict between the executive, legislative and judicial functions of God unlike our human institutions that are often at loggerheads with each other. We can be confident and trust the Lord that He never errs in His judgements. His statutes and decrees are also wise, perfect and trustworthy. In His executive function, the Lord acts consistent with His law. His decrees or decisions based on His law is what operates in our lives. What is impossible for man is only improbable for God. He takes a decision and the impossible happens. As a merciful Judge, we need to trust Him. As a wise lawgiver, we need to respect the law we have received at the mouth of God- the Word. As an all powerful King, we need to be loyal, faithful and obedient. The uni-verse states that the Lord has three supreme functions but only one purpose in mind – the salvation of those who trust, revere and depend on Him. The word “ is” is repeated thrice to emphasize that we need to know Him as Judge, Lawgiver , King and Saviour in this lifetime and not just as a future King or Judge or Lawgiver. Prateep V Philip

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Inner Gifts

UV 914/10,000 The Inner Gifts Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1 v 17 The logic of this uni-verse is simple but profound and powerful. Since God is good and perfect, the gifts He gives are also good and perfect. The nearest Hebrew word for good is ‘ Shalom’ that means wholesome or holistic goodness. It is a consistent and wholly baked goodness not an admixture of the perfect and imperfect, good and evil. For God is the Father of lights. He gave us the perfect gift of salvation in and through His Son. The Lamb became our Lamp forever. The light of this Lamp or His love, faith and hope fill our hearts with joy and our eyes with universal truth. An universal truth is something that applies to all without exception. Every day I attempt to draw out these universal truths by a study of scripture from Genesis to Revelation and with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who is Himself a giver of perfect spiritual gifts is a Gift to us. He is the indwelling spirit of God in us. Pharaoh asked Joseph who had just interpreted his dreams, “ where can I find a man in whom is the spirit of God?” The Holy Spirit had led him to ask the question and then led him to find the answer in Joseph. The Holy Spirit flashed the torchlight on Joseph’s face and prompted Pharaoh to say, “ Since God has shown you all this, there is none so wise and discreet as you.” The Lord had taken the captivity of Joseph captive and given him inner gifts like the ability to discern the meaning of spiritually gifted dreams. This led Pharaoh to bestow external gifts of new clothing, a signet ring of authority, a chariot, palace and a bride to boot from among the Egyptian nobility. It is not the external gifts that we should covet for these fade or lose their value over time. They are only a shadow of the eternal gifts of God and outward manifestations of an inner gift. We need to distinguish and value the real thing over the shadow. The Lord rejoices when we desire and ask for the inner gifts and grants it to us without hesitation, regret or measure. These are referred to as the gifts of the Spirit : the gift of word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues. These are gifts from above that reside in us. Their origin is supernatural and they are meant to serve or build the body of Christ-the church. Since there is no variation or turning with God, He never takes back these gifts once these are given to us. Another spiritual gift is the wisdom from above which is pure, gentle and peaceful. This list is not exhaustive for the uni-verse says “ every good and perfect gift..” For what have we that we did not receive from the Lord! We can do an exercise of mentally listing out what we consider every good and perfect gift in our lives and then thank and praise the Lord for each of it: it could be an ability to speak, write, teach, lead, sing, encourage… People of the world gloat over their gifts and giftedness. In a modern day version of blasphemy, some are exalted as demi-gods or icons just because of something so narrow as the ability to play cricket, music or act. But we are called to glory in the Lord. Prateep V Philip

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Secret of Effective Prayer

UV 914-10,000 The Secret of Effective Prayer He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Proverbs 28 v 9 Many people often wonder why their prayers are not answered. If we turn away our ear from hearing the Word that contains the laws that govern our moral and spiritual universe, He too would find our prayers hateful and turn His ear away from us. When we delight in His Word and pray according to it or on the basis of His promises, by declaring our faith in His ability and willingness to fulfil His amazing promises, He will incline His ear to hear us. We need to ask in His Name or the name of Jesus for we are thereby acknowledging that we are coming before the throne of grace by the blood and authority of Jesus. We need to pray with adoration in our hearts and thanksgiving on our lips. The other reasons our prayers are not acceptable sometimes to the Lord is if we treasure or cherish sin in our hearts instead of confessing it and trying to make a clean break with it. If we turn our ears from hearing the cry of the needy and poor, then too the Lord will avoid hearing our prayers. If we are violent or deceitful, the Lord would not find our prayers pleasing. If our conversation is in vain and we indulge in malicious banter, then too the Lord would not delight in our prayers. We need to be persistent in the spirit of prayer. When we humble ourselves before God and lead upright lives, then our prayers delight the Lord. If we give bread, both physical and spiritual, to the hungry, He would rush to our help. When we delight in a particular rhema verse or unique promise verse and run it over and over in our minds like a person would smack his lips again and again after a delicious meal or a connoisseur of objets d’art would run his eyes over and over again lovingly over a particular work, He would fulfil the very details or specifics of our prayers. Our prayers are effective after we have spent time studying, analysing and meditating on the Word. It will then not fall short off its mark but reach the very heart of God. We would be praying in accordance with the expressed will of God and we believe that He is able to do exceedingly far above what we can think or imagine or ask. Prateep V Philip

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hit the Nail on the Head

UV 913/10,000 Hit the Nail on the Head She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. Judges 5 v 26 When the enemy of the Israelites, the king Sisera asked Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite to give him shelter and to hide him, she did so. When he asked for water, she gave him milk and butter. She covered him with a sheet. When he slept, she took a nail and drove it with a hammer through his temples and he lay dead at her feet. This is not a direction to do likewise but the Lord told us in a time of prayer that like Jael, we too should drive the nail of the Word of God through our own heads so that the old man in us with his impure thoughts and desires would die like Sisera. As an experiment yesterday, I asked the vicar of the church where I shared the Word a few months back if he remembered anything that I spoke on that day. I then asked the Vice President of the church the same question. Neither of them remembered any word from my message. Only a Sunday School teacher who had made diligent notes mentioned that I had illustrated the message with a story about a “ dangry” or dangerously angry pig. She alone had the nail driven through her head and the Word would produce fruit in her life. Deborah declared Jael blessed over the women in the tents for her resourcefulness. Those who have the life-giving nail of the Word driven through our minds would be even more blessed. We would do exploits for the Lord far greater than Jael. We need to nail the old man to the cross and die to all vestiges of the old man with his insecurity, covetousness, lusts, pride and selfishness. Every day we should identify some aspect of our character and habits that the Lord shows us and put a definitive end to it. We can use the hammer of God’s authority and power to drive in the nail. When we do this we are literally hitting the nail on the head: our image is becoming more exactly like that of the new man who lives forever, Christ Jesus. We can then say with St Paul, “ It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Christ does not want a peaceful co-existence between the old man and the new man. He said, “ I come not to bring peace but to drive a sword into the hearts of men.” In the past, we might have fed milk and butter to the old man but now we need to starve him. The old man should not only die but should be buried deep. There can be no resurrection without death. Some people spread the foolish heresy that Christ did not die but he was only unconscious and was later removed from the cross and declared “resurrected.” To disprove such foolish theories, every drop of blood was drained from His body through His gaping wounds. We now experience the Resurrection power of Christ in all domains of our lives. Prateep V Philip

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Benefits of Salvation

UV 612/10,000 The Benefits of Salvation Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Psalm 68 v 18 It is a wonderful privilege given to mortal man that we can bless the Immortal, Infinite, merciful and all knowing God. To bless means to lift up. We can lift up the name of God in the midst of the people among whom we live and work. It is impossible for a true believer of Jesus not to be a workplace witness. For when we speak we would drop clues of how blessed we are because of the Lord whom we know personally and worship. The uni-verse says that He daily loads us with benefits or blessings. The blessings are physical, spiritual, financial, relational, emotional, intellectual and social. He comforts us in our loss and sorrows- this is a psychological benefit or blessing. He guides us with His eye- this is a intellectual benefit since it helps us solve our dilemmas and chart out our course of action for the day in a specific direction. He protects us, heals and preserves us- this is a physical benefit. He causes us to rejoice –this is an emotional blessing. He gives us abilities, opportunities and ideas to prosper- this is a financial blessing. He leads us to the right type of fellowship and friends- a relational or social blessing. He feeds us from His Word daily and listens to our prayers and even our sighs- a spiritual blessing. Of course, all the benefits we receive from the Lord are holistic and affect all of life. We do not seek or receive these blessings to hoard it for ourselves and our generations but to share it generously with the needy and to be a blessing ourselves even as we are blessed. While the above benefits apply to our daily lives on earth, the gift of salvation through our faith in Jesus is the ultimate blessing that the Lord God has given each of us. Salvation moves us from an earthly orbit to an eternal orbit. We are no longer mere flesh and blood beings whose destiny is the grave but we are eternal and spiritual beings living in the here and now. We are blood-washed saints in the eyes of the Lord. We are no longer mere children of man but children of God. Our goal is no longer to eke out an existence on this planet but to prepare ourselves for our heavenly home. We live and experience the miraculous and supernatural as naturally as we used to live on the natural plane. Our focus and priority is our salvation and all other incidental benefits we receive from the Lord are secondary. Instead of being the prodigal son we should now aim to be the “prodigious son” who works for the greater glory of God. We have the new clothes of salvation- a lifestyle of righteousness, contentment and godliness. A new ring of authority adorns both our fingers and our voice. Our feet are adorned with the shoes of proclamation. Our tongues are the sword of God not to cause death and judgement but to deliver like salvation to others. Our arms are the extended limbs of God. The Holy Spirit will give us generously new gifts for ministry. When we ask for wisdom, He will give us spiritual wisdom, the wisdom that is from above, that is peaceful, gentle, loving, humble and kind. Like good wine becomes better as it grows older, we will be like vintage wine, made richer by the wisdom of the Rock of Ages and bearing fruit even in our old age. Prateep V Philip